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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Activists arrested in the Senate as voting rights fight escalates
Activists including a former CEO of the NAACP and two founding board members of the Women’s March were arrested at the US Senate on Tuesday as protests and backlash escalate in response to the growing unlikelihood that Democrats will pass voter rights legislation.
A press release indicated that the arrests included members of activist groups leading hunger strikes that began in the home state of Sen Kyrsten Sinema, one of two Democratic holdouts to changes to the filibuster that would allow the legislation to pass.
“We are coming together to honor the tradition of John Lewis and engage in good trouble to redeem the soul of this nation and protect our democracy,” said Rev Stephen Green, one of those arrested. “Now is the time for the Senate to go on record and vote to determine whether or not this country will choose fascism or choose democracy.”
Others arrested included two co-founders of Black Voters Matter, an advocacy group that focuses on voter registration efforts in Black communities.
John Bowden18 January 2022 22:00
Jan 6 committee member hesitates on whether panel will subpoena members of Congress
A member of the January 6 committee’s Democratic majority was hesitant to say that the panel will move to subpoena members of Congress such as Rep Jim Jordan if they, like Mr Jordan, refuse voluntary requests for information from the panel.
The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Rep Adama Schiff indicated that his colleagues “would probably not pursue criminal contempt of Congress proceedings with recalcitrant lawmakers as it did with Trump’s former aides Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon” during comments made on MSNBC
Some Democrats have publicly fretted that utilising the congressional power of subpoena against Republicans would result in the GOP launching retaliatory investigations should they return to power in the House.
John Bowden18 January 2022 21:46
Riot committee target appears at Trump rally
Ali Alexander, a right-wing provocateur and activist who organised a “Stop the Steal” rally outside the US Capitol on January 6, was in attendance at Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona on Saturday.
CNN first reported Mr Alexander’s attendance; the Trump loyalist is one of many who have been subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating January 6. The committee is particularly interested in whether Mr Alexander or other organisers, and potentially the White House, knew that violence was likely to occur before the attack began.
John Bowden18 January 2022 21:00
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
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