Trump news - today: House Democrats obtain Trump’s tax returns as Fuentes meeting backlash grows

Criticism continues to pour in after the former president hosted a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with Kanye West, who has gone on an antisemitic rampage of late, and his associate Nick Fuentes, one of the US’s most notorious white supremacist activists.

On Tuesday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the meeting and said that it may have ruined Donald Trump’s chances in 2024.

“Anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

House Republican Leader took a weaker stance – condemning Mr Fuentes but refusing to condemn Mr Trump and falsely claiming that the former president had condemned the white supremacist “four times”. Mr Trump has not done so even once.

As the fallout over the meeting continued, over in Washington DC Mr Trump’s former adviser Stephen Miller was testifying before a grand jury investigating the January riot – where a mob of supporters of his boss stormed the Capitol to try to overturn the 2020 election.

In a landmark verdict, two Oath Keepers were convicted on Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for their part in the riot.

Key points

Amid everything, Trump still fixated on ratings and mail-in ballots

20:10 , John Bowden

With lawsuits, criminal cases and the firestorm of criticism after his white supremacist dinner last week all hanging over him, Donald Trump is clearly in a foul mood – and true to form, he is using his bespoke platform Truth Social to vent his spleen about well-worn topics that he considers it safe to rant about when he needs to let off steam:

Mr Trump’s reference to mail-in ballots specifically refers to Kari Lake’s defeat in the Arizona gubernatorial election, which both he and she falsely attribute to electoral malfeasance. There is little popular momentum behind the effort to get Ms Lake into office despite her defeat – and Mr Trump is noticeably not bothering to make similar claims on behalf of his chosen Senate candidate in the state, defeated right-wing hardliner Blake Masters.

Herschel Walker hasn’t answered reporters’ questions in nearly two months

19:40 , John Bowden

Republican candidate Herschel Walker has not taken questions from reporters on the trail in nearly two months as the Georgia Senate race sets to conclude in a runoff next week.

Mr Walker’s campaign remains beset by scandal and mistrust; The Daily Beast and other news organisations have reported that amid a barrage of stories about secret children and the pro-life candidate having supposedly funded an abortion his own staff now do not trust Mr Walker to make honest statements about his past.

He trailed Senator Raphael Warnock in an intitial round of voting last month and by all credible indications appears poised to fall further behind the Democrat next week without the buoying effect of other, more popular Republican candidates on the ballot. Many polls showed Mr Walker leading into the first round of voting in November; in actuality, he trailed the Democrat by one percentage point when all votes were counted.

Read more about how this race is playing out in its final days:

Herschel Walker hasn’t answered reporters’ questions in nearly two months

Top Florida officials added to lawsuit over Martha’s Vineyard migrant flights

19:10 , John Bowden

A civil rights group that has sued Florida governor Ron DeSantis for tricking two planeloads of South and Central American asylum seekers into boarding charter flights bound for the liberal Massachusetts community of Martha’s Vineyard has added two top of the governor’s top officials as defendants in their lawsuit.

“The object of this scheme was not to help immigrants find a better life in northern cities but to use political fervor over immigration to boost Defendant DeSantis’ national profile,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.

Read more about the growing legal battle over the political stunt that has caused headaches for Democrats and made Mr DeSantis a rising star in the GOP:

Top Florida officials added to lawsuit over Martha’s Vineyard migrant flights

Herschel Walker struggles to explain why Trump is not campaigning for him in Georgia Senate runoff

18:40 , John Bowden

Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker struggled to explain to why former president Donald Trump is not campaigning for him in the final week of Georgia’s Senate runoff race.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked why the former president will not rally with Mr Walker, when former president Barack Obama will campaign with Mr Walker’s Democratic opponent, Senator Raphael Warnock, on Thursday.

The candidate’s response was a bit awkward. Watch below:

Herschel Walker struggles to explain why Trump is not campaigning in Georgia runoff

Netanyahu condemns Trump’s Fuentes dinner

18:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Returning Israeli prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu, a Trump ally of some standing, has not minced his words when it comes to the former president’s dinner with exuberant antisemite Nick Fuentes and disgraced rapper Kanye West.

“I condemned Kanye West's antisemitic statements,” Mr Netanyahu told journalist Bari Weiss. “Straight away, I thought that was just wrong and misplaced. And I think that that's what I would say about President Trump's decision to dine with this person I think is wrong and misplaced. I think it's a mistake. He shouldn't do that."

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McCarthy’s speaker vote nightmare isn’t over

17:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Kevin McCarthy may have a majority in the House of Representatives, but it is so small that to win the vote for speaker, he can scarcely afford to lose the support of a single member of the GOP conference – and it seems some of his most extreme members are still preparing to raise hell.

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The whole-House vote comes at the start of January. To win it, Mr McCarthy needs a majority of the votes cast on the day – meaning he does not need a majority of all members provided enough of them either decline to take part.

Catch up: What happened at Mar-a-Lago?

17:10 , Andrew Naughtie

If you’re behind on the story of Donald Trump’s dinner with antisemitic rapper Kanye West and racist toll Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago, here’s a piece running through what you need to know – from the events as described by those involved to the ensuing fallout, as the Republican Party and even many in Magaworld speak out against Mr Trump’s decision to host such exceptionally objectionable people at his private residence.

What happened at Trump’s dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West?

Marco Rubio brands Nick Fuentes an ‘a** clown’ and ‘disgusting person’

16:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Senator Marco Rubio had a particularly aggressive rebuke of Nick Fuentes, one of America’s most infamous white nationalists and antisemites, on Monday after former President Donald Trump faced another day of questions and criticism surrounding the Mar-a-Lago meetup with Mr Fuentes and rapper Kanye West.

It comes as the governor of his state, Ron DeSantis, is looking more competitive than ever against Donald Trump in 2024, coming off a strong reelection victory alongside victories for Republicans around the state.

Read more from John Bowden:

Marco Rubio brands Nick Fuentes an ‘a** clown’ and ‘disgusting’ after Trump meeting

What we learned from the Oath Keepers trial

16:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Stewart Rhodes told his supporters to prepare their “mind, body and spirit” for “civil war” in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, an election he falsely believes was “unconstitutional” and “stolen” from Donald Trump.

On 29 November, Rhodes and co-defendant Kelly Meggs were found guilty of seditious conspiracy against the United States. They face up to 20 years in prison.

Rhodes and Meggs – who were also charged alongside Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell – are among the first Americans to be convicted of treason-related charges in decades, representing the biggest case yet in the sprawling criminal investigation from the US Department of Justice into the Capitol attack.

Here’s Alex Woodward with a look at what the trial entailed, and why it matters so much.

How Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was found guilty of sedition

Far-right provacateur claims he set up dinner with Trump and white supremacist ‘to make Trump’s life miserable’

15:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s meeting with one of the US’s most prominent racists came as a result of the plans and schemes of Milo Yiannopoulos, a disgraced ex-Breitbart News editor who now appears to be running the 2024 politcal efforts of rapper Kanye West.

The former president has claimed in the days since the meeting to not have known Mr Fuentes or the extent of his hateful views before sitting down with him. Regardless, he faces a torrent of criticism from members of both parties in a scandal reminiscent of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally-turned-riot in Charlottesville, Virginia — which Mr Fuentes coincidentally attended.

That torrent of incoming fire appears to be the result of Mr Yiannopoulos’s efforts to “make Trump’s life miserable”, an explanation he gave to NBC News on Tuesday. A former right-wing provocateur who toured the country hosting events with a small entourage in front of young, right-wing audiences, Mr Yiannopolous lost his funding and political connections thanks to comments he made in 2017. Those comments appeared to condone paedophilia and evoked massive backlash.

Read more from John Bowden:

Milo Yiannopolous says he set up dinner with Fuentes ‘to make Trump’s life miserable’

Amid everything, Trump still fixated on ratings and mail-in ballots

15:10 , Andrew Naughtie

With lawsuits, criminal cases and the firestorm of criticism after his white supremacist dinner last week all hanging over him, Donald Trump is clearly in a foul mood – and true to form, he is using his bespoke platform Truth Social to vent his spleen about well-worn topics that he considers it safe to rant about when he needs to let off steam:

Mr Trump’s reference to mail-in ballots specifically refers to Kari Lake’s defeat in the Arizona gubernatorial election, which both he and she falsely attribute to electoral malfeasance. There is little popular momentum behind the effort to get Ms Lake into office despite her defeat – and Mr Trump is noticeably not bothering to make similar claims on behalf of his chosen Senate candidate in the state, defeated right-wing hardliner Blake Masters.

Trump defends Fuentes dinner on Fox: “I gave them the embassy"

14:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump is incensed by the coverage of his dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West – and in a statement to Fox News Digital last night, he sought to distance himself from their views, insisting that nothing of note was discussed – and that it was Mr West who set the meeting up on the pretext of seeking “advice” with various “difficulties”.

As Fox reports:

“He asked me to meet with him,” Trump said.

“If you see him, the fake news media will create a problem,” Trump said. “If you don’t see him, the fake news media will claim I’m a racist.”

“The meeting was uneventful,” Trump continued, noting that with regard to white supremacy it “is standard for the media” to accuse him.

“They know it is not true,” he said.

The former president, who announced his 2024 presidential campaign earlier this month, told Fox News Digital that “there’s nobody that has proven to be more of a friend of Israel than Donald Trump.”

“Nobody has to prove or be defensive of me and Israel,” Trump told Fox News Digital. “They have acknowledged that I’m the best friend and president to Israel.”

“I gave them the embassy in Jerusalem.”

Read the report below:

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Key Jan 6 Secret Service agent testifies to Jan 6 committee

14:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Tony Ornato, who served in Donald Trump’s Secret Service detail at the end of his presidency, has been testifying to the January 6 select committee about what he saw and was told about events on the day of the riot – specifically, the alleged incident in which Mr Trump apparently tried to seize the wheel of his presidential car when he was told he was being taken back to the White House from his rally rather than to the Capitol.

Mr Ornato has previously denied testimony to this effect from former Mike Pence aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who claims the story was told to her by him.

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MyPillow Trump fanatic Mike Lindell running for RNC leader

13:40 , John Bowden

No-one in the Republican Party is safe from the ambition of Donald Trump’s followers, especially not when they’re perceived to be insufficiently loyal or effective in carrying out his wishes – and that includes Ronna McDaniel, the longtime RNC chair now up for re-election. She has a new challenger in the form of unhinged conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who reportedly advocated for the Trump administration to send in the military to seize voting machines after the 2020 election.

True to extremist form, he announced his long-shot run on Steve Bannon’s podcast.

Read more from John Bowden:

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says he’ll run to be chairman of the Republican Party

New DeSantis book on the way...

13:10 , Andrew Naughtie

It is usual practice for prospective presidential candidates to publish self-promoting books before announcing their campaigns, sometimes well in advance – think Joe Biden’s Promises to Keep, leading up to his ill-fated 2007-8 campaign, or Kamala Harris’s 2019 effort The Truths We Hold. And as the Republican 2024 shadow primary warms up, Ron DeSantis is making his latest contribution: a book trumpeting Florida’s political and economic model as a template for “America’s renewal”:

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Mr DeSantis’s anti-woke posturing, hardcore approach to policing supposed voter fraud and his general scorn for Covid-19 regulations have all made him an appealing figure to both establishment and grassroots Republicans, an increasing number of whom look to Florida as a developing right-wing utopia that stands in opposition to Democratic-dominated states like California.

12:40 , John Bowden

Donald Trump seethed on Truth Social yesterday with a new rant about people blaming him in whole or in part for the Republican Party’s mortifying shortfall in the 8 November midterms.

It’s worth noting that even if the Trump-backed Herschel Walker wins next week’s Georgia runoff, the GOP will still have failed to make a net gain in the Senate – and that it was Dr Mehmet Oz, a key Trump endorsee, who failed to keep Pennsylvania’s open seat in Republican hands.

Trump won’t drop lawsuit against Twitter despite being reinstated to platform, lawyer says

12:10 , Andrew Naughtie

The lawyer representing former president Donald Trump in the lawsuit he filed after he was previously banned from Twitter has said he will not drop the case despite having been reinstated to the platform by the company’s new owner, Elon Musk.

Attorney John Cole told Bloomberg News that Mr Trump will continue to appeal the case’s dismissal by a California federal judge unless the company enters into an agreement to formally settle the lawsuit.

Read more:

Trump won’t drop lawsuit against Twitter despite being reinstated to platform

Fuentes/West: Kevin McCarthy misrepresents Trump’s denials

11:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Reporters have pressed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about his false claim that former president Donald Trump denounced white supremacist Nick Fuentes four times.

“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes,” he said. “He has no place in this Republican Party. I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him and didn’t know who he was.”

Mr Trump has not in fact denounced Mr Fuentes; he has simply said that he did not know who Mr Fuentes was.

Reporters press Kevin McCarthy over claims Trump denounced Nick Fuentes after dinner

McConnell condemns Trump’s meeting with West and Fuentes

11:10 , Andrew Naughtie

On Tuesday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell condemned Donald Trump’s meeting with antisemite Kanye West and white supremacist Nick Fuentes and said that it may have ruined the former president’s chances in 2024.

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” he said at his weekly press conference.

“Anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

Mr McConnell is just the latest figure to condemn the meeting at Mar-a-Lago, while Mr Trump is yet to speak out to condemn Mr Fuentes and his beliefs.

Herschel Walker says ‘I live in Texas’ in recording as Georgia Senate candidate’s residency status scrutinised

10:40 , John Bowden

Herschel Walker, the scandal-plagued Republican candidate in a closely watched Senate runoff election in Georgia, said he lives in Texas in a newly unearthed recording.

In a January speech to the University of Georgia’s College Republicans, the former football star stated plainly, “I live in Texas.”

Dive in to the lastest mind-boggling scandal to envelop the Republican US Senate candidate:

Herschel Walker under fire as records show he was only renting out Georgia home

09:40 , John Bowden

Marjorie Taylor Greene defended former president Donald Trump from accusations that he could have pardoned people in prison for their role in the January 6 riot, saying he is “sick” over their treatment and would pardon them if he wins in 2024.

The Georgia representative spoke on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast after Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, posted a video talking about his dinner with Mr Trump and white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

Eric Garcia has more for The Independent:

Trump and Melania are ‘sick’ over Jan 6 detainees, Marjorie Taylor Greene says

Impeachment talk at Trump Org. trial: Did witness misspeak?

08:40 , John Bowden

There was talk of impeachment Monday at the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial — not former President Donald Trump's, which happened twice — but whether lawyers for his company were angling to impeach their own witness, longtime Trump accountant Donald Bender.

The Trump Organization, the holding company for Trump’s buildings, golf courses and other assets, is charged with helping some top executives avoid income taxes on compensation they got in addition to their salaries, including rent-free apartments and luxury cars. If convicted, the company could be fined more than $1 million.

Read more:

Impeachment talk at Trump Org. trial: Did witness misspeak?

GOP's new committee leaders prepare blitz of investigations

07:40 , John Bowden

House Republicans are promising aggressive oversight of the Biden administration once they assume the majority next year, with a particular focus on the business dealings of presidential son Hunter Biden, illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border and the originations of COVID-19.

Republicans won't have enough votes to advance key legislative priorities if there is no Democratic buy-in, but their oversight of government agencies could put Democrats on the defensive and dampen support for the Biden administration going into the 2024 presidential elections.

Read more about how they plan to cause headaches for Joe Biden in The Independent:

GOP's new committee leaders prepare blitz of investigations

Herschel Walker under fire as financial records show he was only renting out Georgia home

06:40 , John Bowden

Financial disclosure forms have revealed that contrary to his claims of deep ties to the state of Georgia, Republican nominee Herschel Walker in fact appears to have used his property there as a source of rental income rather than as a residence.

And separately, CNN obtained video of him telling a group of Republicans that he planned to run for Georgia’s Senate seat — from the Lone Star State.

The news comes as Georgians turn out in record numbers to vote in the state’s Senate runoff, in which Mr Walker is trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock to give his party a 50th Senate seat.

Read more:

Herschel Walker under fire as records show he was only renting out Georgia home

Pence says Trump was ‘wrong’ and showed ‘profoundly poor judgement’ by dining with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes

05:40 , John Bowden

Donald Trump was “wrong” and showed “profoundly poor judgement” for meeting last week at Mar-a-Lago with outspoken antisemites like rapper and fashion designer Kanye West and right-wing media figure Nick Fuentes, according to former vice-president Mike Pence.

“President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table,” Mr Pence said in an interview on NewsNation on Monday.

Read more about the latest rift between Donald Trump and his ex-vice president:

Pence says Trump showed ‘profoundly poor judgement’ by hosting Kanye and Nick Fuentes

ICYMI: Incoming GOP congressman condemns Fuentes - but not Trump

04:40 , John Bowden

As many Republican members of Congress keep quiet about Donald Trump’s dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West, Mike Lawler, one of the new class of GOP representatives who won the party its ultra-narrow majority, has weighed in on the row in unsparing terms – albeit without mentioning Donald Trump’s name.

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Mr Lawler is something of a hero in the House GOP conference having unseated DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney in a redrawn New York district.

Everything we know about the ‘politically motivated’ assault on Nancy Pelosi’s husband

03:40 , John Bowden

On 28 October, Americans woke to news of a violent, apparently politically motivated attack on the home of one of the nation's most powerful political figures.

The attack sparked anger, mockery, lurid conspiracy theories, increased security, warnings of a "heightened threat" from domestic extremists in advance of November's midterm elections, and fears that the extreme rhetoric of far right groups such as QAnon is increasingly spilling over into violence.

Here’s everything we know on the brutal assault of Paul Pelosi:

Everything we know about the ‘politically motivated’ assault on Paul Pelosi

Mitt Romney calls Trump a ‘gargoyle’

02:40 , John Bowden

Mitt Romney compared Donald Trump to a “gargoyle” hanging over the Republican party that can drive away potential voters as criticism mounts over the former president’s meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes.

The Utah senator has long been one of the most vocal anti-Trump voices in the GOP, and is now opening fire on the ex-president as he faces one of the greatest political firestorms of his career.

“There is no bottom to the degree to which he’s willing to degrade himself, and the country for that matter,” said the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.

Read more:

Mitt Romney calls Trump a ‘gargoyle’ over ‘disgusting’ Kanye-Fuentes meeting

Who could Donald Trump pick as vice president in 2024?

01:40 , John Bowden

Now that Donald Trump has officially kicked off his third campaign for the presidency, one of the few certainties about what he will do if he wins the GOP nomination in 2024 is that he won’t be running with his former vice president, Mike Pence.

According to reporting in Politico and other news outlets, the twice-impeached ex-president who stood atop the 2020 GOP ticket is now looking for a far more subservient partner than the former Indiana governor, whose selection as his running mate in 2016 was driven by a desire to reassure social conservatives that Mr Trump was on board with their programme despite his history as an abortion-friendly Democratic donor.

Last year, ex-Trump adviser Michael Caputo said anyone Mr Trump would consider selecting would “have to denounce what happened in 2020” — meaning fully endorse the ex-president’s oft-repeated lies about the election he lost having been stolen from him.

Here’s who could fit the bill:

Who could Donald Trump pick as vice president in 2024?

Fox News’ Peter Doocy taken down in White House press conference clash: ‘That is not an accurate take’

00:40 , John Bowden

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy received a polite rebuke for suggesting the Biden Administration favoured oil drilling in Venezuela while disadvantaging US domestic producers.

At a White House briefing on Monday, Mr Doocy asked: “Why is it that President Biden would rather let US companies drill for oil in Venezuela than here in the US?”

John Kirby quickly rejected that characterisation.

Watch below:

Fox News’ Peter Doocy taken down in White House press conference clash

When is the Georgia Senate runoff between Walker and Warnock - and what are the stakes?

Tuesday 29 November 2022 23:40 , John Bowden

The last contest to determine the makeup of the US Senate is fast approaching.

Democrats already have a majority - but picking up a net seat by protecting Senator Raphael Warnock from a Republican challenge could be a massive win for the party.

Read more about what’s at stake in the Peach State:

When is the Georgia Senate runoff and what are the stakes?

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracy against US

Tuesday 29 November 2022 22:40 , John Bowden

Members of a far-right anti-government militia group have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy against the United States in connection with the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021.

After a nearly two-month trial with testimony and arguments from federal prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as the defendants themselves, Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs were found guilty by a federal jury in Washington DC on 29 November after three full days of deliberations.

Alex Woodward has more for The Independent:

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracy against US

Reporters press Kevin McCarthy over false claims Trump denounced white supremacist he dined with

Tuesday 29 November 2022 22:10 , John Bowden

Reporters pressed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about his false claim that former president Donald Trump denounced white supremacist Nick Fuentes four times.

Mr McCarthy spoke to reporters after he met with President Joe Biden about a potential railroad strike.

Last week, Mr Trump dined with rapper Kanye West and Mr Fuentes, a noted white supremacist and antisemite.

Read more coverage of the fallout from Eric Garcia:

Reporters press Kevin McCarthy over claims Trump denounced Nick Fuentes after dinner

White nationalist Nick Fuentes tells far right to ‘dream bigger’ than Maga movement

Tuesday 29 November 2022 21:40 , John Bowden

The white nationalist who found his way into a meeting with former President Donald Trump now says that the far-right needs to “dream bigger” than the ex-president or his 2024 campaign.

Mr Fuentes, a relentless bigot whose authoritarian vision is to turn the GOP into a “truly reactionary party” grounded in white Christian nationalism, believes that Mr Trump’s campaign and his predicted GOP rival Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential nomination “are both inferior to the campaign that Trump ran in 2016.”

Read more from Alex Woodward in The Independent:

White nationalist Nick Fuentes tells far right to ‘dream bigger’ than Trump

A white nationalist and a 2024 rival: What happened at Trump’s dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West?

Tuesday 29 November 2022 21:10 , John Bowden

More information is coming out about what exactly transpired during Kanye West and Nick Fuentes’ meeting with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Mr West, who recently torpedoed his music career by launching into a string of bizarre antisemitic rants on social media causing his commercial sponsors to desert him in droves, has previously sought out Mr Trump at Trump Tower in New York City and at the White House during his presidency on a whim.

We know now that he wants to run either against or alongside Donald Trump in 2024, as well as what happened when America’s most prominent white nationalist met the president.

Read more:

What happened at Trump’s dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West?

Pence: Trump showed ‘profoundly poor judgement’ by dining with Nick Fuentes

Tuesday 29 November 2022 20:40 , John Bowden

Donald Trump’s former No 2 defended the ex-president from accusations of antisemitism in a new interview this week, but condemned his decision to meet with one of America’s most prominent racists and Holocaust deniers at Mar-a-Lago alongside rapper Kanye West.

Mike Pence said that his former boss should apologise and called the meeting “wrong” — though the former president has denied knowledge of Nick Fuentes or his views, he has nevertheless faced criticism for not listening to aides who told him the dinner was a mistake and for agreeing to meet with Mr West as well given his recent antisemitic comments.

Read more:

Pence says Trump showed ‘profoundly poor judgement’ by hosting Kanye and Nick Fuentes

GOP Senators are starting to grapple with Trump, Kanye and Nick Fuentes

Tuesday 29 November 2022 20:10 , John Bowden

Instead of confronting a littany of problems facing the US Congress in the lame duck session, Senate Republicans have found themselves stuck in a time warp, spending Monday evening having to answer for former president Donald Trump’s misdeeds, writes Eric Garcia for The Independent.

This time around, the disaster is his dinner with white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes and rapper-turned-professional bigot Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.

It’s an eerie flashback to the days of Mr Trump’s first campaign and presidency, when Senate Republicans were obliged to answer for every outrageous tweet, egregious insult or outright lie he told.

Read more:

GOP Senators are starting to grapple with Trump, Kanye and Nick Fuentes

Kevin McCarthy takes Trump’s side over Nick Fuentes meeting

Tuesday 29 November 2022 19:40 , John Bowden

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke to reporters on Tuesday and took former President Donald Trump at his word over his claim that he did not know white nationalist broadcaster Nick Fuentes before Fuentes appeared at dinner with Mr Trump and Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago.

The Republican House leader had not issued a statement about the meeting between a former president and one of the US’s most prominent racists until he was asked by reporters about the issue on Tuesday after he left the White House following a meeting with Joe Biden and other members of congressional leadership.

Watch below:

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Supreme Court defends Alito in face of leak allegations

Tuesday 29 November 2022 19:10 , Andrew Naughtie

The US Supreme Court’s legal counsel has dismissed an ethics inquiry from two top Democratic members of Congress after Justice Samuel Alito was accused of leaking the outcome of a landmark case in 2014.

A letter from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Hank Johnson pressed Chief Justice John Roberts to answer questions about alleged breaches after a former anti-abortion activist with an influential lobbying group told the court that powerful donors leaked a ruling from a major contraception case after they dined with Justice Alito.

Supreme Court attorney Ethan Torrey did not answer the letter’s questions about that alleged leak or the leak of a draft opinion in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the June decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

“There is nothing to suggest that Justice Alito’s actions violated ethical standards,” Mr Torrey wrote on 28 November.

Alex Woodward reports:

Supreme Court defends Alito as members of Congress probe 2014 leak allegations

Rubio: Fuentes is an ‘a** clown’ and a ‘disgusting person’

Tuesday 29 November 2022 18:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Senator Marco Rubio had a particularly aggressive rebuke of Nick Fuentes, one of America’s most infamous white nationalists and antisemites, on Monday after former President Donald Trump faced another day of questions and criticism surrounding the Mar-a-Lago meetup with Mr Fuentes and rapper Kanye West.

The Florida Republican made the comment to CNN, telling the network that Mr Fuentes “is a purveyor and a spreader of an evil, poison”.

“I hope he will [condemn Fuentes],” Mr Rubio continued. “Because I know he’s not an antisemite. I can tell you that for a fact that Trump is not, but this guy is evil. And that guy’s just a nasty, disgusting person. He’s an a** clown.”

John Bowden reports:

Marco Rubio brands Nick Fuentes an ‘a** clown’ and ‘disgusting’ after Trump meeting

Incoming GOP congressman condemns Fuentes

Tuesday 29 November 2022 18:10 , Andrew Naughtie

As many Republican members of Congress keep quiet about Donald Trump’s dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West, Mike Lawler, one of the new class of GOP representatives who won the party its ultra-narrow majority, has weighed in on the row in unsparing terms – albeit without mentioning Donald Trump’s name.

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Mr Lawler is something of a hero in the House GOP conference having unseated DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney in a redrawn New York district.

Trump to keep up Twitter lawsuit despite reinstatement

Tuesday 29 November 2022 17:40 , Andrew Naughtie

The lawyer representing former president Donald Trump in the lawsuit he filed after he was previously banned from Twitter has said he will not drop the case despite having been reinstated to the platform by the company’s new owner, Elon Musk.

Attorney John Cole told Bloomberg News that Mr Trump will continue to appeal the case’s dismissal by a California federal judge unless the company enters into an agreement to formally settle the lawsuit.

The twice-impeached ex-president filed the lawsuit in July 2021, six months after then-CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Mr Trump’s account had been permanently suspended from the platform in the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. His account has now been reinstated, but he has yet to use it, preferring instead to stick with Truth Social despite its dramatically smaller user base and limited reach.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

Trump won’t drop lawsuit against Twitter despite being reinstated to platform

Analysis: GOP Senators tentatively call out Trump on Fuentes

Tuesday 29 November 2022 17:10 , Andrew Naughtie

In today’s Inside Washington dispatch, Eric Garcia reports from Capitol Hill, where he and other reporters have been asking Republican Senators to weigh in on Donald Trump’s antisemitic dinner party last week:

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who has mainly been focusing on getting the Respect for Marriage Act over the finish line, vocally denounced the meeting.

“First, I honestly didn’t know who he was,” he told The Independent. “If the reports are true and the president didn’t know who he was, whoever allowed them in the room should have been fired.”

This new willingness among many Republicans to condemn the former president began to show itself after the midterm elections. Several of Mr Trump’s endorsed candidates flopped in winnable races, arguably costing his party the Senate and limiting its House majority to a mere handful of votes. (Side note: The batch of failed Trump endorsements makes a convenient alibi for those who don’t want to blame the overturning of Roe v Wade). The fact other Republicans, like Ron DeSantis, are looking ever more viable for a 2024 race means a convenient off-ramp could soon be in sight.

Read the full analysis below.

GOP Senators are starting to grapple with Trump, Kanye and Nick Fuentes

Trump furious at coverage of midterms humiliation

Tuesday 29 November 2022 16:40 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s unhappy morning on Truth Social continues with this rant about people blaming him in whole or in part for the Republican Party’s mortifying shortfall in the 8 November midterms.

It’s worth noting that even if the Trump-backed Herschel Walker wins next week’s Georgia runoff, the GOP will still have failed to make a net gain in the Senate – and that it was Dr Mehmet Oz, a key Trump endorsee, who failed to keep Pennsylvania’s open seat in Republican hands.

Trump awake and truthing...

Tuesday 29 November 2022 16:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump is clearly in a foul mood today, at least if the state of his Truth Social feed is anything to go by. Along with launching an all-caps screed against mail-in voting and sharing a video in relation to false claims of malfeasance in Arizona’s Maricopa County, the former president has also kicked off about the security of the US’s southern border – and launched a particularly bilious rant directed at Karl Rove, complete with Trumpian misspelling at the end:

Liz Cheney calls out Kevin McCarthy on silence about Nick Fuentes

Tuesday 29 November 2022 16:10 , Andrew Naughtie

While many elected Republicans have yet to say anything about Donald Trump’s meeting with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, their silence is not going unnoticed. Retiring congresswoman Liz Cheney, who sits on the January 6 committee, has turned her scorn on the party’s House leader, Kevin McCarthy:

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Mr McCarthy has five weeks to organise the House Republican conference to back him to be speaker. Because the GOP’s House majority is so slim, he can only afford to lose a handful of votes, meaning he can ill afford to irritate or embarrass his party’s more extreme members.

Meanwhile, here’s Joe Sommerlad with a catch-up on what we know about the Mar-a-Lago meeting.

What happened at Trump’s dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West?

Has Herschel Walker really been living in Georgia?

Tuesday 29 November 2022 15:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Financial disclosure forms have revealed that contrary to his claims of deep ties to the state of Georgia, Republican nominee Herschel Walker in fact appears to have used his property there as a source of rental income rather than as a residence.

The news comes as Georgians turn out in record numbers to vote in the state’s Senate runoff, in which Mr Walker is trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock to give his party a 50th Senate seat.

According to The Daily Beast, Mr Walker’s financial records show that while he claims to have had a property in Georgia for many years, it is in fact owned solely by his wife, collected rental income from it for nearly two decades, indicating that Mr Walker has indeed spent many years living not in Georgia but in Texas – where he has claimed a home as his primary residence for tax purposes.

Read more:

Herschel Walker under fire as records show he was only renting out Georgia home

Trump falsely claims case against his company has collapsed

Tuesday 29 November 2022 15:20 , Andrew Naughtie

The defence has rested its case in the trial of the Trump Organization on tax fraud charges – albeit not before trying to introduce a welter of exhibits at the last minute, a move that saw the judge accuse the lawyers concerned of trying “to throw anything and everything” at the jury.

The six-week trial has seen prosecutors for the Manhattan district attorney’s office call various witnesses to the organization’s alleged conduct, including former CFO and longtime Trump associate Allen Weisselberg, who testified under a plea deal.

Mr Trump himself, however, is insisting on an unclear basis that the case has “collapsed” – this before the jury have even heard closing arguments, which they will on Thursday.

GOP lines up panel to carry out midterms post-mortem

Tuesday 29 November 2022 14:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Still smarting from an embarrassing underperformance in this year’s midterm elections – particularly after failing to retake the Senate – the Republican Party is planning a deep assessment at the factors that thwarted its efforts to retake Congress.

However, the makeup of the panel so far indicates certain lessons haven’t been learned...

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Jewish Republicans draw the line at Trump’s Fuentes-West dinner

Tuesday 29 November 2022 14:20 , Andrew Naughtie

The news that Donald Trump had met with Kanye West and bilious antisemite Nick Fuentes has left many elected Republicans unsure what they can say short of outright condemning the former president – but according to a report from The New York Times, many in the Jewish Republican elite are ready to turn their backs on Mr Trump altogether.

Jonathan Weisman writes:

Not all Republican leaders have spoken out, but Jewish Republicans are slowly peeling away from a former president who, for years, insisted he had no ties to the bigoted far right, but refused to repudiate it. Jewish figures and organizations that have stood by Mr. Trump, from Mr. Klein’s group to the pro-Trump commentator Ben Shapiro to Mr. Trump’s own former ambassador to Israel and onetime bankruptcy lawyer, David M. Friedman, have all spoken out since the dinner.

For Jews, the concern extends far beyond a single meal at Mar-a-Lago, though that dinner has become a touchstone, especially for Jewish Republicans.

Read the article below.

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MyPillow Trump fanatic running for RNC leader

Tuesday 29 November 2022 13:50 , Andrew Naughtie

No-one in the Republican Party is safe from the ambition of Donald Trump’s followers, especially not when they’re perceived to be insufficiently loyal or effective in carrying out his wishes – and that includes Ronna McDaniel, the longtime RNC chair now up for re-election. She has a new challenger in the form of unhinged conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who reportedly advocated for the Trump administration to send in the military to seize voting machines after the 2020 election.

True to extremist form, he announced his long-shot run on Steve Bannon’s podcast.

Read more from John Bowden:

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says he’ll run to be chairman of the Republican Party

Judge dismisses Trump’s “immunity” claim

Tuesday 29 November 2022 13:20 , Andrew Naughtie

A federal judge has dismissed Donald Trump’s claim that he has “presidential immunity” from a lawsuit over his actions around the 2020 election – in the latest blow to the former president as the fallout over a meeting with Kanye West and a white supremacist continues.

The civil lawsuit alleges that Mr Trump tried to disenfranchise voters, intimidate election officials and undermine lawfully cast votes in violation of both the federal Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act.

Mr Trump’s lawyers pushed back on the lawsuit, claiming that he has “absolute immunity” from civil lawsuits as a former president. But on Monday, a federal judge in Washington DC disagreed.

Rachel Sharp reports.

Judge dismisses Trump’s claim of ‘presidential immunity’ in 2020 election suit

Ye flounces out of right-wing show after making antisemitic remarks

Tuesday 29 November 2022 12:50 , Andrew Naughtie

Continuing his post-Mar-a-Lago tour, Kanye West brought Nick Fuentes along with him for an appearance on reactionary influencer Tim Pool’s Timcast – an interview that ended abruptly when the host told him he could not draw antisemitic inferences from the proximity of prominent Jewish people to American presidents.

In a write-up for The Spectator, Amber Athey describes being in the building for the incident.

Pool started the show by asking Ye about his recent dinner with Trump, and Ye explained how a number of other “canceled” commentators had got in touch after his “deathcon 3 on Jewish people” tweet. Ye revealed that Alex Jones’s producer had connected him with Yiannopoulos, who in turn brought Fuentes into the fold. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Ye to launch into a diatribe about the Jews controlling politics and the media. “Rahm Emanuel was next to Obama and Jared Kushner was right next to Trump,” he stressed. Pool pushed back respectfully, but Ye threatened to leave the show on two separate occasions before finally walking out at the twenty-one-minute mark.

I was sitting in the basement and could hear doors slamming upstairs, but when I went up to the kitchen Ye was gleefully holding court. He seemed in better spirits than he had the entire night, perhaps because the pressure of the program was off. One of the show’s regulars, Hannah Claire Brimelow, was telling Ye that she wished he had more time to share his views because people “needed to hear them.”

Nick Fuentes tells far right to ‘dream bigger’ than Maga movement

Tuesday 29 November 2022 12:25 , Andrew Naughtie

Days after meeting Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago alongside Kanye West, virulently antisemitic white nationalist livestreamer Nick Fuentes has underscored his far-right agenda to push the Republican Party even further right, believing that the former president’s so-called Make America Great Again movement is no longer the vehicle to do just that.

Alex Woodward reports on his remarks.

White nationalist Nick Fuentes tells far right to ‘dream bigger’ than Trump

Marco Rubio brands Nick Fuentes an ‘a** clown’ and ‘disgusting person’ after Trump meeting

Tuesday 29 November 2022 11:55 , Andrew Naughtie

Marco Rubio branded Nick Fuentes a “nasty, disgusting person” and “an a** clown” after Donald Trump hosted a meeting with the white supremacist and Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago.

Several Republicans have refused to condemn Mr Trump over the meeting with the notorious white nationalist and Mr West, who has gone on an antisemitic rampage of late.

The Florida senator, meanwhile, had some strong words about the incident, saying that he hopes Mr Trump will speak out to condemn Mr Fuentes following the controversy.

“I know [Mr Trump’s] not an antisemite. I can tell you that for a fact that Trump is not but this guy [Mr Fuentes] is evil,” he said, according to CNN.

“And that guy’s just a nasty, disgusting person. He’s an a** clown.”