World

The far right conspiracy

Tommy Robinson asked wealthy US backers to help him claim asylum

The anti-immigration activist Tommy Robinson asked wealthy American backers to help him claim asylum in the US, the Guardian has learned, while his team approached the Republican senator Ted Cruz’s office about securing a visa. Court documents released in the US show the English Defence League founder discussed moving his family to Texas in 2019, where he would earn money by speaking at venues “including evangelical churches”.

"On the House"

John Boehner finally calls it as he sees it

Ted Cruz is a “reckless asshole” and Michele Bachmann a “lunatic.” Conservative pundits like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are residents of “Looneyville.” And Donald Trump, pushing a “bullshit” lie that the election was stolen, incited the “bloody insurrection” on Jan. 6 “for nothing more than selfish reasons.”

Betsy DeVos

Watchdog says DeVos made nine figures in outside income during Trump years

Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos earned an estimated nine figures in outside income while serving in the Trump administration, according to a Washington, D.C., watchdog. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) states in a report released Tuesday that DeVos made at least $225 million and possibly more than $414 million in outside income while she worked as Education secretary.

New York governor

Cuomo hasn't resigned because he still has support from Democratic voters

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting to stay in office. He's resisting calls from several Democrats to resign after multiple women have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment. While Cuomo may eventually be impeached and removed from office, he's unlikely to step down if his poll numbers continue to look anything like they do now.

Republican Party

Trump seeks personal political brand as he grips Republican base

Days after being acquitted in his second impeachment trial last month, Donald Trump issued a statement lashing out against one of the very Republican senators who made that acquittal possible. “The Republican party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Senator Mitch McConnell at its helm,” the former president said in a statement, after the Republican leader criticized him for inciting the 6 January insurrection at the Capitol. Trump added: “Mitch is a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”

Q unmasked

QAnon's mysterious leader Q is named as Ron Watkins, the son of 8Chan owner

Into The Storm is airing on HBO Max on March 21. Its filmmakers name Watkins, the son of 8Chan founder Jim Watkins, as Q, the head of the right-wing, pro-Trump conspiracy theory group. Ron Watkins is interviewed as part of the series as his father and other members of the group. It's unclear why filmmaker Cullen Hoback thinks he is Q. Holback says he spent three years studying the right-wing group. Ron is the administrator of 8Chan (now known as 8Kun), an online message board where QAnon sprouted roots in 2017 and gained followers. It exploded in the final months of Donald Trump's presidency, bolstered by the unproven theory that widespread voter fraud won the election for Biden.

Washington Post

Correction to report on Trump call with Georgia elections investigator

The Washington Post has added a lengthy correction to a bombshell report from early January that had said then-President Trump told Georgia's top elections investigator during a phone call to "find the fraud" and that they would be "a national hero" if they did so.

Border

Biden struggles to unravel web of Trump immigration rules

President Biden is finding it increasingly difficult to unwind his predecessor’s immigration regulations as the administration grapples with a surge of migrants at the southern border. Trump officials put in place some 1,000 different immigration measures, according to figures compiled by the Immigration Policy Tracking Project, creating a complex and lengthy process for an administration that is seeking to turn the page on the Trump era.

Alex Jones

Infowar chief threatened Trump rally planner to throw her off stage

Police in Washington, DC, are investigating an allegation that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones threatened to push a pro-Trump political organizer off of an event stage in December, according to people familiar with the incident. The allegation was filed with DC police by Kylie Jane Kremer, executive director of the organization Women for America First, a group that helped organize a series of post-election rallies, including one in a park south of the White House that preceded the Capitol riot on January 6. Kremer told police that on December 11 someone "threatened to shove her off the stage at her event" scheduled for the following day, according to a police incident report.

Republicans

Rick Scott to meet with Trump at Mar-a-Lago

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is set to meet with former President Donald Trump at his private club in Palm Beach, Fla. this week as top GOP officials scramble to defuse tensions with the former president.

GAB

Hack gives unprecedented look into platform used by far right and QAnon

A data breach at the fringe social media site Gab has offered a picture of the user base and inner workings of a platform that has been opaque about its operation. The breach allowed hackers to extract Gab databases that appear to show user accounts and a history of public posts and direct messages. The user lists appear to mark 500 accounts, including neo-Nazis, QAnon influencers, cryptocurrency advocates and conspiracy theorists, as investors. They also appear to give an overview of verified users of the platform, including prominent rightwing commentators and activists. And they mark hundreds of active users on the site as “automated”, appearing to indicate administrators knew the accounts were bots.

Merrick Garland

Confirmed as attorney general, turning page on Trump era

Merrick Garland has been confirmed as America’s top law enforcement officer, a boost for Joe Biden’s drive against racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Garland’s rise to attorney general, approved 70-30 by the US Senate in a strongly bipartisan vote, turns the page on former president Donald Trump’s harsh “law and order” rhetoric and efforts to bend the justice department to his will.

Josh Hawley

The villain, and America is the victim

As time goes on, Donald Trump’s future is coming to resemble the life cycle of the apocryphal Hollywood starlet. It starts with a producer calling out “Get me Donald Trump,” proceeds to “get me a Donald Trump,” and ends with “Who’s Donald Trump?”

Eric Swalwell

Donald Trump faces new lawsuit alleging incitement of Capitol riot

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D. Calif.) on Friday sued former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.) on allegations they conspired to incite the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Whistleblower

Trump administration referred a record number of leaks for criminal investigation

The Trump administration referred a record number of classified leaks for criminal investigation, totaling at least 334, according to a Justice Department document obtained by The Intercept under the Freedom of Information Act. While leak investigations had already been on the rise under the Obama administration, which prosecuted more than twice as many leakers under the World War I-era Espionage Act as all previous administrations combined, that number still rose sharply under the Trump administration.

White Supremacists

What is the 150-year-old Ku Klux Klan Act that is being used against Trump?

In the wake of the Civil War, the Enforcement Act of 1871 gave presidents the power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to protect the voting rights of Black Americans, which were under threat from the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and other white supremacy organizations. Now, one former president stands accused of violating it.

Investigative

Steve Bannon believed Donald Trump had early stage dementia, TV producer claims

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon thought Donald Trump was suffering from early-stage dementia and campaigned covertly to remove him from office via the 25th amendment, according to a veteran TV producer. Ira Rosen, the author of a new memoir about his work for CBS, Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes, was speaking to Skullduggery, a podcast from Yahoo News. Rosen told hosts Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman his book was “not a dish on this person or that person”, then gave listeners a taste of the dish inside.

'The moral centre'

How Jamie Raskin dominated the stage at Trump's trial

Jamie Raskin had finished a face-to-face interview with the Guardian and was on his way home. It was late on Saturday night in October 2018. But then he thought of a point he hadn’t made and, ever fastidious, restarted the conversation by phone. “Straight white men are already a minority in the Democratic caucus but when the big blue wave hits, we’re going to be moving much closer to parity in terms of women and men, at least on the House side,” he said, a prediction that came true a month later in the midterm elections.

President Joe Biden

Donald Trump left behind a clemency mess

When Joe Biden took office, he inherited the largest backlog of unresolved clemency cases in U.S. history: 14,000 people waiting to find out if their convictions would be erased or sentences reduced, or if they’d get any answer at all. Many of those 14,000 have languished in the system for years after Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, largely bypassed the century-old process for reviewing cases and instead granted pardons based on advice from politically connected friends, high-priced lobbyists and TV celebrities.

Impeachment

Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden family, new transcript reveals

A new transcript has surfaced of the former Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, putting pressure on the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into the Biden family. The transcript of a 40-minute call between Giuliani and two Ukrainian officials, was obtained by Time magazine, and served as a reminder of Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, even as his second is under way in the Senate. The trigger for the first impeachment was a call Trump made to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which he hinted US military aid might depend on Zelenskiy’s willingness to “do us a favor” .

Smartmatic

Lou Dobbs, and the most problematic claims Trump allies made about voting machines

Lou Dobbs is out at Fox Business, just a day after the voting machine company Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against him, the cable news network and several purveyors of the debunked theory that its technology was used to commit massive voter fraud. The ouster of Dobbs, who was Fox Business’s top-rated host, is merely the latest evidence of the very real impact of the legal threats from Smartmatic and another voting machine company, Dominion.

Republicans

House Republicans vote to keep Liz Cheney in leadership 145 - 61

Democrats plan a House vote Thursday to strip GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments, after the top House Republican condemned her past comments embracing conspiracy theories and political violence but signaled he wouldn’t remove her from the panels. The intensifying fight over the freshman Georgia representative converged with an unsuccessful effort by Republicans to topple House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. A motion to oust her was defeated 145-61 in Ms. Cheney’s favor.

Shortnews

Dan Crenshaw

Texas Republican will be temporarily blind

Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be "effectively blind" for about a month and “off the grid” for the coming weeks after emergency eye surgery, the Texas Republican announced Saturday. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, lost an eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan, which also caused “extensive damage” to his other retina. Within the past few days, Crenshaw said he had begun to experience “dark, blurry spots” that were affecting his sight, after which he went Thursday to an ophthalmologist, where he learned that his retina was in the process of detaching. Crenshaw said the news was “terrifying” and the prognosis “very bad.”

Read More
Dan Crenshaw

Texas Republican will be temporarily blind

Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be "effectively blind" for about a month and “off the grid” for the coming weeks after emergency eye surgery, the Texas Republican announced Saturday. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, lost an eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan, which also caused “extensive damage” to his other retina. Within the past few days, Crenshaw said he had begun to experience “dark, blurry spots” that were affecting his sight, after which he went Thursday to an ophthalmologist, where he learned that his retina was in the process of detaching. Crenshaw said the news was “terrifying” and the prognosis “very bad.”

“Anyone who knows the history of my injuries knows that I don’t have a ‘good eye,’ but half a good eye,” Crenshaw said in a statement. “It was always a possibility that the effects of the damage to my retina would resurface, and it appears that is exactly what has happened.”

Crenshaw said he’ll be resting face-down for about a week, unable to see anything, after getting a “gas bubble” put in place to serve as a “bandage” for the retina in emergency surgery Friday at a VA clinic in Houston.

Crenshaw won’t be doing any interviews or posting on social media, he said, save for health updates. His offices will still be working.

“I have gotten through worse before, and I will get through this,” Crenshaw added.

Hillary Clinton

Supreme Court rebuffs bid for deposition about emails

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a bid by a right-wing government watchdog group to require former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to face a deposition over her use of personal email while she served as secretary of State. In an unsigned order issued without comment, the justices declined an appeal from Judicial Watch that followed a ruling last August by a federal appeals court panel which said Clinton could not be compelled to sit for a deposition.

Read More
Hillary Clinton

Supreme Court rebuffs bid for deposition about emails

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a bid by a right-wing government watchdog group to require former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to face a deposition over her use of personal email while she served as secretary of State. In an unsigned order issued without comment, the justices declined an appeal from Judicial Watch that followed a ruling last August by a federal appeals court panel which said Clinton could not be compelled to sit for a deposition.

Judicial Watch had sought to depose Clinton and aide Cheryl Mills over Clinton’s use of a personal email server in connection to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Clinton’s emails were subject to numerous investigations including by the FBI, which declined to charge her with violating federal records-keeping requirements or other crimes.

The issue of Clinton’s emails figured as a major political issue in her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign against former President Trump.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement in response to the court's move.

"Hillary Clinton ignored the law but received special protection from both the courts and law enforcement," he said. "For countless Americans, this double standard of justice has destroyed confidence in the fair administration of justice."

Donald Trump

Capitol rioters posed 'zero threat'

Donald Trump has defended some of his supporters who rioted at the US Capitol on 6 January, saying they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the electoral college vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump complained to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that law enforcement was “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, while “nothing happens” to leftwing protesters. Five people, including a police officer, died in the riot.

Read More
Donald Trump

Capitol rioters posed 'zero threat'

Donald Trump has defended some of his supporters who rioted at the US Capitol on 6 January, saying they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the electoral college vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump complained to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that law enforcement was “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, while “nothing happens” to leftwing protesters. Five people, including a police officer, died in the riot.

Trump acknowledged that those who stormed the Capitol “went in and they shouldn’t have done it”. But he added: “Some of them went in and they’re, they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in and they walked out.”

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot. Authorities have said they believe at least 100 more could face charges.

The attack followed a fiery Trump rally outside the White House in which he urged a group of his supporters to “fight like hell” for him at the Capitol. A week later, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time, but the Senate eventually acquitted him of inciting the attack.

During the interview on Fox News, Trump also criticised Dr Anthony Fauci, the US infectious disease expert. “I frankly didn’t listen to him too much,” he said.

Fauci was one of Trump’s key advisers at the start of the pandemic, but later fell out with the former president over the handling of the crisis. In January Fauci described the “liberating feeling” of being able to speak scientific truth about the coronavirus without fear of “repercussions” from Trump.

Tom Reed

New York Republican accused of sexual misconduct won’t seek re-election

Tom Reed, a Republican congressman from western New York who was accused last week of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday and announced he will not run for re-election next year. Reed, 49, said the incident involving Nicolette Davis occurred “at a time in my life in which I was struggling”. He said he entered treatment that year as he was “powerless over alcohol”. Reed apologized to his wife and children and to Davis and said he planned “to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions”.

Intelligence Report

Russia targeted Trump allies to hurt Biden in 2020 election, US officials say

Russia tried to influence the 2020 US presidential election by proliferating “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” largely against Joe Biden and through allies of Donald Trump, US intelligence officials said on Tuesday. The assessment was contained in a 15-page report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It underscored allegations that Trump’s allies played into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims against Biden by Ukrainian figures with links to Russia. In a statement, the Democratic House intelligence chair, Adam Schiff, said: “Through proxies, Russia ran a successful intelligence operation that penetrated [Trump’s] inner circle.