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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Jan 6 committee hearings latest: Trump defends ‘perfect’ phone calls pressuring Georgia officials to overturn election

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Biden jokes ‘unfortunately that’s probably Trump calling me’ as phone goes off during speec

Donald Trump has taken to Truth Social to defend his campaign to pressure Georgia state officials into overturning the 2020 election, insisting that his phonecalls to them were “perfect” – this as he faces a grand jury investigation into his actions by the district attorney in Fulton County.

Mr Trump has also expressed worries that the Jan 6 select committee may be gaining access to “inner secrets” of the government, and referred to his former White House counsel Pat Cipollone – who will be testifying privately tomorrow – as a “lawyer acting for the Country” that “may some day be brought before a partisan and openly hostile Committee in Congress, or even a fair and reasonable Committee, to reveal the inner secrets of foreign policy or other important matters. So bad for the USA!”

Mr Cipollone, who has emerged as a key witness into the activities of Mr Trump and his allies, has been under pressure to speak to the panel for some time. and his recollections are expected to provide crucial insight into the former president’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election.


Fox & Friends mocked over criticism of Boris Johnson for being dishonest, mishandling Covid and refusing to leave office… after years of support for Trump

The hosts of Fox & Friends have been mocked for criticizing Boris Johnson for being dishonest and refusing to resign after the programme spent years supporting former President Donald Trump.

Gustaf Kilander reports on the comical moment.


Bannon tears into Rogan over Trump criticism

Far-right agitator and former Trump lieutenant Steve Bannon has come out raging against Joe Rogan after the controversial podcaster condemned the former president as an “existential threat” to democracy in the US.

Mr Rogan, whose enormously popular show has hosted multiple controversial guests espousing extreme views and spouting baseless and – critics say – harmful misinformation, said earlier this week that he had turned down Donald Trump as a guest many times.

“I’m not a Trump supporter in any way, shape or form,” he said on the Lex Fridman Podcast. “I’ve had the opportunity to have him on my show more than once. I’ve said no, every time. I don’t want to help him. I’m not interested in helping him.”

Mr Bannon – who is facing trial on contempt of Congress charges – was disdainful.


Georgia’s Trump-backed Senate nominee lied to staff about secret children

Herschel Walker, the often erratic GOP nominee in Georgia’s all-important Senate race, has long been dogged by stories of a messy and at even violent personal life, some of which he has confirmed. Now, the Daily Beast reports that not only did he conceal the existence of two of his own children from the press, but that he lied to his own campaign staff about how many children he has.


Analysis: What to know about DeSantis 2024

Eric Garcia writes from Washington on developments in the pre-game phase of the 2024 Republican presidential primary – and specifically the growing speculation about what a campaign by popular Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The Florida governor has become the conservative golden boy in the past two years by virtue of his lax approach to combating the Covid-19 pandemic and his tough-guy posturing, as well as some significant policy wins for conservatives.

He now seems to be attracting attention not just from Republicans, but from Democrats too. California Governor Gavin Newsom, whose profile has risen ever since he beat back a conservative-backed recall last year, put out an ad over the holiday weekend bashing DeSantis and urging people who don’t like him to come to California.

All of this means that DeSantis’s stock has risen. But it’s not guaranteed he can win.

Read his full analysis below.


Fox & Friends lambasts Boris Johnson for Trumpian behaviour

The hosts of Fox & Friends have weighed in on the defenestration of Boris Johnson – criticizing him for all manner of improprieties and missteps that bring to mind a certain president of whom they’re generally quite fond…


Trump rises to defend Georgia election pressure campaign

Donald Trump is awake and truthing on his bespoke “free speech” platform, Truth Social. First on his list of grievances today is the ongoing investigation into his and his allies’ efforts to pressure officials in Georgia into invalidating Joe Biden’s 2020 victory there based on false claims and conspiracy theories.

The calls in question, which he still claims were “perfect” and legal, are now the subject of a grand jury investigation in Fulton County.

(Truth Social)

(Truth Social)


Analysis: Why Sarah Matthews’s testimony matters so much

Andrew Feinberg takes a look at the implications of this week’s news that another Trump administration aide, former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, will be testifying to the Jan 6 committee in a televised hearing.

He writes that Ms Matthews is another example of a particularly important breed of Washington insider whose insight can be devastating to former bosses under scrutiny:

If you look at photos of White House meetings, there’s always an outer ring of chairs populated by people who staff the decision-makers — or the principals — seated around the table. People with titles such as Special Assistant and Deputy Assistant and Assistant this-or-that will often circulate between offices while making arrangements and relaying messages between the bold-faced names they serve.

Yet those principals often forget that the young staffers – often no older than their mid-20s – are in the room. The twentysomethings who keep Washington running are often invisible to all but a select few (usually reporters) who know to pay attention.

Read the full piece below.


Another Jan 6 defendant cites hearings in jury challenge

In a new court filing, one of the scores of alleged 6 January rioters has claimed that the select committee investigating the Capitol attack has “poisoned the jury pool” by broadcasting its hearings, essentially making it impossible for him to get a fair trial.

Robert Morss, a Pennsylvania resident who has been refused pre-trial release, is facing trial alongside eight others accused of acting together to assault police officers trying to protect Congress from being stormed by the mob of Trump supporters who arrived to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.


Missouri GOP candidate doubles down on violent imagery as primary nears

Eric Greitens is still running for the Republican nomination in the Missouri Senate despite horrific allegations of domestic abuse – and rather than smoothing over his image as a volatile man, he has upped the ante in his recent ads, with one video showing him storming a house alongside armed shock troops in search of “RINOs” to kill.

Another ad shows him stalking through a field with a rifle, wearing a maniacally fixed smile as camouflaged figures rise out of the grass behind him.

These videos are drawing increasing alarm as the primary draws near and Mr Greitens seeks Donald Trump’s potentially decisive endorsement. One former friend of the candidate has now put out a video of his own calling on Mr Greitens to de-escalate his increasingly violent campaign.


Watch: Liz Cheney’s direct appeal to Pat Cipollone

At the last 6 January hearing, which featured the devastating testimony of former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, Liz Cheney delievered a wrap-up statement in which she directly appealed to ex-White House counsel Pat Cipollone to break his silence and talk to her panel.

In her address, Ms Cheney acknowledged that former Trump administration officials of all ranks are under intense pressure not to testify, Mr Cipollone among them. But since Ms Hutchinson testified and with the public pressure on him mounting, Mr Cipollone has since agreed to talk – albeit in private.


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