Former Trump aide says Trump “gleefully” watched footage of the Capitol riot on 6 January
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.
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.
Five takeaways from the Capitol riot committee’s request for Ivanka Trump’s testimony
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.
Justin Vallejo21 January 2022 00:05
What’s a special grand jury and how does it work?
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
Justin Vallejo20 January 2022 23:40
Is the world ready for a Trump v Biden 2024 rematch?
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?
Justin Vallejo20 January 2022 23:15
Psaki corrects Biden election claims, says he was talking about Trump
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:
Justin Vallejo20 January 2022 22:51
Trump campaign officials coordinated ‘fake electors’, say reports
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.
Oliver O’Connell20 January 2022 22:25
Lara Trump pressures DeSantis to back former president
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.”
Oliver O’Connell20 January 2022 22:01
Conservative group launches billboard campaign against McCarthy
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.
Oliver O’Connell20 January 2022 21:44
‘Driving a stake through the heart of the federal republic’
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?
Oliver O’Connell20 January 2022 21:31
Damage control: Biden says Russia will pay ‘heavy price’ for Ukraine invasion
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.
Oliver O’Connell20 January 2022 21:23
Why is the SCOTUS decision on Trump documents so significant?
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.”
Oliver O’Connell20 January 2022 21:07