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Trump news - live: Ivanka asked to testify about Jan 6 as ex-president reacts to Georgia grand jury move

·38-min read
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Former President Donald Trump has defended his “perfect” phone call with Georgia officials regarding election fraud in the state. Earlier on Thursday, the Fulton County district attorney requested a special grand jury as part of the investigation into Mr Trump’s interference in the 2020 election results.

Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump, his eldest daughter and one-time White House adviser, has been invited to meet with the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot.

In a public letter that reveals some of the information that the committee has gathered to date, chair Bennie Thompson said they would like to question Ms Trump on her knowledge of various White House conversations relating to that day, as well as her father’s state of mind.

Mr Trump’s former press secretary Stephanie Grisham has previously told the committee about “off-the-books” secret meetings before January and has provided the names of aides who may know the details.

The former president was dealt a blow by the Supreme Court on Wednesday when justices rejected his bid to block the release of White House documents about the riot in an 8-1 decision. Diaries, visitor logs, and other materials will no longer be kept confidential under executive privilege.

Key points

  • Supreme Court allows release of January 6 Trump White House docs

  • Trump held secret meetings ahead of capitol riot, former press secretary claims

  • Biden: ‘I didn’t over-promise’

  • Trump defends ‘perfect’ Georgia phone call as prosecutor calls for grand jury

  • Hannity urged White House aides to end ‘stolen election talk’

Five takeaways from the Capitol riot committee’s request for Ivanka Trump’s testimony

00:05 , Justin Vallejo

Thursday marked the first time a member of President Donald Trump’s own family officially became roped into the Capitol riot committee’s investigation of the January 6 attack.

Ivanka Trump, eldest daughter of the former president, was notified that the committee will seek her voluntary testimony regarding the events of January 6 and the actions taken by her father as the riot unfolded.

As a White House adviser who joined the Trump White House in early 2017, Ms Trump is one of the longest-serving Trump aides whose testimony has been requested. She issued a defiant statement in response which sought to minimise her participation and suggested that she would resist the committee’s request absent a subpoena.

The committee’s request, as well as Ms Trump’s own statement in response to their letter, revealed a number of important details not just about the current scope and focus of lawmakers on the panel but Ms Trump’s mindset and potentially the feelings of other members of the ex-president’s inner circle.

The Independent’s John Bowden looks at the five things learned from the request for Ivanka Trump’s testimony.

Five takeaways from the Capitol riot committee’s request for Ivanka Trump’s testimony

What’s a special grand jury and how does it work?

Thursday 20 January 2022 23:40 , Justin Vallejo

A prosecutor who’s investigating possible attempts by former President Donald Trump and others to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgia on Thursday called for a special grand jury to help move the case along.

A special grand jury, or special purpose grand jury, is impaneled specifically to investigate any alleged violation of the laws of the state of Georgia.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM A REGULAR GRAND JURY?

A regular grand jury in Georgia is seated for a limited duration, one term of court — in Fulton County that’s two months. Grand jurors hear everything from felony shoplifting to murder cases and then decide whether to issue an indictment.

A special grand jury has no set term and focuses on a single topic. Unlike a regular grand jury, a special grand jury can subpoena the target of an investigation to appear before it, former Gwinnett County district attorney Danny Porter said. When the investigation is done, a special grand jury produces a report on its findings but can’t issue an indictment.

WHY USE A SPECIAL GRAND JURY?

Special grand juries are used for an expansive topic that takes longer than a single term of court to investigate and often has to do with public corruption, Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia executive director Pete Skandalakis said.

The election case would be ideal for a special purpose grand jury because it’s likely a complex case with a lot of witnesses and potential logistical concerns that will take more time and focus than a regular grand jury is able to spend, he said. - Associated Press

Is the world ready for a Trump v Biden 2024 rematch?

Thursday 20 January 2022 23:15 , Justin Vallejo

Survey says… NO!

Less than 3 in 10 people want to see the rematch of the 2020 election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Only 28 per cent want to see Trump throws his hat in the ring if Biden doesn’t his hat out of it, according to an AP poll from the past week.

Among Democrats, less than half, or just 48 per cent, want to see them go at it a second time.

Now, how about Trump v Hillary?

Psaki corrects Biden election claims, says he was talking about Trump

Thursday 20 January 2022 22:51 , Justin Vallejo

White House press secretary walked back suggestions from Joe Biden that the upcoming midterm elections may not be legitimate if his bill to change voting laws is not passed.

Well, actually, the president was talking about Donald Trump in 2020, according to Jen Psaki.

"First I’ve talked to the president a lot about this and he absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate," Psaki said.

“The point he was making is that the former president asked a number of states, seven or more in fact, to overturn the outcome of the election. Obviously, if there’s an effort to do that we’ve got to fight against that.”

Biden had earlier been directly asked about the new legislation currently being debated, and whether he believed the upcoming election would be fairly conducted and its results will be legitimate

This was his response: “Well, all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election”.

Watch the full exchange below:

Trump campaign officials coordinated ‘fake electors’, say reports

Thursday 20 January 2022 22:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Reporting by The Washington Post and CNN says that Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw efforts to put forward illegitimate alternate sets of electors from seven states that Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Sources say that members of the Trump 2020 campaign team were very involved in the plan that was part of a broader scheme to overturn the Biden victory when Congress certified the counting of electoral votes on 6 January 2021.

The plot involved state-by-state planning and coordination between the Trump campaign and Republican state operatives, according to sources, with supporters selected to fill the fake elector slots.

Coordination of the plot was as detailed as booking meeting rooms in statehouses and making drafts of fake certificates.

The scheme was active in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The plan is now under the scrutiny of state attorneys general and the House select committee on January 6 to evaluate if any laws were broken.

Committee chair Bennie Thompson told reporters on Thursday that they are looking into whether this is part of a broader conspiracy relating to January 6, describing it as “a concern”.

The committee’s subpoena letter to Mr Giuliani specifically references his efforts to convince state legislatures to overturn election results.

Lara Trump pressures DeSantis to back former president

Thursday 20 January 2022 22:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump has put pressure on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to back the former president if he chooses to run for the White House again in 2024.

After Ms Trump claimed that there’s no “bad blood” between Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis, Fox Business Network host Stu Varney said, “DeSantis says asking him to support Trump in 2024 is too much to ask. He’s denying your father-in-law support”.

“Well, let’s give him another opportunity,” Ms Trump suggested. “Perhaps he did not mean exactly how those words are being interpreted. Let’s wait and see. I have not spoken to Ron DeSantis myself about that.”

Gustaf Kilander reports.

Lara Trump puts pressure on DeSantis to back Trump in 2024

Conservative group launches billboard campaign against McCarthy

Thursday 20 January 2022 21:44 , Oliver O'Connell

A political ad campaign from a group of Republicans and conservatives is singling out GOP House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy over his refusal to cooperate with an investigation into the events leading up to and surrounding the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021.

The Republican Accountability Project – formerly Republican Voters Against Trump, a project of conservative anti-Donald Trump organisation Defending Democracy Together – is paying for 50 billboards in Washington DC and in Mr McCarthy’s California district, asking, “What are you hiding, Kevin McCarthy? Testify about January 6th.”

Alex Woodward has the story.

Republican group’s billboard campaign targets McCarthy’s rejection of Jan 6 committee

‘Driving a stake through the heart of the federal republic'

Thursday 20 January 2022 21:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Another text message in the possession of the January 6 committee as revealed in the letter to Ivanka Trump is from a member of the House Freedom Caucus to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, warning that if President Trump’s plans for Mike Pence to not certify the results of the election go ahead, it would be “driving a stake through the heart of the federal republic”.

The committee would like to know if Ms Trump discussed that or similar concerns with the White House Chief of Staff? Or with the Vice President or his staff?

Damage control: Biden says Russia will pay ‘heavy price’ for Ukraine invasion

Thursday 20 January 2022 21:23 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden walked back his remarks about Russia and Ukraine at Wednesday’s press conference, warning that Russian president Vladimir Putin would face consequences if the nation invaded Ukraine under any circumstances.

Mr Biden made the remarks during a meeting with his infrastructure implementation team.

“I’ve absolutely clear with President Putin, he has no misunderstanding, if any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion,” he said.

Mr Biden said an invasion would be met with a “severe economic response” coordinated with allies.

“But there is no doubt – let there be no doubt at all, that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price,” he said.

Eric Garcia reports from Washington, DC.

Biden does damage control on Ukraine saying Putin will pay ‘heavy price’

Why is the SCOTUS decision on Trump documents so significant?

Thursday 20 January 2022 21:07 , Oliver O'Connell

California Democrat representative and January 6 committee member Peter Aguilar sums it up:

“The former president did not want these records out there, and we’re gonna find out exactly why.”

Anger as McConnell refers to ‘African-Americans’ and ‘Americans’ separately

Thursday 20 January 2022 21:03 , Oliver O'Connell

Mitch McConnell caused many jaws to drop on Twitter when he responded to a question from a journalist about concerns of voters of colour.

The Senate minority leader was speaking alongside members of Republican leadership at a press conference on Wednesday evening when he was asked by Latino Rebels correspondent Pablo Manriquez about his message to voters afraid that without voting access protections that would be in place if the Democrats’ voting rights legislation were to pass, they will be unable to vote.

His response elicited a wave of criticism on Twitter for a choice of words that appeared to establish a difference between “African-Americans” and “Americans”, referring to white people.

John Bowden reports from Washington, DC.

McConnell sparks anger by saying Black Americans voting at same rate ‘as Americans’

Trump, Sanders, and America’s most progressive generation

Thursday 20 January 2022 20:49 , Oliver O'Connell

Two rival septuagenarians - Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders - unknowingly combined to help create the most progressive generation in modern American history, according to a new accoun, writes Andrew Buncombe.

How Trump and Sanders curiously combined to create the most progressive generation

Raskin says he looks forward to Ivanka Trump’s testimony

Thursday 20 January 2022 20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who acted as lead impeachment manager for the second impeachment of Donald Trump, says he looks forward to Ivanka Trump’s testimony.

He tweets: “If the former president has no executive privilege to hide evidence of an attempted coup or insurrection, neither do his family or friends. If Ivanka Trump was with Donald Trump as the attack unfolded, she is a material fact witness. I look forward to her testimony.”

Ivanka Trump is first family member to be invited by Jan 6 committee

Thursday 20 January 2022 20:33 , Oliver O'Connell

Ivanka Trump, who served as an adviser in her father’s White House, will be among the next targets of the January 6 committee.

John Bowden reports.

Ivanka Trump hits back at Jan 6 committee request

Is Pence fighting back against the MAGA mob?

Thursday 20 January 2022 20:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Supporters of Donald Trump erected a gallows for Mike Pence during the attack on the Capitol, but now he may be cooperating with the committee investigating the attack, writes Andrew Feinberg

The MAGA mob came for Mike Pence on January 6. Is he finally fighting back?

Trump defends ‘perfect’ Georgia phone call as prosecutor calls for grand jury

Thursday 20 January 2022 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump insists he “didn’t say anything wrong” on a phone call with Georgia’s top elections official in which the former president appeared to pressure him to “find” votes that would overturn Joe Biden’s definitive victory in the state.

Trump defends ‘perfect’ Georgia phone call as prosecutor requests special grand jury

Trump tries to twist Biden’s words in 2020 election fraud argument

Thursday 20 January 2022 19:53 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has tried to twist President Joe Biden’s words to falsely argue that the 2020 election was fraudulent, despite having no evidence to support the repeated claims.

“President Biden admitted yesterday, in his own very different way, that the 2020 election may very well have been a fraud, which I know it was,” the former president said in a statement on 20 January, the anniversary of his last day in office. “I’m sure his representatives, who work so hard to make it look legit, are not happy.”

Gustaf Kilander in Washington, DC has the details.

Trump tries to twist Biden’s words to falsely argue that 2020 election was ‘a fraud’

Trump hits back at Georgia county DA’s investigation into 2020 election

Thursday 20 January 2022 19:36 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump has released a statement through his spokesperson regarding his “perfect” call to the Secretary of State of Georgia following the 2020 election.

He continues to allege “massive voter fraud” and says that the Civil Special Grand Jury requested by Fulton County DA Fani Willis should instead focus on that and not his “perfect phone call” in which he tells Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger he needs to find 11,780 votes.

He signs off with: “No more political with hunts!”

Read more below.

Georgia prosecutor requests special grand jury in Trump investigation

Hannity urged White House aides to end ‘stolen election talk’

Thursday 20 January 2022 19:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Fox News host Sean Hannity sent a post-Capitol riot text message to then-White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany urging her and other top aides to then-president Donald Trump to stop “stolen election talk” and keep “crazy people” away from him.

Mr Hannity’s 7 January message laid out what Ms McEnany called a “playbook” for conversations with Mr Trump during his final days in office.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

New Sean Hannity texts to White House aides after Jan 6 revealed

Trump says everyone wanted vaccine when he was president

Thursday 20 January 2022 18:51 , Oliver O'Connell

In an interview last night, former President Donald Trump claimed that everyone wanted to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when he was president, but after Joe Biden came into office some people won’t get the vaccine because they do not trust him.

Ivanka Trump spokesperson gives statement on committee request

Thursday 20 January 2022 18:25 , Oliver O'Connell

A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump tells NBC’s Peter Alexander:

“Ivanka Trump just learned that the January 6 Committee issued a public letter asking her to appear. As the Committee already knows, Ivanka did not speak at the January 6 rally.”

“As she publicly stated that day at 3:15pm, ‘any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful.’”

Special grand jury requested by Georgia prosecutor in Trump investigation

Thursday 20 January 2022 18:25 , Oliver O'Connell

The chief prosecutor in Fulton County, Georgia has requested a special grand jury as part of her investigation into Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the state’s results in the 2020 presidential election.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who launched her probe nearly one year ago, follows the former president’s phone call with Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he appeared to pressure him to “find” votes that would overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Alex Woodward reports.

Georgia prosecutor requests special grand jury in Trump investigation

Ivanka Trump invited to meet committee in early February

Thursday 20 January 2022 18:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Rep Bennie Thompson suggests an early February meeting for Ivanka Trump to be questioned by the Capitol riot select committee:

We would like to meet with you soon, but we also want to accommodate your schedule. We propose meeting with you on February 3 or 4, 2022. Please let us know whether one of those dates will fit with your schedule, or connect us with your counsel so we can coordinate on scheduling. If you are unavailable on those dates, we can arrange a time during the week of February 7, 2022.

Ivanka Trump letter includes texts between Sean Hannity and Kayleigh McEnany

Thursday 20 January 2022 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The committee is also keen to ask Ms Trump about her father’s state of mind during this period and Sean Hannity’s efforts to stop the president from talking about a “stolen election”.

A text conversation between Mr Hannity and then-White House Press Secretary Kayeigh McEnany on the day after the Capitol riot is included in the letter. It lays out a five-point approach for conversations with the president.

The first item is “No more stolen election talk”, the second is “Yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real, and many people will quit…”

Ms McEnany responds: “Love that. Thank you. That is the playbook. I will help reinforce…”

The press secretary also agreed with Mr Hannity’s recommendation to keep Mr Trump away from certain people. “No more crazy people,” said the Fox News presenter underlining it as “Key now”.

Ms McEnany replied: “Yes 100%”.

Prosecutors want to ask Ivanka Trump about NY apartment

Thursday 20 January 2022 17:52 , Oliver O'Connell

Prosecutors from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office want to talk to Ivanka Trump about a Park Avenue apartment she leased from her family’s eponymous real estate company that was offered to her for purchase at a price far lower than the unit’s public valuation, court documents reveal.

In a motion asking a New York state judge to order Ms Trump to appear for a deposition with investigators from the attorney general’s office, the prosecutors allege she “obtained apparently extraordinarily favourable terms” for renting an apartment at the Trump Park Avenue condominium building, with her monthly payments at “a mere fraction” of what the general public would have paid.

Prosecutors want to talk to Ivanka Trump about deal on luxury apartment

Committee seeks Ivanka’s testimony on whether Trump held up National Guard deployment

Thursday 20 January 2022 17:46 , Oliver O'Connell

From the letter to Ms Trump:

Third, the Select Committee is evaluating whether the President did or did not give any order to deploy the National Guard to respond to the violence on January 6th. Acting Secretary Chris Miller, who was in the chain of command and reported directly to the President, has testified under oath that the President never contacted him at any time on January 6th, and never, at any time, issued him any order to deploy the National Guard. Miller did speak with Vice President Pence on January 6th, but not with President Trump. The Committee is aware that certain White House staff devoted time during the violent riot to rebutting questions regarding whether the President was attempting to hold up deployment of the guard, and that Press Secretary McEnany issued a tweet that afternoon suggesting that the guard would be deployed (this occurred hours later). But the Committee has identified no evidence that President Trump issued any order, or took any other action, to deploy the guard that day. Nor does it appear that President Trump made any calls at all to the Department of Justice or any other law enforcement agency to request deployment of their personnel to the Capitol.

The Select Committee respectfully requests that you share any information you may have on this topic.

Read the Jan 6 committee’s full letter to Ivanka Trump

Thursday 20 January 2022 17:38 , Oliver O'Connell

The full letter from the January 6 committee to Ivanka Trump is available to read here.

Topics included in the letter are specific incidents in which Trump is said to have attempted to persuade Mike Pence to participate in a plan to not certify the election, and later his tweet against the vice president and what the mob did next.

Statement on Jan 6 committee and Ivanka Trump

Thursday 20 January 2022 17:25 , Oliver O'Connell

A statement has been released by the January 6 select committee:

Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) today announced that the Select Committee is requesting that Ivanka Trump provide information for the committee’s investigation into the violence of January 6th and its causes. In a letter to Ms. Trump seeking a voluntary interview with the committee, Chairman Thompson underscored evidence obtained by the Select Committee that Ms. Trump was in direct contact with the former President at key moments on January 6th and that she may have information relevant to other matters critical to the Select Committee’s investigation.

Ms. Trump apparently has direct knowledge of the former President’s attempt to persuade Vice President Pence to take action to stop the counting of electoral votes. Chairman Thompson wrote, “As January 6th approached, President Trump attempted on multiple occasions to persuade Vice President Pence to participate in his plan. One of the President’s discussions with the Vice President occurred by phone on the morning of January 6th. You were present in the Oval Office and observed at least one side of that telephone conversation.”

The Select Committee is also seeking information from Ms. Trump about concerns in the office of the White House Counsel, from Members of Congress, and among the Vice President’s staff about plans to pressure Vice President Pence to overturn the election. “[T]he Committee would like to discuss any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the President’s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes,” wrote Chairman Thompson.

Ms. Trump’s role and actions on January 6th as the riot was underway at the Capitol are also a key focus for the Select Committee. Chairman Thompson wrote, “Testimony obtained by the Committee indicates that members of the White House staff requested your assistance on multiple occasions to intervene in an attempt to persuade President Trump to address the ongoing lawlessness and violence on Capitol Hill.”

Given Ms. Trump’s presence in the White House on January 6th, the Select Committee is seeking her knowledge about the former President’s actions related to the deployment of the National Guard to respond to the violence. “The Committee is aware that certain White House staff devoted time during the violent riot to rebutting questions regarding whether the President was attempting to hold up deployment of the guard[…]. But the Committee has identified no evidence that President Trump issued any order, or took any other action, to deploy the guard that day. Nor does it appear that President Trump made any calls at all to the Department of Justice or any other law enforcement agency to request deployment of their personnel to the Capitol,” wrote Chairman Thompson.

The Select Committee believes that Ms. Trump may have knowledge about efforts to advance unsupported claims about the 2020 election in the aftermath of the January 6th riot. Chairman Thompson wrote, “The Committee has information suggesting that White House staff and others were attempting to persuade President Trump to halt his statements regarding a ‘stolen election’ and were working directly with other supporters outside the White House in an effort to persuade President Trump to do so.”

Fulton County DA requests grand jury to investigate Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia election

Thursday 20 January 2022 17:17 , Oliver O'Connell

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is requesting a special grand jury to aid in her investigation of former President Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In a letter to Christopher S Brasher, chief judge of Fulton County’s Superior Court, Ms Willis said the move was needed because a “significant number of witnesses and prospective witnesses have refused to cooperate with the investigation absent a subpoena requiring their testimony.”

Breaking: Capitol riot committee will ask Ivanka Trump for voluntary testimony

Thursday 20 January 2022 17:12 , Oliver O'Connell

January 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson has told a small group of reporters they’ll soon be asking Ivanka Trump to come before the committee on a voluntary basis.

Pelosi urges party unity after bruising voting rights battle

Thursday 20 January 2022 17:00 , John Bowden

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging Democrats to stand together after the latest effort by the White House and Democratic leaders to pass legislation was torpedoed by two centrist members of the party, Sens Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Talking with reporters on Thursday, the House Democratic leader called on her caucus to be “respectful”, even to Republicans.

“I have not encouraged [internal party fighting], in fact I have discouraged it, because we are a giant kaleidoscope here. Democrats and Republicans. You never know who's going to be in the design of the next bill, and so we have to be respectful,” she said.

Trump Jr calls for New York attorney general to be disbarred

Thursday 20 January 2022 16:25 , John Bowden

Donald Trump Jr reacted on Twitter after New York’s attorney general said that she would ask a court to compel Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump to testify in the investigation into potential fraud at the Trump Organization.

Mr Trump Jr called for Attorney General Letitia James’s disbarment, once again claiming that her case against the Trump family was politically motivated.

Calls for the company to be investigated have grown for years, and accelerated after Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen essentially accused the company of committing a number of crimes during testimony on Capitol Hill.

Trump held ‘secret meetings’ in days before riots

Thursday 20 January 2022 14:36 , Harriet Sinclair

Donald Trump held secret meetings in the days before the 6 January Capitol riots, according to former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Jade Bremner reports.

Trump held ‘secret meetings’ before 6 January, says former press secretary

Biden’s marathon news conference represents ‘quite the change’

Thursday 20 January 2022 13:00 , Thomas Fenton

President Joe Biden’s two-hour-long news conference on Wednesday evening was his lengthiest by far, the significance of which was picked up by several journalists who were present.

“Pres Biden, in the longest news conference in presidential history, made news, pushed back on critics, called out lies, took responsibility for mistakes he believes he made, expressed surprise at GOP, talked foreign policy and didn’t lash out on reporters,” PBS anchor Yamiche Alcindor wrote on Twitter.

She went on to state that this represented “Quite the change” from his previous conferences.

The White House moves quickly to clarify Biden’s ‘minor incursion’ remark

Thursday 20 January 2022 12:00 , Thomas Fenton

The White House scrambled to correct one of President Joe Biden’s gaffes on Wednesday after he suggested Russia would not face sanctions over a “minor incursion” into Ukraine.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted that any Russian military campaign would be met with a “swift, severe and united response” amid mounting fears of an invasion.

“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” Ms Psaki said in a statement.

“President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics.

“And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”

Biden’s approval rating hits new low at one year mark in AP-NORC poll

Thursday 20 January 2022 11:02 , Thomas Fenton

President Joe Biden ends his first year in the White House with a clear majority of Americans for the first time disapproving of his handling of the presidency in the face of an unrelenting pandemic and roaring inflation, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

More Americans disapprove than approve of how Biden is handling his job as president, 56% to 43%. As of now, just 28% of Americans say they want Biden to run for re-election in 2024, including only 48% of Democrats.

Asked on Wednesday at a wide-ranging news conference about his flagging popularity, Biden responded, “I don’t believe the polls.”

It’s a stark reversal from early in Biden’s presidency.

Read more:

Biden approval hits new low at one year mark: AP-NORC poll

ICYMI - Joe Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’ from Newsmax reporter

Thursday 20 January 2022 10:31 , Thomas Fenton

President Joe Biden shrugged off a right-wing television reporter’s question about a recent poll showing that many Americans are questioning whether he is mentally sharp enough to be president.

Speaking at his second White House press conference since taking office on Wednesday, Mr Biden was asked by Newsmax White House reporter James Rosen about a recent poll conducted by Politico which found 48 per cent of respondents disagreeing with the statement: “Joe Biden is mentally fit”.

In response, Mr Biden quipped that he would let the press corps “make the judgement of whether they’re correct”.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Joe Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’ from conservative reporter

Biden predicts Russia will attack Ukraine but warns Putin of a ‘stiff price’

Thursday 20 January 2022 09:25 , Eleanor Sly

Joe Biden has said he thinks Russia will make a move on Ukraine, warning Moscow it would face a “stiff price” for an attack yet suggesting that a “minor incursion” might be treated differently by the US and its allies.

The US president’s comments at a White House news conference on Wednesday injected uncertainty into how the West would respond should Russian President Vladimir Putin order an invasion of Ukraine.

The White House later clarified that any Russian military action would be met with a “swift, severe” response.

Alexandra Alper reports:

Biden predicts Russia will attack Ukraine but warns Putin of a ‘stiff price’

‘This is a moral moment’: Warnock tells senators ‘history is watching us’ as voting rights bill collapses

Thursday 20 January 2022 08:45 , Eleanor Sly

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock – a senior pastor at Georgia’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr preached up until his death – issued a pointed rebuke at his Senate colleagues who have invoked the words of the late civil rights leader while obstructing the passage of a bill to protect and expand voting rights.

“You cannot honour Martin Luther King and work to dismantle his legacy at the same time,” he said.

He continued: “I will not sit quietly while some make Dr King the victim of identity theft … You do not get to offer praises in memory of Dr King and then marshal the same kinds of states rights arguments that were used against Dr King and against the civil rights movement.”

Alex Woodward has more:

Raphael Warnock tells senators ‘history is watching’ as voting rights bill collapses

Vice president Kamala Harris: ‘The United States Senate must do everything in its power to protect the right to vote'

Thursday 20 January 2022 07:59 , Eleanor Sly

The vice president of the United States Kamala Harris posted a video on Twitter, The United States Senate must do everything in its power to protect the right to vote.

Ms Harris wrote on Twitter: “The United States Senate must do everything in its power to protect the right to vote”

And added in the video: “Be sure: history is watching and I know the American people are watching.”

“It is fundamental to our democracy and it is non-negotiable”

Biden leans over microphone and slowly whispers response

Thursday 20 January 2022 06:58 , Arpan Rai

In an unusual sight, president Joe Biden on Wednesday replied to a journalist by leaning into his microphone during the press conference, in what appeared to be an attempt to underline his concern.

The journalist had asked Mr Biden’s response to the “parents that are at odds about closing schools and remote learning”

In a normal tone, the president says: “First of all I will put into perspective what you asked,” he said.

He then leaned over the microphone and whispered: “Very few schools are closing.”

“I don’t think it’s deliberate on your part, but you phrase the question so that anyone watching the television will think ‘my god, all these schools must be closing. What are we going to do?’”

“95% are still open.”

Watch the video here

Biden says he doesn’t believe in polls as his ratings drop

Thursday 20 January 2022 06:29 , Arpan Rai

Joe Biden said he does not trust the public opinion polls which have been suggesting that his approval ratings are on a downward trend among moderates and independents.

“I don’t believe the polls,” Mr Biden said after he was asked about his plans to again woo the moderates and independents who elected him to power in 2020 but are not impressed with his job performance.

The latest Gallup figures show the president’s approval rating has dipped from 61 per cent to 33 per cent in the year since he took office in January 2021.

Several reasons have been pointed to for the drop, including rising Covid-19 cases, a surging inflation rate and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan led by the US military.

The ratings have now reached a point where they match the ratings of his predecessor Donald Trump at the same time in his term.

Mr Biden has the second-lowest approval rating of any president after one year in office. Only Mr Trump reached a lower figure.

Five Republicans secretly back Democrat agenda, says Biden

Thursday 20 January 2022 05:43 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden asserted on Wednesday that five GOP members of the US Senate who have told him privately that they would support parts of his agenda were it not for their fears of primary challengers supported by former President Donald Trump.

The president said that the problem was an example of how Mr Trump was “intimidating an entire party”.

“I’ve had five Republican senators...who have told me they agree with whatever I am talking about for them to do. ‘But Joe, if I do it, I am going to be defeated in the primary.’ We have to break that. It’s got to change,” he explained.

John Bowden reports.

Biden says Trump ‘intimidating entire party’ and five Republicans back Democrats

Biden’s first press conference of 2022 was quietly devastating

Thursday 20 January 2022 05:36 , Arpan Rai

In this Voices piece, Holly Baxter explains what Wednesday’s news conference can teach us about Joe Biden’s relationships with the likes of Republican Mitch McConnell — and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Read here

Trump claims Biden was reading his answers — he wasn’t

Thursday 20 January 2022 05:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has falsely claimed that Joe Biden was “reading” his answers to “softball” questions during his White House press conference.

Mr Biden spoke for almost two hours as he touted his successes during a “year of challenges” and said that his administration had made “enormous progress.”

But that was not good enough for his predecessor, who put out a bizarre statement criticising Mr Biden and the journalists taking part.

Graeme Massie reports.

Trump falsely claims Biden was ‘reading’ answers at his news conference

Biden moving too slow on Middle East peace, says Palestinian minister

Thursday 20 January 2022 04:18 , Arpan Rai

A top Palestinian minister has criticised Joe Biden for moving too slowly in reversing harmful Trump-era policies concerning the Israel-Palestine conflict, and not using the US’s ties to pressure Israel into rowing back “its rejection of a two-state solution and peace negotiations”.

Foreign minister Riad Malki told the UN Security Council that the end of Donald Trump’s administration and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration signalled hopes that they would be “enough to pave the way for renewed momentum for peace”.

Mr Malki accused the Biden administration of acting slowly in reversing several “unlawful and ill-advised” policies of his predecessor. He added that Mr Biden had been slow on acting on the US commitment to reopen the US consulate in east Jerusalem that can restore Washington’s primary diplomatic mission for the Palestinians in the disputed city.

The Palestinians thought, the minister said, that after Mr Biden entered the White House a year ago, he “could try to move the Israeli position toward us”.

“But we have seen that the Israeli position has been able to move the American position a little bit towards them — and this is really what troubles us very much.”

Mr Malki added that Washington is yet to pressure the current Israeli government into renouncing its colonial policies and abandon its rejection of the two-state solution and peace negotiations.

“This is an unacceptable stance that should neither be tolerated nor excused and must be reversed,” he said.

Biden defends agenda as voting rights heads for a likely failure

Thursday 20 January 2022 04:15 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden defended his first year in office at a press conference as Democrats’ voting rights bill is set to fail because of objections within his own party.

As Mr Biden was delivering a news conference in the East Room, Senate Democrats’ plan to enact a talking filibuster as a means to end the stalemate on passing a new version of the Voting Rights Act was headed to a failure because of the objections of Sen Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Mr Manchin’s opposition to Mr Biden’s proposed Build Back Better act effectively killed the bill in the iteration that passed the House of Representatives.

Eric Garcia reports.

Biden defends agenda as voting rights heads for a likely failure

Biden on the Senate vote on voting rights: ‘Disappointed — but not deterred’

Thursday 20 January 2022 04:03 , Arpan Rai

President Biden on Thursday released a statement on the senate vote on voting rights.

He said: “At the core of our democracy is a basic principle: the right to vote, and to have that vote counted. That principle was assaulted one year ago, when a violent mob attempted a coup seeking to overturn the will of the people. And today, in state after state, Republican state legislatures are engaged in an unprecedented effort to suppress the sacred right to vote and subvert the American bedrock of free and fair elections.

“In the face of those threats, I am profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. I am disappointed — but I am not deterred.

“My Administration will never stop fighting to ensure that the heart and soul of our democracy — the right to vote — is protected at all costs. We will continue to work with allies to advance necessary legislation to protect the right to vote. And to push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote.

“As dangerous new Republican laws plainly designed to suppress and subvert voting rights proliferate in states across the country, we will explore every measure and use every tool at our disposal to stand up for democracy. The Vice President will continue to lead this effort, as she has for the past year.”

Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’

Thursday 20 January 2022 03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden shrugged off a right-wing television reporter’s question about a recent poll showing that many Americans are questioning whether he is mentally sharp enough to be president.

Speaking at his second White House press conference since taking office on Wednesday, Mr Biden was asked by Newsmax White House reporter James Rosen about a recent poll conducted by Politico which found 48 per cent of respondents disagreeing with the statement: “Joe Biden is mentally fit”.

In response, Mr Biden quipped that he would let the press corps “make the judgement of whether they’re correct”.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Joe Biden shrugs off question on ‘mental fitness’ from conservative reporter

Supreme Court allows release of Trump White House Capitol riot docs

Thursday 20 January 2022 02:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump can’t block the release of White House documents about the 6 January riot at the US Capitol, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

The House committee investigating the insurrection has been battling the former president for access to the records, which include diaries and visitor logs.

Mr Trump had argued the materials, now stored in the National Archives, should be kept confidential under executive privilege.

Josh Marcus reports.

Supreme Court allows release of Trump White House docs to January 6 committee

Voices: We learned a lot about Biden’s relationships with Putin and McConnell

Thursday 20 January 2022 02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Holly Baxter gives her take on what was revealed in today’s presidential press conference.

Biden’s first press conference of 2022 was quietly devastating

Jan 6 committee subpoenas far-right ‘groypers’

Thursday 20 January 2022 01:32 , Oliver O'Connell

The House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021 has issued subpoenas for Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, nationalist organisers who amplified baseless election conspiracy theories at several rallies in Washington DC.

Mr Fuentes, a self-described “white majoritarian” who supported the insurrection and was removed from several social media platforms for hate speech, is a prominent streamer and leader in the “groyper” movement of young reactionary far-right nationalists.

Mr Casey is a leader with the white nationalist American Identity Movement.

Alex Woodward reports,

Jan 6 committee subpoenas far-right ‘groypers’ Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey

Biden says Trump is ‘intimidating an entire party’

Thursday 20 January 2022 01:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Biden asserted on Wednesday that five GOP members of the US Senate who have told him privately that they would support parts of his agenda were it not for their fears of primary challengers, writes John Bowden.

Biden says Trump ‘intimidating entire party’ and five Republicans back Democrats

Trump falsely claims Biden was ‘reading’ answers

Thursday 20 January 2022 00:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has falsely claimed that Joe Biden was “reading” his answers to “softball” questions during his White House press conference.

Mr Biden spoke for almost two hours as he touted his successes during a “year of challenges” and said that his administration had made “enormous progress.”

But that was not good enough for his predecessor, who put out a bizarre statement criticising Mr Biden and the journalists taking part.

Graeme Massie reports.

Trump falsely claims Biden was ‘reading’ answers at his news conference

Biden attacks GOP for blocking his agenda in news conference

Thursday 20 January 2022 00:39 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden on Wednesday hit out at Republicans for acting to block his agenda without offering any alternative solutions to the problems his administration is trying to address.

Speaking at a White House news conference on the eve of his one-year anniversary in office, Mr Biden told reporters he was caught off guard by the vehemence of the GOP’s opposition to anything and everything he has proposed, and by their singleminded effort to ensure his presidency fails.

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Biden attacks GOP for blocking his agenda in news conference

5 takeaways from Biden’s press conference

Thursday 20 January 2022 00:31 , Oliver O'Connell

Obstructionist GOP lawmakers, Covid, senility, voter supression, and breaking up BBB — Andrew Feinberg reports.

Five takeaways from Joe Biden’s second news conference

Biden on Putin: Russian leader to pay ‘dear price’ if he invades Ukraine

Thursday 20 January 2022 00:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Biden has claimed he knows what Russian leader Vladimir Putin is seeking from the Ukraine crisis, before stopping himself short and declaring: “I probably shouldn’t go any further.”

In a series of responses to questions during his first press conference during 2022, Mr Biden said he believed the Russian leader did not want “a full-blown war”.

Andrew Buncombe reports.

‘I probably shouldn’t go any further’: Biden’s frank description of what Putin wants

Biden defends invoking segregationists in voting rights speech

Thursday 20 January 2022 00:09 , Oliver O'Connell

The president told a reporter to “go back and read what I said.”

“Tell me if you think I called anyone who voted on the side of the position taken by Bull Connor that they were Bull Connor,” Mr Biden said in his first solo press conference of the new year. “That is an interesting reading of English. I assume you got into journalism because you like to write.”

Alex Woodward has the story.

Biden defends voting rights speech against right-wing outrage

Supreme Court allows release of January 6 Trump White House docs

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump can’t block the release of White House documents about the 6 January riot at the US Capitol, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

The House committee investigating the insurrection has been battling the former president for access to the records, which include diaries and visitor logs.

Mr Trump had argued the materials, now stored in the National Archives, should be kept confidential under executive privilege.

Josh Marcus reports.

Supreme Court allows release of Trump White House docs to January 6 committee

Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Russian Aggression Towards Ukraine

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:48 , Oliver O'Connell

President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies. President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics. And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.

‘Big chunks’ of Build Back Better package could pass Congress, says Biden

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:42 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden said he is confident that large parts of his proposed Build Back Better law can pass through the Senate despite opposition from Sen Joe Manchin.

“I’m confident we will get pieces, big chunks, of the Build Back Better law signed into law,” he told reporters in a news conference on Wednesday. “And I’m confident that we can take the case to the American people that the people they should be voting for who are going to oversee elections are in fact legit or not should not be those who are being put up by the Republicans to determine that they’re going to be able to change the outcome of the elections.”

Eric Garcia reports for The Independent from Washington, DC.

Biden says he is confident “big chunks” of Build Back Better could signed

Jan 6 Committee subpoenas Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey

Wednesday 19 January 2022 23:33 , Oliver O'Connell

The January 6 Committee wants testimony and documents from Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, “two witnesses who promoted unsupported claims about the 2020 election and were present on the Capitol grounds on January 6th”.

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