Trump news – live: Ex-president’s top aides may face criminal referrals as DoJ urges contempt for his team

The committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is considering criminal referrals for at least four of former President Donald Trump’s associates, according to reports.

The four individuals potentially in line for criminal referrals are former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, lawyer John Eastman, former Trump lawyer and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, sources told CNN.

It comes as Department of Justice prosecutors are also urging a judge to hold Mr Trump’s team in contempt of court for not fully complying with a subpoena to return all of the documents at the centre of the scandal earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has hit out at the hostage swap deal that saw WNBA star Brittney Griner returned from Russia in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.

These latest developments come in a week of political and legal blows for Mr Trump, who has seen his company found guilty of tax fraud; the likelihood of a criminal referral surface over the Capitol riot; further classified documents show up in his possession; and his Georgia Senate candidate losing in the runoff election.

Key points

At least four Trump associates may face criminal referrals from January 6 committee

06:06 , Shweta Sharma

The committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is considering criminal referrals for at least four of former President Donald Trump’s associates, CNN reported on Thursday.

The four individuals potentially in line for criminal referrals are former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, lawyer John Eastman, former Trump lawyer and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark.

Read the full report.

At least four Trump associates may face criminal referrals from January 6 committee

Kentucky governor criticises Trump, distances self from Biden

05:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, of Kentucky, criticised former President Donald Trump for dining with a white nationalist and gently distanced himself from current President Joe Biden as he tries to make his own way in his 2023 bid for reelection in his Republican-dominated state.

Read on:

Kentucky Gov. Beshear criticizes Trump, gently knocks Biden

Flynn testifies in Georgia election probe

04:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn was at a downtown Atlanta courthouse Thursday to testify before a special grand jury that’s investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia.

Flynn, a retired lieutenant general, had tried to get out of appearing before the panel.

Read on:

Michael Flynn testifies in Georgia election probe

Here’s why Paul Whelan is detained in Russia

03:35 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden said his administration would “never give up” trying to free other Americans who have been wrongfully detained by Russia, including former US Marine Paul Whelan, who has been in Russian custody since he was arrested just after Christmas in 2018 on what American officials have described as bogus spying charges.

Joe Sommerlad explains what Mr Whelan is accused of doing.

Why is US Marine Paul Whelan detained in Russia?

Trump, who ignored Paul Whelan for two years, calls Griner deal ‘stupid’

02:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Two years after his term in the White House ended without him mentioning his name, Donald Trump is now claiming the Biden administration’s prisoner swap to return wrongfully detained WNBA star Brittney Griner home is a “stupid” and “totally one-side transaction” because it did not include US Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Donald Trump slams Brittney Griner deal after ignoring Paul Whelan for two years

Ex-anti-abortion lobbyist tells House committee of ‘stealth missionaries’ at Supreme Court

01:35 , Oliver O'Connell

An Evangelical minister and former longtime anti-abortion activist told members of Congress that he helped recruit wealthy conservative donors to serve as “stealth missionaries” at the US Supreme Court, where they developed friendships with conservative justices that aligned with the group’s “social and religious” views.

Alex Woodward reports.

Minister testifies to Congress about ‘stealth’ campaign to influence Supreme Court

ICYMI: Trump Organization found guilty of criminal tax fraud

00:35 , Oliver O'Connell

A New York City jury has convicted two subsidiaries of former president Donald Trump’s eponymous real estate and licensing company, the Trump Organization, on charges stemming from what prosecutors described as a sweeping, multi-decade scheme to avoid paying payroll taxes by compensating top executives with untaxed benefits such as housing and automobiles.

Jurors rendered a guilty verdict on all of the charges included in an indictment filed last year against the Trump Corporation, the Trump Payroll Corporation, and the Trump Organization’s long-time chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

Andrew Feinberg reports on the verdict.

Trump Organization found guilty on criminal tax fraud charges

Will Trump still hold sway over GOP primaries?

Thursday 8 December 2022 23:35 , Oliver O'Connell

With Donald Trump facing blame for some of the Republican Party’s midterm shortcomings, former Senate candidate David McCormick, who lost his primary in Pennsylvania to Trump-backed Dr Mehmet Oz, is considering running again.

Going forward, will the former president be able to hold sway over candidate selections in primaries the way he has in this past election cycle?

Trump blowback could carry less bite in 2024 for some in GOP

Jim Jordan challenged over ‘Kanye. Elon. Trump.’ tweet

Thursday 8 December 2022 23:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Swalwell called out Jim Jordan during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, asking him whether he will denounce Trump’s meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.

Mr Jordan said of Trump that “there’s no way this guy’s antisemitic” and claimed he is “the most pro-Israel president in history.”

When asked about the House Judiciary GOP Twitter post (“Kanye. Elon. Trump”), Mr Jordan claimed “that tweet was not our account and that tweet has been deleted.”

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Mar-a-Lago papers: ‘Outside firm’ found more classified documents in Trump storage unit

Thursday 8 December 2022 22:50 , Oliver O'Connell

A search of former president Donald Trump’s properties by a third-party firm retained by his legal team reportedly discovered at least two documents bearing classification markings in a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Florida used by the twice-impeached ex-president.

According to The Washington Post, Mr Trump’s team engaged the outside firm to search the ex-president’s properties — including his New Jersey and Manhattan residences for classified documents — after a federal judge ordered them to certify that he had complied with a grand jury subpoena to produce any such material in his possession.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Search by ‘outside firm’ found more classified documents in Trump storage unit

DoJ asks judge to hold Trump’s team in contempt over classified documents

Thursday 8 December 2022 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The Department of Justice has asked a judge to hold Donald Trump’s team in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena to return classified documents, according to a report.

Graeme Massie has the story.

Justice Department asks judge to hold Trump’s team in contempt over documents

‘Greed and cheating’ and expanding criminal probes target former president

Thursday 8 December 2022 22:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has spent decades trying to avoid criminal attachments, accusing his political enemies of launching spurious investigations despite a growing list of credible accusations of wrongdoing.

Are the former president’s actions finally catching up with him?

Alex Woodward reports.

Trump faces ‘greed and cheating’ convictions and expanding criminal probes

DoJ urges judge to hold Trump lawyers in contempt over Mar-a-Lago papers case

Thursday 8 December 2022 21:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Justice Department lawyers have urged a federal judge to hold Donald Trump’s legal team in contempt of court for not fully complying with a May subpoena to return all classified documents in his possession, The Washington Post reports citing people familiar with the matter.

The paper says it is a sign of how contentious the private talks between the two sides have become over whether the former president still holds any secret papers.

Prosecutors have put the request to US District Court Judge Beryl Howell, who had not yet held a hearing or ruled on it.

No plan for Trump team to appeal Mar-a-Lago special master ruling to Supreme Court

Thursday 8 December 2022 21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

CNN reports that former President Donald Trump does not plan to appeal to the Supreme Court a lower court order that put an end to the special master review of the documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate.

The network cites a source familiar with the matter.

A week ago a federal appeals court ended an independent review of the classified materials by the special master, which the Justice Department said was delaying its criminal investigation into the matter.

Mr Trump’s legal team had until today to appeal the decision to the nation’s highest court.

The Justice Department should now be able to proceed with its investigation.

Trump, who ignored Whelan for two years, says deal to return Griner to US was ‘stupid’

Thursday 8 December 2022 21:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Two years after his term in the White House ended without him mentioning his name, Donald Trump is now claiming the Biden administration’s prisoner swap to return wrongfully detained WNBA star Brittney Griner home is a ‘stupid’ and ‘totally one-side transaction’ because it did not include US Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan.

Andrew Feinberg has the full story.

Donald Trump slams Brittney Griner deal after ignoring Paul Whelan for two years

Conservatives angered by continued Whelan detention as Biden negotiates Griner release

Thursday 8 December 2022 21:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Russia has agreed to release former WNBA player Brittney Griner in a prisoner swap with the US. While Griner’s fans and loved ones are celebrating, there are some people who are upset by the developments, and they all just so happen to ideologically oppose Joe Biden.

Republicans — both lawmakers and media figures — took to social media to explain why Griner’s release was either unfair or a grave mistake.

Graig Graziosi reports.

Conservatives blast Biden over Brittney Griner release

Latest polling has DeSantis closing on Trump, but Biden holding up in one-on-one

Thursday 8 December 2022 20:49 , Oliver O'Connell

The latest YouGov/Yahoo 2024 Republican Party primary test of nine prospective candidates is out with polling percentages as follows:

Trump — 35

DeSantis — 30

Not sure — 12

Haley — 5

Pence — 5

Youngkin, Christie, Cheney, Pompeo — 2

Hogan — 1

In a head-to-head against President Joe Biden, the incumbent beats Trump 45 per cent to 42 per cent and ties with DeSantis.

The survey was conducted between 1-5 December and 1,635 adults were questioned.

Full results of the poll can be seen here.

Flynn testifies in Georgia election probe

Thursday 8 December 2022 20:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn appeared at a downtown Atlanta courthouse today to testify before a special grand jury that’s investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in the state of Georgia.

Michael Flynn testifies in Georgia election probe

Trump hits out at ‘stupid’ and ‘unpatriotic’ Griner prisoner swap

Thursday 8 December 2022 20:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump has lashed out at the prisoner swap agreement that saw WNBA star Brittney Griner released from Russia in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Mr Trump posted: “What kind of a deal is it to swap Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our Country, for the man known as “The Merchant of Death,” who is one of the biggest arms dealers anywhere in the World, and responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and horrific injuries. Why wasn’t former Marine Paul Whelan included in this totally one-sided transaction? He would have been let out for the asking. What a “stupid” and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!!!”

Mr Whelan was accused of spying and arrested in Russia in December 2018. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in June 2020 — during the Trump administration.

Unlike her brothers and father, Ivanka Trump’s finances no longer under court supervision

Thursday 8 December 2022 20:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s eldest daughter will no longer have her professional finances overseen by the court-appointed monitor assigned to prevent the Trump Organization from lying to banks or insurance companies or from hiding assets from New York State Attorney General Letitia James while her fraud lawsuit against the ex-president’s eponymous company is before the courts.

According to court documents, Ivanka Trump is now exempt from a 4 November court order enjoining the former president, his family, and his companies from “selling, transferring, or otherwise disposing of any non-cash assets” listed on the “statements of financial condition” that have been a focus of Ms James’ investigation and requiring a court-appointed monitor to ensure that any financial statements or valuations of assets submitted by the company are accurate.

Andrew Feinberg has the details.

Ivanka Trump no longer being supervised by monitor overseeing Trump Organization

Watch: Trevor Noah pokes fun at Donald Trump’s ‘genius’ running of Trump Organization

Thursday 8 December 2022 19:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Trevor Noah pokes fun at Donald Trump’s ‘genius’ running of Trump Organization

Jan 6 committee to meet on Sunday about criminal referrals

Thursday 8 December 2022 19:16 , Oliver O'Connell

January 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson says the panel plans to meet on Sunday to discuss criminal referrals.

There will be no announcement regarding who will be the subject of the referrals until the next hearing when they release their final report.

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After Warnock win, Georgia becomes a 2024 battleground

Thursday 8 December 2022 19:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Fresh off Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s runoff victory, Georgia Democrats are embracing — and Republicans are reluctantly accepting — the state’s transition from GOP stronghold to a premier battleground as the political calendar turns to the 2024 presidential cycle.

Read more:

Warnock win makes it official: Georgia is a '24 battleground

ICYMI: Rep Gosar deletes tweet endorsing Trump’s call to terminate Constitution

Thursday 8 December 2022 18:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Far-right Republican lawmaker Paul Gosar has deleted a tweet indicating his support for former President Donald Trump’s proposal that the United States terminate its constitution.

Mr Gosar was initially supportive of Mr Trump’s insistence that the Constitution be terminated because Twitter limited the reach of the Hunter Biden “scandal” during the closing stretch of the 2020 presidential election campaign.

Abe Asher reports on how the lawmaker then appeared to change his mind.

Far-right Rep Paul Gosar deletes tweet backing Trump’s call to terminate Constitution

Don Jr launches attack on Biden over Brittney Griner release

Thursday 8 December 2022 18:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump Jr whined about the deal to swap WNBA star Brittney Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in a series of posts on Twitter on Thursday morning, repeating some of his father Donald Trump’s favourite talking points about Mr Biden’s negotiating skills.

Bevan Hurley reports.

Donald Trump Jr launches frenzied attack on Biden over Brittney Griner release

What the Georgia Senate result means for Trump

Thursday 8 December 2022 17:35 , Oliver O'Connell

As another Trump pick for the Senate fails to win, Sean O’Grady looks at what this might mean for the former president going forward.

What the Georgia Senate result means for the Democrats – and Donald Trump

Trump lawyer confirms she’ll represent him in rape lawsuit

Thursday 8 December 2022 16:58 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump is facing a new lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll, a writer who has long accused him of assaulting and raping her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s, as well as of defaming her by claiming she is a “con job” who has made the allegation up.

With court proceedings on the way, a judge warned Mr Trump and his legal team that they needed to clarify which of his motley crew of variously well-known attorneys would actually be representing him in the case. And now, at last, it’s clear who will be stepping up to the plate: Alina Habba, who has become a key figure in the Mar-a-Lago documents saga thanks to her many public statements about the Department of Justice’s investigation into Mr Trump’s hoarding of documents.

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While the statute of limitations on the alleged incident has expired, a new law in effect in New York state means that people who did not or could not file lawsuits over alleged abuse now have a chance to do so whenever they say it occurred. Ms Carroll availed herself of the law as soon as it kicked in.

Read more on Ms Carroll’s court action below.

E Jean Carroll files new rape lawsuit against Trump under NY’s Adult Survivors Act

Date of final Jan 6 report revealed

Thursday 8 December 2022 16:35 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump and his allies will receive an unhappy Christmas gift in the form of the January 6 committee’s final report, which chair Bennie Thompson has confirmed will be released on 21 December.

Mr Thompson’s committee colleague Zoe Lofgren recently confirmed that the panel will be releasing “everything”, meaning transcripts of its 1,000-plus witness interviews as well as other evidence, and that in the interests of transparency and public trust, it will be doing so at the same time as it transmits that evidence to the Department of Justice.

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Read more:

January 6 panel to release all evidence and transcripts alongside final report

ICYMI: Trump hosts QAnon influencer at Mar-a-Lago

Thursday 8 December 2022 15:59 , Andrew Naughtie

A prominent QAnon influencer and Pizzagate conspiracy theorist posed for photos with Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort following an event at the former president’s Florida compound

Liz Crokin continues to amplify a baseless conspiracy theory that emerged during the 2016 presidential election accusing Democratic officials and other figures of child sexual abuse, a vast online-driven conspiracy movement that fuelled the broader QAnon delusion.

“Tonight I had the privilege and honor to speak at America’s Future fundraiser to combat child trafficking at Mar-A-Lago,” Ms Crokin wrote in a post on her social media platforms with photos and videos of the event.

She said she discussed “Pizzagate, Balenciaga and what President Trump’s Administration did to combat human trafficking” during the event.

Read more from Alex Woodward.

Trump appears at Mar-a-Lago event with Pizzagate conspiracy theorist

Twitter reinstates notorious racist with Trumpworld ties

Thursday 8 December 2022 15:20 , Andrew Naughtie

Elon Musk’s Twitter continues to reopen its doors to some of the most notorious bigots who’ve previously been locked out of the platform, and the latest to be permitted back into their account is Laura Loomer, an Islamophobic extremist known for campaigning via attention-grabbing public stunts such as interrupting a congressional hearing.

But as writer Arieh Kovler points out, Ms Loomer is more than just a garden-variety troll: as well as being an associate of Nick Fuentes, whom Kanye West recently took to dinner with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, she has also modulated her views to keep pace with the shifting obsessions of the far right.

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Ms Loomer’s return comes just as Roger Stone, one of the most infamous figures on the American right, has also been allowed back on the platform. Josh Marcus reports.

Roger Stone claims he’s a ‘different man’ as Elon Musk welcomes him back to Twitter