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Trump preparing for potential indictment over campaign to overturn 2020 election result, report says – live | US politics

Trump preparing for indictment – report

Donald Trump and his advisers have spent today and Monday preparing for his potential indictment over the campaign to overturn the 2020 election, CNN reports:

Trump and his advisers spent Monday and Tuesday morning preparing for an indictment to be filed in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election, sources familiar with their plans tell CNN.

— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) August 1, 2023

The Trump campaign has lined up surrogates, influencers and allies to immediately respond to new charges once they are filed, and have also prepared a series of pre-written statements and videos defending the former president’s actions in the lead up to and on January 6, 2021

— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) August 1, 2023

Meanwhile, NBC News reports grand jurors empaneled by special counsel Jack Smith for his investigation have left the Washington DC courthouse where they were sitting:

Key events

If Donald Trump is indicted over the January 6 insurrection or the plot to meddle in the 2020 election, the decision will be made in the E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse, situated just a short walk from the Capitol in Washington DC:

Media vans are parked outside Washington DC’s E. Barrett Prettyman federal courthouse today. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA
Reporters are gathered outside the courthouse, waiting to find out if an indictment will be issued.
Reporters are gathered outside the courthouse, waiting to find out if an indictment will be issued. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Harris rejects DeSantis invitation to hash out differences over teaching slavery

Meanwhile in Florida, Kamala Harris has rejected an invitation from Republican governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis to discuss the state’s controversial African-American studies curriculum, which will teach students that enslaved people learned some useful skills.

The vice-president’s comments came during her appearance at the 20th Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention in Orlando. Here’s what Harris had to say:

“I’m here in Florida and I will tell you there is no roundtable, no lecture, no invitation we will accept to debate an undeniable fact: There were no redeeming qualities of slavery.”

— VP Harris responds to Gov. DeSantis (R-FL) inviting her to discuss Black history standards pic.twitter.com/flLsGuP1Lo

— The Recount (@therecount) August 1, 2023

CNN’s federal court watchers picked up on a detail that may or may not be significant as we await whether special counsel Jack Smith will indict Donald Trump over the 2020 election meddling campaign.

The federal grand jury’s foreman appears to have not departed the Washington DC courthouse where they were sitting:

Federal grand jury in Jan. 6 probe leaves the courthouse; foreman stays behind, CNN team in courthouse reports. Unclear if they voted on an indictment

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) August 1, 2023

Grand juries are made up of citizens summoned by federal prosecutors to go over evidence and hear from witnesses before voting on whether to approve an indictment.

Trump preparing for indictment – report

Donald Trump and his advisers have spent today and Monday preparing for his potential indictment over the campaign to overturn the 2020 election, CNN reports:

Trump and his advisers spent Monday and Tuesday morning preparing for an indictment to be filed in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election, sources familiar with their plans tell CNN.

— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) August 1, 2023

The Trump campaign has lined up surrogates, influencers and allies to immediately respond to new charges once they are filed, and have also prepared a series of pre-written statements and videos defending the former president’s actions in the lead up to and on January 6, 2021

— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) August 1, 2023

Meanwhile, NBC News reports grand jurors empaneled by special counsel Jack Smith for his investigation have left the Washington DC courthouse where they were sitting:

Former Georgia state senator Jen Jordan received subpoenas to testify before a grand jury investigating Donald Trump for his actions in the wake of his 2020 election defeat.

The subpoenas to Jordan, reported by CNN, and independent journalist George Chidi are the strongest indication yet that Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis intends to seek indictments in her criminal investigation.

In an interview over the weekend, Willis reemphasized her plans to announce charging decisions by 1 September. “We’re ready to go,” she told WXIA. Willis has previously signaled that she would make any charging announcements between 31 July and the end of August.

Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis invited vice president Kamala Harris to Florida amid their ongoing feud over the state’s new African American history curriculum.

Harris visited Florida last month where she decried the state board of education’s controversial new standards for Black history, which include the contention that some Black people benefited from being enslaved.

In a letter published on Monday, DeSantis invited Harris to meet with him in Tallahassee, the state’s capital, while accusing the Biden-Harris administration of having “repeatedly disparaged our state and misinformed Americans” about the state’s Black history standards.

DeSantis wrote:

In Florida we are unafraid to have an open and honest dialogue about the issues. And you clearly have no trouble ducking down to Florida on short notice. So given your grave concern (which, I must assume, is sincere) about what you think our standards say, I am officially inviting you back down to Florida to discuss our African American History standards.

New Jersey lieutenant governor Sheila Oliver, who made history as the state’s first Black woman to serve in a statewide elected office, died aged 71 on Tuesday, according to her family.

In a statement, the Oliver family said:

She was not only a distinguished public servant but also our cherished daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and hero.

Sheila Y. Oliver leaves behind a legacy of dedication, service, and inspiration. We will remember her commitment to the people of New Jersey and her tireless efforts to uplift the community.

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver made history as the first Black woman to serve as speaker of the state assembly.
New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver made history as the first Black woman to serve as speaker of the state assembly. Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP

Oliver had been serving as acting governor of New Jersey while governor Phil Murphy was on vacation.

But Oliver was hospitalized this week for unspecified “medical care”, Murphy’s communications director said in a statement on Monday. Senate president Nicholas Scutari took over as acting governor when Oliver was rushed to the hospital.

Tammy and I, and our children, are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend, colleague, and partner in government, @LtGovOliver.
 
We ask that you all keep the Oliver family and all those who loved her in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/ty6drz7DgY

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 1, 2023

The day so far

Grand jurors are meeting again at a federal courthouse in Washington DC, as special counsel Jack Smith edges toward announcing charges over the January 6 insurrection, potentially against Donald Trump. There’s no saying when a decision will be made or who will be indicted, but Smith has told Trump he is a target of the investigation. The legal trouble – which would be Trump’s third indictment, if it happens – appears not to have dented his standing with Republicans, nor even his general election prospects. A new poll out today shows Trump and Joe Biden tied in the general election, which would be bad news for Democrats, if it holds.

Here’s what else has happened today so far:

  • The White House and Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville are squabbling on Twitter over the Republican lawmaker’s blockade of military promotions.

  • The Mountain Valley Pipeline is expected to be constructed by the end of the year, the firm behind the controversial natural gas pipeline announced.

  • Trump and Biden’s general election tie is a sign Democrats need to get to work, a top political analyst said.

Here’s more from the Guardian’s Martin Pengelly on Donald Trump’s money problems, and how the Republican presidential frontrunner is trying to turn the situation around:

Burning through campaign funds thanks to mounting legal fees, Donald Trump has been forced to recall $60m from a Super Pac, money originally intended for TV advertising in the Republican presidential primary.

In filings with the Federal Election Commission FEC) on Monday, Trump’s political action committee, Save America, said that at the end of June it had less than $4m cash on hand, having paid tens of millions of dollars in legal fees for the former president and associates.

Trump faces 40 criminal charges over his retention of classified documents after leaving office; 34 criminal charges over hush-money payments to a porn star in 2016; the imminent prospect of federal and state charges over his election subversion; ongoing proceedings involving the writer E Jean Carroll, to whom he was ordered to pay $5m after being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation; and assorted investigations of his business affairs.

University of Virginia political guru Larry Sabato took a look at the New York Times/Siena College poll released today, and what he found does not look good for Democrats:

Biden & Trump are tied. This almost certainly means a Trump majority in the Electoral College. Exactly what is needed to cure Dem overconfidence—and there’s a lot of it. Low D turnout and defections to other parties/independents could produce another 2016. https://t.co/f9TEbeH2WW

— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) August 1, 2023

The firm behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline said today that it expects work on the controversial natural gas conduit to be completed by the end of the year.

In an earnings release, Equitrans Midstream said action by Congress and the supreme court had cleared the way for construction of the pipeline, which had been repeatedly held up by lawsuits and local opposition from environmentalists concerned about its role in the climate crisis.

“We are grateful for the full support of the White House, as well as the strong leadership of Democratic and Republican legislators in recognizing the MVP as a critical energy infrastructure project,” the company’s chairman and CEO Thomas F. Karam said.

“We are also thankful that the U.S. Supreme Court acted quickly to grant the application to vacate stays imposed by the lower court. We have resumed construction and are focused on the responsible completion of MVP’s remaining construction. We continue to target completion of MVP by year-end 2023.”

Language intended to end the court battle over the pipeline was inserted in compromise legislation Joe Biden signed in June to raise the US debt ceiling while cutting some government spending.

Reuters, meanwhile, reports that the White House denies Alabama’s strict abortion restrictions were behind its decision to cancel US Space Command’s move to the state.

“Alabama’s restrictive reproductive care laws were not a factor in this decision. … The most significant factor considered was operational readiness during a critical time in this dynamic security environment,” a White House official told Reuters.

Abortions are banned in Alabama except in a few limited circumstances, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The White House is currently a much quieter place than usual, since Joe Biden is on vacation in Delaware. But someone is manning its Twitter account, and has opted this morning to troll Republican senator Tommy Tuberville.

You may remember him for his ongoing blockade of military promotions over the Pentagon’s moves to assist service members in obtaining abortions. Yesterday, he insisted his campaign was not hurting military readiness:

To which the White House has responded:

The 2024 election will also decide control of the Senate, where Republicans are currently viewed as having a good shot at retaking the majority.

Joe Biden’s allies can afford to lose only one seat in the chamber, but three Democrats representing red states will be up for re-election: Joe Manchin of West Virginia (who has not said if he will run again), Jon Tester of Montana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio (both of whom say they will run again). All face tough roads to keeping their seats.

Then there’s the possibility that the GOP could oust a Democrat representing a swing state, such as Wisconsin. Democratic senator Tammy Baldwin is up for re-election there, but in something of a setback for Republicans, Tom Tiffany announced today that he has decided to run for re-election in the House of Representatives rather than challenge Baldwin, as some in the GOP hoped he would do:

Biden, Trump neck-in-neck in general election poll

Joe Biden and Donald Trump are tied in a New York Times/Siena College poll released today, while the president has consolidated his support among Democrats.

A caveat before we get into the numbers: the November 2024 election is more than a year away, and will likely be decided by a handful of swing states, particularly Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. So for all the headlines this poll might generate, keep in mind that things can change dramatically between then and now.

Back to the Times/Siena data, it finds Biden and Trump tied with 43% support if the presidential election were held today. But it also indicates many Democrats have gotten over their hesitancy towards Biden. Last year, two-thirds wanted a different candidate, but now, that number has dropped to about half.

Here’s more on the numbers, from the Times:

Still, warning signs abound for the president: Despite his improved standing and a friendlier national environment, Mr. Biden remains broadly unpopular among a voting public that is pessimistic about the country’s future, and his approval rating is a mere 39 percent.

Perhaps most worryingly for Democrats, the poll found Mr. Biden in a neck-and-neck race with former President Donald J. Trump, who held a commanding lead among likely Republican primary voters even as he faces two criminal indictments and more potential charges on the horizon. Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump were tied at 43 percent apiece in a hypothetical rematch in 2024, according to the poll.

Mr. Biden has been buoyed by voters’ feelings of fear and distaste toward Mr. Trump. Well over a year before the election, 16 percent of those polled had unfavorable views of both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump, a segment with which Mr. Biden had a narrow lead.

“Donald Trump is not a Republican, he’s a criminal,” said John Wittman, 42, a heating and air conditioning contractor from Phoenix. A Republican, he said that even though he believed Mr. Biden’s economic stewardship had hurt the country, “I will vote for anyone on the planet that seems halfway capable of doing the job, including Joe Biden, over Donald Trump.”

To borrow an old political cliché, the poll shows that Mr. Biden’s support among Democrats is a mile wide and an inch deep. About 30 percent of voters who said they planned to vote for Mr. Biden in November 2024 said they hoped Democrats would nominate someone else. Just 20 percent of Democrats said they would be enthusiastic if Mr. Biden were the party’s 2024 presidential nominee; another 51 percent said they would be satisfied but not enthusiastic.

A higher share of Democrats, 26 percent, expressed enthusiasm for the notion of Vice President Kamala Harris as the nominee in 2024.

Joe Biden is taking a summer vacation after several months in which things seemed to increasingly come together for the American president. Over the weekend, the Guardian’s David Smith looked at this administration’s recent hot streak – as well as the challenges he faces in the year to come:

It was the word that the far right of the Republican party most wanted to hear. Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the House of Representatives, said this week his colleagues’ investigations of Joe Biden are rising to the level of an “impeachment” inquiry.

Republicans in Congress admit that they do not yet have any direct evidence of wrongdoing by the US president. But, critics say, there is a simple explanation why they would float the ultimate sanction: they need to put Biden’s character on trial because their case against his policies is falling apart.

Heading into next year’s presidential election, Republicans have been readying a three-pronged attack: crime soaring in cities, chaos raging at the southern border and prices spiralling out of control everywhere. But each of these narratives is being disrupted by facts on the ground: crime is falling in most parts of the country, there is relative calm at the border and inflation is at a two-year low.

Donald Trump’s legal problems may be formidable, but as the Guardian’s Martin Pengelly reports, so, too, is his popularity among Republicans:

Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton county, Georgia, is “ready to go” with indictments in her investigation of Donald Trump’s election subversion. In Washington, the special counsel Jack Smith is expected to add charges regarding election subversion to 40 counts already filed over the former president’s retention of classified records.

Trump already faces 34 criminal charges in New York over hush-money payments to the porn star Stormy Daniels. Referring to Trump being ordered to pay $5m after being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against the writer E Jean Carroll, a judge recently said Carroll proved Trump raped her. Lawsuits over Trump’s business affairs continue.

Yet a month out from the first debate of the Republican presidential primary, Trump’s domination of the field increases with each poll.

Trump’s legal troubles leaving campaign broke – report

Donald Trump’s multiplying legal troubles are taking a toll on his campaign finances as he spends more and more on lawyers, the New York Times reports.

Trump’s Pac, Save America, has less than $4m in its account, down from the $105m it began last year with, the Times reports, citing federal records. So bad have its finances become that it has requested back $60m that it sent to a pro-Trump Super Pac, Make America Great Again Inc, which was supposed to spend the money on television ads.

Since the start of the year, Trump has been indicted by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg on state charges of falsifying business records, and by special counsel Jack Smith for breaking federal law by allegedly keeping classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and by conspiring to keep them out of the hands of government archivists.

Trump has been told Smith may bring new charges against him related to his involvement in the January 6 insurrection, while, in Georgia, Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis said she will announce indictments in her investigation of Trump and his allies’ attempt to overturn the 2020 election sometime before September. The stage is set for Trump to continue paying huge legal fees for months, but he has one good thing going for him: his massive lead among Republican presidential candidates, which potentially could alleviate some of the damage done if he has to pullback on campaign spending.

Here’s more on his dire finances, from the Times:

The super PAC, which is called Make America Great Again Inc., has already sent back $12.25 million to the group paying Mr. Trump’s legal bills, according to federal records — a sum nearly as large as the $13.1 million the super PAC raised from donors in the first half of 2023. Those donations included $1 million from the father of his son-in-law, Charles Kushner, whom Mr. Trump pardoned for federal crimes in his final days as president, and $100,000 from a candidate seeking Mr. Trump’s endorsement.

The extraordinary shift of money from the super PAC to Mr. Trump’s political committee, described in federal campaign filings as a refund, is believed to be larger than any other refund on record in the history of federal campaigns.

It comes as Mr. Trump’s political and legal fate appear increasingly intertwined. The return of money from the super PAC, which Mr. Trump does not control, to his political action committee, which he does, demonstrates how his operation is balancing dueling priorities: paying lawyers and supporting his political candidacy through television ads.

Save America, Mr. Trump’s political action committee, is prohibited by law from directly spending money on his candidacy. When Save America donated $60 million last year to Mr. Trump’s super PAC — which is permitted to spend on his campaign — it effectively evaded that prohibition.

It is not clear from the filing exactly when the refund was requested, but the super PAC did not return the money all at once. It gave back $1 million on May 1; $5 million more on May 9; another $5 million on June 1; and $1.25 million on June 30. These returns followed Mr. Trump’s two indictments this year: one in Manhattan in March, and one last month in federal court.

Federal grand jury considering charging Trump over January 6 reconvenes ahead of potential indictment

Good morning, US politics blog readers. The wait continues to find out whether special counsel Jack Smith will indict Donald Trump over his involvement in the January 6 insurrection, and there are signs this morning a decision could come soon. CNN spotted grand jurors arriving at a federal courthouse in Washington DC where they’re considering evidence in the case, but there’s no telling when a decision could come.

Signs that Trump could be charged have been mounting. Last week, the former president said he had received a target letter from Smith, a step typically taken before someone is indicted. And yesterday, Trump said he expected charges to be filed “any day now”. But the winding legal saga has yet to dent his standing in the GOP, or even in the presidential race at large. New polling from the New York Times shows him crushing every other Republican candidate in the presidential nomination race, and tied with Joe Biden in the general election.

Here’s what else is happening today:

  • Kamala Harris is heading to Orlando to address the 20th Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention at 2.15pm eastern time. We’ll keep an eye open if she reiterates her criticism of Florida’s new Ron DeSantis-backed school curriculum, which implies that slavery wasn’t so bad.

  • Biden, meanwhile, continues his beach vacation in Delaware. He has no public events scheduled.

  • Alabama lawmakers are raging over Biden’s decision to cancel US Space Command’s planned move to the state, Punchbowl News reports. The decision came amid Republican senator Tommy Tuberville’s ongoing blockade of military promotions in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy.

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