Trump wants judge criminally charged at New York fraud trial – live

Donald Trump has appeared in court in Lower Manhattan for his New York civil fraud trial where a judge will determine what penalties he will face over his fraudulent business activities.

Before his appearance on Monday, the former president took to Truth Social to attack both New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James — something he continued to do throughout the day.

Indeed, the trial began nine minutes late after he stopped to give extensive remarks in the hall outside the courtroom, baselessly claiming that it was a “scam and a sham” while further attacking the judge and Ms James.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s longest-serving Chief of Staff has confirmed remarks made and previously denied by the former president, in which he branded wounded or killed US war heroes as “losers” and “suckers”.

General John Kelly, who served the Trump administration from 2017 until 2019, confirmed details of a damning 2020 article in The Atlantic as well as other offensive remarks made by Mr Trump while he was president.

But in a statement to CNN, Mr Kelly confirmed several details of the story on the record.

Key Points

Full story: Trump hears opening arguments and witness testimony in blockbuster fraud trial

05:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Reporting for The Independent from New York’s Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan, Alex Woodward filed this report on today’s events:

Former president Donald Trump leaned forward in his chair while staring at the front of a courtroom in downtown Manhattan as a judge slowly and deliberately outlined the stakes of a trial stemming from a multi-million dollar lawsuit against him.

The former president – wearing a dark blue suit and light blue tie – slowly walked towards the defence table when he entered yet another New York courtroom on 2 October.

He sat beside his attorneys to begin the first day of a trial expected to stretch until three days before Christmas, as a team with the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James argued that the former president, his adult sons and chief associates defrauded banks and insurers by overvaluing properties by billions dollars to fraudulently obtain benefits based on his grossly exaggerated net worth and assets.

Last week, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron determined that no trial was necessary to determine that Mr Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent, allowing a bench trial to move forward that will address six other claims in Ms James’s blockbuster lawsuit. None of the parties asked for a jury trial, according to the judge.

Mr Trump has spent decades navigating legal threats that would reveal his alleged reputation as a fraud, but a brutal 35-page decision from Judge Engoron – if allowed to stand – could threaten to dismantle his business interests in the state.

Continued...

Trump hears opening arguments and witness testimony in blockbuster fraud trial

Lindsey Graham warns Trump on danger of ‘pulling the plug’ on Ukraine aid

07:00 , Oliver O'Connell

South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham cautioned that if former President Donald Trump were to stop sending aid to the embattled country of Ukraine if elected president, the end result would be “10 times worse than Afghanistan.”

When asked about how he would advise Mr Trump and other Republicans in Congress who have threatened to stop sending aid to the country, Mr Graham said on Face the Nation on Sunday: “To President Trump and anybody else: if we pull the plug on Ukraine, that’s 10 times worse than Afghanistan.”

“To stop funding Ukraine is a death sentence for Taiwan,” the South Carolina Republican predicted. “Putin will keep going. You missed all of World War II if you missed how this movie ends.”

Read more...

Profile: Judge Arthur Engoron — the judge presiding over Trump’s civil fraud trial

06:00 , Ariana Baio

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has joined the exclusive group of jurists overseeing one of former president Donald Trump’s many trials.

This time, the trial is set in New York City civil court where Justice Engoron is presiding over the fraud case against Mr Trump, his adult sons and several Trump Organization executives in a lawsuit brought forth by New York attorney general Letitia James.

Already, Justice Engoron has shown to be a no-nonsense judge, having found Mr Trump liable for committing business fraud and stripped away the former president’s control over some of his notable properties.

In a trial that is expected to last three months, Justice Engoron will determine the fate of Mr Trump’s business dealings in the state as the trial to resolve claims in Ms James’ lawsuit and decide damages begins.

So who is the 74-year-old Justice (and former cab driver) presiding over the case?

Who is the judge in Trump’s civil fraud case?

Earlier: Trump appears at Manhattan courthouse for first day of fraud trial

04:00 , Ariana Baio & Alex Woodward

Donald Trump appeared at a New York City courthouse in downtown Manhattan on 2 October for the first day of a trial stemming from a $250m civil fraud lawsuit brought by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Just after 9.30am ET, the former president – donning a dark blue suit and blue tie – made his way from his residence at Trump Tower to the state Supreme Court building at 60 Centre Street

Upon arrival, Mr Trump gave a brief statement to new organisations in the narrow hallway outside of the courtroom on the third floor of the building.

He called the trial “a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time” and maintained his innocence in the case.

Donald Trump appears at Manhattan courthouse for first day of fraud trial

Man lauded as MeToo 'victim' by Trump administration accused of killing and dismembering girlfriend

03:30 , Graeme Massie

Joseph Roberts, 42, has been accused of killing his girlfriend Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner.

Man lauded as MeToo ‘victim’ accused of killing and dismembering girlfriend

Analysis: Trump’s fraud trial could expose his ‘fantasy world’ – and seriously damage his business interests

03:00 , Alex Woodward

A potentially devastating ruling against Donald Trump has pierced the heart of a decades-old narrative he used to boost his national profile and seduce millions of voters to support his campaigns for the presidency.

That persona was built on a “fantasy” made up of cheating, lying and outright fraud, according to a New York judge presiding over a blockbuster lawsuit from the state’s attorney general, whose investigation revealed the former president, his adult sons, businesses and chief executives “grossly and materially inflated” assets over a decade.

They defrauded banks and insurers by overvaluing properties by billions of dollars, exaggerating the state of his wealth to fraudulently obtain favourable insurance deals, financing and other transactions, according to the lawsuit.

Mr Trump spent those decades navigating threats that would reveal his reputation as a fraud, but a brutal 35-page decision from Judge Arthur F Engoron – if allowed to stand – not only could expose the former president’s alleged history of corruption, it might also take his business empire down with him. Mr Trump himself condemned the decision as a plan to “KILL TRUMP”.

Unlike the four criminal indictments against him, including two separate cases alleging his role at the centre of a fraudulent campaign to overturn 2020 election results, a multi-million dollar fraud lawsuit could do serious damage to his business.

Continued...

Trump branded wounded or killed American soldiers ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’, Gen John Kelly confirms

02:30 , Graeme Massie

General John Kelly confirmed details of a 2020 article about the former president’s behaviour in an on-the-record statement to CNN.

Trump branded killed American soldiers ‘losers’, Gen John Kelly confirms

How much to keep Trump out of the 2024 race? Author claims it could be $5bn

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

FTX founder and suspected fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried considered the possibility of paying Donald Trump up to $5bn to stay out of the 2024 presidential race, a new book claims.

In an essay published in the Washington Post — developed from Michael Lewis’ new book Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon — Mr Lewis wrote that Mr Bankman-Fried “was exploring the legality of paying Donald Trump himself not to run for president”.

“His team had somehow created a back channel into the Trump operation and returned with the not terribly Earth-shattering news that Donald Trump might indeed have his price: $5 billion. Or so Sam was told by his team,” he wrote.

Mr Lewis expanded on this claim in an interview on 60 Minutes, saying Mr Bankman-Fried wondered “how much would it take” for the former president to seek re-election in 2024. “There was a number that was kicking around” at the time that Mr Lewis was talking to the FTX founder, he said - $5bn.

“Sam was not sure that number came directly from Trump,” Mr Lewis clarified. “The question Sam had was — not just ‘is $5bn enough to pay Trump not to run’ — but was it legal?”

Read more from Kelly Rissman:

Sam Bankman-Fried weighed paying Trump $5bn to stay out of 2024 race, author claims

Garland says in interview he'd resign if Biden asked him to take action on Trump

01:00 , AP

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in an interview that aired Sunday that he would resign if asked by President Joe Biden to take action against Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. But he doesn’t think he’ll be put in that position.

“I am sure that that will not happen, but I would not do anything in that regard,” he said in an interview on CBS 60 Minutes. “And if necessary, I would resign. But there is no sense that anything like that will happen.”

The Justice Department is at the centre of not only indictments against Trump that include an effort to overturn the 2020 election and wrongly keeping classified documents, but also cases against Biden’s son Hunter, the aftermath of the riot at the U.S. Capitol and investigations into classified documents found in the president’s home and office. Garland has appointed three separate special counsels.

Garland has spoken only sparingly about the cases and reiterated Sunday he would not get into specifics, but dismissed claims by Trump and his supporters that the cases were timed to ruin his chances to be president in 2024.

“Well, that’s absolutely not true. Justice Department prosecutors are nonpartisan. They don’t allow partisan considerations to play any role in their determinations,” Garland said.

Continued...

Tuesday 3 October 2023 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump appears in court as civil fraud trial begins in New York

Trump refuses to take sides between Gaetz and McCarthy

Monday 2 October 2023 23:30 , John Bowden

Donald Trump appears to be sitting out the crisis of leadership occurring in the House Republican caucus, a move that may serve to strengthen Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s chances of remaining at its head.

A group of right-wing Republicans led by Matt Gaetz is likely to try to oust the GOP speaker of the House in the coming days following Mr McCarthy’s decision to cut a deal with Democrats to avert a government shutdown over the weekend. Those same holdouts had been pressuring Mr McCarthy to push forward only with budget resolutions that would require major cuts in federal spending, measures which were doomed to fail in the Senate if they even passed the lower chamber.

Mr Gaetz, a close ally of Donald Trump, had apparently been hoping to win the ex-president’s support for his crusade against Mr McCarthy — he indicated to reporters on Monday that he had spoken with Mr Trump on the matter, and played coy about how Mr Trump was leaning on the issue.

But the ex-president himself dispelled any notion of supporting Mr Gaetz’s bid to oust Mr McCarthy as speaker upon his arrival in New York for the beginning of his fraud trial. Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, he took a position of neutrality.

Continued...

Legal experts divide on whether Trump can be banned from 2024 presidential race

Monday 2 October 2023 23:00 , John Bowden

As Donald Trump looks increasingly likely to be the 2024 Republican nominee for president, it continues to look more and more plausible that there could be a serious effort to keep him off the ballot entirely.

Following his presidency ending in a bloody battle on Capitol Hill, Mr Trump remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party, at least among its primary voting electorate.

Recent polls show the ex-president supported by as many as six in 10 of GOP primary voters nationally, while he also continues to hold commanding leads in early primary and caucus states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

But winning a primary election is one thing; winning a general election is another. And as Mr Trump consolidates his support within the GOP, some politicians and constitutional law experts alike are growing more vocal about the possibility of simply denying the Republican Party’s candidate from appearing on the ballot next November at all.

Continued...

Sarah Huckabee Sanders faces investigation amid spending furore

Monday 2 October 2023 22:43 , Oliver O'Connell

A whistleblower in Arkansas is accusing the state’s governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, of improperly altering and refusing to release records at a time when her office is being investigated for its spending.

Tom Mars, the attorney representing the whistleblower, is reportedly seeking a legislative audit of the governor, according to a letter he sent to state Representative Jimmy Hickey on Friday. The letter also said the whistleblower would be willing to give testimony, according to the Arkansas Times.

Mr Hickey and the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee began investigating a purchase she made for her office. The governor of the seventh poorest state in the US reportedly purchased a $19,000 lectern, sparking blowback on social media, according to the Arkansas Advocate.

Arkansas’ median income for an individual in 2020 was a little more than $27,000, according to the US Census Bureau.

Graig Graziosi has the more of the details...

Sarah Huckabee Sanders faces probe for $19,000 lectern and ‘hidden’ public records

There is no jury at Trump’s fraud trial — here’s why

Monday 2 October 2023 22:27 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump complained that his trial was not in front of a jury as he left court today in New York.

Alex Woodward who watched proceedings from inside the courtroom explains why that was, and it could be down to a “terrible error” on the part of Mr Trump’s lawyer.

Why Trump’s fraud trial doesn’t have a jury

Monday 2 October 2023 22:06 , Oliver O'Connell

Profile: Judge Arthur Engoron — the judge presiding over Trump’s civil fraud trial

Monday 2 October 2023 22:00 , Ariana Baio

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has joined the exclusive group of jurists overseeing one of former president Donald Trump’s many trials.

This time, the trial is set in New York City civil court where Justice Engoron is presiding over the fraud case against Mr Trump, his adult sons and several Trump Organization executives in a lawsuit brought forth by New York attorney general Letitia James.

Already, Justice Engoron has shown to be a no-nonsense judge, having found Mr Trump liable for committing business fraud and stripped away the former president’s control over some of his notable properties.

In a trial that is expected to last three months, Justice Engoron will determine the fate of Mr Trump’s business dealings in the state as the trial to resolve claims in Ms James’ lawsuit and decide damages begins.

So who is the 74-year-old Justice (and former cab driver) presiding over the case?

Who is the judge in Trump’s civil fraud case?

Watch: Trump complains about lack of jury... because one was not requested

Monday 2 October 2023 21:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Court adjourns for day

Monday 2 October 2023 21:39 , Oliver O'Connell

Court has adjourned for the day and Donald Trump is once again talking to the press in the hallway of the courthouse.

The former president reiterates his stance that there is no case and no victim and again attacks New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Court resumes at 10am tomorrow morning.

Judge Engoron has set up a tentative timeframe for the trial and is going to be strict on timings.

Court will be in session Monday to Thursday from 10am to 1pm and 2.15pm to 4.30pm up until 22 December — the Friday before Christmas.

Full story: Trump hears opening arguments and witness testimony in blockbuster fraud trial

Monday 2 October 2023 21:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Reporting for The Independent from New York’s Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan, Alex Woodward filed this report on today’s events:

Former president Donald Trump leaned forward in his chair while staring at the front of a courtroom in downtown Manhattan as a judge slowly and deliberately outlined the stakes of a trial stemming from a multi-million dollar lawsuit against him.

The former president – wearing a dark blue suit and light blue tie – slowly walked towards the defence table when he entered yet another New York courtroom on 2 October.

He sat beside his attorneys to begin the first day of a trial expected to stretch until three days before Christmas, as a team with the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James argued that the former president, his adult sons and chief associates defrauded banks and insurers by overvaluing properties by billions dollars to fraudulently obtain benefits based on his grossly exaggerated net worth and assets.

Last week, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron determined that no trial was necessary to determine that Mr Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent, allowing a bench trial to move forward that will address six other claims in Ms James’s blockbuster lawsuit. None of the parties asked for a jury trial, according to the judge.

Mr Trump has spent decades navigating legal threats that would reveal his alleged reputation as a fraud, but a brutal 35-page decision from Judge Engoron – if allowed to stand – could threaten to dismantle his business interests in the state.

Continued...

Trump hears opening arguments and witness testimony in blockbuster fraud trial

Amid ethics criticism, Clarence Thomas recuses himself from John Eastman appeal

Monday 2 October 2023 21:10 , John Bowden

The Supreme Court’s most controversial member on Monday recused himself from a decision on whether or not the Court would hear an appeal from John Eastman, a former lawyer to Donald Trump now facing criminal indictment.

Mr Eastman, who faces several different legal battles all stemming in some way from his work for Mr Trump, had hoped the Supreme Court would overturn a decision by a judge in a lower court which forced him to hand over communications to the January 6 committee. The bipartisan panel of House lawmakers investigated the attack on the US Capitol throughout 2022, and made public messages that were obtained from Mr Eastman and other close allies of Donald Trump.

Read more...

Clarence Thomas recuses himself from John Eastman appeal amid ethics criticism

First witness testimony continues

Monday 2 October 2023 20:59 , Alex Woodward

First witness Donald Bender, Donald Trump’s former accountant at Mazars continues to testify and explains what exactly he did in his time working with the Trump Organization and other Trump-connected entities, as well as the preparation of paperwork and documents for statements of financial condition, largely around statements made in 2011.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is sitting in the front row on the right of the room. Eric Trump is at the end of the front row on the left of the room, just behind his father.

A dozen NYPD officers and Secret Service agents are hovering around the room.

Mr Trump is watching things attentively, speaking frequently with attorneys on his left (Alina Habba) and right (Christopher Kise). Two screens on either side of the room, and screens in front of both sides display documents that the AG’s office is questioning Mr Bender about.

It’s pretty remarkable that Ms James and the Trumps have all been in the same room not that many feet from one another for several hours now.

Former President Donald Trump (C) sits with his attorneys Christopher Kise (2-L) and Alina Habba (2-R) as he attends the first day of his civil fraud trial in New York on 2 October 2023 (EPA)
Former President Donald Trump (C) sits with his attorneys Christopher Kise (2-L) and Alina Habba (2-R) as he attends the first day of his civil fraud trial in New York on 2 October 2023 (EPA)

DeSantis rules out being Trump’s vice president

Monday 2 October 2023 20:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said he would not serve as Donald Trump’s vice president if asked.

Mr DeSantis made the revelation in an interview on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures over the weekend.

“No, I’m running for president,” he said.

The 45-year-old went on to say he believes a huge flaw in Mr Trump’s re-election campaign will be that he cannot serve a full eight years in office.

“We need somebody that can serve two terms,” he said.

Holly Hales reports.

Ron DeSantis rules out being Trump’s vice president

In case you were wondering...

Monday 2 October 2023 20:33 , Oliver O'Connell

In pictures posted earlier, you might have noticed former president Donald Trump clutching a printout while talking to the media during the lunch recess.

It’s an article from The New York Sun.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Here’s what it says:

Error in New York’s Civil Fraud Case Against Trump Is Flagged by Industry Insiders, Who Say Valuation of Mar-a-Lago Cited by Judge Is Based on a Misunderstanding of Basic Real Estate Practice

Apparent mistake by Judge Engoron surfaces in his use of a Palm Beach County appraisal of Mar-a-Lago that, an expert says, ‘is detached from the true value of the property.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A little preview of the Trump team’s defence.

Watch: Florida Democrat Rep posts Trump ‘Law & Order’ intro meme

Monday 2 October 2023 20:26 , Oliver O'Connell

First-term Democrat Rep Jared Moskowitz of Florida’s 23rd District posted a meme to X, formerly known as Twitter, that mixes in photos from day one of former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud case with the famous opening credits of TV series Law & Order.

Watch below:

Trump says shoplifters can ‘fully expect to be shot’ if he is re-elected

Monday 2 October 2023 20:10 , Mike Bedigan

Donald Trump said that, if he is re-elected, shoplifters could “fully expect to be shot” and in some instances killed by police if they steal from stores.

The former president said that the extreme measure would put an end to such crimes “immediately” and hailed the police force as “amazing”.

It comes after US retailer Target announced it would be closing nine stores across the country, three of which are in San Francisco, California, citing thefts and organised retail crime – which it says threatens the safety of its employees.

Read on...

Trump says if he is re-elected shoplifters can ‘fully expect to be shot’

Court resumes, first witness called

Monday 2 October 2023 19:42 , Alex Woodward

Back in the courtroom after lunch Mr Trump is seated with his defence team. Eric Trump is seated in the front row behind them.

Roughly one-third of the courtroom has emptied out after opening statements before the lunch recess. We’re going to be hearing from at least one witness for the rest of the afternoon.

The first witness is Donald Bender, number one on the AG’s witness list.

He is Mr Trump’s former Mazars accountant.

In pictures: Trump rails against judge, attorney general, basis of case

Monday 2 October 2023 19:37 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump speaks while the court takes a lunch recess during the first day of his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court (Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump speaks while the court takes a lunch recess during the first day of his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court (Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Justice Arthur Engoron of the state Supreme Court listen to opening arguments from his lawyer Alina Habba (REUTERS)
Donald Trump and Justice Arthur Engoron of the state Supreme Court listen to opening arguments from his lawyer Alina Habba (REUTERS)
A courtroom sketch showing former President Donald Trump, left, as he enters the courtroom with New York Attorney General Letitia James (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)
A courtroom sketch showing former President Donald Trump, left, as he enters the courtroom with New York Attorney General Letitia James (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)

Trump makes astounding claim that Mar-a-Lago is worth up to $1.5bn

Monday 2 October 2023 19:30 , Oliver O'Connell

At the lunch break in his trial for alleged fraud in New York City, former president Donald Trump made the jaw-dropping claim that he believes the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, where he lives during the winter could be valued at more than $1bn, perhaps as much as $1.5bn.

Just as a reminder, here’s a picture of a bathroom at Mar-a-Lago being used to store boxes of classified documents.

A photo published by the U.S. Justice Department in their charging document against former U.S. President Donald Trump shows boxes of documents stored in a bathroom at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in early 2021 (Justice Department via REUTERS)
A photo published by the U.S. Justice Department in their charging document against former U.S. President Donald Trump shows boxes of documents stored in a bathroom at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida in early 2021 (Justice Department via REUTERS)

Trump continues to rail against judge

Monday 2 October 2023 19:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Lindsey Graham warns Trump on danger of ‘pulling the plug’ on Ukraine aid

Monday 2 October 2023 19:10 , Kelly Rissman

South Carolina Sen Lindsey Graham cautioned that if former President Donald Trump were to stop sending aid to the embattled country of Ukraine if elected president, the end result would be “10 times worse than Afghanistan.”

When asked about how he would advise Mr Trump and other Republicans in Congress who have threatened to stop sending aid to the country, Mr Graham said on Face the Nation on Sunday: “To President Trump and anybody else: if we pull the plug on Ukraine, that’s 10 times worse than Afghanistan.”

“To stop funding Ukraine is a death sentence for Taiwan,” the South Carolina Republican predicted. “Putin will keep going. You missed all of World War II if you missed how this movie ends.”

Read more...

Lindsey Graham warns Trump of the dangers of ‘pulling the plug’ on Ukraine

Watch: Trump says fraud trial judge should be disbarred for interfering in election

Monday 2 October 2023 18:53 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump continues to rage against Judge Arther Engoron who is presiding over his New York fraud case.

And the clerk of the court.

It’s an interesting legal strategy.

Author claims Sam Bankman-Fried weighed paying Trump to stay out of 2024 race

Monday 2 October 2023 18:50 , Oliver O'Connell

FTX founder and suspected fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried considered the possibility of paying Donald Trump up to $5bn to stay out of the 2024 presidential race, a new book claims.

In an essay published in the Washington Post — developed from Michael Lewis’ new book Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon — Mr Lewis wrote that Mr Bankman-Fried “was exploring the legality of paying Donald Trump himself not to run for president”.

“His team had somehow created a back channel into the Trump operation and returned with the not terribly Earth-shattering news that Donald Trump might indeed have his price: $5 billion. Or so Sam was told by his team,” he wrote.

Mr Lewis expanded on this claim in an interview on 60 Minutes, saying Mr Bankman-Fried wondered “how much would it take” for the former president to seek re-election in 2024. “There was a number that was kicking around” at the time that Mr Lewis was talking to the FTX founder, he said - $5bn.

Kelly Rissman reports.

Sam Bankman-Fried weighed paying Trump $5bn to stay out of 2024 race, author claims

Monday 2 October 2023 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump appears in court as civil fraud trial begins in New York

Gaetz could call for McCarthy no-confidence vote today

Monday 2 October 2023 18:19 , Andrew Feinberg

Florida congressman Matt Gaetz told members of the House of Representatives that he intends to call for what would amount to a vote of no-confidence in House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during remarks on the House floor on Monday.

Mr Gaetz took to the House floor during a period when members are permitted to give general speeches on any topic to rail against the Californian for allowing the House to pass a stopgap spending bill to prevent a government shutdown late Saturday, just hours before the expiration of the fiscal year.

The Florida Republican and a small group of fellow right-wingers had opposed the measure, known as a continuing resolution, because it did not include draconian cuts to most government departments.

Read more...

Gaetz could call for no-confidence vote in McCarthy today

Trump family set to testify, court hears

Monday 2 October 2023 18:10 , Oliver O'Connell

As court breaks for lunch, Trump fundraising continues unabated

Monday 2 October 2023 17:57 , Oliver O'Connell

The Trump 2024 campaign continues unabated as the former president never misses an opportunity to appeal to his supporters — even while in court.

Trump court sketch released

Monday 2 October 2023 17:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump sits alongside his lawyer Alina Habba as he listens to opening arguments by Kevin Wallace, a lawyer in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)
Former President Donald Trump sits alongside his lawyer Alina Habba as he listens to opening arguments by Kevin Wallace, a lawyer in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

Judge asks if financial statements contained misstatements

Monday 2 October 2023 17:45 , Alex Woodward

Judge Engoron asked for some clarity with a simple question to the attorneys on Team Trump — whether there weren’t any misstatements in any of the statements of financial condition?

It triggered some back and forth, with attorney Christopher Kise jumping up from the defence table to urge the judge to hear from witnesses who can speak to those claims.

“I intend to be very patient and liberal listening to things,” Judge Engoron said.

Don Jr and Eric Trump to testify, lawyer says

Monday 2 October 2023 17:36 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Trump in court in Lower Manhattan on 2 October 2023 (EPA)
Eric Trump in court in Lower Manhattan on 2 October 2023 (EPA)

Clifford Robert, the attorney for Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump confirmed they will both testify at trial.

He argues to Judge Engoron that he will determine the credibility of those appearing before him, including witnesses from the New York AG’s office.

“Their major linchpin is Michael Cohen,” he said. “When you talk about credibility, you are gonna have a guy who lies to everyone, who is a convicted felon … he is a fixture of what their case is about.”

Monday 2 October 2023 17:29 , Alex Woodward

Judge Arthur Engoron is questioning Ms Habba about bringing up allegations of the NY AG’s “motivations” for bringing the case.

With no apparent irony, she criticises Ms James’s previous out-of-court statements and her appearance in the courtroom, which she said is “part of the schtick, I guess.”

(Trump is also here, and he made out-of-court statements seconds before entering the courtroom. No recognition of his ongoing feud with Ms James on- and offline.)

Court resumes after break with Trump team arguing Mar-a-Lago worth $1bn

Monday 2 October 2023 17:15 , Alex Woodward

Alina Habba, a lawyer who has represented Trump, arrives at a Manhattan courthouse on 2 October 2023 (REUTERS)
Alina Habba, a lawyer who has represented Trump, arrives at a Manhattan courthouse on 2 October 2023 (REUTERS)

Trump lawyer Alina Habba is now addressing the court.

“We are attacking a sitting president and two of his children and his employees for a [statement of financial condition] that is frankly worth less than what they are worth,” she told the judge.

She also condemned the valuation of Mar-a-Lago at $18m and accused the attorney general of conflating a tax assessment and a property’s market value. She said defendants will have “experts” show that the value of the former president’s resort property is well over $1bn.

“The value is the value, and the value of anything … is what someone is willing to pay,” she said. “The Trump properties are Mona Lisa properties. … That is not fraud. That is real estate.”

Trump is glued to watching her speak at a lectern on the right side of the courtroom, the opposite side of where the defence is.

Courtroom packed for first day of trial

Monday 2 October 2023 16:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump (C) sits with his attorneys Christopher Kise (2-L) and Alina Habba (2-R) as he attends the first day of his civil fraud trial in New York on 2 October 2023 (EPA)
Former President Donald Trump (C) sits with his attorneys Christopher Kise (2-L) and Alina Habba (2-R) as he attends the first day of his civil fraud trial in New York on 2 October 2023 (EPA)

Monday 2 October 2023 16:38 , Alex Woodward

Mr Kise said bank officer testimony in the trial will prove that Mr Trump was “overqualified” to receive favourable loans, rejecting arguments from the attorney general that he said show “somehow the defendants received access on terms they otherwise could not have obtained.”

Mr Trump’s “net worth far exceeded the minimum required” to receive those benefits, according to Mr Kise.

In a closing remark from Team Trump’s opening statement, Mr Kise claimed the allegations show no evidence of fraud, no victims, and that “evidence will demonstrate … that the attorney general has no case.”

Trump defence continued...

Monday 2 October 2023 16:29 , Alex Woodward

Trump lawyer Christopher Kise is arguing essentially that the statements of financial condition at the centre of the case are “materially accurate”, adding that there is a “wide latitude” to value assets, not just appraisals and that disagreements with those statements do not establish fraud.

On the use of the disclaimers that Mr Trump has defended (and which the judge rejected in his ruling), Mr Kise argued that the valuations are not “intentional defrauding”.

“It’s simply the opinion of the owner of the property, and it’s up to [financial institutions] to do their own due diligence,” he said.

Full story: Trump appears at Manhattan courthouse for first day of fraud trial

Monday 2 October 2023 16:20 , Ariana Baio & Alex Woodward

Donald Trump appeared at a New York City courthouse in downtown Manhattan on Monday, for the first day of his $250 million civil fraud lawsuit brought by New York attorney general Letitia James’ office.

Just after 9.30am ET, the former president made his way from his residence at Trump Tower to the courthouse located at 60 Centre Street, donning a dark blue suit and blue tie.

Upon arrival, Mr Trump gave a brief statement to new organisations in the narrow hallway outside of the courtroom on the third floor of the building.

He called the trial “a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time” and maintained his innocence in the case.

Mr Trump, his adult sons and Trump Organization executives are accused of defrauding banks and insurers by overvaluing properties by billions of dollars, exaggerating the state of his wealth to fraudulently obtain favourable insurance deals, financing and other transactions.

Continued...

Donald Trump appears at Manhattan courthouse for first day of fraud trial

Trump attorney argues ‘no attempt to defraud’ and ‘no victims’

Monday 2 October 2023 16:16 , Alex Woodward

Trump attorney Christopher Kise says trial arguments and evidence will show Mr Trump made “many billions of dollars being right about real estate investments” and “is one of the most successful and highly recognised brands in the world,” with “trophy properties, low debt” and an “exceptional operational track record.”

In sum, attorneys for the defendants will show during the trial that there was “no intent to defraud, there was no illegality,” and “no unjust profits, and there were no victims.”

Prosecutors outline false valuation of properties

Monday 2 October 2023 16:10 , Alex Woodward

The NY AG’s office outlined several allegedly false valuations, including appraisals of Seven Springs, the Trump Tower triplex apartment and 40 Wall Street and how Donald Trump allegedly inflated his net worth to secure and maintain lucrative financial benefits each year.

“Year after year, loan after loan, [Mr Trump] misrepresented his net worth to maintain favourable loans and interest rates,” Mr Wallace said, adding that it unlawfully saved defendants “tens of millions of dollars” a year.

“It’s one thing to exaggerate for Forbes magazine,” he said.

Mr Trump’s counsel is now giving the defence’s opening statement.

Monday 2 October 2023 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Prosecution plays clips of defendant’s depositions

Monday 2 October 2023 15:47 , Alex Woodward

The AG’s office played several clips from depositions from Donald Trump, Eric Trump, Don Jr and Allen Weisselberg asking about “generally accepted accounting principles” (the assurance that records are accurately recorded and maintained) and who was responsible for them.

None said they knew much about what they are, and Donald Trump claimed Weisselberg was responsible for them. In Weisselberg’s deposition, when asked if he understands the various components of them, he said “not really.”

The generally accepted accounting principles are basically the statements of financial condition at the heart of the case.

Trump attorney Clifford Robert objected to clips of those tapes being played. Judge Engoron denied the objection.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The deposition of Michael Cohen is played by prosecutors as part of the opening statement, explaining how the statements of financial condition worked within the Trump Organization, under the former president’s direction: “The goal was to use each of the assets and increase its value in order to get to the end result number. It was basically backing in numbers to each other asset classes in order to obtain the number that Mr Trump wanted.”

The former president has been hunched forward slightly as he listens to the presentation.

Trump makes angry Truth Social post as he heads into court

Monday 2 October 2023 15:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump managed to fire off an angry all-caps Truth Social post as he headed into court this morning before making remarks to reporters gathered in the hallway outside.

The former president posted:

JUST ARRIVED AT THE COURTHOUSE TO FIGHT A CORRUPT & RACIST ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND A ROGUE, OUT OF CONTROL, TRUMP HATING JUDGE, WHO REFUSES TO FOLLOW THE APPELLATE COURT DECISION WHICH KNOKS OUT 80% OF THIS SHAM CASE. THIS IS THE CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!

What will the NY AG’s office try to prove at trial?

Monday 2 October 2023 15:40 , Alex Woodward

The New York Attorney General’s office made seven claims in the suit against Donald Trump, his adult children, and his company.

Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision last week resolved a key issue of whether the defendants were liable for fraud.

At trial, the AG’s office will prove the six other claims, Kevin Wallace explains, including allegations that Mr Trump and the defendants illegally falsified business records, conspired to make those false entries, issued false financial statements, committed conspiracy to issue those false financial statements, committed insurance fraud, and insurance fraud conspiracy.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (REUTERS)
New York Attorney General Letitia James (REUTERS)

In pictures: Trump arrive at court

Monday 2 October 2023 15:36 , Oliver O'Connell

 (AP)
(AP)
Former president Donald Trump speaks as he arrives at a Manhattan courthouse, for the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James (REUTERS)
Former president Donald Trump speaks as he arrives at a Manhattan courthouse, for the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James (REUTERS)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
Jason Miller, left, speaks alongside Former President Donald Trump's legal team outside at New York Supreme Court (AP)
Jason Miller, left, speaks alongside Former President Donald Trump's legal team outside at New York Supreme Court (AP)

Judge outlines how case works as opening statements get underway

Monday 2 October 2023 15:31 , Alex Woodward

The judge is speaking very deliberately, careful to outline exactly how fraud cases work and what exactly will be on trial.

“Despite my lame attempts at humour … I take my job very seriously, and I know the counsel and parties do likewise,” he said.

He urged the parties to speak “slowly, loudly, clearly and, as I am doing, directly into the microphone.”

The acoustics are a little cavernous in here.

We’re moving to opening statements, starting with the AG’s office. Up first is Kevin Wallace, senior enforcement counsel with the Division of Economic Justice.

Watch: Trump and NY AG James in court

Monday 2 October 2023 15:29 , Oliver O'Connell

Monday 2 October 2023 15:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Former President Donald Trump, right, sits in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, Monday 2 October 2023 (AP)
Former President Donald Trump, right, sits in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, Monday 2 October 2023 (AP)

Judge denies request to televise trial

Monday 2 October 2023 15:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Arthur Engoron has denied a motion to televise opening and closing arguments but allows the press to use laptops and hotspots outside the courtroom, Alex Woodward reports from the courtroom.

He is allowing a handful of pool photographers to cover the trial.

There will be no televised coverage of the trial. Live footage was briefly aired on CNN as the camera crew was led out, showing Donald Trump sitting at the defence table with New York AG Letitia James diagonally behind him.

Watch: Chaotic scenes as Trump arrives and waits for press before speaking

Monday 2 October 2023 15:14 , Oliver O'Connell

The case was supposed to begin at 10am but appeared delayed by the former president’s remarks.

The scene inside the courtroom...

Monday 2 October 2023 15:11 , Oliver O'Connell

The Independent’s Alex Woodward sent this dispatch from the courtroom:

Donald Trump has arrived inside a downtown Manhattan courtroom to face a blockbuster $250m lawsuit from the state’s attorney general days after the judge eviscerated his defense against years-long allegations of fraud surrounding his brand-building business empire.

The former president – surrounded by news cameras in a short hallway before enteringNew York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron’s courtroom on the third floor of the building – wore a dark blue suit and blue tie as he slowly walked to his defense team.

Last week’s decision granted a partial judgment in favour of New York Attorney General Letitia James’s lawsuit, finding that the former president, his adult children and chief associates allegedly defrauded banks and insurers by overvaluing properties by billions dollars, exaggerating the state of his wealth to fraudulently obtain favourable insurance deals, financing and other transactions.

It was his second time inside a Manhattan courtroom in recent months, after he was criminally charged in a case surrounding so-called hush-money payments to an adult film star in the leadup to the 2016 election in an alleged effort to quash compromising stories of his affairs.

Mr Trump has spent decades navigating legal threats that would reveal his alleged reputation as a fraud, but a brutal 35-page decision from Judge Engoron – if allowed to stand – could threaten to dismantle his business interests in the state.

The judge determined that no trial was necessary to determine that Mr Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent, allowing a bench trial to move forward that will address other claims in Ms James’s lawsuit.

Both sides have offered up long lists of potential witnesses for the trial, including Mr Trump and his adult children.

Ms James entered the courtroom around 9.30am with her team after addressing reporters outside.

“For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system. We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during trial,” she wrote in a statement on Monday morning.

“No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does,” she added.

Trump speaks to reporters outside courtroom

Monday 2 October 2023 15:07 , Oliver O'Connell

In remarks to the press outside the courtroom, former president Donald Trump called the case the “continuation of single-greatest witch hunt of all time” attacking both the judge and attorney general.

Mr Trump says the New York Attorney General is “corrupt”. That the Deparement of Justice is “corrupt”. He then added “frankly our country is corrupt”.

The Trump 2024 campaign has leveraged his appearance to its full effect, sending out a lengthy email attacking Letitia James and another asking for donations.

Mr Trump spoke at length outside the courtroom, reiterating many of his campaign talking points depicting himself as a victim rather than the perpetrator of fraud and other charges, waiting for cameras and mics to be positioned for best effect.

“Just so you know, my financial statements are phenomenal,” Mr Trump says. Judge Arthur Engoron has already issued a pretrial ruling that he committed fraud and inflated his net worth.

News networks carried the footage live, but both CNN and MSNBC cut the audio and continued in-studio discussions of the case. Fox News continued to broadcast his remarks.

Watch: New York AG Letitia James’s remarks outside court

Monday 2 October 2023 14:57 , Oliver O'Connell

Monday 2 October 2023 14:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Trump led an initial part of former president Donald Trump’s entourage into court on the first day of New York civil fraud trial (REUTERS)
Eric Trump led an initial part of former president Donald Trump’s entourage into court on the first day of New York civil fraud trial (REUTERS)

Trump arrives at court

Monday 2 October 2023 14:36 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has arrived at the courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

TV crews are gathered in the hallway outside the courtroom and Trump may make remarks. Judge Arthur Engoron will decide if cameras will also be allowed in court for the trial.

Eric Trump led the first group of the Trump team into the courtroom.

Alex Woodward, reporting for The Independent from inside the courtroom, says that there was a lot of chatter before news of the former president’s arrival in the building and then things got very quiet.

NY AG James makes remarks on courthouse steps

Monday 2 October 2023 14:30 , Oliver O'Connell

New York Attorney General Letitia James addressed reporters on the steps of the courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

She pointedly said in part: “No matter how much money you think you have, no one is above the law.”

AG James is now in the courtroom with her team.

 (AP)
(AP)

Trump departs Manhattan home for court

Monday 2 October 2023 14:19 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has departed his home at Trump Tower to head to court in Lower Manhattan for his $250m civil fraud trial.

This will be the former president’s fifth court appearance this year.

The motorcade rolled out from the side entrance to Trump Tower and headed towards the eastside of Manhattan to take the FDR downtown.

Protestors gather outside of Manhattan courthouse

Monday 2 October 2023 14:06 , Ariana Baio

Protestors demonstrating against Donald Trump ahead of his Manhattan civil trial on Monday gathered outside of the courthouse where the ex-president is expected to appear later today.

The Independent’s Alex Woodward is down at the courthouse this morning and shared some insight about the early-morning protestors:

A group of protesters are blocking the street in front of the courthouse chanting “Trump lies all the time”. They said NYPD didn’t give them a dedicated space for a demonstration.

After a few minutes, the NYPD community affairs officers moved the protest out of the street. Where traffic continued as normal

Demonstrators block traffic on the first day of the Trump financial fraud trial at the New York County Court House on October 2, 2023 in New York City. (AFP via Getty Images)
Demonstrators block traffic on the first day of the Trump financial fraud trial at the New York County Court House on October 2, 2023 in New York City. (AFP via Getty Images)
A demonstrator holds up a sign outside Trump Tower, on the day of the start of the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, in New York City, U.S., October 2, 2023 (REUTERS)
A demonstrator holds up a sign outside Trump Tower, on the day of the start of the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, in New York City, U.S., October 2, 2023 (REUTERS)

Trump’s fraud trial could expose his ‘fantasy world’ – and seriously damage his business interests

Monday 2 October 2023 14:00 , Alex Woodward

Apotentially devastating ruling against Donald Trump has pierced the heart of a decades-old narrative he used to boost his national profile and seduce millions of voters to support his campaigns for the presidency.

That persona was built on a “fantasy” made up of cheating, lying and outright fraud, according to a New York judge presiding over a blockbuster lawsuit from the state’s attorney general, whose investigation revealed the former president, his adult sons, businesses and chief executives “grossly and materially inflated” assets over a decade.

They defrauded banks and insurers by overvaluing properties by billions of dollars, exaggerating the state of his wealth to fraudulently obtain favourable insurance deals, financing and other transactions, according to the lawsuit.

Mr Trump spent those decades navigating threats that would reveal his reputation as a fraud, but a brutal 35-page decision from Judge Arthur F Engoron – if allowed to stand – not only could expose the former president’s alleged history of corruption, it might also take his business empire down with him. Mr Trump himself condemned the decision as a plan to “KILL TRUMP”.

Unlike the four criminal indictments against him, including two separate cases alleging his role at the centre of a fraudulent campaign to overturn 2020 election results, a multi-million dollar fraud lawsuit could do serious damage to his business.

Read more

Letitia James releases statement ahead of trial

Monday 2 October 2023 13:33 , Ariana Baio

New York attorney general Letitia James released a statement about the civil trial against Donald Trump, which is expected to begin on Monday.

“For years, Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth to enrich himself and cheat the system. We won the foundation of our case last week and proved that his purported net worth has long been rooted in incredible fraud. In this country, there are consequences for this type of persistent fraud, and we look forward to demonstrating the full extent of his fraud and illegality during trial.

No matter how rich or powerful you are, there are not two sets of laws for people in this country. The rule of law must apply equally to everyone, and it is my responsibility to make sure that it does.”

Trump falsely claims to have ‘won Iowa’ twice

Monday 2 October 2023 13:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump falsely claimed to have won Iowa twice, seemingly disregarding his second-place finish behind Texas Senator Ted Cruz in 2016.

“We won Iowa twice, and we’re gonna win it again by A LOT!” Mr Trump said on Sunday.

The Independent’s Alex Woodward waiting outside the court

Monday 2 October 2023 13:26 , Ariana Baio

Outside of the Southern District of New York courthouse, reporters line up to enter for the first day of trial in Donald Trump’s civil case.

Outside of the courthouse in New York City where the civil case against Donald Trump is expected to begin (Alex Woodward / The Independent)
Outside of the courthouse in New York City where the civil case against Donald Trump is expected to begin (Alex Woodward / The Independent)

‘Press has succumbed to the banality of crazy,’ professor argues

Monday 2 October 2023 13:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Brian Klaas, an Associate Professor in Global Politics at University College London, argued on X on Sunday that the press has “managed to ‘both sides’ an 80 year old mainstream Democrat with a 77 year old racist authoritarian fraudster, liable for rape, who sought to overturn an election to stay in power, and is facing 91 felony criminal charges”.

“The press has succumbed to what I call ‘the banality of crazy,’ in which they breathlessly report on every minor Biden gaffe, but barely cover Trump calling to execute generals or shoplifters. This numbing effect helps Trump—and warps American politics,” he added.

Trump claims farmers and builders approach him while crying

Monday 2 October 2023 12:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump claimed on Sunday that farmers and builders who have never cried before approach him crying to thank him for what he’s done.

Trump baselessly claims electric cars can only go for 30 minutes

Monday 2 October 2023 11:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump baselessly claimed that electric cars can only go for 30 minutes before needing to be recharged in another swipe at climate-friendly policies while speaking in Iowa on Sunday.

He also suggested that drivers of electric cars become “schizophrenic” because the charge only lasts 10 minutes.

Trump shares how he would prefer to die as he claims electric boats would sink

Monday 2 October 2023 10:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Who is Arthur Engoron? Judge weighing future of Donald Trump empire is Ivy League-educated ex-cabbie

Monday 2 October 2023 09:00 , Michael R. Sisak

He’s driven a taxi cab, played in a band and protested the Vietnam War. As a New York City judge, Arthur Engoron has resolved hundreds of disputes, deciding everything from zoning and free speech issues to a custody fight over a dog named “Stevie.”

Now, in the twilight of a distinguished two-decade career on the bench, the erudite, Ivy League-educated judge is presiding over his biggest case yet: deciding the future of former President Donald Trump‘s real estate empire.

Last week, Engoron ruled that Trump committed years of fraud by exaggerating his wealth and the value of assets on financial statements he used to get loans and make deals. As punishment, the judge said he would dissolve some of Trump’s companies — a decision that could cause him to lose control of marquee New York properties, like Trump Tower.

Starting Monday, Engoron will preside over a non-jury trial in Manhattan to resolve remaining claims in New York Attorney General Letitia James‘ lawsuit against Trump, his company and top executives. He will also decide on monetary damages. James’ office is seeking $250 million.

Trump, who is listed as a potential witness and could end up face-to-face with Engoron in court, called the judge’s fraud ruling “the corporate death penalty.” He referred to Engoron as a “political hack” and said his would appeal.

Read more

Nikki Haley claims Trump campaign sent her birdcage after Trump called her ‘birdbrain’

Monday 2 October 2023 08:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Nikki Haley wrote on X that the Trump campaign left a birdcage outside her hotel room in Des Moines, Iowa after Mr Trump called her “birdbrain”.

Trump calls for Bowman to be jailed for pulling Capitol fire alarm

Monday 2 October 2023 07:00 , Gustaf.Kilander

Donald Trump has called for Rep Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) to be put in jail for pulling a fire alarm in the Capitol on Saturday.

The former president bizarrely claimed that Mr Bowman’s behaviour was worse than that of the rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“Will Congressman [Jamaal] Bowman be prosecuted and imprisoned for very dangerously pulling and setting off the main fire alarm system in order to stop a Congressional vote that was going on in D.C.,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Sunday.

“His egregious act is covered on tape, a horrible display of nerve and criminality. It was a very dangerous ‘Obstruction of an Official Proceeding,’ the same as used against our J-6 prisoners. Actually, his act may have been worse. HE MUST SUFFER THEIR SAME FATE. WHEN WILL HIS TRIAL BEGIN???” he added.

Mr Bowman admitted on Saturday that he pulled a fire alarm during a House vote but denied he did so to delay it.

Read more

A victory for Letitia James – and New Yorkers who warned about Trump’s fraud for decades

Monday 2 October 2023 06:00 , Alex Woodward

The stunning decision from the judge follows last year’s filing of a monster lawsuit from the attorney general’s office, stemming from a years-long investigation and building on decades of allegations of fraud.

The three-year probe, launched in the aftermath of Mr Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen offering bombshell congressional testimony about the business in 2019, included two depositions from the former president. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right nearly 450 times.

Speaking from her office in New York City last year, Ms James said Mr Trump “cheated all of us” by inflating his net worth “to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system”.

“This investigation revealed that Donald Trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth ... to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York,” she said.

Professor says US is ‘gambling lives’ on that Trump rhetoric won’t create violence

Monday 2 October 2023 05:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Brian Klaas, an Associate Professor in Global Politics at University College London, appeared on MSNBC on Sunday arguing that the US should be concerned about Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric.

“We’re sorta gambling a lot of people’s lives and our democracy on the idea that this rhetoric doesn’t translate into real world violence and that is a very, very bad bet for America to make,” he said.

Trump could lose his grip on image-building New York properties

Monday 2 October 2023 04:00 , Alex Woodward

Mr Trump repeatedly reminds his supporters of his descent from the “golden escalators” when he launched his 2016 campaign for president, what he has characterised as a turning point in American history. His triplex apartment in that building – Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue – was often on display for news cameras as he paraded his wealth.

If the judge’s ruling is allowed to stand, Mr Trump could be forced to relinquish control of nearly a dozen of his brand-building properties across New York.

The value of the triplex was fraudulently inflated by as much as $207m within four years, according to the lawsuit.

“A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud,” Judge Engoron wrote.

His Wall Street building was valued by the company at $572m, more than twice the value determined by outside appraisals, according to the lawsuit.

While the scope of the judge’s ruling is unclear, and which could potentially extend to properties controlled by New York companies, Mr Trump’s infamous Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida has come under closer scrutiny. The value of the former president’s current residence was inflated by as much as 2,300 per cent, according to the judge’s order.

The ruling cited an appraisal from the Palm Beach County Assessor’s office that determined its value between $18m and $27.6m.

AOC: There are no moderates in the GOP

Monday 2 October 2023 03:15 , Gustaf Kilander

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) argued on Sunday on CNN that there are no moderates in the GOP.

“There are just different degrees of fealty to Donald Trump. But it starts with a lot of fealty and goes to extreme fealty… We saw them run around the House like a Roomba until they found a door that Democrats opened,” she said on State of The Union.

A business-crushing decision

Monday 2 October 2023 02:30 , Alex Woodward

The lawsuit targeting Mr Trump and his Trump Organization umbrella alleges that Mr Trump fraudulently inflated his net worth by as much as $2.2bn in one year and by hundreds of millions of dollars in other years over a decade.

A recent filing argues that he inflated his net worth by $812m to $2.2bn – roughly 17 to 39 per cent each year from 2011 to 2021. The $2.2bn estimate came in 2014.

Ms James’s lawsuit alleges that the Trump Organization and its key players made more than 200 false and misleading evaluations of its assets over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021.

The operations of the Trump Organization, composed of roughly 500 entities under Mr Trump’s effective control, will come further into scrutiny in a civil trial.

In his ruling, Judge Engoron ordered several of the former president’s licences to be rescinded, effectively upending his abilities to do business in the state. An independent monitor also could be appointed to oversee compliance with the order and Mr Trump’s operations and liabilities to lenders, insurers and others.

Ms James also has asked the court to bar Mr Trump from entering into commercial real estate transactions in the state and prevent him from applying for loans – and to block the Trumps from serving as an officer of any corporation in the state.

And Mr Trump could still be on the hook for at least $250m in lost revenue and penalties sought by the attorney general.

Biden slams old Senate colleague for working with No Labels: ‘It’s going to help’ Trump

Monday 2 October 2023 01:45 , Gustaf Kilander

President Joe Biden criticised his old Senate colleague Joe Liberman for working with No Labels to explore a third party bid for the White House.

“It’s going to help the other guy. And he knows,” Mr Biden told John Harwood and ProPublica.

Mr Lieberman, 81, served in the Senate for Connecticut between 1989 and 2013, initially as a Democrat but from 2006 as an Independent.

He endorsed Republican John McCain in the 2008 election and said at the late Arizona senator’s funeral that he had declined an offer to be his running mate.

Eviscerating Trump’s ‘fantasy world’

Monday 2 October 2023 01:00 , Alex Woodward

Mr Kise, the former president’s attorney, told the court in pre-trial filings that Mr Trump is “an investment genius” and “probably one of the most successful real estate developers in the country”.

He is a “master at finding value where others see nothing,” he said.

Judge Engoron’s ruling also accused attorneys of wasting the court’s time with “repetitive, frivolous” filings that sought to delay the proceedings, adding that the sworn statements in Mr Trump’s depositions are “wholly without basis in law or fact.”

“In defendants’ world: rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies,” the judge wrote.

“This is a fantasy world, not a real world.”

Judge Engoron used the former president’s words against him, citing comments from a deposition citing his comments about “worthless clause” disclaimers included in his financial statements, which Mr Trump has argued insulates him from liability.

“The defences Donald Trump attempts to articulate in his sworn deposition are wholly without basis in law or fact,” Mr Engoron wrote, adding that the documents presented to the court that were provided to banks and insurers “clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business.

The judge’s ruling stresses that Mr Trump cannot “rely on a disclaimer” to misrepresent facts.

Lindsey Graham tells Trump ‘pulling plug on Ukraine’ would be ‘ten times worse than Afghanistan'

Monday 2 October 2023 00:15 , Gustaf Kilander

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday saying that “if we pull the plug on Ukraine, that’s ten times worse than Afghanistan”.

“There goes Taiwan,” he added.

Judgment against Trump in fraud trial could strip him of New York businesses and properties

Sunday 1 October 2023 23:30 , Alex Woodward

Thus far, the criminal cases against Mr Trump have not interrupted his campaign fundraising or poll numbers in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination for president. But a judgment against him in an upcoming fraud trial could strip him of his New York businesses and properties on which he has built his brand.

Judge Engoron’s decision granted a summary judgment in Letitia James’ lawsuit, resolving key claims that will make it easier for the state’s attorney general to argue her case in front of a judge. In essence, the judge determined that no trial was necessary to determine that Mr Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent.

Judge Engoron will preside over a bench trial on other counts in her lawsuit without a jury on 2 October. It could take weeks or months to get through; both sides have offered up long lists of potential witnesses, including Mr Trump and his adult children.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” Trump attorney Christopher Kise asked the judge one day after the ruling, “but what in the court’s mind does this trial look like?”

Ms James’s office does not intend to drop any of the remaining counts in the case.

In her only public statement following the judge’s decision, Ms James simply stated that the judge ruled in her favour, and “we look forward to presenting the rest of our case at trial.”

Pennsylvania governor’s voter registration change draws Trump’s ire in echo of 2020 election clashes

Sunday 1 October 2023 22:45 , Marc Levy

Donald Trump has a familiar target in his sights: Pennsylvania’s voting rules.

He never stopped attacking court decisions on mail-in ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, falsely claiming it as a reason for his 2020 loss in the crucial battleground state. Now, the former Republican president is seizing on a decision by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro to bypass the Legislature and start automatic voter registration.

The blowback has echoes of the 2020 election, when Trump and his allies relentlessly criticized decisions by the state’s Democratic-majority Supreme Court. That included extending the deadline to receive mail-in ballots over warnings that the pandemic had slowed postal service deliveries.

Republicans have joined Trump in railing against Shapiro’s action, saying there are not enough safeguards to prevent minors or undocumented immigrants from registering. The Shapiro administration disputes that.

“THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO STEAL PENNSYLVANIA AGAIN BY DOING THE ‘AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION’ SCAM,” Trump wrote on his social media platform.

Read more

Trump shares how he would prefer to die as he claims electric boats would sink

Sunday 1 October 2023 22:03 , Gustaf Kilander

Trump’s fraud trial could expose his ‘fantasy world’ – and seriously damage his business interests

Sunday 1 October 2023 22:00 , Alex Woodward

Apotentially devastating ruling against Donald Trump has pierced the heart of a decades-old narrative he used to boost his national profile and seduce millions of voters to support his campaigns for the presidency.

That persona was built on a “fantasy” made up of cheating, lying and outright fraud, according to a New York judge presiding over a blockbuster lawsuit from the state’s attorney general, whose investigation revealed the former president, his adult sons, businesses and chief executives “grossly and materially inflated” assets over a decade.

They defrauded banks and insurers by overvaluing properties by billions of dollars, exaggerating the state of his wealth to fraudulently obtain favourable insurance deals, financing and other transactions, according to the lawsuit.

Mr Trump spent those decades navigating threats that would reveal his reputation as a fraud, but a brutal 35-page decision from Judge Arthur F Engoron – if allowed to stand – not only could expose the former president’s alleged history of corruption, it might also take his business empire down with him. Mr Trump himself condemned the decision as a plan to “KILL TRUMP”.

Unlike the four criminal indictments against him, including two separate cases alleging his role at the centre of a fraudulent campaign to overturn 2020 election results, a multi-million dollar fraud lawsuit could do serious damage to his business.

Read more

Trump baselessly claims electric cars can only go for 30 minutes

Sunday 1 October 2023 21:52 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump baselessly claimed that electric cars can only go for 30 minutes before needing to be recharged in another swipe at climate-friendly policies while speaking in Iowa on Sunday.

He also suggested that drivers of electric cars become “schizophrenic” because the charge only lasts 10 minutes.

Trump claims farmers and builders approach him while crying

Sunday 1 October 2023 21:36 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump claimed on Sunday that farmers and builders who have never cried before approach him crying to thank him for what he’s done.

Trump falsely claims to have ‘won Iowa’ twice

Sunday 1 October 2023 21:33 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump falsely claimed to have won Iowa twice, seemingly disregarding his second-place finish behind Texas Senator Ted Cruz in 2016.

“We won Iowa twice, and we’re gonna win it again by A LOT!” Mr Trump said on Sunday.

Trump speaks in Iowa ahead of January caucus

Sunday 1 October 2023 21:31 , Gustaf Kilander

In Iowa on Sunday afternoon, Mr Trump told a crowd of supporters: “Less than 4 months from now, each of you is going to cast the most important vote of your lives.”

Buttigieg slams Trump’s record on disrespecting the military

Sunday 1 October 2023 21:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Secretary of Transportation blasted Mr Trump for his record of disrespecting the military during an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday.

He said Mr Trump’s attacks on General Mark Milley was “part of a lifelong pattern with the former president that I would argue was first displayed when he faked a disability in order to avoid having to go to Vietnam and allowed, I assume, some working-class person to go in his place”.

Trump rally attendee says she’ll ‘start crying’ when she sees him

Sunday 1 October 2023 21:00 , Gustaf Kilander

A Trump rally attendee told RSBN that when she sees the former president, “I’ll probably start crying. I’m going to start crying now. When he comes out on stage and I can see him face-to-face, it’s going to be the best day of my life. I love that man.”

Trump calls for Bowman to be jailed for pulling Capitol fire alarm

Sunday 1 October 2023 20:59 , Gustaf Kilander, Eric Garcia

Donald Trump has called for Rep Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) to be put in jail for pulling a fire alarm in the Capitol on Saturday.

The former president bizarrely claimed that Mr Bowman’s behaviour was worse than that of the rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“Will Congressman [Jamaal] Bowman be prosecuted and imprisoned for very dangerously pulling and setting off the main fire alarm system in order to stop a Congressional vote that was going on in D.C.,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Sunday.

“His egregious act is covered on tape, a horrible display of nerve and criminality. It was a very dangerous ‘Obstruction of an Official Proceeding,’ the same as used against our J-6 prisoners. Actually, his act may have been worse. HE MUST SUFFER THEIR SAME FATE. WHEN WILL HIS TRIAL BEGIN???” he added.

Mr Bowman admitted on Saturday that he pulled a fire alarm during a House vote but denied he did so to delay it.

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Who is Arthur Engoron? Judge weighing future of Donald Trump empire is Ivy League-educated ex-cabbie

Sunday 1 October 2023 20:30 , Michael R. Sisak

He’s driven a taxi cab, played in a band and protested the Vietnam War. As a New York City judge, Arthur Engoron has resolved hundreds of disputes, deciding everything from zoning and free speech issues to a custody fight over a dog named “Stevie.”

Now, in the twilight of a distinguished two-decade career on the bench, the erudite, Ivy League-educated judge is presiding over his biggest case yet: deciding the future of former President Donald Trump‘s real estate empire.

Last week, Engoron ruled that Trump committed years of fraud by exaggerating his wealth and the value of assets on financial statements he used to get loans and make deals. As punishment, the judge said he would dissolve some of Trump’s companies — a decision that could cause him to lose control of marquee New York properties, like Trump Tower.

Starting Monday, Engoron will preside over a non-jury trial in Manhattan to resolve remaining claims in New York Attorney General Letitia James‘ lawsuit against Trump, his company and top executives. He will also decide on monetary damages. James’ office is seeking $250 million.

Trump, who is listed as a potential witness and could end up face-to-face with Engoron in court, called the judge’s fraud ruling “the corporate death penalty.” He referred to Engoron as a “political hack” and said his would appeal.

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‘Press has succumbed to the banality of crazy,’ professor argues

Sunday 1 October 2023 20:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Brian Klaas, an Associate Professor in Global Politics at University College London, argued on X on Sunday that the press has “managed to ‘both sides’ an 80 year old mainstream Democrat with a 77 year old racist authoritarian fraudster, liable for rape, who sought to overturn an election to stay in power, and is facing 91 felony criminal charges”.

“The press has succumbed to what I call ‘the banality of crazy,’ in which they breathlessly report on every minor Biden gaffe, but barely cover Trump calling to execute generals or shoplifters. This numbing effect helps Trump—and warps American politics,” he added.

Nikki Haley claims Trump campaign sent her birdcage after Trump called her ‘birdbrain’

Sunday 1 October 2023 19:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Nikki Haley wrote on X that the Trump campaign left a birdcage outside her hotel room in Des Moines, Iowa after Mr Trump called her “birdbrain”.

Professor says US is ‘gambling lives’ on that Trump rhetoric won’t create violence

Sunday 1 October 2023 19:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Brian Klaas, an Associate Professor in Global Politics at University College London, appeared on MSNBC on Sunday arguing that the US should be concerned about Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric.

“We’re sorta gambling a lot of people’s lives and our democracy on the idea that this rhetoric doesn’t translate into real world violence and that is a very, very bad bet for America to make,” he said.

AOC: There are no moderates in the GOP

Sunday 1 October 2023 18:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) argued on Sunday on CNN that there are no moderates in the GOP.

“There are just different degrees of fealty to Donald Trump. But it starts with a lot of fealty and goes to extreme fealty… We saw them run around the House like a Roomba until they found a door that Democrats opened,” she said on State of The Union.

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