Trump denied hush money immunity claim as classified docs judge under fire: Live

Donald Trump says 5 November will be ‘Christian Visibility Day’

Donald Trump has been denied his claim of presidential immunity in his criminal hush money trial.

Judge Juan Merchan ruled that “the defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity” long before he ever did.

The justice said that, because he was denying the motion on that basis, he need not address whether presidential immunity “precludes the introduction of evidence of purported official presidential acts in a criminal proceeding”.

Mr Trump’s trial is set to begin with jury selection on Monday 15 April.

Meanwhile, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith has urged Judge Aileen Cannon, overseeing the classified documents case in Florida, to reject the former president’s contention that he had any claim to personal ownership over the boxes of top secret files reclaimed by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.

Mr Trump refused to return the documents to the National Archives when requested, leading to the case against him. Mr Smith is now calling on Judge Cannon to ignore his claim that he designated the items as “personal” while president as “pure fiction”.

Elsewhere, the candidate is suing his co-founders of the parent company behind Truth Social to try to wrestle ownership from them.


Hush money trial: Trump finds new ways to get around extended gag order

Trump has found new ways to push the envelope in criticising Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter and other elements of the New York criminal trial he deems “unfair” – even after the gag order was extended in the case.

On Monday, Judge Merchan expanded the gag order to include family members of the court staff after Trump attacked the judge’s daughter Loren Merchan, who has worked on Democratic campaigns.

The order now prevents Trump from publicly commenting about witnesses, prosecutors, court staff, jurors and now the family of court staff to prevent any harm to the trial.

But on social media, the former president has found ways to skirt the order by sharing his opinions in other ways: by re-posting clips of others criticising Ms Merchan and using vague language in his own posts.

Joe Sommerlad4 April 2024 09:30


Hush money trial: Judge Merchan denies Trump’s immunity claim

The Manhattan judge presiding over Trump’s upcoming hush money trial has denied his latest bid to have his criminal case delayed on presidential immunity grounds, saying the former president’s filing was “untimely.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Juan Merchan submitted a six-page filing denying Trump’s last-ditch effort to delay the proceedings, which are due to being on 15 April, after the defendant’s legal team had previously successfully delayed it by 30 days.

Trump submitted the motion on 7 March, asking Judge Merchan to delay the trial until after the US Supreme Court has ruled on whether the presidential immunity defence applies to criminal charges against sitting or former presidents, a matter it will begin considering on 25 April.

Joe Sommerlad4 April 2024 09:00


Truth Social: Trump cheers campaign and RNC’s $65.6m March fundraising haul and posts Jan 6 choir video

Trump’s election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $65.6m in March, ending the month with $93.1m in cash on hand, Politico reports.

The total covers a range of fundraising vehicles supporting the former president’s goal of returning to the White House, all of which will have to disclose their activities to the Federal Election Commission later this month.

Trump’s allies hope it will go some way towards easing concerns that President Joe Biden is way ahead of his Republican rival in terms of fundraising, though no figures have emerged from the Democrats as of yet.

It is known that the president raised $26m in a single night during a New York City fundraiser attended by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama last week, however.

In February, the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised $53m, ending the month with $155m on hand, whereas Trump raised just $20.3m in February with $40.9m on hand.

He’s been celebrating the news on Truth Social – and throwing up a Jan 6 choir video for good measure.

Joe Sommerlad4 April 2024 08:30


Watch: RFK Jr walks back saying Biden worse threat to democracy than Trump

Here’s our earlier reporting on RFK Jr’s original comments:

Oliver O’Connell4 April 2024 06:45


New poll: Trump leading Biden in battleground states but within margin of error

A new poll from The Wall Street Journal shows Donald Trump leading Joe Biden in seven key battleground states, but within the margin of error (+/-4 points) in most. The same is true when further candidates are included in the equation.

Oliver O’Connell4 April 2024 04:45


Hush money case: Manhattan DA responds to Trump motion to have case dismissed due to pre-trial publicity

A week after Donald Trump’s motion to delay his criminal hush-money trial due to pretrial publicity, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg files opposition—noting this is Trump’s eighth delay request.

The DAs’ reasons are the same as they brought up in last week’s hearing: it’s unlikely to abate, jury selection can mitigate this, and the former president is making things worse. They also note that there is no new information to consider since the last request to dismiss the case.

“…despite being asked to identify new information unavailable the last time his request was denied on February 15, 2024, defendant has littered his motion with dozens of untrue allegations based on events that date back three years or more—most of which were already considered and rejected in prior decisions by this Court.”

Oliver O’Connell4 April 2024 03:45


Trump declares Election Day ‘Christian Visibility Day’

Donald Trump has promised his Christian followers that election day on 5 November will serve as “Christian Visibility Day”, predicting it will be an occasion “when Christians turn out in numbers that nobody has ever seen before” to vote him back into the White House.

Properly known as International Transgender Day of Visibility but often shortened to Trans Visibility Day, the date to recognise members of America’s transgender community was founded by Michigan-based activist Rachel Crandall in 2009 and has taken place on 31 March every year since.

In 2024, due to a quirk caused by the spring equinox, Easter Sunday fell on the same date.

Oliver O’Connell4 April 2024 02:45


Trump and Biden add to delegate totals, despite already securing party nominations

Here’s Mike Bedigan to round up yesterday’s primaries, which had more than a whiff of futility about them, given that both Trump and Biden have long since sewn up their parties’ nominations in all but name.

Oliver O’Connell4 April 2024 01:45


Welcome to Trump International Airport?

House Republican lawmakers are pushing to rename Washington DC’s international airport after former president Donald Trump, who is no stranger to having his name plastered onto the side of large buildings.

Rep Guy Rechenthaler of Pennsylvania, the party’s chief deputy whip in the House, introduced bill HR 7845 on Friday, which proposes changing the name of Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia to “Donald J Trump International Airport”.

That ain’t gonna fly…

Oliver O’Connell4 April 2024 00:45


Full story: Jack Smith slams judge’s handling of Trump classified documents case

Special counsel Jack Smith has slammed the judge presiding over Donald Trump’s federal classified documents case over an order in which she asked prosecutors and defence lawyers to file proposed jury instructions based on a “fundamentally flawed legal premise”.

Oliver O’Connell4 April 2024 00:15

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