Mitch McConnell explains why he will still support Donald Trump
Two lawyers who served at the most senior level in the Trump White House are today set to talk to the committee investigating events leading up to the 6 January insurrection. Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his onetime deputy Pat Philbin are reportedly speaking to the committee on a semi-formal basis rather than giving full testimony.
Meanwhile, the latest Capitol riot defendant to go on trial is blaming his actions on Donald Trump and his false claims about a stolen election, in a rare mention of the former president’s role during the ongoing hearings.
Dustin Byron Thompson, an Ohio man charged with stealing a coat rack from the Capitol, did not deny that he joined the mob on 6 January 2021. But his lawyer vowed on Tuesday to show that Mr Trump abused his power to “authorise” the attack.
Describing Mr Trump as a man without scruples or integrity, defence attorney Samuel Shamansky said the former president engaged in a “sinister” plot to encourage Mr Thompson and other supporters to “do his dirty work.”
Mike Pence draws anger at Charlottesville memorial
The deadly 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was one of the lowest moments of Donald Trump’s presidency, as neo-Nazis and white supremacists clashed violently with anti-racist counterprotestors. The nadir came when a man deliberately drove his car into a crowd, injuring several people and killing one, Heather Heyer, who was demonstrating against the extremists.
There is now a memorial to her at the mall where she died, a plaque that was yesterday visited by former vice president Mike Pence – who has never condemned Donald Trump for saying there were “some very fine people” on “both sides” on the day when Ms Heyer died.
Namita Singh has the story.
Andrew Naughtie13 April 2022 12:40
McConnell worries that “bizarre” candidates could cost GOP the Senate
The national Senate map in this year’s midterms currently looks to be in Republicans’ favour, but some in the party hierarchy are worried that a rash of extreme and/or strange candidates could put several winnable races in jeopardy.
Among the concerned is Senate GOP leader and sworn Trump enemy Mitch McConnell, who conceded at an event in his home state that candidates without broad appeal could alienate the voters the party needs to win and hold the upper chamber.
The most concerning races for Republicans are in Georgia, where sometimes erratic sportsman Herschel Walker has been endorsed by Donald Trump, and Ohio, where a wide field of candidates have driven each other into increasingly extreme positions as they compete for the backing of the party faithful.
Andrew Naughtie13 April 2022 12:10
Former White House lawyers talking to 6 January committee
Two key figures from the Trump White House are slated to talk to the 6 January committee today in what’s said to be a preliminary conversation. Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Pat Philbin are both widely reported to have pushed back against some of the more radical suggestions for how to overturn the 2020 result, including the abortive plan to appoint a special counsel – perhaps even the extreme conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell – to investigate the alleged fraud that had supposedly robbed Mr Trump of a second term.
Politico has more.
Andrew Naughtie13 April 2022 11:40
Another Jan 6 rioter blames Trump
As one man being charged for his alleged part in the Capitol riot seeks to blame Donald Trump for “authorising” the attack, another has written a letter seeking leniency in which he claims he took part in the protest-turned-riot at the then-president’s “urging”.
Mr Trump recently claimed that he himself wanted to join the 6 January crowd in their march to the Capitol, and that it was only because the Secret Service stopped him doing so that he remained at the White House.
Andrew Naughtie13 April 2022 11:08
Kellyanne Conway grilled on Trump’s Oz endorsement
Many conservatives were surprised when Donald Trump endorsed Dr Mehmet Oz in the important Pennsylvania Senate race, and not in a good way. Many Trump supporters take the view that Dr Oz, like Mr Trump a longtime TV celebrity, is an insufficiently right-wing moderate; among the disgruntled is Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, who last night grilled longtime Trump confidante Kellyanne Conway on whether or not the endorsement wa sa mistake.
Ms Conway declined to go that far, but stopped short of defending the endorsement either.
Read more on the fallout from Mr Trump’s decision below.
Andrew Naughtie13 April 2022 10:30
Proud Boys Jan 6 trial delayed by judge
A judge has decided to delay the prosecution of several members of the Proud Boys for their alleged role in the 6 January riot. The case, which includes the group’s sometime leader Enrique Tarrio, revolves around a large volume of evidence of the men’s activities and planning in advance of the insurrection, where several Proud Boys members were seen.
Mr Tarrio was arrested and indicted last month. He and others are accused organising the attendance of many Proud Boys at the riot, distributing “paramilitary gear and supplies” to would-be rioters, and finally “directing, mobilizing and leading” members of the group into the Capitol itself during the riot.
Andrew Naughtie13 April 2022 10:01
How Donald Trump gave investigators a break by moving to Florida
Donald Trump has long sought to paint the various legal investigations into his affairs as politically motivated witch hunts, and has launched several futile legal actions to get them shut down. Among the probes is one by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which has been investigating allegations the Trump Organization inflated property values, lied on official documents, dodged taxes, misled banks, and sued mafia-style tactics dating back to the early 2000s, has lately run into problems, with two prosecutors resigning from it in frustration – but it seems that Mr Trump himself may have handed the investigators some rope.
Officials in New York usually have five years from the date of alleged crimes to file charges for most felonies, but Mr Trump’s move to Florida, made permanent in 2020, could give officials an extra five years.
Josh Marcus has the story:
Andrew Naughtie13 April 2022 09:33
Marjorie Taylor Greene blames gun control for Brooklyn shooting
Marjorie Taylor Greene blamed gun control for preventing Brooklyn subway victims from defending themselves against an active shooter. The Republican congresswoman used the shooting to argue against gun laws after the attack left at least 29 people injured. “With New York’s strict gun control laws, how many innocent people were carrying a gun when the bad guy with a gun broke the existing laws and started shooting people?” she said in a tweet.
Justin Vallejo has more:
Stuti Mishra13 April 2022 09:00
Tennessee senator mocked for wanting a wall on ‘our’ border
GOP Sen Marsha Blackburn amused more than a few of her Twitter followers on Tuesday when she insisted that residents of her state wanted a wall on “our” border, apparently referring to the US border with Mexico.
The Republican lawmaker’s state is nowhere near the US’s southern border with Mexico; as such, her insistence that residents of the state supported the construction of a border wall resulted in users mockingly questioning what Ms Blackburn’s beef was with the state of Alabama, one of its southern neighbours.
Stuti Mishra13 April 2022 08:20
Georgia’s Republican governor signs bill easing gun controls
Georgia governor Brian Kemp wants to ease gun controls amid the midterm primaries there, proposing to do away with the requirement that Georgians obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public.
Mr Kemp, who rose to national notice in 2018 in part through a television ad that showed him brandishing a shotgun at an actor playing a suitor of one of his daughters, signed Senate Bill 319 on Tuesday.
It immediately allows permitless carry in Georgia, making it the 25th state with such a law, and the 10th added in the past two years.
Stuti Mishra13 April 2022 07:47
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