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Biden derides ‘feeble, confused and tired’ Trump for comparing himself to Jesus

President Joe Biden has ridiculed his Republican predecessor Donald Trump after the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee compared himself to Jesus Christ on social media.

“Received this morning – Beautiful thank you!” Mr Trump wrote before quoting a supporter who apparently sent him a message reading: “It’s ironic that Christ walked through His greatest persecution the very week that they are trying to steal your property from you.”

The post then quoted from Psalm 109: 3-8: “They have also fought against me with words of hatred, And fought against me without a cause.”

Mr Biden’s campaign wasted no time in ridiculing his opponent’s ludicrous and self-serving Messiah complex, deriding Mr Trump as “feeble, confused and tired” and adding: “He spent the weekend golfing, the morning comparing himself to Jesus, and the afternoon lying about having money he definitely doesn’t have.”

The president has been much more forthcoming in attacking the Republican with humour in recent weeks, mocking Mr Trump’s costly legal woes and boasts about winning a golf tournament over the weekend with sarcastic applause and the comment: “Quite an accomplishment.”

Key Points

  • Biden derides ‘feeble, confused and tired’ Trump for comparing himself to Jesus

  • Trump promises to ‘put up the cash’ as he's granted more time to produce bond

  • President mocks Trump for boasting about winning golf awards at his own club

  • Kamala Harris roasted after she claps along to protest song – before realising they’re protesting against her

Watch live: Trump expected in court for trial date hearing in New York hush money case

Monday 25 March 2024 13:30 , Oliver Browning

Watch live from New York ahead of Monday’s latest hearing in the hush money case facing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The former president is expected to attend court in Manhattan for what is set to be the final hearing before the criminal case goes to trial.

Mr Trump will ask to delay or dismiss the proceedings on charges stemming from hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, citing thousands of pages of potential evidence about witness Michael Cohen that prosecutors only turned over a matter of weeks ago.

The case, which was initially scheduled to begin jury selection on Monday, has already been adjourned for 30 days by Judge Juan Merchan to allow for time to respond to those filings.

Mr Cohen, Mr Trump’s one-time lawyer and fixer, made payments to Ms Daniels and Ms McDougal to buy their silence ahead of the 2016 presidential election about sexual encounters they said they had with the candidate a decade earlier – affairs Mr Trump denies.

Judge Merchan’s decision will set the course for what could be the first-ever criminal trial of a former US president.

Mr Trump, the Republican candidate expected to challenge Joe Biden in the November election, has pleaded not guilty and has called the case a politically-motivated “witch hunt” against him.

Supreme Court again confronts the issue of abortion, this time over access to widely used medication

Monday 25 March 2024 14:00 , Mark Sherman

The Supreme Court will again wade into the fractious issue of abortion this week when it hears arguments over a medication used in the most common way to end a pregnancy, a case with profound implications for millions of women no matter where they live in America and, perhaps, for the race for the White House.

Two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and cleared the way for bans or severe restrictions on abortion in many Republican-led states, abortion opponents on Tuesday will ask the high court to ratify a ruling from a conservative federal appeals court that would limit access to the medication mifepristone, which was used in nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the United States last year.

That decision to reverse Roe had immediate political consequences, with Democrats making the case that the court had taken away a right that women held for half a century and winning elections as a result. Even conservative-leaning states like Kansas and Ohio voted against abortion restrictions. If the court were to uphold restrictions on medication abortions it could roil the election landscape in races for Congress and the presidency.

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Chuck Todd admonishes his bosses on-air over NBC hiring Ronna McDaniel

Monday 25 March 2024 14:23 , John Bowden

NBC News political director isn’t ready to defend his network’s hiring of former GOP chief Ronna McDaniel as a political analyst.

On Sunday, he made sure his bosses — and everybody else — knew it.

Ms McDaniel’s hiring as a paid contributor at NBC News this past week was reported to have made a number of journalists at the network uncomfortable. As Meet the Press turned to its panel segment on Sunday morning, Todd vocalised those objections in a fiery admonition of NBC brass, whom he said owed moderator Kristen Welker an apology for booking Ms McDaniel as one of her interviews for Sunday’s programme.

Welker’s interview with Ms McDaniel touched on several topics including her leadership of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Her tenure as RNC chair came to an end this year after Donald Trump endorsed her removal following the South Carolina primary.

READ MORE

VIDEO: Donald Trump appears in New York court for hearing in hush money case

Monday 25 March 2024 14:24 , Natalie Chinn

Donald Trump lashes out as clock runs down on his $464m bond payment

Monday 25 March 2024 14:30 , Oliver O’Connell

The clock is ticking.

On Monday, Donald Trump will face a reckoning with the legal system as he never has before.

Alongside his four criminal cases - totalling 88 charges - the civil fraud case against the former president, his adult sons Don Jr and Eric, the Trump Organization and two of its executives, seems somewhat underplayed.

It does, however, go someway to undoing two of the greatest myths about Mr Trump which helped propel him into the public eye as a real estate mogul, reality TV star, and finally US president: that he is immensely wealthy and a great businessman, skilled in the art of the deal.

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What happens if Trump can’t secure $464m bond in civil fraud case? Here’s what to know

Monday 25 March 2024 15:00 , Alex Woodward

The Republican Party’s nominee to face President Joe Biden could be facing a financial crisis on top of a mountain of legal obligations, including 88 criminal charges, with at least one criminal trial and verdict expected before Election Day.

In a revealing court filing on 18 March, lawyers for Donald Trump said that he has tried to get help from at least 30 companies who can post a bond in excess of $464m after he lost a civil fraud trial in New York earlier this year.

But none of them could, and now he faces the “practical impossibility” of coming up with the money before the state’s imminent deadline to enforce the judgment against him on Monday, 25 March, according to his attorneys.

READ MORE

D-Day for Donald: Trump faces deadline today to pay $464m fraud bond. Here’s what you need to know

Monday 25 March 2024 15:01 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump is facing a potentially huge day of legal drama today as the deadline to post bond for his $464m fraud judgment looms and an important hearing is held regarding his imminent hush money trial.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled last month that the Republican presidential candidate must pay $354m in fines and a further $110m plus in interest ($464m, all in) over a decade-long scheme where he inflated the value of Trump Organization assets in order to obtain favourable loans from banks and insurers.

With interest ticking ever-upwards at 9 per cent or $120,000 a day, the exact total he owes as of deadline day is now closer to $468.1m – but his lawyers have argued that he has been unable to find a bond company willing to stump up the cash.

Fail to make the bond today and New York Attorney General Letitia James could begin seizing the former president’s assets, including some of his prized property empire.

Here’s what could happen today.

Lauren Boebert defends taking credit for money in spending bill despite voting against it

Monday 25 March 2024 15:15 , Eric Garcia

Republican Representative Lauren Boebert defended bragging about bringing home $20m for water and infrastructure projects to her Colorado district in the recent spending bill that passed – despite having voted against the bill’s final passage.

The right-wing Republican put out a press release last week touting the funding for projects in her state’s 3rd district.

“These include important federal resources for new water storage, improving water quality, funding water treatment plants, building new water supply lines, reducing congestion on I-70, and building roads and bridges,” Ms Boebert said in a press release.

“I’m grateful to all the local stakeholders who brought these important projects to my attention and that worked with my team and I throughout this process to ensure that 10 out of 10 of our requests were successfully funded in public law. Can’t wait for the ribbon cuttings and to see these priorities come to fruition.”

But Ms Boebert voted against the spending bill on 8 March. The legislation was the first of six spending bills that passed this month to fund the government through the end of the current fiscal year, which expires on 30 September. Last week, the House and Senate passed the second round of spending bills to keep the government open.

Ms Boebert bragged about bringing the money back to Colorado last week to The Independent.

“Sure did, I fought to get it in there, did I not,” she said. “If I wasn’t working on it, then it wouldn’t have been in there.”

But when asked about why she voted against its final passage, she said she disliked the process.

“I didn’t agree to the swampy way it came to the floor but I fought to get the stuff in the bills and it’s there,” she said. “And Colorado is going to benefit from it.”

READ MORE

Marjorie Taylor Greene insists she doesn’t want ‘chaos’ after second threat to oust House Speaker

Monday 25 March 2024 15:30 , John Bowden

Marjorie Taylor Greene has defended her bid to oust Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson - after threatening to do so in January - and insisted that she was not seeking to throw the government into “chaos”.

The Georgia representative and other far right members of the House opposed the $1.2trn federal spending package that passed Congress this past week, and claimed that it was full of wasteful spending.

She denounced Mr Johnson as “willing to do the bidding of [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer”.

“Republican voters want fighters in the House of Representatives to fight like President Trump, and that is exactly what I’m doing,” Ms Greene said.

READ MORE

VIDEO: Ronna McDaniel defends silence over January 6 and supports convictions for violence

Monday 25 March 2024 16:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Linda Bean, an entrepreneur, GOP activist and granddaughter of outdoor retailer LL Bean, has died

Monday 25 March 2024 16:30 , Gene Johnson

Linda L. Bean, a granddaughter of famed outdoor retailer L.L. Bean who became an entrepreneur, philanthropist and conservative activist, has died at age 82.

Bean died Saturday, her business manager, Veronika Carlson, confirmed in a written statement Sunday. No cause was given.

“Linda was known for her amazing work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit as well as her pride and dedication to her home state of Maine and L.L.Bean, the company her grandfather founded,” the statement said. “Our hearts go out to her family and friends.”

Bean’s grandfather, Leon Leonwood Bean, founded the company in 1912. It grew through its popular catalogue, offering durable products such as rubber-bottomed boots that came with a lifetime guarantee.

Linda Bean served on the company’s board for nearly half a century. She also bought lobster dealerships, founded the Perfect Maine Lobster brand in 2007, and owned general stores, inns and vacation rentals on Maine’s central coast, where she lived in Port Clyde.

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Former Obama official Neal Katyal calls Donald Trump ‘Don Poorleone’

Monday 25 March 2024 17:00 , Lucy Leeson

Former Obama official and lawyer Neal Katyal branded Donald Trump “Don Poorleone, while discussing the former US president’s financial woes.

Mr Katyal appeared on the Inside with Jen Psaki political show on Sunday (24 March) and explained why people are referring to Trump as the iconic Marlon Brando character Vito Corleone from The Godfather.

Mr Katyal said: “There is a reason why I think some people are calling Donald Trump ‘Don Poorleone’ right now, and it’s because he’s kind of talking out of both sides of his mouth.”

Today (25 March), the former president must post a $464m bond payment to comply with a New York civil court ruling that found him guilty of fraud earlier this year.

Watch live: White House holds briefing after Netanyahu cancels visit

Monday 25 March 2024 17:07 , Holly Patrick

Watch live as Karine Jean-Pierre holds Monday’s (25 March) White House briefing after Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a high-level delegation’s planned visit to Washington.

The Israeli prime minister’s decision came after the US abstained from a United Nations (UN) vote demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“It’s disappointing. We’re very disappointed that they won’t be coming to Washington, DC to allow us to have a fulsome conversation with them about viable alternatives to them going in on the ground in Rafah,” White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.

The UN Security Council passed the resolution, which was backed by 14 nations of the council, demanding an immediate cease-fire during the month of Ramadan and the release of all hostages held by Hamas.

The US’s rare decision to withhold its veto on the matter represents a major shift in US policy, which has used its permanent member status on the Security Council to veto three previous resolutions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, even as the death toll reached tens of thousands.

Trump handed lifeline as appeals court slashes fraud trial bond and grants 10-day reprieve

Monday 25 March 2024 17:16 , Ariana Baio

A New York appeals court has granted Donald Trump a 10-day extension to secure a portion of the $464m bond after the former president signalled he was struggling to come up with the money.

On Monday, the five-panel court said that the former president could have more than a week to secure just $175m while he awaits a ruling in his appeal of the judgement made by Justice Arthur Engoron in the civil fraud case.

The ruling is a win for Mr Trump who initially had until Monday to come up with the means to post the $464m bond to prevent New York Attorney General Letitia James from seizing his properties. Though the former president often boasts about his net worth, he seemed to be struggling to find a way to post the bond.

Justice Engoron imposed a $454m penalty on Mr Trump, his adult sons and former executives of the Trump Organization after finding them liable for conspiring to inflate his net worth to obtain favourable terms from insurers and banks on his properties.

But Justice Engoron also implemented several restrictions on the former president and his co-defendants including barring him from running a New York company and obtaining loans from New York banks among other penalties.

Mr Trump appealed the decision, a tactic he has used in nearly all of his criminal and civil trials, and asked the court to reduce the bond to $100m while the appeal is ongoing.

Monday’s order will satisfy Mr Trump’s request and allow the former president and his adult sons, to run businesses in New York and obtain loans from financial institutions.

READ MORE

Judge sets rescheduled trial date for Trump’s hush money case

Monday 25 March 2024 17:23 , Alex Woodward

Donald Trump will go on trial next month for allegedly falsifying business records that covered up hush money payments to an adult film star, what New York prosecutors have called a criminal scheme to bury embarrassing stories of his affairs in the leadup to the 2016 presidential election.

The trial, which was initially set to begin with jury selection on Monday, will mark the first of four criminal trials against him, and the first-ever criminal trial against any current or former American president.

Mr Trump arrived for yet another pretrial hearing in the case inside a 15th floor courtroom in Manhattan on Monday as his attorneys prepared to argue allegations of misconduct from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in front of New York Justice Juan Merchan.

The judge rejected the accusations and set a trial date for 15 April.

READ MORE

VIDEO: Trump Calls On Israel To ‘Finish Up’ The War In Gaza

Monday 25 March 2024 17:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Will Letitia James seize Trump Tower? Ex-president is running out of time to pay $464m bond

Monday 25 March 2024 17:30 , Joe Sommerlad

Lawyers for Donald Trump notified an appeals court this week that their client has failed to secure a bond to satisfy the $464m civil fraud judgment levelled against him by a New York court, saying finding a company to back such a large amount of money was proving a “practical impossibility”.

Mr Trump has hotly objected to a “fire sale” of his property empire – selling off assets to generate cash to meet the bond – but failing to do so risks allowing such prized properties as Trump Tower in Manhattan, so integral to his brand, to fall into the hands of New York attorney general Letitia James, who has already said she is more than happy to repossess his holdings.

READ MORE

Trump claims he has $454m fine amount ‘in his bank account’ but plans to spend it running for president

Monday 25 March 2024 18:00 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump claims he has nearly half a billion dollars in his bank account and that he intends to use it for his presidential election campaign, as he faces a Monday deadline to prevent his properties from being seized.

Justice Arthur Engoron in February ruled that the 45th president and his adult sons must pay in excess of $464m for grossly inflating his net worth and the value of his assets for more than a decade to obtain favourable conditions on loans.

Mr Trump must either find the cash or post a bond to prevent the state’s authorities from seizing his properties while he appeals the ruling.

READ MORE

VIDEO: Former SCOTUS justice Stephen Breyer on term limits

Monday 25 March 2024 18:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Lisa Murkowski says she’s considering quitting Republican Party because of Trump

Monday 25 March 2024 18:54 , John Bowden

Lisa Murkowski’s future in the Republican Party is now publicly in question as the Alaska senator says she is grappling with the reality that her party is set to nominate the twice-impeached former president who faces 91 criminal charges for the presidency.

Donald Trump’s continued control of the GOP and the dominance of his Maga faction is not sitting well with the centrist Republican who has broken with her party’s base several times in recent years, including in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the 2017 failed vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Ms Murkowski was interviewed by CNN’s Manu Raju on Capitol Hill and said that she wouldn’t be endorsing Mr Trump for president — as most other Republicans on Capitol Hill have already done — in 2024. She further added that she was “independently minded”, and was asked whether that meant she was considering dropping her party affiliation.

“I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times. Let’s just leave it at that,” she responded.

READ MORE

Trump promises to ‘put up the cash’ as former president granted more time to produce bond

Monday 25 March 2024 18:55 , Holly Patrick

Donald Trump said he would “put up the cash” as he was granted more time to pay part of the $464m bond in his New York civil fraud case on Monday, 25 March.

An appeals court granted the former president a 10-day extension to pay $175m in a reprieve on the day the full amount against him had been due.

In rambling remarks at 40 Wall Street after appearing in Manhattan criminal court, Mr Trump said: “This is all about election interference. This is all Biden-run things.

“We’ll put up securities, cash, or bond, whatever it is, very quickly.”

‘Don Poorleone’: Trump memes explode as deadline approaches for $464m bond payment

Monday 25 March 2024 19:00 , Katie Hawkinson

As Donald Trump approaches his $464m bond payment deadline on Monday, social media users have come together to coin yet another nickname for the former president: “Don Poorleone.”

The meme uses an image of the iconic Marlon Brando character, Vito Corleone, from “The Godfather“ and adapts his famous line.

While Vito Corleone vowed to “make him an offer he can’t refuse”, the Trump meme states: “I made an offer everyone refused.”

READ MORE

Kamala Harris roasted after she claps along to protest song – before realising they’re protesting against her

Monday 25 March 2024 19:30 , Martha McHardy

Kamala Harris is being roasted on social media after she was seen clapping along to a protest song – before awkwardly realising that they were protesting against her.

The vice president visited Puerto Rico on Friday to highlight the Biden administration’s actions in supporting the island nation’s recovery and renewal efforts.

During the visit, she stopped by the Goyoco community centre in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan.

In video footage from her visit to the community centre, Ms Harris is seen gleefully clapping and smiling as Puerto Rican protesters banged on drums and sang in Spanish.

READ MORE

VIDEO: 16 Republican AGs Sue Biden Administration for Pausing Liquid Natural Gas Exports

Monday 25 March 2024 20:00 , The Independent

Biden mocks Trump for boasting about winning two golf awards at his own club hours before bond deadline

Monday 25 March 2024 20:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

President Joe Biden ridiculed his 2024 election rival Donal Trump on social media after the Republican boasted about winning two amateur golf trophies at his own club’s awards.

The former president announced in a post on Truth Social that he had been awarded the club championship trophy and the senior club championship trophy at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

“I WON BOTH,” Mr Trump wrote. “A large and golfing talented membership, a GREAT and difficult course, made the play very exciting.

“The qualifying and match play was amazing. A large and distinguished group will be there tonight. Very exciting, thank you,” the 45th president added.

Mr Biden on Monday shared a screengrab of Mr Trump’s post on X, adding: “Congratulations, Donald. Quite the accomplishment.”

READ MORE

Chuck Todd admonishes his bosses on-air over NBC hiring Ronna McDaniel

Monday 25 March 2024 21:00 , John Bowden

NBC News political director isn’t ready to defend his network’s hiring of former GOP chief Ronna McDaniel as a political analyst.

On Sunday, he made sure his bosses — and everybody else — knew it.

Ms McDaniel’s hiring as a paid contributor at NBC News this past week was reported to have made a number of journalists at the network uncomfortable. As Meet the Press turned to its panel segment on Sunday morning, Todd vocalised those objections in a fiery admonition of NBC brass, whom he said owed moderator Kristen Welker an apology for booking Ms McDaniel as one of her interviews for Sunday’s programme.

Welker’s interview with Ms McDaniel touched on several topics including her leadership of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Her tenure as RNC chair came to an end this year after Donald Trump endorsed her removal following the South Carolina primary.

READ MORE

McCarthy claims Gaetz ousted him as speaker when he refused to ‘do something illegal’ to stop ethics probe

Monday 25 March 2024 21:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Kevin McCarthy has claimed that Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz ousted him as speaker because he refused to “do something illegal” to stop an ethics probe into the congressman.

The former California Republican congressman and House speaker appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, pointing to the motion to vacate filed against his successor, Speaker Mike Johnson, by Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene after Mr Johnson made a deal with Democrats to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year until 30 September.

Mr McCarthy was ousted after just nine months as speaker in October after Mr Gatez filed a motion to vacate after Mr McCarthy also compromised with Democrats on government funding.

“The one advice I would give to the conference and to the speaker is do not be fearful of a motion to vacate,” he said on CBS. “I do not think they could do it again. That was surely based on Matt Gaetz trying to stop an ethics complaint.

“It was purely Matt coming to me trying ... [to get] me to do something illegal to stop the Ethics Committee from moving forward in an investigation that was started long before I became speaker,” Mr McCarthy said.

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Lauren Boebert defends taking credit for money in spending bill despite voting against it

Monday 25 March 2024 22:30 , Eric Garcia

Republican Representative Lauren Boebert defended bragging about bringing home $20m for water and infrastructure projects to her Colorado district in the recent spending bill that passed – despite having voted against the bill’s final passage.

The right-wing Republican put out a press release last week touting the funding for projects in her state’s 3rd district.

“These include important federal resources for new water storage, improving water quality, funding water treatment plants, building new water supply lines, reducing congestion on I-70, and building roads and bridges,” Ms Boebert said in a press release.

“I’m grateful to all the local stakeholders who brought these important projects to my attention and that worked with my team and I throughout this process to ensure that 10 out of 10 of our requests were successfully funded in public law. Can’t wait for the ribbon cuttings and to see these priorities come to fruition.”

But Ms Boebert voted against the spending bill on 8 March. The legislation was the first of six spending bills that passed this month to fund the government through the end of the current fiscal year, which expires on 30 September. Last week, the House and Senate passed the second round of spending bills to keep the government open.

Ms Boebert bragged about bringing the money back to Colorado last week to The Independent.

“Sure did, I fought to get it in there, did I not,” she said. “If I wasn’t working on it, then it wouldn’t have been in there.”

But when asked about why she voted against its final passage, she said she disliked the process.

“I didn’t agree to the swampy way it came to the floor but I fought to get the stuff in the bills and it’s there,” she said. “And Colorado is going to benefit from it.”

READ MORE

Trump handed lifeline as appeals court slashes fraud trial bond and grants 10-day reprieve

Monday 25 March 2024 23:15 , Ariana Baio

A New York appeals court has granted Donald Trump a 10-day extension to secure a portion of the $464m bond after the former president signalled he was struggling to come up with the money.

On Monday, the five-panel court said that the former president could have more than a week to secure just $175m while he awaits a ruling in his appeal of the judgement made by Justice Arthur Engoron in the civil fraud case.

The ruling is a win for Mr Trump who initially had until Monday to come up with the means to post the $464m bond to prevent New York Attorney General Letitia James from seizing his properties. Though the former president often boasts about his net worth, he seemed to be struggling to find a way to post the bond.

Justice Engoron imposed a $454m penalty on Mr Trump, his adult sons and former executives of the Trump Organization after finding them liable for conspiring to inflate his net worth to obtain favourable terms from insurers and banks on his properties.

But Justice Engoron also implemented several restrictions on the former president and his co-defendants including barring him from running a New York company and obtaining loans from New York banks among other penalties.

Mr Trump appealed the decision, a tactic he has used in nearly all of his criminal and civil trials, and asked the court to reduce the bond to $100m while the appeal is ongoing.

Monday’s order will satisfy Mr Trump’s request and allow the former president and his adult sons, to run businesses in New York and obtain loans from financial institutions.

READ MORE

VIDEO: Tammy Murphy drops out of New Jersey Senate race

00:00 , Natalie Chinn

00:45 , Sonal Hayat

VIDEO: Chuck Todd criticises his bosses on air over hiring former RNC chair

01:30 , Gustaf Kilander

‘Don Poorleone’: Trump memes explode as deadline approaches for $464m bond payment

02:15 , Katie Hawkinson

As Donald Trump approaches his $464m bond payment deadline on Monday, social media users have come together to coin yet another nickname for the former president: “Don Poorleone.”

The meme uses an image of the iconic Marlon Brando character, Vito Corleone, from “The Godfather“ and adapts his famous line.

While Vito Corleone vowed to “make him an offer he can’t refuse”, the Trump meme states: “I made an offer everyone refused.”

READ MORE

VIDEO: Trump Calls On Israel To ‘Finish Up’ The War In Gaza

03:15 , Gustaf Kilander

Lauren Boebert defends taking credit for money in spending bill despite voting against it

04:00 , Eric Garcia

Republican Representative Lauren Boebert defended bragging about bringing home $20m for water and infrastructure projects to her Colorado district in the recent spending bill that passed – despite having voted against the bill’s final passage.

The right-wing Republican put out a press release last week touting the funding for projects in her state’s 3rd district.

“These include important federal resources for new water storage, improving water quality, funding water treatment plants, building new water supply lines, reducing congestion on I-70, and building roads and bridges,” Ms Boebert said in a press release.

“I’m grateful to all the local stakeholders who brought these important projects to my attention and that worked with my team and I throughout this process to ensure that 10 out of 10 of our requests were successfully funded in public law. Can’t wait for the ribbon cuttings and to see these priorities come to fruition.”

But Ms Boebert voted against the spending bill on 8 March. The legislation was the first of six spending bills that passed this month to fund the government through the end of the current fiscal year, which expires on 30 September. Last week, the House and Senate passed the second round of spending bills to keep the government open.

Ms Boebert bragged about bringing the money back to Colorado last week to The Independent.

“Sure did, I fought to get it in there, did I not,” she said. “If I wasn’t working on it, then it wouldn’t have been in there.”

But when asked about why she voted against its final passage, she said she disliked the process.

“I didn’t agree to the swampy way it came to the floor but I fought to get the stuff in the bills and it’s there,” she said. “And Colorado is going to benefit from it.”

READ MORE

Lisa Murkowski says she’s considering quitting Republican Party because of Trump

05:00 , John Bowden

Lisa Murkowski’s future in the Republican Party is now publicly in question as the Alaska senator says she is grappling with the reality that her party is set to nominate the twice-impeached former president who faces 91 criminal charges for the presidency.

Donald Trump’s continued control of the GOP and the dominance of his Maga faction is not sitting well with the centrist Republican who has broken with her party’s base several times in recent years, including in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the 2017 failed vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Ms Murkowski was interviewed by CNN’s Manu Raju on Capitol Hill and said that she wouldn’t be endorsing Mr Trump for president — as most other Republicans on Capitol Hill have already done — in 2024. She further added that she was “independently minded”, and was asked whether that meant she was considering dropping her party affiliation.

“I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times. Let’s just leave it at that,” she responded.

READ MORE

Trump promises to ‘put up the cash’ as former president granted more time to produce bond

06:00 , Holly Patrick

Donald Trump said he would “put up the cash” as he was granted more time to pay part of the $464m bond in his New York civil fraud case on Monday, 25 March.

An appeals court granted the former president a 10-day extension to pay $175m in a reprieve on the day the full amount against him had been due.

In rambling remarks at 40 Wall Street after appearing in Manhattan criminal court, Mr Trump said: “This is all about election interference. This is all Biden-run things.

“We’ll put up securities, cash, or bond, whatever it is, very quickly.”

How much is Trump’s property empire worth and what could Letitia James seize if he doesn’t pay fraud bond?

07:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump has been granted a lifeline after an appeals court slashed his fraud trial bond and granted him a 10-day reprieve mere hours before his deadline expired.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled last month that Mr Trump must pay $354m in fines and a further $110m plus interest ($464m, all in) after being found liable by a jury of inflating the value of Trump Organization assets between 2011 and 2021 in order to obtain favourable loans from banks and insurers.

With interest ticking ever-upwards at 9 per cent or $120,000 a day, the exact total he owed as of Monday 25 March was closer to $468.1m, with his lawyers arguing that finding a bond company to support such a huge amount has proven a “practical impossibility” after approaching more than 30 surety firms through four separate brokers.

Despite that appeal from his attorneys as they sought the delay, Mr Trump had insisted in a social media post on Friday that he has $500m on hand in ready cash but wants to use it on his presidential campaign instead.

READ MORE

Tammy Murphy drops out of New Jersey Senate race to replace indicted Bob Menendez

08:00 , Ariana Baio

Tammy Murphy, the first lady of New Jersey, said she is suspending her campaign to replace indicted Senator Bob Menendez in a video posted to social media.

After four months of campaigning against Representative Andy Kim, Ms Murphy will depart from the race, saying she did not want to participate in “waging a very divisive and negative campaign.”

“I’ve been genuine and factual throughout but it is clear to me that continuing in this race will involve waging a very divisive and negative campaign which I’m not willing to do,” Ms Murphy said on Sunday.

Upon entering the Senate race in November, Ms Murphy was favoured to win given her political ties to major donors and organisations as well as her husband’s status as governor of New Jersey. However, her lack of political experience made her a target.

Meanwhile, Mr Kim criticised Ms Murphy for her ties to politicians and claimed she was being backed by donors and local leaders purely due to her status. He filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s primary ballot design which generally favours the candidate with the most endorsements.

READ MORE

From Tammy Baldwin to Lauren Boebert, Congress members just brought home the dough

09:00 , Eric Garcia

Last week, Ohio Republican voters nominated Bernie Moreno to run against Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. As Ohio has moved from being a swing state to a solidly pro-Donald Trump Republican outpost in the Midwest, Brown remains the only statewide elected Democrat there.

Democrats will need to spend mountains of cash to help his campaign in a state Trump won twice. But Brown has also received some additional help in the form of the two spending bills that passed this month, thanks to “earmarks”.

Earmarks are the part of the appropriations process that allow for members to request spending for specific projects in their home state or district. For many years, Congress included earmarks as a way to get members onboard must-pass legislation such as spending bills. A little money toward a pet project can soften the blow of a bill someone does not like — and it gives members something to point to when they face re-election.

After the 2008 financial crisis, earmarks — or, as they are formally known, congressionally directed spending — gained a bad reputation. Sarah Palin famously said “thanks but no thanks” to the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” her Republican congressman pushed to include. And when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2011, they banned earmarks entirely.

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Trump hush money judge scolds ex-president’s attorneys for delay tactics: ‘It’s odd we’re even here’

10:00 , Alex Woodward

Attorneys for Donald Trump failed to convince a judge that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office mishandled potential evidence in his criminal case stemming from an alleged hush money scheme to bury embarrassing stories of his affairs.

The former president arrived inside a 15th floor criminal courtroom in Manhattan on Monday morning for yet another pretrial hearing in the case, what was supposed to be the first day of jury selection for the first-ever criminal trial against a president.

Instead, New York Justice Juan Merchan presided over a hearing where Mr Trump’s attorneys levelled allegations of misconduct against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office over the production of thousands of pages of documents surrounding Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former attorney and a key witness in the case.

The judge grew increasingly frustrated with the former president’s legal team, saying at one point that he found it “odd that we’re even here”.

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Biden derides ‘feeble, confused and tired’ Trump for comparing himself to Jesus

11:01 , Joe Sommerlad

Trump posted this on the aforementioned Truth Social yesterday, amid his time of trials.

It drew this delightfully withering response from the Biden campaign.

Incidentally, over on Fox News, it was Charles Manson, not Christ, to whom Trump was likened, unwisely, by pundit Marc Thiessen, who griped: “None of this would be happening if Donald Trump wasn’t running for president. They’ve issued 91 indictments against Donald Trump.

“Charles Manson faced 10… They’ve got multiple cases trying to bankrupt him.”

Netanyahu cancels Washington visit after US abstains on Gaza ceasefire vote at UN

12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Tensions between the United States and Israel escalated further on Monday as Washington allowed the UN to pass a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, prompting a furious response from Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US abstained from the United Nations Security Council vote, enabling the first ceasefire resolution since the 7 October Hamas attacks. Applause broke out in the chamber as the vote was passed.

Israel’s prime minister cancelled the planned visit of a high-level delegation to Washington, DC, in protest, and accused the US of “retreating” from what he said had been a “principled position”.

A statement from Netanyahu’s office said the new resolution “regrettably” calls for a ceaseire “that is not contingent on the release of hostages.”

It added that the decision “constitutes a clear departure from the consistent US position in the Security Council since the beginning of the war.”

Here’s more from Richard Hall and Andrew Feinberg.

Netanyahu cancels Washington visit after US abstains on Gaza ceasefire vote at UN

Trump calls on Israel to ‘finish up’ the war in Gaza

13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The Republican presidential contender has called on Israel to “finish up” its war in Gaza because it is losing support around the world.

In an interview with Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, the former president said he had watched images of bombs being dropped on residential buildings in Gaza every night, calling it a “big mistake”.

“You have to finish up your war... You gotta get it done. And I am sure you will do that. And we gotta get to peace, we can’t have this going on. And I will say, Israel has to be very careful, because you’re losing a lot of the world, you’re losing a lot of support,” he told the newspaper.

The former president has refrained from issuing running commentary on the war since the Hamas attacks of 7 October and the subsequent Israeli response.

The comments represent his most forceful intervention yet on the matter.

Here’s more from Richard Hall and Gustaf Kilander.

Trump calls on Israel to ‘finish up’ war in Gaza as it’s ‘losing a lot of the world’

Supreme Court: The next abortion rights battle is coming for the most common form of care

13:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports on how healthcare providers and advocates re bracing for a right-wing legal group’s challenge to telemedicine and a widely used abortion drug that could upend access for millions of Americans two years after the end of Roe v Wade.

The next Supreme Court abortion rights battle threatens the most common form of care

ACLU: ‘Overturning Roe v Wade wasn’t the end goal for extremists'

14:05 , Oliver O'Connell

With oral arguments taking place before the Supreme Court today over the future of mifepristone, a widely used abortion drug that was approved by the federal government more than 20 years ago and used in more than half of all abortions nationwide, the American Civil Liberties Union released the following statement:

“As this case shows, overturning Roe v Wade wasn’t the end goal for extremists. They are trying to overrule the FDA and push mifepristone, a medication used in most abortions in this country, out of reach for people in every state in the nation. And astonishingly, next month they will be back before the court arguing for the right to force hospitals to turn away patients who need emergency abortions to protect their health. But they aren’t even stopping there: Politicians in some states have already moved on to attacking birth control and, as we saw in Alabama, they are also attacking IVF. We need to take these extremists seriously when they show us they’re coming for every aspect of our reproductive lives.”

ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project director Jennifer Dalven:

Murkowski says she’s considering quitting Republican Party over Trump

14:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Lisa Murkowski’s future in the GOP is now publicly in question as the Alaska senator says she is grappling with the reality that her party is set to nominate the twice-impeached former president who faces 88 criminal charges for the presidency.

The centrist Republican has broken with her party’s base several times in recent years, including in the second Trump impeachment trial, and now cannot stomach the prospect of him becoming the party’s presidential nominee.

John Bowden has more on her dilemma.

Lisa Murkowski says she’s considering quitting Republican Party because of Trump

Kennedy to pick Shanahan as running mate, report says

14:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr is set to announce later today that he has picked attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan to be his running mate, NBC News reports citing two sources familiar with Mr Kennedy’s plans.

The RFK Jr campaign has scheduled an official announcement for today in Oakland, California.

The Independent’s Sheila Flynn filed this profile on Ms Shanahan last week:

Lawyer, mother and billionaire’s ex: Meet Nicole Shanahan, RFK Jr’s rumoured VP pick

Hutchinson slams MAGA representatives for ‘lying to their constituents’

15:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Strong stuff from the former Trump administration aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who bravely spoke out to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack about the then-president’s activities on that infamous day.

Listen LIVE: Supreme Court hears arguments over right to abortion pills

15:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Biden responds to Baltimore bridge collapse

15:51 , Oliver O'Connell

For more on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, follow along on the latest developments in our dedicated live blog:

Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses after ship collision: Live updates

From MTG to Boebert, Congress members just brought home the dough

16:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Here’s the latest from Eric Garcia on election fundraising as representatives set about stockpiling the cash in earnest.

From Tammy Baldwin to Lauren Boebert, Congress members just brought home the dough

Watch LIVE: Biden reacts to Baltimore Key Bridge collapse as search for survivors continues

16:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Murkowski says she’s considering quitting Republican Party because of Trump

17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Lisa Murkowski’s future in the Republican Party is now publicly in question as the Alaska senator says she is grappling with the reality that her party is set to nominate the twice-impeached former president who faces 91 criminal charges for the presidency.

Donald Trump’s continued control of the GOP and the dominance of his Maga faction is not sitting well with the centrist Republican who has broken with her party’s base several times in recent years, including in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the 2017 failed vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

John Bowden reports:

Lisa Murkowski says she’s considering quitting Republican Party because of Trump

NBC NEWS plans to drop ex RNC-chair Ronna McDaniel after on-air revolt, report says

17:42 , Oliver O'Connell

Dylan Byers of Puck News reports that NBC NEWS plans to drop ex-Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel as a paid contributor following an on-air revolt from NBC/MSNBC talent.

Executives are deliberating over details; with an announcement pending. Meanwhile, Ms McDaniel is seeking legal representation.

Watch LIVE: RFK Jr announces running mate for presidential bid

17:59 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch live as Robert F Kennedy Jr unveils his running mate on Tuesday, 26 March.

The independent politician needs a running mate to qualify for the ballot in multiple states.

Ahead of today’s event in Oakland, Mr Kennedy and his team circulated the names of several contenders, including celebrities with no political experience.

Watch live: RFK Jr announces running mate for presidential bid

Greene and Gaetz given go-ahead to sue California over cancelled events

18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A federal judge will allow Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene to sue a pair of California cities that cancelled their political rallies in 2021.

US District Judge Hernan Vera ruled that Mr Gaetz and Ms Greene had the legal footing to bring a lawsuit against Riverside and Anaheim after the events were cancelled “expressly predicated on viewpoint discrimination.”

While Judge Vera gave the Republicans the go-ahead to sue the cities, he also tore into their claims that civil rights groups in California conspired with the cities to shut them down.

Graig Graziosi reports:

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz given go-ahead to sue California cities

Texas man launches presidential bid after changing his name to ‘Literally Anybody Else’

19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A Texas man has legally changed his name to “Literally Anybody Else” and has launched a bid for the 2024 presidential election.

Dustin Ebey, 35, said he changed his name so that he could express his dissatisfaction with the current presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

“It’s not necessarily about me as a person, but it’s about literally anybody else as an idea,” the Dallas resident told news outlet WFAA88.

Martha McHardy has the story:

Texas man changes his name to ‘Literally Anybody Else’ and launches presidential bid

Watch LIVE: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promote healthcare agenda in North Carolina

19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

RFK Jr announces attorney and investor Nicole Shanahan as running mate

19:33 , Oliver O'Connell

Independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr has announced that Silicon Valley investor and attorney Nicole Shanahan will be his running mate.

Mr Kennedy made the announcement at an event in Oakland, California on Tuesday. In the last few weeks, the Kennedy campaign has spoken to more than half a dozen possible candidates, with the early favourites including New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.

Ms Shanahan, 38, became the favourite late in the process even as she was connected to his campaign and helped pay for a Super Bowl ad backing Mr Kennedy, The New York Times noted.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

Robert F Kennedy Jr announces attorney and investor Nicole Shanahan as running mate

Abortion rights: Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dust off 150-year-old Comstock Act

20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports:

The US Supreme Court appears unlikely to agree with anti-abortion activists who want to overturn the federal government’s approval of a widely used abortion drug, a proposal that could have profound and far-reaching consequences for millions of Americans’ healthcare.

A majority of justices on the nine-member court on Tuesday were sceptical that a group of anti-abortion doctors have sufficient legal grounds to bring the case against the US Food and Drug Administration, which first approved the drug mifepristone in the year 2000.

But during Tuesday’s oral arguments in a case targeting the drug, at least two conservative justices floated the idea of dusting off a 151-year-old law that abortion rights advocates fear could be used to further strip access in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to revoke Americans’ constitutional right to abortion care.

Continue reading...

Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dust off the Comstock Act to target abortion rights

Biden gaining ground on Trump in swing states, new poll shows

20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden is erasing his polling deficit with his likely Republican election opponent in a number of key states that will decide the outcome of this year’s presidential contest, according to a new survey by Bloomberg and Morning Consult.

The survey of 4,392 registered voters, which took place from 8 March to 15 March, found that Biden either tightened his margin against Donald Trump or overtook the ex-president in six of seven states, with the largest polling shift coming in Wisconsin, where Badger State respondents gave the 46th president a one-point lead, 46 per cent to Trump’s 45 per cent.

The president’s slim advantage over the man he defeated four years ago comes just one month after a similar survey showed Mr Trump leading Biden by four per cent.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

Biden gaining ground on Trump in swing states, new poll shows