Trump news - live: Madison Cawthorn facing House Ethics Committee investigation

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·22 min read
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Former president Donald Trump is facing a bipartisan backlash after he shared a post on his social media platform Truth Social seemingly calling for "civil war" in the United States.

Mr Trump "retruthed" a user's "civil war" comment on former Fox Nation host Lara Logan's post, which was a screengrab of El Salvadorian president Nayib Bukele's criticism of America.

"The most powerful country in the world is falling so fast, that it makes you rethink what are the real reasons," Mr Bukele wrote on Twitter. “Something so big and powerful can’t be destroyed so quickly, unless the enemy comes from within."

Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans tore into the 45th president for "calling for a civil war" following the 6 January Capitol insurrection.

"Any of my fellow Republicans wanna speak out now? Or are we just wanting to get through 'just one more election first'," asked Rep Adam Kinzinger.

Key Points

  • GOP candidates prepare for primaries tomorrow

  • Giuliani meets with Jan 6 committee for over nine hours

  • Michigan official claims Trump called for her execution

House Ethics Committee investigating cryptocurrency and sex allegations against Madison Cawthorn

19:13 , David Taintor

Andrew Feinberg reports on the latest headache for Rep Madison Cawthorn, who lost his primary election last week:

House Ethics Committee probing cryptocurrency and sex claims against Madison Cawthorn

Pence breaks with Trump in Georgia primary

18:30 , John Bowden

Mike Pence is joining the effort aimed at halting Donald Trump’s attempts to oust Georgia’s governor and install David Perdue, the state’s former US senator who has maintained that victory was “stolen” from Mr Trump in the state in 2020.

The former vice president is on the ground in the state on the eve of Georgia’s primary elections stumping for incumbent Brian Kemp, who earned Mr Trump’s ire in 2020 by refusing to call on the state legislature to launch an investigation into the 2020 election or overturn the state’s results.

Mr Perdue’s campaign appears to be trailing the incumbent by a significant margin and as a result Tuesday could represent the first major defeat of the former president in the 2022 election season.

Mo Brooks claims ‘honest mistake’ for mailers touting Trump endorsement

17:36 , John Bowden

Mo Brooks’s campaign in Alabama is claiming an “honest mistake” after a state news site obtained two mailers from the candidate that were received by voters in recent days touting an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who pulled his support for Brooks after the candidate called on voters to move on from complaints about the 2020 election.

Mr Trump’s Save America PAC issued a statement about the issue on Monday, writing: “Can’t do that, Mo!”, in a press release.

Mr Brooks’s campaign responded to the Alabama Political Reporter: “No mail would be or has been approved to go out with old or inaccurate information. The only letters using the endorsement were approved way before anything changed. Either the mail-house messed up sending an old mailer or USPS messed up delivering something that was supposed to be delivered months ago. Either way, it’s an honest mistake that wasn’t supposed to happen.”

From North Carolina: How a swing state Democrat is campaigning

17:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Cheri Beasley is the Democratic nominee to take a run at North Carolina’s open Senate seat, and having made it through last week’s primary, she is now on the air with an ad funded by Senate Democrats’ campaign operation.

The ad is a glimpse at the kind of messaging Democrats are using in states and districts Donald Trump won or nearly won in the last election. Many in the party are worried that slogans like “defund the police” have hurt them among voters who rank crime high on their list of concerns, and Ms Beasley’s ad takes the opposite approach to say the least...

Kinzinger lays into Trump fans alluding to “civil war"

16:41 , Andrew Naughtie

Adam Kinzinger, who aside from being one of Donald Trump’s staunchest Republican critics is also a military pilot, has called out fans of the former president who are defending him after he shared a Truth Social post about “civil war”...

Fashion police: Trump rants at Birx about credibility and scarves

16:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Dr Deborah Birx has long been slated by Trump critics for not only standing by his side during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic but for celebrating his supposed acumen in various interviews even as the crisis raged out of control and the then-president suggested the virus could be cured by ingesting disinfectant or “bringing light inside the body”.

Mr Trump himself, however, is no fan either, especially not since Dr Birx published a book about her experiences in the administration.

Pence gives strongest indication yet of 2024 plans

15:38 , Andrew Naughtie

Mike Pence has essentially been on low-key speaking tour of the US ever since the end of his vice presidency, and while he has shied away from explicitly and directly condemning Donald Trump in public, he has stuck to his guns about his actions on 6 January 2021, when he eventually oversaw the certification of the electoral college votes in Joe Biden’s favour.

That has left the door open to speculation about Mr Pence’s possible intentions to make a presidential run of his own. And now, the New York Times’s Jonathan Martin reports that the ex-vice president has given his clearest indication yet that a campaign may be on the table.

Mr Pence is today campaigning in Georgia for Brian Kemp, the incumbent governor who refused to endorse the lie that the election was stolen. Mr Kemp looks set to cruise to victory over a Trump-backed challenger, David Perdue.

Trump still complaining about slow Pennsylvania count

15:10 , Andrew Naughtie

The Pennsylvania senate matchup between Dr Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick has still not yielded a result, and Donald Trump is growing steadily more frustrated. He has called on Dr Oz, whom he endorsed over the objections of many conservatives, to declare victory prematurely in an attempt to delegitimize the mail-in ballots that have contributed to the slow count.

Here’s one of the recent Truth Social posts giving a flavour of the ex-president’s disdain:

Trump posts about Oz-McCormick near-tie on Truth Social (Truth Social)
Trump posts about Oz-McCormick near-tie on Truth Social (Truth Social)

ICYMI: Conway says Trump considered dropping out after 2016 Access Hollywood tape

14:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Back in late 2016 when the notorious Access Hollywood tape hit the media, it briefly looked as if leading Republicans might try and force Donald Trump off their presidential ticket, replacing him with Mike Pence and drafting in another vice presidential candidate to take on Hillary Clinton without Mr Trump’s baggage.

Of course, the effort ultimately came to nothing. But according to former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, who was helping lead the campaign at the time, the ex-president himself considered backing out of the race. In her telling, Ms Conway responded: “You actually can’t unless you want to forfeit and throw the whole damn thing to Hillary... I know you don’t like to lose, but I also know you don’t like to quit.”

Read more from Graeme Massie.

Trump considered quitting 2016 race over Access Hollywood tape, Kellyanne Conway says

Trump rants about Twitter as Musk sale stumbles on

14:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump has said he will not be returning to Twitter even if Elon Musk reinstates his account there, instead insisting that Truth Social is the place for conservatives to be if they want to hear from him directly (though he only started posting on the platform after Mr Musk’s buyout became news).

In a new “truth” posted to the platform but also shared via email with supporters who don’t use it, Mr Trump has delivered another rant about Twitter that manages to fold in criticism of one of his most hated enemies: New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has successfully had the president fined for refusing to turn over documents in accordance with a subpoena.

Donald Trump drops a “truth” about Twitter (Truth Social)
Donald Trump drops a “truth” about Twitter (Truth Social)

Jan 6 hearings slowly coming into view

13:35 , Andrew Naughtie

The first of the 6 January committee’s long-awaited series of public hearings will come on 9 June, but details of what the sessions will entail have so far been scant. But now the Guardian reports that the committee plans to hold a total of six sessions, the first and last of which will be broadcast at 8pm ET for the benefit of prime-time TV viewers:

According to the draft schedule, the June public hearings will explore Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, starting and ending with prime time hearings at 8pm on the 9th and the 23rd. In between, the panel will hold 10am hearings on the 13th, 15th, 16th and 21st.

The select committee appears to be planning for the hearings to be extensive affairs. The prime time hearings are currently scheduled to last between 1.5 and 2 hours and the morning hearings between 2 and 2.5 hours.

A select committee member will lead each of the hearings, the sources said, but top investigative lawyers who are intimately familiar with the material will primarily conduct the questioning of witnesses to keep testimony tightly on track.

Read the report below.

Conway on Kushner: “No subject he considered beyond his expertise"

12:56 , Andrew Naughtie

Jared Kushner’s role at the centre of the Trump administration saw him getting involved in all sorts of policy areas, from Middle East diplomacy (where some major breakthroughs were made) to the Covid-19 emergency response (where his efforts to procure PPE for the government proved disastrous).

Now, Mr Kushner has been slated by Kellyanne Conway, who describes him in her new book “as someone who, as the president’s son-in-law, knew that no matter how disastrous a personnel change or legislative attempt may be, he was unlikely to be held accountable for it”.

Mr Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump were often mocked for their sometimes imperious behaviour on foreign visits, where they appeared alongside or even on behalf of Donald Trump at important events that usually do not host family members.

Kellyanne Conway skewers ‘shrewd and calculating’ Jared Kushner in new book

Ted Cruz spurns other right-wingers on Ukraine

12:22 , Andrew Naughtie

There is an open rift in the Republican Party over how invested the US should be in the fate of Ukraine. Some are specifically sceptical of sending huge quantities of financial aid, as 86 senators voted to do last week, but others have more intense objections, with figures like Tucker Carlson questioning why the US should care about Ukraine at all.

The correlation between intensity of conservatism and bearishness is, however, not perfect: among those at the more orthodox anti-Russian end of the scale is none other than Ted Cruz, who has put out a muscular statement explaining why he views Ukraine as worth standing up for.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate suggests firing squads for traitors

11:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Georgia’s gubernatorial primary tomorrow looks to have been locked up by incumbent Brian Kemp, who has been largely untroubled by a primary challenge from Donald Trump’s preferred candidate, former senator David Perdue. But the two men aren’t the only Republicans in the field.

Running alongside them (and far behind in the polls) is Kandiss Taylor, a far-right candidate who this weekend suggested executing sheriffs by firing squad if they failed to do the people’s will. As extremism expert Mark Pitcavage notes, that idea (which revolves around a false claim about the constitution) has deep roots in hardcore far-right anti-government movements.

Ms Taylor, who has the endorsement of unhinged Trump backer Mike Lindell, also insisted that separation of church and state – a core founding principle of the American republic – was an aberrant idea, declaring to her supporters that “the church runs the state of Georgia”.

Is Mo Brooks bouncing back from Trump’s un-endorsement?

11:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Alabama congressman and Senate candidate Mo Brooks was sinking in the GOP primary polls even before Donald Trump dropped him, a choice the president chalked up to Mr Brooks’ call for supporters to “move on” from talking constantly about the 2020 election and focus on winning in the future. However, Mr Brooks has benefited from ample outside ad spending, as well as high name recognition, to stay in the race, and he now appears to be rising again in the polls.

Alongside the big-spending Club for Growth, which has poured millions of dollars into supporting him, Mr Brooks has attracted support from other right-wing heavy hitters like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ted Cruz, who will be campaigning for him in Alabama today.

If Mr Brooks wins, it will prove again that Mr Trump’s favour does not perfectly track candidates’ performance – though the fact that Mr Brooks has still campaigned with pictures of himself speaking at the White House on 6 January 2021 indicates that catering to the Trump base is still very much his method.

The primary vote is tomorrow. Read more about the race below.

GOP primary race for Alabama Senate seat turns bitter

Trump pays $110,000 fine after being held in contempt

10:30 , Andrew Naughtie

Former president Donald Trump has paid the $110,000 fine he was hit with after being held in contempt by a New York judge for failing to turn over documents to investigators.

The former president was held in contempt on 25 April after failing to comply with a subpoena that he hand over papers to investigators carrying out a civil financial investigation for the office of New York’s attorney general Letitia James.

The documents are related to Mr Trump’s personal finances and the financing of several of his namesake company’s properties.

Judge Arthur Engoron fined Mr Trump $10,000 a day until 6 May, and agreed several days later to lift the contempt order if the fine was paid and additional affidavits in the case were filed by Friday.

Is Trump to blame for the baby formula shortage?

09:45 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

As Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s majorities in the House and Senate continue to face heat over rising consumer prices and a sudden shortage of baby formula triggered by plant shutdown and recall centred in Michigan, some liberals are focusing their fire on another target: Donald Trump.

Infant formula in the US is dominated by domestic manufacturers; foreign manufacturers make up only a few percentage points of the total US market share for baby formula, largely due to strict Food and Drug Administration standards for both content and labelling that restricts many European companies from the market.

The former president is facing criticism from some left-leaning figures on Twitter due to a trade agreement, the 2020 United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), which established new trading rules for business and trade across North America and placed heavy restrictions on Canada’s dairy sector, long a target of criticism on the US conservative right due to its government-imposed price and import controls.

John Bowden reports.

Is Trump to blame for the baby formula shortage?

Rudy Giuliani meets with 6 January committee for over nine hours

09:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Rudy Giuliani, who took the lead in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in his capacity as the former president’s onetime personal attorney, has met with the congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot.

On Friday, Mr Giuliani appeared for a lengthy nine-hour-long interview with the House select committee investigating the 6 January 2021 attack on Congress as lawmakers met to certify election results.

The interview was confirmed by two sources and comes after Mr Giuliani backed out of a previously scheduled appearance, CNN reported.

Oliver O’Connell has more.

Rudy Giuliani meets with Jan 6 committee for over nine hours

Trump responds to claim Clinton approved leak of Russia allegations

06:44 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former president Donald Trump was furious after Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager admitted in federal court on Friday that the Clinton campaign, authorised by the candidate herself, was responsible for leaking a story to journalists about the possibility of connections between him and a Russian bank.

Ms Clinton’s ex-top deputy, Robby Mook, was testifying in the trial of Michael Sussman, a former lawyer for the Clinton campaign now indicted for lying to the FBI as part of special counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Mr Mook’s testimony on Friday concerned the publication of an article in Slate on 31 October 2016, just days before voters headed to the polls and elected Donald Trump.

“This is one of the greatest political scandals in history,” said the former president in an interview with Fox News. “For three years, I had to fight her off, and fight those crooked people off, and you’ll never get your reputation fully back.”

“Where do I get my reputation back?” he questioned, complaining: “[I]f we had real leadership, instead of people like Mitch McConnell, they would do something about it. And guys like Bill Barr. They would have done something about it.”

Ellison plotted with Trump aides on call about overturning election

06:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Larry Ellison, the billionaire chairman of tech giant Oracle, was reportedly involved in a phone call that focused on the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election’s legitimate results.

The call took place on 14 November 2020, less than a week after Election Day resulted in Mr Trump’s stunning defeat in previous GOP strongholds like Arizona and Georgia, The Washington Post reported.

Others on the call included Jay Sekulow, an attorney for the White House, as well as Fox News’s Sean Hannity and Sen Lindsey Graham.

Mr Ellison has never commented publicly about the 2020 election’s legitimacy, but is known to be a supporter of Donald Trump and has previously fundraised for the one-term Republican president.

John Bowden reports.

Billionaire Larry Ellison plotted with Trump aides on call about overturning election

Michigan election official claims Trump called for her execution

06:09 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Michigan’s top election official has claimed Donald Trump called for to be arrested for treason and “executed” after she refused to overturn his 2020 loss to Joe Biden.

Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who is Michigan’s state secretary, said she was told about the one-term president’s remarks from a source familiar with the White House meeting she alleges it was said in.

“It was surreal and I felt sad,” Ms Benson told NBC News.

“It certainly amplified the heightened sense of anxiety, stress and uncertainty of that time — which I still feel in many ways, because it showed there was no bottom to how far he [Trump] and his supporters were willing to stoop to overturn or discredit a legitimate election.”

Graeme Massie has more.

Top Michigan election official claims Trump called for her execution

Filing says Trump handwrote notes about overturning 2020 election

05:57 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Ahead of the 6 January select committee’s hearings about the Capitol riot, a new court filing from lawyer John Eastman has revealed that Donald Trump handwrote notes about strategies to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr Eastman is trying to shield hundreds of documents from the panel’s investigation, claiming they fall under attorney-client privilege. Among those he is withholding are emailed copies of handwritten notes from the then-president “about information that he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation” over the result.

In a 50-page brief filed last Thursday, Mr Eastman claims to have communicated with Mr Trump through “six conduits to or agents of the former president,” and argued that his communications with those individuals should also be shielded because their involvement was “necessary” to facilitate his contact with the then-chief executive.

Trump considered dropping out of 2016 race after locker room tape emerged, says Kellyanne Conway

05:33 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump considered dropping out of the 2016 presidential race after the leak of the notorious Access Hollywood tape, according to former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway’s new memoir.

On the tape, which was released just days before Americans went to the polls, the one-term president was heard boasting about his behaviour towards women.

In a 2005 conversation his TV host Billy Bush, Mr Trump was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women “by the p****, kissing women before they could stop him, and “moving on” a married woman “like a b****.”

Ms Conway writes in Here’s The Deal that Mr Trump was concerned that the Republican Party “could force him off the ticket or hold a vote to expel him”, according to an excerpt obtained by Daily Beast.

Graeme Massie reports.

Trump considered quitting 2016 race over Access Hollywood tape, Kellyanne Conway says

Trump under fire for ‘civil war’ post

05:23 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans tore into the former president after he shared a post on his social media platform that suggested a “civil war”.

“Any of my fellow Republicans wanna speak out now? Or are we just wanting to get through ‘just one more election first’,” asked Trump critic and Republican leader Adam Kinzinger.

Democrat Eric Swalwell, accusing Mr Trump of “calling for civil war”, wrote: “Of course, like Vietnam and the walk to the Insurrection, he won’t be man enough to fight it.”

Cindy Banyai, Democrat candidate for Florida, wrote: “I condemn former president Trump’s actions promoting civil war.”

Trump shares post ‘calling for civil war’

05:10 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Former president Donald Trump has shared a post on his social media platform Truth that appeared to propose or predict a civil war in the US, triggering an uproar.

The “truth” shared by the former president on Sunday was from an anonymous account with the name ‘Maga king Thanos’.

The post contained a screengrab of a 19 March tweet from El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, where he is asking how “the most powerful country in the world is falling so fast,” responding to a news update about inflation.

Stuti Mishra has more.

Trump under fire for sharing post ‘calling for civil war’ over US inflation

04:35 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

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