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    Trump seems oddly relaxed about Republican rival Nikki Haley | Arwa Mahdawi

    Trump seems oddly relaxed about Republican rival Nikki Haley. Is it because she doesn’t stand a chance?Arwa MahdawiRon DeSantis would supposedly be ‘disloyal’ if he challenged Trump for the White House. Haley, meanwhile, ‘should do it’. Guess who’s a bigger threat? Has Donald Trump taken up meditation as his new year resolution? Is he mainlining sedatives? Did a demon snatch his soul and replace it with that of a reasonable person? I ask because the unthinkable has happened: Trump has responded to the idea of one of his former acolytes challenging his 2024 ambitions in a calm and measured manner, instead of with his usual insults.The acolyte in question is Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and Trump’s US ambassador to the UN. There are mounting rumours that Haley is exploring a potential run against Trump in 2024 – a fact that doesn’t seem to bother her old boss very much. Speaking to reporters on his plane on Saturday, Trump said Haley had called him up to chat about running and he’d told her: “Go by your heart if you want to run.” To be fair, he couldn’t resist a little dig, noting Haley had “publicly said that ‘I would never run against my president – he was a great president.’” Still, he magnanimously told her she “should do it”.Trump wasn’t quite as high-minded about another of his former disciples who also has his eye on the White House. During the same press session, Trump attacked the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, accusing him of trying to “rewrite” history as regards his Covid response. “When I hear that he might [run], I think it’s very disloyal,” Trump said, according to Politico, adding: “He won’t be leading. I got him elected. I’m the one that chose him.”Why is Trump bothered about DeSantis and blase about Haley? It’s not sedatives or soul-swapping demons at play, I reckon – it’s misogyny. My guess is that Trump thinks Haley has zero chance of the top job so he’s happy to humour the little lady. DeSantis, meanwhile, is far more of a threat.To be fair, the polls support this thesis. Three national polls released in January show Trump leads the field in a hypothetical 2024 Republican presidential primary, but DeSantis is firmly in second place. Haley, meanwhile, is polling at 3% – way behind Trump’s range of 48-55%. Still, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from recent years, it’s that polls should be taken with a very large pinch of salt. Just because it currently seems that Haley has little chance of winning the Republican nomination doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Remember how many people wrote Trump off in 2016.Haley, for her part, seems to think she’s in with a shot. In a recent interview with Fox News she noted that she’s “never lost a race … Stay tuned.” Meanwhile, one Republican told the Hill that the former governor “has decided her time is now and she’s about to take the gloves off when it comes to Trump, DeSantis and [Mike] Pompeo”. The gloves have already been slipping. Haley, 51, recently tweeted a clip from her Fox News interview during which she said, in a blatant reference to Joe Biden and Trump’s ages, that she thinks “it’s time for new generational change. I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in DC. I think we need a young generation to come in, step up and really start fixing things.” Look, I agree with the rabidly rightwing Haley on absolutely nothing but if she wants to define 51 as “young” (which it objectively is in the geriatric US government) I’m all for that.Also in Haley’s favour is that she has always cynically used the fact that she’s an Indian-American woman (her birth name is Nimrata Randhawa) and the child of immigrants to deflect from bigotry in the Republican party and seem palatable to some liberals. Simultaneously, however, she’s adept at throwing meat to the rightwing base and wading into culture wars. “CRT [critical race theory] is un-American,” she tweeted on Monday, for example.So could Haley be the first female president of the US? Again, I wouldn’t write it off. She’s smart, ambitious and apparently devoid of any sort of moral compass: all the qualifications you need to get to the top in politics.
    Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist
    TopicsUS politicsOpinionDonald TrumpRepublicansRon DeSantiscommentReuse this content More

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    Manhattan district attorney to present Trump hush money case to grand jury – as it happened

    Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg will soon start presenting testimony to a grand jury about Donald Trump’s effort to pay off the adult film actor and producer Stormy Daniels shortly before he won the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reports.The case is yet another legal threat to the former president, who could face charges in Georgia over his campaign to overturn the state’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. An Atlanta-area district attorney is considering a grand jury’s report into the effort by Trump and his allies.According to the times, Bragg recently empaneled the grand jury and will soon begin presenting evidence. The paper said it spotted one witness, David Pecker, and his attorney entering the building where the grand jury sits. Pecker is the former publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, which was involved in arranging the payment to Daniels.However the case is far from a slam dunk, the Times reports, and relies on a legal strategy that may not pan out. Here’s more from their report:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The prosecutors have also begun contacting officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, one of the people said. And in a sign that they want to corroborate these witness accounts, the prosecutors recently subpoenaed phone records and other documents that might shed light on the episode.
    A conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.Donald Trump’s legal trouble have grown even more voluminous, after Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg convened a grand jury to look into the hush money payment made to the adult film actor and producer Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. It’s the latest threat to the former president as he pursues another campaign for the White House, joining the ongoing inquiry in Georgia over his attempts to overturn the state’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Meanwhile in Washington, top Republican investigator James Comer outlined his plans to hold the Biden administration to account, while the White House and its allies looked for ways to frustrate him.Here’s what else happened today:
    What does Daniels think of all this? Read her recent interview with the Guardian to get an idea.
    Memphis has relieved a sixth police officer of duty following the death of Tyre Nichols and the indictment of five former officers on murder charges.
    Trump spent the weekend campaigning and bashing his rivals, chief among them Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis.
    A Christian nationalist movement involved in Covid-19 and 2020 election conspiracy theories is expanding nationwide.
    As Democrats sought his tax returns, Trump’s attorneys filed unusual records requests with the Internal Revenue Service. Democrats say they were an attempt to delay the documents’ release.
    It’s not just the properties of ex-presidents and -vice-presidents where classified documents are turning up.The Daily Beast reports that a retired air force lieutenant colonel pleaded guilty last August to charges related to keeping hundreds of classified documents at his Florida home.According to prosecutors, Robert Birchum kept material related to the National Security Agency (NSA) that “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States” if it had been made public. The air force works closely with the NSA, and the documents “concerned Department of Defense locations throughout the world, detailed explanations of the Air Force’s capabilities and vulnerabilities, and, among other things, the methods by which the Air Force gathers, transmits, and uses information observed by various Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms,” prosecutors said.Here’s more about the case, from the Daily Beast:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Birchum pleaded guilty to one count of willful retention of national defense information, a felony carrying up to 10 years in federal prison. It is unclear what, if anything, he was planning to do with the documents he had on hand …
    Cedric Leighton, a retired Air Force Colonel, was attached to the NSA and also spent time assigned to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), of which JSOC—where Birchum worked toward the end of his career—is a subordinate command. Those assigned to JSOC handle “a great deal of extremely sensitive information,” with much of it at the Top Secret/SCI level, Leighton told The Daily Beast.
    “Additionally, much of the intelligence and operational information of these commands is within SAP (Special Access Program) channels, which means the handling requirements for this information are much stricter than they are for TS/SCI,” he said on Monday, noting that these materials are “exceptionally sensitive, from both an operational and an intelligence collection perspective.”
    “I noted with concern that he had briefing slides in his possession that detailed NSA’s special collection capabilities,” Leighton said. “I used to work with those. Revealing them could potentially cause grave damage to our capability to execute military operations and collect information vital to our national security.”During the years Democrats spent trying to access Donald Trump’s tax returns, his lawyers filed public record requests with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that appeared aimed at delaying the documents’ release, Bloomberg News reports.The technique was unusual, because federal law already gives the president access to some tax information, and also because Trump’s attorneys stated they would be willing to pay $30,000 in processing fees to get the documents, when the IRS usually charges $25.According to Bloomberg, the records requests were filed under the Freedom of Information Act around the time Democrats took control of the House in 2019 and set out to make public the tax returns Trump had refused to release ever since first running for office in 2016. Late last year and days before they ceded control of the chamber to the new Republican majority, Democrats made the returns public, while noting in an accompanying report that they believed the records requests were part of an effort to delay their release. Here more on what Trump’s lawyers were looking for:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}In response to a FOIA request from Bloomberg News to see Trump’s FOIA requests, the IRS turned over copies of two requests sent in June 2019, drafted for Trump by attorney William F. Nelson, a partner at Morgan Lewis and a former chief counsel at the IRS during the Reagan administration.
    The IRS withheld copies of additional FOIA requests Trump may have filed and declined to share the documents it produced for Trump, if any, on privacy grounds because it involved his tax information.
    Nelson didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
    In the first request, Lewis asked the IRS for a wide range of communications from IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, a Trump nominee, and other top IRS officials “in connection with the disclosure or potential disclosure of any taxpayer materials” related to the Democrats’ request.
    Trump’s lawyer also asked for any records the IRS gave to Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, about a confidential draft memo the IRS prepared in anticipation of Congress’s requests for Trump’s tax returns. Wyden had earlier sent a letter to the IRS asking if the memo contradicted the Treasury’s Department’s position on disclosure requirements.
    Trump also sought all records from the IRS about a May 21, 2019, story in The Washington Post that first disclosed the existence of the draft memo.Congress may be just getting to work, but state legislatures are already well into their sessions nationwide, including Utah, where the Republican-led chamber passed a ban on young people receiving gender-affirming healthcare:Utah’s Republican governor on Saturday signed a bill that bans young people who are transgender from receiving gender-affirming healthcare as other states consider similar legislation.The governor, Spencer Cox, who had not taken a public position on the transgender care measure, signed it a day after the state legislature sent it to his desk. Utah’s measure prohibits transgender surgery for young people and disallows hormone treatments for minors who have not yet been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.Republicans controlling Utah’s legislature made the ban a priority and weighed a first draft of the measure less than two days after the state’s lawmakers opened this year’s legislative session on 17 January.Cox’s signing of the bill comes as lawmakers in at least 18 states consider similar legislation taking aim at young transgender people’s healthcare.In a statement, Cox said that he based his decision to sign the bill on a belief that the safest thing to do was halt “these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences”.Utah bans gender-affirming surgery for young trans peopleRead more“It was the most terrifying experience of my life, and that’s saying something because I’ve seen Trump naked.”Readers, #ICYMI, Stormy Daniels did an interview with the Guardian the other day. Now she’s back in the hard news headlines as the scandal around hush money paid to her on behalf of Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign goes to the next step. Daniels has long claimed she had sexual relations with that man, in the pre-Potus-past, which Trump denies.Daniels, who has said herself that she prefers her stage name to her government name of Stephanie Clifford, is the media gift that keeps on giving.Thank you for the awesome interview! I love pissing off my haters first thing in the morning! https://t.co/aJ3AgHJ4tR— Stormy Daniels (@StormyDaniels) January 27, 2023
    Remember the days of the Daniels-Avenatti double act? Look how that turned out for Michael.Michael Avenatti sentenced to four years for cheating Stormy DanielsRead moreDonald Trump’s legal trouble have grown even more voluminous, after Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg convened a grand jury to look into the hush money payment made to the adult film actor and producer Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. It’s the latest threat to the former president as he pursues another campaign for the White House, joining the ongoing inquiry in Georgia over his attempts to overturn the state’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Meanwhile in Washington, top Republican investigator James Comer outlined his plans to hold the Biden administration to account, while the White House and its allies looked for ways to frustrate him.Here’s what else is going on today:
    Memphis has relieved a sixth police officer of duty following the death of Tyre Nichols and the indictment of five former officers on murder charges.
    Trump spent the weekend campaigning and bashing his rivals, chief among them Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis.
    A Christian nationalist movement involved in Covid-19 and 2020 election conspiracy theories is expanding nationwide.
    A few thoughts on the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into Donald Trump, from former US attorney and current MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance:4/ Neither a prosecution nor a conviction is a sure thing. Michael Cohen’s testimony will be essential but likely not sufficient to prove Trump’s guilt. Prosecutors would like cooperation from Trump’s CFO Alan Weisselberg, who has refused to implicate Trump personally so far.— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) January 30, 2023
    Allen Weisselberg was earlier this month given five months in jail for committing tax fraud, a short sentence that came about after he provided testimony that helped prosecutors secure a conviction of the Trump Organization itself on similar charges.Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg will soon start presenting testimony to a grand jury about Donald Trump’s effort to pay off the adult film actor and producer Stormy Daniels shortly before he won the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reports.The case is yet another legal threat to the former president, who could face charges in Georgia over his campaign to overturn the state’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. An Atlanta-area district attorney is considering a grand jury’s report into the effort by Trump and his allies.According to the times, Bragg recently empaneled the grand jury and will soon begin presenting evidence. The paper said it spotted one witness, David Pecker, and his attorney entering the building where the grand jury sits. Pecker is the former publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, which was involved in arranging the payment to Daniels.However the case is far from a slam dunk, the Times reports, and relies on a legal strategy that may not pan out. Here’s more from their report:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The prosecutors have also begun contacting officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, one of the people said. And in a sign that they want to corroborate these witness accounts, the prosecutors recently subpoenaed phone records and other documents that might shed light on the episode.
    A conviction is not a sure thing, in part because a case could hinge on showing that Mr. Trump and his company falsified records to hide the payout from voters days before the 2016 election, a low-level felony charge that would be based on a largely untested legal theory. The case would also rely on the testimony of Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer who made the payment and who himself pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the hush money in 2018.The justice department has again expressed its unwillingness to share details of ongoing investigations with the House GOP.Here’s the department’s letter, obtained by ABC News, in response to the demand for information from judiciary committee chair Jim Jordan and member Mike Johnson:DOJ responds to Chairman Jordan’s request for info on the Biden special counsel probe: “Disclosures to Congress about active investigations risk jeopardizing those investigations and creating the appearance that Congress may be exerting improper political pressure…” 1/2 pic.twitter.com/w5DAtTUuKG— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) January 30, 2023
    In their letter sent 13 January, Jordan and Johnson requested a range of document from the justice department, including “all documents and communications referring or relating to the appointment of Robert K. Hur as Special Counsel, including but not limited to any memoranda regarding his appointment” – which is exactly the kind of thing the justice department is loath to discuss.The Memphis police department has relieved a sixth officer of duty following the beating death of Tyre Nichols, the Associated Press reports.A police spokeswoman confirmed officer Preston Hemphill was disciplined following Nichols’ 7 January beating, which resulted in his death three days later and the firing and indictment of five officers on murder charges. The city released videos of the attack last week, prompting nationwide protests.It was unclear what role Hemphill played in the assault, but family and community members say they want to know if prosecutors will pursue charges or discipline against other officers who responded when Nichols was beaten following a traffic stop.Christian nationalists who were involved in spreading Covid-19 misinformation and promoting Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election have made a new push to win adherents nationwide, the Guardian’s Peter Stone reports:A far-right project that has helped spread Donald Trump’s false claims about voting fraud in 2020, and misinformation about Covid vaccines, is trying to expand its mission, while facing new criticism from scholars and religious leaders about its incendiary political and Christian nationalist messages.ReAwaken America, a project of the Oklahoma-based entrepreneur Clay Clark, has hosted numerous revival-style political events across the US after receiving tens of thousands of dollars in initial funds in 2021 from millionaire Patrick Byrne, and become a key vehicle for pushing election denialism and falsehoods about Covid vaccines.ReAwaken America also boasts close ties to retired Lt Gen Michael Flynn, who in December 2020 met with Trump, Byrne and others at the White House to plot ways to reverse Trump’s election loss. The meeting happened shortly after Trump pardoned Flynn, who was convicted for lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador before serving briefly as Trump’s national security adviser.Clark’s project also has links to Dr Simone Gold, who served a 60-day jail sentence for illegally entering the Capitol on 6 January and founded America’s Frontline Doctors, an anti-vaccine group that has also touted bogus cures.“Christian nationalism has deep roots in American history and has gained traction at different points,” said Amanda Tyler, the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. “The ReAwaken America Tour taps into the unholy well of Christian nationalism to sow doubt about the US election system and the safety of Covid vaccines while equating allegiance to Trumpism with allegiance to God.”Far-right project that pushed election lies expands mission as Trump ramps up 2024 campaignRead more More

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    Ron DeSantis prepares for 2024 White House bid as Trump hits campaign trail

    Ron DeSantis prepares for 2024 White House bid as Trump hits campaign trail Moves spur Trump into attacking Florida governor during low key events over the weekend in Iowa and New HampshireAmerica’s 2024 presidential race is showing signs of kicking into gear amid reports that Florida’s rightwing Republican governor Ron DeSantis is now laying the groundwork for a White House bid as Donald Trump finally hit the campaign trail.DeSantis’s moves even spurred Trump into attacking him directly as the former US president held relatively low key events over the weekend in the key early voting states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.“Ron would have not been governor if it wasn’t for me… when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal,” Trump said, before seeking to slam DeSantis’s actions over fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.DeSantis began his time as Florida’s governor in the shadow of Trump, whose political messaging he closely emulated. But he has since emerged as Trump’s most powerful political rival in the Republican party, increasingly popular with many party officials who are wary of the scandals and chaos that accompanied Trump’s time in office.The Washington Post has reported that DeSantis’s political team has already identified potential campaign hires in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, whose traditional early spots in the nomination contest give them outsize influence on the race.Citing two Republican sources with knowledge of conversations and staff meeting on DeSantis team, the paper said the Florida governor was in close talks with two current and experienced members of his current team – Phil Cox and Generra Peck – about possible senior roles in any 2024 effort.Bill Bowen, a New Hampshire Republican delegate, told the paper that his state would likely be receptive to DeSantis. “I’m convinced there’s a good network of establishment party people in New Hampshire that will quickly have a very effective DeSantis campaign,” Bowen said.DeSantis has carved out turf in the Republican party that invites conflict with Trump. He has tacked to the extremist right, especially on social issues. His state has restricted LGBTQ+ rights and abortion, sought to demonize further education in the state as a bastion of liberal power and he has enflamed tensions over immigration with a series of political stunts.In response to DeSantis’s likely presidential bid, Trump has issued threats against the governor. Last November, Trump appeared to warn DeSantis by hinting at political blackmail against DeSantis’s potential 2024 run.“I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I really believe he could hurt himself badly… I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering – I know more about him than anybody – other than, perhaps, his wife,” Trump told Fox News.It was once widely expected that Trump – the only so far declared major candidate for the Republican nomination – would be largely unopposed. But a series of scandals, including meeting with white nationalists, and the flop of high-profile Trump-backed candidates in November’s midterm elections, has seen his grip on the party loosen considerably.Now a swath of other Republicans seem poised to enter the race.Trump even appeared to give his blessing to his former US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, after she informed him that she is considering a 2024 presidential bid.“I talked to her for a little while, I said, ‘Look, you know, go by your heart if you want to run’… She’s publicly said that ‘I would never run against my president, he was a great president,’” Trump told reporters on Saturday, CNN reports.He added that he told Haley that she “should do it”.In a Fox News interview earlier this month, when asked about her previous comments about not running for president if Trump ran, Haley responded that the “survival of America matters”.“It’s bigger than one person. And when you’re looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change. I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in DC… I think we need a young generation to come in, step up, and really start fixing things,” she said.Other former Trump cabinet members have also hinted at their presidential bids. Earlier this week, CBS asked former national security adviser John Bolton if he is considering a 2024 run. Bolton said that characterization is “exactly right”, the outlet reports.Bolton also criticized Trump’s 2024 presidential bid, calling it “poison” to the Republican party.“I think Republicans, especially after the November 8 elections last year, see that he’s poison to the ticket. He cannot be elected president. If he were the Republican nominee, he would doom our chances to get a majority in the Senate and the House. I don’t think he’s going to be the Republican nominee,” he said.On Tuesday, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that he will decide whether he will run for president. Speaking to CBS, Pompeo said: “Susan and I are thinking, praying, trying to figure out if this is the next place to go serve,” referring to his wife.“We haven’t gotten to that conclusion. We’ll figure this out in the next handful of months,” he added.When asked whether Trump’s 2024 presidential bid is having an impact on his own decision-making, Pompeo said: “None.”There are also likely to be a host of other Republicans eventually in the race with people like Georgia governor Brian Kemp and Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin among names often touted as likely runners.TopicsUS elections 2024Ron DeSantisUS politicsDonald TrumpRepublicansFloridanewsReuse this content More

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    Never Give an Inch review: Mike Pompeo as ‘heat-seeking missile for Trump’s ass’

    ReviewNever Give an Inch review: Mike Pompeo as ‘heat-seeking missile for Trump’s ass’ The former secretary of state wants to be president. His vicious memoir will sell, but he may not find buyers at the pollsMike Pompeo is prescient, at least. Back in 2016, as a congressman, he warned Kansas Republicans of the danger posed by Donald Trump. Pompeo lamented that the US had already endured more than seven years of “an authoritarian president who ignored our constitution” – meaning Barack Obama – and cautioned that a Trump presidency would be no different.Schiff calls Mike Pompeo ‘failed Trump lackey’ after classified records claimRead more“It’s time to turn down the lights on the circus,” he said.Pompeo is an ex-army captain who graduated first in his class at West Point. But in the face of Trump’s triumphs, he turned tail and sucked-up. Pompeo was CIA director then secretary of state. On the job, his sycophancy grew legendary.“He’s like a heat-seeking missile for Trump’s ass,” a former ambassador recalled to Susan Glasser of the New Yorker.Never Give an Inch is Pompeo’s opening salvo in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. On cue, he puckers up to Trump, the only declared candidate so far, and thanks Mike Pence, a likely contestant, for bringing him into the fold. But where others are concerned, Never Give an Inch doubles as a burn book.Pompeo strafes two other possible contenders: Nikki Haley, Trump’s first United Nations ambassador, and John Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser.Trump, Pompeo says, branded Bolton a “scumbag loser”. Pompeo thinks Bolton should “be in jail, for spilling classified information”. The Room Where it Happened, Bolton’s tell-all book, evidently ruffled feathers. As for Pompeo’s own relationship with classified documents? “I don’t believe I have anything classified.” It’s not exactly a blanket denial.Turning to Haley, Pompeo dings her time as UN ambassador – “a job that is far less important than people think” – and her performance in that post.“She has described her role as going toe-to-toe with tyrants,” he observes. “If so, then why would she quit such an important job at such an important time?”Trump is largely spared criticism but his family isn’t. Ivanka Trump makes a dubious cameo. Jared Kushner is depicted as someone less than serious.Pompeo edited the Harvard Law Review. He can write. His memoir is tart and tight. Filled with barbs, bile and little regret, it is an unexpectedly interesting read. It is not the typical pre-presidential campaign autobiography. This one comes with teeth. Pompeo is always self-serving but never bland.He heaps praise on Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and has kind words for Volodymyr Zelenskiy.“I’m troubled by the evil that has befallen his country,” Pompeo writes of Ukraine, a year into the Russian invasion. He also says he is “encouraged” that Zelenskiy, a “onetime Jerry Seinfeld” has “turned into a kind of General Patton”.But while Pompeo deploys the word “authoritarian” more than a dozen times, he never does so in reference to Trump. Trump, remember, has lauded Vladimir Putin as “smart”; praised the Russian president’s war strategy as “wonderful” and “genius”; derided Nato as “dumb”; and unloaded on Joe Biden as “weak”.Pompeo, the brown-noser-in-chief, has zero to say about this.As for Netanyahu, Pompeo is silent on Trump’s reported “fuck him” for the Israeli leader. No Trump appointee has ever dared grapple with that breach of decorum.Pompeo is happy, of course, to blame Obama for alienating Viktor Orban from the US and western Europe, and to sympathize with the Hungarian leader’s efforts to “root his time in office in his nation’s history and Christian faith”. Pompeo’s loyalties are clear. In Hungary this week, Yair Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister’s son, slammed George Soros, the “global elite” and “radical leftist” control of the media.Pompeo is a fan of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s defeated former leader, who he says “largely modeled his candidacy for president on President Trump”. Words written, presumably, before the mini January 6 in Brasília. Birds of a feather, etc.Pompeo also takes Pope Francis and the Catholic church to task over their relationship with China, and derides both the reformist Pope John XXIII and the liberation theology movement of the 1970s. In 2014, five decades after his death, John XXIII was canonized. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, blurbed Pompeo’s book.As expected, Pompeo basically ignores the insurrection Trump stoked and the attack on Congress it produced. He refers to “mayhem at the Capitol” on 6 January 2021 and targets the “left” for looking to exploit the day’s events, but says nothing of Trump’s concerted effort to subvert democracy and overturn an election.Pompeo knows the GOP base. Three in five Republicans believe voter fraud birthed Biden’s victory. The same number say Trump did nothing wrong on January 6. Not surprisingly, Pompeo omits mention of his own tweets that day or his appearance before the House January 6 committee.“The storming of the US Capitol today is unacceptable,” Pompeo tweeted. “Lawlessness and rioting here or around the world is always unacceptable. Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting.”Asked about the tweets by committee staff, he responded: “I stand by it.”He also told Liz Cheney, on the record: “I thought the courts and the certification that took place were appropriate … the vice-president [Pence] made the right decision on the evening of 6 January” to certify Biden’s win.None of this appears on the page. Instead, Pompeo gleefully recalls how Trump approved of his loyalty.How well is all this working? Pompeo may well sell books but fail to move the needle. Polls show him at 1% in the notional presidential primary, tied with the likes of Paul Ryan, the former House speaker, and Ted Cruz, the Senate’s own squeegee pest. Pompeo trails Haley and Pence.The appetite for a Pompeo presidency seems … limited. Like Ron DeSantis, he is grim and humorless. Unlike the governor of Florida, Pompeo has no war chest.
    Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love is published in the US by HarperCollins
    TopicsBooksPolitics booksMike PompeoTrump administrationDonald TrumpRepublicansUS elections 2024reviewsReuse this content More

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    Marjorie Taylor Greene keeps rising in Republican ranks despite ‘loony lies’

    Marjorie Taylor Greene keeps rising in Republican ranks despite ‘loony lies’ The extremist who has supported QAnon is firmly on her way to becoming a senior figure in the party as a key ally of the House speaker, Kevin McCarthyWhen Marjorie Taylor Greene was elected to America’s House of Representatives in 2020, she became one of the most visible of a wave of extremists to enter the Republican party whose often bizarre utterings stretched the bounds of what had previously been the norm of US politics.The Georgian congresswoman, who has suggested Jewish space lasers are responsible for wildfires, speculated whether 9/11 was a hoax and supported the QAnon conspiracy theory, was part of a new wave of Trumpian Republicans and was mocked, ridiculed and reviled in equal measure – including by some in her own party.‘We don’t know his real name’: George Santos’s unravelling web of liesRead moreBut in 2023, Greene is now firmly on her way to becoming one of the senior figures in the Republican party. She has become a favorite, and key ally, of Kevin McCarthy, the new House speaker, and preparing to take up assignments on some of Congress’s most prominent committees.It’s been a remarkable rise that few could have seen coming during a checkered first half of 2021, when Greene was making her name known through her penchant for unhinged conspiracy theories and strange remarks, but her ascension to the upper echelons of the GOP was confirmed this week by McCarthy, in an interview with the New York Times.“If you’re going to be in a fight, you want Marjorie in your foxhole,” McCarthy said.“When she picks a fight, she’s going to fight until the fight’s over. She reminds me of my friends from high school, that we’re going to stick together all the way through.”This apparent fondness for a tussle has seen Greene rewarded with positions on the homeland security committee, despite her previously musing that no plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, and on the oversight committee, where she is expected to be part of a subcommittee investigating the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.If the latter seems problematic, given Greene’s loudly stated suspicions and conspiracy theories about the pandemic – in January she was permanently banned from Twitter for repeatedly violating rules about Covid-19 misinformation – then that’s only because lots of things Greene has said and done are problematic.In 2021 Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, condemned Greene’s “loony lies and conspiracy theories” in relation to Greene having claimed support for executing Democratic politicians and harassing the survivor of a mass school shooting.Later that year McCarthy himself, who had earlier attempted to avoid conflict, felt compelled to step in after Greene compared Covid masking rules to the treatment of Jewish people in Nazi Germany.“Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling,” McCarthy said.“The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history. The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling,” he said.The multiple rebukes, and the egregiousness of Greene’s beliefs – whether disavowed or not – make her rise to prominence, as she takes up her seat on some of Congress’s most powerful committees, all the more remarkable.Greene’s rapid recent rise began when she backed McCarthy for the House leadership, two months ahead of the ultimately farcical vote that saw him elected after 15 ballots. Greene had got in early, declaring her support in November on Steve Bannon’s podcast.For McCarthy, who has been an unpopular figure among far-right voters and politicians – it was a selection of the latter that meant the manner of his ascension to speaker was embarrassing at best, it was a boost he needed.McCarthy and Greene had spent months forging a working relationship they believed could be beneficial for both, with Greene placating the zaniest wing of both Republicans in the House and voters at home, and McCarthy providing relevance to someone who had been stripped of her committee assignments in 2021, leaving her, essentially, having nothing to do in Washington.The New York Times reported that McCarthy, as he prepared to take up the speakership, had been mindful of the problems his centrist predecessors, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, faced in dealing with their furthest-right colleagues.Both Ryan and Boehner – who would later describe some of his rightwing colleagues as “assholes” – endured battles with the Freedom Caucus, a conservative and often obstructionist group of GOP congressmen, when trying to pass legislation.Greene remains one of the most popular figures among Trump supporters and believers, evidenced by her 758,000 followers on Trump’s Truth Social website – McCarthy has 113,000, Steve Scalise, the House majority leader, has 109,000 – and enjoys a close relationship with the former president, even calling Trump from the House floor during the debacle of January’s leadership vote.Greene is also a successful fundraiser, bringing in $12.5m in the 2021-22 election cycle, the fifth most of any Republican representative, her popularity among the base and alignment with Trump making her the model of the new Republican politician.On Greene’s part, she has sought to sanitize, somewhat, the ill-informed, conspiracy-minded viewpoints that have characterized her political career. In early 2022 Greene began a deliberate, “methodical” reinvention, a confidante told the Washington Post.From her position on the sidelines, with a congressional office but no meaningful role in the House, she began to think of the future. Greene, like most observers, believed McCarthy would be the next House speaker, and saw a role for herself as a bridge between the far right and the less kooky Republicans, the Post reported.As she tried to make herself palatable to a wider audience, Greene set about trying not to speak at any more white nationalist rallies, or discuss the “gazpacho police” who are apparently patrolling the US Capitol. (Her remark was widely understood to mean Gestapo.) She is also yet to repeat her 2018 claim that the Clinton family orchestrated the plane crash that killed John F Kennedy Jr more than two decades ago.In addition to this new reserve, Greene hired a new aide with a track record in conventional conservative politics, and eventually began meeting with McCarthy once a week, as the pair forged a close bond, each aware of the potential benefits.McCarthy would go on to win the speakership. But his concessions to the right, personified by his promotion of Greene, have come at a cost. Already McCarthy has pursued Greene-backed, far-right strategies on vaccines and treatment of January 6 perpetrators, something that has left Greene delighted.“People need to understand that it isn’t just me that deserves credit,” Greene told the New York Times.“It is the will and the voice of our base that was heard, and Kevin listened to them. I was just a vehicle much of the time.”If Greene was displaying an amount of faux humility, her conviction that she is channeling the will of the people and willingness to make it heard are a warning as to the level of influence she now wields.In her new roles Greene said she will be investigating: “How many of our enemies got pallets of cash!?” from Covid-19 unemployment benefits, a question she posed without any context or explanation, and has pledged to impeach the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, for his perceived failures in handling immigration.From Greene’s political position in February 2021, when she was removed from her committee assignments by Democrats – and some Republicans – in a rebuke over incendiary and racist statements, which included her posting a mocked-up image of her holding a gun next to three Democratic lawmakers, all women of color, on Facebook, it has been a remarkable turnaround.Less than two years on, Greene has taken up positions on two of the most prominent committees in the House. She has a metaphorical seat at the House speaker’s right hand, and will enjoy the visibility that all this brings.It’s a testament to how quickly things can change in politics, but also a very visible reminder of what the Republican party increasingly stands for.Greene may have sought to sanitize her image, but it is clear that her brand of populism, outrage and misinformation is not the embarrassment it once was to the party leadership: this is the modern version of the Republican party.TopicsRepublicansKevin McCarthyHouse of RepresentativesUS politicsThe far rightfeaturesReuse this content More

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    Biden speaks with Tyre Nichols’s parents ahead of video release – latest updates

    Joe Biden spoke with the parents of Tyre Nichols, according to the Washington Post.The paper released a brief clip of the conversation, where the president mentions how Nichols’ father is “devastated” by the death of his son, and invokes his own experience of losing a child:🚨President Biden just called Tyre Nichols’ parents. He talked to them for more than 10 minutes.”He actually tattooed my name on his arm,” his mom told Biden.”That’s what you call something special,” Biden replied. We were in the room for the call. Here’s a snippet. pic.twitter.com/0gpfU1wmv6— Emily Davies (@ELaserDavies) January 27, 2023
    Earlier, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said Biden had been briefed on the video of Nichols’ beating that will be released later today, but has not seen it:.@PressSec on Tyre Nichols video expected to be released tonight says @POTUS has “been briefed, but he has not seen the video, nor has anyone at the White House seen the video.”— Allie Raffa (@AllieRaffa) January 27, 2023
    Acclaimed author and anti-racism activist Ibram X Kendi has condemned the beating and death of Tyre Nichols while criticizing police brutality on Friday.In a statement on Twitter, Kendi wrote:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}“Tyre Nichols should be with us skateboarding and looking up and admiring the sunset. But instead the sadistic scourge of police violence claimed its latest innocent victim.
    “The history of the police is the racist history of violence. Cops of all races have been empowered and socialized to brutalize and terrorize and exploit and sexually assault and harass and lynch people, particularly Black people with near total impunity.
    “There’s no reforming an inherently violent institution with a pervasively violent history. How many more Black people have to be brutally killed before we realize the obvious? How many more? How many more?”Several groups are organizing rallies across the country tonight as Memphis police prepares to release footage of Tyre Nichols this evening. According to the Instagram accounts of various chapters of the political party PSL, or Party for Socialism and Liberation, rallies titled “Justice for Tyre Nichols” are scheduled in major cities including New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Asheville and Chicago. Meanwhile, the Youth Communist League is scheduled to host a rally in Philadelphia tonight. Other rallies are set to be held in Dallas and Washington DC. The White House has released more details of Joe Biden’s call with the family of Tyre Nichols.“President Biden spoke with Mrs RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Tyre Nichols’ mother and stepfather, this afternoon to directly express his and Dr Biden’s condolences for Tyre Nichols’ death. During the conversation, the president commended the family’s courage and strength,” a readout of the call said.The Guardian’s Maya Yang is now taking over this blog to cover the latest developments in this story.Former vice-president Mike Pence said he takes “full responsibility” for the secret materials found at his residence, CNN reports:Former Vice President Mike Pence, speaking to a crowd in Miami, says he was not aware classified documents were at his house. But he adds: “Those classified documents should not have been in my personal residence. Mistakes were made. And I take full responsibility.”— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 27, 2023
    Pence’s disclosure this week that documents dating from his time in the White House under Donald Trump were discovered in his Indiana home came after both Joe Biden and Trump were found to have similar materials in their possession. Attorney general Merrick Garland has appointed two special counsels to handle the investigations of the current and ex-presidents’ documents, but hasn’t done the same for Pence.A network of racial justice activist groups is asking the public not to share footage of Tyre Nichols’ fatal beating at the hands of police, which is scheduled for release at 6 pm eastern time.Here is the message from Movement for Black Lives:Today a video of Tyre Nichols’ murder will be released. Do not share it. Do not traumatize our people further by putting it in front of us. We feel the overwhelming rage and grief without subjecting ourselves to a video of his life being taken.To protect yourself online: ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/EytQUlWvQ0— Movement 4 Black Lives (@Mvmnt4BlkLives) January 27, 2023
    Separately, the Republican National Committee re-elected Ronna McDaniel as its chair, overcoming concerns about her leadership after the party underperformed in last November’s midterm elections.McDaniel’s main challenger was Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer for Donald Trump who handled his challenge to a subpoena from the January 6 committee. Conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell and former congressman Lee Zeldin were also on the ballot, which McDaniel won easily:RNC Chair Election First Ballot Results:167 votes cast. 84 needed to win. Ronna McDaniel – 111Harmeet Dhillon – 51 Mike Lindell – 4Lee Zeldin – 1Ronna McDaniel reelected RNC Chair.Watch LIVE on C-SPAN2 https://t.co/uYWdF9rUK2— CSPAN (@cspan) January 27, 2023
    Joe Biden spoke with the parents of Tyre Nichols, according to the Washington Post.The paper released a brief clip of the conversation, where the president mentions how Nichols’ father is “devastated” by the death of his son, and invokes his own experience of losing a child:🚨President Biden just called Tyre Nichols’ parents. He talked to them for more than 10 minutes.”He actually tattooed my name on his arm,” his mom told Biden.”That’s what you call something special,” Biden replied. We were in the room for the call. Here’s a snippet. pic.twitter.com/0gpfU1wmv6— Emily Davies (@ELaserDavies) January 27, 2023
    Earlier, the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said Biden had been briefed on the video of Nichols’ beating that will be released later today, but has not seen it:.@PressSec on Tyre Nichols video expected to be released tonight says @POTUS has “been briefed, but he has not seen the video, nor has anyone at the White House seen the video.”— Allie Raffa (@AllieRaffa) January 27, 2023
    From the Capitol, Punchbowl News reports Nancy Pelosi told journalists she will not be watching the video of the attack on her husband:Nancy Pelosi says “she has absolutely no intention” of watching the attack on Paul Pelosi pic.twitter.com/vG5HMkb3XQ— Max Cohen (@maxpcohen) January 27, 2023
    The top Democrat in the House, Hakeem Jeffries, reacted to the release of video showing the attack on Paul Pelosi.Jeffries took over from Nancy Pelosi as the party’s leader in Congress’s lower chamber at the start of this year. Here’s what he had to say:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The violent attack on Paul Pelosi was unconscionable and his assailant must be brought to justice. We live in dangerous times of unprecedented extremism and political violence which have no place in our democracy or in the everyday lives of elected officials and their loved ones. The prayers of the Caucus, the Congress and the Country are with Paul, Speaker Emerita Pelosi and their wonderful family. May God watch over Paul in his continued recovery.Hello US live blog readers, we are continuing to follow developments in the news relating to the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis after a fatal encounter with the police – and political reaction to that and related developments in Washington, DC, and elsewhere. Please stick around as we take you into the afternoon and evening, ahead of the release later tonight of police video of what’s described as a brutal police beating of Nichols.Here’s where things stand:
    Tyre Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said at a press conference in Memphis that ended a little bit ago that she has not been able to bring herself to watch the video of her son’s beating by five police officers earlier this month, following which he died in hospital, but she’s been told it’s “very horrific” and she urged carers not to let children watch it when police release footage tonight.
    FBI director Christopher Wray said he was “appalled” by video of Nichols’s beating at the hands of Memphis police, and that the bureau has opened a civil rights investigation into the fatal incident.
    Footage was released of the brutal hammer attack last year on Paul Pelosi, the husband of California congresswoman and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last October. A right-wing, allegedly politically-motivated intruder broke into their home in San Francisco, with the stated intent of kidnapping Nancy, who was in Washington, DC. Instead he found Paul and attacked him.
    Joe Biden sent condolences to the family of Tyre Nichols in a statement released yesterday, while issuing a vague call for “meaningful reform” of policing, an issue on which he has had mixed success during the first two years of his presidency. The US president appealed for calm at protests that are expected in several cities tonight after the video of Nichols’s beating is released.
    Police body-camera video was released on Friday afternoon of the brutal hammer attack last October on Paul Pelosi, the husband of Democratic congresswomen and then House speaker Nancy Pelosi.The shocking footage shows officers arriving at the front door of the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and knocking loudly on the door.Paul Pelosi opens the door and can be seen with an intruder as the two wrestle over a hammer. Police can be heard asking “What’s going on, man?”, then they tell the suspect to drop the hammer. But he says “Nope”, then manages to grab it and swing it and, just off camera, hits Pelosi in the head.Police charge in to find Pelosi collapsed on the floor, unconscious and struggling to breathe, as they grapple with the suspect, who has fallen on the floor partially on top of Pelosi, then arrest him.Pelosi, 82, suffered a skull fracture and injuries to his hand and arm in the attack, requiring him to undergo surgery. He remained hospitalized for nearly a week as he recovered.The video was released Friday, after a state judge dismissed efforts by the San Francisco district attorney’s office to keep the footage sealed from the public. The suspect in the attack, David Wayne DePape of Canada, faces state and federal criminal charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, among others. DePape has pleaded not guilty to the charges.DePape’s comments to authorities in the wake of the attack indicated that his actions were politically motivated. In court testimony last month, a San Francisco police investigator recounted how DePape claimed there was “evil in Washington” and described his initial plans to kidnap the House speaker.She was in Washington, DC, at the time and swiftly flew back to California to be with her husband.Democrats performed better than expected last November’s midterm elections, but Republicans narrowly won control of the House of Representatives and, after a fraught election earlier this month at the start of the 118th Congress, California congressman Kevin McCarthy took over the speakership.Pelosi had announced after the midterms that she would step down from her leadership role while continuing to represent her district in Washington, and she effectively handed the baton to New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, who became House minority leader in the new congress.Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis explained that the decision to release the video of Tyre Nichols on Friday evening is to reduce the impact it may have on the surrounding communities and schools. “Friday evening will be a good time to try to get people home, try to have our children safe and have a means of being able to manage any type of response,” Davis told NBC. She added that police will be monitoring parts of Memphis and that they have increased their staffing. “We don’t want to overreact. But the reality is, is that there are individuals that may want to exercise their First Amendment right and come out and protest,” she told the outlet. “My son is looking down smiling because, you know, it’s funny, he always said he was going to be famous one day. I didn’t know this was what he meant,” RowVaughn Wells, Tyre Nichols’s mother said.“I‘ve never seen the video. But what I’ve heard is very horrific, very horrific. And any of you who have children, please don’t let them see it,” she added.“To the five police officers that murdered my son, you also disgraced your own families when you did this but … I’m going to pray for you and your families, because at the end of the day, this shouldn’t have happened. This just shouldn’t have happened. We want justice for my son, justice for my son,” she added.“We’re very satisfied with the charges,” said Tyre Nichols’s stepfather, Rodney Wells, referring to the second-degree murder charges against the five officers.“More importantly, we want peace. We do not want any type of uproar, we do not want any type of disturbance. We want peaceful protests. That’s what the family wants, that’s what the community wants,” Wells said ahead of the planned protests across the country later today as the footage of Tyre Nichols gets released.“We want to know, where are the unions? Where does the fraternal order of police unions stand on this? We want to hear…that you condemn the savagery…heinousness…brutality of this attack?” said Antonio Romanucci, one of the attorneys representing the family of Tyre Nichols. Romanucci also called upon Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis to disband the specialized police unit known as the ‘Scorpion’ unit which the five police officers were a part of. “The intent of the Scorpion unit has now been corrupted. It cannot be brought back to center with any sense of morality and dignity, and most importantly, trust in this community. How will the community ever, ever, trust a Scorpion unit?” he said. “Officers have a duty to intervene in crimes being committed, even if it’s intervening with their own officers,” Crump said, calling for legislation to be passed which would require police officers to intervene when they see their colleagues exercising excessive force.“We have never seen swift justice like this,” said Crump, referring to the five officers who have since been charged with murder. “We want to proclaim that this is the blueprint going forward for any time any officers, whether they be Black or white, will be held accountable. No longer can you tell us we got to wait six months to a year,” he added. “It is the culture that allows them to think that they can do this to Tyre,” Crump said, saying that it does not matter if the officers were Black, Hispanic or any other ethnicity. “Call out the culture, call out the culture,” he said, as family members of Nichols chanted back. “It is the institutionalized police culture that is on trial today,” he added. More

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    Florida Republican sends welcome grenades to fellow Congress members

    Florida Republican sends welcome grenades to fellow Congress membersInert projectiles came with a note that among other things said ‘let’s come together and get to work on behalf of our constituents’ A newly elected Florida Republican sent grenades to fellow members of Congress, prompting one aghast Democrat to say “not even George Santos could make this stuff up”.US voting rights champion Jasmine Crockett: ‘I need everyone to feel a sense of urgency’Read moreSantos is the scandal-plagued New York congressman whose largely made-up résumé and questionable finances have threatened to blow a hole in House Republicans’ narrow majority.The grenades were sent by another freshman, Cory Mills, a member of the armed services and foreign affairs committees.Stamped with a Republican elephant, the inert projectiles came with a letter in which Mills said: “It is my pleasure to give you a 40mm grenade, made for a Mk19 grenade launcher. They are manufactured in the Sunshine State and first developed in the Vietnam war.“Let’s come together and get to work on behalf of our constituents.”As pictures of the grenades spread online, a spokesman for Mills told the Washington Post: “Per the letter, the grenades are inert, and were cleared through all security metrics. I just wish they tagged our official account.”The comparison to Santos was made by congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, a member of the House intelligence committee.Mills, 42 and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, won the contest to succeed the Democrat Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s seventh district last year.Murphy was a member of the House January 6 committee. Mills is endorsed by the man who incited that deadly insurrection, Donald Trump, and supports Trump’s lie that Joe Biden won the 2020 election thanks to electoral fraud.A defense and security contractor before entering Congress, he has boasted about selling teargas used against protesters for racial justice.Weapons are banned in Congress and subject to strict restrictions in Washington DC. There is, however, an exception for members, under federal law.A spokesman for Mills told Florida media “Capitol police even escorted staff into the building” as they carried the grenades.After January 6, amid fears of congressional violence unmatched since the years before the civil war, metal detectors were installed outside the House chamber.Republicans chafed at the security measure. Andy Harris of Maryland was found to be carrying a gun near the House chamber.In 2020 a Republican from Colorado, Ken Buck, made waves when he said advocates of an assault weapons ban would have to forcibly remove an AR-15-style rifle he kept in his Washington office.Buck’s hardline posturing was undercut, however, when reporters dug up a 2015 interview in which he described the bureaucratic hoops he jumped through to have the gun in his office.“I went to the ethics committee,” he told the Post, “I got permission to accept the gift. I went to Capitol Hill police; I got permission to bring it into my office.“They went to the DC police; they got permission for me to transport it into the District [of Columbia]. I went to [the Transportation Security Administration], and followed all of the regulations in getting it on to the plane and getting it here.”The brightly painted rifle was unloaded and carried a trigger lock, even though it lacked a bolt carrier assembly and thus could not be fired.“Putting a trigger lock on an inoperable gun is like putting a chastity belt on a eunuch,” Buck said. “The only dangerous thing about that gun is if someone took it off the wall and hit somebody else over the head with it.”TopicsHouse of RepresentativesRepublicansFloridaDemocratsUS politicsnewsReuse this content More

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    Revealed: Trump secretly donated $1m to discredited Arizona election ‘audit’

    Revealed: Trump secretly donated $1m to discredited Arizona election ‘audit’ Funding for controversial review of state’s vote count in 2020 election can be traced to former president’s PacOne of the enduring mysteries surrounding the chaotic attempts to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential battle has been solved: who made a secret $1m donation to the controversial election “audit” in Arizona?The identity of one of the largest benefactors behind the discredited review of Arizona’s vote count has been shrouded in secrecy. Now the Guardian can reveal that the person who partially bankrolled the failed attempt to prove that the election was stolen from Trump was … Trump.Documented logoAn analysis by the watchdog group Documented has traced funding for the Arizona audit back to Trump’s Save America Pac. The group tracked the cash as it passed from Trump’s fund through an allied conservative group, and from there to a shell company which in turn handed the money to contractors and individuals involved in the Arizona audit.Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based company that led the Arizona audit, disclosed in 2021 that $5.7m of its budget came from several far-right groups invested in the “stop the steal” campaign to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory. It was later divulged that a further $1m had supported the audit from an account controlled by Cleta Mitchell, a Republican election lawyer who advised Trump as he plotted to subvert the 2020 election.But who gave the $1m to Mitchell? In September 2021, as Cyber Ninjas was preparing to deliver its findings, the New York Times reported that unnamed “officials” had denied that Trump had played any part in securing the funds.Republican leaders of the Arizona senate who asked Cyber Ninjas to carry out the audit also publicly denied that Trump was involved, saying “this absolutely has nothing to do with Trump”.Documented’s analysis pierces through that denial. Basing its research on corporate, tax and campaign finance filings, as well as emails and text messages obtained by the non-partisan accountability group American Oversight through public records requests, the watchdog has followed the money on its circuitous journey from the former US president’s Pac to the Arizona review.‘Highly hypocritical’Cyber Ninjas’ widely lambasted inquiry was focused on Maricopa county, Arizona’s most populated area. Biden won the county by 45,109 votes.The purported investigation was suffused with wild conspiracy theories, including the claim that bamboo fibers found in ballot sheets proved they had been printed in Asia. The review was decried even by local Republicans as a “grift disguised as an audit”.Arizona: elections director in county that refused to certify results quitsRead moreBill Gates, the Republican vice-chair of the Maricopa county board of supervisors at the time of the Cyber Ninjas audit, said he was “disappointed, but not surprised” by the Guardian’s revelation that Trump had helped to pay for it. “I have no problem with audits,” Gates said.“What I have a problem with is an audit that is undertaken with a goal in mind, and that is literally being funded by one of the candidates. This is absolutely what we do not want to happen.”Gates pointed out that under Arizona law, electoral candidates are not allowed to fund vote recounts which have to be financed with taxpayer dollars. Though the Cyber Ninjas review was technically not a recount, it served a similar purpose.“At the very least, it is highly hypocritical for the Arizona state senate to have allowed the audit to be funded in this fashion,” Gates said.Diagram of the flow of money and communication that led to Donald Trump’s super Pac paying $1m to the Arizona 2020 election auditThe money trail exposed by Documented begins with Trump’s loosely regulated leadership Pac, Save America, which raised millions in the wake of Trump’s 2020 defeat on the back of the false election fraud narrative. In its final report released in December, the bipartisan January 6 committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol highlighted how Save America Pac gave $1m to the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI).The committee did not say what the money was for, or where it ended up.Top CPI officials include Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, along with other senior Trump insiders after they left the White House. The organization is developing a political infrastructure to sustain the former president’s Make America Great Again (Maga) movement.Documented’s research shows that discussions around a possible payment from Trump to the Arizona audit began in June 2021. Records obtained by American Oversight reveal that on 27 June, the retired army colonel and arch election denier Phil Waldron texted the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, saying: “Kurt is going to talk to 45 today about $$.”The “45” in the text is a reference to Trump – the 45th president of the US – and “Kurt” may have been a reference to the election-denying lawyer Kurt Olsen. Waldron added: “Mike L talking to Corey L” – alluding to Mike Lindell, chief executive of MyPillow who is a devotee of Trump’s stolen election lie, and the former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.On 16 July 2021, Waldron asked Logan if he had received “a 1mil [payment] from Corey Lewendowsk [sic]”. He went on: “Supposedly Kurt talked to trump and they got 1 mil for you,” but that “I couldn’t verify who sent and who received.”Logan responded that he had not yet received payment from Trump.Ten days later, on 26 July 2021, Trump’s Save America Pac made its $1m transfer to CPI, according to Federal Election Commission records. Two days after that, on 28 July, a new group called the American Voting Rights Foundation (AVRF) was registered as a corporation in Delaware.Tax filings obtained recently show that CPI in turn gave $1m to AVRF in 2021 – the only known donation that the group has ever received. The date of CPI’s donation to AVRF is not a matter of public record, but other details – including CPI’s relationship with AVRF, the timing and amounts of the known transfers, and the discussion among Trump allies about the former president’s plans to give $1m to the audit 10 days before Trump gave $1m to CPI – clearly indicate that it was the money that came from Trump’s Pac.Arizona’s new attorney general to use election fraud unit to boost voting rightsRead moreRecords obtained by American Oversight showed that AVRF was connected to Mitchell, the former Trump lawyer who is now a senior fellow at CPI. She is best known for having taken part in the infamous phone call in January 2021 that is now being weighed by an Atlanta prosecutor, in which Trump tried to pressure Georgia’s top election official to “find 11,780 votes” needed for him to win.Documented has discovered that the ties between CPI and AVRF went even deeper. CPI entities effectively controlled AVRF.Tax records show that AVRF’s “direct controlling entity” is America First Legal, the CPI-launched project led by Trump’s former speechwriter Stephen Miller. Tax records also show that another CPI project, the Center for Renewing America, lists AVRF as one of its “related organizations”.The final stage in the money’s journey was from AVRF to Cyber Ninjas and the audit itself. The same day that AVRF was registered in Delaware – 28 July 2021 – Mitchell sent an email connecting the Cyber Ninjas CEO Logan, together with the spokesman of the audit Randy Pullen, to AVRF’s treasurer, Tom Datwyler.The email, contained in the documents obtained by American Oversight, spelled out that money was about to be transferred from AVRF to Arizona contractors approved by Cyber Ninjas.The last step was recorded in an email sent the following day, 29 July, in which Mitchell itemized $1m split into three separate payments going to two entities supporting the audit and to individuals “working at the audit site”. CPI’s president, Ed Corrigan, is cc’ed on the email.The money had reached its destination, with no Trump fingerprints anywhere in sight.The Guardian has invited both Save America Pac and CPI to comment but they did not immediately respond.‘Counter to transparency’A final mystery remains: why would Trump and his inner circle go to such lengths to keep the former president’s bankrolling of the audit secret? One theory is that Trump might have been worried that the audit would look less credible should he be seen to be funding it.Another possible scenario is that he feared that the review might prove to be such a shambles that he wanted to keep his distance.On Thursday, the Arizona Republic reported further fresh evidence that despite the denials Trump was intimately involved in the audit. New records obtained by the newspaper show that Trump was being directly informed about the progress of the audit as it was being conducted.‘I see things now that I’ve never seen before’: the Maricopa county attorney fighting false election claimsRead moreNewly released messages from the Cyber Ninjas chief Logan also show that he discussed the need for any Trump donation to be made in secret. “I told them there was no way I could take funds directly,” he said in a private digital chat.In the end, the Cyber Ninjas audit not only lacked credibility, it also spectacularly failed to meet its goal. In September 2021, the firm released the results of its investigation and found that Biden had indeed won Maricopa county by 360 more votes than the official count.No conclusive evidence of fraud was uncovered, and the claims raised by the audit were thoroughly debunked in a 93-page report. Cyber Ninjas went out of business in January 2022.Gates, the Maricopa county supervisor, said that a large portion of the $1m that ended up with the Arizona audit would have come from small donations to Trump’s Pac.“It’s sad that so many small donors had their money used for this effort, and Trump’s attempt to hide that was certainly counter to transparency.”This article was produced in partnership with Documented, an investigative watchdog and journalism project. Brendan Fischer is a campaign finance specialist with DocumentedTopicsDonald TrumpThe fight for democracyArizonaUS politicsUS political financingRepublicansnewsReuse this content More