Trump news – live: Allies turn on DeSantis amid rift, as Capitol riot probe to hold ‘Watergate’ hearings

Trump holds rally in Florence, AZ

Donald Trump is catching flak for deploying a modified version of an official government seal in an announcement about a new golf course. Beyond questions of taste, the announcement – sent out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – was met with questions about whether Mr Trump is using taxpayers’ money officially granted to him as a former president to promote his private business interests.

As speculation about a rift between Mr Trump and Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to grow, aides to the former president have blamed the story not just on the media but on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Their rationale, as issued via anonymous quotes, is that Mr DeSantis fuelled the latest stories by criticizing Mr Trump’s lockdown policies on a podcast run by a former McConnell adviser.

Mr McConnell’s office has so far declined to comment on the story, though it is commonly agreed that he and the former president have been at daggers drawn since the 6 January insurrection last year.

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Trump adviser says to expect more campaigning in months ahead

An adviser to former President Donald Trump told CNN this week that the ex-president is eager to show his relevance to the GOP this midterm season.

In that regard, he’s likely to step up his campaigning efforts in the months ahead, even as he has yet to say whether he will run again in 2024.

John Bowden18 January 2022 18:00


Raskin: Jan 6 committee will have Watergate-style hearings

Rep Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6 panel, said on Monday that he and his fellow lawmakers would be in for daily hearings throughout 2022 as the committee sought to educate the American people about what led up to the attack on the Capitol.

He made the comments to Medhi Hasan on MSNBC.

“[W]e’re going to have hearings for the American people, which I hope will seem somewhat like the Watergate hearings did, in that they will be a daily occurrence so people can follow the unfolding narrative,” said the congressman.

John Bowden18 January 2022 17:23


Roger Stone’s view on Ron DeSantis

Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo writes that longtime Trump ally and hardcore right-wing agitator Roger Stone has taken to railing against the Florida governor in private – including in the most personal of terms.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 17:01


Report: DeSantis-Trump tensions still on the rise

The New York Times’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman write that Donald Trump’s irritation about Ron DeSantis goes back “months” – and that the dispute is about more than a former president’s easily bruised ego:

At its core, the dispute amounts to a stand-in for the broader challenge confronting Republicans at the outset of midterm elections. They are led by a defeated former president who demands total fealty, brooks no criticism and is determined to sniff out, and then snuff out, any threat to his control of the party.

That includes the 43-year-old DeSantis, who has told friends he believes Mr. Trump’s expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much. That refusal has set up a generational clash and a test of loyalty in the de facto capital of today’s G.O.P., one watched by Republicans elsewhere who’ve ridden to power on Mr. Trump’s coattails.

Read the full report here.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 16:40


Trumpist Texas governor posts stunning fundraising numbers

Popular ex-Congressman Beto O’Rourke is the Democrats’ leading contender to take on Republican Greg Abbott in this year’s Texas gubernatorial contest – but based on newly released fundraising data, it looks like Mr Abbott’s ability to rake in money will make him a formidable opponent indeed.

Mr O’Rourke ran a strong campaign against Texas Senator Ted Cruz in 2018, a race that catapulted him to national fame despite the fact he lost. However, his subsequent presidential campaign failed to take off despite attracting top-tier staff and millions of dollars in donations.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 16:20


Top Republican on why he isn’t running for winnable Senate seat

Chris Sununu, the sitting Republican governor of New Hampshire, was long talked about as one of the strongest possible contenders for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Maggie Hassan, who is up for re-election this year. Yet despite his ample popularity, Mr Sununu has declined to run, depriving of the party of their best chance to take a crucial spot in the Senate in a year where every race counts.

Explaining his reasoning for not running, Mr Sununu pointed a finger at the Senate Republicans whose ranks he would have joined had he run and won, describing how they explicitly told him that their strategy between now and 2024 is essentially to do little besides obstruct Joe Biden.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 15:58


The fracas over Trump’s “presidential seal”

Tom Fenton explains why Donald Trump’s use of what looks like an official presidential seal for his golf club announcement really matters – and why it’s been met with such consternation.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 15:35


Trump’s next stop: Conroe, Texas

Having met with a warm reception in Arizona this weekend, Donald Trump has another rally on his schedule for 29 January. His destination this time will be Conroe, Texas, which sits just north of Houston.

The state, which at one point in 2020 was thought to be within Joe Biden’s reach, is home to some of Mr Trump’s loudest and proudest supporters, among them Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott – both of whom are thought to be likely presidentical contenders if the ex-president does not or cannot run in 2024.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Mr Trump has already doled out endorsements in 20 of Texas’s various primary races, with more expected as the electoral clock counts down towards November.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 15:13


Australians mock Trump fans dismayed at Novak Djokovic standoff

After Australian authorities finally forced tennis star Novak Djokovic to leave the country because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, many MAGA supporters took to social media to tweet their dismay – some of them declaring that “#AustraliaHasFallen” and calling the country a “prison”.

Many Australians, angry that Djokovic sought an exemption after they endured some of the world’s most punishing Covid-19 restrictions, have responded with mirth.

Gino Spocchia has the story.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 14:52


An Oath Keeper appears with Trump

Among the many wilder audience members and guests at Trump’s Arizona rally was, it seems, a self-declared member of the Oath Keepers – the militia group that has seen its founder and several members indicted on sedition charges over the US Capitol attack. On MSNBC, Mehdi Hasan unpacked the details.

Andrew Naughtie18 January 2022 14:32


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