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Final Iowa poll sets stage for caucuses: Live

A final poll out of Iowa set the stage for Monday’s caucuses - with Donald Trump taking a predictably commanding lead.

The survey, conducted by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom and released on Saturday night, ranked the contenders as follows: Mr Trump - 48 per cent; Nikki Haley - 20 per cent; Ron DeSantis - 16 per cent; Vivek Ramaswamy - 8 per cent; “Not Sure” - 5 per cent.

The poll was conducted between 7 and 12 January with a sample of 705 likely Iowa caucusgoers. It found that 68 per cent of respondents had made up their minds on who to back on Monday - which 25 per cent said they could still be persuaded.

As for level of enthusiasm, 32 per cent reported being “extremely enthusiastic” - including 49 per cent of Trump supporters, 23 per cent of DeSantis supporters and just 9 per cent of Haley supporters. That metric could have a significant impact on Monday as severe winter weather continues to wallop the Hawkeye State.

Key points

  • Nearly half of Haley supporters would back Biden over Trump

  • Results of the final Iowa poll

  • When will we know the Iowa results?

  • The last stand of Ron DeSantis?

  • How Trump broke the Iowa caucuses

Iowa governor used a burner account to trash Trump

22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Iowa Republican Gov Kim Reynolds has been using an X account — unassociated with her official position — to roast former president Donald Trump.

Ms Reynolds, who has endorsed Florida Gov Ron DeSantis for the 2024 GOP nomination, has been using @Kimberl26890376 to rag on Mr Trump in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses.

The New York Times first reported the existence of the burner account, which has since been taken down. The Independent has reached out to Ms Reynolds’ office.

Kelly Rissman reports:

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is using a burner account to trash Trump

Haley enjoys last-minute campaign boosting in Iowa

21:39 , Mike Bedigan

From The Independent’s John Bowden, on the ground in Iowa:

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis continued campaigning across Iowa on Sunday, but only one of them enjoyed a boost from some last-minute Washington star power.

Ms Haley’s campaign rallied voters in Ames with aid from Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, who praised the former governor and ambassador for “intestinal fortitude” as she hopes to rout Mr DeSantis and push him into an embarrassing third place finish.

Mr DeSantis, meanwhile, grappled with his total inability to win endorsements from lawmakers in his home state. The latest blow came in the form of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the state’s senior GOP senator, who spurned his governor to endorse Donald Trump on Sunday.

The endorsement of Mr Rubio for Trump came after he had previously told reporters that he had not to spoken to Mr DeSantis in months, a common theme among Florida’s GOP electeds in DC.

Nearly half of Haley supporters would back Biden over Trump

21:00 , Megan Sheets

The latest poll out of Iowa found that nearly half of Nikki Haley supporters would vote for President Joe Biden over Donald Trump should the election ultimately come to a rematch from 2020.

The poll, conducted by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom, showed Mr Trump with a resounding lead in the GOP field (48%) and Ms Haley in second (20%).

It showed that if Mr Trump and Mr Biden are pitted against each other in November, 43 per cent of Ms Haley’s supporters said they would support the latter.

The surprising statistic underscores Ms Haley’s success in drawing support from independents.

Top takeaways from the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses

20:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Here’s a quick recap of what went down on Wednesday night at Drake University:

Five takeaways from the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses

Temperatures stay low as Monday’s Caucus looms

18:16 , Mike Bedigan

From The Independent’s John Bowden, on the ground in Iowa:

Much of Iowa remained below zero on the thermometer Sunday, but that didn’t seem to phase Nikki Haley or Ron DeSantis’s campaigns, which continued along at full steam across the state with multiple in-person events for both candidates announced in the final 48 hours of the race.

Early Saturday evening DeSantis and Haley staffers could both be seen arriving at the snow-covered Des Moines airport.

The two Republican rivals were both criscrossing the state on Sunday for a handful of in-person events as a new CBS poll came out showing them both leading Joe Biden in general election matchups.

They remain in hot competition for second place in the polls, which over the weekend showed Ms Haley pulling ahead by a few percentage points.

Trump draws small crowd to Iowa telerally

18:00 , Megan Sheets

Having been forced to roll back most of his pre-caucus plans in Iowa, Mr Trump headlined a telerally on Saturday night in Des Moines.

The event didn’t manage to bring in many attendees - or many viewers online, according to onlookers.

Mr Trump is slated to host two other telerallies on Sunday and Monday as his campaign insists they are doing everything they can to keep up momentum before the caucuses.

“We’re gonna be out there seeing people and shaking hands,” Senior Campaign Advisor Jason Miller told ABC News. “A lot of activities going around.”

Mr Miller added: “Any of the events that President Trump has are larger than every DeSanctimonious and Nikki Haley event combined. And so you can’t look at it in the exact same context. They’re having a tough time filling up a phone booth with people, whereas every time President Trump shows up somewhere, there are thousands of people.”

On the ground in Iowa

16:27 , John Bowden

The Independent’s John Bowden is on the ground in Iowa providing updates ahead of Monday’s caucuses.

Here is his latest dispatch:

Candidates continued their respective last-minute pushes in Iowa on Saturday and into Sunday morning, despite bitter subzero temperatures and a biting wind that left most roads in outright dangerous conditions across the state.Donald Trump cancelled events on Saturday and was due for an in-person appearance Sunday afternoon — his campaign has largely checked out of in=person events as a new NBC/DMR poll shows him leading the state by double digits.Nikki Haley. Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis all pushed ahead in person, working their respective audiences and making a final push for voters on Monday. Ms Haley picked up a weekend endorsement from anti-Trump Republican Larry Hogan, the former governor of Maryland, while Mr DeSantis saw his campaign tailed by liberal pranksters and his poll numbers dropping him into third place.

Results of the final Iowa poll

16:00 , Megan Sheets

Donald Trump still leads the GOP 2024 field by a considerable margin, according to a final poll ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

The survey, conducted by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom, puts the former president at a near 30-point lead over his Republican rivals.

The Iowa Caucus, the first major political event of the year, will go ahead on Monday, as parts of the state continue to grapple with blizzard conditions and sub-zero temperatures,

The poll shows former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley narrowly edging Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for second place, although the gap is within the poll’s margin of error, according to NBC.

The poll shows Mr Trump commanding 48 per cent of the vote, with Ms Haley taking 20 per cent and Mr DeSantis on 16 per cent.

Read more from Mike Bedigan:

Trump dominates final Iowa poll before caucuses

WATCH: Trump arrives in Iowa

15:37 , Megan Sheets

Donald Trump touched down in Iowa on Saturday night - appearing ill-dressed for the frigid weather.

“It’s a lot of cold weather,” the ex-president remarked before saying he has “a lot meetings” tonight and slipping past reporters.

How Trump broke the Iowa caucuses

13:57 , Megan Sheets

Donald Trump has hosted massive rallies in Iowa, speaking to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people at once. If fewer than 400 attended, it was considered a small event.

The ex-president looks likely to win Monday’s contest handily having done very little, if any, of the small-scale campaigning that used to be required to win. Iowa is no longer universally seen as the stepping stone it once was.

Eric Garcia and Gustaf Kilander explain how Mr Trump upended the state’s caucus system:

How Donald Trump broke the Iowa caucuses

What to watch out for in the Iowa caucuses

13:00 , John Bowden

Political analysts hoping for clues about the trajectory of the rest of the primary, and most crucially an answer to the question of whether anyone has a chance at beating Mr Trump, are looking at Iowa closely. Monday’s results will likely determine the fate of several candidates, while also providing a window for speculation about the general election.

Here’s what The Independent is keeping an eye on over the weekend:

What to watch out for in Iowa, the first contest of the 2024 GOP primary

How do Trump’s trial dates and the Republican primaries intertwine or overlap?

10:00 , Ariana Baio

In a typical presidential election year, candidates will spend the 11 months leading up to Election Day shaking hands and kissing babies at rallies as the primaries unfold.

But nothing is typical when it comes to Donald Trump.

Instead, the ex-president will be forced to juggle his campaign for the White House while also defending himself in federal and state courts in four different trials that are currently set to occur between January and May.

Kicking off with E Jean Carroll’s damages trial on the same day as the Iowa Caucus to his federal classified documents trial one month before the GOP convention, Mr Trump’s jam-packed schedule seemingly leaves little time for him to socialise outside of a courtroom.

How Mr Trump will manage his campaign while convincing voters he’s innocent of it all – including alleged efforts to overturn previous elections in his favour – remains to be seen.

Continue reading...

How Trump’s trial dates and the Republican primaries will intertwine

Iowa caucuses: When will we know the results?

08:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The presidential primary season will finally see its first votes cast on Monday 15 January when the Iowa caucuses are held.

All eyes will be on the race to secure the Republican nomination, with front-runner Donald Trump expected to cement his commanding lead over his rivals in the polls as the likes of Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy seek to make an impact and prove they have the support to mount a meaningful challenge.

For Democrats, the matter is much more straightforward: they will simply gather in gyms, schools, libraries and churches across the state’s 1,657 precincts (spread over 99 counties) to elect delegates to send to the county conventions in March, the next step to selecting the delegates that will attend the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

Despite sub-zero temperatures and snow being forecast, the state Republican Party chair Jeff Kaufmann has insisted: “We have done everything humanly possible to ensure that this caucus comes off without a hitch.”

So when can we expect to find out the results?

When can we expect the results of the Iowa caucuses?

Iowa GOP voters less interested in talking about abortion, knowing it could lose them elections

06:00 , AP

A man in Iowa stood up at a recent town hall and told Ron DeSantis he had an “easy” question: how would the Florida governor address abortion when it’s sure to be a big issue in the coming 2024 presidential election?

DeSantis said he’d talk about it “the same way I did in Florida. I just articulated kind of, you know, where we were, what we do.”

He continued for nearly four minutes without using the word “abortion.” He instead criticized his rival Donald Trump for failing to appear in debates and Nikki Haley for her campaign trail gaffes.

Abortion has largely been absent as an issue in the lead-up to this year’s Iowa Republican caucuses, a remarkable change in a state that has long backed religious conservatives vowing to restrict the procedure. Part of the change is because Republicans achieved a generational goal when the Supreme Court overturned a federally guaranteed right to abortion. But it also underscores a pervasive fear among Republican candidates and voters alike that vocalizing their desire to further restrict abortion rights in 2024 has become politically dangerous.

Democrats outperformed expectations in the 2022 midterms and several state races last year campaigning on the issue. And President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign plans to make abortion rights central to its strategy this year.

Continue reading the full article...

Trump town hall almost doubles ratings of GOP debate

04:00 , Oliver O'Connell

More viewers tuned in to Donald Trump’s town hall than to the head-to-head debate between Florida Gov Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov Nikki Haley.

Wednesday night’s duelling displays proved favourable for Mr Trump, whose Fox News town hall was watched by 4.3 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research.

By contrast, Ms Haley and Mr DeSantis appeared on CNN at the same time but were only viewed by 2.6 million people.

The competing events were broadcast just days before the Iowa caucuses — the first-in-the-nation chance for voters to officially throw their support behind the candidates of their choice.

Kelly Rissman reports:

Trump town hall draws in almost double the ratings of GOP debate

Trump to remain on Oregon presidential primary ballot... for now

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump may remain on Oregon’s presidential primary ballot – for now – after the state’s supreme court said they would not take up a challenge to his presidential primary ballot eligibility under Section Three of the 14th Amendment.

Following in the footsteps of the Michigan Supreme Court, justices on the Oregon Supreme Court said they would not take up the petition but left the door open to revisit the issue after the US Supreme Court rules on the matter.

Ariana Baio has the details:

Trump will remain on Oregon presidential primary ballot, for now

Climate protester tackled at DeSantis Iowa event

00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A member of Florida Gov Ron DeSantis’ security team brought a protester to the ground at the 2024 hopeful’s campaign event in Iowa.

Videos from Thursday’s campaign event show the demonstrator standing up in the middle of Mr DeSantis’ speech, holding up a yellow banner that read “DeSantis: Climate Criminal” while yelling, “how much money are you taking from oil companies?”

Footage captured the security guard quickly crossing the stage in front of the Republican nominee and tackling the protester. Mr DeSantis appeared alarmed at first as he watched the scene play out.

Kelly Rissman reports:

Climate protester tackled at DeSantis event in Iowa

Ron DeSantis trolled with participation trophy ahead of Iowa caucuses: ‘Proud of you for trying’

Saturday 13 January 2024 23:00 , Mike Bedigan

The incident occurred on Saturday after the Florida governor staged a town hall in Atlantic, Iowa. An unidentified man approached Mr DeSantis, holding a small award.

Read the full story:

Ron DeSantis trolled with participation trophy ahead of Iowa caucuses

In bitter Des Moines debate, Haley repeatedly calls DeSantis a liar

Saturday 13 January 2024 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley repeatedly called Florida governor Ron DeSantis a liar while both candidates criticised front-runner Donald Trump in the final debate before the Iowa caucus on Wednesday evening.

Last night’s CNN debate in Des Moines came five days before Republicans across the Hawkeye State gather in public meeting spaces to make their decision about who they support to be the Republican nominee for president.

DeSantis, the once-promising governor who had hoped his hard-right policies on everything from abortion to restricting how gender and sexuality are taught in schools would bolster him in the heavily church-going Iowa, elected to regularly attack Haley.

Eric Garcia watched the action.

Haley calls DeSantis a liar as she plugs DeSantisLies.com website 16 times

Names of dead voters ‘found on Ramaswamy nomination papers’

Saturday 13 January 2024 20:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Election officials in Rhode Island have reported finding the names of dead voters on nomination papers submitted on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy in the state, according to The Boston Globe.

The Warwick Board of Canvassers said it had found “several deceased voters” named on Mr Ramaswamy’s nomination papers while the Coventry board in the same state said it had also been forced to invalidate “an unusually high number” of signatures submitted on behalf of the candidate’s campaign, according to Ben Smith, a spokesperson for the state’s Board of Elections.

“The Board of Elections asked for local boards of canvassers to be extra vigilant and to notify them if they see patterns of fraudulent signatures,” Mr Smith said.

“They were asking to take a closer look at all nomination papers, and in this case the nomination papers for Ramaswamy.”

Joe Sommerlad reports:

Dead voters’ names ‘found on Ramaswamy nomination papers’

Haley mocks Trump’s ‘ridiculous’ presidential immunity defence

Saturday 13 January 2024 18:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Nikki Haley mocked Donald Trump’s presidential immunity legal defence as ‘ridiculous’ during the latest Republican debate in Iowa.

The 2024 hopeful was asked during a debate by CNN host Jake Tapper if she agreed with Trump that a president should have complete immunity, after he appeared at a federal appeals court earlier this week to make just that case.

Lawyers for Trump told a panel of judges that a president should have that immunity even if they ordered the assassination of a political rival unless they were impeached and convicted in the US Senate.

Graeme Massie reports.

Haley blasts ‘ridiculous’ claim Trump has presidential immunity to kill rivals

Iowa: The last stand of Ron DeSantis?

Saturday 13 January 2024 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Ron DeSantis did everything right in Iowa. The Florida governor has checked all the boxes that Republicans must complete if they are to stand a chance in Hawkeye State.

He completed the “Full Grassley,” named for Iowa’s long-serving Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, where he visited all 99 counties in the state. He made the hard sell at Iowa’s State Fair. He received the endorsement of Kim Reynolds, the state’s governor, and Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the Iowa Family Leader and a kingmaker in the state whose support of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ted Cruz all played a role in their victories in the caucuses.

Mr DeSantis has staked everything on Iowa, a state that should have been a perfect match for him.

But is this going to be his last stand of the 2024 election cycle?

Eric Garcia and Gustaf Kilander report for The Independent:

Could Iowa be Ron DeSantis’s last stand?

Trump campaign derailed by Iowa weather

Saturday 13 January 2024 16:28 , Megan Sheets

Donald Trump has been forced to make adjustments to his campaigning schedule in Iowa ahead of Monday’s caucuses, due to severe weather conditions in the state.

The changes were made “out of an abundance of caution amid severe weather advisories” and “to ensure the safety of Maga patriots across Iowa”, according to a campaign press release.

The former president was originally set to hold campaign events on Saturday and Sunday in Atlantic, Sioux City, Indianola and Cherokee.

On Friday, his team announced that several live appearances would be replaced with tele-rallies, with only one in-person event still taking place in Indianola.

It comes as blizzard warnings remain in place for large parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service, with Iowans advised to avoid outdoor activity if possible.

Mike Bedigan reports:

Trump cancels Iowa events to protect ‘Maga patriots’ ahead of frigid caucuses

Haley brands DeSantis ‘desperate’ during fiery contest

Saturday 13 January 2024 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The former UN ambassador branded 2024 Republican rival DeSantis “desperate” as the pair clashed in a fiery debate days before the Iowa caucuses.

The pair argued as they discussed potential cuts to social security, with the Florida governor accusing Haley of being in favour of sending American tax dollars over “to pay the pensions of Ukrainian bureaucrats.”

“That is not true. That is such a lie, Ron,” she said as DeSantis told her she was in favour of continuing to send money over to the at-war country.

“You’re so desperate. You’re just so desperate,” she told him as she shook her head in apparent disgust.

Haley accusing her rival of lying was a theme of the night as she repeatedly plugged her new DeSantisLies.com website.

Graeme Massie watched the debate.

Haley and DeSantis trade blows in fiery GOP debate: ‘You’re just so desperate’

Trump’s campaign by trial: Courthouse outbursts and cries of victimhood

Saturday 13 January 2024 15:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward writes:

He didn’t have to be there, and according to his attorneys, he didn’t want to be. Days earlier, Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to convince a judge to postpone closing arguments in his fraud trial altogether, until the end of the month, so he could be with his family after the death of his mother-in-law.

Instead, the former president turned a hallway inside New York State Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan into a press conference. As he has done several times over the last four months, he sat with his lawyers at the defence table, where he was photographed in images blasted across news networks and on social media. But for the first time, he used the microphone in front of him to lash out at the judge in front of him, the attorney general suing him, and the case itself.

Hours earlier, he was in Iowa, answering a round of softball questions from a supportive Fox News audience on a brightly lit stage that looked more like a game show than a town hall.

After he left Judge Arthur Engoron’s courtroom, Mr Trump went to one of his brand-building properties in New York City to give a press conference aired on the same network.

The chain of events underscored his reliance on his growing legal battles for his own campaign for the presidency, using his criminal and civil cases to cast himself as a victim of political persecution, while telling his supporters that what he claims is a conspiracy against him will come for them, too, unless he stops them.

The trials have become his campaign, packed with court appearances, and the campaign is his chance to bury the charges, if elected.

Continue reading...

Trump’s campaign by trial: Courthouse outbursts and cries of victimhood

Recap: Chris Christie suspends 2024 presidential campaign

Saturday 13 January 2024 14:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and two-time failed presidential candidate, announced he is dropping out of the 2024 race during a town hall in New Hampshire.

“It’s clear to me tonight, there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination which is why I’m suspending my campaign tonight for president of the United States,” Christie told potential voters on Wednesday just hours ahead of the next GOP debate.

He reportedly notified allies that he would remove himself from the Republican candidate pool, facing faltering polling numbers and pressure from Donald Trump critics to find a viable opponent to take on the former president.

“I would rather lose by telling the truth than lie in order to win,” Christie said.

Ariana Baio reports.

Chris Christie suspends 2024 presidential campaign

Iowa caucuses: When will we know the results?

Saturday 13 January 2024 13:00 , Joe Sommerlad

The presidential primary season will finally see its first votes cast on Monday 15 January when the Iowa caucuses are held.

All eyes will be on the race to secure the Republican nomination, with front-runner Donald Trump expected to cement his commanding lead over his rivals in the polls as the likes of Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy seek to make an impact and prove they have the support to mount a meaningful challenge.

For Democrats, the matter is much more straightforward: they will simply gather in gyms, schools, libraries and churches across the state’s 1,657 precincts (spread over 99 counties) to elect delegates to send to the county conventions in March, the next step to selecting the delegates that will attend the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

Despite sub-zero temperatures and snow being forecast, the state Republican Party chair Jeff Kaufmann has insisted: “We have done everything humanly possible to ensure that this caucus comes off without a hitch.”

So when can we expect to find out the results?

When can we expect the results of the Iowa caucuses?

Christie caught on hot mic: DeSantis is ‘petrified’ and Haley will get ‘smoked’

Saturday 13 January 2024 12:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Chris Christie was heard on a hot mic blasting his fellow Republican presidential candidates before his announcement in New Hampshire that he would drop out.

Christie spoke to someone named Wayne before his announcement on Wednesday evening in Windham, New Hampshire, but did not realise that his microphone was on.

The former New Jersey governor who endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 but staged a campaign throughout last year criticising the former president said that many people did not want to hear what he had to say.

Christie’s contention that DeSantis was “petrified” and Haley would get “smoked” was cheered by Trump himself, who wrote on Truth Social last night: “I hear Chris Christie is dropping out of the race today — I might even get to like him again! Anyway, he was just caught on a hot mic making a very truthful statement: ‘She’s gonna get smoked…You and I both know it, she’s not up to this’.”

Eric Garcia was listening live.

Christie heard on hot mic saying DeSantis is ‘petrified’ and Haley will get ‘smoked’

ICYMI: Former Trump aide decries GOP field’s defence of felony charges

Saturday 13 January 2024 10:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former Trump White House staffer turned CNN political commentator and co-host of The View Alyssa Farah Griffin echoes Chris Christie’s remarks as he bowed out of the nomination race yesterday.

The former New Jersey Governor called out his fellow Republican candidates for not attacking former president Donald Trump over his 91 felony charges and instead saying they would still support him.

Ms Griffin said on X on Thursday morning: “If Trump wins the nomination, it’s not because he worked for it. He hasn’t showed up to debates, he’s been in early states the least of any GOP candidate. It will be because his GOP opponents (other than Christie) decided to defend him against 91 felony charges.”

In an appearance on The View on Wednesday morning, former Republican lawmaker and key Trump adversary Liz Cheney said she found it difficult to imagine the GOP surviving given how caught up it is in the cult of personality.

Ms Cheney said she believes a new party needs to emerge as a home for conservative principles: “I believe the country has to have a party that’s based on conservative principles and values where we can engage with the Democrats on substance and on policy ... I think post-2024 election, we’re going to see just a huge tectonic shift in our politics.”

Watch below:

Trump again vows to be a day-one ‘dictator’ as he ices out rivals in frozen Iowa

Saturday 13 January 2024 08:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Republican frontrunner and former president Donald Trump again vowed on Wednesday to seize dictatorial powers if elected to the nation’s highest office once more but attempted to walk back his frequently made promise to exact retribution on his political enemies during a second term in the White House.

The disgraced former president, who is currently facing more than 90 felony charges in four separate jurisdictions and is scheduled to go on trial in March for attempting a coup to keep himself in office after losing the 2020 election, promised to spend his first day of a second term ruling as an autocrat during a town hall broadcast on Fox News ahead of the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.

Asked by a voter in the Hawkeye State – where temperatures have dropped below freezing – how he’d respond to critics who argue that restoring to him to power would unleash untold chaos upon the country, Mr Trump replied that the chaos of his first term was the fault of Democrats in the House of Representatives and law enforcement officials who conducted investigations into his conduct.

Here’s Andrew Feinberg’s report on Wednesday night’s action.

Trump again vows to be a day-one ‘dictator’ in Iowa town hall

Watch: DeSantis sidesteps question on Trump posing threat to democracy

Saturday 13 January 2024 06:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Top takeaways from the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses

Saturday 13 January 2024 04:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Let’s take a look at what we learned on Wednesday night:

Five takeaways from the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses

Iowa GOP voters less interested in talking about abortion, knowing it could lose them elections

Saturday 13 January 2024 03:00 , AP

A man in Iowa stood up at a recent town hall and told Ron DeSantis he had an “easy” question: how would the Florida governor address abortion when it’s sure to be a big issue in the coming 2024 presidential election?

DeSantis said he’d talk about it “the same way I did in Florida. I just articulated kind of, you know, where we were, what we do.”

He continued for nearly four minutes without using the word “abortion.” He instead criticized his rival Donald Trump for failing to appear in debates and Nikki Haley for her campaign trail gaffes.

Abortion has largely been absent as an issue in the lead-up to this year’s Iowa Republican caucuses, a remarkable change in a state that has long backed religious conservatives vowing to restrict the procedure. Part of the change is because Republicans achieved a generational goal when the Supreme Court overturned a federally guaranteed right to abortion. But it also underscores a pervasive fear among Republican candidates and voters alike that vocalizing their desire to further restrict abortion rights in 2024 has become politically dangerous.

Democrats outperformed expectations in the 2022 midterms and several state races last year campaigning on the issue. And President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign plans to make abortion rights central to its strategy this year.

Continue reading the full article...

DeSantis says Florida welcomes students fleeing antisemitism, but is there any demand?

Saturday 13 January 2024 02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week directed the state’s universities to make it easier for out-of-state students facing antisemitism and other religious harassment in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war to transfer to Florida campuses.

DeSantis’ directive on Tuesday piggybacks on blowback some Ivy League leaders have faced in response to how they’re handling antisemitism and anti-Israel protests on their campuses. The governor’s office said there has been an increase in inquiries about transferring, without providing any numbers to back that up.

Continue reading...

Florida welcomes students fleeing campus antisemitism, with little evidence that there's demand

Trump’s campaign by trial: Courthouse outbursts and cries of victimhood

Saturday 13 January 2024 01:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward writes:

He didn’t have to be there, and according to his attorneys, he didn’t want to be. Days earlier, Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to convince a judge to postpone closing arguments in his fraud trial altogether, until the end of the month, so he could be with his family after the death of his mother-in-law.

Instead, the former president turned a hallway inside New York State Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan into a press conference. As he has done several times over the last four months, he sat with his lawyers at the defence table, where he was photographed in images blasted across news networks and on social media. But for the first time, he used the microphone in front of him to lash out at the judge in front of him, the attorney general suing him, and the case itself.

Hours earlier, he was in Iowa, answering a round of softball questions from a supportive Fox News audience on a brightly lit stage that looked more like a game show than a town hall.

After he left Judge Arthur Engoron’s courtroom, Mr Trump went to one of his brand-building properties in New York City to give a press conference aired on the same network.

The chain of events underscored his reliance on his growing legal battles for his own campaign for the presidency, using his criminal and civil cases to cast himself as a victim of political persecution, while telling his supporters that what he claims is a conspiracy against him will come for them, too, unless he stops them.

The trials have become his campaign, packed with court appearances, and the campaign is his chance to bury the charges, if elected.

Continue reading...

Trump’s campaign by trial: Courthouse outbursts and cries of victimhood

‘Ridiculous’: Haley mocks Trump’s presidential immunity defence

Saturday 13 January 2024 00:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Nikki Haley mocked Donald Trump’s presidential immunity legal defence as ‘ridiculous’ during the latest Republican debate in Iowa.

The 2024 hopeful was asked during a debate with Ron DeSantis by CNN host Jake Tapper if she agreed with Mr Trump that a president should have complete immunity, after he appeared at a federal appeals court earlier this week.

Lawyers for Mr Trump told a panel of judges that a president should have that immunity even if they ordered the assassination of a political rival unless they were impeached and convicted in the US Senate.

Graeme Massie reports:

Haley blasts ‘ridiculous’ claim Trump has presidential immunity to kill rivals

Friday 12 January 2024 23:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Friday 12 January 2024 22:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Michelle Obama admits 2024 election fears ‘keep her up at night’

How do Trump’s trial dates and the Republican primaries intertwine or overlap?

Friday 12 January 2024 21:30 , Oliver O'Connell

In a typical presidential election year, candidates will spend the 11 months leading up to Election Day shaking hands and kissing babies at rallies as the primaries unfold.

But nothing is typical when it comes to Donald Trump.

Instead, the ex-president will be forced to juggle his campaign for the White House while also defending himself in federal and state courts in four different trials that are currently set to occur between January and May.

Kicking off with E Jean Carroll’s damages trial on the same day as the Iowa Caucus to his federal classified documents trial one month before the GOP convention, Mr Trump’s jam-packed schedule seemingly leaves little time for him to socialise outside of a courtroom.

How Mr Trump will manage his campaign while convincing voters he’s innocent of it all – including alleged efforts to overturn previous elections in his favour – remains to be seen.

Continue reading...

How Trump’s trial dates and the Republican primaries will intertwine