A lawyer for E Jean Carroll has said Donald Trump’s notorious Access Hollywood tape from 2005 will not be put before the New York jury considering how much defamation compensation he must pay after being find liable for sexual assaulting her, the Associated Press reports.

The jury will weigh whether Mr Trump owes further damages to the retired magazine columnist after a previous trial ended with her being awarded $5 million when it was ruled the defendant had abused her in a department store dressing room in 1996.

The infamous tape depicts the former president joking about grabbing women “by the p****”.

Ms Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, told the presiding judge the footage should not be shown to keep the “focus” on the case in hand.

For the same reason, Ms Kaplan said she would not call fellow accusers Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds as witnesses.

The former president could reportedly testify in court as soon as today, just hours ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, pitting him against rival Nikki Haley for the Republican presidential nomination, which became a two-horse race on Sunday after Florida governor Ron DeSantis dropped out of the running.

Key Points

  • Trump calls E Jean Carroll case ‘totally fabricated story’ as lawyer declines to show notorious Access Hollywood tape

  • Republican claims World Wars fought in America as cognitive decline concerns grow

  • DeSantis drops out of GOP race and endorses Trump

  • Trump continues attacks on Haley after falsely blaming her for Capitol riot

  • Ex-president demands immunity: ‘You will have a president who’s not going to be able to do anything’

Truth Social: ‘Haley can’t win!’ Trump insists

11:15 , Joe Sommerlad

As the race for New Hampshire (and beyond) becomes a two-horse race, Trump has ramped up his online attacks on his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, flooding Truth Social with polling in his favour and deriding her chances.

However, he has also attempted to shutdown criticism of his new nickname for her, “Nimbra”, a corruption of her Indian given name, which many have suggested is racist and intended to stoke up a spurious “birther” conspiracy theory against the South Carolina native.

Here’s more on how Haley got under his skin by attacking his mental fitness for office from Michelle Del Rey.

Haley questions Trump’s mental fitness after he repeatedly confuses her with Pelosi

DeSantis drops out of Republican race and endorses Trump

10:45 , Joe Sommerlad

Of course the big political news of the weekend was the Florida governor dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination and endorsing Trump.

The nominee-presumptive himself has been reasonably gracious about it so far, telling his supporters he is “officially” retiring the “Ron DeSanctimonious” nickname after a year of abusing his rival.

Others have been less kind, however, with plenty of ridicule washing around online.

Clips of DeSantis’s own complaints about Republicans “kissing the ring”, California governor Gavin Newsom predicting his inevitable U-turn and fellow Floridian Matt Gaetz calling him “Diet Trump” have all been widely circulated while others remembered his disastrous Twitter Spaces launch with Elon Musk, his heeled cowboy boots and chocolate pudding fingers.

Here’s Katie Hawkinson and Namita Singh with more on his exit.

Ron DeSantis drops out of presidential race after campaign’s failure to launch

Trump claims World Wars fought in America as cognitive decline concerns grow

10:15 , Joe Sommerlad

Also in Rochester, the Republican front-runner offered this frankly very confused account of the First and Second World Wars, adding to the growing concerns about his mental health and exhausting schedule after a string of high-profile gaffes, including blaming Nikki Haley for the Capitol riot on Friday.

Haley has naturally wasted no time in drawing attention to his conduct and turning it to her advantage.

He offered another pretty boggling history lesson on Saturday when he cited the bombing of Hiroshima as justification for his call for absolute presidential immunity.

Trump, of course, insists he is quite well and has “aced” every acuity test going.

Here’s Katie Hawkinson on a matter of growing concern.

Trump struggles to say ‘climate’ and reveals he recently took a cognitive test

E Jean Carroll: Trump again denounces ‘totally fabricated story’ as lawyer declines to show Access Hollywood tape

09:56 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump will be back in court in New York again on Monday as E Jean Carroll’s defamation trial resumes – and he could even testify, according to the AP.

He actually appeared to defame Carroll AGAIN during a rally appearance in Rochester, New Hampshire, last night, calling her sexual assault accusation against him, for which he was found liable by a jury last year and ordered to pay $5m in compensation, “a totally fabricated story”.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for E Jean Carroll has said Trump’s notorious Access Hollywood tape from 2005 will not be put before the jury considering how much defamation compensation he must pay her after denying in 2022 that the 1996 assault in a department store dressing room ever happened.

The infamous tape depicts the former president joking about grabbing women “by the p****”, as if you’d forgotten.

Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, has told the judge the footage should not be shown to keep the “focus” on the trial.

For that same reason, Kaplan also said she would not be calling fellow accusers Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds as witnesses.

Stoynoff has previously alleged that Trump groped her in the 1970s while Leeds said he had kissed her against her will in 2005.

Why was ‘Trump bumps’ trending this week?

08:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Well, since you asked…

Red spots on Donald Trump’s hand spark speculation

06:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Donald Trump attends funeral of Melania’s mother as trial continues in New York

Haley attacks prospect of Trump-Biden rematch

04:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley has warned against the prospect of November’s election becoming a rematch of the 2020 contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, asking: “Do we really want to have two 80-year-olds running for president when we have a country in disarray and a world on fire?”

Speaking at a CNN town hall event at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, ahead of next Tuesday’s state primary, Ms Haley told host Jake Tapper that both the GOP frontrunner and the president were so “distracted by their own investigations and their own grievances” that a renewed contest between them would not be in the best interests of the country.

Joe Sommerlad reports:

Nikki Haley attacks prospect of Trump-Biden rematch: ‘We have a country in disarray’

ICYMI: Alina Habba’s past comments on faking being smart resurface as she struggles in court

02:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Remarks made by Donald Trump lawyer Alina Habba in a recent interview about “faking being smart” resurfaced after she endured two tough days in court during her client’s civil trial for defamation damages.

Ms Habba repeatedly clashed with New York judge Lewis A Kaplan in court on Tuesday and Wednesday, during the former president’s civil trial to determine damages for defaming columnist E Jean Carroll.

Mike Bedigan has the story:

Trump lawyer who spoke of ‘faking being smart’ mocked online after trial performance

Haley hits back at ‘insecure’ Trump ahead of New Hampshire face-off

00:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Nikki Haley has hit back at Donald Trump after he ramped up his attacks on her ahead of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

The former South Carolina governor said Mr Trump’s personal attacks mean he is feeling “threatened” and “insecure” as they head towards the state’s 2024 GOP presidential contest.

It comes after the former president shared an article from far-right conspiracy site The Gateway Pundit which claimed Ms Haley is not a “natural born citizen” and is therefore not eligible to serve as President of the United States because her parents, Indian immigrants, were not American citizens when she was born in 1972.

Ms Haley, who served as Mr Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, was born in the United States and is therefore eligible to run for president, according to the 14th Amendment.

Martha McHardy has the story:

Nikki Haley hits back at ‘insecure’ Trump ahead of New Hampshire face-off

Trump could testify as soon as Monday: Associated Press

Sunday 21 January 2024 23:09 , Katie Hawkinson

A lawyer for E Jean Carroll says the infamous Donald Trump “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005 will not be put before a New York jury considering defamation damages, the Associated Press reports.

This jury is considering whether Mr Trump owes additional money to Ms Carroll after a previous jury awarded her $5 million when they ruled Mr Trump sexually abused the former columnist in 1996 and later defamed her in 2022.

Now, the former president could testify as soon as Monday, just hours ahead of the New Hampshire primary election on Tuesday, per the AP.

The week that GOP fantasies about Trump and the Democrats came crashing down

Sunday 21 January 2024 22:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Eric Garcia writes:

“People don’t think like I do and that’s the situation” could encapsulate the predicament the entire Republican Party faces. For the last few months, we at Inside Washington have said Republicans — all the way down from the squirreliest congress critters to the wealthiest donors to candidates — are engaged in a collective kind of magical thinking. Such wishful thinking has allowed the GOP to behave like they’re living in a world they would prefer, rather than the world as it is.

This week finally shattered that.

Continue reading the full article…

This week, Republican fantasies about Trump and the Democrats came crashing down

SNL cold open mocks Trump’s trials and legal team after a week of defence setbacks

Sunday 21 January 2024 19:45 , Michelle Del Rey

Mr Trump was mocked in an SNL cold open skit over his legal troubles and attorneys, specifically Alina Habba, who is representing the former president in his defamation trial against columnist E Jean Carroll.

In the skit, which premiered on TV on Saturday, Mr Trump’s character, played by James Austin Johnson, refers to his legal team as “the bottom of the barrel, folks. This is who said yes.” He added: “I’m in the lead for president and this is the best I can get. Feels like a red flag, no?”

This week, Ms Habba received criticism of her cross-examination of Ms Carroll, resulting in a sidebar and sustained objections.

Read more below:

SNL cold open mocks Trump’s trials and legal team after a week of setbacks

Trump struggles to say the word ‘climate’ and reveals he recently took a cognitive test

Sunday 21 January 2024 19:07 , Katie Hawkinson

At a New Hampshire campaign rally, Donald Trump claimed to have “aced” a recent cognitive test and struggled to pronounce the word “climate,” footage from the event shows.

“I don’t know if you saw, but a few months ago, I took a cognitive test my doctor gave me,” Mr Trump told supporters at the Saturday event.

His comments came just after former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley questioned whether the former president was mentally capable of taking office again after he appeared to repeatedly confuse her with former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a campaign speech on Friday.

“I said, ‘give me a cognitive test, just so we can you know,’ because you know what the standards were, and I aced it,” Mr Trump continued.

Read more about Mr Trump’s comments:

Trump struggles to say ‘climate’ and reveals he recently took a cognitive test

Mr Trump calls for heckler to be removed from New Hampshire campaign rally

Sunday 21 January 2024 16:44 , Michelle Del Rey

“You can get him out of here. Get out of here. Go ahead,” the former president can be heard saying in footage of the event. “You can throw him out,” the former president said from the podium.

The man was then escorted from the event by four security guards.

Read more here.

Fani Willis says deputy’s estranged wife ‘interfering’ with Trump prosecution

Sunday 21 January 2024 14:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has pushed back on allegations that she has had an “improper” relationship with her deputy, instead accusing his estranged wife of attempting to interfere with their prosecution of Donald Trump.

Ms Willis has been issued a subpoena to sit for a pretrial deposition in the divorce case of special prosecutor Nathan Wade and his wife Joycelyn Wade on 23 January. On Thursday, Ms Willis’s lawyer said in a filing that the subpoena should be dismissed.

Attorney Cinque Axam, representing Ms Willis, argued that Ms Wade “has conspired with interested parties in the criminal election interference case to use the civil discovery process to annoy, embarrass and oppress District Attorney Willis”.

Continue reading the full article…

Merrick Garland calls for ‘speedy’ trial in Trump federal election interference case

Sunday 21 January 2024 12:45 , Oliver O’Connell

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said he agrees with Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request for a speedy trial in Donald Trump’s federal election interference case – citing an increased public interest ahead of the 2024 election.

In an interview with CNN this week, Mr Garland provided few, but firm, comments on the special counsel’s investigation and upcoming trial against Mr Trump related to the former president’s alleged involvement in conspiring and working to overturn the 2020 election results.

“The special prosecutor has said from the beginning that he thinks public interest requires a speedy trial, which I agree with,” Mr Garland said.

Ariana Baio reports on the attorney general’s remarks:

US attorney general calls for ‘speedy’ trial in Trump election interference case

Prosecutors ask for six-month prison term for ex-Trump aide Peter Navarro

Sunday 21 January 2024 10:45 , Gustaf Kilander

The Department of Justice has asked for a six-month prison sentence for former Trump aide Peter Navarro for contempt of Congress.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors argued in a 20-page filing that Mr Navarro put his loyalty to former President Donald Trump above the law when he declined to work with the House Select Committee looking into the Capitol riot on 6 January 2021.

Mr Navarro, who was a trade and pandemic adviser in the Trump White House who later pushed baseless claims of voter fraud, acted without a lawyer as he defied a subpoena from the House, instead relying on a press statement issued by former President Donald Trump in November 2021 saying that he didn’t have to work with another committee that was looking into the handling of the pandemic, prosecutors argued.

The 74-year-old was found guilty of two charges of contempt in September last year after he refused to testify or hand over documents after receiving a House subpoena in February 2022.

Continue reading the full article…

Trump yet again gets confused between Biden and Obama

Sunday 21 January 2024 06:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, who served in the US House as a Florida Republican between 1995 and 2001, said on MSNBC on Friday morning that “Donald Trump is not well, we know this”.

“He really does think that Barack Obama is still president of the United States,” he added.

Gustaf Kilander has the story:

Trump confuses Biden and Obama… again

Sunday 21 January 2024 04:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump attends funeral of Melania’s mother as trial continues in New York

If he didn’t eat so much junk food, Trump says he could live to 200

Sunday 21 January 2024 02:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump has claimed he would live to age 200 if he did not eat so much junk food.

During a campaign event in New Hampshire this week, the 77-year-old recalled comments by his former White House physician, Ronny Jackson, who previously said he would “be around for 200 years” if he did not eat so much junk food.

Nevertheless, Mr Trump – who is said to have a penchant for Diet Coke – gave himself a clean bill of health, telling supporters that he feels 35, and adding that he feels “cognitively” 20 years younger than he is.

“I feel like I’m about 35 years old. I feel better now than I did 30 years ago,” Mr Trump said.

Donald Trump will be 78 in June.

Trump claims he would live to 200 if he didn’t eat so much junk food

Trump appears displeased in newly released deposition videos

Saturday 20 January 2024 20:59 , Michelle Del Rey

On Friday,. The Office of the New York Attorney General released deposition tapes of Mr Trump taken in April. In the footage, Mr Trump tells his interviewers that he stopped a “nuclear holocaust” with North Korea as president.

Here’s some of the seven-hour long footage.

Jimmy Kimmel mocks Trump’s ‘chosen by God’ claims

Saturday 20 January 2024 16:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel mocked the bizarre video in which Donald Trump appears to proclaim himself God’s chosen emissary on Earth with a brutal apology video.

In a three-minute clip posted to Truth Social ahead of the Iowa caucus by the former president earlier this month, a narrator appears to suggest that Mr Trump has been chosen to carry out the will of God.

Martha McHardy has the story…

Jimmy Kimmel mocks Trump’s ‘chosen by God’ claims with brutal apology video

Trump warns Supreme Court of ‘chaos and bedlam’

Saturday 20 January 2024 15:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Alex Woodward writes:

Attorneys for Donald Trump told the US Supreme Court that a ruling to disqualify him from 2024 ballots would “unleash chaos and bedlam”.

The nation’s highest court will hear oral arguments next month to consider whether Mr Trump is ineligible for the presidency under the scope of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office.

Last month’s historic Colorado Supreme Court decision at the centre of the case determined that his actions on January 6 during the attack on the US Capitol “constituted overt, voluntary, and direct participation in the insurrection.”

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court as Trump v Anderson, among dozens of challenges from voters and state officials to Mr Trump’s eligibility under the provisions of the 14th Amendment. A decision from the high court could have sweeping impacts for Mr Trump’s campaign as he seeks the Republican nomination for president while battling criminal cases and lawsuits across the US.

Continue reading the full article…

172 GOP lawmakers call on SCOTUS to keep Trump on 2024 ballots

Saturday 20 January 2024 12:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Nearly every Republican senator and 130 GOP House members are urging the US Supreme Court to keep Donald Trump on 2024 ballots as the justices prepare to hear whether he should be disqualified under the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Among the members of Congress who joined Thursday’s brief is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously characterised the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 as a “violent insurrection” and, in remarks on the Senate floor during Mr Trump’s impeachment for inciting it, said there is “no question” he was “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day,” when a mob assaulted the halls of Congress “in his name”.

He was among 42 Senate Republicans telling Supreme Court justices that Congress, not the courts, should decide whether to disqualify a candidate.

Alex Woodward reports:

172 Republicans in Congress call on Supreme Court to keep Trump on 2024 ballots

Alina Habba renews call for mistrial in defamation case brought by writer in sex-abuse case

Saturday 20 January 2024 11:30 , AP

Donald Trump’s lawyer on Friday renewed a mistrial request in a New York defamation case against the former president, saying that an advice columnist who accused him of sexually abusing her in the 1990s spoiled her civil case by deleting emails from strangers who threatened her with death.

Attorney Alina Habba told a judge in a letter that writer E. Jean Carroll’s trial was ruined when Habba elicited from Carroll through her questions that Carroll had deleted an unknown number of social media messages containing death threats.

She said Carroll “failed to take reasonable steps to preserve relevant evidence. In fact, she did much worse — she actively deleted evidence which she now attempts to rely on in establishing her damages claim.”

When Habba first made the mistrial request with Trump sitting beside her as Carroll was testifying Wednesday, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan denied it without comment.

Continue reading…

Gaetz says Trump doesn’t need women voters because ‘there’s a Julio and a Jamal ready’

Saturday 20 January 2024 08:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Matt Gaetz has argued that the demographic changes between the parties will help former President Donald Trump get back to the White House.

The Florida congressman who incited the ouster of former GOP speaker Kevin McCarthy appeared to suggest on Newsmax on Wednesday that as white women leave the Republican Party under the leadership of Mr Trump, they will be replaced by Latino and Black men moving towards the GOP.

Read what Mr Gaetz’s comments below:

Matt Gaetz says Trump doesn’t need women voters because ‘there’s a Julio ready’

PREMIUM: Trump’s a sexist oaf – so why does he appeal to so many women?

Saturday 20 January 2024 06:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Alex Hannaford writes:

The paradox couldn’t have been starker. Shortly after midnight on 16 January, ABC News called the Iowa Republican caucuses for Donald J Trump. Entrance poll results indicated that he had “trounced” the competition, the network said – adding that “election deniers and Maga had got him there”. But so had Republican women.

Ten hours later, Trump was in a courtroom in New York City waiting to find out what damages he would have to pay to settle a defamation claim by E Jean Carroll – a woman who, separate juries found, had been sexually assaulted and later defamed by him. It was a classic example of the troubling and complicated relationship that the businessman and former president seems to have had with women for his entire life – both personally and professionally.

The fact that women are winning the primaries for Trump (he won the votes of around half of both men and women in Iowa, far ahead of any other candidate) may have casual observers scratching their heads. Add to this the rumours that he’s considering a female running mate, and you might start to wonder what’s really going on inside the head of one of the world’s most notoriously sexist alpha males.

But for those more seasoned Trump watchers, this is no surprise at all.

Continue reading the full article…

Trump can be kicked out of E Jean Carroll trial for in-court outbursts, judge warns

Saturday 20 January 2024 04:45 , Oliver O’Connell

After Donald Trump repeatedly loudly complained about E Jean Carroll’s testimony in a second defamation trial against the former president, the federal judge overseeing the case in New York warned he could remove him from the courtroom for his outbursts.

Mr Trump ignored several warnings from US District Judge Lewis Kaplan on Wednesday after he could be heard calling the case a “witch hunt” and a “con job” as he watched Ms Carroll’s testimony, which detailed the daily abuse and death threats she has received as a result of the former president’s ongoing defamatory statements about her.

“Mr Trump has the right to be present here. That right can be forfeited and it can be forfeited if he is disruptive, which what has been reported to me consists of,” the judge said. “I hope I don’t have to consider excluding you from the trial.”

Mr Trump then tossed up his hands, telling the judge “I would love it.”

Continue reading…

Judge warns Trump can be kicked out of E Jean Carroll trial for in-court outbursts

E Jean Carroll testifies: ‘He shattered my reputation’

Saturday 20 January 2024 03:45 , Oliver O’Connell

A jury has already determined that Donald Trump sexually abused E Jean Carroll in the 1990s, then defamed her by lying that it never happened.

Now the former Elle magazine columnist says she has been branded “a fraud and a whack job” by the same man, who appeared in a federal courtroom in New York City on Wednesday to watch her testimony during a second defamation trial stemming from her allegations against the former president.

“I’m here because I was assaulted by Donald Trump and when I wrote about it, he said it never happened,” she testified.

“He lied,” she said. “And he shattered my reputation.”

Alex Woodward reports:

Trump shakes his head as E Jean Carroll testifies: ‘He shattered my reputation’

Jan 6 rioter who assaulted at least 6 police officers is sentenced

Saturday 20 January 2024 02:45 , AP

A Florida man described by prosecutors as one of the most violent rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol was sentenced on Wednesday to five years in prison, court records show.

Kenneth Bonawitz, a member of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group’s Miami chapter, assaulted at least six police officers as he stormed the Capitol with a mob of Donald Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021. He grabbed one of the officers in a chokehold and injured another so severely that the officer had to retire, according to federal prosecutors.

Bonawitz, 58, of Pompano Beach, Florida, carried an eight-inch knife in a sheath on his hip. Police seized the knife from him in between his barrage of attacks on officers.

“His violent, and repeated, assaults on multiple officers are among the worst attacks that occurred that day,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean McCauley wrote in a court filing.

U.S. District Judge Jia Cobb sentenced Bonawitz to a five-year term of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, according to court records.

Continue reading the full article…

Trump claims that he is the one who suffered damages in E Jean Carroll defamation trial

Saturday 20 January 2024 01:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Moments after the second day of a jury trial to determine how much money he owes a woman he defamed for lying about sexually abusing her, Donald Trump claimed that he is the one who suffered damages.

The former president – on trial a second time for defaming E Jean Carroll, who has accused Mr Trump of sexually assaulting her and then lying about never meeting her – briefly spoke at his 40 Wall Street property after jurors in a federal courtroom heard several hours of testimony from the former Elle magazine writer.

Mr Trump, who baselessly casts his growing pile of legal challenges as a Democratic conspiracy to keep him away from the White House, called the trial “rigged” and “election interference” based on a “made-up, fabricated story”.

The facts of the case have already been established, and Mr Trump is barred from disputing that he sexually abused Ms Carroll.

Alex Woodward has been following the case:

Trump says he’s the one who should be paid damages in E Jean Carroll defamation trial

Stefanik faces censure effort for calling jailed Jan 6 rioters ‘hostages’

Saturday 20 January 2024 00:45 , Oliver O’Connell

A Democratic lawmaker has filed a formal censure for GOP Congresswoman Elise Stefanik after she referred to jailed Capitol riot convicts as “hostages.”

Congressman Dan Goldman filed the censure on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.

Ms Stefanik made the comments during an appearance on Meet the Press earlier this month. The appearance marked the third anniversary of the Capitol riot.

The lawmaker said she had “concerns about the treatment of the Jan 6 hostages.”

Donald Trump has also called individuals convicted for attacking Congress and the Capitol police during the riot “hostages.”

Graig Graziosi reports:

Elise Stefanik faces censure effort for calling jailed Jan 6 rioters ‘hostages’

Trump makes bid to argue ‘political bias’ in Mar-a-Lago documents case

Friday 19 January 2024 23:45 , Oliver O’Connell

In a new court filing, lawyers for former president Donald Trump argued that the federal case against him for allegedly holding onto classified documents is “politically motivated.”

The documents, which were filed Tuesday, lay out the possible legal strategy Trump’s defence team plans to use to combat the criminal charges against him.

Julia Reinstein reports:

Trump argues ‘political bias’ against him in classified documents case

Dear Judge Kaplan…

Friday 19 January 2024 23:28 , Oliver O’Connell

Two more letters have been sent by counsel to Judge Lewis Kaplan in the defamation case brought against Donald Trump by E Jean Carroll, following a tumultuous week in court.

This afternoon, we heard Mr Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba renew his request for a mistrial.

In another letter, Ms Habba alleges Ms Carroll didn’t do enough to mitigate the defamation caused by her client.

This argument is essentially, that the plaintiff, Ms Carroll, is responsible for her own defamation because by making the allegation against the then-president, she was opening herself up to threats and harassment online.

Ms Habba wrote that Mr Trump’s “statements are not the proximate cause of any harm that Ms Carroll suffered but, rather, the harm is attributable to her own conduct in making the initial accusation”.

Read Ms Habba’s letter here

In a letter to Judge Kaplan from Ms Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan (no relation), argues that Ms Habba is misinterpreting the law, and asks for the judge to stop her “from making any argument to the jury in summation, either expressly or impliedly, that Ms Carroll had a legal duty to mitigate the damages caused by Mr Trump’s defamatory statements in June 2019”.

Read Ms Kaplan’s letter here

The trial resumes on Monday at 9.30am, and NBC News reported earlier that Mr Trump may attend and has plans to testify, having previously said he will remain in New Hampshire through the primary.

Stay tuned.

Filing reveals prosecutor in Trump Georgia case paid for flights with Fani Willis

Friday 19 January 2024 23:06 , Oliver O’Connell

The top special prosecutor in the Georgia case against former President Donald Trump and a large number of co-defendants paid for at least two plane trips with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, bank statements filed as part of his divorce case reveal.

This comes after Ms Willis pushed back on allegations that she has had an “improper” relationship with the prosecutor, Nathan Wade, instead accusing his estranged wife of attempting to interfere with their prosecution of Donald Trump.

Ms Willis has been issued a subpoena to sit for a pretrial deposition in the divorce case of Mr Wade and his wife Joycelyn Wade on 23 January. On Thursday, Ms Willis’s lawyer said in a filing that the subpoena should be dismissed.

Gustaf Kilander has the details:

Prosecutor in Trump Georgia case paid for flights with Fulton County DA, filing shows

Trump presidency could be ‘big win for the world’ says ex-PM

Friday 19 January 2024 22:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Boris Johnson has said a second Donald Trump presidency could be a “big win for the world” and “just what the world needs” as he backed the Republican party favourite.

Here’s our reporting on what the former UK prime minister wrote in The Daily Mail

Boris Johnson says Trump presidency could be ‘big win for the world’

S&P 500 index closes at record high

Friday 19 January 2024 22:28 , Oliver O’Connell

Trump takes aim at Steve Doocy & Fox over NH voting rules…

Friday 19 January 2024 22:13 , Oliver O’Connell

You may recall an earlier post in which Steve Doocy, co-anchor of Fox & Friends, gave an on-air correction this morning concerning Donald Trump’s claim that Democrats can vote in New Hampshire’s Republican primary.

Well, the former president saw the clip too, and he’s not happy.

Here’s what he posted on Truth Social:

Unwatchable RINO Steve Doocy of Fox & Friends, which is suffering mightily from a lack of interest and Ratings Decline, with Steve being the principal factor, has just blurted out that I was wrong on the fact that Democrats can vote in the New Hampshire Republican Primary. He was so anxious to go against me, that he fell into the proverbial “Trump” trap, just like all others do. In actuality, Democrats can vote, they had to register by October 6, but they can come in as Independents, and then can be Democrats, and nobody’s going to know, so already we have 3,542 Democrats changed to Undeclared, 408 to Republican (all of whom will be voting), and others will come in as Liberals or Independents. Their rationale is that they are desperate to stop “Trump,” because they don’t want to run against me, they want to run against Nikki or Ron or anyone else. If an Independent is a Democrat, they can vote. That’s what they want to do, fill up the Roster with Democrats!

He wasn’t done yet, here’s “Page Two” and some fantasy scheduling advice for Fox News:

Page Two: So Steve, I know you don’t think people cheat in Elections, but they do! Nevertheless, I have an idea on how we can solve the problem with Steve—Exchange the Weekend Hosts with the Weekday Hosts, and everybody will be happy – except keep Lawrence, who is constantly defending me as he reports back to studio – “I know what you’re saying, but it’s not what I see in the field, all I see are Red Hats and Trump people!!!” Anyway, it’s Chris Sununu’s fault. He could have changed this, but was too lazy to do so!

Analysis: Trump squeezes his trials for political gain before the possibility of millions of dollars in fines

Friday 19 January 2024 21:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Alex Woodward writes:

He hunched his shoulders in front of a microphone to berate the judge in front of him. The judge started a timer on his phone, and Donald Trump exhaled a minutes-long, unbroken sentence of worn-out grievances.

These calculated in-court outbursts are now a routine part of what will be many more months of courtroom appearances for the former president, whose campaign for the presidency relies on his legal challenges to cast himself as a victim of a political deep state that he’s running against.

To Mr Trump, the justice system is illegitimate when his livelihood is at stake. The judges, prosecutors, court staff and people suing him are Democratic stooges working together across jurisdictions to wage lawfare against him, and he’s either innocent of allegations against him or deserves immunity from prosecution, he says.

Mr Trump and his attorneys have repeatedly defied courtroom instructions and gag orders because they see routine boundaries as politically motivated and illegal. The courtrooms become extensions of his campaign rally stages. When evidence is presented against him, Mr Trump and his lawyers offer distractions with dubious court filings, in-court arguments and out-of-court tantrums to reclaim headlines.

Continue reading the full article…

Republican fantasies about Trump and the Democrats came crashing down this week

Friday 19 January 2024 21:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

“People don’t think like I do and that’s the situation” could encapsulate the predicament the entire Republican Party faces. For the last few months, we at Inside Washington have said Republicans — all the way down from the squirreliest congress critters to the wealthiest donors to candidates — are engaged in a collective kind of magical thinking. Such wishful thinking has allowed the GOP to behave like they’re living in a world they would prefer, rather than the world as it is.

This week finally shattered that.

Continue reading…

This week, Republican fantasies about Trump and the Democrats came crashing down

New deposition video shows Trump claiming to have averted ‘nuclear holocaust’

Friday 19 January 2024 21:00 , Oliver O’Connell

A new video of Donald Trump’s deposition ahead of his New York civil fraud case, obtained by CBS News through a freedom of information request, show the former president claiming to have saved “millions of lives” by averting a “nuclear holocaust”.

While at trial he said he was too “busy in the White House” to be involved in the business dealings of the Trump Organization, in his deposition he went further, saying:

I was very busy. I considered this the most important job in the world, saving millions of lives. I think you would’ve had nuclear holocaust if I didn’t deal with North Korea. I think you would’ve had a nuclear war if I weren’t elected. And I think you might have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth.

Haley hits back at ‘insecure’ Trump

Friday 19 January 2024 20:45 , Oliver O’Connell

Nikki Haley has hit back at Donald Trump after he ramped up his attacks on her ahead of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

The former South Carolina governor said Mr Trump’s personal attacks mean he is feeling “threatened” and “insecure” as they head towards the state’s 2024 GOP presidential contest.

It comes after the former president shared an article from far-right conspiracy site The Gateway Pundit which claimed Ms Haley is not a “natural born citizen” and is therefore not eligible to serve as President of the United States because her parents, Indian immigrants, were not American citizens when she was born in 1972.

Ms Haley, who served as Mr Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, was born in the United States and is therefore eligible to run for president, according to the 14th Amendment.

Martha McHardy has the full story:

Nikki Haley hits back at ‘insecure’ Trump ahead of New Hampshire face-off

Report: Trump ‘planning on testifying’ at E Jean Carroll defamation trial on Monday

Friday 19 January 2024 20:23 , Oliver O’Connell

NBC News reports that Donald Trump is “planning on testifying” at his second trial for defaming E Jean Carroll, which resumes on Monday in New York.

It was previously believed he would stay in New Hampshire until after the primary on Tuesday (as he had written on Truth Social) but the former president has spent the last week shuttling around the country between the Iowa caucuses, the New York trial, his mother-in-law’s funeral in Florida, and campaign stops in New Hampshire — so another quick couple of flights could well be on the cards…

If he is attending court on Monday he will be heading straight for the airport afterwards as he is scheduled to deliver remarks in Laconia, New Hampshire at 9pm.

Trump warns Supreme Court of ‘chaos and bedlam’

Friday 19 January 2024 20:15 , Oliver O’Connell

Attorneys for Donald Trump told the US Supreme Court that a ruling to disqualify him from 2024 ballots would “unleash chaos and bedlam”.

The nation’s highest court will hear oral arguments next month to consider whether Mr Trump is ineligible for the presidency under the scope of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office.

Last month’s historic Colorado Supreme Court decision at the centre of the case determined that his actions on January 6 during the attack on the US Capitol “constituted overt, voluntary, and direct participation in the insurrection.”

Alex Woodward has the details:

Trump warns Supreme Court of ‘chaos and bedlam’ in ballot removal case

Trump lawyer renews demand for mistrial in E Jean Carroll defamation case

Friday 19 January 2024 20:09 , Oliver O’Connell

Donald Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba is rounding out her week in court at her client’s defamation trial in New York with a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan seeking a mistrial.

At issue for Ms Habba is E Jean Carroll’s admission to having deleted threatening messages sent to her on social media and by email after she made her initial allegations that she was sexually assaulted by Mr Trump.

Ms Habba writes:

The instant letter application is submitted to renew a demand for a mistrial; or, in the alternative, that Plaintiff be precluded from seeking damages relating to death threats purportedly made to her and all testimony related to same be stricken from the record; or, in the alternative, that the Court include an adverse inference charge against Plaintiff relating to her willful violation of her discovery obligations and the spoliation of relevant evidence.

Read the full letter here…

Mr Trump’s lawyer had a difficult week in court, being chided by the judge on multiple occasions for apparent gaps in knowledge regarding how a trial works.

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