Trump news – live: DA says decision to file charges is ‘imminent’ as judge weighs release of grand jury report

A judge in Georgia heard arguments on Tuesday over the public release of a grand jury report following an eight-month probe into Donald Trump’s allleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in that state.

During its investigation, the panel heard testimony and evidence about the abuse and harassment of election workers, a fake elector scheme, and Mr Trump’s infamous phone call to election officials to “find” enough votes for his victory.

The report from the special grand jury, which is barred from issuing indictments, likely includes a summary of its investigative work and recommendations for indictments for alleged misconduct that prompted the investigation and its conclusions.

Attorneys for the former president have claimed that they were never involved with the probe, while Fulton Country District Attorney Fani Willis argued to keep the report private, for now, as her office appears ready to file criminal charges against people named in the report. A decision from her office is “imminent,” she told the judge.

Key points

Trump defends Mike Pence after documents found at his home: ‘Leave him alone!!!"

19:30 , Alex Woodward

In a post on his Truth Social, the former president defended Mike Pence as an “innocent man” who “never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life”.

“Leave him alone!!!” Trump wrote on Tuesday.

His post follows reporting that classified documents were found at the former vice president’s home.

Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home

Just in: Video resurfaces of Mike Pence point blank denying taking classified documents

19:15 , Alex Woodward

In an ABC News interview last year, Mike Pence strictly denied taking any classified material from the White House upon leaving the administration upon Joe Biden’s swearing-in.

“Did you take any classified documents with you from the White House?” Mr Pence is asked in the clip by ABC’s David Muir.

“I did not,” he responds.

He then goes further, digging the hole deeper, and adds: “[T]here’d be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area”.

Today it was reported that a lawyer for the former vice president had recently turned over a dozen classified records to the FBI after they were found his home in Indiana.

Video resurfaces of Mike Pence point blank denying taking classified documents

Trump defends his ‘perfect’ Georgia phone call in series of Truth Social posts

18:58 , Alex Woodward

In a series of Truth Social posts on Tuesday, Trump continued to lie about the results of the 2020 presidential election and defended his “perfect” phone call to Georgia officials looking to “find” votes for his victory in the state.

He baselessly alleged “cheating” in the election and ballot “stuffing” that no courtroom or election official has corroborated.

His claims came as a Georgia judge heard arguments over the release of a grand jury report from an investigation likely targeting the former president and his allies, teeing up indictments from prosecutors in the state.

He followed his statements claiming he “did a great job as president” in a nearly all-caps rant spanning two posts, calling federal law enforcement the “gestapo” for recovering documents at his Mar-a-Lago property that he refused to return, and for prosecuting people who stormed the US Capitol on January 6.

New Trump photo with mobster surfaces a day after outrage over ex-mob boss photo op

18:45 , Alex Woodward

A photo taken during the summer of 2022 shows a grinning Trump flashing a thumbs up gesture while posing with John Alite, a podcaster and motivational speaker who was once a hitman for the Gambino crime family.

Alite, who confirmed the authenticity of the photo in a phone interview with The Independent, described himself as a political independent who supported Trump’s push for criminal justice reform.

The resurfaced photo follows the publication of Trump posing with another convicted mobster, “Skinny Joey” Merlino, who ran the Philadelphia mafia in the 1990s when Trump was a casino operator in nearby Atlantic City.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

New Trump photo with mobster surfaces a day after outrage over ex-mob boss photo op

Georgia judge to ‘circle back’ as court hears arguments over public release of grand jury report

18:42 , Alex Woodward

After hearing arguments from both sides about the potential public release of a grand jury report following its investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn election results in the state, Judge Robert McBurney said he will “circle back” as he determines a decision.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued to keep the document private, for now, as her office appears ready to prosecute people named in the report, while an attorney for a coalition of media groups argued that the report should be immediately be released in the interest of the public.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Fulton County DA asks judge to keep election grand jury report secret

Just in: Trump withdraws second case against New York attorney general

18:38 , Alex Woodward

The former president has withdrawn a second suit against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Last week, he withdrew his suit asking for federal intervention into the attorney general’s sweeping fraud lawsuit against him. That case was pending before a federal judge who had penalised Trump with nearly $1m in sanctions for his pattern of “frivolous” and “vexatious” litigation, his apparent strategy of delaying justice.

More on his previously dropped lawuist:

Retreating Trump drops Letitia James suit after $1m fine for ‘frivolous’ Hillary case

Full story: Fulton County DA Fani Willis asks judge to keep grand jury report on Trump’s election scheme secret for now

18:15 , Alex Woodward

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has asked that a special grand jury report on efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to reverse his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden be kept under seal because she is still considering whether to ask for criminal charges against people involved in the schemes.

Fulton County DA asks judge to keep election grand jury report secret

Attorney for media groups argues for grand jury’s public report

18:02 , Alex Woodward

An attorney representing a coalition of media groups seeking the public release of the grand jury’s report has argued for its released “now” and “in its entirety”.

“It is not unusual for the [district attorney] and for a prosecuting authority to release information during the progress of its case,” he added, referencing Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis’s argument to keep the report secret for now.

A decision on the grand jury’s report won’t be released today. Members voted to release it. Why the DA wants to keep it private

17:47 , Alex Woodward

Judge McBurney noted that a decision on the public release of a grand jury report on Trump’s actions to influence the outcome of the 2020 election in Georgia won’t be released today. Members of the panel, however, wanted it to be publicly released.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said she does not want the report released publicly, yet, as she suggested that multiple people involved in the report will be defendants in her office’s upcoming prosecutions.

“Decisions are imminent,” she told the judge.

Her deputy, Donald Wakeford, argued that the report should be viewed as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Ms Willis also revealed that the jury heard from 75 witnesses in its eight-month investigation.

Proud Boy who pleaded guilty to Jan 6 crimes testifying against members and group leader in seditious conspiracy case

17:45 , Alex Woodward

A former member of the far-right gang the Proud Boys who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction in 2021 is currently testifying in a trial against other members of the group, including leader Enrique Tarrio, who face charges of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021.

“We were openly expecting a civil war at that point,” Matthew Greene told the court on Tuesday.

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What you need to know about the case:

‘Burn that city to ash’: Why five Proud Boys are on trial two years after January 6

Breaking: Classified documents reportedly found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home

17:30 , Alex Woodward

A lawyer for Mike Pence has reportedly turned over a dozen classified records to the FBI after they were found at the former vice president’s home in Indiana.

Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home

Just in: Fulton County proscutor does not want public release of grand jury report

17:12 , Alex Woodward

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said she does not want the special grand jury report to be made public.

“In this case, the state understands the media’s inquiry and the world’s interest. But we have to be mindful of protecting future defendant’s rights,” she said.

She suggested there are “multiple” defendants based on evidence from the grand jury, and that “decisions are imminent” from her office.

Hearing begins in Superior Court

17:07 , Alex Woodward

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney is presiding over arguments about the public release of a special purpose grand jury’s report following its eight-month investigation into Donald Trump’s attempts to reject the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the state.

The Georgia hearing starts soon. What’s at stake?

16:45 , Alex Woodward

The result of a court hearing in Atlanta could signal the start of a process that may lead to former president Donald Trump or his allies facing criminal charges for trying to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in Georgia.

At noon, a judge will hear arguments on whether to release a report compiled by a special grand jury that has been investigating Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat, including his calls to election officials and a plot to submit forged electoral college documents to the National Archives to give then-vice president Mike Pence a reason to hijack the 6 January 2021 joint session of Congress by declaring him and Trump the winners.

Here’s what you need to know:

Key Georgia special grand jury hearing will discuss Trump probe. What’s at stake?

Full story: Nick Fuentes returns to Twitter

16:01 , Alex Woodward

Twitter banned the 24-year-old fascist influencer Nick Fuentes in 2021 for his “repeated violations” of the platform rules, leading to a wave of far-right accounts flocking to other platforms like Telegram, where he has more than 53,000 subscribers.

His return to Twitter, where he has more than 129,000 followers, follows a wave of far-right extremist accounts under Elon Musk, whose ownership of the platform has opened the door to white nationalist, neo-Nazi and other far-right extremist accounts.

White nationalist and virulent antisemite Nick Fuentes returns to Twitter

White nationalist and virulent antisemite Nick Fuentes is reinstated on Twitter

15:34 , Alex Woodward

Prominent white nationalist and virulent antisemite Nick Fuentes has returned to Twitter, where he has a verified account.

Fuentes gained more mainstream attention after dining with Trump and Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago last year, and the former president has refused to condemn either men and their history of rampant antisemitism and Fuentes’s links to neo-Nazism, anti-LGBT+ bigotry and misogyny.

At 7.30am ET, he posted a meme of the character Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants to announce his return to the platform, where Elon Musk has opened the door to white nationalist, neo-Nazi and other hate accounts.

Matt Gaetz claims ‘deep state’ Democrats are trying to push out Biden

15:20 , Alex Woodward

Far-right congressman Matt Gaetz speculated that revelations about President Biden’s possession of classified documents prove that Democrats want to depose the incumbent president and prevent him from running again.

Matt Gaetz claims ‘deep state’ Democrats are trying to push out Biden

Trump supporter Diamond died of heart disease, according to death certificate

14:56 , Alex Woodward

Lynette Hardaway – aka Diamond of the pro-Trump duo “Diamond and Silk” – died earlier this month of a heart condition, according to a death certificate obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

She died at age 51 on 8 January of heart disease caused by chronic high blood pressure, according to the report.

The report puts to rest rampant online speculation – fuelled by her sister’s own rambling remarks at her Diamond’s memorial service – that Diamond had died from Covid-19-related causes.

“Instead of asking if Americans are vaxxed or unvaxxed, the real question to ask is: Are Americans being poisoned?” Rochelle “Silk” Richardson asked the pro-Trump crowd in North Carolina on Saturay.

“In the wild, when they want to depopulate and sterilize a large group of animals, they usually inject one animal, and that one animal infect the rest of the animals,” she said. “People are dropping dead around here, and nobody is talking about it. They are dropping dead suddenly and unexpectedly.”

Trump declared winner of golf tournament at his club – despite missing first day

14:19 , Alex Woodward

The former president has claimed another victory in a competitive tournament at one of his clubs in Florida – despite missing the first day of the weekend-long event.

Trump declared winner of golf tournament at his club – despite missing first day

ICYMI: Four more Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy for Jan 6 attack

12:00 , Alex Woodward

Within a year, 10 people have been convicted of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021 – an otherwise rare charge in US history that was initially aimed at prosecuting secessionists in slaveholding states.

On Monday, four more members of the far-right self-appointed militia group the Oath Keepers were found guilty of seditious conspiracy after brief jury deliberations. Their conviction follows the conviction of their leader, Stewart Rhodes, just weeks earlier for the same crime.

They join one other Oath Keepers member convicted of the treason-related charge and three other members who pleaded guilty to the charge in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy

Judge to hold hearing over Georgia special grand jury report

11:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A judge is set to hear arguments Tuesday on whether to release a report by a special grand jury tasked with investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies broke any laws as they sought to overturn his narrow 2020 election loss in Georgia.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney will hear arguments from the district attorney’s office, news outlets and potentially other parties before making a decision on the release of the report. The special grand jury, whose work was overseen by McBurney, recommended that the report be made public.

The report is expected to include recommendations for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on possible criminal prosecution, though it’s unclear just how specific those recommendations will be. The special grand jury did not have the power to issue indictments, and it will ultimately be up to Willis to decide whether to seek indictments from a regular grand jury.

Read the full story by Kate Brumback here:

Judge to hold hearing over Georgia special grand jury report

Today: Judge to hear arguments in Trump grand jury investigation

11:00 , Alex Woodward

On Tuesday, a judge in Georgia will hear arguments about the release of a grand jury’s report, eight months in the making, about the former president’s efforts, with his allies, to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the state.

After months of private testimony from Trumpworld figures, the release of the report could trigger a decision from the Fulton County district attorney’s office to seek criminal charges against Trump and others invovled with the scheme, which was central to the House select committee’s investigation in the January 6 attack.

A statement from Trump’s attorneys on Monday said they “have never been a part of this process”.

“The grand jury compelled the testimony of dozens of other, often high-ranking, officials during the investigation, but never found it important to speak with the President,” they added. “He was never subpoenaed nor asked to come in voluntarily by this grand jury or anyone in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump.”

A group of media outlets have petitioned the court for the public release of the grand jury’s report.

More on the case here:

Key Georgia special grand jury hearing will discuss Trump probe. What’s at stake?

ICYMI: Trump schedules appearance in New Hampshire to kick off 2024 campaign before South Carolina event

10:30 , Alex Woodward

Trump will head to early-primary state New Hampshire for his first appearance on the 2024 campaign trial, just hours before his planned stop in South Carolina on Saturday.

The former president will deliver remarks to the New Hampshire GOP.

“We are excited to welcome President Trump back to the Granite State to be the keynote speaker at our 2023 Annual Meeting,” according to a statement from New Hampshire Republican Chairman Stephen Stepanek. “President Trump has long been a strong defender of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Primary Status and we are excited that he will join us to deliver remarks to our Members.”

The state’s three-term Republican governor, Chris Sununu, is a vocal Trump critic who allegedly once called the former president “f****** crazy” and has urged his party to find another candidate in 2024.

“I don’t think he can win in November of ‘24,” he said last month. “He could be the nominee. But I do not believe, and I think most people would agree, he’s just going to ... be able to close the deal.”

‘Trump thinks Politico journalists should be jailed. This should be a turning point'

10:00 , Alex Woodward

Clayton Weimers with Reporters Without Borders writes in The Independent that it is “difficult to overstate the danger to democracy” presented by Trump’s rhetoric, which does not constitute mere “idle talk”:

At a time when it matters more than ever for democracies such as the US to lead by example, Trump’s words and actions send the signal that the values of free expression don’t matter. Would-be strongmen around the world — from former Philippines president Duterte to recently ousted Bolsanaro in Brazil — have taken their cues from Trump.

Trump declared winner of golf tournament at his club – despite missing first day

09:58 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Golf-loving former US president Donald Trump has claimed another victory in a competitive tournament at one of his clubs in Florida – despite missing the first day of the weekend-long tournament.

He announced his win in the Senior Club Championship at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida on his social media platform Truth Social.

Mr Trump’s announcement, however, may have come as a surprise to those following his movements this weekend, since a video appeared online of him delivering a eulogy at the funeral of the North Carolina vlogger Diamond on Saturday.

Read the full story here:

Trump declared winner of golf tournament at his club – despite missing first day

Judge to hold hearing over Georgia special grand jury report

09:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A judge is set to hear arguments Tuesday on whether to release a report by a special grand jury tasked with investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies broke any laws as they sought to overturn his narrow 2020 election loss in Georgia.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney will hear arguments from the district attorney’s office, news outlets and potentially other parties before making a decision on the release of the report. The special grand jury, whose work was overseen by McBurney, recommended that the report be made public.

Read the full story here:

Judge to hold hearing over Georgia special grand jury report

ICYMI: White House says Trump call to jail Supreme Court leak journalists is an ‘insult to the rule of law’

09:00 , Alex Woodward

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told The Independent during a briefing last week that President Biden “believes the freedom of press is part of the bedrock of American democracy”.

“That is something that he truly believes and that we should continue to fight for,” Ms Jean-Pierre told The Independent when asked about Trump’s persistent threats to jail reporters who refuse to five up their sources of the Roe v Wade “leak”.

“Calling for egregious abuses of power in order to suppress the constitutional rights of reporters is an insult. It is a complete insult to the rule of law and undermines fundamental American values and traditions,” she added.

White House forcefully condemns Trump’s ‘complete insult to the rule of law’

‘Amid Trump’s threats, the US needs to do more to protect journalists'

08:00 , Alex Woodward

Writing for The Independent’s Voices, Chris Blackhurst says:

What is worrying here is that Trump mused about putting reporters in jail while he was president, that he discussed with his advisors how to bypass the First Amendment, and his reign coincided with record arrests of journalists and numerous other attempts to curb their freedom. And it ended with the Capitol Hill insurrection and rioters smashing camera equipment and writing “Murder the Media” on the democratic citadel itself.

If Trump was a lone has-been I would not be so bothered. But he’s not, not yet. He may come again and besides he still has his support. What is more, in launching his anti-press diatribes, he is choosing to do so on the highly-charged ground of Roe v Wade. If anything played into the hands of Trump, the conspirator-general, it is that one.

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy for roles in Jan 6 attack

07:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Four members of the far-right, anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy.

The verdict comes nearly two months after the group’s founder was convicted of the same crime in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol.

A jury agreed that defendants Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo – led by group leader Stewart Rhodes – plotted to violently stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election on 6 January 2021 and joined a mob fuelled by Donald Trump’s persistent lie that the election was stolen from him.

All four defendants were also found guilty on 23 January of conspiracy to obstruct Congress and conspiracy to destroy federal property.

Read the full story by Alex Woodward here:

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy

ICYMI: Trump schedules appearance in New Hampshire to kick off 2024 campaign before South Carolina event

07:00 , Alex Woodward

Trump will head to early-primary state New Hampshire for his first appearance on the 2024 campaign trial, just hours before his planned stop in South Carolina on Saturday.

The former president will deliver remarks to the New Hampshire GOP.

“We are excited to welcome President Trump back to the Granite State to be the keynote speaker at our 2023 Annual Meeting,” according to a statement from New Hampshire Republican Chairman Stephen Stepanek. “President Trump has long been a strong defender of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Primary Status and we are excited that he will join us to deliver remarks to our Members.”

The state’s three-term Republican governor, Chris Sununu, is a vocal Trump critic who allegedly once called the former president “f****** crazy” and has urged his party to find another candidate in 2024.

“I don’t think he can win in November of ‘24,” he said last month. “He could be the nominee. But I do not believe, and I think most people would agree, he’s just going to ... be able to close the deal.”

Judge to hold hearing over Georgia special grand jury report

06:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A judge is set to hear arguments Tuesday on whether to release a report by a special grand jury tasked with investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies broke any laws as they sought to overturn his narrow 2020 election loss in Georgia.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney will hear arguments from the district attorney’s office, news outlets and potentially other parties before making a decision on the release of the report. The special grand jury, whose work was overseen by McBurney, recommended that the report be made public.

Read the full story by Kate Brumback here:

Judge to hold hearing over Georgia special grand jury report

ICYMI: Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy for roles in Jan 6 attack

06:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Four members of the far-right, anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy.

The verdict comes nearly two months after the group’s founder was convicted of the same crime in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol.

A jury agreed that defendants Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo – led by group leader Stewart Rhodes – plotted to violently stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election on 6 January 2021 and joined a mob fuelled by Donald Trump’s persistent lie that the election was stolen from him.

All four defendants were also found guilty on 23 January of conspiracy to obstruct Congress and conspiracy to destroy federal property.

Read the full story by Alex Woodward here:

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy

Donald Trump may need to wait months for Twitter return due to Truth Social contract

05:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Donald Trump will return to Twitter after an exclusivity contract with his own Truth Social platform expires in June, according to a report.

The former US President is currently subject to a “social media exclusivity” clause that requires him to post “any and all social media communications” to Truth Social for six hours before posting to rival platforms, recently uncovered filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveal.

Read the full story here:

Donald Trump’s Truth Social contract means he needs to wait months for Twitter return

Key Georgia special grand jury hearing will discuss Trump probe. What’s at stake?

05:12 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The result of a court hearing in Atlanta could signal the start of a process that may lead to former president Donald Trump or his allies facing criminal charges for trying to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in Georgia.

The Tuesday morning hearing, scheduled to take place at the Fulton County courthouse, is when a Georgia judge will hear arguments on whether to release a report compiled by a special grand jury investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies illegally tried to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election in Georgia.

Kate Brumback and Andrew Feinberg answer some of the key questions that remain:

Key Georgia special grand jury hearing will discuss Trump probe. What’s at stake?

Lawsuits, jail threats and ‘enemy of the people’: Donald Trump’s endless war on the media

05:00 , Alex Woodward

Following the “leak” of a draft of what became the US Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down Roe v Wade, Trump has repeatedly demanded that the journalist and outlet that published the draft be thrown in jail if they don’t reveal their source, accelerating the former president’s public war on the media.

From threatening journalists with prison time, to defending MBS and suing media outlets in an admitted attempt to strike down Supreme Court protections of First Amendment safeguards, here’s a brief history of Trump’s latest attacks:

Lawsuits, jail threats and ‘enemy of the people’: Donald Trump’s war on the media

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy for roles in Jan 6 attack

04:45 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Four members of the far-right, anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy.

The verdict comes nearly two months after the group’s founder was convicted of the same crime in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol.

A jury agreed that defendants Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo – led by group leader Stewart Rhodes – plotted to violently stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election on 6 January 2021 and joined a mob fuelled by Donald Trump’s persistent lie that the election was stolen from him.

All four defendants were also found guilty on 23 January of conspiracy to obstruct Congress and conspiracy to destroy federal property.

Read the full story by Alex Woodward here:

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy

Capitol rioter who put his feet on Pelosi’s desk found guilty

04:37 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Roughly two years after his brush with viral fame, the man who boasted about writing a “nasty note” for Nancy Pelosi after kicking back in her chair and putting his workboot on her desk has been found guilty on all eight charges against him.

Richard “Bigo” Barnett testified in his own defense last week in one of the highest-profile trials connected to the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021. It took a jury only two hours to deliver a verdict.

Charges include obstruction of an official proceeding, theft of government property, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, after he walked the halls of Congress with a 950,000-volt stun-gun walking staff.

Read the full story by Alex Woodward here:

Capitol rioter who put his feet on Pelosi’s desk found guilty

Watch: ‘The imposter in Congress'

04:00 , Alex Woodward

George Santos made political waves by flipping New York’s 3rd congressional district seat in the November midterms, a once reliable Democratic seat. It wasn’t until after his election that his resume and a bulk of his life experiences appeared to by totally made-up, and the congressman has refused to stand aside as the controversy mounts.

The Independent’s Richard Hall visited Long Island to track down the real George Santos.

Kevin McCarthy’s gushing statement about Marjorie Taylor Greene revealed

03:00 , Alex Woodward

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy reportedly said that he would never abandon far-right US Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia after she whipped votes to help him gain the speakership earlier this month, according to The New York Times.

Ms Greene stood beside Mr McCarthy throughout the marathon 15 votes to finally clinch the gavel even as some of her fellow conservatives and members of the House Freedom Caucus such as Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Gaetz of Florida opposed him.

Read what Mr McCarthy reportedly told those closest to him about her relationship with the Congresswoman Greene:

McCarthy’s gushing statement about Marjorie Taylor Greene revealed

ICYMI: Trump may need to wait months for Twitter return due to Truth Social contract

02:00 , Alex Woodward

Trump is subject to a “social media exclusivity” clause that requires him to post “any and all social media communications” to his Truth Social account for six hours before posting to rival platforms, recently uncovered filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission reveal.

The six-month rolling contract runs out in June and Trump does not plan to renew it, sources told Rolling Stone, as he plans to use all channels available for his 2024 presidential campaign.

From The Independent’s Tech desk:

Donald Trump’s Truth Social contract means he needs to wait months for Twitter return

ICYMI: Trump campaign denies he knew convicted mob boss he posed with in photo

01:00 , Alex Woodward

On Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer published a photograph it obtained of the former president, clad in dark pants, a white golf shirt and his signature “Make America Great Again” headgear, standing between two men at his Florida golf club.

One of those men appears to be Joseph Merlino, a convicted felon who ran the Philadelphia mob in the 1990s, when Mr Trump was best known as a New York real estate developer and Atlantic City, New Jersey casino proprietor.

Trump campaign denies he knew convicted mob boss he posed with in photo

Special report: In George Santos’s district, setting of The Great Gatsby, cries of ‘imposter’ abound

00:00 , Alex Woodward

George Santos rose to power by courting the same Long Island elite that Jay Gatsby fooled in F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, but the residents he represents see him as a Great American Nightmare, The Independent’s Richard Hall reports from New York.

In George Santos’s district, setting of The Great Gatsby, cries of ‘imposter’ abound

ICYMI: Four more Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy for Jan 6 attack

Monday 23 January 2023 23:00 , Alex Woodward

Within a year, 10 people have been convicted of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021 – an otherwise rare charge in US history that was initially aimed at prosecuting secessionists in slaveholding states.

On Monday, four more members of the far-right self-appointed militia group the Oath Keepers were found guilty of seditious conspiracy for launching their attack in the halls of Congress, fuelled by Trump’s bogus claims of election fraud.

Their conviction follows the conviction of their leader, Stewart Rhodes, just weeks earlier for the same crime.

They join one other Oath Keepers member convicted of the treason-related charge and three other members who pleaded guilty to the charge in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy

Garland defends Justice Department handling of Trump and Biden probes

Monday 23 January 2023 22:15 , Alex Woodward

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has defended the Justice Department’s response as investigators determine how classified materials ended up in Joe Biden’s home and offices, with special counsels leading probes into both the Biden case and Trump’s mishandling of documents discovered at Mar-a-Lago that he fought federal agencies from obtaining.

“We do not have different rules for Democrats or Republicans, different rules for the powerful or the powerless, different rules for the rich and for the poor,” Mr Garland said on Monday.

“We apply the facts, and the law in each case in a neutral, non-partisan manner,” he added. “That is what we always do.”

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Will Trump face criminal charges for trying to overturn election results in Georgia?

Monday 23 January 2023 22:30 , Alex Woodward

That’s the question on everyone’s minds as a judge in Georgia prepares to hear arguments about the release of a grand jury’s report, eight months in the making, about the former president’s efforts, with his allies, to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the state.

After months of private testimony from Trumpworld figures, the release of the report could trigger a decision from the Fulton County district attorney’s office to seek criminal charges against Trump and others invovled with the scheme, which was central to the House select committee’s investigation in the January 6 attack.

A statement from Trump’s attorneys on Monday said they “have never been a part of this process”.

“The grand jury compelled the testimony of dozens of other, often high-ranking, officials during the investigation, but never found it important to speak with the President,” they added. “He was never subpoenaed nor asked to come in voluntarily by this grand jury or anyone in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump.”

A group of media outlets have petitioned the court for the public release of the grand jury’s report.

If her office decides to seek charges against Trump, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis would have to take the case to a separate grand jury to present them.

Garland ‘grateful’ for Justice Department team for ‘outsanding work’ leading to Oath Keepers conviction

Monday 23 January 2023 22:00 , Alex Woodward

US Attorney General Merrick Garland thanked members of the Justice Department team that worked on the seditious conspiracy cases against members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia.

“I’m grateful to the prosecutors, agents and staff for their oustanding work in connection with this manner,” he said on Monday.

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Oath Keepers attorney says Trump and his allies are ‘morally responsible’ for seditious conspiracy verdict

Monday 23 January 2023 21:45 , Alex Woodward

After a jury found four members of the far-right group the Oath Keepers guilty of sedition-related charges for their roles organising an attack on the US Capitol, a defense attorney for one of the members said Trump and his allies are “morally responsible” for advancing the bogus election fraud claims that fuelled the attack.

Scott Weinberg, an attorney for David Moerschel, said after today’s verdict that the former president and his allies pushed stolen election “nonsense” in advance of the January 6 attack.

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Just in: Trump to give keynote address at New Hampshire GOP meeting before South Carolina campaign stop

Monday 23 January 2023 20:58 , Alex Woodward

Trump will head to early-primary state New Hampshire for his surprise first appearance on the 2024 campaign trial, just hours before his planned stop in South Carolina on Saturday.

The former president will deliver remarks to the New Hampshire GOP.

“We are excited to welcome President Trump back to the Granite State to be the keynote speaker at our 2023 Annual Meeting,” according to a statement from New Hampshire Republican Chairman Stephen Stepanek. “President Trump has long been a strong defender of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Primary Status and we are excited that he will join us to deliver remarks to our Members.”

The state’s three-term Republican governor, Chris Sununu, is a vocal Trump critic who allegedly once called the former president “f****** crazy” and has urged his party to find another candidate in 2024.

“I don’t think he can win in November of ‘24,” he said last month. “He could be the nominee. But I do not believe, and I think most people would agree, he’s just going to ... be able to close the deal.”

Kevin McCarthy’s gushing statement about Marjorie Taylor Greene revealed: ‘I’ll never leave that woman’

Monday 23 January 2023 20:07 , Alex Woodward

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly said that he would never abandon far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene after she whipped votes to help him gain the speakership earlier this month, according to The New York Times.

Ms Greene stood beside Mr McCarthy throughout the marathon 15 votes to finally clinch the gavel even as some of her fellow conservatives and members of the House Freedom Caucus such as Representatives Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Gaetz of Florida opposed him.

Mr McCarthy – wrestling for control of his caucus with a slim majority and powerful far-right flank – reportedly expressed his gratitude to a friend: “I will never leave that woman.”

McCarthy’s gushing statement about Marjorie Taylor Greene revealed

Breaking: Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy for roles in Jan 6 attack

Monday 23 January 2023 19:40 , Alex Woodward

Four members of the far-right anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy, nearly two months after their leader and the group’s founder was convicted of the same crime in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol.

A jury agreed that defendants Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo – led by group leader Stewart Rhodes – plotted to violently stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election on 6 January, 2021 and joined a mob fuelled by Donald Trump’s persistent lie that the election was stolen from him.

All four defendants were also found guilty on 23 January of conspiracy to obstruct Congress and conspiracy to destroy federal property.

Four members of the Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy

Just in: Verdict reached in second Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial

Monday 23 January 2023 19:27 , Alex Woodward

A jury has reached a verdict in a second trial on seditious conspiracy for members of the far-right anti-government militia group the Oath Keepers for their role in the January 6 riots.

The verdict is coming two months after their leader and the group’s founder was convicted of the same crime in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol.

Stay tuned.

‘Ringleader’ GOP candidate accused of orchestrating shooting at Democratic officials’ homes to stay in jail as he awaits trial

Monday 23 January 2023 18:54 , Alex Woodward

Prosecutors successfully argued to keep a former Republican candidate for New Mexico’s state legislature – accused of conspiring to shoot at the homes of Democratic officials in the state – behind bars as he awaits trial.

At a hearing on 23 January, prosecutors said all Solomon Pena needs to pose a threat is a phone, describing him as a “ringleader” in the alleged conspiracy. A New Mexico judge ordered Mr Pena to remain in jail ahead of a hearing.

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“Defendant is trying to get them to do it when the [targets] are home, up walking around ... to injure them,” according to the prosecution.

Mr Pena believes in the widespread, baseless narrative promoted by Trump and his allies that the 2020 election was corrupted by fraud, a bogus claim that continues to fuel GOP candidates and their supporters and has not shown any signs of slowing despite its links to violent attacks.

More about Mr Pena’s case from The Independent’s Bevan Hurley:

‘Maga king’ who attended Jan 6 rally behind shootings of political rivals, police say

Trump campaign denies he knows convicted mob boss who posed with him in golf club photo

Monday 23 January 2023 18:30 , Alex Woodward

Less than three months after he was seen dining with antisemitic rapper Kanye West and notorious white nationalist Nick Fuentes, Trump has been photographed with a convicted mob boss who spent more than a decade in prison on racketeering charges.

On Monday, The Philadelphia Inquirer published a photograph it obtained of the former president with his signature “Make America Great Again” hat while standing between two men at his Florida golf club – including Joseph Merlino, a convicted felon who ran the Philadelphia mob in the 1990s.

Trump campaign denies he knew convicted mob boss he posed with in photo

Trump fires at McConnell over debt ceiling fight: ‘stone cold CROOK’

Monday 23 January 2023 17:46 , Alex Woodward

On his Truth Social account, Trump called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell either “the WORST negotiator” in politics or a “stone cold CROOK” after the Republican senator insisted that the US would not default on its debt and expected negotiations with the Biden administration to avert a disaster.

“There can be no other explanation as to why he has become such a rubber stamp for the Democrats. Republicans, use Debt Ceiling to get it all back!” Trump said on Monday.

House Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing the White House to agree to major spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling after GOP lawmakers voted to raise the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration.

“In the end, I think the important thing to remember is that America must never default on its debt. It never has, and it never will,” Mr McConnell told reporters last week. “We’ll end up in some kind of negotiation with the administration over what the circumstances or conditions under which the debt ceiling be raised.”

What’s at stake in the Georgia grand jury investigation?

Monday 23 January 2023 17:20 , Alex Woodward

A special grand jury investigating whether Trump and his allies illegally tried to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election in Georgia has wrapped up its work. But key questions remain, as a judge hears arguments about opening up the grand jury’s findings:

Key Georgia special grand jury hearing will discuss Trump probe. What’s at stake?

Breaking: Capitol rioter who put his feet on Pelosi’s desk found guilty

Monday 23 January 2023 17:07 , Alex Woodward

Roughly two years after his brush with viral fame, the man who boasted about writing a “nasty note” for Nancy Pelosi after kicking back in her chair and putting his workboot on her desk has been found guilty on all eight charges against him.

Richard “Bigo” Barnett testified in his own defense last week in one of the highest-profile trials connected to the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021. It took a jury only two hours to deliver a verdict.

Capitol rioter who put his feet on Pelosi’s desk found guilty

ICYMI: Trump turns memorial for vlogger Diamond into campaign speech - and complains the service wasn’t 15 minutes

Monday 23 January 2023 15:45 , Alex Woodward

The former president struggled to meet the mood of a memorial service for Ineitha Lynnette Hardaway, better known as “Diamond” of the pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk, The Independent;s John Bowden reports.

Speaking Saturday at the gathering in North Carolina, Trump sounded more like a candidate delivering a stump speech than an ex-president memorialising a valued friend or political ally.

At one point, he even quipped that the service had gone on much longer than the “15 minutes” he was promised to deliver his remarks and leave.

Trump turns memorial for vlogger Diamond into rally speech - and gripes about length

A brief history of Donald Trump’s war on the media

Monday 23 January 2023 15:25 , Alex Woodward

Following the “leak” of a draft of what became the US Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down Roe v Wade, Mr Trump has repeatedly demanded that the journalist and outlet that published the draft be thrown in jail if they don’t reveal their source, accelerating the former president’s public war on the media.

“It won’t take long before the name of this slime is revealed,” he said in a statement on his Truth Social account on 19 January.

It follows a pattern of attempts to undermine and vilify a press on which he once relied to develop his public persona as a self-made model of success that he used to propel himself to the White House.

Now facing a wave of criminal investigations, convictions against his company and credible accusations of misconduct in his second bid for the presidency, the former president is threatening to imprison journalists and using lawsuits to target First Amendment protections:

Lawsuits, jail threats and ‘enemy of the people’: Donald Trump’s war on the media