Trump news – live: Allies turn on DeSantis amid rift, as Capitol riot probe to hold ‘Watergate’ hearings

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Donald Trump is catching flak for deploying a modified version of an official government seal in an announcement about a new golf course. Beyond questions of taste, the announcement – sent out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – was met with questions about whether Mr Trump is using taxpayers’ money officially granted to him as a former president to promote his private business interests.

As speculation about a rift between Mr Trump and Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to grow, aides to the former president have blamed the story not just on the media but on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Their rationale, as issued via anonymous quotes, is that Mr DeSantis fuelled the latest stories by criticizing Mr Trump’s lockdown policies on a podcast run by a former McConnell adviser.

Mr McConnell’s office has so far declined to comment on the story, though it is commonly agreed that he and the former president have been at daggers drawn since the 6 January insurrection last year.

Follow live updates below

Key points

  • Trump holds first 2022 rally in Arizona

  • Trump attacks Democrats, disloyal Republicans at rally in Arizona

  • First sedition charges handed down in Capitol riot cases

  • Trump wholeheartedly embraces ‘Fedsurrection’ conspiracy theory for January 6

Trump adviser says to expect more campaigning in months ahead

18:00 , John Bowden

An adviser to former President Donald Trump told CNN this week that the ex-president is eager to show his relevance to the GOP this midterm season.

In that regard, he’s likely to step up his campaigning efforts in the months ahead, even as he has yet to say whether he will run again in 2024.

“[W]e will see more engagement from him in the coming months,” Bryan Lanza told the network.

Raskin: Jan 6 committee will have Watergate-style hearings

17:23 , John Bowden

Rep Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6 panel, said on Monday that he and his fellow lawmakers would be in for daily hearings throughout 2022 as the committee sought to educate the American people about what led up to the attack on the Capitol.

He made the comments to Medhi Hasan on MSNBC.

“[W]e're going to have hearings for the American people, which I hope will seem somewhat like the Watergate hearings did, in that they will be a daily occurrence so people can follow the unfolding narrative,” said the congressman.

Roger Stone’s view on Ron DeSantis

17:01 , Andrew Naughtie

Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo writes that longtime Trump ally and hardcore right-wing agitator Roger Stone has taken to railing against the Florida governor in private – including in the most personal of terms.

Report: DeSantis-Trump tensions still on the rise

16:40 , Andrew Naughtie

The New York Times’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman write that Donald Trump’s irritation about Ron DeSantis goes back “months” – and that the dispute is about more than a former president’s easily bruised ego:

At its core, the dispute amounts to a stand-in for the broader challenge confronting Republicans at the outset of midterm elections. They are led by a defeated former president who demands total fealty, brooks no criticism and is determined to sniff out, and then snuff out, any threat to his control of the party.

That includes the 43-year-old DeSantis, who has told friends he believes Mr. Trump’s expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much. That refusal has set up a generational clash and a test of loyalty in the de facto capital of today’s G.O.P., one watched by Republicans elsewhere who’ve ridden to power on Mr. Trump’s coattails.

Read the full report here.

Trumpist Texas governor posts stunning fundraising numbers

16:20 , Andrew Naughtie

Popular ex-Congressman Beto O’Rourke is the Democrats’ leading contender to take on Republican Greg Abbott in this year’s Texas gubernatorial contest – but based on newly released fundraising data, it looks like Mr Abbott’s ability to rake in money will make him a formidable opponent indeed.

Mr O’Rourke ran a strong campaign against Texas Senator Ted Cruz in 2018, a race that catapulted him to national fame despite the fact he lost. However, his subsequent presidential campaign failed to take off despite attracting top-tier staff and millions of dollars in donations.

Top Republican on why he isn’t running for winnable Senate seat

15:58 , Andrew Naughtie

Chris Sununu, the sitting Republican governor of New Hampshire, was long talked about as one of the strongest possible contenders for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Maggie Hassan, who is up for re-election this year. Yet despite his ample popularity, Mr Sununu has declined to run, depriving of the party of their best chance to take a crucial spot in the Senate in a year where every race counts.

Explaining his reasoning for not running, Mr Sununu pointed a finger at the Senate Republicans whose ranks he would have joined had he run and won, describing how they explicitly told him that their strategy between now and 2024 is essentially to do little besides obstruct Joe Biden.

The fracas over Trump’s “presidential seal"

15:35 , Andrew Naughtie

Tom Fenton explains why Donald Trump’s use of what looks like an official presidential seal for his golf club announcement really matters – and why it’s been met with such consternation.

Trump under fire for using presidential seal and office to promote golf course

Trump’s next stop: Conroe, Texas

15:13 , Andrew Naughtie

Having met with a warm reception in Arizona this weekend, Donald Trump has another rally on his schedule for 29 January. His destination this time will be Conroe, Texas, which sits just north of Houston.

The state, which at one point in 2020 was thought to be within Joe Biden’s reach, is home to some of Mr Trump’s loudest and proudest supporters, among them Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott – both of whom are thought to be likely presidentical contenders if the ex-president does not or cannot run in 2024.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Mr Trump has already doled out endorsements in 20 of Texas’s various primary races, with more expected as the electoral clock counts down towards November.

Australians mock Trump fans dismayed at Novak Djokovic standoff

14:52 , Andrew Naughtie

After Australian authorities finally forced tennis star Novak Djokovic to leave the country because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, many MAGA supporters took to social media to tweet their dismay – some of them declaring that “#AustraliaHasFallen” and calling the country a “prison”.

Many Australians, angry that Djokovic sought an exemption after they endured some of the world’s most punishing Covid-19 restrictions, have responded with mirth.

Gino Spocchia has the story.

MAGA fans mocked for ‘Australia Has Fallen’ hashtag

An Oath Keeper appears with Trump

14:32 , Andrew Naughtie

Among the many wilder audience members and guests at Trump’s Arizona rally was, it seems, a self-declared member of the Oath Keepers – the militia group that has seen its founder and several members indicted on sedition charges over the US Capitol attack. On MSNBC, Mehdi Hasan unpacked the details.

Kinzinger rips pro-Trump candidate over Arizona rant

14:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Adam Kinzinger, the retiring GOP Congressman who stands as one of Mr Trump’s few consistent critics in the House of Representatives, has lately been calling out more and more of his fellow Republicans over their support for the ex-president and the belligerent rhetoric they direct at his dissenters.

His latest target is Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, a hardcore Trump fan who has previously appeared at QAnon-linked events and spoken in support of various fringe ideas.

Fox News’s Ingraham celebrates Mark Milley’s Covid-19 diagnosis

13:40 , Andrew Naughtie

The news that Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has tested positive for Covid-19 (albeit with mild symptoms) has been met with concern in some quarters – and delight in others. Watch Laura Ingraham announcing the news below:

Trump fans incensed by chaotic aftermath of Arizona rally

13:14 , Andrew Naughtie

While Donald Trump’s appearance in Arizona on Saturday offered an abundance of red-meat rhetoric for his adoring base, the event came with a sting in the tail as audience members waited as long as several hours to be released from the venue.

As one fan put it on TikTok: “This is bull****. I’ve never had my freedom restricted like this in my life. And of all places for it happen, my first Trump rally.

“I’m an attorney. This is false imprisonment,” she added. “They’re treating us like commoners. Let all the VIPs go first and who cares about the little people.”

Read more:

Attendees waited hours to leave Trump rally as fans lash out on social media

Texas synagogue hostage-taker was known to MI5 – report

12:51 , Andrew Naughtie

It has emerged that British citizen Faisal Akram, who was killed after taking hostages at a Texas synagogue on Saturday, was investigated by British intelligence services as recently as 2020.

“He's known to police, got a criminal record,” said the attaker’s brother, Gulbar Akram. “How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?”

Read more:

Texas synagogue hostage-taker was known to MI5 security service

Who’s really behind the Trump-DeSantis feud story?

12:25 , Andrew Naughtie

It is increasingly clear that there genuinely is some level of animosity between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, who was once considered a loyalist rather than a potential rival. But how and why the story has emerged (and now become a political media fixation) remains unclear.

Now, Trump aides are reportedly trying to muddy the water by claiming that some of Mr DeSantis’s more critical statements about the former president may have been egged on by Trump enemy Mitch McConnell and his allies. However, not everybody on the Trump beat is convinced...

Trump Organization in trouble over hotel bills

12:04 , Andrew Naughtie

The saga of the Trump Organization’s billing and spending around the 2017 inauguration has been rumbling for years, with both Ivanka and Eric Trump deposed by investigators. While other lines of inquiry include allegations that Trump hotels over-billed the Presidential Inauguration Committee for rooms and facilities, the latest turn in the story is the focus on bills the organization allegedly refused to pay itself.

Nathan Place has more:

Unpaid hotel bill could drag Trump Organization back into DC lawsuit, report says

Michigan ‘fake elector’ was working with Trump lawyer, report claims

07:30 , Shweta Sharma

Supporters of former president Donald Trump allegedly received orders to march into the Michigan Capitol in Lansing from the Republican leader’s campaign.

A group of supporters “contemplated” working with a Republican lawmaker who had a Capitol office to get the 16 Trump electors inside the elector room where the official count was taking place, The Detroit News reported.

The Independent’s Alisha Rahaman Sarkar has more details.

Michigan ‘fake elector’ was working with Trump lawyer, report claims

‘Good chance’ of Hillary-Trump rematch in 2024 presidential elections, ex-Clinton advisor

07:10 , Shweta Sharma

Dick Morris, a former top adviser to former president Bill Clinton, has said that there is a “good chance” of a rematch between Hillary Clinton and one-time president Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential elections.

Appearing on John Catsimatidis’s radio show, Cats Roundtable, Morris said if Democrats lose control of the Congress in the 2022 midterm elections, Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris would struggle to maintain support.

This will pave the way for Ms Clinton’s second presidential bid with her husband Mr Clinton supporting her as an architect to her strategy.

“There’s a good chance of it,” said Mr Morris, about a potential Hillary-Trump rematch.

“Hillary has set up a brilliant strategy that nobody else is able to do,” Mr Morris added. “Knowing the people around her, I believe there is only one person capable of that level of thinking — and that’s her husband, Bill.”

“The second the election is over … every Democrat is going to take a shot at Biden and Harris. They will be DOA,” he added.

DeSantis says Trump’s 'expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much’

06:45 , Shweta Sharma

As feud between Donald Trump and the Florida governor widens, Ron DeSantis has reportedly refused to bend a knee to the former president and said backing him in the 2024 presidential election is “is too much to ask” for.

DeSantis has privately revealed to his inner circle that Trump’s “expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much,” reported the New York Times.

Trump said that DeSantis has no realistic chance of beating him in the 2024 GOP primary on account of his “dull personality”, according to Axios sources close to the former president.

The governor criticised Trump at his latest comments about him and accused him of being “uncharacteristically out of step with the hard-line elements of his party’s base”.

Martin Luther King’s son and Democrats hit out at senators blocking voting rights bill

06:30 , Shweta Sharma

Top democrats and the eldest son of Martin Luther King marked the national holiday that would have celebrated his father’s 93rd birthday by railing against the de facto Senate supermajority requirement.

They called out two Democrats for enabling Republican attacks on voting rights by refusing to change Senate rules so Democrats can enact voting rights legislation.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

MLK’s family link remembrance of his legacy with voting rights bill

Mike Lindell claims two banks cutting ties with him over ‘reputation risk’

05:31 , Shweta Sharma

The founder and CEO of MyPillow Mike Lindell has said that two banks asked him to “leave their bank” after January 6 investigating committee subpoenaed him, reported Insider.

Minnesota Bank & Trust and Heartland Financial USA allegedly told Lindell that they do not want to continue business with them due to “reputation risk”.

He called the banks’ attempt “disgusting” and said: “I’m not closing my accounts. They’re going to have to throw me out”.

Lindell earlier said he sued the 6 January committee investigating the Capitol riots in an attempt to block its bid to subpoena his phone records.

It was after lawmakers on the committee had requested a wide range of communications from White House officials and several others in a bid to get a complete view of the actions and discussions members of the White House, federal government and Trump campaign were involved in prior to the attack on the Capitol building.

QAnon followers claim Donald Trump used ‘body double’ at Arizona rally

04:50 , Shweta Sharma

QAnon followers are peddling a new conspiracy theory, claiming that Donald Trump was not present at his rally in Arizona on Saturday and rather used his body double, according to Newsweek.

Several social media accounts across platforms, including Telegram and Twitter, continued to push baseless claims about Trump’s appearance at the rally.

Some also believed that it was late John F Kennedy in disguise and not Trump himself as the former president once again pushed his baseless claims of voters fraud during 2020 elections.

"When he came out…I instantly felt it was not him. I kept trying to convince myself that it was. He was not talking with his hands like he normally does,” a user on a Telegram channel dedicated to conspiracy theory said.

The unfound claims were peddled on the Telegram channel with 58,940 subscribers.

"Body double for sure. Personally, I think he’s insulated,” another said.

A QAnon follower Twitter user said Kennedy was at the rally even as he was actually shot from nearly 60 years ago and would have been 104 years old if alive.

"Trump rally watchers: It appears President JFK will be President Trump tonight. I’m just saying…Enjoy the show,” the user said.

Ann Coulter says Trump is ‘done’ and tells the New York Times to stop ‘obsessing’ over him

04:30 , Bevan Hurley

Ann Coulter has claimed that Donald Trump is “done” and has told the New York Times to stop “obsessing” over the former president.

The conservative commentator - a one-time Mr Trump ally turned fierce critic - told the paper that she thinks his dominance in the Republican party is over.

“You guys should stop obsessing over him.”

Rachel Sharp has the story.

Ann Coulter says Trump is ‘done’, tells New York Times to stop ‘obsessing’ over him

Fox News host Laura Ingraham ‘not saying’ yet if she’d support Trump’s 2024 presidential run

04:19 , Shweta Sharma

Fox New opinion host Laura Ingraham, who was a vocal supporter of presidential candidate Donald Trump in his 2016 run, said she is not committing if she would support his reelection bid in 2024.

“I’m not saying I’m there for him yet,” Ingraham told Northern Virginia Magazine after she was asked if she would support Trump if he decides to re-run.

“But I think whether he runs or not — I mean, his policies worked. Trump’s blueprint for policy — a forward-looking, optimistic set of pro-America policies — that blueprint, without a doubt, is winning.”

The article in the magazine was titled: “Laura Ingraham Might Not Vote For Trump If He Runs–But She’s Not Going To Stop Talking To His Base”.

Ingraham, who came under increased scrutiny after Jan 6 committee found she texted Mark Meadows urging to get Trump to stop his supporters, is the highest-rated solo female host on the channel.

Her show “The Ingraham Angle” garners 3 million viewers per weeknight, according to the latest Nielsen figures.

Interview: Mary Trump - From 2024 predictions to Donald’s psychological deterioration

03:30 , Bevan Hurley

Mary Trump, Donald Trump’s niece, spoke to The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg about her uncle’s mental deterioration and possible 2024 run for president.

Mary Trump interview: From 2024 predictions to Donald’s psychological deterioration

Pro-Trump ‘propaganda’ channel One America News Network to lose its biggest TV distributor

02:30 , Bevan Hurley

America’s biggest satellite television provider has said it will cut the pro-Trump news channel One America News Network from its service, dealing a severe blow to one of the former president’s most stalwart cheerleaders.

DirecTV, a distributor with about 15 million subscribers that is 70 per cent owned by the US telecoms giant AT&T, announced on Friday that it would not renew its contract with OANN when the current one expires. following “a routine internal review”.

Io Dodds reports.

Pro-Trump ‘propaganda’ outlet One America News Network to lose biggest distributor

Attendees waited hours to leave Trump rally as fans lash out on social media

01:30 , Bevan Hurley

Donald Trump’s Arizona rally on Saturday left many of his supporters frustrated after some were left waiting around for hours before they could leave.

The vast majority of the attendees appeared to enjoy Mr Trump’s first rally of 2022, as was evidenced by the crowd’s enthusiastic responce to his speech. As ever, it featured his greatest hits of falsehoods and lies about the supposedly stolen 2020 Presidential election, allegations which have been repeatedly disproven.

And yet, for all that those statements went down well with his fans, what transpired after Mr Trump left the stage certainly did not. Soon after he finished his speech, a number of people took to social media to complain that they were not allowed to leave the site of the rally for several hours.

Tom Fenton has the full story.

Attendees waited hours to leave Trump rally as fans lash out on social media

Trump can’t say what Republicans should do if they retake Congress

00:45 , Bevan Hurley

Speaking to far-right network Newsmax, Donald Trump didn’t offer an answer when asked what Republican’s first move should be if they retake the Congress in the 2022 midterms.

Instead, he attacked his Democratic rival Joe Biden’s record on Afghanistan and immigration.

Ann Coulter says Trump is ‘done’ and tells the New York Times to stop ‘obsessing’ over him

00:00 , Bevan Hurley

Ann Coulter has claimed that Donald Trump is “done” and has told the New York Times to stop “obsessing” over the former president.

The conservative commentator - a one-time Mr Trump ally turned fierce critic - told the paper that she thinks his dominance in the Republican party is over.

“You guys should stop obsessing over him.”

Rachel Sharp has the story.

Ann Coulter says Trump is ‘done’, tells New York Times to stop ‘obsessing’ over him

Trump is briefing insiders that DeSantis is too dull to be President

Monday 17 January 2022 23:30 , Bevan Hurley

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has been touted as Donald Trump’s chief rival for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2024.

However, the former President has been briefing associates that Mr DeSantis has no realistic chance of beating him in the 2024 GOP primary due to his “dull personality”.

Tom Fenton has the story.

Trump is briefing insiders that DeSantis is too dull to be president

Analysis: Five takeaways from Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona

Monday 17 January 2022 22:35 , Bevan Hurley

Donald Trump raged against his enemies in the Republican Party, as well as President Joe Biden and the media during his first campaign rally of 2022 in Arizona on Saturday.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia and John Bowden analyse Mr Trump’s conspiracy-laden speech and report on some of the chilling messages being spread by candidates he has endorsed.

Five takeaways from Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona

Attendees waited hours to leave Trump rally as fans lash out on social media

Monday 17 January 2022 21:34 , Bevan Hurley

Donald Trump’s Arizona rally on Saturday left many of his supporters frustrated after some were left waiting around for hours before they could leave.

The vast majority of the attendees appeared to enjoy Mr Trump’s first rally of 2022, as was evidenced by the crowd’s enthusiastic responce to his speech. As ever, it featured his greatest hits of falsehoods and lies about the supposedly stolen 2020 Presidential election, allegations which have been repeatedly disproven.

And yet, for all that those statements went down well with his fans, what transpired after Mr Trump left the stage certainly did not. Soon after he finished his speech, a number of people took to social media to complain that they were not allowed to leave the site of the rally for several hours.

Tom Fenton has the full story.

Attendees waited hours to leave Trump rally as fans lash out on social media

Trump can’t say what Republicans should do if they retake Congress

Monday 17 January 2022 20:45 , Bevan Hurley

Speaking to far-right network Newsmax, Donald Trump didn’t offer an answer when asked what Republican’s first move should be if they retake the Congress in the 2022 midterms.

Instead, he attacked his Democratic rival Joe Biden’s record on Afghanistan and immigration.

Trump is briefing insiders that DeSantis is too dull to be President

Monday 17 January 2022 20:00 , Bevan Hurley

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has been touted as Donald Trump’s chief rival for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2024.

However, the former President has been briefing associates that Mr DeSantis has no realistic chance of beating him in the 2024 GOP primary due to his “dull personality”.

Tom Fenton has the story.

Trump is briefing insiders that DeSantis is too dull to be president

Analysis: Five takeaways from Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona

Monday 17 January 2022 19:15 , Bevan Hurley

Donald Trump raged against his enemies in the Republican Party, as well as President Joe Biden and the media during his first campaign rally of 2022.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia and John Bowden analyse Mr Trump’s conspiracy-laden speech and some chilling messages from his endorsed candidates.

Five takeaways from Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona

Antisemitic terror in the US

Monday 17 January 2022 18:37 , Andrew Naughtie

This weekend’s deadly hostage incident at a Texas synagogue came at a time when racial, religious and antisemitic hate crimes are at an all-time high in the US. Rabbi Charlie Cytron Walker has described how he was able to deal with the situation in his synagogue thanks to training he had received on handling violent situations:

And as Masada Siegel writes for The Independent, many American Jews are being reminded year after year that they still have to be vigilant in the face of lethal threats.

My Jewish father taught me to use a gun. I didn’t think I’d have to teach my own son

‘Of all the places for it to happen, my first Trump rally’

Monday 17 January 2022 18:15 , Bevan Hurley

MAGA supporters who were blocked from leaving Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona on Saturday until the event had finished have taken to social media to complain.

A woman who claimed to be attending her first Trump rally said she was considering filing a lawsuit after she was barred blocked from exiting the carpark by the Secret Service.

“I have never had my freedom restricted like this in my life and of all the places for it to happen, my first Trump rally.”

Others claimed they had been “held hostage”, and that there were no restrooms available to stranded rallygoers.

‘The content of shameless characters'

Monday 17 January 2022 17:42 , Bevan Hurley

Financial Times associate editor Edward Luce says he finds it jarring how Martin Luther King’s legacy is co-opted by people who “bitterly oppose” everything the late civil rights leader stood for.

Calling the FBI out on Martin Luther King

Monday 17 January 2022 17:12 , Andrew Naughtie

Jezebel editor-in-chief Laura Bassett picks up on another tin-eared tribute to Dr King today:

What happened at Trump’s Arizona rally?

Monday 17 January 2022 16:35 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona this weekend saw him repeating many of his usual falsehoods about the supposed theft of the 2022 election, as well as pondering 6 January conspiracy theories that have gained a new foothold on the right.

It was the sort of performance that has some mainstream Republicans worried that the former president could wreck their messaging for this year’s midterm elections by focusing on his own grievances. John Bowden and Eric Garcia have this rundown:

Five takeaways from Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona

Son of Martin Luther King Jr: “I will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father’s dream"

Monday 17 January 2022 16:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Martin Luther King III, the son of the civil rights hero whose life is celebrated today, has issued a call for action rather than just remembrance of his father’s work.

MLK Day: Mitch McConnell in hot water for tribute

Monday 17 January 2022 15:49 , Andrew Naughtie

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier posted a sombre tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., writing: “Nearly 60 years since the March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message echoes as powerfully as it did that day. His legacy inspires us to celebrate and keep building upon the remarkable progress our great nation has made toward becoming a more perfect union.”

Given the senator’s position on assorted civil rights issues, and in particular proposals to shore up the Voting Rights Act against right-wing assaults, much of the reaction has seen him accused of hypocrisy – one user writing that “it was guys like you he was protesting against”.

Read more:

McConnell bombarded over voting rights stance after posting MLK Day tribute

A new Republican rift: Trump vs DeSantis

Monday 17 January 2022 15:28 , Andrew Naughtie

Reports are spreading that Donald Trump has a new bee in his bonnet: the ascent of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Increasingly popular among Republican voters, Mr DeSantis routinely tops polls of non-Trump GOP 2024 presidential candidates – and now, Mr Trump appears to be angry that he is getting too much attention.

Axios reports that while Mr Trump isn’t especially worried that his sometime protege could beat him in a future primary, he is angry that the governor isn’t giving him the deference he thinks he deserves ahead of the next election. Mr Trump has also taken veiled digs at him for not declaring publicly whether he has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Trump is briefing insiders that DeSantis is too dull to be president

Other reports, however, say that Mr Trump is genuinely perturbed that another Republican could rise to the heights of popularity Mr DeSantis enjoys, and that he may indeed have something to fear. The New York Times reports a telling exchange with longtime conservative provocateur Ann Coulter:

“Trump is demanding to know Ron DeSantis’s booster status, and I can now reveal it,” Ms. Coulter wrote on Twitter. “He was a loyal booster when Trump ran in 2016, but then he learned our president was a liar and con man whose grift was permanent.”

In an email, Ms. Coulter, herself a part-time Florida resident, put a finer point on what makes Mr. DeSantis’s rise unsettling for the former president. “Trump is done,” she wrote. “You guys should stop obsessing over him.”

Trump’s false claim about racism and Covid-19 treatment

Monday 17 January 2022 15:05 , Andrew Naughtie

Here is the section of Trump’s Arizona rally in which the former president falsely claimed that healthcare providers in New York are deliberately sending white people to “the back of the line” for Covid-19 treatment.

Virginia’s new Republican governor signed 11 executive orders on his first day in office

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:30 , Alex Woodward

Virginia’s incoming Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 11 executive orders after he was sworn into office on Saturday, including a repeal of a mask mandate and revoking a Covid-19 vaccine requirement for state workers.

He also banned “critical race theory” in schools and pledge to investigate “wrongdoing” in Loudon County, which has been ground zero for right-wing culture wars over the teaching of racism in public schools.

He also is withdrawing the state from an 11-state agreement to curb emissions.

Hillary Clinton invokes MLK’s criticism of ‘white moderates’ after Manchin and Sinema reject filibuster reform

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:10 , Alex Woodward

Hillary Clinton has invoked Martin Luther King Jr’s criticisms of “the white moderate “ in what appeared to be a thinly veiled rebuke of Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema after they rejected President Joe Biden’s urgent demands to change Senate filibuster rules that block passage of federal voting rights legislation.

She added: “This is a subtweet.”

Her tweet comes as voting rights advocates rally over the weekend in advance of the federal holiday recognising the late civil rights leader’s birthday.

Pro-Trump ‘propaganda’ channel One America News Network to lose its biggest TV distributor

Saturday 15 January 2022 21:45 , Alex Woodward

America's biggest satellite television provider has said it will cut the pro-Trump news channel One America News Network from its service, dealing a severe blow to one of the former president's most stalwart cheerleaders.

DirecTV, a distributor with about 15 million subscribers that is 70 per cent owned by the US telecoms giant AT&T, announced on Friday that it would not renew its contract with OANN when the current one expires. following “a routine internal review”.

Io Dodds reports:

Pro-Trump ‘propaganda’ outlet One America News Network to lose biggest distributor

Photos from Trump’s first rally of 2022

Saturday 15 January 2022 21:33 , Alex Woodward

The former president will hold his first rally of 2022 in Florence, Arizona, a state that has become a hotbed of election fraud conspiracy theories with a host of candidates for several public offices vying for his endorsement, as midterm campaigns are well underway.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

QAnon leaders join Trump rally crowd

Saturday 15 January 2022 21:04 , Alex Woodward

8chan administrator Jim Watkins and QAnon influencer Michael Protzman – who has amplified the conspiracy theory that the resurrection of JFK Jr is instrumental to Trump’s return to office – are attending Trump’s rally in Arizona on Saturday night, where a crowd started lining up overnight.

Other familiar Trump rally faces are documenting their visit, which is being broadcast by far-right media networks like One America News Network and Right Side Broadcasting Network.

Biden invokes voting rights protections in MLK Day proclamation

Saturday 15 January 2022 19:30 , Alex Woodward

In his proclamation recognising 2022’s Martin Luther King Jr Day, the president told Americans to reflect on the achievements of the civil rights movement and “continue his unfinished struggle.”

“That is why the Congress must pass federal legislation to protect the right to vote – a right that is under attack by a sinister combination of voter suppression and election subversion,” the president wrote, echoing his remarks against the wave of restrictive legislation passed by GOP state legislators in 2021.

“Just as in Dr King’s time, there are those who now say that change would be too disruptive and that these urgent needs can wait,” Mr Biden wrote. “But we must resist complacency, summon new resolve to advance the cause of freedom and opportunity, and do our part to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice. This is the cause of our time. ... We all must find the courage to keep pushing forward in our struggle to realize Dr King’s dream for a freer, fairer, and more just society.”

Voting rights advocates rally in Phoenix to pressure Sinema on filibuster

Saturday 15 January 2022 19:24 , Alex Woodward

As a host of election deniers and conspiracy theorists prepare to take the stage in rural Florence, Arizona, voting rights advocates are rallying about 70 miles away in Phoenix to push the state’s Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema to adopt filibuster reform to pass federal legislation to protect the right to vote.

Activists also led a march and heard from Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the late civil rights leader.

The march demands Arizona residents “call on Senator Sinema to urgently pass federal voting rights legislation and ensure that the Jim Crow filibuster does not stand in the way,” Mr King said in a statement.

The US recognises Martin Luther King Jr Day on Monday.

Trump takes shot at Arizona governor

Saturday 15 January 2022 18:47 , Alex Woodward

The day before his appearance in the state, Trump hit out at Arizona Governor Doug Doucey, a frequent target of the former president after he signed off on the results of the 2020 presidential election, while Trump allies continue to baselessly insist the results were fraudulent.

“Rumors are that Doug Ducey, the weak RINO Governor from Arizona, is being pushed by Old Crow Mitch McConnell to run for the U.S. Senate,” Trump said in a statement. “He will never have my endorsement or the support of MAGA Nation!”

Doucey has not indicated whether he plans to run for a Senate seat. He has no plans to attend Trump’s event.

Pence equates federal voting rights legislation with Capitol attack

Saturday 15 January 2022 17:28 , Alex Woodward

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, former VP Mike Pence condemned the mob that “ransacked the Capitol, largely to try to get Congress and me, as the president of the Senate, to use federal authority to overturn results of the presidential election that had been certified by all 50 states.”

He then characterised Republican attempts to restrict ballot access and consolidate electoral oversight into the hands of GOP-dominated legislatures as “measures to try to restore confidence in the integrity of our elections” in the wake of the attack.

He then accused Biden and congressional Democrats of leading “another power grab” with federal voting rights legislation, by using the “memory of Jan 6” to defend breaking up the filibuster.

That federal legislation would create national framework for voter registration, mail-in ballots, early voting and voter ID laws. It would also make Election Day a holiday, combat attempts to strip oversight from nonpartisan election authorities, and protect election workers from harassment and violence.

He compared such efforts to an attack on the Capitol that sought to stop the certification of votes representing millions of Americans, as a mob chanted that they were there to “hang” him.

He also falsely claimed that “the notion that Congress would break the filibuster rule to pass a law equaling a wholesale takeover of elections by the federal government is inconsistent with our nation’s history and an affront to our constitution’s structure.”

The US constitution gives Congress the ability to set rules for federal elections.

2020 election deniers take centre stage at Trump’s Arizona rally

Saturday 15 January 2022 16:39 , Alex Woodward

Trump is heading to Arizona, a hotbed of GOP-led conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, where a figure central to the QAnon movement is running for Congress, election deniers are vying for major government posts that play critical roles in electoral oversight, and a far-right congressman accused of fantasizing about murdering Democrats has not faced any repurcussions in office.

The former president has made clear that fealty to his baseless narrative that the election was rigged against him is critical to earning his endorsement.

On the guest list at his rally on Saturday night: Kari Lake, a candidate for Arizona governor; US Reps Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and Debbie Lesko; and Mike Lindell, among the most notorious election fraud conspiracy theorists who spent millions on a spurious campaign to overturn the results.

What is seditious conspiracy?

Saturday 15 January 2022 08:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The US Justice Department’s efforts to hold those responsible for the 6 January insurrection shifted into a higher gear this week with the unsealing of a 48-page indictment against Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and 10 other members of his right-wing militia group.

All but Mr Rhodes and another defendant – Edward Vallejo of Phoenix – had previously been charged with crimes for their roles in the worst attack on the Capitol since British troops commanded by Major General Robert Ross set it ablaze in 1814.

Prosecutors have filed criminal charges against more than 730 people over the year that has passed since the attack, but the indictment of Mr Rhodes and his alleged co-conspirators stands out because it charges them under a rarely used provision of law that can be found in the chapter of the US criminal code titled “Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities”.

What is seditious conspiracy and why is it a big deal?

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