Trump says there were no documents found at Mar-a-Lago, just ‘cool’ empty folders marked classified
A judge in Georgia heard arguments on Tuesday over the public release of a grand jury report following an eight-month probe into Donald Trump’s allleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in that state.
During its investigation, the panel heard testimony and evidence about the abuse and harassment of election workers, a fake elector scheme, and Mr Trump’s infamous phone call to election officials to “find” enough votes for his victory.
The report from the special grand jury, which is barred from issuing indictments, likely includes a summary of its investigative work and recommendations for indictments for alleged misconduct that prompted the investigation and its conclusions.
Attorneys for the former president have claimed that they were never involved with the probe, while Fulton Country District Attorney Fani Willis argued to keep the report private, for now, as her office appears ready to file criminal charges against people named in the report. A decision from her office is “imminent,” she told the judge.
Lawsuits, jail threats and ‘enemy of the people’: Donald Trump’s endless war on the media
During the four years of his presidency, he called journalists and news outlets “fake news” roughly 2,000 times, averaging more than one daily broadside against the press and continuing a long legacy of attempts to undermine his critics that has continued well after his time in the White House.
Following the “leak” of a draft of what became the US Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down Roe v Wade, Mr Trump has repeatedly demanded that the journalist and outlet that published the draft be thrown in jail if they don’t reveal their source, accelerating the former president’s public war on the media.
A brief history of his recent attacks:
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 10:00
ICYMI: Fox News mocked over its latest culture war obsession – the ‘woke’ Xbox
After getting M&Ms to drop their spokescandies amid right-wing claims that the cartoon chocolate characters weren’t attractive enough, Fox News personalities have identified a new target in the culture wars: Xbox.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 09:00
Nick Fuentes returns to Twitter
Twitter banned 24-year-old fascist influencer Nick Fuentes in 2021 for his “repeated violations” of the platform rules, leading to a wave of far-right accounts flocking to other platforms like Telegram, where he has more than 53,000 subscribers.
At 7.30am ET, a verified account with his name posted a meme of the character Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants to announce his return to the social media platform, where new owner Elon Musk has opened the door to white nationalist, neo-Nazi and other far-right extremist accounts.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 08:00
ICYMI: Georgia DA says charge decision is imminent in Trump election interference as grand jury report kept secret
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has asked that a special grand jury report on efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to reverse his 2020 election loss be kept under seal because she is still considering whether to ask for criminal charges against people involved in the schemes.
Speaking before Judge Robert McBurney at a Tuesday hearing in Georgia to determine whether the report will be publicly released, Ms Willis told the judge that making it public at this time could prejudice future cases against potential defendants.
“We think for future defendants to be treated fairly it’s not appropriate at this time for the report to be released,” she said. She added that “decisions are imminent” regarding whether she will seek indictments.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 07:00
ICYMI: Trump defends his ‘perfect’ Georgia phone call in series of Truth Social posts
In a series of Truth Social posts on Tuesday, Trump continued to lie about the results of the 2020 presidential election and defended his “perfect” phone call to Georgia officials looking to “find” votes for his victory in the state.
He baselessly alleged “cheating” in the election and ballot “stuffing” that no courtroom or election official has corroborated.
His claims came as a Georgia judge heard arguments over the release of a grand jury report from an investigation likely targeting the former president and his allies, teeing up indictments from prosecutors in the state.
He followed his statements claiming he “did a great job as president” in a nearly all-caps rant spanning two posts, calling federal law enforcement the “gestapo” for recovering documents at his Mar-a-Lago property that he refused to return, and for prosecuting people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 06:00
ICYMI: Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home
Former vice president Mike Pence’s lawyer turned over a dozen classified records to the FBI after they were found at the former vice president’s home.
A lawyer for Mr Pence found the documents at Mr Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, where he served as governor and a congressman before he was tapped as Trump’s vice president.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division launched an investigation into how the documents landed in Mr Pence’s home. Mr Pence’s lawyer told CNN that the FBI requested to pick up the documents marked classified that evening, to which he agreed.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 05:00
Khashoggi’s widow speaks out against Mike Pompeo’s ‘shameful’ remarks
Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo has called murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi an “activist who supported the losing team” and whose killing received too much media attention.
“To be clear, Khashoggi was a journalist to the extent that I and many other public figures are journalists,” Mr Pompeo writes in Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.
His widow Hanan El-Atr told The Independent that his remarks are “shameful”.
“I want to ask Mr Pompeo did he ever meet my husband? Did he ever talk to him? Where is he getting this false information,” she said.
Mr Pompeo has doubled down after facing widespread critism, respondint to a statement from The Washington Post’s publisher and CEO Fred Ryan condemning his “shocking” and misrepresentation of Khashoggi’s life.
“Americans are safer because we didn’t label Saudi Arabia a pariah state,” Mr Pompeo stated. “I never let the media bully me. Just b/c someone is a part-time stringer for WaPo doesn’t make their life more important than our military serving in dangerous places protecting us all. I never forgot that.”
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 04:00
New Trump photo with mobster surfaces a day after outrage over ex-mob boss photo op
A photo taken during the summer of 2022 shows a grinning former president Donald Trump flashing a thumbs up gesture while posing with John Alite, a podcaster and motivational speaker who was once a hitman for the Gambino crime family.
Alite, who confirmed the authenticity of the photo in a phone interview with The Independent, described himself as a political independent who supported Mr Trump’s push for criminal justice reform, and said his support for the ex-president is well known.
The Independent was made aware of the photo after The Philadelphia Inquirer published a photo with the former president and Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, who ran the Philadelphia mafia in the 1990s when Mr Trump was a casino operator in nearby Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 03:00
Trump drops appeal, ending legal fight over New York probe
Donald Trump has abandoned another lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, a second time he’s halted legal action against her after a judge last week fined him and his lawyers nearly $1m for filing frivolous cases.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 01:00
‘You are the reason Brian is dead’: Mother of Capitol officer who died after Jan 6 asks judge for lengthy prison sentence against rioter
In a letter to US District Judge Thomas Hogan included with the government’s filing against a Capitol rioter who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon, the mother of a Capitol officer who died after the attack told him “you are the reason Brian is dead”.
Brian Sicknick’s mother Gladys Sicknick said the rioter, Julian Khater, has taken “center stage in our recurring nightmare” after he pepper sprayed the officer in the face.
Federal prosecutors have asked for a prison sentence of seven and a half years.
“Just when raw nerves have begun to heal, we are carried back to the scene of your crime,” she wrote in her letter. “You, among all the other crazies – you are the reason Brian is dead, Mr Khater.”
After he was hit with pepper spray on 6 January, 2021, Sicknick collapsed later that day. He died the following day in hospital. His death was ruled to be from natural causes after suffering a series of strokes.
His partner Sandra Garza filed a $10m wrongful death lawsuit this month against Mr Khater and Donald Trump, accused of fuelling the mob with his baseless stolen election narrative.
Alex Woodward25 January 2023 00:00