Trump calls Jan. 6 a “beautiful day” during CNN town hall

Donald Trump has whipped out what he described as “cockroaches” in Washington, DC following the publication of the Durham report.

The 300-page report — from an investigation led by Trump-appointed special counsel John Durham — accused the FBI of opening an investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government.

“THEY ARE SCUM, LIKE COCKROACHES ALL OVER WASHINGTON, DC,” the former president wrote on Truth Social in response to the findings.

At the same time, Trump’s name has appeared in a bomb trial against Rudy Giulianithe former mayor of New York and his former personal attorney.

Giuliani’s former aide Noelle Dunphy is suing Giuliani for sexual harassment while she worked for him in 2019 and 2020. Giuliani has vehemently denied the allegations.

In the lawsuit, Dunphy claims she was told that he and then-President Trump offered to sell presidential pardons for $2 million each.

She also claims she was forced to give Giuliani oral sex while he was talking to Trump.


A suspect looking for a Virginia congressman attacked two of his staffers with a baseball bat. What happened?

A Democratic congressman’s office is reeling after two staffers were attacked by a baseball bat-wielding man who was allegedly looking for the lawmaker.

Xuan Kha Tran Pham was arrested Monday for the attack at the district office of Representative Gerry Connolly in Fairfax, Virginia.

Authorities are now working to determine the suspect’s motive as the two staff members recover from non-life threatening injuries to the staff.

It is believed Mr Connolly was the intended target – while the lawmaker himself said he did not believe the motive was political.

“I have the best team in Congress,” Connolly said in a statement. “My staff at the district office make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day. The idea that someone would take advantage of my staff’s availability to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”

Here’s what we know so far:

Independent staff17 May 2023 04:30


Kari Lake heads to trial for last remaining claim in Arizona gubernatorial loss lawsuit

A judge has rejected a bid by election officials to throw out the last remaining allegation of election fraud Kari Lake2022 Republican candidate for Arizona governor, is setting up a three-day trial over the former TV anchor’s challenge of her defeat by Democrat Katie Hobbs.

In a ruling issued Monday night, Superior Court Judge Peter A. Thompson refused to throw out Lake’s claim that focused on signature verification of early voting in Maricopa County.

Thompson said Lake should have the chance to present testimony about whether Arizona’s most populous county properly verified signatures on ballot envelopes.

The trial is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

Read more:

Jacques Billeaud, AP 17 May 2023 at 04.00


Eric Trump threatens to sue Rachel Maddow

Eric Trump has reportedly threatened to sue MSNBCpp Rachel Maddow for pointing out that he will appear alongside antisemite speaker during a ReAwaken America Tour stop at Trump National Doral in Miami this weekend.

Donald Trumps younger son is scheduled to speak this weekend alongside his wife, a former Fox News contributor Lara Trumpalong with right-wing influencers Scott McKay and Charlie Ward, who have been accused of spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and glorifying Adolf Hitler, according to The Daily Beast.

Maddow noted the speaking schedule and expressed shock that one of Trump’s sons would publicly appear alongside them.

“I can’t really believe they’re going ahead with it,” she said in a Monday broadcast.

Eric Trump took to Twitter the following night to complain about the story, saying Maddow was “walking a fine line” and insisting his family is the “most pro-Israel family in American political history.”

Read more:

Graig Graziosi17 May 2023 03:30


VOTES: An assault on congressional staff shows how all too common political violence has become

Another day, another example of political violence. On Monday, a man entered the district office of Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia and allegedly assaulted two employees before he was finally arrested.

The attack is just the latest example of how normal violence against elected officials has become. The attacker allegedly wanted to find the congressman from Virginia before choosing to hit the two staffers with a metal baseball bat, according to the congressman’s office. He was eventually apprehended, but not before the two staff members were injured.

Although Connolly’s office said the injuries were not life-threatening to staff, the attack shows how political violence is no longer limited to Washington, but can spread to district offices as well.

Read more:

Erik Garcia17 May 2023 at 03.00 am


How Republicans and the Right-Wing Media Made Jordan Neely’s Killer a Hero

In his upside-down version of the parable, Florida’s Gov Ron DeSantis compared the man who fatally choked a homeless New Yorker to “good samaritan,” the biblical figure who came to the aid of a man who was stripped, beaten and left for dead by the side of the road.

According to witness accounts, Jordan Neely complained loudly of hunger and thirst when he boarded one Manhattan F train on May 1, said he didn’t care if he was jailed or killed and threw his jacket to the ground in front of a man identified as Daniel Penny grabbed him from behind and pinned him to the ground in a strangle hold for several minutes.

“We stand with good Samaritans like Daniel Penny,” Mr. DeSantis wrote Twitter after Mr Penny was formally charged with manslaughter on May 12. “Take back the streets for law abiding citizens,” he wrote.

Republican officials and right-wing media and personalities have similarly described Mr. Penny as a heroic figure, bemoaning the fact that charges were brought against him at all, and rejecting the idea that prosecutors or law enforcement should even be investigating.

Read more:

Alex WoodwardMay 17, 2023 02:30


Rudy Giuliani avoids all mention of bomb harassment lawsuit in hour-long YouTube show

During his 76-minute show, Giuliani did not once mention the allegations and continued to share his opinion on the Durham report.

Read more:

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar17 May 2023 at 02.00 am


How did the FBI react to the Durham report?

The FBI pointed out that it had long ago taken dozens of corrective actions. Had those measures been in place in 2016, it says, the errors at the center of the report could have been prevented.

It also took pains to note that the conduct in the report took place before the current director, Christopher Wray, took the job in the fall of 2017.

What happens next?

It didn’t take long for Republicans in Congress to react. Rope. Jim Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said he had invited Durham to testify on Capitol Hill next week. Trump also sought to seize on the report, saying it showed how the American public had been “deceived.”

Although the FBI says it has already taken some steps, Durham said it’s possible more reforms may be needed. One idea, he said, would be to provide additional scrutiny to politically sensitive investigations by identifying an official who would be responsible for challenging the steps taken in an investigation.

He said his team had considered but not ultimately recommended measures that would limit the FBI’s investigative powers, including its use of tools under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to intercept suspected spies or terrorists.


What did Durham find?

Durham found that the FBI acted too hastily and relied on raw and uncorroborated intelligence in launching the Trump-Russia investigation.

He said the FBI had no information about any actual contact between Trump associates and Russian intelligence officials at the time the investigation was opened.

He also argued that FBI investigators were prone to “confirmation bias,” repeatedly ignoring or rationalizing away information that could have undermined the premise of their investigation, and he noted that the FBI failed to corroborate a single material claim from a research paper that it relied on during the course of the investigation.

“An objective and honest assessment of these pieces of information should have caused the FBI to question not only the preaching of the Crossfire Hurricane, but also to reflect on whether the FBI was being manipulated for political or other purposes,” the report said. The FBI’s code name for the Trump-Russia investigation. “Unfortunately, it didn’t.”


What criminal cases did Durham bring and what were the results?

Durham brought three prosecutions during his tenure, but only one resulted in a conviction — and that was for a case referred to him by the Justice Department’s inspector general. None of the three overturned core Mueller findings that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election in sweeping fashion and that the Trump campaign had welcomed, rather than discouraged, the help.

A former FBI attorney, Kevin Clinesmith, pleaded guilty in 2020 to altering an email related to the surveillance of an ex-Trump campaign aide. He received probation.

But two other cases, both involving alleged false statements to the FBI, resulted in jury acquittals.

Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign, was found not guilty of lying to the FBI during a meeting where he presented computer information he wanted the FBI to investigate. Another jury acquitted Igor Danchenko, a Russian-American analyst, of charges that he lied to the FBI about his role in creating a discredited dossier on Trump.


Were there problems with the Russia investigation?

Yes, and a general investigation by the Department of Justice’s inspector general has already identified many.

The Watchdog report found that FBI requests to wiretap a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page, contained significant errors and omitted information that likely would have weakened or undermined the request’s premise.

The cumulative effect of those errors, the report said, was to make it “appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”

Still, the inspector general found no evidence that investigators acted with political bias and said there was a legitimate basis to launch a full investigation into potential collusion, though Durham disagrees.