Trump news - live: Special master calls Trump’s bluff over allegedly planted papers

·20-min read

Donald Trump’s attorneys have been ordered to say one way or the other whether they actually believe the FBI planted incriminating evidence in the documents seized from Mr Trump’s home — or whether the former president is merely bluffing to save face.

The ex-president meanwhile has claimed that as president he had the authority to declassify top secret documents just “by thinking about it”, as he blamed banks themselves for failing to check his company’s valuations.

He was speaking on Fox News after New York’s attorney general accused the Trump Organisation of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars and habitually misleading banks.

Key points

  • New York AG suing Trump for ‘numerous acts of fraud'

  • Trump claims he can declassify top secret documents just ‘by thinking about it’

  • Special master calls Trump’s bluff on ‘planted’ docs

  • Mike Lindell under investigation for damaging election computer, identity fraud

  • Former president touts 2024 chances while buried under investigations

Book reveals bizarre business practices at Trump Organization, including once getting paid with gold bars

07:49 , Maroosha Muzaffar

A forthcoming book by a New York Times journalist, Maggie Haberman, claims that Donald Trump’s unusual business practices include once being paid with gold bars, CNN reported.

Haberman’s book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America,” will be released on 4 October.

According to the book excerpts seen by CNN, Mr Trump told aides that he didn’t know what to do with the gold bars once they had been delivered. He ultimately directed a senior official from the Trump Organization to wheel the bars up to his apartment in Trump Tower.

Trump claims ‘most’ FBI agents voted for him despite accusing agency of bias

07:15 , John Bowden

Mr Trump’s back-and-forth support for law enforcement continues, as he claimed on Fox News this week that “most of the people within the FBI” — outside of “top groups” — “probably voted for Trump”.

It’s a somewhat bizarre claim given that just a few weeks ago, Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise was on the same network claiming that “rogue” FBI agents may have been behind the raid of Mar-a-Lago.

The former president’s latest claim was part of a rambling, off-the-rails interview with Sean Hannity, his first face-to-face sitdown interview since FBI agents raided his home for classified materials.

Read more from Andrew Feinberg:

Trump claims ‘most’ FBI agents voted for him despite accusing agency of bias

Trump promises to deport 'millions' if reelected

06:56 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Former president Donald Trump said that he would deport millions of immigrants if he were re-elected in 2024.

During an interview with Fox News, when the host Sean Hannity asked him “if you were to win and became president… how long do you believe you could get things back to where you had it when you left?” the former president said: “Very quickly, except for one thing: millions of people are in our country now that shouldn’t be here. Many of them are prisoners, criminals.”

When the host asked him “would you deport them?” he responded: “The bad ones I would deport. Millions and millions of people have... they’re poisoning our country. They’re poisoning – I’d like to be nice about it.”

Explainer: Declassification in spotlight during Trump probe

06:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

In the weeks since the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and seized about 100 documents with classification markings, the former president has insisted he had declassified the information. Presidents do have broad authority to declassify material, experts say, but there is a detailed process unlike what Trump described.

Read the full piece on how declassification works here:

EXPLAINER: Declassification in spotlight during Trump probe

Bank directors urge firing of Trump official in ethics probe

05:45 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Senior officials from the Inter-American Development Bank on Thursday voted unanimously to recommend firing a former Trump official as president of the Washington-based institution, it was reported.

Associated Press said that the move came after an investigation conducted at the bank board’s request determined that Mauricio Claver-Carone violated ethics rules by favouring a top aide with whom he had a romantic relationship.

A person familiar with the vote, said that the ultimate decision to fire Mr Claver-Carone now is with the finance officials who sit on the Board of Governors representing all 48 of the bank’s member nations.

NY probe found potential crimes. Why isn't Trump in cuffs?

05:15 , John Bowden

New York’s attorney general says her three-year investigation of former President Donald Trump uncovered potential crimes in the way he ran his real estate empire, including allegations of bank and insurance fraud. So why isn’t Trump being prosecuted?

The state’s law is complicated. Letitia James, the attorney general, is bound by restrictions on what criminal investigations she can actually launch herself without partnering with local prosecutors. And those investigations have yet to bear fruit against Mr Trump himself, though his CFO Allen Weisselberg last month plead guilty to felony charges.

Read more about the intricacies of the New York investigations in The Independent:

NY probe found potential crimes. Why isn't Trump in cuffs?

Trump flinging paper towels at Puerto Rico residents resurfaces as Biden pledges full support after hurricane

04:45 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Videos of Donald Trump tossing paper towels into a crowd of Puerto Rico residents in October 2017 have resurfaced on social media, as president Joe Biden pledged full support for the island, which has once again been struck by a natural disaster.

Read the full story by Gustaf Kilander here:

Trump flinging paper towels in Puerto Rico resurfaces as Biden pledges support

Three key questions Ginni Thomas must answer in January 6 panel interview

04:15 , John Bowden

Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is set to give unprecedented testimony to the Jan 6 panel regarding her role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Her involvement in the pro-Trump scheme has cast a massive shadow on the work of the Supreme Court, which already faced historic concerns about its legitimacy from the American public.

There are several questions that Ms Thomas is in a unique position to answer, both regarding her own activities as well as those of White House staff in the weeks leading up to the attack as well as the day of January 6 itself.

Read more from John Bowden:

Three key questions Ginni Thomas must answer in January 6 panel interview

Trump's legal woes mount without protection of presidency

03:15 , John Bowden

Donald Trump’s growing storm of legal battles illustrates just how much protection he was being afforded as president — and how that all has come to an end.

Mr Trump’s own attorneys have illustrated that fact as they have refused to support their own client’s argument that any of the documents seized by FBI agents were declassified (so far).

Read more in The Independent about the evolving nature of Donald Trump’s post-presidential legal defences:

Trump's legal woes mount without protection of presidency

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inadvertently sparked the New York attorney general’s Trump lawsuit

02:15 , John Bowden

As New York’s attorney general announces a massive civil lawsuit aimed at holding Donald Trump accountable for allegedly fraudulent business practices, the spotlight is returning to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her questioning of a former Trump ally that led to this week’s news.

In 2019, Mr Cohen testified against his former boss before the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee. At the time, Ms Ocasio-Cortez asked questions about whether Mr Trump ever provided inflated assets to an insurance company.

Letitia James acknowledged Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s role this week, declaring: “I will remind everyone that this investigation only started after Michael Cohen, the former lawyer, his former lawyer, testified before Congress and shed light on this misconduct.”

Read more in The Independent:

How AOC inadvertently sparked the New York attorney general’s Trump lawsuit

Pro-Trump host Alex Jones shouts ‘I’m done apologising’ at Sandy Hook parents crying in court

01:15 , John Bowden

The second defamation trial of Alex Jones got off to a rocky start this week as the beleaguered Infowars host continues to face comeuppance for abetting years’ worth of right-wing harassment at the families of slain elementary schoolers.

The courtroom in Connecticut descended into chaos on Thursday as the far-right conspiracy theorist took the stand in his defamation case and refused to acknowledge any responsibility for causing a decade of harassment to the victims’ families.

“I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times. And I’m done saying sorry,” he shouted across the courtroom.

Read more from Rachel Sharp:

Alex Jones shouts ‘I’m done apologising’ at Sandy Hook parents crying in court

Trump fires off torrent of Truth Social posts about 2024 run: 'History is calling Donald Trump'

Friday 23 September 2022 00:15 , John Bowden

Amid a torrent of criminal investigations and lawsuits blaming him for fraudulent business practices, Donald Trump is trying to gin up support for a 2024 run.

That’s how the ex-president spent his day on Thursday, as he turned to his Truth Social platform to get the word out among his closest fans.

In one pair of posts, Mr Trump linked to a text on the website American Thinker with the headline “Donald Trump Must Be The 2024 Republican Nominee” before linking to a CNN report stating that “Trump fields calls from Republican allies to speed up 2024 bid after FBI raid”.

Read more from Gustaf Kilander:

Trump fires off torrent of Truth Social posts about 2024 run: ‘History is calling’

Mike Lindell under investigation over identity theft and damage to computer connected to voting machine

Thursday 22 September 2022 23:45 , John Bowden

Mike Lindell’s efforts to aid Donald Trump and the campaign to overturn the 2020 election may have finally gotten him into trouble.

NBC News reported on Wednesday that the hybrid pillow vendor and political operative is under federal investigation for a number of serious crimes related to his efforts to prove that widespread voter fraud or other election-related shenanigans cost Donald Trump the election in 2020.

Read more from John Bowden:

Mike Lindell under investigation over damaging voting machine computer

Trump lawyers ordered to say whether they believe FBI planted evidence

Thursday 22 September 2022 23:15 , John Bowden

The Brooklyn federal judge in charge of reviewing the 11,000 documents which the FBI seized from former president Donald Trump’s home during an 8 August search has ordered the ex-president’s legal team to declare one way or the other whether they believe agents planted evidence to incriminate the former president.

The baseless accusations have floated for weeks, shared by the president himself and his closest allies. They’ve sparked conspiracies among his fans of a FBI-led political campaign to destroy Mr Trump, and led to an increase in violent threats targeting the agency.

In an order released on Thursday, the special master called for by Mr Trump’s team gave those attorneys until 30 September to say whether any of the items on the 11-page inventory provided by the department are described incorrectly.

Read more in The Independent:

Trump lawyers ordered to say whether they believe FBI planted evidence

Trump to host fundraiser for right-wing GOP candidate

Thursday 22 September 2022 22:45 , John Bowden

Donald Trump will host a fundraiser next month for Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor in Maryland, at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Mr Cox has bought in to the former president’s falsehoods about the 2020 election and was not endorsed for the nomination (or, so far, for the office at all) by Maryland’s incumbent retiring GOP governor, Larry Hogan. His victory in the GOP primary was one instance in which Democrats successfully boosted, through tactical campaign spending, an election denier against a more moderate opponent in a Republican-on-Republican matchup.

Read more at The Hill from Julia Manchester.

Trump flinging paper towels at Puerto Rico residents resurfaces as Biden pledges full support after hurricane

Thursday 22 September 2022 22:15 , John Bowden

Donald Trump tossing paper towels into a crowd of Puerto Rico residents in October 2017 resurfaced on social media overnight Wednesday as President Joe Biden pledged full support for the island, which was once again struck by a natural disaster.

Twitter users were quick to contrast the Democratic president’s response with the resistance to aiding the island that some conservatives showed during the Trump administration as well at the ex-president’s own tone deaf photo op during which he threw rolls of paper towels at waiting residents.

Read more from Gustaf Kilander:

Trump flinging paper towels in Puerto Rico resurfaces as Biden pledges support

Capitol rioter who dressed as Hitler and was defended by Trump sentenced to four years in federal prison

Thursday 22 September 2022 21:45 , John Bowden

A Capitol rioter who dressed up as Adolf Hitler and whose case has been championed by former President Donald Trump has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for participating in the attack.

Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, 32, was convicted in May after trying — and failing — to convince a jury he was unaware that Congress was in session at the Capitol.

Naval investigators spoke to 34 of his former co-workers during a probe. They told investigators he held “extremist or radical views pertaining to Jewish people, minorities, and women,” with some saying they were “afraid” of him.

Read more about this rioter, whose cause has been personally supported by Donald Trump, in The Independent:

Capitol rioter who dressed as Hitler sentenced to four years in federal prison

Jamie Raskin unloads on GOP congressman for obsessing over ‘poor schmuck’ Ray Epps

Thursday 22 September 2022 21:15 , John Bowden

Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin on Wednesday smacked down one of his Republican colleagues after he was asked to respond to a repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory regarding an alleged agent provocateur who has become a central figure in Trumpworld claims about the January 6 riot.

Rep Thomas Massie, a darling of the far right, was pressing Mr Raskin on a long-debunked tale about Ray Epps, a man whom Trump supporters have latched onto as a supposed government agent who they claim provoked others to violence during the attack. The conspiracy has allowed many on the far right, including Mr Massie, to shift blame from their own actions leading up to the riot.

“He's just trying to survive and he's on your side. You don't have many voters left — you might want to try to hang on to them without demonising and vilifying your own people,” Mr Raskin told his Republican rival.

Read more in The Independent:

Jamie Raskin unloads on GOP congressman for obsessing over ‘poor schmuck’ Ray Epps

Trump-backed Republican House candidate misrepresented military service

Thursday 22 September 2022 20:40 , John Bowden

A Trump-backed Republican campaigning for an Ohio congressional seat has some explaining to do after it was revealed he has misrepresented his time in the military.

JR Majewski, who is running for Ohio's 9th Congressional District seat, was at Donald Trump’s rally on Saturday in Youngstown, Ohio, where he received a shout-out from the ex-president himself. But now he’s taking new criticism after it was revealed that he released a statement claiming to have a desire to go “back” to Afghanistan and serve personally — despite having never been deployed to the country. He’s also never been in combat.

Read more in The Independent from Graig Graziosi:

Trump-backed Republican House candidate misrepresented military service

The 20 properties in Trump’s alleged fraud scheme

Thursday 22 September 2022 19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s real estate empire engaged in an “astounding” level of fraud and deceptive business practises over more than a decade, during which the former president and his associates “grossly and fraudulently” inflated the value of his properties to obtain tax, loan and insurance incentives while boosting his financial ambitions, according to New York Attorney General Letitia James in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

The Independent’s Alex Woodward combed through the 222-page document. These are the properties and assets that the office of the attorney general alleges were central to a fraudulent scheme orchestrated by Mr Trump and his business allies.

These are the 20 properties in Donald Trump’s alleged fraud scheme

Nick Clegg will make the call on Trump’s potential Facebook reinstatement

Thursday 22 September 2022 19:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Meta executive Nick Clegg says he will make the final call on whether to reinstate Donald Trump’s Facebook account when his suspension from the social media platform runs out next year.

Mr Clegg, the company’s head of Global Affairs, told an event in Washington DC that allowing the one-term president to potentially return to Facebook is “a decision I oversee and I drive.”

Graeme Massie reports.

Facebook exec Nick Clegg will make the call on whether to reinstate Trump

‘Radical left’ running National Archives, according to former president

Thursday 22 September 2022 18:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump has said that the National Archives and Records Administration (Nara) is run by a “radical left group”.

The former president’s comments came during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.

“You know, Nara is a radical left group of people running that thing and when you send documents over there, I would say there’s a very good chance a lot of those documents will never be seen again,” he added.

However, he did not elaborate on what he meant by the statement.

Trump says National Archives has ‘a radical left group of people running that thing’

‘History is calling Donald Trump’: Trump fires off torrent of Truth Social posts about 2024 run

Thursday 22 September 2022 18:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump has fired off a stream of Truth Social posts about a possible 2024 run for the White House.

Mr Trump linked to a text on the website American Thinker with the headline “Donald Trump Must Be The 2024 Republican Nominee” before linking to a CNN report stating “Trump fields calls from Republican allies to speed up 2024 bid after FBI raid”.

He then shared a story from Townhall.com saying “The Washington Establishment Fears A Second Term Trump”.

Gustaf Kilander reports.

Trump fires off torrent of Truth Social posts about 2024 run: ‘History is calling’

Trump says bank shouldn’t have relied on his numbers

Thursday 22 September 2022 18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday blamed banks for lending money based on bogus valuations after he was sued for “numerous acts of fraud”.

Trump says banks shouldn’t have relied on his numbers for tax valuations

Jan 6 rioter who testified for House panel sentenced to probation

Thursday 22 September 2022 17:51 , Oliver O'Connell

Stephen Ayres, a former Donald Trump supporter, who participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and testified before the January 6 committee, was sentenced to 24 months probation and 100 hours of community service on Thursday.

He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building in June.

During a virtual sentencing hearing, Ayres was emotional and expressed remorse for his participation in Capitol riot.

He told Judge John Bates that he wanted to apologise to “the court and the American people.”

“I went down there that day not with the intention to cause any violence or anything like that,” Ayres said.

“But I did get caught up on all the stuff online, on Facebook, which ultimately I felt like was steering me in the wrong direction.”

When in doubt, or backed into a corner, reach for an old classic

Thursday 22 September 2022 17:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Truly one of the most bizarre moments of the Sean Hannity interview with Donald Trump was when the former president said this:

There’s also a lot of speculation because of what they did, the severity of the FBI coming and raiding Mar-a-Lago. Were they looking for the Hillary Clinton emails that were deleted but they are around someplace? They may have thought that it was in there!

Combined with his claim that he could declassify documents just by thinking about them, it really is quite staggering that anyone could say such things while keeping a straight face.

Trump bizarrely suggests FBI looked for Hillary Clinton’s emails at Mar-a-Lago

Trump claims FBI took his last will and testament from Mar-a-Lago

Thursday 22 September 2022 17:22 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump claimed the FBI agents who executed a court-authorised search of his Palm Beach, Florida home took his last will and testament in addition to the 100 classified documents found in his office and a nearby storage room.

“They took a lot. I think they took my will. I found out yesterday,” said the twice-impeached ex-president during an appearance on Fox News’ host Sean Hannity’s eponymous nightly programme.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Trump claims FBI took his last will and testament in Mar-a-Lago search

Three key questions Ginni Thomas must answer and the Jan 6 committee must ask

Thursday 22 September 2022 17:04 , Oliver O'Connell

Members of the January 6 committee announced this week that Virginia ‘Ginni’ Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, had agreed to testify under oath.

John Bowden looks at what questions must be answered by Ms Thomas.

Three key questions Ginni Thomas must answer in January 6 panel interview

Trump believes he can declassify top secret documents just ‘by thinking about it'

Thursday 22 September 2022 16:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Little known fact, apparently the presidency gives you magical telekinetic powers...

Trump says he can declassify secret papers just ‘by thinking about it’

Trump says he balked at paying even ‘small amount’ to settle New York tax fraud probe

Thursday 22 September 2022 16:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday said he rejected an offer to settle the three-year investigation into whether his eponymous real estate company committed massive amounts of tax fraud because paying “even a small amount” would be akin to admitting guilt.

Andrew Feinberg reports on what the former president told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.

Trump says he balked at settling New York tax fraud probe

The 20 properties in Trump’s alleged fraud scheme

Thursday 22 September 2022 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump’s real estate empire engaged in an “astounding” level of fraud and deceptive business practises over more than a decade, during which the former president and his associates “grossly and fraudulently” inflated the value of his properties to obtain tax, loan and insurance incentives while boosting his financial ambitions, according to New York Attorney General Letitia James in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

The Independent’s Alex Woodward combed through the 222-page document. These are the properties and assets that the office of the attorney general alleges were central to a fraudulent scheme orchestrated by Mr Trump and his business allies.

These are the 20 properties in Donald Trump’s alleged fraud scheme

‘Senator Cruz voted against this’: White House trolls Ted Cruz for boasting about new highway

Thursday 22 September 2022 15:45 , Oliver O'Connell

The White House Twitter account called out Ted Cruz after he praised a new highway project that he actually voted against.

The US Senator from Texas has seemingly been trying to take credit for the “Ports to Plains” project, leading to the White House trolling the Republican politician.

Graeme Massie reports on the senator’s hypocrisy.

White House twitter account trolls Ted Cruz for boasting about new highway

Appeals court says DoJ can use classified documents in criminal probe of Trump

Thursday 22 September 2022 15:15 , Oliver O'Connell

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a Florida federal judge’s order which effectively barred the Department of Justice from using classified documents found at former president Donald Trump’s Palm Beach home to further a criminal investigation into him and his associates.

Andrew Feinberg reports on Wednesday night’s ruling.

Appeals court says DOJ can use classified documents in Trump criminal probe

Mike Lindell being investigated about link to alleged Colorado election security breach

Thursday 22 September 2022 14:59 , Oliver O'Connell

Mike Lindell, the founder of My Pillow and ally to former President Donald Trump, is under federal investigation for identity theft and for conspiring to damage a protected computer connected to a suspected voting equipment security breach in Colorado, NBC News reports.

Details of the investigation were confirmed on Wednesday after his attorneys uploaded a copy of a search and seizure warrant approved by US Magistrate Judge Tony Leung for Minnesota federal court on 7 September.

Judge Leung approved the warrant based on probable cause that Mr Lindell and other possible co-conspirators may have violated federal laws prohibiting identity fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and causing intentional damage to a protected computer.

Mr Lindell’s attorneys uploaded the warrant as part of their lawsuit against the Justice Department to demand the return of his cell phone, which FBI agents seized on 13 September while he was ordering fast food at a drive-through window.

Read more below:

Lindell sues to recover cellphone seized by FBI agents

Virginia Thomas agrees to voluntary interview with Jan 6 committee

Thursday 22 September 2022 14:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Conservative activist Virginia Thomas, the wife of right-wing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has agreed to a voluntary interview with the January 6 committee.

Mark Paoletta, a lawyer for Ms Thomas said that she is “eager to answer the committee’s questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election.”

Graeme Massie reports.

Virginia Thomas agrees to voluntary interview with Jan 6 committee