Stormy Daniels obliquely denies having written statement on Trump affair
The campaign of far-right racist French presidential contender Eric Zemmour claims that Donald Trump personally called the candidate to offer his encouragement. According to one of Mr Zemmour’s senior aides, Mr Trump “told Eric Zemmour not to give in, hold firm, stay courageous” – this after the campaign purportedly reached out to Mr Trump’s office directly. Mr Zemmour, who was recently fined for inciting race hate, is currently in a three-way fight for second place in the election’s first round.
Meanwhile, the Trump Organization’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, is cutting ties with the company, writing in a court filing that a decade’s worth of Donald Trump’s financial statements could no longer be relied upon. The president’s company papers are at the center of a New York investigation into his affairs, one he has decried as a political witch hunt.
The news comes as a US congressional committee prepares to investigate Donald Trump’s handling of administration documents after 15 boxes of records were transferred from his Mar-a-Lago residence.
The former president insists he was “under no obligation” to hand over any materials – despite laws requiring him to do exactly that.
Biden: US cannot verify Russian troops are pulling back
President Joe Biden warned in a national address on Tuesday that war between Ukraine and Russia remains very possible, stating that the US cannot verify Russian claims to be withdrawing some military forces from the region.
Mr Biden reiterated during the address that the US’s response to any attack would be swift and damaging.
“We have not yet verified the Russian military units are returning to their home bases. Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position,” he said. “The fact remains right now Russia has more than 150,000 troops and circling Ukraine and Belarus and along Ukraine’s border and invasion remains distinctly possible.”
Read more from The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg:
John Bowden16 February 2022 03:15
Jan 6 committee wants Pennsylvania Republican to spell out his ‘agitator’ conspiracy
Lawmakers on the January 6 committee revealed on Tuesday that they want a Republican state senator in Pennsylvania who was present during the Capitol riot to explain to them what he meant when he claimed to see “agitators” fighting with law enforcement during the riot.
To state Sen Doug Mastriano, the committee wrote that it “understand[s]” he was “present during the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and that you witnessed ‘agitators…getting in the face of the police’ and ‘agitators…start pushing the police up the [Capitol] steps’”.
“We would like to better understand these and other statements, events that you witnessed or in which you participated, and communications we believe you may have had with national, state, and local officials and others about the outcome of the November 2020 election and the events of January 6, 2021,” wrote committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson.
Read more from The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg:
John Bowden16 February 2022 02:15
Los Angeles becomes latest city to ease Covid restrictions
Los Angeles is the latest city to choose to ease Covid-19 restrictions in response to falling case numbers following the spread of the Omicron variant over the winter and late fall.
Residents will now be able to go maskless at large outdoor events as well as at outdoor activities put on by K-12 schools and childcare facilities.
The move comes as the CDC continued to recommend masking, but the Biden administration cautions that the federal guidance is under review. Many jurisdictions led by Democrats now appear to be moving in a similar direction on mask orders and, in some cases, vaccine mandates.
The Independent’s Graeme Massie has more:
John Bowden16 February 2022 01:45
The Onion mocks ‘cannibal terrorist’ Sarah Palin after court defeat
satire news site The onion took a shot at Sarah Palin after the former Alaska governor lost her battle with New York Times in court this week.
Ms Palin was unable to convince either a judge or a jury that the Times’s editorial linking her political group to the shooting of former Rep Gabby Giffords was not done with “actual malice”. As a result, her defamation trial of her ended this week unless she plans to mount a long-shot appeal.
On Tuesday, The onion took the opportunity to do some more unfounded linking of Ms Palin to controversial topics, dubbing her a “cannibal terrorist” in a tweet.
John Bowden16 February 2022 01:15
Conway says Trump’s accounting firm ditching him is worse than getting impeached
Conservative attorney George Conway weighed in on news that the Trump Organization was being dropped by its accounting firm which had identified 10 years’ worth of statements as unreliable.
Mr Conway, a longtime critic of the ex-president, called the news worse for the former president than his two impeachments. He also predicted that it would be “next to impossible” for Mr Trump’s company to find a new willing firm as its accountant.
Read more from The Independent:
John Bowden16 February 2022 00:45
Billionaire tech investor funding dating app for Trump supporters who can’t find love in liberal cities
Trump-supporting billionaire Peter Thiel is funding a project that could appeal to conservatives spurned from Tinder or Bumble for their support of Donald Trump.
He’s putting $1.5 million into an initial seed funding round for The Right Stuff, a conservative-targeted dating app that hopes to be an alternative for those who want to date in line with their right-leaning beliefs.
The venture follows his investment in Rumble, an alternative to other mainstream social media platforms that also seeks to target conservative audiences.
Read more from The Independent:
John Bowden16 February 2022 00:15
Hillary Clinton ignores shouted questions about Durham allegations
Former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was confronted by a reporter on Monday about the allegations raised by John Durham claiming that a lawyer who had formerly worked for her campaign was involved in an effort to search White House data for connections between Donald Trump and Russia by exploiting a business relationship with the Trump administration.
Ms Clinton ignored the shouted questions, while giving the reporter a small wave.
John Bowden15 February 2022 23:45
Republicans furious over Durham allegations
Republicans lawmakers continued to issue furious statements on Tuesday after Justice Department special counsel John Durham alleged in court filings that a company contracted to work with the Trump White House exploited its relationship to search for information some employees thought could link Donald Trump to Russia.
Sen Chuck Grassley wrote that he was “outraged” by the allegation, and claimed that the Clinton campaign had been proven to have spied on the Trump campaign.
In 2016 the Hillary Clinton Campaign spied on the Trump Campaign. After she lost, the Clinton Campaign spied on the Trump Admin by abusing federal govt contracts&by abusing their access to govt info Meanwhile mainstream media ignores all of it The American ppl should be OUTRAGED I am
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 15, 2022
But a deep dive by Associated Press reveals that the truth is a little more complicated than Mr Grassley’s assertion:
EXPLAINER: How the latest Trump-Russia filing generated buzz
The latest filing from special counsel John Durham in his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe has been seized on by the conservative media and Donald Trump himself as vindication of the former president’s oft-repeated claims that he was “spied” on
John Bowden15 February 2022 23:15
Jan 6 committee subpoenas Republicans involved in ‘alternate electors’ effort
The January 6 committee moved on Tuesday to issue a new round of subpoenas. The latest batch target various conservative state-level figures accused of involvement in a scheme to send “alternate electors”, which are not allowed under the Constitution, to Washington in the hopes that the Senate would recognize their votes for Donald Trump instead of Joe Biden .
Among the latest targets are Kelli Ward, head of Arizona’s Republican Party, as well as Pennsylvania state Sen Doug Mastriano.
John Bowden15 February 2022 22:59
Legal analyst: ‘No future president’ will have reason to obey the law if Trump gets off
Glenn Kirschner, a veteran former prosecutor and current legal analyst on MSNBC and YouTube, warned on Monday that “no future president” would have a reason to obey the law if former President Donald Trump was not held accountable for his actions.
Mr Trump is currently facing a criminal investigation into his efforts to overturn Georgia’s state election results in 2020 as well as a wholly separate effort by the New York state attorney general to prosecute his company for allegedly hiding the value of its assets for tax purposes.
“To be clear, if the DOJ fails to prosecute Trump & his corrupt associates for their many crimes, no future politician or high government official will have any reason whosoever to obey the law. Such a failure will have us slouching toward the end of our republic,” Mr Kirschner tweeted.
To be clear, if the DOJ to prosecute Trump & his corrupt associates fail for their many crimes, no future politician or high government official will have any reason whosoever to obey the law. Such a failure will have us slouching toward the end of our republic.
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) February 15, 2022
John Bowden15 February 2022 21:55
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.