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11 GOP senators vote against Ukraine aid as Cruz faces lawsuit over 2020 election


Texas Senator Ted Cruz is facing a lawsuit from a campaign group seeking to get him disbarred in Texas for his participation in a failed attempt to get the 2020 election overturned at the US Supreme Court.

Mr Cruz, who formally objected to Joe Biden’s victory in the Senate even after the Capitol was attacked by Trump supporters during the proceedings, is accused of violating legal ethics by participating in the doomed Texas v Pennsylvania case that his state sue several others that Mr Biden had legitimately won.

Meanwhile, as the 6 January committee prepares for a summer of what promise to be shocking and disturbing hearings about the Capitol riot, Donald Trump has laid into committee member Liz Cheney, claiming that she has taken her opposition to him to extremes. In an interview with The Washington Post, he called her a “crazed lunatic.”

The committee’s first public hearing since last year is set for 9 June.

Key points

  • Trump administration unlawfully retaliated against whistleblower, probe finds
  • Ex-president’s endorsee Dr Oz thanks Hannity for campaign advice
  • DoJ asks Jan 6 committee for transcripts in relation to criminal investigation
  • Trump agrees to limit Twitter engagement

Jan 6 committee says it has evidence of GOP-led ‘reconnaissance’ tours

04:00 , Alex Woodward

Republicans claimed that “no Republican Member of Congress led any kind of ‘reconnaissance’ tours through the Capitol on any date” before a pro-Trump mob stormed the halls of Congress.

A congressional committee investigating the attack said the panel’s “review of evidence directly contradicts that denial”.






© Provided by The Independent


Jan 6 committee says it has evidence of GOP-led ‘reconnaissance’ tours

Pelosi challenges GOP to reject ‘replacement theory’ after only one Republican backs domestic terrorism bill

03:00 , Alex Woodward

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the “extremely disturbing” conspiracy theory central to a racist massacre that killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York, and urged congressional Republicans who have referenced so-called “replacement theory” to publicly denounce it.

“Why isn’t everyone in this congress saying I reject replacement theory?” she said outside the US Capitol on 19 May, joined by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus and Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Their remarks came the day after a vote in the House of Representatives to establish domestic terrorism offices across three federal agencies, with the mass shooting in Buffalo among white supremacist-driven attacks that federal law enforement has repeatedly warned is on the rise.

Only one Republican, Illinois Rep Adam Kinzinger, broke from instructions from House GOP leaders to vote against the bill and joined all Democrats in support. Four Republicans abstained from voting. It passed by a vote of 222 to 203.






© Provided by The Independent


Pelosi challenges Republicans to ‘reject replacement theory’ after Buffalo massacre

Most House Republicans vote against FDA funding to address baby formula crisis

01:00 , Alex Woodward

While congressional Republicans blame Biden for the baby formula shortage, or in some cases providing formula to migrant children in federal custody, an overwhelming majority of House Republicans voted against a measure to provide $28m to help the FDA stem the crisis.

The House passed the measure on a mostly party-line vote of 231 to 192. Twelve Republicans joined Democrats in support.






© Provided by The Independent


Pelosi shifts blame to GOP for baby formula shortage

Liberals are blaming Trump for the baby formula shortage, but is that accurate?

Friday 20 May 2022 00:00 , Alex Woodward

Infant formula in the US is dominated by domestic manufacturers; foreign manufacturers make up only a few percentage points of the total US market share for baby formula, largely due to strict Food and Drug Administration standards for both content and labeling that restricts many European companies from the market.

Trump is facing criticism on social media due to one trade deal, the 2020 United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, which established new trading rules for business and trade across North America and placed heavy restrictions on Canada’s dairy sector, long a target of criticism on the US conservative right due to its government-imposed price and import controls.

But there was bipartisan agreement surrounding the issue of restrictions on Canada’s dairy sector, and one of the loudest champions for the issue was a Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

John Bowden digs in:






© Provided by The Independent


Liberals are blaming Donald Trump for the baby formula shortage, but is that fair?

Kellyanne Conway says Ivanka shared couples therapist numbers as Melania backed her through marital woes

Thursday 19 May 2022 23:28 , Alex Woodward

Former White House adviser and Trump campaign manager Kellyane Conway claims in a new book that Ivanka Trump gave her the numbers of marriage therapists after her husband – Trump critic George Conway – attacked and insulted her boss on Twitter.






© Provided by The Independent


Kellyanne Conway reveals Ivanka shared marriage therapist numbers

Michigan’s chief elections official says Trump suggested she be tried for treason and executed

Thursday 19 May 2022 23:00 , Alex Woodward

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who has pushed back against a wave of threats after Joe Biden won the state in the 2020 presidential election, said in an interview with NBC News that she was told Trump had “suggested in a White House meeting that she should be arrested for treason and executed.”

“It was surreal and I felt sad,” she told the network, which is airing the interview in full on Thursday night. “It certainly amplified the heightened sense of anxiety, stress and uncertainty of that time – which I still feel in many ways – because it showed there was no bottom to how far [Trump] and his supporters were willing to stoop to overturn or discredit a legitimate election.”

Legal watchdog asks Texas Bar to suspend or disbar Ted Cruz for trying to overturn 2020 election

Thursday 19 May 2022 22:30 , Alex Woodward

A legal watchdog group that seeks to sanction the lawyers who pushed Trump’s bogus “stolen election” narrative through the courts has asked the Texas state bar to suspend or revoke Senator Ted Cruz’s licence to practice law for his involvement in “frivolous” election lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Texas.






© Provided by The Independent


Legal watchdog asks Texas Bar to disbar Ted Cruz for trying to overturn 2020 election

Republicans denied the idea that were ‘reconnaissance’ tours before Jan 6. The committee investigating the attack says evidence ‘directly contradicts’ that.

Thursday 19 May 2022 21:52 , Alex Woodward

In February, Republicans on the House administration committee sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claiming they had “reviewed the security footage” around the 6 January, 2021 attack on the halls of Congress and said “[knew] it [did] not support these repeated Democrat accusations about so-called ‘reconnaissance’ tours”.

But in their letter to Republican congressman Barry Loudermilk, the chairs of the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack said their “review of evidence directly contradicts that denial”.

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg has more:






© Provided by The Independent


Jan 6 committee says it has evidence of GOP-led ‘reconnaissance’ tours

Jan 6 committee asks GOP congressman for information about tour he led the day before riot

Thursday 19 May 2022 20:57 , Alex Woodward

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack has asked US Rep Barry Loudermilk to give evidence about a tour he allegedly led the day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the same halls.






© Provided by The Independent


Jan 6 committee requests information on tour GOP congressman led the day before riot

Pelosi challenges GOP to reject ‘replacement theory’ after only one Republican backs domestic terrorism bill

Thursday 19 May 2022 20:30 , Alex Woodward

“Why isn’t everyone in this congress saying, ‘I reject replacement theory’?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said outside the US Capitol on 19 May.

Her remarks came the day after a vote in the House of Representatives to establish domestic terrorism offices across three federal agencies, with the mass shooting in Buffalo among white supremacist-driven attacks that federal law enforement has repeatedly warned is on the rise.

Only one Republican, Illinois Rep Adam Kinzinger, broke from instructions from House GOP leaders to vote against the bill and joined all Democrats in support. Four Republicans abstained from voting. It passed by a vote of 222 to 203.






© Provided by The Independent


Pelosi challenges Republicans to ‘reject replacement theory’ after Buffalo massacre

Bill Barr in talks to cooperate with Jan 6 committee, Axios reports

Thursday 19 May 2022 20:18 , Alex Woodward

Former US Attorney General Bill Barr is in “active discussions” with the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, according to Axios, citing “sources with direct knowledge.”

Barr resigned on 14 December 2020. He repeatedly was pushed by the former president to get the Justice Department to declare that the presidential election was marred by fraud, according to reports. He allegedly told Trump that his bogus “stolen election” narrative was “bull****.”

Senate approves $40bn aid for Ukraine despite MAGA senators’ resistance

Thursday 19 May 2022 19:57 , Alex Woodward

The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to approve a $40bn supplemental spending bill to provide further defensive and financial assistance to Ukraine’s government as it continues to resist Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

The bill passed with support from 86 senators – 47 Democrats and 39 Republicans, a sign of the strong bipartisan support for Ukraine’s efforts to defend against Russia.

Only 11 senators – Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn and Ted Hagerty, Montana’s John Boozman, Indiana’s Mike Braun, Idaho’s Mike Crapo, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Cynthia Lummis of Mississippi, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama – voted against the funding measure, which Mr Paul had blocked from consideration last week.






© Provided by The Independent


Senate approves $40b aid for Ukraine despite MAGA senators’ resistance

ICYMI: Report says Trump administration unlawfully punished Ukraine whistleblower

Thursday 19 May 2022 16:40 , Andrew Naughtie

A new report from the Defense Department’s inspector general has concluded that multiple Trump administration officials violated federal whistle-blower protection laws by removing from his position after he blew the whistle on Donald Trump’s efforts to extort the Ukranian government.

Colonel Yevgeny Vindman lost his job as a National Security Council lawyer after he made “protected communications” alleging that former president Donald Trump violated US law by asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate then-former Vice President Joe Biden and his son during a 2019 phone call. The incident led to Mr Trump’s first impeachment in 2019-20, which ended with him being acquitted on an almost entirely partisan vote.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.






© Provided by The Independent


Trump administration unlawfully punished impeachment whistleblower, report finds

Campaign launched to get Ted Cruz disbarred over 2020 election behaviour

Thursday 19 May 2022 15:49 , Andrew Naughtie

Ted Cruz, who was one of only two senators to formally object to the 2020 election results after the 6 January attack on the US Capitol, is facing an effort to get him disbarred in Texas because of his actions after Donald Trump’s loss.

The 65 Project, a bipartisan campaign group, is specifically homing in on Mr Cruz’s participation in the notorious Texas v Pennsylvania lawsuit filed at the US Supreme Court, which asked the justices to summarily throw out the votes from four states Mr Trump lost citing non-existent fraud.

Lone Republican votes against bill condemning antisemitism

Thursday 19 May 2022 15:10 , Andrew Naughtie

Thomas Massie, a notoriously contrarian GOP congressman who has long trafficked in Covid-19 denialism, yesterday became the only House member to vote against a bill condeming antisemitism.

He has yet to fully explain his vote. Shweta Sharma has more.






© Provided by The Independent


One Republican votes against bill condemning antisemitism

Infamous “election fraud” witness called by Giuliani in 2020 barred from Michigan ballot

Thursday 19 May 2022 14:42 , Andrew Naughtie

Melissa Carone, a Trump supporter whom Rudy Giuliani brought before the Michigan state legislature for a disastrous committee hearing on false claims of election fraud, has been blocked by the Michigan state department from appearing on the ballot in a state senate race.

As reported by the New York Times, this is the second time this year Ms Carone has been blocked from a state-level ballot. According to the paper, she was barred because she failed to declare she had any unpaid fines for election law violations when in fact she owed late fees for missing campaign filing dates.

During her committee appearance in December 2020, Ms Carone appeared to be incoherent and possibly intoxicated, with Mr Giuliani trying and failing to shush her as she accused a state legislator of “doing something crazy” with the state’s list of registered voters.

GOP candidate for Colorado governor wants to abolish popular vote

Thursday 19 May 2022 14:10 , Andrew Naughtie

A Republican candidate for the governorship of Colorado has been recorded telling a roomful of supporters that if elected, he would abolish the use of the popular vote for statewide offices in favour of an electoral college system.

As reported by local outlet 9News Dencer, Mr Lopez remarked that “One of the things that I’m going to do, and I’ve already put this plan together, is, as governor, I’m going to introduce a conversation about doing away with the popular vote for statewide elected officials and doing an electoral college vote for statewide elected officials.

“I’ve already got the plan in place,” he added. “The most that any county can get is 11 electoral college votes. The least that a county can get is three.”

Mr Lopez recently made headlines with a disastrous 9News interview where he struggled to reconcile his hardline pro-life stance with a previous arrest for assaulting his pregnant wife.

He is considered the underdog in the Republican primary, where he is battling University of Colorado regent Heidi Ganahl for the nomination to challenge the relatively popular incumbent Democratic governor, Jared Polis.

Fiona Hill: Putin “had to keep explaining things” to Trump

Thursday 19 May 2022 13:36 , Andrew Naughtie

Former Trump administration Russia adviser Fiona Hill, who sat by the ex-president’s side during meetings with Vladimir Putin, has described how the Russian dictator was driven to frustration by his American counterpart’s ignorance.

“He thought that somebody like Biden – who’s a transatlanticist, who knows all about Nato, who actually knows where Ukraine is, and actually knows something about the history, and is very steeped in international affairs – would be the right person to engage with,” Ms Hill said at an event held by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“You could see that he got frustrated many times with President Trump because he had to keep explaining things, and Putin doesn’t like to do that,” she added. “Even though he loves to be able to spin his own version of events, he wants to have predictability in the person that he’s engaging with.”

You can watch the full video of her talk here.

What is Markwayne Mullin’s impeachment gambit really about?

Thursday 19 May 2022 12:48 , Andrew Naughtie

There is no chance that Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin will be able to pass his resolution to expunge Donald Trump’s second impeachment. Instead, as with various other bills introduced by members like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the point of the legislation is to raise his profile among right-wing voters ahead of the Senate primary in his state.

The Daily Beast has more.

Taking a break

Thursday 19 May 2022 10:31 , Andrew Naughtie

We’ll be pausing this live blog for a while as we focus on the results of this week’s primaries. Come back later for further updates.

How mailed ballots slow results in Pennsylvania

Thursday 19 May 2022 10:10 , Stuti Mishra

Former President Donald Trump blasted Pennsylvania’s elections procedures on social media on Wednesday, even though there are no indications of any wrongdoing with those ballots other than a printing error that was slowing the tally in one county.

He has relentlessly criticised the state’s voting procedures since his loss in Pennsylvania two years ago when it took several days to tally the results from all mailed ballots.

Here’s an explainer on how the state’s mailed ballot system works and what is causing the delay:






© Provided by The Independent


EXPLAINER: How mailed ballots slow results in Pennsylvania

Do Republicans like Doug Mastriano suddenly now believe in legitimacy of elections?

Thursday 19 May 2022 09:10 , Stuti Mishra

Moments after the networks and the Associated Press called the race for Doug Mastriano, he was out delivering a victory speech and beaming from ear to ear, writes Andrew Buncombe.

It would otherwise have been quite unremarkable, expect that Mastriano, 58, a right-wing state senator who was present for Trump’s January 6 speech that preceded the storming of the US Capitol has been one of the most outspoken critics of his state’s election system, and those elsewhere.

Read more:






© Provided by The Independent


Do Republicans like Doug Mastriano suddenly now believe in legitimacy of elections?

Putin ‘had to keep explaining things’ to Trump during their meeting, says Fiona Hill

Thursday 19 May 2022 08:10 , Stuti Mishra

Russian analyst and Donald Trump‘s former adviser Fiona Hill has revealed new details about her past encounters with Russia’s Vladimir Putin saying the former president “frustrated” him with his lack of knowledge of geopolitical affairs.

“You could see that he got frustrated many times with President Trump because he had to keep explaining things, and Putin doesn’t like to do that,” Ms Hill said on Tuesday at a Chicago Council on Global Affairs event.

“Even though he loves to be able to spin his own version of events, he wants to have predictability in the person that he’s engaging with.”

Ms Hill, who has recently accused Mr Trump of emboldening Mr Putin on the issue of Ukraine, also talked about the timing of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine saying that Mr Putin thought Joe Biden, “who knows all about NATO, who actually knows where Ukraine is” would be the “right person to engage with”.



Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump at a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)


© Provided by The Independent
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump at a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019 (SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

ICYMI: Is this the end of Madison Cawthorn’s political career?

Thursday 19 May 2022 07:10 , Alex Woodward

Less than 24 hours after results in the GOP congressional primary for North Carolina’s 11th district showed the incumbent Trump-endorsed congressman losing definitively, it appears Madison Cawthorn is winding down any plans to get back into office after he finishes his current term.

His Making A Difference In Service to Our Nation (or MADISON) leadership PAC has filed its termination with the Federal Election Commission, less than 24 hours after results rolled in, according to Business Insider.

The Trump-backed candidate and once-ascendent young Republican in Congress conceded his loss to Chuck Edwards for the Republican nomination in the race.

Garland meets with Supreme Court officials over “security needs” of justices

Thursday 19 May 2022 06:00 , Alex Woodward

US Attorney General Merrick Garland held a meeting with officials from the Justice Department and Supreme Court officials “to discuss the security needs of Justices and the Court since the unauthorized release” of a draft opinion that could overturn the landmark ruling from Roe v Wade, according to an announcement from the Justice Department on Wednesday.

The US Marshals Service has “accelerated the provision of around-the-clock security at the homes of all Justices, among other actions” and officials discussed ways to “enhance coordination, intelligence sharing, and technical support as it relates to judicial security.”

“The rise of violence and unlawful threats of violence directed at those who serve the public is unacceptable and dangerous to our democracy,” according to Mr Garland. “I want to be clear: while people vote, argue, and debate in a democracy, we must not – we cannot – allow violence or unlawful threats of violence to permeate our national life. The Justice Department will not tolerate violence or threats of violence against judges or any other public servants at work, home, or any other location.”

The meeting came after demonstrations outside the homes of conservative justices who have joined the opinion to end constitutional protections for abortion care, which is likely to trigger laws banning the procedure outright in more than a dozen states.

Justice Department expands indictment of Trump ally accused of illegally lobbying White House for UAE

Thursday 19 May 2022 05:00 , Alex Woodward

The US Department of Justice has updated its indictment against Thomas Barrack, a Trump ally and chair on his inauguration committee who is alleged to have sought investments from United Arab Emirates while illegally lobbying the administration on its behalf.

This week, federal prosecutors replaced an initial charging document with a 55-page superseding indictment that details how the billionaire allegedly relied on his proximity to the Trump universe to facilitate his dealings with the UAE.

Prosecutors allege that he sought money from the UAE for an investment fund to elecate the Trump agenda and “garner political credibility for its contributions” of the administrations policies, according an aide to Mr Barrck included in the indictment.

The fund would make money by “sourcing, financing, operationally improving and harvesting assets” in areas that would “benefit the most” from Trump being in office, according to the filing.

Trump administration unlawfully punished impeachment whistleblower, report finds

Thursday 19 May 2022 04:10 , Alex Woodward

Several Trump-era administration officials unlawfully retaliated against a whistleblower on the National Security Council who raised concerns about Trump’s call with Volodymyr Zelensky that was central to his first impeachment.






© Provided by The Independent


Trump administration unlawfully punished impeachment whistleblower, report finds

From Madison Cawthorn to Dr Oz, who really won and lost on Trump’s big primary night

Thursday 19 May 2022 03:00 , Alex Woodward

From The Independent’s Eric Garcia:

Trump saw many of his preferred candidates triumph in Pennsylvania and North Carolina while others flopped or are in races that are too tight to call; we can expect plenty of arguments about who triumphed and who truly lost.

It’s clear that while Trump’s endorsement helps, it isn’t a guarantee.






© Provided by The Independent


Who really won and lost on Trump’s big primary night?

A ‘bat****’ bill shows how far Louisiana lawmakers will push an anti-abortion agenda

Thursday 19 May 2022 02:10 , Alex Woodward

With the end of Roe v Wade in sight, Republican legislators emboldened by the loss of federal protections for abortion care are eying severe restrictions on abortion access and criminalising physicians – and patients – while millions of vulnerable Americans’ lives and families are at stake.

One bill in Louisiana proposed charging patients with homicide.






© Provided by The Independent


A ‘bat****’ bill shows how far states could push their anti-abortion agenda

Kinzinger: Cawthorn’s loss is ‘good for the country’

Thursday 19 May 2022 01:00 , Alex Woodward

Illinois Republican congressman and Trump critic called the loss of the former president’s pick in North Carolina “good for the country.”

“It’s good for the party. It’s good for the 11th District of North Carolina,” he told CNN.

“DC has become kind of a growing ground for people that are just more interested in fame than governing, that are more interested in becoming famous than in actually doing the really serious work, at a time when we have a lot of challenges here at home and a lot of challenges overseas.”

Kinzinger is notably not running for re-election. He joins Liz Cheney as the only two Republican House members on the congressional committee investigating the Capitol attack. Both of them are routinely attacked by far-right members of their party.





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