Trump holds rally in Florence, AZ
Donald Trump is catching flak for deploying a modified version of an official government seal in an announcement about a new golf course. Beyond questions of taste, the announcement – sent out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – was met with questions about whether Mr Trump is using taxpayers’ money officially granted to him as a former president to promote his private business interests.
As speculation about a rift between Mr Trump and Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to grow, aides to the former president have blamed the story not just on the media but on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Their rationale, as issued via anonymous quotes, is that Mr DeSantis fuelled the latest stories by criticizing Mr Trump’s lockdown policies on a podcast run by a former McConnell adviser.
Mr McConnell’s office has so far declined to comment on the story, though it is commonly agreed that he and the former president have been at daggers drawn since the 6 January insurrection last year.
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Biden to hold first press conference of 2022 on Wednesday
President Joe Biden will speak directly to reporters and take questions tomorrow for his first press conference of the year, marking one day before the first anniversary of his inauguration.
While it isn’t clear if the president will have a specific agenda on his mind, it will come as the Senate is set to see his push for voting rights legislation fail thanks to unified opposition from Republicans and a refusal to modify the Senate’s filibuster rules by two Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin.
John Bowden18 January 2022 20:43
Judge sentences Jan 6 rioter to home detention, probation and hefty fine
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia sentenced a man to three months of home detention, two years of probation, and a fine of $1,500 for what she referred to on Tuesday as “minimal” involvement in the Capitol siege.
Tanner Bryce Sells received the sentence for entering the Capitol building during the riot, where according to Justice Department prosecutors he entered the Capitol rotunda area and walked around for about 10 minutes before exiting the building. He isn’t accused of any violent acts or vandalism.
Still, prosecutors asked for a sentence of two weeks in jail for the Oklahoma man because he committed the unauthorised entry after witnessing violence against members of law enforcement committed by other rioters.
His sentence was first reported by HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly:
NEW: Tanner Sells gets 90 days of home detention, 24 months probation, and a $1,500 fine since he’s working. Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she exercised her discretion in this case, and wanted Sells to be thinking about this longer than he would with a two-week prison sentence.
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) January 18, 2022
John Bowden18 January 2022 20:20
Dan Crenshaw says he “wishes” he could help jailed Jan 6 rioters
GOP Rep Dan Crenshaw said on Tuesday that he “wishes” he could do more for jailed persons accused of participating in January 6-related crimes.
Agreeing with a questioner at a town hall event who referred to the accused rioters as “political prisoners” supposedly having their rights to due process violated, Mr Crenshaw said: “I wish that I could tell you something, that there was a bill we could pass, that we had the majorities.”
Under repeated questioning from the man, he added: “I wish I had the authority to help.”
Dan Crenshaw agrees with townhall questioner that charged 1/6 defendants are “political prisoners” who are being denied “any due process.” Crenshaw says he wishes he had the votes to pass a bill: “I wish I had the authority to help.”pic.twitter.com/P1COIi6DDO
— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) January 18, 2022
John Bowden18 January 2022 20:03
CNN: Former Trump staffers hold strategy call to combat their ex-boss
A large contingent of former Trump administration officials and staffers were on a conference call this week strategising about efforts to stop their former boss from eroding US democracy, CNN reported on Tuesday.
The call, which was attended by roughly three dozen people including many formerly in the White House and others scattered throughout the government during the Trump era, did not end with participants agreeing on a strategy, according to CNN. But the group agreed that something needed to be done about Donald Trump’s well-reported efforts to back loyalists in local and national elections around the country with the intent of removing those who stood in the way of his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly was the most notable participant, according to CNN, though he reportedly was only in the discussion for a few minutes due to a prior commitment.
John Bowden18 January 2022 19:42
Jan 6 panel member says committee unsure about fate of Jordan, other Republicans
Rep Jamie Raskin said on Monday that the January 6 committee had yet to decide whether it would take the route of issuing congressional subpoenas to Republican lawmakers who decline voluntary requests for information from his panel.
The Maryland Democrat told MSNBC that his colleagues had not decided whether to take the step of issuing congressional subpoenas, which chairman Bennie Thompson has raised as a possibility.
“The committee has not yet decided what to do about different levels of interference and noncooperation that we have received from various witnesses,” he said on All In with Chris Hayes, guest hosted by Medhi Hasan.
“So that’s something that’s going to, you know, require us to show some tactical nimbleness,” Mr Raskin continued. “We don’t want to get pulled down into some wild goose chases. On the other hand, everybody has a responsibility to comply with congressional orders when it comes to an investigation, and nobody knows that better than Mark Meadows or Jim Jordan, people who in the Benghazi investigation or any number of other investigations against Democratic presidents, insisted upon absolute compliance.”
John Bowden18 January 2022 18:45
Two Democrats announce exit from Congress
The House on Tuesday saw another shake-up in the battle for control of the lower chamber in the fall. Two congressional Democrats, Reps Jerry McNerney of California and Jim Langevin of Rhode Island announced their plans to not seek reelection.
Their districts are both favourable territories for the Democratic Party, but are not guaranteed to return to blue hands in the fall given the exit of their incumbents and a potential lack of candidates with name recognition in their respective areas.
The Democrats currently hold an advantage of less than 20 seats in the lower chamber, meaning that they can only afford a few defeats in areas they currently control and still retain control of the House.
John Bowden18 January 2022 18:20
Trump adviser says to expect more campaigning in months ahead
An adviser to former President Donald Trump told CNN this week that the ex-president is eager to show his relevance to the GOP this midterm season.
In that regard, he’s likely to step up his campaigning efforts in the months ahead, even as he has yet to say whether he will run again in 2024.
“[W]e will see more engagement from him in the coming months,” Bryan Lanza told the network.
John Bowden18 January 2022 18:00
Raskin: Jan 6 committee will have Watergate-style hearings
Rep Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6 panel, said on Monday that he and his fellow lawmakers would be in for daily hearings throughout 2022 as the committee sought to educate the American people about what led up to the attack on the Capitol.
He made the comments to Medhi Hasan on MSNBC.
“[W]e’re going to have hearings for the American people, which I hope will seem somewhat like the Watergate hearings did, in that they will be a daily occurrence so people can follow the unfolding narrative,” said the congressman.
John Bowden18 January 2022 17:23
Roger Stone’s view on Ron DeSantis
Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo writes that longtime Trump ally and hardcore right-wing agitator Roger Stone has taken to railing against the Florida governor in private – including in the most personal of terms.
Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 17:01
Report: DeSantis-Trump tensions still on the rise
The New York Times’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman write that Donald Trump’s irritation about Ron DeSantis goes back “months” – and that the dispute is about more than a former president’s easily bruised ego:
Read the full report here.
Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 16:40