Friday May 13, 2022

Biden mocks Trump as ‘the great MAGA King’ in speech on economy

The select committee investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol has issued subpoenas to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other GOP lawmakers who are close allies of Donald Trump: Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Mo Brooks of Alabama. Each was given the opportunity to voluntarily give evidence.

And the Department of Justice is now investigating whether former President Trump or any of his aides violated federal law by mishandling classified documents that ended up at Mar-a-Lago instead of at the national archives at the end of his term.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that he prefers a “less divisive” candidate than Donald Trump for 2024, but he wants Twitter to lift its ban on the former president. “Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter,” he said on Twitter on Thursday.

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However, Mr Musk this morning signalled that he is reconsidering the deal to buy the platform while he establishes whether the company’s estimate of the number of fake and spam accounts is accurate.

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Laura Ingraham defends extreme candidate Kathy Barnette

After Sean Hannity spent a remarkable portion of his show laying into Pennsylvania candidate Kathy Barnette, his Fox News colleague Laura Ingraham followed up with a hearty defence of the surging right-wing candidate.

Ms Ingraham not only criticised Dr Mehmet Oz, who has been endorsed by Donald Trump for the seat, but hosted a guest to speak out in Ms Barnette’s favour – and warn that tearing her down could alienate Black voters whose votes the GOP currently struggles to win.

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 13:25

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Sign up to The Independent’s US Morning Headlines newsletter

As the Biden administration scrambles to punish Russia for its assault on Ukraine, Congress fights over abortion and the 6 January investigations steadily heat up, The Independent has launched a new US Morning Headlines newsletter to keep you in the know.

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 12:55

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Elon Musk’s Twitter deal “on hold”

Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk appears to be rethinking his decision to buy Twitter, if a tweet sent early this morning is anything to go by.

In his post, Mr Musk said the deal would be postponed until he could see the reasoning for the company’s claim that only a tiny proportion of accounts are fake or exist to pump out spam.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” he wrote.

The prospect of Mr Musk going back on the deal will be an unpleasant one for many right-wingers who hoped to see Donald Trump and others restored to what used to be their platform of choice.

Andrew Griffin has more.

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 12:18

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The astonishing cost of the Cyber Ninjas’ Arizona vote audit

The self-styled “Cyber Ninjas” who conducted an “audit” of Arizona’s 2020 election result reportedly spent $8.8m on their futile effort to uncover nonexistent voter fraud in the key swing state. That towering sum represents $2.1m more than the group had on hand.

More gallingly still, much of the money seems to have been spent on high fees for individual contractors, among them inventor and conspiracy theorist Jovan Pulitzer, who offered the use what he described as a technology that could detect “kinematic artifacts” – or folds in paper ballots.

The Cyber Ninjas, whose effort was mandated by Republican state senators, ultimately filed for bankruptcy last year.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 11:45

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Would you watch a ‘Maga version of Netflix’?

The pro-Trump right has for years been angry at large tech companies for supposedly censoring conservatives’ “free speech”, and since the end of the Trump presidency, its focus has widened to include the wider business world and the culture industries.

Disney is for now the top target, but also on the list are other entertainment giants who are viewed as insufficiently hospitable to hardcore right-wing thought. In the latest attempt to create a new ecosystem for that tendency, Donald Trump’s media company is recruiting for its upcoming streaming service in hopes that it will become the right wing’s answer to existing streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu.

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The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) made the announcement in an ad posted on Wednesday that described the streaming service, named TMTG+, as “a ‘Big Tent’ platform offering broad-based entertainment rooted in free speech”.

Sravasti Dasgupta has the story.

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 11:10

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Poll: Should Trump be allowed back on Twitter?

Donald Trump could soon be back on Twitter, after Elon Musk said he plans to end the former US president’s ban. And we want to know your views.

Mr Musk, who is in the process of buying the social media network, said the decision to block Trump in January 2021 was “morally bad” and “a mistake”.

We want to know what you think. Do you think Trump should be allowed to return to Twitter? Vote in the poll below and feel free to let us know what answer you chose and why in the comments.

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 10:35

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Rising “ultra-Maga” candidate challenges Hannity and Oz to debate

Kathy Barnette, the extreme right-wing Pennsylvania Senate candidate whose last-minute surge in the polls has alarmed many in the pro-Trump establishment, has pushed back on a torrent of negative coverage coming from Fox News’s Sean Hannity, who is openly supporting her rival, the Trump-backed Dr Mehmet Oz.

Ms Barnette was last night the subject of extended negative coverage on Mr Hannity’s show – and she has even been attacked by Mr Trump himself, with the ex-president declaring in a statement that she “will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats.”

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 10:00

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Fading pro-Trump candidate loses 2020 election challenge

David Perdue, the former Georgia senator who has Donald Trump’s backing in this year’s gubernatorial primary, has suffered a humiliating setback in his attempts to challenge the 2020 election outcome in the state., with a judge throwing out a lawsuit that he dismissed as a product of “speculation, conjecture and paranoia”.

Mr Perdue has failed to rise in the polls despite Mr Trump’s endorsement, and despite taking an increasingly aggressive stance in public. He has remained squarely focused on the 2020 result and the supposed illegitimacy of Joe Biden’s presidency, but Georgia’s Republican voters appear unmoved despite their support for Mr Trump.

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The lawsuit, filed alongside a Republican voter, sought a declaration from the judge that 16 former county election officials violated the Georgia constitution in their oversight of the vote.

Read more from Law & Crime below.

Andrew Naughtie13 May 2022 09:15

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Donald Trump Jr says Pompeo is ‘smart enough’ not run against his father in 2024

Donald Trump Jr has said that Mike Pompeo is smart enough not to run against the former president in 2024.

In an interview with Newsmax Mr Trump was asked if Mr Pompeo wants to run in 2024 and if this is “testing the waters on his part.”

Mr Trump responded and said that there are “a bunch of people out there who are testing the waters out there.”

“He’s a smart enough guy to probably know he shouldn’t or wouldn’t run against Donald Trump,” he added.

Sravasti Dasgupta13 May 2022 08:39

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Musk says he prefers ‘less divisive’ candidate than Trump in 2024

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that he prefers a “less divisive” candidate than Donald Trump for 2024, even though he wants Twitter to lift its ban on the former president.

“Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter,” he said on Twitter on Thursday.

Earlier on Tuesday Mr Musk had said at a Financial Times conference that Twitter’s decision to ban Mr Trump was “morally bad.”

On Thursday Mr Musk also said on Twitter that president Joe Biden beat Mr Trump in the 2020 presidential elections because “everyone just wanted less drama.”

Graeme Massie reports:

Sravasti Dasgupta13 May 2022 07:20

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