Trump news – live: Elon Musk may lift ex-president’s Twitter ban as bizarre ‘hurricane gun’ story surfaces

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·20 min read
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Elon Musk has said he would end Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter, saying he thought the decision to block the then-president was “morally wrong”, “foolish in the extreme” and “it alienated a large part of the country”.

Perhaps as a reminder of what America has been missing without the former president on the platform, Rolling Stone published a story in which senior Trump officials said he repeatedly asked if China had a secret “hurricane gun” to launch storms at the US.

Also recalling his time in the administration, former secretary of defence Mark Esper appeared on Fox News to talk about his new book A Sacred Oath and confirmed he views Mr Trump as a threat to American democracy. He asked host Brett Baier what other conclusion anyone could come to based on the events of 6 January 2021.

On Tuesday night, a Republican primary in West Virginia will see two incumbent GOP congressmen duke it out for a newly redrawn district – and the two have been endorsed by very different backers. While hardcore conservative Alex Mooney enjoys the backing of Donald Trump, his rival David McKinley has the support of the state’s most senior Democrat, Joe Manchin.

Key Points

  • Trump repeatedly asked if China had tech to launch hurricanes at US, report says

  • Elon Musk says he plans to lift Donald Trump’s Twitter ban

  • Trump said US Navy ships ‘look ugly’, claims Esper in new book

  • What to watch in Nebraska and West Virginia’s primary elections?

  • Don Jr blames liberals for SC abortion ruling leak, links it to Musk buying Twitter

Sadiq Khan blames Trump for sharp rise in racist online abuse

08:00 , Shweta Sharma

London mayor Sadiq Khan has blamed the former US president Donald Trump for a rise in racial abuse directed at him.

Addressing students of Stanford University in California, Mr Khan said that he received at least 233,000 “explicitly racist or racialised social media messages” since he was elected as London’s mayor in 2016.

Partly blaming Mr Trump for a 1,892 per cent rise in the abuse against him, Mr Khan told the audience that the banning of Mr Trump from Twitter led to a sharp drop in such abuse.

“During those four years he was president, that led to me having to receive police protection and a lot of racial abuse,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC. “

”In the last year of him being president, once he was banned from Twitter, I received the least racial abuse of any time over five years.”

The feud between the two started when Mr Trump, elected six months after Mr Khan began his tenure as London mayor in May 2016, criticised him for his response to the London Bridge terror attacks.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan poses for a selfie photograph with Female Founders of London & Partners’ trade mission at Plug & Play in Silicon Valley in California (PA)
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan poses for a selfie photograph with Female Founders of London & Partners’ trade mission at Plug & Play in Silicon Valley in California (PA)

Marjorie Taylor Greene told to stop ‘repeating Putin’s propaganda’

07:30 , Shweta Sharma

Republican lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene has been asked by a Democrat lawmaker not to parrot the propaganda of the Russian president after she contested a $40bn (£32.4bn) aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday,

She claimed that the Biden administration was using this to cover up its crimes as members of the US House of Representatives began debating the aid package.

Ms Greene said: “$40bn dollars but there’s no baby formula for American mothers and babies.”

“An unknown amount of money to the CIA and Ukraine supplemental bill but there’s no formula for American babies,” she added. “Stop funding regime change and money laundering scams. A US politician covers up their crimes in countries like Ukraine.”

Democrat lawmaker Jamie Raskin, denounced her for her comments and said: “Here’s a formula for the destruction of democracy: repeating Putin’s propaganda and disinformation and appeasing imperialist assaults on sovereign nations.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene told to stop ‘repeating Putin’s propaganda’ on helping Ukraine

Jack Dorsey backs Elon Musk’s plans to reverse Trump’s Twitter ban

06:53 , Shweta Sharma

Jack Dorsey said that he “agrees” that there should not be permanent bans on individual Twitter users. He said it was a “business decision” that should not have been made.

“And we should always revisit our decisions and evolve as necessary. I stated in that thread and still believe that permanent bans of individuals are directionally wrong,” he said in response to a tweet from Dan Primack, a business editor at Axios.

Mr Dorsey added: “There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behaviour, spam or network manipulation, etc), but generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don’t work, which I wrote about here after the event (and called for a resilient social media protocol)”.

It came after Mr Musk told Financial Times in an interview he would reverse the ban on the former president if his purchase of the social media giant goes through.

Pillen beats Trump-backed rival to win Nebraska primary for governor

06:15 , Shweta Sharma

Jim Pillen, a University of Nebraska regent who was backed by the state’s outgoing governor, has won the Republican primary for Nebraska governor.

He defeated the Donald Trump-backed Charles Herbster, who is a millionaire businessman embroiled in scandals for groping multiple women.

“We live in the greatest place on the planet, right here in Nebraska,” Mr Pillen said in a victory speech late Tuesday as a crowd cheered and chanted, “Let’s go, Jim!” He said his opponents had called to concede.

Mr Pillen is a hog farm owner and veterinarian. He defeated eight challengers, including Brett Lindstrom, a state senator and Omaha financial adviser who was generally viewed as a more moderate choice.

Alex Mooney claims victory, says ‘monumental night for West Virginians’

06:00 , Shweta Sharma

In his victory speech, Alex Moonet said: “I am honored the voters of West Virginia’s new Second Congressional District have chosen me to carry the conservative banner as we begin the sprint to November.”

“Tonight is a monumental night for West Virginians, and I look forward to being their trusted conservative voice in Congress.”

‘Fake electors’ co-operating with investigation into Trump efforts to overturn election, report says

05:45 , Shweta Sharma

Multiple GOP electors in Georgia who served as fake voters were interviewed by prosecutors investigating former president Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the criminal probe, two sources told CNN.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office is trying to determine if pro-Trump electors in Georgia knew that their actions were part of a broader strategy to pressure election officials and overturn Joe Biden’s victory, the report said.

The electors who are being questioned by prosecutors, including the state’s Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, have been assured that they are being considered as witnesses and not accused or targets in the investigation.

Jen Psaki explains Biden’s use of ‘ultra-MAGA’

05:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The White House press secretary has explained the West Wing’s new use of the phrase “ultra-MAGA” to describe Republicans aligned with the party’s far-right bent, which she said was coined by the president himself.

Jen Psaki faced questions from reporters at her daily press briefing on Tuesday for the second day in a row regarding the term and its use by the president in criticism of the GOP.

Read more:

Jen Psaki explains Biden’s use of ‘ultra-MAGA’ to describe ‘extreme’ wing of GOP

Elon Musk says he plans to lift Donald Trump’s Twitter ban

05:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Elon Musk says he will end Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter, adding that he thought the decision to block the then-president was “morally bad”.

In news that will celebrated by supporters of Mr Trump as enthusiastically as it is condemned by his critics, the tech billionaire who is in the process of buying the social media network, said the initial decision had been incorrect.

Andrew Buncombe reports.

Elon Musk says he’ll end Donald Trump’s Twitter ban

Trump-backed conservative Alex Mooney wins West Virginia GOP primary

04:43 , Shweta Sharma

Republican representative Alex Mooney defeated fellow Republican, David McKinley in a primary in West Virginia, a victory proving Donald Trump’s hold on the party.

“Donald Trump loves West Virginia, and West Virginia loves Donald Trump,” Mr Mooney said in his victory speech.Mr Mooney and Mr McKinley were pitted against each other in the state’s second congressional district West Virginia lost a congressional seat following the 2020 Census.

Mr McKinley, who voted for a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure and the creation of an investigation team to probe the 6 January riots, was sharply criticized by the former president.

Mr Trump called Mr McKinley a RINO, or “Republican in Name Only” and endorsed Mr Mooney the day Joe Biden signed the infrastructure law.

Biden hits back at GOP senator who called him ‘incoherent, incapacitated and confused’

04:30 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden ramped up his war of words with Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who said that the president is “incoherent, incapacitated and confused”.

A reporter asked Mr Biden about the Republican senator’s comments saying he should resign.

“I think the man has a problem,” Mr Biden responded.

Eric Garcia has the story.

Biden hits back at GOP senator calling him ‘incoherent, incapacitated and confused’

‘You’re going to be held accountable, bro’: Steve Bannon threatens Mark Esper over Trump revelations

04:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has vowed revenge against Mark Esper for making shocking revelations against Donald Trump in his new book.

The former defence secretary, in A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times, has made several astounding claims from his time at the White House when Mr Trump was president.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports.

Steve Bannon threatens revenge against Mark Esper for Trump revelations

Trump repeatedly asked if China had tech to launch hurricanes at US, report says

03:45 , Oliver O'Connell

According to reporting by Rolling Stone, in the early years of his presidency Donald Trump had a pressing question he asked officials on several occasions — does China have secret technology to create large, man-made hurricanes and launch them at the US? And if it does, would that constitute an act of war?

The publication cites two former senior administration officials and a third person briefed on the matter.

“It was almost too stupid for words,” a former Trump official intimately familiar with the then-sitting president’s inquiry told Rolling Stone. “I did not get the sense he was joking at all.”

Mr Trump asked about it until at least 2018 and it became known to some as the “Hurricane Gun” thing.

The former president also asked about nuking hurricanes and once altered a map showing the projected path of a hurricane with a Sharpie pen in an incident that became known as Sharpiegate.

Anti-abortion Democrat announces support for legislation to codify Roe

03:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Bob Casey, one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in the Senate, announced on Tuesday that he would support Democrats’ legislation to codify the protections in Roe v Wade.

Mr Casey’s father, Governor Bob Casey Sr, was governor of Pennsylvania and ardently opposed to abortion and the elder Casey’s name is the namesake for Planned Parenthood v Casey, the 1993 Supreme Court decision that reaffirmed the constitutional right to an abortion.

Eric Garcia reports from Capitol Hill.

Anti-abortion Democrat Bob Casey announces support for legislation to codify Roe

Biden hits out at GOP as he touts plans to tackle inflation

02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden on Tuesday said his administration is taking action to lower energy costs and bring down inflation rates that are the highest in decades by clearing supply chain bottlenecks and reigning in corporate greed, but warned against handing the reins of power to a Republican Party more interested in protecting corporate profits than American families.

Andrew Feinberg reports for The Independent from the White House.

‘Look at their agenda’: Biden hits out at GOP as he touts plans to tackle inflation

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

How to sign up for The Independent’s US morning headlines newsletter

Surprising tactics in the fight to preserve abortion rights

01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

From activist rabbis signing pledges to speak out about reproductive rights as leaders in their communities, to a Satanic Temple fighting for abortion rights in America’s Bible Belt, religious communities across the spectrum are flooding to the frontlines of the country’s fight for abortion rights.

Johanna Chisholm reports.

Religious groups take up the fight to preserve abortion rights

Fox News host calls for Biden to be impeached over SCOTUS protests

01:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A former adviser to David Cameron who now hosts a weekly Fox News programme says US President Joe Biden should be impeached because protesters showed up outside homes of two Supreme Court justices over the weekend.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Fox News host calls for Biden to be impeached over Supreme Court protests

SCOTUS expert believes ‘leading theory’ is conservative clerk leaked draft on abortion

Wednesday 11 May 2022 00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Prominent Republicans and right-wing media figures have spent the last week accusing clerks for the three Democratic-appointed Supreme Court justices for the unprecedented leak of a draft opinion overruling two landmark reproductive rights cases. But a legendary chronicler of the high court has suggested they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Supreme Court expert: ‘Leading theory’ says conservative clerk leaked abortion draft

Justice Clarence Thomas: Supreme Court ‘won’t be bullied’ over Roe v Wade

Wednesday 11 May 2022 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Justice Clarence Thomas has hit out at protesters enraged by a leaked decision that would overturn Roe v Wade, saying that the Supreme Court can’t be “bullied”.

The leak of a draft opinion, that revealed a majority of justices were in favour of revoking abortion rights, set off waves of protests in more than a dozen cities across the United States this week.

Bevan Hurley reports.

Clarence Thomas tells Roe v Wade protesters that Supreme Court ‘won’t be bullied’

OAN acknowledges ‘no widespread voter fraud’ in 2020 election

Tuesday 10 May 2022 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

More than 18 months after the 2020 presidential election, right-wing television network One America News has admitted that a pair of Georgia election workers who OAN personalities accused of committing ballot fraud did absolutely nothing wrong.

On Monday, the network aired a 30-second segment in which a voiceover told viewers a statement acknowledging that the 2020 election — in which President Joe Biden, a Democrat, carried the Peach State for the first time in decades — saw “no widespread voter fraud”.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

OAN runs 30-second segment acknowledging ‘no widespread voter fraud’ in 2020 election

ICYMI: Biden gives green light to separate Covid-19 aid from Ukraine aid as Senate deliberates

Tuesday 10 May 2022 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden said that he would accept Congress passing his proposed aid package to Ukraine separately from the money he has requested to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Biden made the statement on Monday after Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, had requested the aid to Ukraine, which Mr Biden initially proposed be $33bn but now looks to be closer to $40bn, be passed clean and separately.

Eric Garcia reports from Washington, DC.

Biden gives OK to separate Covid-19 aid from Ukraine aid as Senate deliberates

Draghi urges Ukraine ceasefire in visit with Biden

Tuesday 10 May 2022 22:09 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden and Italian Premier Mario Draghi met in the Oval Office on Tuesday for a visit intended to showcase allied unity against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but it also provided a window into divergent approaches to the conflict.

Draghi said leaders should work toward “the possibility of bringing a ceasefire and starting, again, some credible negotiations.” He added that ”in Italy and Europe now, people want to put an end to these massacres and this violence, this butchery.”

Read more:

Italian leader urges Ukraine ceasefire in visit with Biden

How the ‘pro-life’ movement killed Roe v Wade

Tuesday 10 May 2022 21:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports on how powerful legal groups, conservative Christian activists and right-wing figures shaped an anti-abortion agenda in the hands of the US Supreme Court.

Inside the ‘pro-life’ movement that killed Roe v Wade

Trump repeatedly asked if China had tech to launch hurricanes at US, report says

Tuesday 10 May 2022 21:34 , Oliver O'Connell

According to reporting by Rolling Stone, in the early years of his presidency Donald Trump had a pressing question he asked officials on several occasions — does China have secret technology to create large, man-made hurricanes and launch them at the US? And if it does, would that constitute an act of war?

The publication cites two former senior administration officials and a third person briefed on the matter.

“It was almost too stupid for words,” a former Trump official intimately familiar with the then-sitting president’s inquiry told Rolling Stone. “I did not get the sense he was joking at all.”

Mr Trump asked about it until at least 2018 and it became known to some as the “Hurricane Gun” thing.

The former president also asked about nuking hurricanes and once altered a map showing the projected path of a hurricane with a Sharpie pen in an incident that became known as Sharpiegate.

US president Donald Trump holds a chart showing the projected track of Hurricane Dorian which appears to have been altered (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
US president Donald Trump holds a chart showing the projected track of Hurricane Dorian which appears to have been altered (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Psaki explains Biden’s use of ‘ultra-MAGA’

Tuesday 10 May 2022 21:31 , Oliver O'Connell

The White House press secretary on Tuesday explained the west wing’s new use of the phrase “ultra-MAGA” to describe Republicans aligned with the party’s far-right bent, which she said was coined by the president himself.

Jen Psaki faced questions from reporters at her daily press briefing for the second day in a row regarding the term and its use by the president in criticism of the GOP.

John Bowden reports.

Jen Psaki explains Biden’s use of ‘ultra-MAGA’ to describe ‘extreme’ wing of GOP

Watch: Psaki asked about Elon Musk comment on Trump and Twitter

Tuesday 10 May 2022 21:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Press secretary Jen Psaki says the White House wants to ensure freedom of speech, but social media platforms shouldn’t be “used as forums for disinformation,” when asked about Elon Musk allowing Trump back on Twitter.

What’s in the Ukraine funding bill?

Tuesday 10 May 2022 21:14 , Oliver O'Connell

Don Jr and Marjorie Taylor Greene rail against Ukraine aid

Tuesday 10 May 2022 21:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene have tweeted against providing more aid to Ukraine.

The former president’s eldest son tweeted: “You can’t find baby formula in the United States right now but Congress is voting today to send $40 billion to Ukraine. Let’s put America First for a change.”

Ms Greene posted: “We swore an oath to serve the United States of AMERICA. Not the United States of Ukraine. American mothers can’t buy baby formula, deadly fentanyl from Mexican cartels is killing record numbers of Americans, & farmers are on the verge of going out of business. Focus on HOME!”

Trump endorses James Comer

Tuesday 10 May 2022 20:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Representative James Comer for his reelection in Kentucky’s 1st congressional district.

In a statement released through his spokesperson’s Twitter account, Mr Trump said:

James Comer is a fantastic Congressman for the people of Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District. As the lead Republican on the Oversight Committee, Jamie is fighting hard to hold Joe Biden and the Radical Left accountable for failing the American people, from covering up Hunter Biden’s blatant corruption to botching their abysmal withdrawal from Afghanistan Jamie is working hard to Strengthen our Military, Protect our Veterans, Grow our Economy, Promote American Agriculture, and Defend the Second Amendment. James Comer is a Conservative Warrior, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!

South Carolina gubernatorial candidate calls for end of ‘embarrassing’ Confederate Memorial Day

Tuesday 10 May 2022 20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

One of the leading Democratic candidates for governor of South Carolina has renewed his calls for the state to end its celebration of Confederate Memorial Day and instead make Election Day a state holiday.

Joe Cunningham, a moderate who formerly represented the Charleston area in the US House of Representatives, first proposed ending the celebration shortly after launching his gubernatorial bid last year.

Abe Asher reports.

South Carolina gubernatorial candidate calls for end of Confederate Memorial Day

Biden says GOP senator who called him ‘incoherent’ has a problem

Tuesday 10 May 2022 20:12 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden ramped up his war of words with Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who said that the president is “incoherent, incapacitated and confused.”

A reporter asked Mr Biden about the Republican Senator’s comments saying he should resign.

Eric Garcia reports.

Biden calls out GOP senator who called him ‘incoherent, incapacitated and confused’

Tuesday 10 May 2022 20:06 , Oliver O'Connell

Jen Psaki asked about Elon Musk’s comment on Trump’s Twitter ban and misinformation on the platform.

“It’s the decision by a private sector company to make on who will or will not be allowed on their platforms.”

She adds it is “a reminder of the urgency” to reform Section 230 so that social media outlets aren’t used to push disinformation.

Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:56 , Oliver O'Connell

Jen Psaki says Biden adding “ultra” to the term MAGA gives it a “little pop”.

Biden pushes 'ultra-MAGA' label on GOP as he defends record

Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:52 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned voters unhappy with soaring inflation and his stalled domestic agenda against turning power over to “ultra-MAGA” Republicans in the midterm elections as he increasingly tries to cast former President Donald Trump and his adherents as a political foil.

Biden pushes 'ultra-MAGA' label on GOP as he defends record

Live: Press Secretary Jen Psaki gives White House briefing

Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

McConnell: No issues should be exempt from Senate’s 60-vote threshold

Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:37 , Oliver O'Connell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that there should be no issues that Senate Republicans believe should be exempt from the 60-vote threshold.

He reminds reporters that there have been abortion votes before and they have never reached the 60-vote threshold therefore the issue will be dealt with by legislative bodies at the state level.

Biden meets with Italian PM Mario Draghi

Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:18 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden and Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi meet in the Oval Office of the White House (AP)
President Joe Biden and Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi meet in the Oval Office of the White House (AP)

Yellen warns eliminating abortion access will damage economy

Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:08 , Oliver O'Connell

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that eliminating abortion access will damage the nation’s economy and advancements in women’s reproductive healthcare and economic wellbeing.

“Eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she told the Senate Banking Committee on 10 May.

Alex Woodward reports.

Janet Yellen warns eliminating abortion access will damage US economy

Video: Musk says he will lift Trump Twitter ban

Tuesday 10 May 2022 18:58 , Oliver O'Connell

Elon Musk says he plans to lift Donald Trump’s Twitter ban

Tuesday 10 May 2022 18:52 , Oliver O'Connell

Elon Musk has said he would end Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter, saying he thought the decision to block the then-president was “morally wrong”.

More follows...

Elon Musk says he’ll end Donald Trump’s Twitter ban