A lawyer for former president Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he would be leaving the legal team representing Mr Trump in an investigation by the Justice Department into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
The lawyer, Timothy Paraltore, told the Associated Press his departure had nothing to do with Trump nor was a reflection of the investigation which he has long called misguided and overly aggressive.
Over the last several months, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith has been looking into the hundreds of classified documents found at the former president’s Florida home and possible efforts to obstruct the probe.
Mr Paraltore’s announcement comes just as Mr Trump has taken credit for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade.
Mr Trump claimed in multiple interviews, as well as on Truth Social, that without his three Supreme Court Justice nominations, abortion bans would not be possible.
As he boasted about the landmark Supreme Court case, the former president also implied that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ six-week abortion ban may be ‘too harsh’ as he is losing popularity among female voters.
Trump lashes out at DC ‘cockroaches’ following release of Durham report
American public ‘scammed’ by Russia report, Trump insists
Trump claimed Durham probe would uncover ‘crime of the century.’ Here’s what it really revealed
Rudy Giuliani sued for $10m for alleged sexual assault by former employee
Giuliani said he and Trump were selling pardons for $2m apiece, ex-aide claims
Trump questions DeSantis’ six-week abortion ban
16:00 , Ariana Baio
While Donald Trump has no problem crediting himself with overturning Roe v Wade, he’s not too sure about the six-week abortion ban recently signed into Florida law by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Speaking with The Messenger, Mr Trump said, “If you look at what DeSantis did, a lot of people don’t even know if he knew what he was doing. But he signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh.”
Mr Trump’s feelings were echoed in an interview with Newsmax on Tuesday evening when he was asked about abortion restrictions.
Mr Trump started by claiming, “First of all, I’m the one that got rid of Roe v. Wade and everybody said that was an impossible thing to do.”
But later on in the interview, Mr Trump asserted that Mr DeSantis was losing steam with female voters due to the recent law.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins named as new primetime host after Trump town hall debacle
15:46 , Ariana Baio
Kaitlan Collins has been named as the new host of CNN’s 9pm primetime slot.
Collins’ appointment, revealed to staff in a memo by CNN boss Chris Licht, comes as the network was heavily criticised for last week’s town hall with Donald Trump and amid plunging ratings.
Mr Licht said Collins’ CNN This Morning co-host Poppy Harlow will continue to anchor that show with a series of guest hosts.
Bevan Hurley reports:
Trial begins over Kari Lake’s last challenge to loss in Arizona governor’s race
15:30 , Joe Sommerlad
A three-day trial is scheduled to begin today over the only remaining legal claim in Republican Kari Lake’s challenge of her defeat six months ago to Democrat Katie Hobbs in the Arizona governor’s race.
The former TV anchor was among the most vocal of last year’s Republican candidates promoting Trump’s election lies, which she made the centerpiece of her campaign.
While most other election deniers around the country conceded after losing their races in November, Lake did not. She lost to Hobbs by more than 17,000 votes.
Courts have dismissed most of her lawsuit, but the Arizona Supreme Court revived one claim that challenges the implementation of signature verification procedures on early ballots in Maricopa County, home to more than 60 per cent of the state’s voters.
Superior Court judge Peter A Thompson said in a ruling on Monday that Lake alleges Maricopa County officials failed to perform any higher level signature verifications on mail-in ballots that had been flagged by lower level screeners for any inconsistencies. Lake’s lawyers maintain they are challenging all levels of signature verification.
‘Yes, creeps like Trump and the allegations against Giuliani really, really matter'
15:00 , Joe Sommerlad
For Indy Voices, here’s Holly Baxter on the latest sexual harassment scandals to emerge from the MAGA swamp.
New Hampshire college condemns Trump after ‘deeply troubling’ CNN town hall on its campus
14:30 , Joe Sommerlad
Here’s a little more on the fallout from last week’s controversial broadcast as Saint Anselm College, which hosted he event, criticised both the comments of the ex-president and the reactions to his statements by the Trump-friendly audience in the auditorium.
Trump goes after AOC’s ‘bad looking boyfriend’ in wild rant
14:00 , Joe Sommerlad
Donald Trump has been on yet another bizarre rant on Truth Social over the fallout from his controversial town hall hosted by CNN at a New Hampshire college last week.
“It’s really amazing to watch the head of CNN get absolutely lambasted for asking me to do a so-called Town Hall,” Mr Trump wrote, referring to the network’s CEO Chris Licht.
He continued: “In all fairness, nobody had any problems with what he wanted to do until after the show started, when they quickly realised that [Kaitlan] Collins was not exactly Barbara Walters, or even close. That’s when the trouble from the Radical Left started. Neurotic little AOC with the bad looking boyfriend, went crazy. He owns CNN, he’s in their head,’ they screamed. CNN, take the GREAT RATINGS!”
Wounded man who invaded Senate with knife sentenced to prison for Capitol riot
13:30 , Joe Sommerlad
An Alabama man was sentenced on Tuesday to nearly two years in prison for storming the US Capitol and invading the Senate floor with a knife on his hip and a gaping wound on his face.
A police officer shot Joshua Matthew Black in his left cheek with a crowd-control munition outside the Capitol during the riot on 6 January 2021. The bloody hole in his face did not stop Black from occupying the Senate with other rioters after lawmakers evacuated the chamber.
“Black was a notorious offender during the attack on the Capitol,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing. “The nation was shocked and appalled at the events of January 6, and perhaps no other incident sparked as much as outrage and distress as Black and other rioters’ occupation of the Senate Chamber.”
Jason Sudeikis reveals his Ted Lasso character was changed because of Donald Trump
13:00 , Joe Sommerlad
Actor Jason Sudeikis has revealed how Trump helped shape his Ted Lasso character.
The 47-year-old recalled a 2015 dinner date with his former partner Olivia Wilde when he looked back at the Ted Lasso character he had crafted for a comedy skit.
In an interview with The Guardian, Sudeikis spoke about why he decided to make his character “warm and fuzzy” instead of “belligerent”.
“It was the culture we were living in,” Sudeikis said. “I’m not terribly active online and it even affected me. Then you have Donald Trump coming down the escalator. I was like, ‘OK, this is silly,’ and then what he unlocked in people… I hated how people weren’t listening to one another.
He added: “Things became very binary and I don’t think that’s the way the world works.”
Guiliani accused of forcing aide to give him oral sex while on speakerphone to Trump
12:30 , Joe Sommerlad
Graeme Massie and Rachel Sharp have this on one of the most lurid accusations in the Dunphy filing with Manhattan’s Supreme Court.
Giuliani said he and Trump were selling pardons for $2m apiece, ex-aide claims
12:00 , Joe Sommerlad
Andrew Feinberg has this on what Ms Dunphy’s lawsuit alleges about the former mayor’s brag that he and Mr Trump could sell presidential pardons.
What sexual abuse allegations have been made against Rudy Giuliani?
11:30 , Joe Sommerlad
Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and personal attorney to Donald Trump, has been hit by a $10m sexual assault and harassment lawsuit from a former aide who worked for him between 2019 and 2021.
Hailed as “America’s mayor” for his leadership of the Big Apple in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, Mr Giuliani, 78, subsequently attempted to parlay his popularity into an aborted presidential run but has since seen his reputation sullied by his support for Mr Trump’s bogus election fraud narrative.
Now, in a civil complaint filed with the Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday, Mr Giuliani’s ex-employee Noelle Dunphy, 43, alleges that he began sexually abusing her almost immediately after hiring her as an off-the-books business development director and public relations consultant in January 2019, thereafter routinely pestering her for sex, drinking to excess, withholding her salary, bragging about being able to sell presidential pardons for $2 million apiece and engaging in alcohol-fuelled racist rants.
A spokesman for Mr Giuliani has said he “vehemently” denies the accusations.
No ’crime of the century’? Here’s what the Durham report really found
11:00 , Joe Sommerlad
John Durham’s four-year investigation into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into alleged ties between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia has finally been concluded, with the prosecutor leading the inquiry submitting a much-awaited report on Monday that found flaws but ultimately recommended no new charges and comprehensively failed to uncover the kind of sweeping conspiracy Mr Trump and his conservative admirers had long hoped for.
The special counsel did accuse the bureau of lacking “analytical rigor”, of acting on “raw, unanalysed and uncorroborated intelligence” and of “confirmation bias” but was able to bring only a handful of cases of alleged wrongdoing to law, most of which failed.
The only conviction arising from Mr Durham’s probe so far has been that of an FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to doctoring an email used to secure a surveillance warrant against a former Trump campaign adviser. The plea involved no prison time.
Two other cases – one against Michael Sussman, a lawyer who passed a tip to the FBI about a potential link between Trump and a Russian bank, and another against Igor Danchenko, a researcher behind the notorious Steele Dossier – both ended in acquittals.
Despite the shortage of blockbuster revelations Mr Trump had trailed – and his attempts to spin the outcome – we have not heard the last of John Durham: House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan has just announced that he will be calling on him to testify before Congress about his work.
Carolyn Carluccio wins GOP primary for Pennsylvania Supreme Court seat
10:30 , Namita Singh
Carolyn Carluccio has won the Republican nomination for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is playing a prominent role in settling disputes over voting rights, abortion rights and gun rights in the presidential battleground.
Ms Carluccio, Montgomery County’s president judge and the party-endorsed candidate, won the two-way race. She defeated Patricia McCullough, a Commonwealth Court judge who lost a primary for a high court seat in 2021, after party allies reported spending nearly $1m to help her beat Ms McCullough.
BREAKING: Carolyn Carluccio wins the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania Supreme Court pic.twitter.com/ZZsyR8vmW7
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) May 17, 2023
On the campaign trail, McCullough repeatedly boasted of being the “only judge in 2020 in the presidential election in the entire country” to order a halt to her state’s election certification.
Ms McCullough was ruling in a Republican-backed post-election legal challenge that sought to tilt victory to Donald Trump in the presidential battleground state.
The state’s high court quickly overturned McCullough’s order.
An ‘open secret’: Top White House aides reveal Trump’s alleged inappropriate conduct towards female staffers
10:00 , Andrew Feinberg
Since former president Donald Trump entered the American political arena as a candidate for president in 2015, at least 25 women have accused him of all manner of sexual misconduct, ranging from inappropriate passes and groping to outright rape.
The allegations leveled against the New York developer and television personality turned president go back decades, long before he ever considered running for the White House, with many of them dating to his heyday as a real estate tycoon and business icon in the 1980s and 1990s.
One oft-reported incident stemmed from a divorce deposition given in 1990 by his late first wife, Ivana Trump. During their divorce proceedings, his soon-to-be ex-wife accused Mr Trump of raping her during a violent attack after a visit to a plastic surgeon she had recommended left him in pain from a scalp reduction procedure.
That allegation was revealed in 1993 book Lost Tycoon by author Harry Hurt III, who viewed a transcript of the deposition. In his book, Hurt described the incident recounted in the deposition as a “violent assault” with a sexual component.
DeSantis criticises Trump for implying Florida abortion ban is 'too harsh'
09:30 , Namita Singh
Florida governor Ron DeSantis criticised Donald Trump on Tuesday for implying his state’s new six-week abortion ban is “too harsh,” stepping up his attacks on the former president as he prepares to challenge him for the 2024 Republican nomination.
Mr DeSantis was responding to a question about Mr Trump’s comments in an article published on Monday by The Messenger about the six-week ban the Florida governor recently signed into law.
“Many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh,” Mr Trump told the online outlet.
Mr DeSantis contended the law has widespread support among opponents of abortion and noted the former president didn’t say what limits he would back on the procedure.
Accounts of Trump’s inappropriate behaviour validated by Access Hollywood tape
09:00 , Andrew Feinberg
A 2016 story in The New York Times included accounts from more than 50 women who had become acquainted with the future president over the years, either socially or professionally, or as models or beauty pageant contestants.
The Times said the women’s stories showed a history of “unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct” in settings ranging from construction sites of his projects, at his various homes, beauty pageant dressing rooms, and his eponymous Manhattan skyscraper.
These written accounts of alleged bad behaviour — all of which Mr Trump and his spokespersons have strenuously denied — surfaced again and again throughout Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign, and were further validated by what became known as the “Access Hollywood tape” in October 2016.
Trump-backed Daniel Cameron to face Democratic Kentucky governor Andy Beshear in November
08:30 , Namita Singh
Daniel Cameron won the Republican primary for Kentucky governor on Tuesday, becoming the first major-party Black nominee for governor in the state’s history and setting up a November showdown with Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear.
Mr Cameron, the state’s attorney general who was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, claimed a convincing victory over a 12-candidate field that included Kelly Craft, who served as United Nations ambassador in the Trump administration, and state agriculture commissioner Ryan Quarles.
Mr Beshear easily dispatched two under-the-radar Democratic challengers in his own primary.
Mr Cameron, the state’s first Black attorney general, would be the state’s first Black governor if elected. He played up the historic nature of his nomination in his victory speech Tuesday, saying his campaign aims to “embody the promise of America, that if you work hard and if you stand on principle, anything is possible.”
“To anyone who looks like me, know that you can achieve anything,” Mr Cameron told his supporters. “Know that in this country and in Kentucky, all that matters are your values.”
The race now shifts to the election, which will be one of November’s most closely watched contests and could provide clues heading into next year’s presidential race. Mr Beshear, a popular Democratic governor, will face a tough reelection bid in a Republican-dominated state after a first term marked by a series of tragedies – the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters and a mass shooting that killed one of his closest friends.
‘When you’re a star, they let you do it'
08:00 , Andrew Feinberg
On 7 October 2016 — one month before voters went to the polls on Election Day — The Washington Post published a video taken of Mr Trump and then-NBC host Billy Bush.
The footage was taken in a bus while the two men were travelling to a taping of Access Hollywood eleven years prior to the 2016 campaign. The film’s audio track included a lewd exchange in which Mr Trump described his efforts to seduce a woman who he knew to be married, starting with an unwanted kiss.
“I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. ... Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything,” he said.
While some top Republicans strongly condemned the then-GOP presidential nominee — with a few even calling on him to drop off the Republican ticket — Mr Trump remained defiant and shrugged off the criticism.
A month later, he was elected president of the United States.
Durham report takeaways: A 'seriously flawed' Russia investigation and its lasting impact on the FBI
07:30 , Namita Singh
A 306-page report by Justice Department special counsel John Durham is refocusing negative attention on one of the most politically significant investigations in FBI history: the probe into whether Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was colluding with Russia to tip the outcome of the election.
Here is a look at some of the major findings of the Durham report:
Village People demand Trump stop using their music after his viral ‘Macho Man’ dance at fake Mar-a-Lago gig
07:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar
The Village People, the 70’s disco band, have finally asked Donald Trump to stop using their music without consent.
The wife of one of the band members on Monday sent a cease-and-desist letter to the former president, according to reports.
Mr Trump has been using the band’s songs such as “YMCA” and “Macho Man”at his events and rallies for years now.
The former president was sent the cease-and-desist letter over a video of him and a Village People lookalike group of musicians dancing to “Macho Man”at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
After the video was widely shared on social media, fans of the band started accusing them of endorsing Mr Trump. That is when the band realised things had gone too far. They have now asked him to stop hiring impersonators to perform their songs at Mar-a-Lago or any events and rallies.
The cease-and-desist letter to Mr Trump stated that the band “tolerated” his use of their music in the past and threatened that they will file a lawsuit against the former president if he doesn’t stop using the band’s images and music.
Unsuccessful Republican candidate in Arizona attorney general race pushes for new trial
06:30 , Gustaf Kilander
The Republican candidate who lost last year’s election for Arizona attorney general returned to court on Tuesday to request a new trial in his efforts to overturn the results of the November contest.
Attorneys for candidate Abraham Hamadeh appeared at an afternoon Superior Court hearing in Mohave County in Arizona’s northwestern corner to claim they have fresh evidence that some votes were not tallied in the election won by Democrat Kris Mayes, who was sworn in early this year.
Hamadeh wants Judge Lee Jantzen to allow a thorough inspection of all ballots in the election.
The case is among several still alive in Arizona courts six months after an election that saw Democrats win the top races in the former Republican stronghold.
Three female former Trump officials describe inappropriate behaviour
06:00 , Andrew Feinberg
After myriad accusations having been levelled against him during the election and the near-disaster of the Access Hollywood tape, one might have predicted that Mr Trump would have been hyper-vigilant about how he conducted himself around women once he was sworn in as president and fully moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But, according to multiple women who served in top roles during his four-year term, such a prediction would have been dead wrong.
In the days since the Manhattan jury in E Jean Carroll’s lawsuit rendered a verdict against the twice-impeached ex-president, three former high-ranking female Trump administration officials have come forward to describe inappropriate behaviour on Mr Trump’s part towards other female public servants in his employ.
The trio includes two of Mr Trump’s top lieutenants, Alyssa Farah Griffin — his ex-White House communications director who now co-hosts ABC’s The View — and Stephanie Grisham, who served as press secretary both Mr Trump and former first lady Melania Trump in addition to serving as Ms Trump’s chief of staff.
Lara Trump bombarded with Donald Trump falsehoods after claiming everything he says comes true
05:30 , Gustaf Kilander
Lara Trump faced a barrage of examples of her father-in-law getting things wrong after she claimed that “pretty much everything” he has ever said has come true.
Ms Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, appeared on Newsmax on Monday to discuss special prosecutor John Durham’s report criticising the FBI’s handling of the investigation into connections between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“How many times has what he said actually come true? Pretty much everything he ever talked about — and, by the way, he was mocked for saying — have all come true,” Ms Trump said on Newsmax.
Donald Trump claimed before the report was released that Mr Durham was set to reveal the “crime of the century” but the report instead called the actions of the FBI “extremely troublesome”.
The report stated that the FBI shouldn’t have started its full investigation of the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but the report didn’t suggest that “wholesale changes” be made to guidelines or policy.
VIDEO: E. Jean Carroll Mulling Another Defamation Lawsuit Against Trump: 'Weighing All Of Our Options'
05:00 , Gustaf Kilander
A suspect looking for a Virginia congressman attacked two of his staffers with a baseball bat. What happened?
04:30 , Independent Staff
A Democratic congressman’s office is reeling after two staffers were attacked by a baseball bat-wielding man who was allegedly looking for the lawmaker.
Xuan Kha Tran Pham was arrested on Monday for the attack at the district office of Rep Gerry Connolly in Fairfax, Virginia.
Authorities are now working to determine the suspect’s motive as the two staffers recover from non-life-threatening injuries to the staffers.
It’s believed that Mr Connolly was the intended target - while the lawmaker himself said he doesn’t think the motive was political.
“I have the best team in Congress,” Mr Connolly said in a statement. “My district office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day. The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”
Here’s what we know so far:
Kari Lake headed to trial on last remaining claim in suit over loss in Arizona governor’s race
04:00 , Jacques Billeaud, AP
A judge has rejected a bid by election officials to throw out the last remaining election misconduct claim by Kari Lake, the 2022 Republican candidate for Arizona governor, setting up a three-day trial over the former TV anchor’s challenge of her defeat to Democrat Katie Hobbs.
In a ruling issued Monday night, Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson refused to throw out Lake’s claim that centered on signature-verification efforts of early ballots in Maricopa County.
Thompson said Lake should have the chance to present testimony about whether Arizona’s most populous county properly verified signatures on ballot affidavit envelopes.
The trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Eric Trump threatens to sue Rachel Maddow
03:30 , Graig Graziosi
Eric Trump has reportedly threatened to sue MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow for pointing out that he will appear alongside anti-Semitic speakers during a ReAwaken America Tour stop at Trump National Doral in Miami this weekend.
Donald Trump‘s younger son is scheduled to speak this weekend along with his wife, former Fox News contributor Lara Trump, alongside right-wing influencers Scott McKay and Charlie Ward, who have been accused of spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and praising Adolf Hitler, according to The Daily Beast.
Maddow made note of the speaker schedule and expressed shock that one of Mr Trump’s sons would publicly appear alongside them.
“I can’t really believe they are going ahead with it,” she said on a Monday broadcast.
Eric Trump took to Twitter the following night to complain about the story, saying Maddow was “walking a fine line” and insisting that his family is the “most pro-Israel family in American political history.”
VOICES: An assault on congressional staff shows how all too commonplace political violence has become
03:00 , Eric Garcia
Another day, another example of political violence. On Monday, a man walked into the district office of Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia and allegedly attacked two staffers before he was ultimately arrested.
The attack is just the latest example of how normal violence against elected officials has become. The assailant reportedly wanted to find the Virginia congressman before he opted to hit the two staffers with a metal baseball bat, according to the congressman’s office. He was ultimately apprehended, but not before the two staffers suffered injuries.
Even though Mr Connolly’s office said the injuries did not threaten the staffers’ lives, the attack shows how political violence is no longer contained just to Washington, but can spread even to district offices.
How Republicans and right-wing media turned Jordan Neely’s killer into a hero
02:30 , Alex Woodward
In his upside-down version of the parable, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis compared the man who fatally choked a homeless New Yorker to the “good Samaritan,” the biblical figure who came to the aid of a man who was stripped, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road.
According to witness accounts, Jordan Neely loudly complained of hunger and thirst when he boarded a Manhattan F train on 1 May, said he did not care whether he was jailed or killed, and threw his jacket to the ground before a man identified as Daniel Penny grabbed him from behind and pinned him to the ground in a chokehold for several minutes.
“We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny,” Mr DeSantis wrote on Twitter after Mr Penny was formally charged with manslaughter on 12 May. “Take back the streets for law abiding citizens,” he wrote.
Republican elected officials and right-leaning media outlets and personalities have similarly described Mr Penny as a heroic figure, and lambasted the fact that charges were brought against him at all, rejecting the idea that prosecutors or law enforcement should even investigate.
Rudy Giuliani avoids any mention of bombshell harassment lawsuit in hour-long YouTube show
02:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
During his 76-minute show, Mr Giuliani did not even once mention the allegations and continued to share his opinion on the Durham report.
The long-awaited report by US special counsel John Durham, which was released on Monday, found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lacked “actual evidence” to investigate Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign and relied too heavily on tips provided by Trump’s political opponents to fuel the probe.
Mr Giuliani, who previously worked as president Trump’s personal attorney, continued his rant on the charges against Daniel Penny over the killing of Jordan Neely while boasting about his work cleaning up New York City’s Times Square as mayor.
How did the FBI respond to Durham report?
01:30 , AP
The FBI pointed out that it had long ago made dozens of corrective actions. Had those measures been in place in 2016, it says, the errors at the center of the report could have been prevented.
It also took pains to note that the conduct in the report took place before the current director, Christopher Wray, took the job in fall 2017.
What happens next?
It didn’t take long for Republicans in Congress to react. Rep. Jim Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said he had invited Durham to testify on Capitol Hill next week. Trump, too, sought to seize on the report, saying it showed how the American public had been “scammed.”
Though the FBI says it’s already taken some steps, Durham did say it’s possible more reform could be needed. One idea, he said, would be to provide additional scrutiny of politically sensitive investigations by identifying an official who would be responsible for challenging the steps taken in a probe.
He said his team had considered but did not ultimately recommend steps that would curtail the FBI’s investigative authorities, including its use of tools under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to eavesdrop on suspected spies or terrorists.
What did Durham find?
01:00 , AP
Durham found that the FBI acted too hastily and relied on raw and unconfirmed intelligence when it opened the Trump-Russia investigation.
He said at the time the probe was opened, the FBI had no information about any actual contact between Trump associates and Russian intelligence officials.
He also claimed that FBI investigators fell prone to “confirmation bias,” repeatedly ignoring or rationalizing away information that could have undercut the premise of their investigation, and he noted that the FBI failed to corroborate a single substantive allegation from a dossier of research that it relied on during the course of the probe.
“An objective and honest assessment of these strands of information should have caused the FBI to question not only the predication for Crossfire Hurricane, but also to reflect on whether the FBI was being manipulated for political or other purposes,” the report said, using the FBI’s code name for the Trump-Russia probe. “Unfortunately, it did not.”
What criminal cases did Durham bring and what was the outcome?
Wednesday 17 May 2023 00:30 , AP
Durham brought three prosecutions during his tenure, but only one resulted in a conviction — and that was for a case referred to him by the Justice Department inspector general. None of the three undid core findings by Mueller that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election in a sweeping fashion and that the Trump campaign had welcomed, rather than discouraged, the help.
A former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in 2020 to altering an email related to the surveillance of an ex-Trump campaign aide. He was given probation.
But two other cases, both involving alleged false statements to the FBI, resulted in acquittals by jury.
Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign, was found not guilty of lying to the FBI during a meeting in which he presented computer data information that he wanted the FBI to investigate. A different jury acquitted Igor Danchenko, a Russian-American analyst, of charges that he lied to the FBI about his role in the creation of a discredited dossier about Trump.
Were there problems with the Russia investigation?
Wednesday 17 May 2023 00:00 , AP
Yes, and a Justice Department inspector general inquiry already identified many.
The watchdog report found that FBI applications for warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page, contained significant errors and omitted information that would likely have weakened or undermined the premise of the application.
The cumulative effect of those errors, the report said, was to make it “appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”
Still, the inspector general did not find evidence that investigators acted with political bias and said there was a legitimate basis to open a full investigation into potential collusion, though Durham has disagreed.
Why did the Trump justice department think a special counsel appointment was necessary?
Tuesday 16 May 2023 23:30 , AP
The John Durham appointment came weeks after a different special counsel, Robert Mueller, wrapped up his investigation of possible connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. That probe produced more than two dozen criminal cases, including against a half-dozen Trump associates.
Though it did not charge any Trump aide with working with Russia to tip the election, it did find that Russia interfered on Trump’s behalf and that the campaign welcomed, rather than discouraged, the help.
From the start, Barr was deeply skeptical of the investigation’s foundation, telling Congress that “spying did occur” on the campaign.
He enlisted an outside prosecutor to hunt for potential misconduct at the government agencies who were involved in collecting intelligence and conducting the investigation, even flying with Durham to Italy to meet with officials there as part of the probe.
John Bolton says foreign leaders think Trump is a ‘laughing fool'
Tuesday 16 May 2023 23:15 , Oliver O'Connell
Former Ambassador John Bolton has dismissed the notion that Donald Trump was held in high regard by foreign leaders.
He tweeted: “Donald Trump is unfit to be president. No rational person believes they could get the Russians and Ukrainians to agree on anything within 24 hours. This impression that adversaries held Trump in high regard was untrue. Foreign leaders think Trump is a laughing fool.”
The tweet also linked to a video from CNN in which he tells Kaitlan Collins that Mr Trump is thought of buy foreign leaders as a “laughing fool”.
Donald Trump is unfit to be president. No rational person believes they could get the Russians and Ukrainians to agree on anything within 24 hours. This impression that adversaries held Trump in high regard was untrue. Foreign leaders think Trump is a laughing fool.…
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) May 16, 2023
Who is John Durham?
Tuesday 16 May 2023 23:00 , Eric Tucker, AP
Durham has spent decades as a Justice Department prosecutor, with past assignments including investigations into the FBI’s cozy relationship with mobsters in Boston and the CIA’s destruction of videotapes of its harsh interrogations of terrorism subjects.
He was appointed in 2019 to investigate potential misconduct by U.S. government officials as they examined Russian election interference in 2016 and whether there was any illegal coordination between the Kremlin and Trump’s presidential campaign.
Despite skimpy results — one guilty plea and two acquittals — that failed to live up to Trump’s expectations, Durham was able to continue his work well into the Biden administration, thanks in part to William Barr appointing Durham as a Justice Department special counsel shortly before Barr’s 2020 resignation as attorney general.
Key takeaways from the Durham report
Tuesday 16 May 2023 22:45 , Oliver O'Connell
The findings aren’t flattering for the FBI, with Durham asserting that it rushed into the investigation without an adequate basis and routinely ignored or rationalized evidence that undercut its premise. The report catalogs a series of errors — though many were already documented years ago by a separate Justice Department inspector general report, and the FBI says it’s taken several dozen corrective steps on its own.
A look at some of the major findings of the Durham report.
Rudy Giuliani said he and Trump were selling pardons for $2m apiece, ex-aide claims
Tuesday 16 May 2023 22:30 , Andrew Feinberg
A former aide to former Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani says he told her the ex-New York City mayor and then-president Donald Trump were offering to sell presidential pardons for $2 million apiece, according to court documents.
The bombshell allegation was levied in a complaint filed against Mr Giuliani by Noelle Dunphy, a New York-based public relations professional who is suing him for “unlawful abuses of power, wide-ranging sexual assault and harassment, wage theft, and other misconduct” committed while she worked for him in 2019 and 2020.
The lawsuit also claims that she was subjected to sexual assault, harassment, wage theft and other misconduct by Mr Giuliani, and alleges that she was forced to perform sex acts on him and work in the nude.
In her civil complaint against the ex-Trump attorney, Ms Duphy described an interaction she allegedly had with Mr Giuliani on or about 16 February 2019, when he was serving as Mr Trump’s personal attorney and attempting to dig up overseas dirt on then-former vice president Joe Biden, who at the time was two months away from entering the 2020 presidential race against Mr Trump.
McCarthy: Trump trying to help with debt ceiling negotiations by encouraging default
Tuesday 16 May 2023 22:15 , Oliver O'Connell
"I think President Trump, when he does that, he's trying to help the negotiations" -- McCarthy on President Trump encouraging a default pic.twitter.com/9hlq1jD95n
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 16, 2023
‘Trump’s blatant sexual harassment and sexual assault of women never ends'
Tuesday 16 May 2023 22:00 , Andrew Feinberg
Ultimately, the three ex-staffers — all of whom have become vocal critics of the ex-president since he left office — are just a few of the women who’ve discussed alleged misconduct by Mr Trump.
But Lisa Bloom, an attorney who has represented many of his past accusers, wasn’t shocked to discover that he continued his bad behaviour after assuming the highest office in the US.
In a statement to The Independent, she called the claims “disgusting but not surprising”.
“Trump’s blatant sexual harassment and sexual assault of women never ends. Even more disgusting are the voters who support him knowing he treats women so badly,” she said.
Morning Consult poll has Trump steaming ahead of GOP field
Tuesday 16 May 2023 21:45 , Oliver O'Connell
NEW: Tracking the 2024 GOP Primary:
Someone Else: 1%
*May 12-14, 2023 https://t.co/4CBfh5gVos pic.twitter.com/yRi38YtApB
— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) May 16, 2023
Trump’s deplorable behaviour was well-known among his senior aides
Tuesday 16 May 2023 21:30 , Andrew Feinberg
Stephanie Grisham, the former press secretary for Mr Trump and Ms Trump, also revealed that the ex-president’s deplorable behaviour was well-known among his senior aides. But she, too, said not a single one of them was able to do anything about it.
“I think at the end of the day, what could they do other than go in there and say, ‘This isn’t good, sir?’” she said. “And you know, Donald Trump will do what Donald Trump wants to do”.
More from Rep Crockett on the GOP and sexual assault
Tuesday 16 May 2023 21:15 , Oliver O'Connell
Texas Democrat Jasmine Crockett has added to her earlier remarks about it being a good thing that Republicans in the House are now concerned about sexual assault and what that might mean for their support of former president Donald Trump.
Folks in glass houses shouldn't throw stones - and it looks like under this current majority this House is made of glass... https://t.co/jPqDlHXfXT
— Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (@RepJasmine) May 16, 2023
‘Nothing was ever done’
Tuesday 16 May 2023 21:00 , Andrew Feinberg
A former White House aide, Olivia Troye, told Newsweek that she’d “witnessed [Mr Trump’s] behaviour first hand” and said it happened “openly” in front of other White House staff, including during meetings in the West Wing.
Alyssa Farah Griffin, a longtime conservative communications professional who served as the top spokesperson for the House Freedom Caucus before joining the Trump administration, said “nothing was ever done” about Mr Trump’s alleged misconduct despite it being ”an open secret” and a subject of “open discussion” among his West Wing aides.
Voices: Yes, Trump and Giuliani are disgusting creeps. Yes, it still really, really matters
Tuesday 16 May 2023 20:45 , Oliver O'Connell
Holly Baxter writes:
In news that will surprise no one, it turns out Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani are absolute creeps. I know, of course, that you might’ve expected more from the president who started his first campaign with a video about grabbing women by the p***y, or who recently kicked off his second run with a legal ruling against him for sexual assault. But apparently, even when Donald was in the White House, he developed obsessions with certain staffers and asked a female worker to stick around so he could “look at her ass”. Number 45’s tendency to walk the halls of power behind “very young” staffers with his tongue hanging out was apparently an “open secret”. It happened in meetings, it happened at work events, it happened in front of other people.
And it turns out that birds of a feather — ALLEGEDLY — flock together! Noelle Dunphy, a former aide to Giuliani, just filed a lawsuit claiming that everyone’s favorite Four Seasons Landscaping orator forced her to perform oral sex on him while he was on the phone to Trump. Apparently, Rudy had a penchant for sex acts while taking calls because it “made him feel like Bill Clinton”. And who among us hasn’t dreamed of feeling like legitimate Marvel superhero Bill Clinton at least once in our lives?
Former Trump communications director says he 'does not respect women’
Tuesday 16 May 2023 20:30 , Andrew Feinberg
Alyssa Farah Griffin, who served as a top spokesperson for then-vice president Mike Pence and the Pentagon before returning to the White House as communications director in mid-2020, told The Daily Beast that she witnessed “a number of problematic behaviour[s] and comments” from the then-president towards young, female White House staffers during her time in the West Wing.
“I saw behaviour and engagement with very young junior female staffers from the former president that made me uncomfortable,” she said. “It’s a pattern. It was visible. It didn’t take a genius to see it. It was reported, I don’t know if it was handled, but this is a man who does not respect women — it’s a man who objectified women,” she said.
Tuberville says American people should call for end to elections
Tuesday 16 May 2023 20:15 , Oliver O'Connell
Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama appeared on Newsmax and tried to frame the Durham report into the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation as a smoking gun.
The senator said: “If people don’t go to jail for this, the American people should just stand up and say, ‘Listen, enough’s enough. Let’s don’t have elections anymore.’”
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) tries to sell the Durham FBI report about the Trump-Russia investigation as a smoking gun:
“If people don’t go to jail for this, the American people should just stand up and say, ‘Listen, enough’s enough. Let’s don’t have elections anymore.’” pic.twitter.com/D4Qrd1Iav1
— The Recount (@therecount) May 16, 2023
Here’s what the report really found:
‘I did everything I could to keep her off of trips'
Tuesday 16 May 2023 20:00 , Gustaf Kilander
Stephanie Grisham, the Trump White House Secretary for 12 months, told CNN that Mr Trump would target a specific female staffer with inappropriate behaviour.
“I did everything I could to keep her off of trips, actually, and to stay with her if she was with him alone, because I was really nervous about what could happen and this was before I knew kind of any of the E Jean Carroll allegations. I stupidly did know about the Access Hollywood video but maybe that was what made me you know, keep with her all the time,” she said.
Democrat rep ‘excited’ GOP colleagues say they care about sexual abuse after Trump found liable
Tuesday 16 May 2023 19:45 , Oliver O'Connell
During this morning’ House Oversight committee hearing regarding crime, safety, and city management in Washington, DC, a Texas Democrat noted how it was good to see her Republican colleagues taking sexual assault seriously, just a week after Donald Trump, their current likely candidate for president, was found liable of such action in a civil court.
Florida Republican representative Anna Paulina Luna rounded out her grilling of Matthew Graves, US Attorney for the District of Columbia, by demanding “do your job” for those that depend on him, noting a 48 per cent increase in sexual assaults.
When Texas Democrat representative Jasmine Crockett spoke in her allotted time, she began by saying: “I am so excited my colleagues across the aisle care about sexual abuse, considering the frontrunner right now for the presidency has kind of just been found liable of sexual abuse. So I am excited, because this may mean, finally, some folk may back off from supporting him because we don’t support sexual abusers in this chamber, so I’m happy about this.”
Watch the moment below:
Crockett: I am so excited that my colleagues across the aisle care about sexual abuse considering the front runner has just been found liable for sexual abuse.. pic.twitter.com/fPQsjbvHdy
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 16, 2023
Trump goes after AOC’s ‘bad looking boyfriend’ in wild rant
Tuesday 16 May 2023 19:30 , Gustaf Kilander
“It’s really amazing to watch the head of CNN get absolutely lambasted for asking me to do a so-called Town Hall,” Mr Trump wrote on Sunday, referring to CNN CEO Chris Licht.
Mr Trump then went on to criticise Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s relationship.
“In all fairness, nobody had any problems with what he wanted to do until after the show started, when they quickly realized that Ms Collins was not exactly Barbara Walters, or even close,” he wrote before bashing progressive Democratic New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“That’s when the trouble from the Radical Left started. Neurotic little AOC with the bad looking boyfriend, went crazy,” Mr Trump added. “‘He owns CNN, he’s in their head,’ they screamed. CNN, take the GREAT RATINGS!”
Trump targeted specific female staffer
Tuesday 16 May 2023 19:00 , Andrew Feinberg
Stephanie Grisham, who served as White House Press Secretary for 12 months, has become a vocal critic of the ex-president since the end of his administration.
She said in an interview on CNN that Mr Trump targeted a specific female aide for a significant amount of inappropriate attention.
She said that although the then-president habitually opined on women’s physical appearance, his behaviour towards “this one staffer” was “was really bad to the point that I was extremely uncomfortable”.
Specifically, she said Mr Trump would ask aides to ensure the staffer in question was in the traveling party when he made trips abroad, even when such duties were supposed to be the responsibility of other White House aides. Ms Grisham also accused Mr Trump of asking one of her deputy press secretaries to bring the staffer to see him so he could “look at her a**”.