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Mitch McConnell announces retirement from Senate leadership as race to be his replacement begins: Live

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will step down as the chamber’s top Republican in November he has announced. The Kentucky lawmaker, who turned 82 last week, will serve out his term in office which ends in 2027. The race to succeed him has already begun.

Amid campaign concerns about his own age, Joe Biden underwent his annual physical at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this morning.

The president is the oldest person to serve as chief executive at 81 and is running for another four years in office. Donald Trump, his likely opponent, is 77.

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden is testifying behind closed doors in the flailing Republican impeachment inquiry into his father.

Democrats have slammed the “bogus and sham” case against the president and his son, calling today’s deposition the “nail in the coffin” of the inquiry.

Finally, last night the president and his predecessor both won their respective Michigan primaries further cementing the likelihood of an unpopular 2020 rematch in November.

Mr Biden faced a protest vote over his response to the war in Gaza, while Mr Trump underperformed against opponent Nikki Haley who has vowed to stay in the race for Super Tuesday.

Key Points

Hunter Biden deposition: President’s son addresses ‘Big Guy’ conspiracy and addiction

23:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Andrew Feinberg and Gustaf Kilander report from Washington, DC:

Hunter Biden testified for more than six hours behind closed doors on Wednesday in the Republican impeachment probe into his father, President Joe Biden, saying in his opening statement that “I did not involve my father in my business” and that the House GOP has “built your entire partisan house of cards on lies”.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday afternoon, Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell said: “After seven hours of questions, the Republican majority ends the day where they started. They have produced no evidence that would do anything to support the notion that there was any financial transactions that involved Hunter with his father – period.”

“It seems to me that the Republican members wanted to spend more time speaking about my client’s addiction than they could ask any question that had anything to do with what they call their impeachment inquiry,” he added.

Continue reading...

Hunter Biden addresses ‘Big Guy’ conspiracy and addiction in Capitol Hill testimony

Democrats share their fears about Mitch McConnell’s successor

23:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Garcia spoke with members of Congress about what they fear may come next as Mitch McConnell relinquishes his role as lead Republican in the Senate after 16 years.

Democrats share their fears about Mitch McConnell’s successor

White House on board with the bipartisan agreement to avoid shutdown

22:49 , Oliver O'Connell

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre posted regarding the joint statement by House and Senate leaders: “As the President and Congressional leaders made clear at yesterday’s meeting, we cannot allow a government shutdown.

“The bipartisan agreement announced today would help prevent a needless shutdown while providing more time to work on bipartisan appropriations bills and for the House to pass the bipartisan national security supplemental as quickly as possible.”

House and Senate leaders announce 2024 government funding agreement

22:47 , Oliver O'Connell

22:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch: Mitch McConnell addresses Senate after announcing he will step down

Comer gets into testy exchange with reporter about lack of evidence in Biden probe

22:15 , Oliver O'Connell

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer got into a testy exchange with reporters as Hunter Biden gave testimony behind closed doors as part of the Republican House impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Mr Comer had been asked about the lack of evidence that the probe has so far unearthed to support claims that Mr Biden used his political influence to help enrich himself and his family.

Gustaf Kilander and Andrew Feinberg report from Washington, DC:

Comer gets into testy exchange with reporter about lack of evidence in Biden probe

Impeachment inquiry: Hunter Biden vows to ‘end this’

22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Hunter Biden today testified behind closed doors in the Republican impeachment probe into his father, President Joe Biden, saying in his opening statement that “I did not involve my father in my business” and that the House GOP has “built your entire partisan house of cards on lies”.

Gustaf Kilander and Andrew Feinberg have been tracking developments throughout the day:

Hunter Biden vows to ‘end this’ as he testifies in Republican impeachment inquiry

Watch: Fox News anchor wonders why Comer won’t say if anything learned from Hunter Biden deposition

21:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto is unimpressed with the statement Rep James Comer made to reporters following the closed-door Hunter Biden deposition.

“If there is stuff they connected to dad... if he had found anything that was, he certainly would've leapt at the chance to say it,” he said following the remarks by the House Oversight Committee chairman.

Capitol Hill reporter Aishah Hasnie replied that you would think he would've led the entire commentary with any new details but notes that while Democrats have been on a “media blitz” about what was being said at the deposition, Republicans are saying there are rules to be followed and they are not supposed to be talking about it.

White House publishes Biden’s physical

21:41 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden, pictured here heading to his annual physical on 28 February 2024 (Getty Images)
President Joe Biden, pictured here heading to his annual physical on 28 February 2024 (Getty Images)

The White House has released a summary of President Joe Biden’s physical this morning at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Read the full summary here...

The six-page report concludes: “This patient's current medical considerations are detailed as above, and remain stable and well-controlled. They include obstructive sleep apnea, a-fib with normal ventricular response. hyperlipidemia, gastroesophageal reflux, seasonal allergies, spinal arthritis and sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet. For these, he takes three common prescription medications and three common over-the-counter medications.

“President Biden is a healthy, active, robust 81-year-old male, who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency, to include those as Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief.”

Alabama lawmakers put forward bills to protect IVF medical providers

21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Bevan Hurley reports:

Alabama lawmakers introduced two bills on Tuesday that would shield medical providers that offer in vitro fertilisation services from civil and criminal liability.

The state Senate and House put forward the proposed bills nearly two weeks after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are legally protected children, forcing hospitals and clinics to halt treatments.

Senate Bill 159, introduced by Republican state senator Tim Melson, would provide “civil and criminal immunity provided for in vitro fertilization goods and services in certain circumstances”, according to the document’s text.

Later on Tuesday, Republican representative introduced House Bill 237 that would provide the same legal protections for IVF goods and services “except acts of omission that are intentional and not arising from or related to IVF services”.

Neither bill addressed the Supreme Court’s ruling that defined frozen embryos as children.

Continue reading...

Alabama puts forward bills to protect IVF clinics after Supreme Court ruling

Watch: Comer says Hunter Biden will face public hearing

21:24 , Oliver O'Connell

House Oversight Chairman James Comer says he will hold a public hearing with Hunter Biden, following his closed-door deposition.

Rep Comer, who continues to struggle to find any evidence of impeachable crimes involving President Joe Biden, told reporters: “The public hearing hopefully will clear up some discrepancies between some of the statements that were made between some of the associates.”

Biden salutes ‘friend’ McConnell after news of upcoming retirement

21:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Statement from President Joe Biden on Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

American Democracy is based on elected representatives coming together and bridging their different points of view to find common ground on behalf of the American people. I’m proud that my friend Mitch McConnell and I have been able to do that for many years, working together in good faith even though we have many political disagreements. During his many years of leadership, we could always speak with each other honestly and put the country ahead of ourselves. America is now being rebuilt by the biggest infrastructure law in nearly 70 years. We’re making critical investments so our economy can outcompete China. We’re standing up for our values and our most urgent national security interests in the world because of it. America is making tremendous strides towards curing cancer. There is nothing America cannot do when we do it together. Mitch has lived the American dream, overcoming polio and going on to become the longest-serving Senate leader in American history. Jill and I wish the best to Mitch and Elaine.

Lauren Boebert’s son arrested over spate of break-ins

21:00 , Bevan Hurley

Lauren Boebert’s teenage son has been charged with more than a dozen felony and misdemeanour offences in connection with a spate of property break-ins in Colorado, police say.

Tyler Jay Boebert, 18, was arrested on Sunday 27 February after a “recent string of vehicle trespass and property thefts”, according to a statement from the Rifle Police Department.

Continue reading...

Lauren Boebert’s son arrested over spate of break-ins

Let’s cut to the chase... who will replace Mitch McConnell?

20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Washington, DC team look at the seven Republican senators who can take over as the party leader in the upper chamber:

Who will replace Mitch McConnell?

Still no word from Trump on McConnell announcement

20:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell pictured together in 2019 (REUTERS)
Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell pictured together in 2019 (REUTERS)

New poll: Nearly one-third of Americans support autocracy

20:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Against a tide of antidemocratic threats and a rise in autocratic movements around the globe, representative democracy still remains largely popular, but support has slipped over the last decade, according to the results of a wide-ranging survey from Pew Research Center.

Alex Woodward takes a look a the findings of this new research:

Nearly one-third of Americans support autocracy, wide-ranging poll finds

Read Hunter Biden’s full opening statement to House GOP impeachment inquiry

20:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Statement of Robert Hunter Biden House Committees on Oversight & Accountability and the Judiciary

February 28, 2024

I am here today to provide the Committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business. Not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist. Never.

You read this fact in the many letters that have been sent to you over the last year as part of your so-called impeachment investigation. You heard this fact when I said it weeks ago, standing outside of this building. You heard this fact from a parade of other witnesses — former colleagues and business partners of mine, including my uncle — who have testified before you in similar proceedings. And now, today, you hear this fact directly from me.

For more than a year, your Committees have hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad. You have trafficked in innuendo, distortion, and sensationalism — all the while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence staring you in the face. You do not have evidence to support the baseless and MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father because there isn’t any.

You have built your entire partisan house of cards on lies told by the likes of Gal Luft, Tony Bobulinski, Alexander Smirnov, and Jason Galanis. Luft, who is a fugitive, has been indicted for his lies and other crimes; Smirnov, who has made you dupes in carrying out a Russian disinformation campaign waged against my father, has been indicted for his lies; Bobulinski, who has been exposed for the many false statements he has made, and Galanis, who is serving 14 years in prison for fraud. Rather than follow the facts as they have been laid out before you in bank records, financial statements, correspondence, and other witness testimony, you continue your frantic search to prove the lies you, and those you rely on, keep peddling. Yes, they are lies.

To be clear, I have made mistakes in my life, and I have squandered opportunities and privileges that were afforded to me. I know that. I am responsible for that. And I am making amends for that. But my mistakes and shortcomings are my own and not my father’s, who has done nothing but devote his entire life to public service and trying to make this country a better place to live.

During my battle with addiction, my father was there for me. He helped save my life. His love and support made it possible for me to get sober, stay sober and rebuild my life as a father, husband, son, and brother. What he got in return for being a loving and supportive parent is a barrage of hate-filled conspiracy theories that hatched this sham impeachment inquiry and continue to fuel unrelenting personal attacks against him and me.

Over the last year, Republicans have taken my communications out of context, relied on documents that have been altered, and cherry-picked snippets of financial or other records to misrepresent what really happened. Examples of this include a few references to my family in emails or texts that I sent when I was in the darkest days of my addiction. If you try to do that again today, my answers will reveal your tactics and demonstrate the truth that my father was never involved in any of my businesses.

My testimony today should put an end to this baseless and destructive political charade.

You have wasted valuable time and resources attacking me and my family for your own political gain when you should be fixing the real problems in this country that desperately need your attention.

Thank you.

Schumer says ‘proud’ of work with McConnell in recent years

20:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released the following statement regarding the news of the upcoming retirement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

During my years in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and I rarely saw eye to eye when it came to our politics or our policy preferences. But I am very proud that we both came together in the last few years to lead the Senate forward at critical moments when our country needed us, like passing the CARES Act in the early days of Covid pandemic, finishing our work to certify the election on January 6th, and more recently working together to fund the fight for Ukraine.

I know it’s been a difficult year for him and his family and I wish them the very best.

20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

This 26-year-old could be Biden’s secret weapon

Haley uses McConnell retirement news to bolster call for new generation of leaders

19:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has pounced on the new of Mitch McConnell’s upcoming retirement to underline her call for a new generation of leadership in US politics.

The former UN ambassador has called both Donald Trump and Joe Biden too old to be president.

Ms Haley posted on X: “I respect Sen. McConnell's decision. Serving at that level for that long is not easy. He did many good things, but he is right that we do need a new generation, not just in Congress but also in the White House.

“I'm fighting to get the Republican Party back to its principles of fiscal discipline and national security. Republicans need to get back to winning. It's what our children deserve.”

In depth: The 2024 election will be the oldest presidential fight in history. How do young voters feel?

19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Ariana Baio spoke with Gen-Z voters in North Carolina about how Joe Biden’s age factors into their feelings about the upcoming presidential election and what is on the line...

How young Democrats and young Republicans really feel about 2024

Watch: Raskin says McConnell didn’t show the ‘ultimate courage’ and vote to convict Trump

19:36 , Oliver O'Connell

“He didn’t show the ultimate courage which would have been to vote to convict and to find enough other Senators so we that wouldn’t be back in this nightmare again with Donald Trump,” says Rep Jamie Raskin on the news of Mitch McConnell’s upcoming retirement from the Senate.

House Speaker Johnson salutes historic contribution of McConnell

19:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson released the following statement regarding the upcoming retirement of Senator Mitch McConnell:

Mitch McConnell rose from humble beginnings overcoming polio to become one of the most consequential Senate Leaders in history. He started his Senate career as a legislative aide and ended up in charge of the upper chamber.

No Member of Congress has played a greater role in reshaping the federal judiciary than Mitch. I join my colleagues in saluting his historic contributions to the Republican Party and to the Congress.

Biden comments on Mitch McConnell decision to retire

19:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaking at an event on crime prevention, Joe Biden made his first remarks regarding the coming retirement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House this lunchtime.

President Biden said he’s “sorry to hear” Mr McConnell is stepping down from Senate leadership: “I trusted him, we had a great relationship, we fought like hell. But he never, never, never misrepresented anything. I’m sorry to hear he’s stepping down.”

Watch: Reporter calls out Comer over impeachment argument

19:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Rep Jim Comer was called out by a reporter over spurious reasoning behind the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Full story: Biden undergoes annual physical as his age remains campaign issue

19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden is undergoing his annual physical today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, at a time when his age continues to be a major concern among voters heading into the November election.

The White House said that Mr Biden travelled to the Navy-operated facility in Bethesda, Maryland on Wednesday, departing by helicopter at 9.06am and landing at the hospital’s helipad nine minutes later.

A White House official said Mr Biden’s visit to the hospital was “for his routine annual physical” and promised that his physician would release a written summary of the findings afterwards.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC:

Biden undergoes annual physical as his age remains campaign issue

‘Like being Charlie Sheen’s understudy in a Broadway play’

18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Jimmy Kimmel sheds some light on why Republican candidate Nikki Haley, despite losing her home state, would want to stay in the race – and it may have something to do with criminal proceedings against a certain Donald Trump.

Calls for Ms Haley, the final challenger to Mr Trump, to drop out of the presidential race have been incessantly ringing throughout the GOP, with many Trump allies applying pressure for her to bow out ever since other Republican contenders did the same.

However, she has steadfastly refused to do so despite being defeated time and time again, most recently in her home state.

Amelia Neath has the story:

Kimmel on Haley: ‘Like being Charlie Sheen’s understudy in a Broadway play’

Watch: McConnell announces his upcoming retirement

18:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Haley asked to name ‘single state she can win’ by reporter

18:00 , Joe Sommerlad

This was a fairly brutal question from the Republican challenger but she managed to spin it to her advantage, even as her campaign looks ever-more hopeless heading into Super Tuesday.

Watch: Nikki Haley asked to name ‘single state she can win’ by reporter

Full story: Mitch McConnell to step down as Senate Republican leader after 16 years

17:46 , Oliver O'Connell

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC:

Senator Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving party leader in the upper chamber’s history, will stand aside from his leadership post after the November general election.

Stay tuned for reactions from lawmakers on Capitol Hill...

Mitch McConnell to step down as Senate Republican leader after 16 years leading GOP

Watch: Schumer says government funding deal ‘very close'

17:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that negotiators in both chambers of Congress working on the government funding package have made “very good progress on an agreement and we are very close to getting it done”.

What you need to know about the Trump-era gun bump stock ban as it goes before the Supreme Court

17:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The debate around whether or not the federal government can ban “bump stocks” – devices that can be added to a semi-automatic firearm to make a gun fire faster – has now headed to the nation’s highest court.

On Wednesday 28 February, the Supreme Court justices are hearing oral arguments in the case of Garland v Cargill.

The case concerns a ban on bump stocks that the Trump administration imposed after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, where a gunman used a bump stock to fire more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition into a music festival crowd, killing 58 people initially (two other injured individuals died years later) in just 11 minutes.

Ariana Baio reports:

Supreme Court hears arguments on Trump-era gun bump stock ban

17:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Per the Associated Press:

Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving Senate leader in history who maintained his power in the face of dramatic convulsions in the Republican Party for almost two decades, will step down from that position in November.

McConnell, who turned 82 last week, was set to announce his decision Wednesday in the well of the Senate, a place where he looked in awe from its back benches in 1985 when he arrived and where he grew increasingly comfortable in the front row seat afforded the party leaders.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” he said in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. “So I stand before you today ... to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

His decision punctuates a powerful ideological transition underway in the Republican Party, from Ronald Reagan’s brand of traditional conservatism and strong international alliances, to the fiery, often isolationist populism of former President Donald Trump.

McConnell said he plans to serve out his Senate term, which ends in January 2027, “albeit from a different seat in the chamber.” Aides said McConnell’s announcement about the leadership post was unrelated to his health. The Kentucky senator had a concussion from a fall last year and two public episodes where his face briefly froze while he was speaking.

“As I have been thinking about when I would deliver some news to the Senate, I always imagined a moment when I had total clarity and peace about the sunset of my work,” McConnell said in his prepared remarks. “A moment when I am certain I have helped preserve the ideals I so strongly believe. It arrived today.”

Stay tuned for reaction and further developments from Capitol Hill...

BREAKING: Mitch McConnell to step down as GOP Senate leader in November

17:26 , Oliver O'Connell

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will step down as the Senate’s Republican leader in November, ending a record run in the powerful post.

This is a developing story...

Biden departs Walter Reed following physical

17:08 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Biden departs from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (AFP via Getty Images)
Joe Biden departs from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden has departed Walter Reed National National Military Medical Center following his annual physical.

According to calculations by Danny Kemp of the AFP, he was inside for approximately two hours and thirty minutes.

Watch: Mace says Hunter Biden being ‘defiant and dishonest'

17:05 , Oliver O'Connell

Duckworth to bring IVF bill to Senate floor this afternoon

17:03 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois plans to seek unanimous consent to pass her bill codifying IVF treatment in law at 4.45pm today on the Senate floor following the outrage over the Alabama State Supreme Court’s recent ruling that put those seeking treatment in limbo.

If just one single senator objects, the bill is blocked.

Schumer says Ukraine will ‘lose the war’ without more US defence aid

17:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday that Ukraine’s defence forces would ultimately be defeated by Russia’s invading army if the US fails to approve a supplemental defence spending bill that includes funds for Kyiv, as well as defence aid to Israel and Taiwan.

Speaking outside the White House following an Oval Office meeting with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House speaker Mike Johnson, House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, Schumer called the session “productive” and said he and his colleagues “are making good progress” towards a solution.

He added that Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, “said unequivocally he wants to avoid a government shutdown”.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

Biden tells House and Senate leaders there’s ‘a lot of work to do’ to avoid shutdown

Watch: Testimony was ‘nail in coffin’ of ‘bogus and sham impeachment inquiry’ say Rep Goldman

16:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch: AOC says after impeachment Russian intel revelation, House GOP now scrambling

16:37 , Oliver O'Connell

Hunter Biden speaks out about his sobriety

16:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Hunter Biden has spoken out about his sobriety and why it’s key to stopping Donald Trump from returning to the White House.

President Joe Biden has said in private that Republicans’ attacks on his son, as well as the criminal charges against Hunter, are putting a strain on his family and could prompt his son to relapse, noting his family struggles with addiction, Axios reported.

Hunter Biden told the outlet that he views his sobriety as important in his private life and in keeping Mr Trump from winning the 2024 election.

Gustaf Kilander has the story:

Hunter Biden speaks out about his sobriety – and why it's key to stopping Trump

Watch: Rep Garcia gives update on Hunter Biden deposition

16:22 , Oliver O'Connell

“We’ve been in the deposition now for about an hour, and one thing is crystal clear: Republicans have zero evidence linking Hunter Biden to any sort of business dealings with the president,” says Rep Robert Garcia (D-CA).

Don't count on a Nikki Haley 2028 run going anywhere

16:12 , Oliver O'Connell

After another runaway victory for Trump over Haley, many may be wondering what comes next for the former South Carolina governor.

Eric Garcia says that those hoping for a more successful 2028 run (not least Team Haley) would be well-advised not to hold their breath.

Nikki Haley (Getty)
Nikki Haley (Getty)

Watch: Republicans ‘trying to make fetch happen'

16:05 , Oliver O'Connell

CNN’s Jim Acosta slips in a Mean Girls reference in his analysis of House Republicans’ failed attempts to link President Joe Biden to any impeachable crimes.

“They’re trying to make ‘fetch’ happen,” he says of the impeachment inquiry.

There is plenty of scepticism over their efforts to look for crimes involving the president:

Republicans doubt prospects of Biden impeachment effort, report says

In pictures: Hunter Biden arrives for closed-door deposition at GOP impeachment inquiry

15:52 , Oliver O'Connell

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, arrives for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill (AFP via Getty Images)
Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, arrives for a closed-door deposition with the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on Capitol Hill (AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
Rep James Comer (R-KY), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, speaks to reporters ahead of closed deposition. The impeachment inquiry has so far failed to find any evidence of offences on the part of the President Joe Biden (REUTERS)
Rep James Comer (R-KY), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, speaks to reporters ahead of closed deposition. The impeachment inquiry has so far failed to find any evidence of offences on the part of the President Joe Biden (REUTERS)

Watch: Raskin says impeachment inquiry ‘comedy of errors from the beginning'

15:46 , Oliver O'Connell

Happening now: Hunter Biden vows to ‘end this’

15:39 , Oliver O'Connell

Hunter Biden is testifying behind closed doors in the Republican impeachment probe into his father President Joe Biden, saying in his opening statement that “I did not involve my father in my business” and that the House GOP has “built your entire partisan house of cards on lies”.

Gustaf Kilander and Andrew Feinberg are following developments in Washington, DC:

Hunter Biden vows to ‘end this’ as he arrives to testify in impeachment inquiry

Our Revolution releases statement on ‘uncommitted’ vote in Michigan primary

15:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Political advocacy group Our Revolution, which helped push for Democrat primary voters to vote “uncommitted” in Michigan in protest over the Biden administration’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, has released a statement after more than 100,000 people did so.

As final results are tallied, Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution, said of last night’s election:

“Last night, progressive voters across the state of Michigan made their voices heard. By showing up and voting UNCOMMITTED in the Democratic primary, they sent a resounding message to President Biden: Change course now on Gaza or risk alienating key voter blocs needed to defeat Trump in November.

“We’ve all watched as nearly 30,000 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza. Despite unprecedented global outrage and poll after poll showing that Democratic voters overwhelmingly support a ceasefire, the Biden administration continues to provide unconditional support to Israel’s right-wing government to enable its brutal military campaign.

“Enough is enough. As tonight’s results in Michigan make plainly clear, in order for Democrats to defeat Donald Trump in November, Biden must realign with his voter base and listen to the diverse, progressive voices urging him to change course in Gaza.

“And until he does, we will continue showing up, speaking out, and activating Our Revolution’s eight million grassroots members across the country to use their ballot to demand change.”

Here’s our coverage of the protest vote:

Why did so many Democrats vote ‘uncommitted’ over Biden in Michigan’s primary?

Voices: Biden has bigger problems in Michigan than Gaza protest votes

15:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Ever since Israel began its campaign in Gaza after the October 7 Hamas attacks, there has been much speculation around how President Joe Biden’s support for Israel will affect his prospects in Michigan – a state with a sizeable Muslim population.

Some Muslim-Americans – including congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American lawmaker in Congress – chose to vote “uncommitted” in Tuesday’s primary as a mark of protest over his handling of the conflict.

And this has left some Democrats fearing that a poor showing in February might hurt him in the November general election in a state that Trump won in 2016, before Biden turned it blue again in 2020.

Eric Garcia has more.

Biden has bigger problems in Michigan than Gaza protest votes

In pictures: Biden heads to Walter Reed for physical

15:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Joe Biden walks out of the White House to board Marine One for a short trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (AP)
Joe Biden walks out of the White House to board Marine One for a short trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (AP)
 (AP)
(AP)
Members of the media try to block themselves from wind, rain and rotor wash as Marine One with President Joe Biden aboard lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House (AP)
Members of the media try to block themselves from wind, rain and rotor wash as Marine One with President Joe Biden aboard lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House (AP)
President Biden arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (EPA)
President Biden arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (EPA)

Hunter Biden to testify today in Republican impeachment inquiry

15:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Hunter Biden is set to testify today behind closed doors in the flailing Republican impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden.

For months, Hunter Biden said he would only testify in public in the probe, in order to avoid Republicans taking his words out of context in the way they then present it to the public.

The president’s son has only agreed after his attorneys negotiated several conditions that Republicans accepted.

Gustaf Kilander and Andrew Feinberg will be keeping an eye on proceedings and filed this report:

Hunter Biden to testify behind closed doors in Republican impeachment inquiry

Happening now: Biden undergoes annual physical as his age remains campaign issue

14:47 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for his annual physical, the White House has said.

Mr Biden travelled to the Navy-operated facility in Bethesda, Maryland on Wednesday, departing the White House by helicopter at 9.06 am and landing at the hospital’s helipad nine minutes later.

A White House official said Mr Biden’s visit to the hospital was “for his routine annual physical” and promised that his physician would release a written summary of the findings afterwards.

Mr Biden, 81, is the oldest person to ever serve as America’s chief executive.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC:

Biden undergoes annual physical as his age remains campaign issue

Why did so many Democrats vote ‘uncommitted’ over Biden in Michigan’s primary?

14:30 , Joe Sommerlad

In advance of Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Michigan, organisers mounted a campaign to urge local residents to consider entering an “uncommitted” vote, rather than simply backing Joe Biden, in order to register their opposition to the White House’s handling of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The movement, co-ordinated by a number of groups including Listen To Michigan, said that its pleas for the Biden administration to do more to end the devastation in Gaza has “fallen on deaf ears”.

“Frustrated with the lack of response, we are now turning to a more traditional method of democratic expression: our voting power,” the group’s website reads.

Their efforts yielded an extraordinary response.

As of Wednesday morning, with 98 per cent of the vote counted, President Biden had won the primary with 617,728 votes, accounting for 81.1 per cent of the total, but 100,960 people had marked their papers “uncommitted”, meaning 13.3 per cent of Michigan Democrats had entered a powerful protest vote.

Why people are voting ‘uncommitted’ over Biden in Michigan’s primary

Breaking: Marianne Williamson announces she is ‘unsuspending’ her 2024 presidential campaign

14:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Long-shot Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson announced on Wednesday she is unsuspending her campaign and throwing her hat back into the ring in the race for the White House.

In a video posted on X, Ms Williamson said she was re-joining the presidential race to take down President Joe Biden – who she referred to as a “fascist”.

“I had suspended it because I was losing the horse race but something so much more important than the horse race is at stake here and we must respond,” Ms Williamson said.

“Right now we have a fascist standing at the door and everybody’s all upset about it.”

Ariana Baio has the latest.

Marianne Williamson ‘unsuspends’ her presidential campaign

Haley blames Trump for Republican losses in Michigan and across the US

13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has said her rival and current GOP front-runner Donald Trump is to blame for recent Republican losses in Michigan, a key battleground state.

“Ever since Donald Trump became president, they've lost the governor's mansion. They've lost the state House. They've lost the state Senate,” she told CNN.

The former UN ambassador has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that Trump won’t be able to win the general election.

“You're seeing the same thing, whether you look at all the early states — Donald Trump didn't get 40 per cent of any of the Republican primary vote. It is a problem,” Haley said.

“He’s not bringing people into the party, he's pushing people out of the party.”

Number of ‘uncommitted’ votes in Michigan passes 100,000

12:47 , Joe Sommerlad

The number of people who registered an “uncommitted” vote in yesterday’s Democratic primary has now passed the 100,000-mark, according to the AP, which equates to around 13.3 per cent of the total and is certainly something for Joe Biden’s team to take into account.

Results in Michigan all but cement prospect of Trump-Biden rematch

12:00 , Joe Sommerlad

President Joe Biden survived plans by progressives and Arab-Americans to vote “uncommitted” in protest of his support for Israel to win the Michigan primary on Tuesday evening.

Read more from Eric Garcia here on what that means for presidential race.

Biden survives ‘uncommitted’ Democratic protest vote on Gaza to win Michigan primary

Trump wins Michigan primary as Haley warns his candidacy would be ‘suicide for our country’

11:00 , Joe Sommerlad

Donald Trump picked up another win in Michigan’s Republican primary on Tuesday but weathered a further attack from rival Nikki Haley, who told The Wall Street Journal that his candidacy would mean “suicide for out country” in some of her strongest criticism yet of the GOP presidential front-runner.

“This may be his survival mode to pay his legal fees and get out of some sort of legal peril, but this is like suicide for our country,” she the former UN ambassador of the man she served as president, who now faces four criminal indictments and 91 felony charges.

“We’ve got to realise that if we don’t have someone who can win a general election, all we are doing is caving to the socialist left.”

Haley has repeatedly pointed to polling that indicates she could beat Joe Biden in November, whereas the contest between the president and Trump is too close to call.

On her decision to stay in the race despite having no obvious path to victory, she pointed to the lack of public appetite for a rematch of the 2020 election by saying: “I’m doing what I believe 70 per cent of Americans want me to do.”

Certainly not everyone in Michigan is keen for more Trump.

Here’s Eric Garcia on last night’s primary.

Trump beats Haley in Michigan primary but underperforms expectations

Top Michigan election officials expected expedited results

10:30 , Shweta Sharma

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said they are expecting election results “relatively sooner than in the past”.

She said it was because of the new law that “enables clerks to begin processing absentee ballots that were sent before today to begin processing them earlier than today”.

There were nearly 2,000 Michiganders registered to vote, she added.

From running mate to chief of staff, here’s who could be in a Trump administration in 2025

09:45 , Shweta Sharma

Nothing has captured the current political imagination more than the Trump veepstakes.

Given that Donald Trump is all but guaranteed to be the nominee, the choice to be his vice-president will explain to the voting public what we can expect from a future administration. And this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) offered the perfect exhibition match for would-be administration officials.

Jeffrey Lord, a political strategist who worked in the Reagan and Bush administrations, told The Independent at CPAC that Trump is most likely to pick either a female running mate or Tim Scott, the sole Black Republican senator who endorsed him last month.

From running mate to chief of staff, here’s who could be in a Trump administration

Judge slaps down rogue Michigan Republican chairwoman who refused to leave post

09:00 , Mike Bedigan

A Michigan court has ruled in favour of one of the two duelling claimants to the leadership of the Michigan Republican Party.

Since 6 January this year, Kristina Karamo has insisted that she is the rightful chairwoman of the state party despite a group of her colleagues voting to remove her.

Following his win in the GOP Michigan primary on Tuesday, Donald Trump praised Pete Hoekstra, Ms Karamo’s replacement.

“This was a great day and Pete, congratulations. You’ll be a fantastic chairman, one of the best ever. I don’t know if you know he was a fantastic— just couldn’t be better as an ambassador— but before that he was a really successful and respected, highly respected congressman,” Mr Trump said, in remarks shared by his campaign.

Read the full story from Io Dodds here:

Judge slaps down rogue Michigan Republican chairwoman who refused to leave post

23:14 , Oliver O'Connell

Watch: Mitch McConnell addresses Senate after announcing he will step down

Biden survives ‘uncommitted’ Democratic protest vote over Gaza to win Michigan primary

08:30 , Shweta Sharma

President Joe Biden survived plans by progressives and Arab-Americans to vote “uncommitted” in protest of his support for Israel to win the Michigan primary on Tuesday evening.

Michigan is home to one of the largest Arab-American populations in the country, specifically located in Dearborn, just outside of Detroit. As of late Tuesday evening, with 47 out of 48 per cent of its precincts reported, the city reported that 56.22 per cent of the city’s population voted “uncommitted” while 40.37 per cent of Dearborn turned out for Mr Biden.

As of early Wednesday morning, with a more than half of the vote reporting, Mr Biden received 81.1 per cent of the vote in the Democratic primary, while 13 percent of voters chose “uncommitted.” But much of Wayne County, the largest county in Michigan that houses a large part of Detroit, had yet to report its results.

Biden survives ‘uncommitted’ Democratic protest vote on Gaza to win Michigan primary

Listen to Michigan movement ‘emerged victorious tonight'

07:45 , Shweta Sharma

The #ListenToMichigan group, which advocated for Michiganders to cast their votes as “uncommitted” in the state’s Democratic primary, declared triumph and lauded the results of the day.

In a statement released on X, the group said it “emerged victorious tonight and massively surpassed our expectations”.

“President Biden has funded the bombs falling on the family members of people who live right here in Michigan. People who voted for him, who now feel completely betrayed,” the group said. “President Biden, listen to Michigan. Count us out, Joe.”

Washington stares down the barrel of the first shutdown of 2024

07:00 , Mike Bedigan

John Bowden writes:

Mike Johnson’s first big moment of 2024 is here.

With Congress under a 1 March deadline to reauthorise several major government programs, Washington is once again playing shutdown roulette. And all eyes are on the House of Representatives, where a two-vote GOP majority holds the chamber and Mr Johnson faces the constant threat of being ousted by his own colleagues.

On Friday, funding for a wide range of government programs under four major umbrellas will cease: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; Energy and Water Development; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration. The immediate effects would not be devastating, though federal workers could see their paychecks suspended and many public-facing operations of government — like Veterans Affairs offices — would temporarily shutter.

Read the full story here:

Washington stares down the barrel of the first shutdown of 2024

Pictures: Emotional ‘uncommitted’ supporters in Dearborn celebrate

06:11 , Shweta Sharma

“Uncommitted” supporters who organised a protest movement against Joe Biden’s support for Israel began celebrating after unofficial results were declared.

Pictures showed the supporters dancing to the tunes of traditional Palestinian music at a Lebanese restaurant in Dearborn. Many got emotional and hugged.

Initial results showed “uncommitted” – the Gaza protest vote – leading over Joe Biden, though with a significant drop from 74.5 per cent to 55.88 per cent, according to unofficial results.

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(REUTERS)
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Michigan takeaways: Presidential primaries show warning signs for Trump and Biden

05:55 , Shweta Sharma

Joe Biden and Donald Trump easily won their parties’ primary in Michigan, but results showed that both candidates have cause for concern in their bid to win the swing state in November.

An “uncommitted” vote in Michigan‘s Democratic primary was the first indication of how backlash over President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza might impact his reelection campaign.

Mr Trump won his primary by a large margin, but support for rival Nikki Haley once again showed that some Republican voters may have misgivings about giving the former president another four years in the general election.

1. Biden, Trump each move closer to party’s nomination

Mr Biden has now cruised to victories over lesser known candidates in South Carolina, Nevada and New Hampshire, which he won in a write-in campaign.

Tuesday’s results show that his standing is still strong in Michigan, where Mr Biden returned to the Democratic column in 2020.

Mr Trump has swept all five of the early state contests, including South Carolina, the home state of rival Haley. He now heads into Super Tuesday, when 15 states and one territory hold Republican nominating contests, as the overwhelming favourite to lock up the Republican nomination.

2. Some Democrats express anger over Gaza with ‘uncommitted’ vote

Michigan has become the focal point of Democratic frustration regarding the White House’s actions in the Israel-Hamas conflict. It has the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the nation.

That anger came through loud and clear on Tuesday as some voters marked “uncommitted” on their ballot in the Democratic primary. Mr Biden still dominated the primary, but the result could be a concern in a state he won by less than 3 per cent in 2020 and likely can’t afford to lose this year.

3. Some Republicans still oppose Trump

Despite Trump’s clear victory in Michigan, Ms Haley still saw significant support from the swing state’s Republicans. Some of her best results came in Oakland and Kent counties, where Democrats have been gaining ground in recent years, contributing to their recent statewide success. She also performed better in counties where the state’s largest universities are located, Washtenaw and Ingham counties.

Biden avoids mentioning ‘uncommitted’ vote or Gaza protest

05:43 , Shweta Sharma

President Biden did not mention the “uncommitted” votes or the protests against his Gaza war policy during his statement on Michigan’s results.

“I want to thank every Michigander who made their voice heard today. Exercising the right to vote and participating in our democracy is what makes America great,” Mr Biden said, according to a statement released by his campaign.

But he went all out against Donald Trump, who he said was “threatening to drag us even further into the past as he pursues revenge and retribution”.

Watch: Uncommitted vote led by the Listen to Michigan grassroots movement

05:30 , Mike Bedigan

‘Uncommitted’ in lead in Dearborn

05:27 , Shweta Sharma

The votes for the Democratic primary in Dearborn city show “uncommitted” – the Gaza protest vote – leading over Joe Biden, though with a significant drop from 74.5 per cent to 55.88 per cent, according to unofficial results.

Joe Biden is trailing on about 40 per cent in the city.

Overall across Michigan, Mr Biden is on around 80.9 per cent with 392,260 votes, the current tally shows, with “uncommitted” getting 14 per cent.

Dearborn city has the highest percentage of Arab American voters in Michigan.

In pictures: Michigan voters at the polls

05:00 , Mike Bedigan

 (AP)
(AP)
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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Judge slaps down rogue Michigan Republican chairwoman who refused to leave post

04:40 , Mike Bedigan

The ruling could finally put an end to the bizarre chaos that has engulfed Michigan’s GOP since the election of Kristina Karamo in February 2023.

Read the full story from Io Dodds:

Judge slaps down rogue Michigan Republican chairwoman who refused to leave post

Watch: Biden and Trump win Michigan primaries

04:30 , Mike Bedigan

04:20 , Mike Bedigan

‘Uncommitted’ vote in Michigan is ‘the least of Biden’s concerns'

04:00 , Mike Bedigan

Long-shot Democratic candidate, Dean Phillips has said that the swathe of “uncommited” votes, entered by residents in Michigan is the least of Joe Biden’s concerns going forward.

Speaking to CNN Mr Phillips said that the “most ominous numbers” are the president’s approval rating, deficits in polls in battleground states and the ongoing concerns over his age.

“For over eighteen months I’ve been trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to wake my party up from its delusion about the president’s fitness to compete in this election,” Mr Phillips told the outlet.

“The uncommitted vote in Michigan, while ominous, is the least of his concerns.”

Biden thanks Michiganders following primary win

03:53 , Mike Bedigan

In a statement following his primary win in Michigan, Joe Biden thanked voters and warned against Donald Trump’s attempt to drage the US “even further into the past as he pursues revenge and retribution”,

“I want to thank every Michigander who made their voice heard today. Exercising the right to vote and participating in our democracy is what makes America great.“Four years ago, it was Michigan’s diverse coalition that came together to reject Donald Trump’s MAGA extremism and sent me and Kamala to the White House,” the president said.

“Because of Michiganders, we’ve been able to work hand in hand with Governor Whitmer and the incredible Democratic leaders in Michigan’s congressional delegation to deliver enormous progress. I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with UAW workers last year as they led the fight for the wages and benefits they deserve.

“We took on Big Pharma and are lowering the cost of prescription drugs for nearly 2 million Michigan seniors. We’re investing in our world-class auto industry and are finally making big corporations pay their fair share after Trump rigged the economy for special interests and gave handouts to his wealthy friends. And we’re fixing our crumbling bridges and roads while creating thousands of good-paying, union jobs right here in Michigan after Trump shipped them overseas.

“For all of this progress, there is so much left to do. Donald Trump is threatening to drag us even further into the past as he pursues revenge and retribution. He proudly brags that he is the reason Roe v. Wade was overturned in this country. Because of Donald Trump, women’s lives are at risk, doctors face the prospect of criminal penalties for doing their jobs, and families desperately trying to have children are having access to fertility treatments ripped away.

“Now, Donald Trump wants to ban abortion nationwide – including here in Michigan.“You’ve heard me say many times it’s never a good bet to bet against the United States of America. It’s never a good bet to bet against Michiganders either. This fight for our freedoms, for working families, and for Democracy is going to take all of us coming together. I know that we will.”

Tracking the 2024 Republican delegates

03:45 , Mike Bedigan

States choose to allocate Republican delegates to candidates either on a winner-take-all method or proportionally.

Check out The Independent’s updated delegate tracker, from Ariana Baio:

2024 Republican delegate tracker

How are the presidential hopefuls doing financially?

03:30 , Mike Bedigan

With the Michigan primaries now projected, the remaining presidential candidates will look be looking ahead to Super Tuesday, and looking at their bank balances.

Despite her dwindling prospects, Nikki Haley outraised Donald Trump’s primary campaign committee by almost $3 million in January, indicating that some donors continue to look at the former UN ambassador as an alternative to Mr Trump should his legal problems imperil his chances of becoming the nominee.

Two of the former president’s political committees raised just $13.8 million in January, according to campaign finance reports released last week, while collectively spending more than they took in. Much of the money spent from Mr Trump’s political committees is the millions of dollars in legal fees to cover his court cases.

With nominal intraparty challengers, Joe Biden has been able to focus on beefing up his cash reserves. The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee announced last week that it had raised $42 million in contributions during January from 422,000 donors.

The president ended the month with $130 million in cash on hand, which campaign officials said is the highest total ever raised by any Democratic candidate at this point in the presidential cycle.

Donald Trump remarks following Michigan primary win

03:25 , Mike Bedigan

Following yet another win in Michigan on Tuesday, Donald Trump reiterated his promises to “win big” in November and make America “greater than ever before”.

“We have a very simple task: we have to win on November 5, and we’re going to win big, and it’s going to be like nothing that anybody has ever seen,” the former president said, in remarks shared by his campaign.

“It’s going to be fantastic. We win Michigan; we win the whole thing. The auto workers are with us. We have so many people with us. They’ve destroyed the auto working business—the auto workers— with this new deal, and with the all-electric mandate, all those cars are going to be made in China. And we’re going to bring it all back into Michigan and other places in our country.

“But I just want to thank everybody, you’ve been so incredible. The numbers are far greater than we even anticipated. Thank you very much, and we’ll be doing a lot of campaigning over the next couple of months and few months. I can tell you this November 5th cannot come fast enough because our country is in serious trouble.

“We have the worst president in the history of our country, the most incompetent and the most corrupt president, and we can’t let this continue. So the date November 5, January 20, when we take over, could not come fast enough because we’re going to Make America Great Again, greater than ever before.

“And I just want to thank everybody, you’ve been incredible. And I’m so proud of the results because they’re far greater than anticipated. So thank you all very much, and I’ll be seeing you over the next period of nine months and long beyond that.”

‘A flashing warning sign’: Haley campaign releases statement following Michigan loss

03:20 , Mike Bedigan

Following her loss in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Michigan, Nikki Haley has warned of a “flashing warning light” for Donald Trump.

In a statement, Haley campaign spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas: “Joe Biden is losing about 20 percent of the Democratic vote today, and many say it’s a sign of his weakness in November.

“Donald Trump is losing about 35 percent of the vote. That’s a flashing warning sign for Trump in November. Since Trump became president in 2016, he lost Michigan Republicans the state House, state Senate, and Governor’s mansion.

“What was once a beacon for the conservative cause, the Michigan Republican Party is now fractured and divided.“Let this serve as another warning sign that what has happened in Michigan will continue to play out across the country.

“So long as Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, Republicans will keep losing to the socialist left. Our children deserve better.”

Michigan court rules on leadership of state Republican Party

03:00 , Mike Bedigan

A Michigan court has ruled in favour of one of the two duelling claimants to the leadership of the Michigan Republican Party, The Independent’s Io Dodds reports.

Since January, Kristina Karamo has insisted that she is the rightful chairwoman of the party despite a group of her colleagues voting to remove her. Now, Kent County judge J Joseph Rossi has upheld that vote, and ordered Ms Karamo to immediately relinquish control of the party’s bank accounts, website, and social media accounts.

“This court finds, that as of 6 January 2024, Ms Karamo was removed as chair of the Michigan Republican State Committee ... and that any actions of Ms Kamaro since [then] purporting to be taken on behalf of the Michigan Republican State Committee are void and have no effect,” Mr Rossi wrote.

He ordered Ms Karamo to stop representing herself as the party’s leader and conduct no more business on behalf of the party.The ruling could finally put an end to the bizarre chaos that has engulfed the Michigan GOP since its election losses in 2022, which members feared could severely hamper them this November.

Biden wins comfortably, despite threat of ‘uncommitted’ voters

02:40 , Mike Bedigan

ANALYSIS: Michigan results

02:29 , Mike Bedigan

After the perhaps unsurprising projected wins from Joe Biden and Donald Trump here’s the analysis from The Independent’s Eric Garcia:

Earlier in the evening, Biden seemed to have trouble in Washtenaw County, where Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are located.

Early Tuesday evening, when only 35 per cent of the vote reported, he sat at 70 per cent while 25 per cent voted “uncommitted.” But now, it seems Biden’s lead is growing. With 56 per cent of the vote in, Biden grew his lead to 73 per cent and 22 per cent voted “uncommitted.”

While much of the focus on voters upset about Israel’s actions in Gaza in its war with Hamas has been on Dearborn, Michigan, home to a large Arab-American population, young voters represent a much larger bloc of voters who are upset.

If Biden continues to chip away at this lead, it might be a sign that there isn’t enough of a rally against him.

Results in Michigan all but solidify prospect of Trump-Biden rematch

02:20 , Mike Bedigan

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump won the Michigan primaries on Tuesday, further solidifying the all-but-certain rematch between the two men.Mr Biden defeated Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips, his one significant opponent left in the Democratic primary. But Democrats were also closely watching the results of the “uncommitted” vote, as Michigan has become the epicenter for dissatisfied members of the president’s coalition that propelled him to victory in the state — and nationally — in 2020.

The number of “uncommitted” votes has already surpassed the 10,000-vote margin by which Mr Trump won Michigan in 2016, surpassing a goal set by organisers of this year’s protest effort, according to The Associated Press.

As for Mr Trump, he has now swept the first five states on the Republican primary calendar.

His victory in Michigan over his last major primary challenger, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, comes after the former president defeated her by 20 percentage points in her home state of South Carolina on Saturday.

The Trump campaign is looking to lock up the 1,215 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination sometime in mid-March.

BREAKING: Joe Biden wins the Democratic presidential primary in Michigan

02:06 , Mike Bedigan

Joe Biden has been projected to win the Democratic presidential primary in Michigan.

The call was made by The Associated Press at just after 9pm local time on Tuesday night.

The president had faced some criticism from residents in the state, some of whom opted to enter an “uncommited” vote on their ballot.

BREAKING: Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential primary in Michigan

02:04 , Mike Bedigan

Donald Trump has been projected to win the Republican presidential primary in Michigan.

The call was made by The Associated Press at just after 9pm local time on Tuesday night.

The result takes the former president one step closer to his goal of returning to the White House.

Kennedy Jr laments security woes as Michigan polls close

01:49 , Mike Bedigan

With polls in Michigan almost closed – deciding the GOP victor between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley – Independent candidate and vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F Kennedy Jr continued his complaints about lack of governmet protection.

“A congressional advisory committee recently voted in favor of granting Nikki Haley Secret Service protection,” an email from the Kennedy campaign on Tuesdy stated.

“Nikki, who has almost no chance to win her party’s nomination, has clearly won the hearts of Congress, and an adoring national media elite gushing over her every move.

“And while the Congress and the Media continue to prop up the presidential ambitions of their darling Nikki, they are hanging Robert F Kennedy, Jr. out to dry.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent candidate for President of the United States, speaks during a campaign event at a hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, 16 October 2023 (EPA)
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent candidate for President of the United States, speaks during a campaign event at a hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, 16 October 2023 (EPA)

One county to watch: Wayne County

01:09 , Mike Bedigan

From The Independent’s Senior Washington Correspondent, Eric Garcia:

President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump both hope to put up strong showings tonight in the Democratic and Republican primaries in Michigan, respectively.

But their fates will ultimately lie in Wayne County, the state's most populous district, and one of the four major Detroit counties. For Mr Biden, the district has the highest concentration of Arab American voters as it houses Dearborn. Arab-American voters have sharply criticised Biden's support for Israel in its assault on Gaza as it wages war against Hamas. More than 29,000 people have died as a result of Israel's bombing.

If a large swath of Dearborn votes "uncommitted," it will send a significant dent in Mr Biden's margin of victory.

But Wayne counties is also Michigan's blackest county. Black people make up a little less than 38 per cent of the county's population, most of them located in the city of Detroit. The Biden campaign has feared a lack of enthusiasm among Black voters for some time, so if it sees low turnout from blacker precincts, they will know they have more work to do.

Mr Trump's campaign has to worry too. So far, he's performed the worst in suburban counties. When he won 98 out of 99 counties in Iowa, he lost Johnson County, home of Sioux City and the very type of college-educated white voters that broke for Nikki Haley. On Saturday, he lost wealthy educated parts of South Carolina like Beaufort County, home of Hilton Head, and Charleston.

Wayne County includes numerous suburbs like Belleville. Trump's weaknesses in the suburbs might be on full display in these areas.

Watch: Presidential primary: Voters head to the polls in Michigan

00:40 , Mike Bedigan

How are the polls looking in Michigan?

00:05 , Mike Bedigan

Ahead of the results of the GOP primary in Michigan on Tuesday, Donald Trump is projected a clear lead over Nikki Haley.

Polling site FiveThirtyEight put the president at commanding 78.7 per cent of the vote as of Monday.

Ms Haley, Mr Trump’s only significant remaining rival in the competition, lags far behind on 21.8 per cent.

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(REUTERS)

Biden has bigger problems in Michigan than Gaza protest votes

Tuesday 27 February 2024 23:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

Ever since Israel began its campaign in Gaza after the October 7 Hamas attacks, there has been much speculation around how President Joe Biden’s support for Israel will affect his prospects in Michigan – a state with a sizeable Muslim population.

Some Muslim-Americans – including congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American lawmaker in Congress – have chosen to vote “uncommitted” in Tuesday’s primary as a mark of protest over his handling of the conflict. And this has left some Democrats fearing that a poor showing in February might hurt him in the November general election in a state that Donald Trump won in 2016, before Mr Biden turned it blue again in 2020.

Most of the focus has been on Dearborn, a town with an overwhelmingly Muslim population, and the abandonment its residents feel after backing Mr Biden to beat Mr Trump in 2020.

But, while this may be the biggest talking point as voters cast their ballots, the support of Muslim Americans might actually be the least of Mr Biden’s problems in Michigan.

Continue reading...

Biden has bigger problems in Michigan than Gaza protest votes

Inside the chaotic Republican rivalry that could swing the 2024 election

Tuesday 27 February 2024 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Michigan residents will on Tuesday help decide whether Donald Trump or Nikki Haley will represent the Republican Party in this year’s presidential election.

After the public has its say, local Republican officials will meet at a party convention on Saturday 2 March to add their own votes in a two-stage primary process.

But this year, there will be not one but two duelling conventions, convened by two rival party leaders – both of whom claim they are the real one.

Such is the chaos that has engulfed the Great Lake State’s GOP since its disastrous showing in the 2022 midterm elections, which saw Democrats take both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s seat for the first time in decades.

Io Dodds takes a look at what’s happening:

Inside the chaotic Republican rivalry in Michigan that could swing the 2024 election

Schumer says Ukraine will ‘lose the war’ if spending package isn’t passed

Tuesday 27 February 2024 21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday said Ukraine’s defence forces would ultimately be defeated by Russia’s invading army if the US fails to approve a supplemental defence spending bill which includes funds for Kyiv, as well as defence aid to Israel and Taiwan.

Speaking outside the White House following an Oval Office meeting with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Mike Johnson, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Mr Schumer called the session “productive” and said he and his colleagues “are making good progress” towards a solution.

He added that Mr Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, “said unequivocally he wants to avoid a government shutdown”.

Andrew Feinberg reports:

Schumer says Ukraine will ‘lose the war’ if spending package isn’t passed

Does TSA still run if the government shuts down?

Tuesday 27 February 2024 20:45 , Oliver O'Connell

During federal shutdowns, government employees are told not to report for work and placed on furlough – although, since 2019, they are now paid retroactively when the impasse comes to an end, rather than forced to lose out on wages altogether.

What does that mean for the TSA and other public safety bodies?

Does TSA still run if the government shuts down?

Biden skewers Trump’s ‘old ideas’ as he defends own age

Tuesday 27 February 2024 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday and was faced with questions about his age, Gaza, all the way to the Taylor Swift conspiracy theory.

Seth Meyers donned a suit and tie as he welcomed the president, who was also a guest on the first-ever episode of the show, along with Amy Poehler, who also came back and introduced Mr Biden.

Meyers put forward a question to the 81-year-old president about his age, asking him how he can address many voter concerns over his seniority.

Amelia Neath reports:

Biden skewers Trump’s ‘old ideas’ as he defends own age on Seth Meyers show

Media accused of complacency over ‘moderate’ Nikki Haley

Tuesday 27 February 2024 19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The Daily Show guest host Desi Lydic has called out the characterisation of Nikki Haley as a “moderate” Republican, arguing that she has long been a conservative through and through.

“When you actually take a look at her policies, they aren’t that different from Trump,” the comedian said of Ms Haley on Thursday.

“When it comes down to it, there’s only one real difference between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump that’s getting her this label,” she added.

Martha McHardy has the story:

Daily Show host attacks media complacency over ‘moderate’ Nikki Haley

White House readout of Biden and Harris’s meeting with congressional leadership

Tuesday 27 February 2024 18:53 , Oliver O'Connell

Today, President Biden and Vice President Harris met with Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson, and Leader Jeffries in the Oval Office about the urgency of keeping the government open and passing the bipartisan national security supplemental. The President made clear that Congress must take swift action to fund the government and prevent a shutdown. A shutdown is unacceptable and would cause needless damage to hardworking families, our economy, and our national security. He emphasized that the only path forward is through bipartisan funding bills that deliver for the American people and are free of any extreme policies. The President also emphasized the urgent need for Congress to continue standing with Ukraine as it defends itself every day against Russia’s brutal invasion. He discussed how Ukraine has lost ground on the battlefield in recent weeks and is being forced to ration ammunition and supplies due to Congressional inaction. He underscored the importance of the bipartisan national security supplemental, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and would pass in the House if it was brought to a vote. He made clear that in addition to arming Ukraine and investing in America’s defense industrial base, the bill would help Israel defend itself against Hamas, and provide more humanitarian aid for those impacted by conflicts around the world, including Palestinian civilians who are experiencing dire humanitarian conditions.

Speaker Johnson says White House meeting was ‘frank and honest'

Tuesday 27 February 2024 18:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Speaking to reporters, Speaker Mike Johnson called the White House meeting “frank and honest”, adding that he also had a “one-on-one” meeting with Joe Biden in which he pressed the president on the need for a plan for the southern border.

“The first priority of the country is our border and making it secure,” he said.

Mr Johnson also said that the “House is actively pressing all the options” on Ukraine, adding it will get done in a “timely” but did not offer specifics.

He expressed optimism that they will agree to a plan to fund the government and avert a shutdown.

Watch: Schumer speaks to media after ‘intense’ White House meeting

Tuesday 27 February 2024 18:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Big Four meeting was “one of the most intense” he’s ever been in because of how everyone impressed on House Speaker Mike Johnson the urgency of doing Ukraine aid now.

“This is an existential moment for the free world… we can’t say we won’t do Ukraine until we do border.”

Ryan Binkley suspends presidential campaign

Tuesday 27 February 2024 18:11 , Oliver O'Connell

Who?

Here’s what we wrote in our guide to the candidates:

Pastor and businessman Ryan Binkley announced his entrance into the 2024 race on 9 May 2023 – another long-shot contender to challenge Mr Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.

“We have to be unified,” Mr Binkley, 55, said at one event.

“We have to be in this place, because if we’re in a time of uncertainty, what it’s going to take is faith in God and faith in each other to get us through, and it’s not time for us to back down. It’s time for us to believe.”

Mr Binkley has said he is “absolutely” confident that he could take on Mr Trump, despite having little name recognition and no experience holding elected office.

Today, he dropped out of the race, posting this message to his supporters:

Today, I am suspending my campaign for the Presidency of the United States of America and offering my endorsement and unwavering support for President Trump. I would like to thank my family, friends, campaign team, 80,000 plus financial supporters, and the hundreds of volunteers who helped share my vision. Without your efforts, prayers, love, and generosity, none of this would have been possible.

When I began this journey, it was with a message in my heart that our country needs to awaken to the fact that the unsustainable deficit spending and debt path we are on will undoubtedly lead us to a generational economic disruption. I believe that we can get off that path and begin a journey to balance the federal budget by transforming and demonopolizing the healthcare system which has been bankrupting our nation. I also felt deeply that as bad as the U.S. fiscal and monetary policy is, the political corruption and cultural divide in our country is an even greater threat. Throughout my campaign, I have seen our party struggle to find a place for a new vision while weighing the corrupt allegations and indictments against President Trump. He will need everyone’s support, and he will have mine moving forward.

While it is time for me to go back to my family, business, and church and care for the responsibilities I have been given, I remain steadfast in my commitment to my plans for the economy, border security, and healthcare. I look forward to considering other ways I can make an impact and promote my policy positions. Thank you again for being with us on this journey. Let’s continue to pray for our nation, and our leaders. When we look to each other for wisdom and strength, our future can be better than we can imagine. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow holds.

Mr Binkley “loaned himself more than $10m and only earned just more than 2,000 votes across the four early-state nominating contests,” according to Politico.

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website