A brief recap of how Donald Trump’s return to Twitter happened:
The first, and most pivotal event, is Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform. The Tesla boss announced his intention months ago then tried to back out, before finally taking over Twitter last month. Musk said he would reverse Trump’s ban if he took over the platform, but decided to first put it to a vote on Friday:
The 52% in favor of his return is the type of popular vote margin Trump can only dream of.
Anyway, Musk made good on his promise and reinstated the former president on Saturday:
Trump has not yet tweeted. Musk has, perhaps seeking to distract attention from the chaos that appears to be engulfing Twitter since he took it over:
After being booted from Twitter following the January 6 insurrection, Trump started Truth, a competing social network that never really took off, and on which he was its most famous denizen. Last month, Trump told Fox News that he planned to remain there. A regulatory filing from Truth indicates that even if Trump intends to return to Twitter, he has comittments to take care of first:
President Trump is generally obligated to make any social media post on TruthSocial and may not make the same post on another social media site for 6 hours. Thereafter, he is free to post on any site to which he has access. … In addition, he may make a post from a personal account related to political messaging, political fundraising or get-out-the-vote efforts on any social media site at any time.
Donald Trump’s Twitter account was reactivated but remained quiet, though the former president aired grievances in other venues. Meanwhile, Joe Biden carried out the customary pardon of a pair of turkeys ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, but his administration may soon have another labor headache to deal with.
Here’s what else happened today:
Barack Obama will return to Georgia on 1 December to campaign for Democratic senator Raphael Warnock, who is fighting to keep his seat in a contest with Republican challenger Herschel Walker, FOX 5 Atlanta reports.
Warnock and Walker will stand in a runoff election on 6 December after neither won a majority in the midterm elections held earlier this month. Obama campaigned for Warnock in late October, and the senator ended up winning slightly more votes than Walker in the 8 November election.
Democrats have already won narrow control of the Senate for another two years, but Warnock’s re-election would pad their majority and allow them smoother operation of the chamber. A win by Walker would give Republicans an easier path to regaining the Senate when the next elections are held in 2024.
Another January 6 rioter has been convicted, Politico reports:
Kevin McCarthy’s criticism of Ilhan Omar is more indicative of his problems than hers.
While Republicans may prevail in ousting Omar from the foreign affairs committee, McCarthy is embroiled in a high-stakes contest to win the post of House speaker – and may not have the votes to get the job.
Last week, the California lawmaker was selected as the party’s candidate for House speaker, but to prevail he will need the support of a majority in the chamber. With the GOP likely to have only a tiny majority in the House and Democrats not expected to lend any support, he can afford to lose very few Republican votes. But several conservative lawmakers have said they won’t vote for McCarthy, imperiling his bid.
Politico reports that dynamic has presented an opportunity for centrist lawmakers to make demands of McCarthy in return for their support, such as steps to promote bipartisan legislation. Some Democrats are even working on a plan to extract their own concessions, in case their votes become necessary for McCarthy to win, according to Politico.
McCarthy, meanwhile, has announced a trip to the southern border, which has seen a big uptick in migrant arrivals since Joe Biden took office. That’s likely a signal McCarthy is trying to burnish his bona fides on conservative immigration policy as he looks to consolidate support:
The chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, has called for Republicans, particularly their leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, to tone down their rhetoric toward Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Omar, a Democratic House representative from Minnesota who was born in Somalia and is a practising Muslim, has been a frequent target of attacks from rightwing lawmakers since she arrived in the chamber in 2019:
Over the weekend, McCarthy pledged that if he was elected House speaker, he would remove Omar from the House foreign affairs committee, citing remarks she made about Israel:
Removing lawmakers from House committees requires approval from a majority of the chamber, which Republicans are set to control next year.
The United States just took a 1-0 lead over Wales in the Americans’ first World Cup match in eight years.
Joe Biden must be pleased. Before the match, he gave the national team a pep talk, and here’s footage from the White House of what he said:
Follow along here for more of the Guardian’s live coverage of the match:
Pramila Jayapal, the Washington state Democratic congresswoman and chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has joined the ranks of those who think Jo Biden should run for a second term in the White House term, despite the fact he turned 80 yesterday.
He was not my first or second choice for president, but I am a convert. I never thought I would say this, but I believe he should run for another term and finish this agenda we laid out.
What the president understands is you need this progressive base — young people, folks of color — and that progressives issues are popular. Whoever is in the White House should understand that, because it is a basic tenet now of how you win elections,” Jayapal told online news site Politico in an interview launched today.
The Hill noted today that almost three-quarters of Democratic voters in a USA Today-Ipsos poll released yesterday said Biden could win if he runs for reelection, and half of Democrats think he deserves to win the White House again.
The comments from Jayapal came in Politico’s piece about progressives also supporting Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain continuing in that job. Amid talk that he might leave, Biden has reportedly asked him to stay on, too.
Elon Musk has said he will not reinstate the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Twitter, saying he has “no mercy” for people who capitalise on the deaths of children for personal fame.
Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Jones and his Infowars website in September 2018 for violating the platform’s abusive behaviour policy.
Jones, 48, gained notoriety for pushing a false conspiracy theory about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, which led to harassment of parents who lost their children in the massacre. Jones has been ordered by a US court to pay more than $1.4bn (£1.2bn) to people who suffered from his false claim that the shooting, in which 20 children and six educators died, was a hoax.
Musk appeared to rule out a return for Jones in an interaction with Twitter users on Monday. The author and podcaster Sam Harris asked Twitter’s new owner if it was “time to let Alex Jones back on Twitter” and “if not, why not?”. Kim Dotcom, the internet entrepreneur, also asked if Jones could be reinstated in the interest of “real free speech”.
Musk replied that he had lost a child – to sudden infant death syndrome in 2002 – and said Jones used the death of children to push his own agenda. He tweeted: “My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat. I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.” Full story here.
Prosecutors in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial rested their case today, earlier than expected, pinning hopes for convicting Donald Trump’s company largely on the word of two top executives who cut deals before testifying in New York that they schemed to avoid taxes on company-paid perks.
Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime finance chief, and Jeffrey McConney, a senior vice president and controller, testified for the bulk of the prosecution’s eight-day case, bringing the drama of their own admitted wrongdoing to a trial heavy on numbers, spreadsheets, tax returns and payroll records, the Associated Press writes.
Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to dodging taxes on $1.7 million in extras, was required to testify as a prosecution witness as part of a plea deal in exchange for a promised sentence of five months in jail. McConney was granted immunity to testify.
The Trump Organization’s lawyers are expected to start calling witnesses Monday afternoon, likely beginning with an accountant who handled years of tax returns and other financial matters for Trump, the Trump Organization and hundreds of Trump entities.
Prosecutors had considered calling the accountant, Mazars USA LLP partner Donald Bender, but decided not to. The defense indicated it would call him instead.
Manhattan prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization helped top executives avoid paying taxes on company-paid perks and that it is liable for Weisselberg’s wrongdoing because he was a “high managerial agent” acting on its behalf.
The tax fraud case is the only trial to arise from the Manhattan district attorney’s three-year investigation of Trump and his business practices. If convicted, the company could be fined more than $1 million and face difficulty making deals.
In Arizona, Republican Liz Harris won her race for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives – but has pledged not to cast any votes until the entire 2022 election is redone, 12News reports.
“Although I stand to win my Legislative District race it has become obvious that we need to hold a new election immediately. There are clear signs of foul play from machine malfunctions, chain of custody issues and just blatant mathematical impossibilities. How can a Republican State Treasurer receive more votes than a Republican Gubernatorial or Senate candidate?” Harris wrote in a statement.
If Harris follows through on the threat, it could cause some serious problems for her Republican colleagues. They control the Arizona House, but only by two votes.
Former Trump official Steve Bannon was a great promoter of his Maga ideology ahead of the midterms. But most of the candidates who appeared on his shows lost their races, a Media Matters for America analysis found.
Of the 59 candidates who were interviewed by Bannon, 34, or 58%, lost their races, the left-leaning media watchdog found. His record among new aspirants for office was worse. Of the 48 non-incumbents Bannon hosted, 33 of them lost.
Losers include Tudor Dixon, the GOP candidate for governor of Michigan, and Kari Lake, who stood for the same role in Arizona. Among Senate aspirants, Don Bolduc, Adam Laxalt, Blake Masters, Joe Pinion and Gerald Malloy were among the losers. JD Vance and Katie Britt, however, won their races. Other notable losers who Bannon spotlit were Mark Finchem, the election-denying secretary of state candidate in Arizona, as well as Doug Mastriano, Pennyslvania’s Republican candidate for governor who was known for his hardline anti-abortion views and involvement in the January 6 insurrection.
Donald Trump’s Twitter account is reactivated but quiet, though the former president is airing grievances in other venues. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has carried out the customary pardon of a pair of turkeys ahead of Thursday’s thanksgiving holiday, but his administration may have another labor headache to soon deal with.
Here’s what else is going on today:
Manhattan’s district attorney is revitalizing a criminal investigation into Trump, but it appears to have long odds of success.
Biden said he had no advance knowledge of the decision to appoint a special counsel to decide whether to charge Trump over the January 6 insurrection and Mar-a-Lago documents case.
Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows is continuing to fight his subpoena from a special grand jury investigating the 2020 election meddling campaign in Georgia.
Trump still hasn’t bothered to make use of his restored Twitter account, but has other ways of making his opinions known.
Such as email. The former president periodically sends out statements to reporters that seem to be about whatever’s on his mind. Today, it’s Joe O’Dea, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Senate in Colorado who clashed with Trump.
“Joe O’Dea lost his race in Colorado by over 12 points because he campaigned against MAGA,” Trump wrote. “Likewise, candidates who shifted their ‘messaging’ after winning big in the Primaries (Bolduc!) saw big losses in the General. Will they ever learn their lesson? You can’t win without MAGA!”
It’s also worth noting he didn’t bother with Twitter when it came to sharing his thoughts about the newly appointed special counsel. Instead, he used Truth to put out a statement that was about what you would expect if you’ve read anything the former president has written over the past six years:
The Polls are really strong, especially since Tuesday’s announcement, hence the appointment of a Radical Left Prosecutor, who is totally controlled by President Obama and his former A.G., Eric Holder. This is not Justice, this is just another Witch Hunt, and a very dangerous one at that! No way this Scam should be allowed to go forward!
In a brief encounter with the press after the turkey pardon, Biden said he had no advance warning of attorney general Merrick Garland’s decision Friday to appoint a special counsel to handle the criminal investigations involving Donald Trump.
“I learned about when you did,” Biden said.
Garland last week announced the appointment of Jack Smith as special counsel to decide on whether to bring charges related to the Mar-a-Lago documents case and the January 6 insurrection.
Joe Biden has just carried out one of the most solemn duties an American president must perform: pardoning the thanksgiving turkey.
In a chilly morning ceremony on the White House lawn, Biden gave a reprieve to turkeys Chocolate and Chip, while finding a way to zing the Republicans for their underwhelming midterm performance:
As happens sometimes, there was a heckler at the president’s speech, but on this occasion, it was his own dog:
The GOP was watching, and wasted no time in highlighting a gaffe made by the president: