Department of Justice is reportedly reaching out to select committee witnesses as it investigates events that led to Capitol riot
Trump’s ex-defense secretary says he didn’t ask for 10,000 Capitol troops
Donald Trump has lashed out at reports that he is now the subject of a US Department of Justice investigation into his attempts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said yesterday that the Justice Department has no qualms about the political blowback that would inevitably occur as a result of criminally indicting Mr Trump. The department is reportedly reaching out to witnesses who have testified to the select committee investigating the Capitol attack, including former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson.
The panel last night released audio from sworn testimony in which Donald Trump’s former acting defence secretary, Christopher Miller, confirms the president gave no order for thousands of National Guards to be deployed to the Capitol in advance of the certification of the result on 6 January.
The audio contradicts claims recently made by Mr Trump, as well as ex-staffers including Mark Meadows – and Mr Miller himself.
Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday took to his own Truth Social platform to air a string of grievances following reports that the Department of Justice is investigating his push to overturn the 2020 election results.
Writing on the platform owned by his nascent Trump Media and Technology Group, Mr Trump assailed the report as “more disinformation by the Democrats” and compared the probe into his post-election conduct to the long-running investigation into his 2016 campaign’s ties to the Russian government, the House impeachment probe into his 2019 attempt to blackmail Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and his second impeachment over the January 6 attacks.
“People forget, this is all about a Rigged and Stolen Election. But rather than go after the people that Rigged and Stole it, they go after the people that are seeking Honesty and Truth, and have Freedom of Speech, and many other defenses, on their side,” he wrote.
Andrew Feinberg has more:
Justice Department prosecutors have reportedly spoken to witnesses about Mr Trump’s conduct in the run-up to the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol
DoJ values remorse in Jan 6 rioter cases
NBC News’s Ryan Reilly, who has been closely following the cases of charged and convicted Capitol rioters, has picked out an interesting nugget: the Justice Department is arguing for one co-defendant to be given a lesser sentence than the other specifically because of his behaviour and statements after the riot and since his arrest.
Jenna Ryan is one of the most infamous members of the 6 January crowd to have been sentenced to jail time for her part in the riot. In March 2021, she tweeted: “Definitely not going to jail. Sorry I have blonde hair, white skin, a great job, a great future, and I’m not going to jail. Sorry to rain on your hater parade. I did nothing wrong.”
She later pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges and was sentenced to jail for 60 days.
Georgia poll shows toss-ups in crucial races
The survey shows that 48 per cent of likely voters say they support Trump apostate Mr Kemp, compared to 43 per cent who say they support former state legislator Stacey Abrams. The two are in a rematch after Mr Kemp narrowly beat Ms Abrams in 2018. Ms Abrams never fully conceded her race to Mr Kemp because of allegations of voter suppression.
Similarly, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock – who won a special election last year – leads Donald Trump’s chosen candidate former University of Georgia running back, Herschel Walker, 46 per cent to 43 per cent. Mr Walker’s erratic behaviour and a series of personal scandals have put what was thought to be an eminently winnable race in jeopardy for the GOP.
Eric Garcia has the story.
Senator Raphael Warnock and Brian Kemp both have narrow leads.
The Kinzinger take on Trump’s speech…
Retiring GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of the Jan 6 committee’s two Republicans, is one of his party’s most assertive Tweeters, but far outside its mainstream thanks to his merciless views on Donald Trump.
His reaction to the ex-president’s return to public speaking in Washington, DC yesterday is a case in point…
Liz Cheney back on air as primary draws near
Jan 6 select committee member Liz Cheney is among the most endangered Republicans in Congress thanks to her unsparing criticism of Mr Trump, and she is being made to pay for it in the form of a primary challenge from Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman.
While Ms Cheney has posted titanic fundraising numbers, there is no polling evidence (yet) to suggest she will survive the vote on 16 August. But for now, she is still fighting, as a new ad makes clear:
Why Brian Kemp’s Georgia testimony matters
Of all the investigations into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, one of the most threatening to the former president himself is the grand jury probe in Fulton County, Georgia, which is looking into his allegedly illegal pressure campaign against election officials in the state.
The prosecutors leading the investigation have issued subpoenas for several close Trump allies, and have also heard testimony from some of the most senior Republicans in the state – this week including sitting Governor Brian Kemp, who recently won a re-election primary over a Trump-backed challenger.
He now faces a challenge from Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams in November.
John Bowden reports:
Criminal probe could be first real effort to punish Trump team for 2020 fraud claims
Watch: Trump’s shocking mockery of trans athletes
While addressing the America First Policy Institute summit, Mr Trump, 76, did a bit where he pretended to be a transgender athlete at a weightlifting competition.
Mr Trump grunted and groaned as he pretended to be a woman struggling to lift a barbell.
He then pretended to be a transgender athlete who easily picks up the weights and wins the competition.
Sravasti Dasgupta has the story.
Former president claims he is stopped from making such ‘controversial statements’
Analysis: The GOP’s misleading crime claims
Donald Trump relentlessly promoted himself as the president of “law and order”, and despite the spectacle of a mob of his supporters brutalising police officers on 6 January 2021, he and the Republicans have stuck to the line that they are the party who can keep Americans safe from crime.
To back up their claims, they invariably point to problems in Democratic-run states and cities – but as Josh Marcus reports, this is highly misleading:
Read Josh’s full piece below.
ICYMI: What Pence said
Former vice president Mike Pence largely sidestepped any mention of Donald Trump during an address to young conservatives in Washington on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Mr Pence gave a speech to the national conference of Young America’s Foundation in Washington laying out the agenda that he would potentially attempt to sell to voters if he were to make a run for president.
Mr Pence, who is on what amounts to a constant national speaking tour, has more than once confirmed he is at least thinking about a 2024 presidential run, though it is unclear whether he would do so if Mr Trump also ran. In polls of potential GOP primary candidates, he performs poorly in comparison to several other Trump alternatives – in particular Ron DeSantis.
Eric Garcia has more.
“Now some people may choose to focus on the past. But elections are about the future”, the vice president said.
Pompeo in talks to meet with Jan 6 committee, report says
Mr Pompeo is set to give testimony to the committee behind closed doors in the next few days, according to ABC News.
The committee, which is investigating the attack on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, held its final high-profile public hearing for the summer last week but has said it will return for more in September.
Graeme Massie has the latest.
Trump’s former Secretary of State could give testimony this week, says ABC News