Merrick Garland appoints special counsel to oversee Trump investigations
Donald Trump’s Twitter account was reinstated early on Sunday after being banned for almost two years. The reinstatement came after Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk held a survey on the platform earlier on Saturday and announced he would restore Mr Trump’s account after the majority voted in favour.
Shortly after the announcement, Mr Trump’s account reappeared on Twitter along with his previous tweets. It was restored with 0 followers and following 0 accounts, but within minutes the number of followers started rising dramatically into the hundreds of thousands.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump and many Republicans are still furious at Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of an independent special prosecutor to oversee two major investigations involving the former president – one revolving around the January 6 Capitol attack and another around Mr Trump’s hoarding of government documents at Mar-a-Lago.
The appointment of Jack Smith to investigate Mr Trump has sent many in the GOP claiming that Joe Biden and Mr Garland have “politicized” the Justice Department.
Oath Keepers defender quotes OJ Simpson lawyer in closing arguments
Final arguments are underway in the seditious conspiracy trial of several members of the Oath Keepers militia who participated in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol – and one of the group’s lawyers, Brad Geyer, has pinned his case on a video that he says shows the men on trial actually obstructing rioters from committing further violence against law enforcement.
Bizarrely, he chose to make his case by paraphrasing the most infamous quote from the OJ Simpson trial:
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 16:50
Arizona official forced into hiding by post-election threats
A senior election official in one of Arizona’s most politically important counties has been forced to go into hiding after receiving a string of deaths in the wake of Kari Lake’s defeat.
Bill Gates, who serves as chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, has been taken to an undisclosed location and is being safeguarded by a security detail from the area sheriff’s office.
Mr Gates is an outspoken defender of his county’s electoral practices and integrity, pushing back on frenzied conspiracy theories shared among supporters of Donald Trump and the candidates he endorsed.
Arizona’s elections on 8 November saw top Republicans who falsely claim the 2020 election was “stolen” lose their races by slim margins.
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 16:20
Mark Meadows still fighting Georgia subpoena
As a grand jury probe in Fulton County, Georgia continues to investigate the Trump circle’s efforts to pressure state officials into overturning the 2020 election result, former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is keeping up his efforts to avoid testifying:
Others who have failed to avoid testifying before the grand jury include Lindsey Graham, whose protracted attempt to avoid the probe failed when the US Supreme Court lifted a temporary hold on his scheduled appearance. He will appear before prosecutors tomorrow.
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 15:50
Paul Ryan: Trump will “continue to lose altitude”
Republican former House speaker Paul Ryan, who helmed the lower chamber of Congress between 2015 and 2019, has lately been speaking out against Donald Trump, pointing to his party’s mortifying performance in the midterms as evidence that Mr Trump will either fail to win the 2024 nomination or, if nominated, lose the general election.
In an appearance on ABC News this weekend, he predicted that the ex-president will “continue to lose altitude” as the 2024 field takes shape, with a range of other candidates starting to look more credible as potential winners.
Mr Ryan himself was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.
Watch his remarks below:
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 15:20
MAGA hats and guns: dating on The Right Stuff
From the moment the conservative-only dating app The Right Stuff launched, it’s been the subject of ridicule.
Amusement over the very existence of The Right Stuff only grew after the Apple App Store was inundated with reviews from people claiming to have been contacted by the FBI over their usage of the platform. According to the one-star reviews, authorities reached out regarding the responses users shared to built-in prompts on the platform such as, “January 6th was…”
In a statement to The Independent, a spokesperson for The Right Stuff said it determined reports of FBI contact were false. “Just people trolling,” they added. The FBI declined to comment. But even if you remove the reviews of FBI intervention, the App Store reviews are still far from glowing.
Our own Chelsea Ritchel has this report on what happens when you dive into the deep-red dating pool.
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 14:50
Trump failing to clear 2024 field
Donald Trump’s presidential announcement last week was held under a cloud thanks to his party’s poor showing in the midterm elections, and it was followed by a noticeable lack of euphoria among top Republicans – several of whom still appear to be laying the groundwork for campaigns of their own. This weekend’s meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition saw big names including Nikki Haley, Larry Hogan, Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz appearing to address a sympathetic crowd.
On the face it of it, their exuberance would indicate that Mr Trump is no longer their party’s undisputed leader – but at the same time, the sheer number of potential competitors could give the former president a route to the 2024 nomination by splitting the vote in too many directions, as happened in 2016.
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 14:20
Catch up: Trump’s Twitter account reinstated
Donald Trump’s Twitter account has been reinstated by Elon Musk after it was banned for nearly two years.
Mr Musk announced on Saturday evening that he would reinstate the former president’s account after it was banned for inciting violence in the wake of the 6 January insurrection, a move that was previously described as permanent.
“The people have spoken,” the new Twitter boss wrote late on Saturday. “Trump will be reinstated.”
The billionaire added “Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, a Latin phrase meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God”.
Josh Marcus and Maroosha Muzaffar report:
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 13:50
Lofgren: Pence and Trump are “cheating history”
January 6 committee member Zoe Lofgren appeared on Face the Nation yesterday to discuss her panel’s plans between now and the start of the next Congress, when the new GOP House majority is highly likely to dissolve the select committee altogether.
As well as promising that the public will have “everything we found” within the next month in the form of a written report and released testimony, Ms Lofgren was unsparing in her assessment of Donald Trump and Mike Pence as both refuse to testify.
“I think they’ve cheated history,” she said, “and they should have done otherwise. We, on the other hand, have received substantial information from other sources and we’re in the process of, as I’m sure you know, writing our report now.”
Watch her remarks below.
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 13:20
AZ Republican puts statehouse majority in jeopardy
Such is the Arizona GOP’s belief that the recent elections in the state were stolen that one state representative is refusing to vote until they are re-run – meaning that her party has an impossibly small margin for legislating in the statehouse:
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 12:50
Presumptive House Democratic leader keeps Trump at arm’s length
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who is running to succeed Nancy Pelosi as leader of the House Democrats, appeared yesterday on CNN’s State of the Union – and made clear he was uninterested in discussing Elon Musk, Donald Trump, or events involving the two over the weekend:
Read more about Mr Jeffries from Andrew Feinberg.
Andrew Naughtie21 November 2022 12:20