Trump news – live: Meta to reinstate Trump on Facebook and Instagram as 2024 campaign gears up

Trump news – live: Meta to reinstate Trump on Facebook and Instagram as 2024 campaign gears up

Donald Trump will have his Facebook and Instagram accounts reinstated in the coming weeks by parent company Meta after a two-year ban.

Nick Clegg, the company’s president of global affairs, said there will be new guard rails built in to limit distribution of posts that do not explicitly break the rules. It is no known whether the former president plans to reuse the accounts once they are reinstated.

The news comes after Mr Trump hosted conservative influencers and creators of the “Libs of TikTok” and Babylon Bee social media accounts at Mar-a-Lago.

NBC News reports that it is part of a charm offensive by the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, whose campaign has its first event this weekend in South Carolina.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump leaped to Mike Pence’s defence after it emerged that classified documents had been found in the former vice president’s Indiana home.

In a Truth Social post, Mr Trump called Mr Pence an “innocent man” and urged people to “leave him alone”.

It’s a marked difference from his response to the discovery of classified documents at President Joe Biden’s Wilmington home and an office he used in Washington DC.

Key points

Trump pilloried as ‘4-year-old cheat’ over golf tournament claims

08:13 , Namita Singh

Sportswriter and author Rick Reilly has criticised Donald Trump as a “cheat” after the golf-loving former president claimed victory in a competitive tournament earlier this week – despite missing the first day.

Mr Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social to announce his win in the Senior Club Championship at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

He declared that it was “a great honour” to have won the tournament “[at] one of the best courses in the country”.

More in this report:

Trump pilloried as ‘4-year-old cheat’ over golf tournament claims

Meta’s move to reinstate Trump 'a disaster'

07:55 , Namita Singh

Letting Donald Trump back on Facebook sends a signal to other figures with large online audiences that they may break the rules without lasting consequences, said Heidi Beirich, founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism and a member of a group called the Real Facebook Oversight Board that has criticised the platform’s efforts.

“I am not surprised but it is a disaster,” Ms Beirich said of Meta’s decision. “Facebook created loopholes for Trump that he went right through. He incited an insurrection on Facebook. And now he’s back.”

NAACP president Derrick Johnson blasted the decision as “a prime example of putting profits above people’s safety” and a “grave mistake”.

Former US president Donald Trump greets people as he arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home on 31 December 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida (Getty Images)
Former US president Donald Trump greets people as he arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home on 31 December 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida (Getty Images)

“It’s quite astonishing that one can spew hatred, fuel conspiracies, and incite a violent insurrection at our nation’s Capitol building, and Mark Zuckerberg still believes that is not enough to remove someone from his platforms,” he said.

ICYMI: Meta to restore Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts

07:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced that it will soon restore the twice-impeached ex-president’s access to their platforms, just over two years after Mr Trump used his social media profiles to incite a violent attack on the US Capitol.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Meta to restore Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts

Classified documents found in Pence’s home include briefings for foreign trips

06:30 , Namita Singh

Among the 12 classified documents recovered from former vice president Mike Pence’s home, several were reportedly background briefings prepared for his official international tours.

The documents may have been overlooked because they were with other old trip binders, and would be hard to spot without skimming through each of the pages, multiple sources told CNN.

Such briefing binders often include details about the people an official is going to meet during their international visit and the information included can range from basic background knowledge on foreign leaders to more confidential intelligence about them.

Read more in this report:

Classified documents found in Pence’s home include foreign trip briefings

Despite new revelations about Pence, McCarthy targets Biden over documents

05:45 , Oliver O'Connell

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy attempted to draw a distinction between the documents found at former vice president Mike Pence’s home and those discovered at President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Independent asked Mr McCarthy about CNN’s report that Mr Pence found documents at his home in Carmel, Indiana and promptly returned them.

Here’s what he said:

McCarthy targets Biden on documents – despite revelations about Pence andTrump probe

Even after missing a full day, Trump somehow wins golf tournament

04:15 , Oliver O'Connell

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 event.

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.

Odd that on the Saturday of the tournament he was at a memorial service two states away...

Maroosha Muzaffar has the story.

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

ICYMI: Trump wonders why no one on infamous Georgia election call said he acted inappropriately

03:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump issued a potentially revealing statement on Truth Social as news broke Tuesday that authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, are nearing a decision on charges for multiple members of his inner circle — including potentially Mr Trump himself.

The ex-president, out of nowhere, brought up his now-infamous 2 January 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he instructed the state elections chief to “find” more than 11,000 votes he would have needed to surpass Joe Biden’s total in the state.

John Bowden has the details.

Trump blames others on his notorious Georgia call as Fulton County decision nears

Everything old is new: Classified documents have posed a problem dating back to Carter administration

02:15 , Oliver O'Connell

At least three presidents. A vice president, a secretary of state, an attorney general. The mishandling of classified documents is not a problem unique to President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Read on:

Classified records pose conundrum stretching back to Carter

Voices: Why Pence’s documents mishap scrambles GOP attacks on Biden

01:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Eric Garcia explains how the narrative Republicans were developing was suddenly thrown into disarray.

Pence’s documents mishap scrambles the GOP’s efforts to go after Biden

What you need to know about the Trump, Biden, and Pence classified documents

00:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Classified documents keep showing up where they shouldn’t be.

The discovery of documents with classified markings at former Vice President Mike Pence‘s home in Indiana follows the revelation of classified materials at President Joe Biden‘s Delaware home and former office — and the seizure last year of hundreds of documents marked classified from Mar-a-Lago, the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump.

A look at similarities and differences among the various situations:

EXPLAINER: Comparing Trump, Biden, Pence classified papers

Elaine Chao responds to Trump’s barrage of racist attacks against her

23:30 , Alex Woodward

For months, Donald Trump has unleashed a string of thinly veiled racist comments about his former transportation secretary, the wife of his party’s Senate leader, to relative silence from other GOP officials.

Days after his latest abuse, Elaine Chao issued a rare rebuke against the former president amid rising reports of anti-Asian hate and shocking acts of violence impacting Asian American communities.

“When I was young, some people deliberately misspelled or mispronounced my name. Asian Americans have worked hard to change that experience for the next generation,” she said in a statement to Politico. “He doesn’t seem to understand that, which says a whole lot more about him than it will ever say about Asian Americans.”

Elaine Chao responds to Trump’s barrage of racist attacks against her

ACLU responds to Meta’s decision

23:21 , Alex Woodward

Anthony D Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that Meta made “the right call” to reinstate the former president on its platforms.

“Like it or not, President Trump is one of the country’s leading political figures and the public has a strong interest in hearing his speech,” he said in a statement. “Indeed, some of Trump’s most offensive social media posts ended up being critical evidence in lawsuits filed against him and his administration. And we should know — we filed over 400 legal actions against him.”

He said that while the government can’t force platforms to carry certain speech, “that doesn’t mean the largest platforms should engage in political censorship.”

“The biggest social media companies are central actors when it comes to our collective ability to speak – and hear the speech of others – online. They should err on the side of allowing a wide range of political speech, even when it offends,” he added.

“In a healthier information ecosystem, the decisions of a single company would not carry such immense political significance, and we hope that new platforms will emerge to challenge the hegemony of the social media giants,” Mr Romero said. “In the meantime, we will continue to press the tech giants to be fair and impartial stewards of our political discourse.”

‘Ridiculous joke’: Critics respond to Meta’s decision on Trump accounts

22:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Predictably there was a wave of negative responses to the news that Meta was reinstating the former president after banning him two years ago.

Graig Graziosi reports on the reaction to the announcement.

Critics respond to Meta’s decision to reinstate Trump’s social media accounts

Read Meta’s statement in full

22:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Facebook parent company Meta has announced that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated on Facebook and Instagram, ending a ban on his accounts following the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, released a statement on the company’s website on Wednesday evening. Read his statement in full:

Meta welcomes Trump back on Facebook: Read the company’s full statement

Trump mocks Meta in response to decision to reinstate him on Facebook

22:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has reacted to the news of Meta’s decision to reinstate his Facebook and Instagram accounts by posting on Truth Social, his own platform set up following his ban from mainstream social media.

The former president wrote:

FACEBOOK, which has lost Billions of Dollars in value since “deplatforming” your favorite President, me, has just announced that they are reinstating my account. Such a thing should never again happen to a sitting President, or anybody else who is not deserving of retribution! THANK YOU TO TRUTH SOCIAL FOR DOING SUCH AN INCREDIBLE JOB. YOUR GROWTH IS OUTSTANDING, AND FUTURE UNLIMITED!!!

Mr Trump has 4.84 million followers on Truth Social, whereas he had an audience of approximately 34 million on Facebook and 23 million on Instagram.

BREAKING: Meta to restore Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts

22:14 , Oliver O'Connell

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced that it will soon restore the twice-impeached ex-president’s access to their platforms, just over two years after Mr Trump used his social media profiles to incite a violent attack on the US Capitol.

Andrew Feinberg reports on this developing story.

Meta to restore Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts

Elaine Chao issues rare rebuke of Trump

22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Despite the numerous times Donald Trump has attacked her with racist slurs and accusations, former transportation secretary Elaine Chao has chosen by and large to ignore his insults and rise above them.

However, the former cabinet secretary (and wife of fellow Trump-target Senator Mitch McConnell) has now spoken out to Politico in a statement that “suggests that discomfort with Trump’s anti-Asian rhetoric has reached a new level amid several high-profile shootings targeting Asian Americans”.

“When I was young, some people deliberately misspelled or mispronounced my name. Asian Americans have worked hard to change that experience for the next generation,” Ms Chao said. “He doesn’t seem to understand that, which says a whole lot more about him than it will ever say about Asian Americans.”

Trump posts gripe-filled video in praise of new House committee on weaponisation of federal government

21:40 , Oliver O'Connell

The meandering, gripe-filled video (shot in the style of his earlier campaign videos) ends with praise for GOP reps James Comer and Jim Jordan.

Jeff Zients: Can he keep progressives happy and the Biden White House on course?

21:25 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg reports on the next big assignment for former management consultant Jeff Zients: White House chief of staff.

Why Jeff Zients, Biden’s ultra-wealthy new chief of staff, has ‘big shoes to fill’

Ted Cruz blasted for wildly different reactions to Pence and Biden document scandals

21:14 , Oliver O'Connell

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is being blasted for his two very different reactions to the discoveries of classified documents at the homes of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Gustaf Kilander has the story.

Cruz called out for wildly different reactions to Pence and Biden classified papers

Leaders are meant to keep state secrets... but not at home

20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Democrats responded with aggrieved fury when former President Donald Trump was found in possession of classified documents that should have been turned over to the government when he left office. Then disclosures that President Joe Biden also mishandled secret papers set loose a Republican “well, what about” roar.

Now, with another discovery of classified documents, this time at the home of Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, the partisan finger-pointing seems to be melting into a chorus of mortification from Democrats and Republicans.

The highest US secrets, it now appears, are not necessarily safe with the highest officials.

Read on:

Leaders are meant to keep state secrets. Just not at home.

ICYMI: New Trump photo with mobster surfaces

20:10 , Oliver O'Connell

A photo taken during the summer of 2022 shows a grinning former president Donald 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 Mr Trump’s push for criminal justice reform, and said his support for the ex-president is well known.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

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

House GOP push for info on Hunter Biden's art sales

19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

House Republicans renewed their investigation Wednesday into the art dealings of Hunter Biden, pushing for details on who is purchasing his work as part of the party’s long-promised probe into President Joe Biden and his family.

Rep. James Comer, new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked for a transcribed interview with Georges Bergès, the art dealer who has been showcasing Hunter Biden’s work in New York and Los Angeles galleries since 2021.

He requested communications between the gallery and the White House, citing Republican concerns the younger Biden is trading in on his father’s name.

Read on:

House Republicans push for info on Hunter Biden's art sales

Trump hosts Libs of TikTok and Babylon Bee influencers

19:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has hosted the conservative creators of the “Libs of TikTok” and Babylon Bee social media accounts at Mar-a-Lago.

NBC News reports that it is part of a charm offensive by the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, whose campaign has its first event this weekend in South Carolina.

Despite launching in mid-November 2022, the former president’s campaign has been slow to gain any traction or momentum and Mr Trump has barely left his Palm Beach home.

Citing a source with knowledge of the strategy, the network says Trump met with Seth Dillon, founder of the conservative political satire website Babylon Bee, and had dinner with Chaya Raichik, owner of the “Libs of TikTok” Twitter account.

Mr Trump plans to meet with other social media influencers, the source told NBC.

Ms Raichik posted a photo of herself with the former president.

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Democrats sidestep on Kyrsten Sinema challenger

19:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic discomfort was on display as senators kept mum on Representative Ruben Gallego’s decision to run against Independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona, despite her defection from the party last month.

Eric Garcia reports on the reaction in Congress.

Democrats sidestep on Sinema challenger as Republicans wish she’d join the GOP ranks

McCarthy loses his cool at reporters over George Santos questions

18:40 , Oliver O'Connell

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dressed down a reporter in the US Capitol during a press conference on Tuesday after the reporter questioned him over why he wasn’t doing more to punish George Santos for repeatedly lying to voters and the media.

CNN’s Manu Raju began the exchange on Tuesday by questioning Mr McCarthy over whether his resistance to calling for Mr Santos to resign, a step several of his GOP colleagues have taken, was due to his desire to protect a single-digit Republican majority in the chamber.

John Bowden reports from Washington, DC, on what was said.

Kevin McCarthy loses his cool at reporters questioning his backing of George Santos

After years of resistance, Trump has discovered texting, report says

18:20 , Oliver O'Connell

According to reporting by Jonathan Swan and Maggie Haberman in The New York Times, former president Donald Trump has discovered text messaging.

Despite long being famous for his unfiltered tweets (now Truths?) in the public sphere, Mr Trump has long avoided communicating by email or text in private, something that may have helped him avoid worse legal jeopardy than he is currently in.

Citing three people with knowledge of his new habit, Swan and Haberman report that messages from the former president have shown up on the phone of surprised recipients.

A lack of written electronic communication from the one-time president was notable in the January 6 investigation when other Trumpworld figures’ texts and emails were key to building the case against him.

To date, Mr Trump’s texts are described as innocuous and have included new year greetings and political comments.

Watch: De La Cruz voices anger over DirecTV ditching Newsmax

18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

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McCarthy targets Biden over documents – despite new revelations about Pence

17:40 , Oliver O'Connell

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy attempted to draw a distinction between the documents found at former vice president Mike Pence’s home and those discovered at President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Independent asked Mr McCarthy about CNN’s report that Mr Pence found documents at his home in Carmel, Indiana and promptly returned them.

Eric Garcia reports on how the speaker responded to his question.

McCarthy targets Biden on documents – despite revelations about Pence andTrump probe

Watch: Classified documents found at home of Mike Pence

17:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Classified documents found at home of former US vice president Mike Pence

White nationalist Nick Fuentes suspended from Twitter one day after brief return

16:59 , Oliver O'Connell

Notorious white nationalist and virulent antisemite Nick Fuentes has been suspended from Twitter, again, one day after he was able to return to his verified account.

Mr Fuentes gained more mainstream attention after dining with Donald Trump and Kanye West at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago property last year.

Mr Trump has refused to condemn either of the men and their history of rampant antisemitism and Mr Fuentes’s links to neo-Nazism, anti-LGBT+ bigotry and misogyny.

Alex Woodward has the latest.

White nationalist Nick Fuentes suspended from Twitter after one-day return

Trump blames everyone else as potential Georgia charges loom

16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump issued a potentially revealing statement on Truth Social as news broke Tuesday that authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, are nearing a decision on charges for multiple members of his inner circle — including potentially Mr Trump himself.

The ex-president, out of nowhere, brought up his now-infamous 2 January 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he instructed the state elections chief to “find” more than 11,000 votes he would have needed to surpass Joe Biden’s total in the state.

John Bowden reports.

Trump blames others on his notorious Georgia call as Fulton County decision nears

Pence to visit Florida on Friday

16:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Vice President Mike Pence will visit Florida International University in Miami on Friday 27 January.

The likely 2024 contender is ostensibly in the state as part of his book out for his memoir So Help Me God.

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House Judiciary schedules first ‘Biden Border Crisis’ hearing

15:50 , Oliver O'Connell

The House Committee on the Judiciary will hold its first hearing on the “Biden Border Crisis” on Wednesday 1 February at 10am.

Chairman Jim Jordan tweeted the announcement adding: “Ready to get to work.”

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DirecTV drops Trump-favourite Newsmax

15:30 , Oliver O'Connell

DirecTV has dropped pro-Trump far-right news channel Newsmax.

The network ceased to be aired by the platform at 11.59pm on Tuesday, with the platform saying that the carriage fees demanded by Newsmax to supplement advertising would have led to higher costs that would have had to be passed on to customers.

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Newsmax disputes this saying that the claim is false and they have been “de-platformed” by DirecTV as conservative outlet One America News was in 2022.

Texas Republican Rep Wesley Hunt has taken up the fight on behalf of the network sending a letter of protest to the CEOs of DirecTV and parent AT&T, co-signed by a number of GOP lawmakers including Matt Gaetz, James Comer, and Lauren Boebert.

Newsmax is still available to stream online and through multiple other platforms including Amazon, Roku, and Google Play. The network refers to the move by DirecTV as “censorship”.

DirecTV maintains that it wanted to continue to offer the network on its platform.

Full story: Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘sees herself on the shortlist for Trump’s VP’

15:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Marjorie Taylor Greene is working to become former President Donald Trump’s 2024 running mate, a report says.

Former Trump White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who hosts a podcast on which the Georgia Republican Representative has appeared, told NBC News that “this is no shrinking violet, she’s ambitious, she’s not shy about that, nor should she be”.

Gustaf Kilander has the story.

Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘sees herself on the shortlist for Trump’s VP’

‘Enough information’ for Trump to be indicted in Georgia, says former Lt Governor

14:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Lieutenant Governor of Georgia Geoff Duncan told CNN he believes there is enough evidence to indict former president Donald Trump in the state’s grand jury case on election fraud in 2020.

Mr Duncan, a new Republican political analyst for the network, was speaking on CNN This Morning.

Describing the investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as a “fact-finding mission”, Mr Duncan says there are three unique lanes being investigated — the phone call then-president Trump made to Brad Raffensperger saying he needed more votes; the basket of conspiracies to re-steer the election that could lead to a racketeering charge; and the fake electorate plan.

Asked by host Poppy Harlow how involved Mr Trump was in soliciting each of those, Mr Duncan replies that he was involved in all three.

Pressed by Don Lemon as to whether the former president could be indicted, Mr Duncan replies: “I think there’s enough information for him to be indicted.”

Full transcript and video available on Mediaite.

Andrew Feinberg filed this report yesterday on the latest in the probe when DA Willis asked that the special grand jury report on the case be kept under seal while a decision is made on criminal charges:

Georgia says charge decision is imminent in Trump election interference probe

NBC News: Marjorie Taylor Greene angling to be Trump’s 2024 running mate

14:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Georgia Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene is positioning herself to be Donald Trump’s 2024 running mate, NBC News reports citing two people who have spoken to her about her ambitions.

“This is no shrinking violet, she's ambitious — she's not shy about that, nor should she be,” said Steve Bannon, the former top Trump aide who hosts the War Room podcast, where Greene has been a guest.

A second source, with ties to former president Trump and who has advised Ms Greene, said her “whole vision is to be vice president”. They spoke anonymously to describe private conversations and added that he also believes she would be on Mr Trump’s shortlist.

The news comes after the bitter battle to make Kevin McCarthy speaker, in which Ms Greene appeared to adopt a stance aimed at bridging the divide between the hardline far right of the party with which she is traditionally associated, and more establishment Republicans such as Mr McCarthy.

More follows...

Trump blames others on his notorious Georgia call for not hanging up on him

14:00 , Rachel Sharp

Donald Trump issued a potentially revealing statement on Truth Social as news broke Tuesday that authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, are nearing a decision on charges for multiple members of his inner circle — including potentially Mr Trump himself.

The ex-president, out of nowhere, brought up his now-infamous 2 January 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he instructed the state elections chief to “find” more than 11,000 votes he would have needed to surpass Joe Biden’s total in the state.

“My phone call to the Secretary of State of Georgia, and a second call which the Marxists, Communists, Racists, and RINOS don’t even want to talk about, were “PERFECT” calls. Many people, including lawyers for both sides, were knowingly on the line. I was protesting a RIGGED & STOLEN Election, which evidence proves it was,” claimed the former president.

Read the full story here:

Trump blames others on his notorious Georgia call as Fulton County decision nears

Georgia prosecutor says charges may be ‘imminent’ in efforts to overturn election in state

13:30 , Rachel Sharp

A Georgia prosecutor said that a decision was “imminent” around whether or not to bring charges against Donald Trump and his allies over their efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state.

A judge in Fulton County is currently hearing arguments about the public release of a grand jury report following an eight-month probe into Mr Trump’s alleged actions.

On Tuesday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said she opposed the report being made public just yet, as she suggested that the special grand jury had recommended multiple indictments.

“Decisions are imminent,” she said.

“We want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, and we think for future defendants to be treated fairly it’s not appropriate at this time to have this report released.”

Proud Boys expected ‘civil war,’ witness testifies

13:00 , Alex Woodward

The month before the riot at the US Capitol, members of the far-right nationalist gang the Proud Boys were growing increasingly angry about the outcome of the 2020 election and were expecting a “civil war,” a former member told jurors on Tuesday as he took the stand in the seditious conspiracy case against the group's former leader.

Proud Boys expecting 'civil war' before Jan. 6, witness says

Trump leaps to Pence’s defence over classified documents

12:30 , Rachel Sharp

Donald Trump leaped to Mike Pence’s defence on Tuesday after it emerged that classified documents had been found in the vice president’s Indiana home.

In a Truth Social post, Mr Trump called Mr Pence an “innocent man” and urged people to “leave him alone”.

“Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!” he wrote.

Whether or not Mr Trump’s defence of his former right-hand man was genuine, remains to be seen.

However, his comments are a marked difference from his response to the discovery of classified documents at President Joe Biden’s Wilmington home and an office he used in Washington DC.

Now, classified documents have been found at the homes of Mr Trump, Mr Biden and Mr Pence, prompting investigations into the matters.

Video resurfaces of Mike Pence denying taking classified documents

12:00 , 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

ICYMI: Trump invokes another racist attack on his transportation secretary, baselessly linking her to Biden documents

11:00 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump has revived his thinly veiled racist attack against his former transportation secretary Elaine Chao, whom the former president baselessly connected to Joe Biden’s classified documents case because of right-wing media scrutiny involving their alleged storage in Washington DC’s Chinatown.

His statement on Truth Social from 23 January involves a series of disconnected right-wing media claims and conspiracy theories, all spuriously intertwined by Mr Trump’s ongoing attacks against Ms Chao and her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump baselessly links Elaine Chao to Biden documents in racist attack

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

10:00 , Alex Woodward

During the four years of his presidency, he called journalists and news outlets “fake news” roughly 2,000 times, averaging more than one daily broadside against the press and continuing a long legacy of attempts to undermine his critics that has continued well after his time in the White House.

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.

A brief history of his recent attacks:

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

ICYMI: Fox News mocked over its latest culture war obsession – the ‘woke’ Xbox

09:00 , Alex Woodward

After getting M&Ms to drop their spokescandies amid right-wing claims that the cartoon chocolate characters weren’t attractive enough, Fox News personalities have identified a new target in the culture wars: Xbox.

Fox News mocked over its latest culture war obsession – the ‘woke’ Xbox

Nick Fuentes returns to Twitter

08:00 , Alex Woodward

Twitter banned 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.

At 7.30am ET, a verified account with his name posted a meme of the character Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants to announce his return to the social media platform, where new owner Elon Musk 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

ICYMI: Georgia DA says charge decision is imminent in Trump election interference as grand jury report kept secret

07:00 , 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 be kept under seal because she is still considering whether to ask for criminal charges against people involved in the schemes.

Speaking before Judge Robert McBurney at a Tuesday hearing in Georgia to determine whether the report will be publicly released, Ms Willis told the judge that making it public at this time could prejudice future cases against potential defendants.

“We think for future defendants to be treated fairly it’s not appropriate at this time for the report to be released," she said. She added that "decisions are imminent" regarding whether she will seek indictments.

Georgia says charge decision is imminent in Trump election interference probe

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

06:00 , 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.

ICYMI: Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home

05:00 , Alex Woodward

Former vice president Mike Pence’s lawyer turned over a dozen classified records to the FBI after they were found at the former vice president’s home.

A lawyer for Mr Pence found the documents at Mr Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, where he served as governor and a congressman before he was tapped as Trump’s vice president.

The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division launched an investigation into how the documents landed in Mr Pence’s home. Mr Pence’s lawyer told CNN that the FBI requested to pick up the documents marked classified that evening, to which he agreed.

Classified documents found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home

Khashoggi’s widow speaks out against Mike Pompeo’s ‘shameful’ remarks

04:00 , Alex Woodward

Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo has called murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi an “activist who supported the losing team” and whose killing received too much media attention.

“To be clear, Khashoggi was a journalist to the extent that I and many other public figures are journalists,” Mr Pompeo writes in Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.

His widow Hanan El-Atr told The Independent that his remarks are “shameful”.

“I want to ask Mr Pompeo did he ever meet my husband? Did he ever talk to him? Where is he getting this false information,” she said.

Mr Pompeo has doubled down after facing widespread critism, respondint to a statement from The Washington Post’s publisher and CEO Fred Ryan condemning his “shocking” and misrepresentation of Khashoggi’s life.

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“Americans are safer because we didn’t label Saudi Arabia a pariah state,” Mr Pompeo stated. “I never let the media bully me. Just b/c someone is a part-time stringer for WaPo doesn’t make their life more important than our military serving in dangerous places protecting us all. I never forgot that.”

Pompeo blasted for saying murdered Khashoggi got too much media sympathy

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

03:00 , Alex Woodward

A photo taken during the summer of 2022 shows a grinning former president Donald 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 Mr Trump’s push for criminal justice reform, and said his support for the ex-president is well known.

The Independent was made aware of the photo after The Philadelphia Inquirer published a photo with the former president and Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, who ran the Philadelphia mafia in the 1990s when Mr Trump was a casino operator in nearby Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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

Trump drops appeal, ending legal fight over New York probe

01:00 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump has abandoned another lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, a second time he’s halted legal action against her after a judge last week fined him and his lawyers nearly $1m for filing frivolous cases.

Trump drops appeal, ending legal fight over New York probe

‘You are the reason Brian is dead’: Mother of Capitol officer who died after Jan 6 asks judge for lengthy prison sentence against rioter

00:00 , Alex Woodward

In a letter to US District Judge Thomas Hogan included with the government’s filing against a Capitol rioter who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon, the mother of a Capitol officer who died after the attack told him “you are the reason Brian is dead”.

Brian Sicknick’s mother Gladys Sicknick said the rioter, Julian Khater, has taken “center stage in our recurring nightmare” after he pepper sprayed the officer in the face.

Federal prosecutors have asked for a prison sentence of seven and a half years.

“Just when raw nerves have begun to heal, we are carried back to the scene of your crime,” she wrote in her letter. “You, among all the other crazies – you are the reason Brian is dead, Mr Khater.”

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After he was hit with pepper spray on 6 January, 2021, Sicknick collapsed later that day. He died the following day in hospital. His death was ruled to be from natural causes after suffering a series of strokes.

His partner Sandra Garza filed a $10m wrongful death lawsuit this month against Mr Khater and Donald Trump, accused of fuelling the mob with his baseless stolen election narrative.

Girlfriend of fallen Jan 6 police officer sues Trump over ‘incindiary’ election lies

Oath Keepers founder seeks new trial after he was convicted of seditious conspiracy for Jan 6 attack

Tuesday 24 January 2023 23:00 , Alex Woodward

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes has filed a motion for a new trial after he was convicted in November of seditious conspiracy for his role leading the far-right group in the weeks leading up to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.

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He is among six members of the group convicted by a jury of seditious conspiracy. Four other members were convicted of the treason-related charge on Monday.

The cases mark the first successful jury convictions of Americans on treason-related charges in decades, some of the biggest trials yet in the federal government’s sprawling criminal investigation into the Capitol attack.

‘Pence’s documents mishap scrambles the GOP’s efforts to go after Biden'

Tuesday 24 January 2023 22:28 , Alex Woodward

The Independent’s Eric Garcia writes that Republican plans to target Biden for his classified documents case was always going to be difficult, but news of Mike Pence’s own incident punctures a hole in their efforts:

Pence’s documents mishap scrambles the GOP’s efforts to go after Biden

Lindsey Graham says he would be ‘shocked’ to find anything ‘sinister’ with Biden documents case

Tuesday 24 January 2023 21:23 , Alex Woodward

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters on Tuesday that he would be “shocked” if the discovery of Obama-era classified documents at his residence and office revealed anything “sinister”.

He said his concerns amount to those he had with Trump’s possession of documents from his time in the White House, which he fought with federal agencies about returning. “Why did you do it, what were in the documents, how were they held, who had access to them,” Mr Graham said.

“Let me just say this,” he added. “I’ve known President Biden a long time. I’ll be shocked if there’s anything sinister here.”

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Fox News mocked for its latest culture war obsession: the ‘woke’ Xbox

Tuesday 24 January 2023 21:15 , Alex Woodward

After getting M&Ms to drop their spokescandies amid right-wing claims that the cartoon chocolate characters weren’t attractive enough, Fox News personalities have identified a new target in the culture wars: Xbox.

Fox News mocked over its latest culture war obsession – the ‘woke’ Xbox

ICYMI: 'Diamond & Silk’ vlogger Lynette Hardaway’s cause of death revealed

Tuesday 24 January 2023 21:00 , Alex Woodward

The death of Diamond – one half of the pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk– prompted widespread speculation following the pair’s amplification of Covid-19 conspiracy theories, including Silk’s own remarks at her sister’s memorial service.

A death certificate obtained by the Associated Press found that she died from a heart condition.

‘Diamond & Silk’ vlogger Lynette Hardaway’s cause of death revealed

Trump baselessly links Elaine Chao to Biden documents in racist attack

Tuesday 24 January 2023 20:45 , Alex Woodward

Trump has revived his thinly veiled racist attack against his former transportation secretary Elaine Chao, whom the former president baselessly connected to Joe Biden’s classified documents case because of right-wing media scrutiny involving their alleged storage in Washington DC’s Chinatown.

His statement on Truth Social from 23 January involves a series of disconnected right-wing media claims and conspiracy theories, all spuriously intertwined by Mr Trump’s ongoing attacks against Ms Chao and her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump baselessly links Elaine Chao to Biden documents in racist attack

Mike Pompeo blasted for saying Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘activist’ and received too much media sympathy

Tuesday 24 January 2023 20:00 , Alex Woodward

Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo has been strongly condemned for his dismissive statements about murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He said that the 59-year Washington Post columnist did not deserve to be killed by the Saudi authorities but that his murder did not surprise him.

“To be clear, Khashoggi was a journalist to the extent that I and many other public figures are journalists,” Mr Pompeo writes in Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love, calling him an “activist who supported the losing team” and whose killing received too much media attention.

His widow told The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe that Mr Pompeo’s remarks are “shameful”.

“I want to ask Mr Pompeo, did he ever meet my husband? Did he ever talk to him? Where is he getting this false information,” Hanan El-Atr said.

Pompeo blasted for saying murdered Khashoggi got too much media sympathy

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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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?

Tuesday 24 January 2023 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?