As it happenedended1648990745

Trump news: Biden has privately said ex-president should be prosecuted, says report

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Trump calls for Putin to release dirt on the Biden family

Joe Biden has said privately that he believes Donald Trump should be prosecuted over the 6 January attack on the US Capitol, according to a report.

Mr Biden told members of his inner circle late last year that the one-term president was a threat to democracy and action against him should be taken, according to The New York Times.

Donald Trump’s son-in-law and former White House adviser Jared Kushner has appeared virtually before the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot. His testimony is said to have been “really valuable”.

The meeting comes as White House records turned over to the committee by the National Archives and Records Administration do not include any calls made or received by Mr Trump through the White House switchboard for eight hours that day. The panel is now probing whether Mr Trump or his advisers used untraceable “burner phones” to evade official record-keeping systems.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s bespoke social media platform Truth Social is reportedly in poor shape, with downloads falling by 93 per cent and user engagement low. The platform has been promoted as a censorship-free environment where his supporters can consort with each other free from sanctions imposed by of “big tech”, but the president has yet to post on it and is said to have complained about its problems to his advisers.

In other news, the former president has invited controversial Congressman Madison Cawthorn to speak at his upcoming rally in the representative’s home state of North Carolina, despite his recent admonishment by party leadership over comments about cocaine and orgies.

Finally, Mr Trump may face a day in court thanks to reggae singer Eddy Grant as the discovery phase of a copyright infringement lawsuit is extended. The former president has failed to get the case dismissed.

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Cawthorn to speak at Trump rally in North Carolina

In case you were wondering where Donald Trump stood on the series of scandals surrounding Congressman Madison Cawthorn, he’s invited him to speak at a rally in Salem, North Carolina, on 9 April.

Eric Garcia reports.

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New footage shows MAGA activist Ginni Thomas ‘exposing’ self-help cult in the 1980s

Newly unearthed footage shows controversial MAGA activist Ginni Thomas denouncing a “cult” that she escaped from in the 1980s.

Ms Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, says she wants to “expose Lifespring”, a long-defunct self-help group, in a video posted to Twitter by cult expert Steven Hassan.

Former members of Lifespring say the for-profit self-awareness organisation employed “deceptive and indirect techniques of persuasion and control”.

Bevan Hurley reports.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene promises a federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill

Speaking yesterday to notoriously extreme and erratic right-wing opinionator Alex Jones, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene promised to start working on a federal version of Florida’s highly controversial “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.

This is not surprising stuff coming from Ms Greene. As Josh Marcus reports:

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ICYMI: Donald Trump claims he was never attracted to Stormy Daniels

Amid an outcry over his invitation to Vladimir Putin to damage the Biden family and the consternation over the empty White House phone logs from 6 January, Donald Trump has chosen another target to lash out at: adult film star Stormy Daniels, whom he is alleged to have had a sexual relationship with and then paid off before the 2016 election.

Carping over her refusal to pay legal fees owed to him after she lost a defamation lawsuit, Mr Trump wrote in a statement that the story of their relationship is untrue.

“This entire case has been nothing but a disaster for Ms Clifford and her lawyer Michael Avenatti, from the start,” the ex-president wrote, “a total waste of court time and resources. Ending up with her owing me a large and growing amount in attorney fees that never needed to have been spent, especially since as I have stated many times, I never had an affair with her – nor would I have ever wanted to (even in her wildest imagination!).”

Johanna Chisholm reports:

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Truth Social’s problems prey on Trump’s mind

The cackhanded launch of Truth Social has been followed by a steep decline in the app’s performance, with downloads apparently collapsing in the last month as the president declines to post on his own bespoke social media platform.

Reports say that its underperformance and the negative coverage of its launch have gotten under the president’s skin, and he has notably put no public effort into promoting or defending it since it went live.

Read more:

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House Republicans reject cap on price of insulin

The House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month, a move that will make a dramatic difference to Americans whose lives depend on access to the medication. More than 37 million Americans live with diabetes of one type or another, and a quarter of them

The majority of House Republicans, however, took a dim view of the measure, with only a dozen joining Democrats to vote it through.

For more on why, see below:

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Analysis: What Madison Cawthorn “coke orgies” saga says about the GOP

As the Republican Party turns on Madison Cawthorn over his bizarre claims that he has been offered cocaine and invited to orgies by other members of Congress, The Independent’s Eric Garcia has penned this analysis of the affair – and what it says about the future of the congressional GOP.

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More Jan 6 defendants added to civil suit in DC

Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine has announced that his team are adding new defendants to a civil lawsuit brought by the city against extremist groups allegedly involved in the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol. He promises to “bankrupt” the groups in question, many of whose members have already been arrested and/or indicted in connection with the riot.

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Analysis: How Mitt Romney became the most useful Republican senator

Of all the Republicans in the Senate, none has been a thorn in Donald Trump’s side like Mitt Romney – but despite his sometimes iconoclastic behaviour relative to his party, the relatively moderate Utah senator and former GOP presidential nominee has now become a crucial go-between on major legislation to get money allocated for the Covid-19 response.

Here, Eric Garcia explains how Mr Romney became so relevant again.

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ICYMI: Jared Kushner’s testimony welcomed by Jan 6 committee

The select committee investigating the 6 January riot at the US Capitol yesterday sat for six hours for a virtual session with Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner – and according to Congresswoman Elaine Luria, one of the panel’s members, their conversation was positive and helpful:

“You know, what I’ll say is that, you know, we were able to ask for his impression about these third party accounts of the events that happened that day and around that day. So he was able to voluntarily provide information to us, to verify, substantiate, provide his own, you know, take on this different reporting. So it was really valuable for us to have the opportunity to speak to him,” Ms Luria said.

“I think that the committee really appreciates hearing information directly from people who have relevant facts about January 6, and the fact that Jared Kushner came as a witness is helpful to building the story of our investigation,” she added.

Johanna Chisholm reports.

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