Merrick Garland appoints special counsel to oversee Trump investigations
Having sought for years to shield his tax returns from being released, Donald Trump has finally lost his battle to block Democratic-led House committees from obtaining the records, setting up a sprint by investigators with Democratic lawmakers to review them before the next Congress is sworn in.
“Why would anybody be surprised that the Supreme Court has ruled against me, they always do!” he ranted on Truth Social, complaining that “The Supreme Court has lost its honor, prestige, and standing, & has become nothing more than a political body, with our Country paying the price.” Three of the court’s nine current justices were appointed by him; none dissented from the latest decision.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in New York are awaiting a verdict in the tax fraud trial against the Trump Organization after resting their case on Monday following just two witnesses taking the stand.
And in Washington, Dr Anthony Fauci, the Trump Covid response team member-turned top target of the Maga right, gave his final White House press conference on Tuesday as he prepares to retire after more than five decades of government service. He remains a hate figure for many on the Trump-aligned right.
Kanye West ‘visits Mar-a-Lago’
Kanye West, aka Ye, was recently readmitted to Twitter by Elon Musk after all but removing himself from public acceptance with a threat to go “death con 3” on Jewish people. And he is now using his account to boast of his long-running affinity with Donald Trump:
Mr West’s erratic behaviour in recent years makes it hard to know what if anything in this tweet is truth, parody, or invention.
Andrew Naughtie23 November 2022 14:00
Former anti-abortion activist claims Supreme Court justice leaked landmark 2014 decision to influential donors
The Supreme Court’s conservatives are under fire yet again — this time with a second accusation involving one of their members supposedly leaking a decision before it was announced publicly.
Evangelical minister Rob Schenck, once a prominent anti-abortion leader in Washington DC, claims in a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts that he was informed of the high court’s ruling in Burwell v Hobby Lobby, which marked a significant victory for Christian conservative groups.
But Justice Samuel Alito, the member of the Court accused of leaking the decision, is already denying it, claiming that he never detected any effort by Mr Schenck to either influence decisions or “extract” them from the court.
Read more about the latest scandal enveloping the embattled Court’s conservative majority:
Andrew Naughtie23 November 2022 13:30
Trump rants about Supreme Court loss
Donald Trump reliably flies off the handle on Truth Social whenever he suffers a legal setback, and so it went after the Supreme Court yesterday sided with Congress in his effort to keep his tax returns secret. Not only did he go after the court on that, but he also threw in a callback to the court’s rejection of a case challenging the results of the 2020 election, where it was decided that the group of states bringing the case had no standing to do so.
Andrew Naughtie23 November 2022 13:00
Mike Pence backed away from anti-LGBT figures before five killed in Colorado shooting
Former vice president Mike Pence appeared to take a step back from his party’s hard-right wing stand in an interview that was taped just days before the deadly attack at a gay nightclub that has been blamed on a rising tide of anti-LGBT hate.
His pivot occurred during an interview with CBS’s Margaret Brennan; it’s since been reported that Mr Pence is actively staffing up in anticipation of a 2024 bid for the White House.
The former vice president and longtime conservative seemed to back away from the rhetoric that has been embraced by many far-right commentators such as Matt Walsh, Chris Rufo, and Tucker Carlson seeking to link LGBT Americans to pedophilia in prescient remarks that took place just days before the Colorado Springs shooting.
Read more in The Independent from John Bowden:
John Bowden23 November 2022 12:31
Jury begins deliberating in Oath Keepers sedition trial
A jury has begun deliberating in the trial of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four associates, who are charged with seditious conspiracy — the most serious charge to emerge from January 6 and the attack on the Capitol thus far.
If convicted, the members of the right-wing militia will face up to 20 years in prison.
Read more about this high-profile case that could have serious implications for the Justice Department’s January 6 prosecutions going forward:
Jury begins deliberating in Oath Keepers sedition trial
Jurors have started deliberating in the Capitol riot case accusing Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four associates of a violent plot to stop the transfer of presidential power from Republican Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden
Andrew Naughtie23 November 2022 12:00
Supreme Court sides with Congress in Trump taxes case
Donald Trump has finally lost his battle to block Democratic-led House committees from obtaining his tax returns, setting up a dead sprint by investigators with Democratic lawmakers to review them before the next Congress is sworn in.
The president had sought for years to shield his tax returns from being released to the House Ways and Means Committee, but on Tuesday saw a final defeat ironically at the hands of the conservative majority that he himself installed on the nation’s highest court.
The victory for House members on Tuesday means that Democratic lawmakers will have the rest of November and December to issue reports based on the findings from the tax returns before control of the committee is turned over to Republicans in January. Democrats will still be able to release reports beyond that date, but will lack the power of the committee to pursue further documents or other evidence.
Andrew Naughtie23 November 2022 11:30
Appeals panel appears inclined to toss out Trump special master order
Donald Trump could be on the verge of a major defeat in his lawsuit against the Justice Department, filed in response to the search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago.
A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals appears poised to toss out a district judge’s order blocking the Department of Justice from using documents seized during the 8 August search of former president Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida home and office.
John Bowden23 November 2022 10:30
Fauci gives ‘final message’ to Americans in last public briefing after 54 years of service
Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House Covid response coordinator appointed by Donald Trump and later turned into an object of villainy by the conservative right, gave his last press conference as NIAID director on Tuesday.
Speaking to Americans in the role for the last time, he urged listeners to get vaccinated and keep taking common sense preventative measures against the Covid virus — even as fewer and fewer Americans are masking up and practicing social distancing.
At one point, the briefing was disrupted by a right-wing reporter who demanded time to ask questions about the virus’s origin.
John Bowden23 November 2022 09:31
Trump posts bizarre video manipulating famous movie scenes into fans fawning over him
Former President Donald Trump regularly “re-truths” posts that sing his praises, but one of his most recent posts includes an edited video featuring a bizarre mashup of scenes from movies in which characters watch in rapturous glee as the former president gives speeches and brags about himself.
As the video rolls, scenes from films including Napoleon Dynamite, Forrest Gump, Gremlins, Kill Bill, Fargo, Ed Wood and more play out, showing characters gathering to watch Mr Trump boast about himself during campaign speeches and more “candid” public meet-and-greets.
Watch the strange video and read more about Mr Trump’s latest attempt to seek the praise of his followers in The Independent:
John Bowden23 November 2022 08:30
Conservatives complain about Trump special counsel wife’s links to Michelle Obama
Donald Trump and his inner circle are up in arms over the appointment of Jack Smith, a career Justice Department prosecutor, to the role of special counsel determining whether the ex-president will face criminal charges.
A target for their ire is Mr Smith’s wife, who was discovered to have been a Democratic donor in 2020 and previously worked on a documentary based on a memoir from Michelle Obama.
Some say the issue parallels the left’s outrage over Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and her role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election before her husband would rule on cases involving the White House and January 6.
Read more in The Independent:
John Bowden23 November 2022 07:30