Trump news - live: Report slams $700m Covid loan as McCarthy faces right-wing wrath

·37 min read

A new congressional report has detailed how senior officials in the Trump administration – including chief of staff Mark Meadows and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin – intervened to send $700m in Covid-19 relief funds to a struggling trucking firm despite objections from the Department of Defence.

Meanwhile, the 6 January select committee is reportedly considering how to try and obtain testimony from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after further leaked audio showed him discussing Mr Trump’s responsibility for the 6 January riot – and calling for extremist members of his caucus to be banned from Twitter.

New audio released last night included Mr McCarthy worrying aloud that some House Republicans were inciting violence, particularly singling out Florida’s Matt Gaetz, whom he said was “putting people in jeopardy”.

Mainstream Republican House members have so far declined to turn on their leader publicly, but Mr Gaetz has already come out swinging against Mr McCarthy, complaining that he and his deputy Steve Scalise “held views about President Trump and me that they shared on sniveling calls with Liz Cheney, not us.”

Key points

  • Republicans fear a Trump return to an Elon Musk-owned Twitter

  • US Capitol riots panel to hold public hearings in June, says chairman

  • Morgan plays full footage of Trump interview exit; attacks ex-president’s aide

  • Piers Morgan hits out at The Independent

Trump feared killer tomatoes: ‘It’s very violent stuff’

19:30 , Justin Vallejo

Windmills are apparently not the only benign object that former president Donald Trump considers potentially lethal threats to human life.

In a transcript of a deposition he gave as part of a lawsuit against protesters allegedly assaulted by his private security guards in front of his eponymous New York City skyscraper, the twice-impeached ex-president was asked about his exhortation to attendees at a February 2016 campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to “knock the crap” out of anyone they might see preparing to throw a tomato”.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Trump described fear of being hit by killer tomatoes during deposition

Boeing CEO says it should have refused Trump’s Air Force One deal that has cost it $660m

19:00 , Justin Vallejo

Boeing’s CEO says the company should have refused Donald Trump’s Air Force One deal that has so far cost it $660m to build two presidential airplanes.

Dave Calhoun spoke frankly about the company’s huge loss on converting two 747 airliners for the White House on a quarterly earnings call on Wednesday.

“Air Force One I’m just going to call a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation, a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken,” Calhoun said.

“But we are where we are, and we’re going to deliver great airplanes. And we’re going to recognise the costs associated with it.”

Graeme Massie has the story.

Boeing CEO says it should have refused Trump’s Air Force One deal that cost it $660m

Watch: Tucker Carlson calls Kevin McCarthy 'a puppet of the Democratic party'

18:30 , Justin Vallejo

“Kevin McCarthy of California told his good friend Liz Cheney that he hopes the social media companies would censor more conservative Republicans in Congress,” Tucker Carlson says. Watch the full clip below.

Boebert met Trump advisers before Jan 6 to discuss whether Pence could override votes

18:29 , Justin Vallejo

The Colorado congresswoman who tweeted about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location during the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 met with Trump White House officials in the days leading up to the 6 January joint session of Congress that was interrupted by the attack.

According to a transcript of an interview with ex-Trump White House official Cassidy Hutchinson by members of the House select committee investigating the attack, Republican Representative Lauren Boebert was among the GOP members of Congress who met with White House officials to discuss how then-vice president Mike Pence could keep from certifying Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Lauren Boebert met Trump advisers before Jan 6 to discuss overturning election

New York says its wrapping up probe into Trump's "Russian nesting doll" finances

18:06 , Justin Vallejo

The New York State Attorney General’s Office is close to unravelling the Trump Organization’s "Russian nesting doll" finances, according to reports.

Attorneys said they still waiting to search two cell phones belonging to Donald Trump, plus the laptop of a long time executive assistant, after they were pressed on why the three-year investigation was taking so long.

"The process is near the end," Kevin Wallace, senior enforcement counsel at the New York State Attorney General’s Office, told a judge on Monday, according to CNN.

Trump on Monday was held in civil contempt and fined $10,000 per day until he hands over documents requested in a subpoena for the investigation into his real estate company.

"Given the upcoming end of the tolling agreement we will likely need to bring some kind of enforcement action in the near future to preserve our rights," Mr Wallace added, referencing an agreement to pause the statute of limitations, which ends on Saturday.

New York state Judge Arthur Engoron questioned where the investigation was going given it has taken so long since brought by Attorney General Letitia James, who campaigned on aggressively investigating Trump’s businesses and finances.

Opinion: Democrats should never have backed off in Utah

17:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Utah Democrats took a major step recently when they decided not to put forward a US Senate candidate this year and instead endorse Evan McMullin, a centre-right independent candidate who already benefits from a high profile in the state.

Writing forThe Independent, Skylar Baker-Jordan takes exception to their decision.

Instead of challenging incumbent Republican Mike Lee directly, Democrats in the Beehive State have endorsed independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin. This despite the fact that a willing Democrat, Kael Weston, was seeking the party’s nomination.

This is not just bad politics, but it is almost an unforgivable betrayal of not only the party’s base — especially those of us who live in rural America. The Democratic Party is essentially waving the white flag of defeat, admitting that it is too out-of-step with the people of Utah to win there. Worse, they’re admitting that they have no desire to change that.

Rather than find a way to build bridges and make inroads into rural America, the Democratic Party just gave up on it.

Read his take below.

Democrats have turned tail and run out of Utah. It’s shameful | Skylar Baker-Jordan

Oklahoma Republicans cheer candidate who calls for Fauci’s execution

17:25 , Andrew Naughtie

The chairman of Oklahoma’s Republican Party, John Bennett, was in a good mood when he addressed a crowd recently as he campaigns for a congressional seat. In his speech he railed against “communist Democrats and establishment RINOS” and claimed to be “fighting against a system that stole the election in 2020”.

But his remarks took a truly sinister turn when he began talking about the Covid-19 pandemic and specifically Dr Anthony Fauci.

“And by the way,” he said, “we should try Anthony Fauci and put him in front of a firing squad.”

He added: “And for the Secret Service, if they’re listening, I’m not advocating we kill Anthony Fauci… until he’s convicted of his crimes through a court.”

Bevan Hurley has more.

Republicans cheer as GOP candidate says Fauci should be executed by firing squad

Madison Cawthorn defends himself against “ridiculous, salacious lies” on Instagram

16:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Freshman Republican congressman and right-wing agitator Madison Cawthorn has had a rough few months, what with being reprimanded by House leader Kevin McCarthy for accusing his colleagues of partaking in cocaine-fuelled orgies while also being pulled multiple times by police for driving on a revoked licence.

As he faces a great deal of pressure from less extreme Republicans who would like to see him removed from the House of Representatives, Mr Cawthorn has taken to Instagram to inform his followers about the supposedly dishonest effort to smear him as he fights a “culture battle”.

“These are people who obviously don’t understand what’s going on,” he says. “I do not make any apologies formaking sure that we cultivate a following across all platforms, trying to reach out to my generation, who is the most medicated, addicted, the most depressed, the most suicidal generation that’s ever lived.”

Watch his video below...

McCarthy defends himself to “standing ovation"

16:20 , Andrew Naughtie

Kevin McCarthy may have enraged Matt Gaetz and certain other hard-right Republicans, but it seems he is hardly on the edge of being thrown off his leadership perch – to go by reporting from CNN’s Melanie Zanona, anyway.

It remains the case that despite the direct and obvious contradictions between the post-6 January audio recordings and almost everything Mr McCarthy has said in public since, the mainstream of the House GOP has yet to show any sign of turning on him.

Read more below from Bevan Hurley.

Republicans cheer as GOP candidate says Fauci should be executed by firing squad

Is Trump’s Vance endorsement paying off?

15:59 , Andrew Naughtie

For the bulk of the campaign, Hillbilly Elegy author and sometime “never Trumper” JD Vance failed to make inroads in the Ohio Senate primary despite tacking harder to the right than anyone expected – but according to polling from Fox News, the late-in-the-game Trump endorsement he secured may have vaulted him to the top of the field.

As reported by the network, the numbers show Mr Vance polling at 23 per cent to his nearest competitor’s 18 per cent – nearly doubling his figure from just a month ago.

Interestingly, the right-wing Club for Growth, which backs the equally right-wing former frontrunner Josh Mandel, is now going live with ads directly criticizing Mr Trump for backing Mr Vance.

Report: Trump admin funnelled Covid funds to company with White House ties

15:18 , Andrew Naughtie

A newly released congressional report claims that back in 2020, the Trump administration wrongly sent $700m in pandemic relief funds to a struggling trucking company even as the Department of Defence objected.

The report focuses on the process by which the trucking company now known as Yellow received relief funds earmarked for “national security” despite misgivings from outside the White House.

Read more below from Andrew Feinberg.

Top Trump officials pushed for $700m ‘national security’ loan to trucking company

Stefanik brushes off McCarthy question in style

14:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Elise Stefanik, the once-moderate Republican who became a full-on Trumpist and supplanted Liz Cheney in the House GOP leadership, was intercepted by a reporter this morning as she headed into work at the Capitol Hill Club – and when asked about her thoughts on the audio of Mr McCarthy and Ms Cheney discussing Donald Trump’s responsibility for the 6 January riot, she was remarkably unflapped.

Jan 6 committee chair would still welcome McCarthy’s testimony

14:20 , Andrew Naughtie

Kevin McCarthy has already declined to speak to the 6 January select committee as a witness to the events of the Capitol riot, but it seems the panel’s members are not giving up just yet.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, chairman Bennie Thompson said he and his colleagues were still intending to ask Mr McCarthy to appear voluntarily. He also confirmed that the committee’s work, which has mostly taken place behind closed doors, is moving at an unexpected clip.

Watch: Tucker Carlson rounds on Kevin McCarthy over awkward audio

13:49 , Andrew Naughtie

Newly released recordings of Kevin McCarthy blaming Donald Trump for the 6 January insurrection and describing some of his own members as potential security threats have infuriated many on the right – among them Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who has long trafficked in conspiracy theories about the 6 January insurrection and hauled anyone who questions his preferred narrative of the event over the coals on live TV.

Mr Carlson’s disgust at Mr McCarthy frothed over on his show last night, pre-empting the public reactions of some of the right-wing members the would-be speaker mentioned by name in his unambiguously damning comments.

Utah Senate candidate hits GOP incumbent over Meadows texts

13:11 , Andrew Naughtie

Evan McMullin, the independent candidate who’s challenging hardline GOP Utah Senator Mike Lee in November, is running hard on the revelation that Mr Lee was in frequent contact with Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 election. Texts from Mr Meadows’s phone released as part of the 6 January investigation appeared to show Mr Lee asking Mr Meadows for advice on talking points as the Trump team embarked on their effort to subvert the election result.

Mr McMullin, who ran for president in several states including Utah in 2016, has been endorsed by Utah’s Democratic Party as the best hope against Mr Lee in the fall.

Hardcore Republican Congressman stopped with gun in airport – again

12:41 , Andrew Naughtie

Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who has lately been in trouble for offences including driving on a revoked licence and accusing his GOP colleagues of taking cocaine at work and inviting him to sex parties, was yesterday stopped at an airport in Charlotte, North Carolina because he had packed a loaded 9mm handgun in his luggage. He was apparently given a citation.

A similar incident happened last year at Asheville regional airport, again involving a 9mm in his carry-on luggage.

Nathan Place has the story.

Madison Cawthorn stopped with gun at North Carolina airport

Donald Trump Jr stands firm with controversial Senate candidate

12:01 , Andrew Naughtie

Despite horrific allegations of domestic abuse and worries from mainstream Republicans that he could lose a winnable race, former Missouri governor Eric Greitens is determined to stay in the GOP primary for the state’s open US Senate seat.

And while Donald Trump has yet to endorse anyone in the contest, the ex-president’s oldest son appears to be all in, sharing a video of himself and the Senate hopeful at an outdoor firing range.

Polling indicates that the primary to run for retiring Republican Roy Blunt’s seat is currently a three-way tie, raising the possibility that a full-blown Trump endorsement could put one candidate or another over the top. The vote will be held in August.

“Moderate” GOP Senator would let Trump back on Twitter

11:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Maine Republican Susan Collins, who has a reputation as one of her party’s most moderate senators and voted to convict Donald Trump over his impeachment after the 6 January riot, has said that the ex-president should get his Twitter profile back.

“Although I obviously don’t agree with a lot of President Trump’s tweets, I do think he should have his account back. To me, it’s ironic that we allow Russian government sites to be on Twitter but we don’t allow President Trump,” she told HuffPost.

Back in 2020, Ms Collins – who is no Trump fan – voted against convicting Mr Trump in his first impeachment, and drew flak for saying she hoped he had “learned his lesson” from the affair.

Eric Garcia has the story.

Susan Collins says that Trump should get his Twitter back

Anti-Trump Republicans mock McCarthy on his home turf

10:41 , Andrew Naughtie

The Republican Accountability Project, a campaign group of anti-Trump GOPers that’s targeting incumbents who toe the ex-president’s line, has launched an attack on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, putting up billboards in his congressional seat that attack him over the newly released recordings revealing what he really thought of the Capitol attack.

On the latest audio to emerge, Mr McCarthy can be heard suggesting that extreme members of his own House caucus should have their Twitter accounts removed – criticising specific representatives like Mo Brooks Louie Gohmert for their “incendiary” remarks around the time of the Capitol riot.

Catch up: Part 2 of the Trump-Morgan interview

10:00 , Andrew Naughtie

Andrew Feinberg watched the second part of Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump last night – and in case you had something else to do, he’s put together this summary of what was discussed.

Key takeaways from Trump’s interview with Piers Morgan

Susan Collins says that Trump should get his Twitter back

09:28 , Shweta Sharma

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine told HuffPost that former president Donald Trump should be allowed to have his Twitter account back.

The remarks come as Tesla magnate Elon Musk announced that he would buy the platform. Many conservatives have expressed hope the sale would mean that the former president would return to the social media platform.

Read Eric Garcia’s full report

Susan Collins says that Trump should get his Twitter back

Mexico's president imitates Trump in 'art of the deal'

09:15 , Shweta Sharma

Former US president Donald Trump cast himself as a master of “The Art of the Deal,” but his old buddy, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, may be taking over that title.

On Monday, Mr López Obrador became one of the few foreign leaders to say he genuinely liked Mr Trump.

“We understood each other, and it was good for both countries,” López Obrador said of Trump’s time in office.

Read full report

Mexico's president imitates Trump in 'art of the deal'

Biden reverses Trump rule and shuts down half of Alaska oil reserve to new drilling

08:30 , Shweta Sharma

The Biden administration has reversed a Trump-era rule and is shutting down almost half of a pristine Alaskan wildnerness area to fossil fuel drilling.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency under the Department of Interior, announced on Monday the closure of 48 per cent of the federally-owned National Petroleum Reserve, located on the edge of Arctic Ocean, to oil and gas projects.

The new guidelines reverse a December 2020 rule, issued in the waning days of the Trump administration, which saw 82 per cent of the 36,000-square mile tract opened to oil and gas development.

Ethan Freedman has the story.

Biden reverses Trump rule and shuts down half of Alaska oil reserve to new drilling

What McCarthy said in the leaked call

07:45 , Shweta Sharma

Top US House Republican Kevin McCarthy told colleagues he feared members of his party, including Representatives Matt Gaetz and Mo Brooks, would put other lawmakers at risk with their comments following the assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to a New York Times Report.

In his call with other Republican leaders days after the 6 January, 2021, riot, Mr McCarthy raised concerns about comments made by members closely aligned with Donald Trump after the then-president’s supporters stormed the Capitol.

“Calling out other members, that stuff’s got to stop,” Mr McCarthy said in a recording of the call published by the Times. “Tension is too high, the country is too crazy. I don’t want to look back and think we caused something and someone got hurt.”

Representative Steve Scalise, the No 2 House Republican, suggested Mr Gaetz’s comments could be illegal, according to the Times.

The offices of Mr McCarthy, Mr Scalise, Mr Gaetz and Mr Brooks did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The newspaper quoted Mr Brooks on Tuesday as dismissing the criticism, saying “Kevin McCarthy spoke before knowing the facts.”

The audio was obtained through reporting for a book by Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin.

Mr McCarthy has denied previous similar allegations.

Reuters

Jan 6 panel to give second invitation to McCarthy before considering action

06:30 , Shweta Sharma

The committee investigating the riots in the US Capitol is considering to send a second request GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to appear for an interview after he previously declined to voluntarily appear before the panel.

The panel is also looking at summoning a widening group of House Republicans for interviews, chairman Bennie Thompson said, as more information is emerging about their private conversations with the Trump White House in the run-up to the Capitol siege.

“We will probably look at engaging some of the lawmakers by invitation at this point, and we’ll go from there,” Mr Thompson said at the Capitol.

Mr Thompson said that the earlier invitation to Mr McCarthy was sent “before this latest revelation that was reported on tape.” He told reporters that “in all probability” Mr McCarthy would get another invitation.

Matt Gaetz rips into ‘sniveling’ McCarthy over leaked calls

05:45 , Shweta Sharma

Republican representative Matt Gaetz slammed Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Whip Steve Scalise after their leaked audio revealed concerns of a Florida man inciting violence on 6 January.

“Rep McCarthy and Rep. Scalise held views about President Trump and me that they shared on sniveling calls with Liz Cheney, not us,” Mr Gaetz wrote. “This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders.”

"While I was protecting President Trump from impeachment, they were protecting Liz Cheney from criticism," he argued. "On the bright side, you no longer have to be a lobbyist with a $5,000 check to know what McCarthy and Scalise really think. You just have to listen to their own words as they disparage Trump and the Republicans in Congress who fight for him."

Earlier on Tuesday, a New York Times report revealed details of a call of Mr McCarthy with GOP leadership on 10 January. Mr McCarthy said that Gaetz was “putting people in jeopardy”. He referred to Mr Gaetz and Mo Brooks of Alabama for endangering the security of other lawmakers and the Capitol complex.

US Capitol riots panel to hold public hearings in June, says chairman

05:02 , Shweta Sharma

The House of Representatives Select Committee that is investigating the 6 January 2021 riots on Capitol Hill is to likely hold public hearings in June before they will issue a final report, the chairman of the committee said on Tuesday.

The committee’s members previously said they were aiming for hearings in early spring.

Representative Bennie Thompson said that the panel is “still looking at probably early fall” for releasing the final report in the case.

The revised timeline would allow the panel to release the findings before the midterm elections that would be held on 8 November and would determine who would control the Congress for next two years.

The panel is investigating then-president Donald Trump’s role in the riots when thousands of his supporters attacked police and stormed into the building.

Biden’s plan to blunt migrant surge without Trump-era Covid order

04:00 , Justin Vallejo

The Biden administration plans to implement an “aggressive application of immigration law” as part of a government-wide plan to blunt an expected surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border after expiration of a Trump-era policy which closed the border to most migrants on public health grounds.

A memorandum authored by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlines the Department of Homeland Security’s role in leading a “whole-of- government plan to prepare for and manage increased encounters of noncitizens” starting on 23 May, when the Centers for Disease Control’s order barring most migrants from entering the country will no longer be enforced.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Biden plans ‘aggressive application of immigration law’ to blunt migrant surge

Madison Cawthorn caught with gun at North Carolina airport, report says

03:00 , Justin Vallejo

Rep Madison Cawthorn has been accused of bringing a gun into a North Carolina airport.

According to unnamed sources with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) who spoke to WSOC-TV, the loaded 9mm handgun was found in Mr Cawthorn’s luggage at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Tuesday morning. It is not clear whether the congressman will face charges, but the station said he’s been “cited.”

The news echoes a similar incident in February 2021, when TSA agents found a weapon – also a 9mm handgun – in Mr Cawthorn’s carry-on at Asheville Regional Airport. He was not charged over that incident.

Nathan Place has the story,

Madison Cawthorn caught with gun at North Carolina airport, report says

Watch: Trump says whether he’ll run again in 2024

02:00 , Justin Vallejo

”Let me just say this, I think a lot of people will be happy,” Trump says. But will he run? Watch the full exchange below.

Psaki hits out at Trump for spending $15bn on border wall

01:00 , Justin Vallejo

White House press secretary Jen Psaki slammed former president Donald Trump’s approach to managing the US immigration system on Monday in response to questioning about the situation the Biden administration is facing at the southern border today.

Under repeated questions about the death of a National Guardsman who drowned last week while attempting to assist migrants in the treacherous Rio Grande, Ms Psaki blamed the Trump White House for spending four years in power without passing meaningful immigration reform legislation through Congress.

“Well, I would just say — if we just dial it back a few years to, kind of, what we inherited here — the former president invested billions of dollars in a border wall that was never going to work or be effective, instead of working towards comprehensive immigration reform,” Ms Psaki said.

John Bowden has the story.

Psaki slams Trump for spending $15bn on border wall that ‘was never going to work’

Watch: Donald Trump says he's 'much more honest' than Piers Morgan

Wednesday 27 April 2022 00:00 , Justin Vallejo

”I think I’m a very honest man... much more honest than you actually,” Trump tells Morgan. “Because I don’t think you’re real”. Watch the full exchange below.

Trump accuses Piers Morgan of ‘overreacting’ after he walked off Good Morning Britain

Tuesday 26 April 2022 23:00 , Justin Vallejo

Piers Morgan’s new show Uncensored aired for the second time on TalkTV today (26 April), with the final instalment of his interview with one-term US president Donald Trump.

During the scattered interview, Trump said Morgan “overreacted” when he walked off the set of Good Morning Britain last year, after being confronted about negative remarks he’d made about Meghan Markle. “I thought you overreacted by the way,” said Trump.

Amanda Whiting has the story.

Donald Trump accuses Piers Morgan of ‘overreacting’ after he walked off GMB

Key takeaways from Trump’s interview with Piers Morgan

Tuesday 26 April 2022 22:00 , Justin Vallejo

Walking out, holes-in-one and Meghan Markle. The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg has the key takeaways from the Trump-Morgan tapes.

Key takeaways from Trump’s interview with Piers Morgan

Watch: How the Donald Trump Piers Morgan interview ended

Tuesday 26 April 2022 21:20 , Justin Vallejo

”One last question”, says Trump’s communications director off camer. It was not the last question. Watch the full exchange below.

Morgan plays full footage of Trump interview exit; attacks ex-president’s aide

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:53 , Justin Vallejo

Piers Morgan screened the second part of his interview with Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon, revealing that the former president did not storm out.

A heavily edited trailer for the interview released last week had appeared to suggest that Mr Trump had angrily walked out of the interview amid questions about his so-called “Big Lie” that he really won the 2020 election.

John Bowden has the story:

Confusion as Piers Morgan shows ending to Trump interview

‘All hell breaks loose’: Morgan plays full Trump walk out

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:36 , Justin Vallejo

“He was already simmering with anger about the confrontation about the alleged stolen election,” says Morgan before airing the full Trump walkout of the interview.

The host blamed the ex-president’s “incredibly incompetent” communications director Taylor Budowich for failing to handle the interview before “all hell breaks loose”.

“Listen, this was a 20-minute interview,” Trump said before Morgan distracted him with a question on a hole-in-one.

His seventh. Which isn’t that high, believe it or not.

“That’s was a great interview,” says Morgan.

“Yeah, it’s fine. Turn the camera off,” Trump replies before, indeed, leaving without saying goodbye and walking out.

But, was it storming out?

Trump calls Twitter ‘mentally ill’ for banning him while allowing Vladimir Putin

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:29 , Justin Vallejo

“Twitter’s now boring,” says Trump in the interview, which was recorded before Elon Musk’s takeover.

“They’re sick, they’re mentally ill, I really believe that,” he added in response to the company allowing Vladimir Putin and other authoritarians.

What is a woman? Trump gives his answer

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:26 , Justin Vallejo

Trump gave his answer to the toughest question in politics: What is a woman?

“I’m not going to respond to the question,” Trump says, before responding to the question. “But a woman is somebody that swims at a certain time and doesn’t get beaten by 30 seconds by somebody used to be a male.”

Whipped Prince Harry is an ‘embarassment’, says Trump

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:17 , Justin Vallejo

“Poor Harry is being led around by his nose, and I think he’s an embarassment,” Trump says, adding he’s never been a fan of Meghan Markle.

“He has been so disrespectful to the country, and it’s a great country, I own a lot of things there,” he adds. “It will be very interesting what happens.”

The Queen never had as much fun as sitting next to Trump, says Trump

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:15 , Justin Vallejo

“They’ve never seen her smile so much,” says Trump of his state visit.

“It was beautiful the pomp and ceremony, no body does it like the English, I don’t know what it is,” he says.

Trump dodges Prince Andrew ‘situation’

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:14 , Justin Vallejo

“It was a terrible thing, terrible for a lot of people,” Trump said when asked what he thought about the Prince Andrew “situation”.

Piers Morgan hits out at The Independent

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:09 , Justin Vallejo

The Talk TV host kicked off part II of his Donald Trump interview with a preamble against media criticism, including The Independent Holly Baxter calling his first episode “toe curlingly boring”.

“Her bosses didn’t seem to get the boring memo,” he said, referencing the 20+ stories published about the Trump interiew.

Deborah Birx says she was ‘paralysed’ during Trump’s rant about injecting disinfectant

Tuesday 26 April 2022 20:00 , Justin Vallejo

Dr Deborah Birx, White House Covid response coordinator for Donald Trump, says in a new interview that she felt “paralysed” in front of the cameras after her ex-boss suggested injecting disinfectants like bleach to kill the Covid-19 virus.

She spoke with Good Morning America in a wide-ranging interview published on Monday as part of her media tour for the promotion of her new book detailing her time in the Trump administration. Her book release follows a long line of similar publications from ex-Trump administration officials, mostly political appointees unlike Dr Birx, who have sought to capitalise on the allure of an “inside look” into the chaotic inner workings of the government under Mr Trump’s leadership.

John Bowden has the story.

Republicans fear a Trump return to an Elon Musk-owned Twitter

Tuesday 26 April 2022 19:30 , Justin Vallejo

While some Republicans took to publicly cheering Elon Musk’s $44bn purchase of Twitter as a major victory for free speech, there were some who viewed it with trepidation, according to reports.

For a series of top GOP insiders told Politico Playbook of their grave concerns about the new Musk-led Twitter becoming a haven to welcome back previously banned accounts, namely Donald Trump.

“If I’m a Democrat, I’d pray that Elon Musk puts Trump right back on Twitter,” an anonymous House GOP leadership aide told Politico, who asked to remain unidentified in order to speak freely.

Johanna Chisholm has the story.

Some Republicans fear a Trump return to an Elon Musk-owned Twitter, reports say

Garland pushes back on Hunter Biden questions

Tuesday 26 April 2022 18:57 , Andrew Naughtie

Appearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Merrick Garland found himself asked about supposed political interference from the White House in his department’s ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

That probe, which often dominates political coverage in the right-wing media ecosystem to the exclusion of stories unflattering to Donald Trump, is in fact being overseen by a Trump-appointed US Attorney in Delaware, as Mr Garland was at pains to stress.

Nearly 60 per cent of US voters would back independent candidate over Biden or Trump, poll finds

Tuesday 26 April 2022 18:51 , Justin Vallejo

A moderate independent or third-party presidential candidate could garner support from nearly six in ten Americans if voters are faced with a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election.

According to a newly-released survey of 1,966 registered voters conducted by Harvard University’s Centre for American Political Studies and Harris Poll, 58 per cent of respondents — including 47 per cent of Republicans, 60 per cent of Democrats, and 71 per cent of registered independents — said they would consider a “moderate independent candidate” in the 2024 election if faced with a repeat of the choice they were presented with in November 2020.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Donald Trump Jr shoots guns with embattled Missouri senate candidate

Tuesday 26 April 2022 17:59 , Justin Vallejo

Donald Trump Jr is going all in with his support for Eric Greitens, the embattled GOP candidate vying for his party’s nomination to the US Senate in Missouri.

The eldest Trump family scion posted a video of him at a shooting range with Mr Greitens on Monday. “Never skip range day,” Mr Trump Jr quipped in a caption.

The video was also shared by the candidate himself, who claimed that the pair was “striking fear into the hearts of liberals, RINOs, and the fake media.”

John Bowden has the story.

Donald Trump Jr shoots guns with Missouri senate candidate accused of domestic abuse

Famed artist’s son faces 6 January charges

Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:37 , Andrew Naughtie

Added to the list of hundreds of people facing charges over the 6 January Capitol riot is Vincent Gillespie, son of Gregory Gillespie, whose famous works are shown in some of the US’s foremost art museums.

The younger Mr Gillespie is accused of joining a group of protesters trying to break into a tunnel near the Capitol's Lower West Terrace. According to Mr Gillespie himself, the attack almost succeeded.

Read more below.

Son of famed American artist charged in connection to Capitol riot

Analysis: What the Pennsylvania pile-on tells us

Tuesday 26 April 2022 16:08 , Andrew Naughtie

In this morning’s dispatch for The Independent, Eric Garcia takes the measure of what happened on the Republican debate stage in Pennsylvania last night – and writes that the rancour between the candidates revealed far more than the depth of conservative contempt for Dr Mehmet Oz.

One of the most telling moments in the debate came when Sands hit Barnette for losing to a “weak, weak Democrat” in Representative Madeleine Dean. She contrasted that race and Dean with this year’s Democratic frontrunner Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, saying “he’s strong” and that she could beat him in the fall...

But Barnette replied by saying that the election was rigged, a popular position considering the Big Lie is alive and well among Republicans in the state. “Are saying that there was absolutely – that the 2020 [election] was above par?” she asked, rhetorically. “That there was no fraud, that there was no issues with that?”

Sands interrupted to remind her opponent to say that she had lost by roughly 20 points, and she was right about why: Pennsylvania’s 4th District is overwhelmingly blue and even under the new map, the district has a 13-point Democratic lean. But the Big Lie has now given any Republican – even those who lose by overwhelming margins in can’t-win districts – an excuse that they didn’t fail as a candidate, they just lost because the election was rigged.

Read the full analysis below.

Despite Trump endorsement, Dr Oz faces a Republican pile-on in Pennsylvania

Trump crashes Bannon interview

Tuesday 26 April 2022 15:25 , Andrew Naughtie

Far-right agitator Steve Bannon hosted American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp for an interview yesterday on his podcast The War Room, and god more than he bargained for when a polo-shirted Donald Trump loomed into the picture from over Mr Schlapp’s shoulder.

The joy on Mr Bannon’s face was unmistakeable.

Mr Bannon is currently facing contempt of Congress proceedings over his refusal to comply with a subpoena from the 6 January select committee.

Read more from Johanna Chisholm below.

Donald Trump crashes Steve Bannon’s interview with GOP activist

Opinion: Piers Morgan’s Trump interview was a toe-curling embarrassment

Tuesday 26 April 2022 15:00 , Andrew Naughtie

As the world awaits part two of Piers Morgan and Donald Trump’s pre-recorded interview, Holly Baxter writes that last night’s show was “the most toe-curlingly embarrassing TV you’ll ever see in your life”.

If you’re the kind of person who has to turn away during the worst parts of Borat, you won’t even get through the opening sequence. It opens with “white man railing against liberals” bingo: Winston Churchill quotes, “this is a no-cancel zone”, a clip from cricketer Shane Warne talking about the usual “PC gone mad” thing that ended with Morgan yelling into the camera: “You heard the man, fun police — get stuffed!”...

If conversations from 2019 being tediously rehashed and cold coals being raked over in the hope that one slightly tepid ember might remain are your thing, then you’re gonna enjoy everything about Piers Morgan’s new show. If you’re looking for something new, you might want to change to the shopping channel or something. Because it’s clear Morgan and his canceled-but-not-canceled mates desperately want you to huff their recreational outrage at a very special price. But any price is too high to pay for this stuff — trust me.

Read her take below.

The toe-curling embarrassment of Piers Morgan’s interview with Donald Trump

Hannity ridiculed over Meadows texts

Tuesday 26 April 2022 14:30 , Andrew Naughtie

The latest cache of post-election texts from Mark Meadows’s phone has once again cast an unflattering light on Fox News’s Sean Hannity, whose messages show him bluntly asking where he can help apply pressure in favour of the Trump team’s effort to overturn the 2020 result.

Arpan Rai has more.

Hannity mocked after leaked texts suggest he took orders from Trump’s White House

Georgia governor race proves that a Trump endorsement isn’t everything

Tuesday 26 April 2022 13:58 , Andrew Naughtie

Republican David Perdue, who lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff the day before the attack on the US Capitol, is now running a primary campaign against incumbent GOP Governor Brian Kemp – a former Trumpist who refused to toe the president’s line and falsely declare that the election in his state had been stolen.

Mr Perdue has made that issue the centrepiece of his campaign against Mr Kemp, and has earned Mr Trump’s endorsement with his loyalty. But despite all the former president’s goodwill and Mr Perdue’s aggressive tactics at a recent TV debate, it seems the effort to take revenge on Mr Kemp is failing.

Watch: Trump-backed Dr Oz slammed by rival Republican

Tuesday 26 April 2022 13:30 , Andrew Naughtie

Dr Mehmet Oz may have won Donald Trump’s endorsement in the all-important Pennsylvania Senate race, but that has hardly endeared him to conservatives disgusted at his previous positions on abortion, gun control and other issues.

He is now trying to fashion himself into an ally of the “America first” agenda, but at last night’s debate, he was hit hard by his main rival David McCormick – in a clip that will surely make it into the odd campaign ad.

Biden aide called the Squad “f***ing idiots” – report

Tuesday 26 April 2022 12:49 , Andrew Naughtie

Another incendiary revelation from This Will Not Pass relates not to Donald Trump and his party, but to the Biden White House, where outgoing aide Cedric Richmond reportedly referred to the progressive “Squad” of House members as “f***ing idiots” after the Sunrise Movement complained about his appointment, writing on Twitter that Mr Richmond had “taken big money from the fossil fuel industry, cozied up [with] oil and gas, [and] stayed silent while polluters poisoned his own community.”

Spokespeople for Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to requests for comment.

Read more from Andrew Feinberg below.

Biden adviser called Squad members ‘f***ing idiots’, new book claims

Report: Republicans fear Trump return to Twitter

Tuesday 26 April 2022 12:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Politico has been ringing around Capitol Hill to gauge the Republican reaction to Elon Musk’s Twitter buyout – and even as hardline supporters like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan call openly for the president to return to the platform, it seems others in their party are downright appalled by the idea:

On Monday night, in a series of calls and texts with several top GOP insiders, every single one of them told us that they hoped the former president stays the hell away from Twitter, lest he sink their chances at flipping the House and Senate. Some of his allies even think that a return to his old Twitter habits could damage his own brand ahead of a possible third presidential bid in 2024.

“If I’m a Democrat, I’d pray that Elon Musk puts Trump right back on Twitter,” said one House GOP leadership aide, who asked not to be named to speak candidly. “I don’t think it costs Republicans the House, but it certainly will elevate Trump’s opinions — and is going to put Republican candidates and members back having to answer for that.”

The person added: “It’s enough to create headaches — and it’s enough to probably cost us a couple seats.”

Read the report here.