The former Donald Trump White House aide who became a crucial witness to the January 6 attack says she believes the Republican party is facing a “make-or-break moment” over whether to nominate him in the 2024 presidential race.“We’re talking about a man who at the very essence of his being almost destroyed democracy in one day, and he wants to do it again,” Cassidy Hutchinson said of Trump during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow on Monday, a clear reference to the assault on the US Capitol that the ex-president’s supporters staged after his electoral defeat to his Democratic rival Joe Biden nearly three years ago.“He wants to run for president to do it again.”Alluding to the more than 90 charges pending against Trump across four separate criminal indictments, Hutchinson added: “He has been indicted four times since January 6. I would not have a clear conscience and be able to sleep at night if I were a Republican … that supported Donald Trump. And I think that if they’re not willing to split with that, then we’re in serious trouble.”In a separate notable portion of her interview with Maddow, Hutchinson addressed and summarily dismissed rumors that she had dated Matt Gaetz, the far-right Republican US congressman from Florida who helped spread the claims himself.“I will say on behalf of myself – I never dated Matt Gaetz,” said Hutchinson, who appeared on Maddow’s show to promote her memoir Enough, hitting bookshelves on Tuesday. Explaining that the pair had an “amicable working relationship” and “were good friends at points”, she added: “I have much higher standards in men.”Those remarks seemingly build on a cameo from Gaetz in Enough, in which the congressman is shown to unexpectedly take Hutchinson up on an offer to meet several Washington DC political aides out for drinks one night. Later that evening, according to Enough, Gaetz brushes his thumb across Hutchinson’s chin and tells her: “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a national treasure?”Despite the prominence of men like Trump and Gaetz in her party, Hutchinson reiterated that she still considered herself a Republican, though more in the mold of Senator Mitt Romney or the late president Ronald Reagan, whom some see as more moderate conservatives in retrospect.“I do not believe that Mr Trump is a strong Republican,” Hutchinson said. “In this election cycle, in my opinion, it’s a make-or-break moment for the Republican party. Now is the time if these politicians [in the party] … want to make the break and want to take the stand – they have to do it now.”Under subpoena, Hutchinson gave some of the most dramatic testimony about the Capitol attack during live congressional hearings in the summer of 2022. One key moment she described being told about was Trump’s accosting of a Secret Service agent and his lunging for the steering wheel of the car he was in when he was told he would not be driven to the Capitol on the day of the attack.That wasn’t all she endured that day. In Enough, Hutchinson recounts how on January 6 she was groped by Rudy Giuliani, the Trump lawyer and former New York City mayor.A short while after Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell”, they mounted the January 6 attack on the Capitol in a desperate but unsuccessful maneuver aimed at preventing Congress from certifying Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election weeks earlier.The uprising has been linked to nine deaths. More than 1,100 people have been charged in connection with the attack, and the majority of them have either pleaded guilty or been convicted by judges or juries at trial.Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against him. The various charges collectively accuse him of retaining classified documents after his presidency, hush-money payments to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels, and efforts to subvert his 2020 defeat which led to the January 6 attack.Despite the legal peril, Trump maintains dominant polling leads over other candidates pursuing the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.Enough plots out the 27-year-old Hutchinson’s trek from being an earnest believer in Trump to disenchantment with him. She was working for Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, at the time of the January 6 attack.Martin Pengelly contributed reporting More
A man who attacked an Associated Press photographer and threw a flagpole and smoke grenade at police officers guarding the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, was sentenced in a federal court on Friday to five years in prison.Rodney Milstreed, 56, of Finksburg, Maryland, “prepared himself for battle” on January 6 by injecting steroids and arming himself with a four-foot wooden club disguised as a flagpole, prosecutors said.“He began taking steroids in the weeks leading up to January 6, so that he would be ‘jacked’ and ready because, he said, someone needed to ‘hang for treason’ and the battle might come down to hand-to-hand combat,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.A prosecutor showed US district judge James Boasberg videos of Milstreed’s attacks outside the Capitol, as supporters of Donald Trump marched on and later invaded the Capitol in the vain hopes of preventing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election.“I know what I did that day was very wrong,” he said.Capitol police officer Devan Gowdy suffered a concussion when Milstreed hurled his wooded club at a line of officers.“January 6 is a day that will be burned into my brain and my nightmares for the rest of my life,” Gowdy told the judge. “The effects of this domestic terrorist attack will never leave me.”Gowdy told Milstreed that he “will always be looked at as a domestic terrorist and traitor” for his actions on January 6. The officer has since left the police.Milstreed was arrested in May 2022 in Colorado and pleaded guilty in April to assault charges and possessing an unregistered firearm.A cache of weapons and ammunition was found at Milstreed’s Maryland home and in his Colorado hotel room investigators found 94 vials of probably illegal steroids.Milstreed spewed violent, threatening rhetoric on social media in the weeks before the insurrection.He attended Trump’s rally near the White House earlier on January 6 and then, with the president urging his supporters to overturn the election result, followed the crowd of supporters of the Republican to the Capitol.Milstreed was “front and center” as rioters and police clashed outside the Capitol, prosecutors said. He tossed his wooden club at a police line and a video captured him retrieving a smoke grenade from the crowd and throwing it back at police across a barricade.Milstreed then joined other rioters in attacking an AP photographer, grabbing the photographer’s backpack and yanking him down some steps.Milstreed used Facebook to update his friends on the riot in real time.“Man I’ve never seen anything like this. I feel so alive,” he wrote, sharing photos of blood on a floor outside the Capitol, also writing it “felt good” to punch the photographer.More than 1,100 people have been charged with January 6-related federal crimes. More
Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump aide turned crucial January 6 witness, says in a new book that she was groped by Rudy Giuliani, who was “like a wolf closing in on its prey”, on the day of the attack on the Capitol.Describing meeting with Giuliani backstage at Donald Trump’s speech near the White House before his supporters marched on Congress in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election, Hutchinson says the former New York mayor turned Trump lawyer put his hand “under my blazer, then my skirt”.“I feel his frozen fingers trail up my thigh,” she writes. “He tilts his chin up. The whites of his eyes look jaundiced. My eyes dart to [Trump adviser] John Eastman, who flashes a leering grin.“I fight against the tension in my muscles and recoil from Rudy’s grip … filled with rage, I storm through the tent, on yet another quest for Mark.”Mark Meadows, Trump’s final chief of staff, was Hutchinson’s White House boss. Hutchinson’s memoir, Enough, describes her journey from Trump supporter to disenchantment, and her role as a key witness for the House January 6 committee. It will be published in the US next Tuesday. The Guardian obtained a copy.Since Trump left office, Giuliani has landed in extraordinary legal and financial trouble. Like Trump, Giuliani has pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal racketeering and conspiracy charges in Georgia, over attempted election subversion. Giuliani was also found liable for defamation of two Georgia election workers. The Washington DC Bar Association has recommended he be disbarred.Struggling to pay his legal expenses, his luxury New York apartment up for sale, and Giuliani also faces a $1.3m lawsuit from his own lawyer, seeking unpaid fees, and a $10m suit from a former personal assistant. In that suit, Giuliani is accused of offences including abuse of power, wage theft, sexual assault and harassment.A representative for Giuliani did not immediately respond to a Guardian request for comment about Hutchinson’s description of her interaction with the former mayor.Describing the events on January 6, the deadly culmination of Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat by Joe Biden, Hutchinson writes that she “experience[d] anger, bewilderment, and a creeping sense of dread that something really horrible [was] going to happen”.“I find Rudy in the back of the tent with, among others, John Eastman,” she continues. “The corners of his mouth split into a Cheshire cat smile. Waving a stack of documents, he moves towards me, like a wolf closing in on its prey.“‘We have the evidence. It’s all here. We’re going to pull this off.’ Rudy wraps one arm around my body, closing the space that was separating us. I feel his stack of documents press into the small of my back. I lower my eyes and watch his free hand reach for the hem of my blazer.“‘By the way,’ he says, fingering the fabric, ‘I’m loving this leather jacket on you.’ His hand slips under my blazer, then my skirt,” Hutchinson writes.
Information and support for anyone affected by rape or sexual abuse is available from the following organizations. In the US, Rainn offers support on 800-656-4673. In the UK, Rape Crisis offers support on 0808 500 2222. In Australia, support is available at 1800Respect (1800 737 732). Other international helplines can be found at ibiblio.org/rcip/internl.html More
Ray Epps – a Donald Trump supporter, Oath Keepers militia member and January 6 participant who became the subject of rightwing conspiracy theories about the attack on Congress – has been charged with one criminal count related to the riot.In a court filing in US district court in Washington DC, dated Monday, federal prosecutors charged Epps with disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.The charge can carry a sentence of up to 10 years.A former US marine from Arizona, Epps went to Washington in January 2021 to join protesters seeking to block Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the presidential election the previous November.On the night of 5 January, he was filmed in downtown Washington, telling other Trump supporters: “Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol … peacefully.”The next day, as Trump told supporters to “fight like hell” in his cause, the Capitol came under attack. The attack failed and Trump’s defeat was confirmed. Nine deaths have now been linked to the riot.The notion that Epps was a federal agent, acting as a provocateur, took root early. On the night of 5 January, some around him chanted: “Fed! Fed! Fed! Fed!” In footage of the attack, after a Capitol police officer went down, Epps was seen pulling a rioter aside.Rightwing media, prominently including the then Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson, eagerly took up the theory that Epps was linked to federal agents.In July, Epps filed a defamation suit against Fox News, which the rightwing network has sought to dismiss.Epps spoke to CBS in August.“I said some stupid things,” he said. “My thought process, we surround the Capitol, we get all the people there. I mean, I had problems with the election. It was my duty as an American to peacefully protest, along with anybody else that wanted to.”Of the moment involving the fallen officer, he said he told the rioter: “‘Dude, we’re not here for that. The police aren’t the enemy,’ or something like that.”He denied any links to police or federal agencies. There is no evidence he committed any acts of violence on January 6, or entered the Capitol.He told CBS that after he went to help an injured man, he “looked back at the Capitol, and there was people crawling up the Capitol walls. And it looked … terrible. I mean, I was kind of ashamed of what was going on at that point. So I started to walk out.”Asked about efforts to “paint you as this instigator”, citing his own actions and messages, Epps said: “There was an effort to make me a scapegoat.”Earlier this year, Dominic Pezzola, a member of the far-right Proud Boys group who was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison for his part in the riot, invoked the Epps conspiracy theory while testifying in court.Epps was charged by information, suggesting a plea deal may be likely.On Tuesday, lawyers for Epps did not immediately comment. More
One of three active-duty US marines who stormed the nation’s Capitol together was sentenced on Monday to probation and 279 hours of community service – one hour for every marine who was killed or wounded fighting in the American civil war.The US district judge Ana Reyes said she could not fathom why Dodge Hellonen violated his oath to protect the constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic” – and risked his career – by joining the 6 January 2021 riot that disrupted Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.“I really urge you to think about why it happened so you can address it and ensure it never happens again,” Reyes said.Dodge Hellonen, now 24, was the first of the three marines to be punished for participating in the Capitol attack. Reyes also is scheduled to sentence his co-defendants Micah Coomer on Tuesday and Joshua Abate on Wednesday.The three marines – friends from the same unit – drove together from a military post in Virginia to Washington DC on 6 January, when then president Donald Trump spoke at his “Save America” rally near the White House. They joined the crowd that stormed the Capitol after Trump urged his supporters to “fight like hell”.Before imposing Hellonen’s sentence, Reyes described how marines fought and died in some of the fiercest battles in American history. She recited the number of casualties from some of the bloodiest wars.Prosecutors recommended short terms of incarceration – 30 days for Coomer and 21 days for Hellonen and Abate – along with 60 hours of community service.A prosecutor wrote in a court filing that their military service, while laudable, makes their conduct “all the more troubling”.Reyes said she agreed with prosecutors that Hellonen’s status as an active-duty marine did not weigh in favor of a more lenient sentence. But she ultimately decided to spare him from a prison term, sentencing him to four years of probation.Reyes said it “carried a great deal of weight” to learn that Hellonen maintained a positive attitude and stellar work ethic when he was effectively demoted after the January 6 attack. He went from working as a signals analyst to a job that few marines want, inventorying military gear.“The only person who can give you a second chance is yourself,” she told him.“I take full responsibility for my actions and I’ll carry this with me for the rest of my life,” Hellonen told the judge.Hellonen, Coomer and Abate pleaded guilty earlier this year to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months behind bars. Hundreds of Capitol rioters have pleaded guilty to the same charge, which is akin to trespassing.More than 600 people have been sentenced for Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Over 100 of them have served in the US military, according to an Associated Press review of court records. Only a few were active-duty military or law enforcement personnel on January 6.As of Friday, all three marines were still on active-duty status, according to the Marine Corps. But all three could be separated from the Marine Corps “on less than honorable conditions”, prosecutors said. More
The son of a prominent conservative activist has been convicted of charges that he stormed the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, bashed in a window, chased a police officer, invaded the Senate floor and helped a mob disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.Leo Brent Bozell IV, 44, of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, was found guilty on Friday of 10 charges, including five felony offenses, after a trial decided by a federal judge, according to the federal justice department.Bozell’s father is Brent Bozell III, who founded the Media Research Center, Parents Television Council and other conservative media organizations.The US district judge John Bates heard testimony without a jury before convicting Bozell of charges including obstructing the January 6 joint session of Congress convened to certify the electoral college vote that Biden won over then president Donald Trump, a Republican.Bozell was “a major contributor to the chaos, the destruction and the obstruction at the Capitol on 6 January 2021”, prosecutors said in a pretrial court filing.The judge is scheduled to sentence Bozell on 9 January.Bozell’s lawyer, William Shipley Jr, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Saturday.Prosecutors said that before the riot, Bozell helped plan and coordinate events in Washington in support of Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement. They said that after Trump’s rally near the White House on 6 January, Bozell marched to the Capitol and joined a mob in breaking through a police line. He smashed a window next to the Senate wing door, creating an entry point for hundreds of rioters, according to prosecutors.After climbing through the smashed window, Bozell joined other rioters in chasing a Capitol police officer, Eugene Goodman, up a staircase to an area where other officers confronted the group.Later, Bozell was captured on video entering the office of the then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat. He appeared to have something in his hand when he left, prosecutors said.Entering the Senate gallery, Bozell moved a C-Span camera to face the ground so it could not record rioters ransacking the chamber on a live video feed. He also spent several minutes on the Senate floor.Bozell roamed thorough the Capitol for nearly an hour, reaching more than a dozen different parts of the building and passing through at least seven police lines before officers escorted him out, prosecutors said.In a pretrial court filing, Bozell’s lawyer denied that Bozell helped overwhelm a police line or engaged in any violence against police.“In fact, video evidence will show that Mr Bozell assisted in some small way law enforcement officers that he thought could be helped by his assistance,” Shipley wrote.Shipley also argued that Bozell “was – for the most part – simply lost and wandering from place-to-place observing events as they transpired”.Bozell was arrested in February 2021. An FBI tipster who identified Bozell recognized him in part from the “Hershey Christian Academy” sweatshirt that he wore on January 6.More than 1,100 people have been charged with Capitol attack-related federal crimes. More than 650 of them have pleaded guilty. Approximately 140 others have been convicted by judges or juries after trials in Washington. More
A White House adviser to Donald Trump was found guilty of contempt of Congress on Thursday when he refused to cooperate with an investigation of the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol.Peter Navarro, a senior trade adviser during Trump’s presidency and who had promoted his baseless claims of mass voter fraud, was convicted in Washington’s federal courthouse after a short trial.He was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress, both punishable by up to a year behind bars.Judge Amit Mehta scheduled Navarro’s sentencing for 12 January.Navarro had been subpoenaed in February 2022 by the House committee investigating how and why Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, interrupting certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.The committee thought he might have more information about any connection between those claims and the attack on Congress.But Navarro did not hand over any emails, reports or notes. When the date came for him to testify before the committee, he did not show up.A defense attorney, Stanley Woodward, told the jury Navarro did get in touch with committee staffers but asked them to talk to Trump to see what information he intended to be protected by executive privilege. That never happened, Woodward said.Prosecutors, though, said Navarro should have handed over what material he could have and flagged any questions or documents believed to be protected under executive privilege. They said much of the material the committee sought was already publicly available.“Peter Navarro made a choice. He chose not to abide by the congressional subpoena,” prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi said. “The defendant chose allegiance to former president Donald Trump over compliance to the subpoena.”Navarro, a former economics professor, was the second Trump aide to face criminal charges after refusing to cooperate with the House committee.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionSteve Bannon, a sometime White House adviser and full-time far-right provocateur, was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress and sentenced to four months in prison. He has been free while appealing the verdict.On Thursday after Navarro was found guilty, Woodward moved for a mistrial, saying that the jurors had taken an outdoor break near where protesters and media regularly gather outside the courthouse and came back with a verdict shortly after. Mehta did not immediately rule, but said he would consider written arguments on the issue.The House January 6 committee completed its work in January, saying Trump criminally engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election and failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol.Separately, the US justice department has charged Trump on four criminal counts related to his election subversion efforts. He also faces state 13 counts in Georgia, related to election subversion there.The Associated Press contributed to this report More
A watchdog group is suing to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot, saying he violated the constitution and is disqualified from holding future office.The lawsuit is so far one of the strongest challenges to Trump’s eligibility to seek re-election.According to the lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the former president violated section 3 of the 14th amendment, also known as the Disqualification Clause, with his involvement in the January 6 US Capitol attack. The section bars any federal or state official that has “previously taken an oath” from holding office after they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion”.Two prominent conservative legal scholars recently authored a lengthy law review article arguing that Trump is disqualified from holding office under the 14th amendment.“The bottom line is that Donald Trump ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion’ and gave ‘aid or comfort’ to others engaging in such conduct, within the original meaning of those terms as employed in section 3 of the 14th amendment,” William Baude of the University of Chicago and Michael Stokes Paulsen of the University of St Thomas wrote in their 126-page article, which traces the history and original understanding of the amendment. “If the public record is accurate, the case is not even close.”Trump has dismissed attempts to remove him from the ballot as “election interference”, his umbrella cry against the long list of felony charges he faces in Georgia and in federal court for conspiring to overturn the 2020 election.“Almost all legal scholars have voiced opinions that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or standing relative to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election,” Trump claimed in a post to his social media platform Truth Social on Monday, calling arguments based on the amendment a “trick” being used by leftists to “steal” an election.The DC-based group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew), is representing six Colorado voters – who are either Republican or unaffiliated with a political party – seeking to remove Trump from their state’s ballot in next year’s general election.In addition to Colorado, other states are bracing for similar lawsuits challenging Trump’s eligibility including Arizona, Michigan and New Hampshire.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionIt’s unclear what the exact procedure will be for challenging Trump’s eligibility, and it could vary by state. Either way, the US supreme court is expected to weigh in soon on whether Trump is eligible.“If the very fabric of our democracy is to hold, we must ensure that the Constitution is enforced and the same people who attacked our democratic system not be put in charge of it,” said Crew’s president, Noah Bookbinder, in a statement on Wednesday.Last year, Crew represented New Mexico residents who successfully sued to remove their county commissioner, Couy Griffin, who participated in the January 6 riot. A federal judge ruled that the attack was indeed an insurrection, and that Griffin’s participation disqualified him from holding office. More
From 1h agoThe judge presiding over E Jean Carroll’s second civil defamation case against Donald Trump said a forthcoming trial will only determine the damages she is to receive from the former president, in a major victory for the writer.Politico obtained a copy of the judgment:Earlier this year, Carroll prevailed in her first lawsuit against Trump when a jury found him liable for sexually abusing her, and ordered him to pay $5m in damages. According to Reuters, the second suit Carroll filed accused Trump of defaming her by denying in 2019 that he had raped her in the mid-1990s.Because of the jury’s finding earlier this year, New York-based federal judge Lewis Kaplan found that Trump made his 2019 statements with “actual malice”, and a jury will only need to decide how much in damages he should pay.Last month, the same judge dismissed a counterclaim filed by Trump against Carroll, an advice columnist.Opening arguments are starting today in the trial of a former White House aide to Donald Trump who is accused of contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas from the January 6 committee, the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports:Federal prosecutors are expected to present the case on Wednesday that former Trump White House official Peter Navarro should be convicted of contempt of Congress because he wilfully ignored a subpoena issued last year by the House January 6 committee during the investigation into the Capitol attack.The only standard that prosecutors will have to reach is that Navarro’s failure to comply with the subpoena was deliberate and intentional – and Navarro will not be able to argue in defense that he blew off the subpoena because he thought Donald Trump had asserted executive privilege.Navarro is about to face his contempt of Congress trial without what he had hoped would be his strongest defense, after the presiding US district court judge Amit Mehta ruled last week Navarro had failed to prove Trump had actually asserted executive privilege to block his cooperation.In an added twist, prosecutors also said the day before trial that they intend to argue that Navarro’s claim of executive privilege was actually self-incriminating because it reinforced his failure to comply with the subpoena was calculated and deliberate, according to court documents.That sets the stage for a trial in federal court in Washington which could end in a quick defeat for Navarro given his lack of defenses, though the consequential nature of the case could also mean it immediately becomes tied up for months on appeal.E Jean Carroll’s defamation suit is not the only instance where Donald Trump’s words are getting him into trouble. As the Guardian’s Sam Levine reports, attorneys for special counsel Jack Smith are complaining about the former president’s constant public comments as the federal case against him for trying to overturn his election loss moves forward:Donald Trump is making “daily extrajudicial statements that threaten to prejudice the jury pool” in the federal criminal case dealing with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, attorneys for special counsel Jack Smith said in a court filing.Trump has not hesitated to criticize the US district judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the case. He has called her “highly partisan” and “VERY BIASED & UNFAIR,” pointing to her comments sentencing one of the January 6 rioters. Trump has also attacked Smith, calling him “deranged” and someone with “unchecked and insane aggression”.Chutkan has warned Trump’s attorneys about his comments. She has also imposed a protective order in the case, limiting what documents and other materials can be made with the public.“I caution you and your client to take special care in your public statements about this case,” she said to John Lauro, one of his lawyers, during a hearing in August. “I will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard the integrity of these proceedings.”Here’s more from Reuters on E Jean Carroll’s latest lawsuit against Donald Trump, which seeks damages based on allegations that he raped her in the 1990s, then lied about it two decades later:A federal judge on Tuesday said E Jean Carroll, the New York writer who last month won a $5m jury verdict against Donald Trump for sexual abuse and defamation, can pursue a related $10m defamation case against the former US president.US district judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan ruled in favor of the former Elle magazine columnist, after Trump had argued that the defamation case must be dismissed because the jury had concluded he never raped her.Kaplan said he may explain his reasoning later.Through a spokeswoman, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba maintained that Carroll should not be allowed to change her legal theory supporting the defamation case “at the 11th hour” to conform to the jury verdict.Habba was in Miami, where Trump pleaded not guilty in a separate case to federal criminal charges that he mishandled classified files.Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to Judge Kaplan, said: “We look forward to moving ahead expeditiously on E Jean Carroll’s remaining claims.”Both of Carroll’s civil lawsuits arose from Trump’s denials that he had raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.On 9 May, a Manhattan jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $2m for battery and $3m for defamation over Trump’s October 2022 denial.The judge presiding over E Jean Carroll’s second civil defamation case against Donald Trump said a forthcoming trial will only determine the damages she is to receive from the former president, in a major victory for the writer.Politico obtained a copy of the judgment:Earlier this year, Carroll prevailed in her first lawsuit against Trump when a jury found him liable for sexually abusing her, and ordered him to pay $5m in damages. According to Reuters, the second suit Carroll filed accused Trump of defaming her by denying in 2019 that he had raped her in the mid-1990s.Because of the jury’s finding earlier this year, New York-based federal judge Lewis Kaplan found that Trump made his 2019 statements with “actual malice”, and a jury will only need to decide how much in damages he should pay.Last month, the same judge dismissed a counterclaim filed by Trump against Carroll, an advice columnist.In an interview with the Associated Press, Kamala Harris broke the White House’s relative silence on the prosecutions of Donald Trump and others for trying to overturn the 2020 election, and said those responsible for the campaign should be held accountable.“Let the evidence, the facts, take it where it may,” the vice-president in an interview held during a trip to Indonesia, where she is attending a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.“I spent the majority of my career as a prosecutor,” said Harris, a former attorney general of California. “I believe that people should be held accountable under the law. And when they break the law, there should be accountability.”Biden and other top White House officials have generally stayed mum as prosecutors have indicted Trump for the Mar-a-Lago documents and his campaign to overturn the 2020 election. Two of the cases Trump is facing were brought by Jack Smith, a special counsel appointed by the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, whom Biden nominated for the job.People typically hire lawyers to give them advice on how to handle legal matters. But as ABC News’s report this morning on Evan Corcoran’s recollections of his time representing Donald Trump shows, the former president was not immediately interested in his advice on handling a grand jury subpoena to return whatever classified documents he had at Mar-a-Lago:
Corcoran and another Trump attorney, Jennifer Little, flew to Florida to meet with Trump. “The next step was to speak with the former president about complying with that subpoena,” Corcoran recalled in a voice memo the next day.
But while sitting together in Trump’s office, in front of a Norman Rockwell-style painting depicting Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Trump playing poker, Trump, according to Corcoran’s notes, wanted to discuss something else first: how he was being unfairly targeted.
As Corcoran later recalled in his recordings, Trump continuously wandered off to topics unrelated to the subpoena — Hillary Clinton, “the great things” he’s done for the country, and his big lead in the polls in the run-up to the 2024 Republican presidential primary race that Trump would officially join in November. But Corcoran and Little “kept returning to the boxes,” according to the transcripts.
Corcoran wanted Trump to understand “we were there to discuss responding to the subpoena,” Corcoran said in the memos.
As Corcoran described it in his recordings, he explained to Trump during that meeting what the former president was facing. “We’ve got a grand jury subpoena and the alternative is if you don’t comply with the grand jury subpoena you could be held in contempt,” Corcoran recalled telling Trump.
Trump responded with a line included in the indictment against him, asking, “what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them?”
The transcripts reviewed by ABC News reveal what Corcoran says he then told Trump. “Well, there’s a prospect that they could go to a judge and get a search warrant, and that they could arrive here,” Corcoran recalled warning the former president as they sat at Mar-a-Lago.
According to CNN, investigators from special counsel Jack Smith’s office are asking witnesses about fundraising done by Donald Trump’s former lawyer Sidney Powell, and whether it was used to fund efforts to breach voting systems in four swing states:
According to sources, witnesses interviewed by Smith’s prosecutors in recent weeks were asked about Powell’s role in the hunt for evidence of voter fraud after the 2020 election, including how her nonprofit group, Defending the Republic, provided money to fund those efforts.
Powell promoted Defending the Republic as a non-profit focused on funding post-election legal challenges by Trump’s team as it disputed results in key states Biden had won. Those challenges and fundraising efforts underpinning them were all based on the premise that evidence of widespread voter fraud was already in hand.
But according to documents reviewed by CNN and witness testimony obtained by the House select committee that investigated January, 6, 2021, the group was used to fund a desperate search to retroactively back-up baseless claims that Trump’s lawyers had already put forward in failed lawsuits challenging the results in several states.
A series of invoices and communications obtained by election integrity groups including The Coalition for Good Governance and American Oversight show Defending the Republic contributed millions of dollars toward the push to access voting equipment in key states.
In a court filing after her indictment in Georgia, Powell denied involvement in the Coffee County breach but acknowledged that “a non-profit she founded” paid the forensics firm hired to examine voting systems there.
Powell did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Smith’s investigators have also dived deep into the bewildering conspiracy theories that Trump allies pedaled following his election loss to try to convince his supporters that the polls were rigged:
Smith’s team has specifically asked witnesses about certain conspiracy theories pushed by Powell including that Dominion Voting Systems had ties to former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and featured software he used to rig his own election. The software company, Smartmatic, has previously said the turnout in those Venezuelan elections, not the voting system, was manipulated.
Both Dominion and Smartmatic have said that they are competitors with no corporate links, knocking down the claim pushed by Powell.
One witness who met with Smith’s team earlier last month, former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, spoke at length about how Trump allies accessed voting systems in Antrim County, Michigan, shortly after Election Day. Kerik also discussed the origins of a theory that voting machines could switch votes from one candidate to another, according to his lawyer Tim Parlatore.
Kerik also acknowledged the breach of voting systems in Coffee County during his interview with federal prosecutors, Parlatore told CNN, adding that while his client raised the topic, the conversation did not delve into specifics.
Kerik and another witness who met with Smith’s team in recent weeks were both asked if Powell was ever able to back-up her various claims of fraud, including conspiracy theories that foreign countries had hacked voting equipment.
Both were also asked about Defending the Republic and how it was used as a source of funding efforts to find evidence of voter fraud, sources told CNN.
Good morning, US politics blog readers. New reports have emerged in recent days that offer more details of the legal peril that Donald Trump has found himself in. Weeks after he indicted Trump for trying to overturn the 2020 election, CNN reports that special counsel Jack Smith is continuing his investigation, focusing in particular on attorney Sidney Powell’s activities in Georgia. Powell was last month among the 19 people – Trump included – who were charged by Atlanta-area district attorney Fani Willis in a racketeering indictment over the campaign to block Joe Biden from winning the state’s electoral votes.Separately, ABC News reports this morning that another attorney for Trump, Evan Corcoran, specifically warned the president that if he did not comply with the government’s efforts to retrieve classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, the FBI could search the property. But then another attorney for the former president warned Corcoran that if he continued to press him, Trump is “going to go ballistic”. In June of this year, Smith indicted Trump and his aides on charges related to the documents hidden at the resort.Here’s what’s happening today:
Officials from border security agencies will appear before a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee to testify about the touchy subject of asylum law at 2.30pm eastern time.
Secretary of state Antony Blinken snuck away to Kyiv for a surprise visit. Follow our live blog for all the latest news from Ukraine.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre briefs reporters at 1pm. More