Trump news - live: Ex-White House counsel interviewed by FBI over Mar-a-Lago docs

·22-min read
Trump news - live: Ex-White House counsel interviewed by FBI over Mar-a-Lago docs

The Department of Justice has returned passports belonging to former president Donald Trump that agents took during last week’s search of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

According to an email from the department shared by a Trump spokesperson, the bureau’s “filter agents” seized three passports in Mr Trump’s name, two of them expired and one of them his active diplomatic passport.

Meanwhile, a date has been set for a Florida federal court to hear arguments on whether or not to unseal the affidavit that provided justification for the search. The hearing will take place this Thursday at 1pm.

The Department of Justice has rebuffed efforts to make the affidavit supporting the search warrant The department argues that the document contains sensitive information about witnesses, and that releasing it could “chill” further efforts to secure the co-operation of others with information crucial to its investigations.

Mr Trump yesterday gave his first interview since the raid, a discussion with Fox News Digital in which he acknowledged that the temperature of public discourse “has to be brought down” as angry supporters fume at the FBI raid. However, he continued to frame the search as part of a political witch hunt.

Key Points

  • Justice department opposes release of FBI affidavit behind Mar-a-Lago raid

  • Republicans push to see affidavit justifying FBI raid of Trump’s home

  • Trump demands FBI return documents to Mar-a-Lago

  • Trump claims FBI stole his passport

  • Liz Cheney faces Trump-backed primary challenger in Wyoming

Liz Cheney accuses Donald Trump of ‘insidious lies’ over Mar-a-Lago search

09:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Liz Cheney, after losing her primary on Tuesday night, accused the former president of spreading an “insidious lie” in alleging that the FBI agents who searched his Mar-a-Lago home were politically motivated.

Ms Cheney said: “This is another insidious lie.”

She added that Donald Trump “knows that embracing these conspiracies will trigger violence and threats of violence. This happened on January 6, and it’s now happening again.”

Former White House counsel interviewed by FBI

09:02 , Maroosha Muzaffar

The FBI has interviewed Pat CipolloneDonald Trump’s former White House counsel – and his deputy over the seized Mar-a-Lago documents, it was reported.

Reuters quoted a source as saying that the former White House counsel was interviewed, but it remains unclear exactly when this happened. His deputy Patrick Philbin, however, was interviewed in the spring, as was first reported by the New York Times.

Cheney: ‘No regrets’ about spurning Donald Trump

09:00 , John Bowden

Flanked by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, on Tuesday Wyoming’s Congresswoman Liz Cheney told CBS News that she regretted nothing about not following Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. She would reiterate that feeling in her concession speach later Tuesday evening.

“I have no regrets,” she said in the interview. “I feel very proud about all the work that I've done together with people of Wyoming over the last six years and really understand and recognize there's nothing more important than the defense of our Constitution. And so I'm going to continue to work and ensure that we're doing that in a way that is nonpartisan.”

Read more from The Independent’s Eric Garcia:

Cheney says she has ‘no regrets’ as she faces her impending primary loss

Trump-backed candidate gets mixed up over meaning of ‘banana republic'

08:00 , John Bowden

A candidate for the US House in North Carolina who has won Donald Trump’s endorsement embarassed himself by revealing that he does not know the meaning of the phrase ‘banana republic’ in an interview.

Bo Hines was attempting to use the phrase to describe the FBI’s conduct as a result of the agency’s search of Mar-a-Lago, and appeared to not understand that the phrase does not refer to the popular clothing chain of the same name.

Read more from The Independent’s Gustaf Kilander:

Calling US a banana republic is rude to clothing chain, politician says

Top Trump aide tried to dodge subpoena, DoJ says

07:00 , John Bowden

Peter Navarro, a top trade adviser to Donald Trump in his administration, told DoJ agents to “get the f*** out of here” when they served him with a subpoena in relation to his charge of contempt of Congress.

He also refused to open the door for them initially, but was eventually served regardless. Telling agents of the court to leave is generally not an effective way of avoiding being served with official court-ordered documents.

Read more from The Independent’s Andrew Naughtie:

Trump aide Peter Navarro told agents serving subpoena to ‘get the f*** out of here’

FBI condemns ‘reprehensible’ threats after Mar-a-Lago raid

06:00 , John Bowden

The FBI on Monday condemned “reprehensible” threats that have arisen on social media and on other platforms in response to the agency’s execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.

In a brief statement shared with The Independent, the bureau also called on the public’s help to stop incidents of domestic extremism before they occur.

Read more from John Bowden:

FBI calls threats to law enforcement ‘reprehensible’ and urges public to be vigilant

Trump spokesman, Cheney’s GOP leadership replacement join the mockery

05:00 , John Bowden

Donald Trump wasn’t the only one gloating on Tuesday as Liz Cheney was soundly defeated in the Wyoming congressional primary.

His top spokesman, Taylor Budowich, reacted with a video mashup of Mr Trump dancing clownishly at several campaign rallies.

And Rep Elise Stefanik, who ousted Ms Cheney to become chair of the GOP House conference, released her own statement denouncing “Nancy Pelosi’s puppet”.

Trump slams Cheney as ‘spiteful and sanctimonious’ as he gloats over her primary defeat

03:58 , John Bowden

Donald Trump tore into Liz Cheney and wished her “happiness” in the “depths of political oblivion” on Tuesday after she was defeated in Wyoming’s US House primary.

The former president has long sought her ouster from Congress over her work on the January 6 select committee.

“Congratulations to Harriet Hageman on her great and very decisive WIN in Wyoming. This is a wonderful result for America, and a complete rebuke of the Unselect Committee of political Hacks and Thugs. Liz Cheney should be ashamed of herself, the way she acted, and her spiteful, sanctimonious words and actions towards others. Now she can finally disappear into the depths of political oblivion where, I am sure, she will be much happier than she is right now. Thank you WYOMING!” he said.

Read more from The Independent’s John Bowden:

Trump slams Cheney as ‘spiteful and sanctimonious’ as he gloats over her defeat

Cheney says she has ‘no regrets’ as she faces her impending primary loss in Wyoming

02:30 , John Bowden

The most vocal critic of former president Donald Trump says she does not have any regrets ahead of the polls closing in the Republican primary for Wyoming’s at-large congressional seat.

Liz Cheney made the comments on Tuesday as voters across the state decided her fate.

“ I have no regrets,” she said according to CBS News. “I feel very proud about all the work that I've done together with people of Wyoming over the last six years and really understand and recognize there's nothing more important than the defense of our Constitution. And so I'm going to continue to work and ensure that we're doing that in a way that is nonpartisan.”

Read more from The Independent’s Eric Garcia:

Cheney says she has ‘no regrets’ as she faces her impending primary loss

Polls close in Wyoming where Liz Cheney awaits her fate

02:00 , John Bowden

Polls are now closed in Wyoming. Republican voters in the state are set to determine the fate of Rep Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House select committee investigating January 6.

A former member of House GOP leadership, she’s the top target of Donald Trump this election cycle, thanks to her very public role and persistent view that he should have no role in the GOP going forward.

Watch live results from the state from The Associated Press here at The New York Times:

Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg ‘nearing plea deal’ in tax avoidance scheme

01:19 , John Bowden

The CFO of the Trump Organization is set to plead guilty in court on Thursday to accepting more than $1.7m in unreported compensation and take a plea deal that will allow him to avoid much of the possible prison sentence.

The Trump Organization is not expected to admit guilt in the case, and Allen Weisselberg is reportedly not cooperating with investigators to implicate others in the company.

Read more about this ongoing legal drama from Bevan Hurley in The Independent:

Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg ‘nearing plea deal’ in tax scheme

Five times Liz Cheney was the biggest thorn in Donald Trump’s side

Wednesday 17 August 2022 00:26 , John Bowden

Rep Liz Cheney is facing a Trump-backed primary challenger tonight in Wyoming; polling shows her trailing her rival, Harriet Hageman, by a significant margin.

That’s due to her status as the de facto leader of the anti-Trump GOP in Washington thanks to her role as vice chair of the January 6 committee.

Take a look back at some of her sharpest criticism of Donald Trump as voters decide her fate:

Five times Liz Cheney was Donald Trump’s biggest thorn on Capitol Hill

‘You’re not patriots’: Judge throws the book at Jan 6 rioter as he rambles about Reagan in court

Tuesday 16 August 2022 23:50 , John Bowden

A federal judge had strong words on Monday for a convicted participant in the Capitol riot, and warned that he could have earned himself much more prison time.

John Cameron was sentenced on Monday to three years probation and 30 days of intermittent confinement. He was also was also fined $1,000 and an additional $500 in restitution.

“I keep hearing from Jan 6 defendants, ‘We’re being prosecuted,’ like it’s a surprise, or ‘We’re being persecuted,’ like it’s unfair. I do not understand that psychology,” Judge Thomas Hogan told him during sentencing. “What irritates me most is that all of you are claiming you’re patriots; you’re not patriots when you attack the Capitol of the United States.”

Read more from The Independent’s Graig Graziosi:

Judge rebukes Jan 6 rioter as he rambles about Reagan in court

Trump says FBI has returned passports as he compared agents to ‘common criminals’

Tuesday 16 August 2022 23:20 , John Bowden

Donald Trump on Tuesday said that the FBI had returned his passports to his family while comparing agents to “common criminals” in a Truth Social post.

The ex-president announced last week that the passports had been snatched up with the boxes of allegedly classified materials repossessed from Mar-a-Lago.

Read more fromThe Independent’s Graeme Massie:

Trump says FBI has returned passports as he compared agents to ‘common criminals’

Trump says he refused FBI request to turn off Mar-a-Lago cameras during search for secret documents

Tuesday 16 August 2022 22:50 , John Bowden

Donald Trump claimed on his “Truth Social” platform on Tuesday that FBI agents requested that security cameras be turned off as agents were executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago last week.

He wrote on Tuesday: “In the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, the FBI demanded that all security cameras be turned off. What is that all about? We said no!”

The former president continues to cast aspersions on the work of law enforcement and gin up anger at the FBI following the news breaking that he is accused of illegally holding on to classified materials.

Read more from The Independent’s Bevan Hurley:

Trump says he refused FBI request to turn off Mar-a-Lago cameras during search

‘It’s not theirs, it’s mine’: Trump resisted advisers’ calls to return White House documents

Tuesday 16 August 2022 22:27 , John Bowden

Donald Trump was warned that the records he was holding on to were illegally retained, but the former president refused to give them back because he disagreed with that assertion, a new report claims.

The New York Timesreported on Tuesday that Mr Trump flat-out refused to return boxes of documents, including some that apparently were marked classified, when approached by his former deputy White House counsel, Patrick Philbin.

Read more in The Independent from John Bowden:

‘It’s not theirs, it’s mine’: Trump resisted calls to return White House documents

Facebook won’t reinstate Trump’s account early - even if he runs for president

Tuesday 16 August 2022 21:45 , John Bowden

Facebook’s parent company says it won’t reinstate Donald Trump’s account early as he endures a two-year suspension instated by the platform after reviewing its initial decision to kick him off the platform over January 6.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s head of global affairs, told Politico that the company would stick to a timeline of permitting Mr Trump to rejoin the community in January of 2023, regardless of whether he announces a bid for the White House before that. He is heavily speculated to be planning a third campaign.

Read more in The Independent from Graeme Massie:

Facebook won’t reinstate Trump’s account early - even if he runs for president

Arizona GOP nominee kept ‘Treason Watch List’ and posted about stockpiling ammunition on Pinterest

Tuesday 16 August 2022 21:15 , John Bowden

A man running as a Republican for secretary of state in Arizona was recently discovered to have advised his social media followers to stockpile ammunition and developed his own “treason watch list”.

The Trump-endorsed candidate, Mark Finchem, reporteldy posted on a now-deleted account about his belief that Democrat-supported restrictions on firearms would lead to a new Holocaust, apparently against conservatives.

Read more in The Independent from Graig Graziosi:

Arizona GOP candidate kept ‘Treason Watch List’ on Pinterest

Eric Trump mocked after claiming apologetic Americans keep offering to buy him dinner

Tuesday 16 August 2022 20:47 , John Bowden

Former President Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump says that despite the claim that his father ilegally held on to classified materials after leaving the White House, random anonymous Americans are still coming up to him and his wife offering to pay for their meals as penance for their supposed unfair treatment by the US political establishment.

The younger of Mr Trump’s two adult sons, Eric Trump made the claim during an interview with Sean Hannity this week — and immediately was met with ridicule.

Read more in The Independent from Gino Spocchia:

Eric Trump mocked for claiming people are offering ‘apology’ dinners over FBI raid

Hannity reassures Trump supporters that former president can still run even if convicted of felony

Tuesday 16 August 2022 20:15 , John Bowden

Don’t worry, Fox News host Sean Hannity told Donald Trump’s voters on Monday. The former president can still run for office even if he’s convicted of a serious felony.

Mr Hannity made the backhanded reassurance on his radio show, The Sean Hannity Show, on Premiere Networks a week after FBI agents raided the ex-president’s home and resort at Mar-a-Lago in Florida for classified documents.

“Being a felon is not a disqualification,” said Mr Hannity, in comments first reported by Yahoo! News. “So even crimes potentially far more serious than what is being alleged, potential mishandling of classified information, doesn’t stop somebody from seeking the presidency.”

Ex-White House counsel interviewed by FBI over Mar-a-Lago docs

Tuesday 16 August 2022 19:43 , John Bowden

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and another attorney with the Trump administration have spoken with the FBI in regards to the execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago for classified materials, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Mr Cipollone notably previously testified before the January 6 committee and showed, from their statements, near-total if not complete cooperation with their lines of questioning.

Patrick Philbin, the second-most senior person in the White House counsel’s office on January 6, was also interviewed.

Read more at the Times:

Why is the FBI keeping the Trump affidavit sealed?

Tuesday 16 August 2022 19:15 , Andrew Naughtie

The Department of Justice has told the federal magistrate judge who approved last week’s search of former president Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, home and office that it opposes unsealing a copy of the sworn statement prosecutors used to apply for a search warrant because it would jeopardise multiple ongoing investigations and could damage national security.

Last week, multiple news organisations asked Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhardt to unseal all materials relating to the warrant, which authorised FBI agents to search Mr Trump’s home and office at his Mar-a-Lago social club for “any physical documents with classification markings”, “information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national [defence] information or classified material”, any government records created during Mr Trump’s administration and any evidence of “knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment” of such records.

With a court hearing on unsealing the document scheduled for 1pm on Thursday, Andrew Feinberg reports on the developing story.

Why is the DOJ blocking the release of the Trump raid affidavit?

What’s next for Liz Cheney?

Tuesday 16 August 2022 18:45 , Andrew Naughtie

As Representative Liz Cheney looks as likely as ever to lose tonight’s Wyoming congressional primary, the speculation over what’s next for the never-Trump Republican has grown. Indeed, in her final campaign video released last Thursday, Ms Cheney’s closing argument resonated more as a public notice that she, and the rest of the Republican Party for that matter, would not be defeated by Trumpism.

So assuming she isn’t on the verge of one of the US’s all-time greatest polling upsets, what’s next for the arch-conservative-turned-iconoclast? Johanna Chisholm writes:

Liz Cheney: What’s next for the firebrand anti-Trump Republican?

Kinzinger hits back at false Mar-a-Lago narrative

Tuesday 16 August 2022 18:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Adam Kinzinger, the retiring Republican congressman who sits on the 6 January select committee and who recently described the GOP’s embrace of Trump as “creepy”, is once again out fighting against false narratives about the Mar-a-Lago raid and its aftermath.

This time, his target is the claim that it was Mr Trump who released the search warrant for the raid, as opposed to Attorney General Merrick Garland:

Meet Trump’s Mar-a-Lago legal team

Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:45 , Andrew Naughtie

Former President Donald Trump has put a trio of new lawyers on defence duty following the FBI‘s search of Mar-a-Lago to recover sensitive government documents. However, the trio have failed to impress during their numerous right-wing media appearances, in some cases planting conspiracy theories.

The trio of lawyers are former OAN anchor Alina Habba, Lindsey Halligan, and Christina Bobb – all of whom have participated in spreading dubious, false and mutually contradictory tales of what happened and why when Mar-a-Lago was raided.

Graig Graziosi has a rundown.

Who are the new faces on Trump’s legal team defending him over FBI raid

What it’s like to receive Trump’s emails

Tuesday 16 August 2022 17:15 , Andrew Naughtie

The Mar-a-Lago raid has sent the Trump fundraising operation into overdrive, the former president and his team seizing on the anger of his base to ask them to part with their money. For those who happen not to be on Mr Trump’s email lists, Richard Hall has this glimpse into an often bizarre world:

Another Jan 6 rioter blames Trump for urging him to Capitol

Tuesday 16 August 2022 16:45 , Andrew Naughtie

A bench trial now underway has seen the lawyer of an admitted Capitol riot attendee explicitly point to Donald Trump as a source of false conspiracy theories that led his client to join the attack on Congress on 6 January 2021.

Most rioters whose cases have reached court have so far pleaded guilty or struck plea deals, with only a small proportion of the hundreds arrested and/or charged going to trial.

Many have sought lighter sentences by claiming deep remorse for their actions, and more than a few have said that the false messages emanating from the Trump White House meant they thought they were genuinely being called to action by the president himself.

Time set for Mar-a-Lago affidavit release hearing

Tuesday 16 August 2022 16:15 , Andrew Naughtie

With the Department of Justice declining to release the affidavit that underpinned last week’s Mar-a-Lago search, cautioning that it could compromise sensitive ongoing investigations and “chill” efforts to secure the cooperation of witnesses, a Florida court will this Thursday hold a hearing on whether or not to unseal the document.

FBI returning Trump’s passports

Tuesday 16 August 2022 15:45 , Andrew Naughtie

The FBI has returned three passports belonging to former President Donald Trump following its search Mar-a-Lago, his Southern Florida residence and private club.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) told NBC News on Monday that the passports had been returned.

The FBI confirmed that they were in possession of the passports after Mr Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social to claim that they had been stolen.

“Wow! In the raid by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago, they stole my three Passports (one expired), along with everything else,” Mr Trump wrote. “This is an assault on a political opponent at a level never seen before in our Country. Third World!”

Gustaf Kilander reports:

Trump’s passports returned by FBI following Mar-a-Lago search

DoJ offers up unflattering details of Navarro arrest

Tuesday 16 August 2022 15:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Federal prosecutors acting for the Department of Justice have given more details about the arrest of former Trump aide Peter Navarro, charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the 6 January select committee. The filing contradicts Mr Navarro’s account of the event and describes outlandish, combative behaviour on the part of the notorious 2020 election denier.

According to the filing, while Mr Navarro claims he was unfairly barred from self-reporting to authorities instead of being arrested, law enforcement does not normally offer that option to “combative” defendants who do not yet have legal representatives.

“And only a few days before,” the document says, “when the case agents attempted to interview him and serve him with a subpoena at his residence, the Defendant at first refused to open the door and then, when he did, told the agents to “get the f*** out of here.”

Read more:

Trump aide Peter Navarro told agents serving subpoena to ‘get the f*** out of here’

Tucker Carlson on “lowering the temperature”

Tuesday 16 August 2022 14:45 , Andrew Naughtie

Tucker Carlson was off air last week when the Mar-a-Lago raid story engulfed the news cycle, but now he’s back from vacation to give his characteristically doomy take on what’s happening.

Like other Fox Hosts (including his late-night colleague Laura Ingraham), he appeared to endorse the idea of trying to cool the incandescent rage felt by a worrying number of Trump supporters in the wake of the raid, but wasted no time flipping the argument to accuse the “desperate” Biden administration of weaponising law enforcement against their opponents – the very idea that has inflamed tempers of right-wing true believers across the country.

Trump biographer: “ignorant” ex-president might have planned to enrich himself with documents

Tuesday 16 August 2022 14:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s biographer Timothy O’Brien has called the former president a “deeply ignorant man” who “understood the stakes the minute that search warrant that was executed” at his Mar-a-Lago residence last week.

The author of TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald said in an MSNBC panel discussion that “Donald Trump’s business is under enormous stress...he owes a lot of debt. His son-in-law and former Treasury Secretary both cashed in under relationships with the Saudis.

“I think he saw people in his administration monetising their service. I think we can’t put it past anyone that Trump saw some of these documents as avenues for him to making money,” he said.

Sravasti Dasgupta has more:

Trump may have seen secret papers as a way to enrich himself, says biographer

Anti-Trump Republicans launch ads targeting crucial races

Tuesday 16 August 2022 13:45 , Andrew Naughtie

As the GOP’s Senate fundraising arm pulls millions of dollars out of key races across the US, an anti-Trump campaign group has deployed an ad buy across seven states that could decide which party controls the Senate come January next year i or in Michigan’s case, whether the state will be governed by Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer or 2020 election conspiracy theorist and anti-abortion hardliner Tudor Dixon.

In the ads launched by the Republican Accountability Project, everyday Republican-voting Americans from the crucial states for whom the events of 6 January 2021 count as a bridge too far. And the keystone of the campaign is an ad featuring select committee member Liz Cheney, who looks set to lose a primary fought on the same issue today.

Watch the state-by-state ads in the thread below.