House panel demands White House turn over Kushner documents – as it happened

Last modified: 01: 25 AM GMT+0

White House given deadline of Monday to comply with committee’s request after reports Trump ordered security clearance for Kushner

Friday night summary

We made it through Friday evening! Here’s what happened today:

  • In the wake of a report that the president ordered that his son-in-law be granted top-secret security clearance despite concerns from intelligence officials, House Democrats are demanding documents and details from the White House on how some of the president’s closest advisers got their security clearances. The administration has until Monday to comply.
  • Trump tweeted that he’d been “misinterpreted” when he said he believed the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who claimed he was not responsible for the torture and death of the American student Otto Warmbier.
  • Congress is coming for Trump’s tax returns. Committee chairs led by the ways and means committee have begun working on a request for the returns from the IRS and are “prepared to ‘take all necessary steps,’ including litigation, in order to obtain them”.
  • The former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has asked for leniency in his sentencing, and his lawyers are seeking a sentence “significantly below” the guidelines for the crimes he has been convicted of. Congressman Gerry Connolly said he thinks Manafort is pushing for a presidential pardon.

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Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony was watched by 15.8 million people, AP reports. Nielsen company released the numbers today, showing the total across eight different networks throughout the day:

The number contrasts with the 20.4 million who watched the daytime testimony of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh before a Senate committee last September.

Fans of Fox News Channel were responsible for the bulk of the difference. They were far more interested in watching Kavanaugh deny a woman’s accusations that he had groped her drunkenly at a high school party than a lawyer, a convicted felon himself, denounce the president as a racist, con man and cheat.

An estimated 5.7 million people watched Kavanaugh on Fox last year, while 2.3 million turned on Fox for Cohen coverage, Nielsen said Friday.

CBS, with 3.06 million viewers, led the networks for Cohen coverage, followed by ABC’s 2.95 million. MSNBC (2.82 million) beat its broadcast sister, NBC (2.48 million). CNN had just under 2.1 million”.

In a tweet thread this afternoon, Trump shared that he’s called on China to remove tariffs on American agricultural products after postponing a decision to escalate US tariffs on Chinese imports originally scheduled for today.

....and I did not increase their second traunch of Tariffs to 25% on March 1st. This is very important for our great farmers - and me!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019

Last week, Trump announced on Twitter that there had been “substantial progress” in trade talks and that, as a result, he would delay doubling tariffs that would have effected $200 billion in Chinese products.


Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly told CNN this afternoon that he thinks Paul Manafort’s memo released today is a push for a presidential pardon:

Dem. Rep. @GerryConnolly says Paul Manafort is “fishing for a pardon” in court papers asking for a reduced sentence: “I think it’s code from Manafort ... to the President that ‘I am with you. There’s no collusion and I’ll never testify that there is.’”

— CNN (@CNN) March 1, 2019

Nigel Farage rebukes Michael Cohen, calling him a 'scumbag'

Nigel Farage has branded Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen a “scumbag” for testifying against the president this week.

Speaking in the 5.20pm graveyard slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the National Harbor near Washington, Farage claimed elites “don’t accept the legitimacy of Trump, they don’t accept the legitimacy of Brexit”.

He described the campaign against Trump as “pretty disgusting” and said this week it had reached “new depths”.

“We saw a convicted liar, some would even say scumbag – well, let’s say scumbag, shall we? Well, what on earth was Michael Cohen begin given that platform for if it wasn’t to see the denigration of your president?”

The audience applauded as Farage continued: “We are living under constant assault and yet here we are with Trump having delivered most of the promises he made. How about that? Generally what happens in western politics is leaders make promises and wilfully betray them. Here we have a leader dead set on keeping his promises.”

Farage suggested that Democrats are going the same way as the British Labour party, “which has been taken over by extreme Marxists”. He referenced Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Venezuela and predicted that Trump will get elected with “a much bigger majority”.

Farage also criticized Theresa May’s Brexit deal. “The problem is our leader and our parliament cannot countenance us getting real independence.” He expressed hope for a no deal departure.


In his second bid for leniency, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is seeking sentencing “significantly below” the guidelines for the crimes of bank and tax fraud he was found guilty of by trial in Virginia, the Washington Post reports.

He is simultaneously facing sentencing for crimes and conspiracy, which he plead guilty to in Washington but is arguing that his financial crimes should be handled as civil penalties.

NEW MANAFORT FILING: In sentencing memo, Manafort's lawyers ask for leniency, arguing that his crimes were "unrelated to the 2016 campaign or any collusion with the Russian government," & accusing MUELLER of bringing charges to “tighten the screws” on Manafort to get him to flip.

— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) March 1, 2019

From the Post:

In both Virginia and Washington, Mueller’s team has refrained from asking for any specific punishment for Manafort. But they emphasized that his dishonest conduct spanned years and continued even after his indictment and convictions. He shows, they argued, ‘a hardened adherence to committing crimes and lack of remorse’.

There is no upper limit on Manafort’s Virginia sentence. His sentence in Washington is capped at 10 years but could run consecutive to any prison term in the Virginia case”.

Gabrielle Canon here on the west coast, taking over for Sabrina Siddiqui.

Following up on Michael Cohen’s testimony, House Democrats are making moves to get Trump’s tax returns from the IRS, NBC reports, and are “prepared to ‘take all necessary steps,’ including litigation, in order to obtain them”.

Per NBC:

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has asked the committee’s attorneys to prepare the request, according to two aides involved in the process. Neal has also contacted the chairs of several other House investigative committees, including Oversight and Government Reform, Financial Services, Intelligence and Judiciary, asking them to provide detailed arguments for why they need the president’s tax returns to conduct their probes.

‘Every day the American people and Congress learn more about President Trump’s improprieties, from conflicts of interest to influence peddling, potential tax evasion and violations of the Constitution — all roads leading back to President Trump’s finances,’ said Ashley Etienne, spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi”.

Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, would have to grant the request, and a legal challenge from the Administration is expected, but the tax code authorizes the Ways and Means Committee to get copies of Americans’ returns.

The committee believes 10 years of Trump's returns "can give a good sense of whether there is any evidence of tax fraud and numerous items of interest," an aide said.

The aide said the committee believes it has the authority to obtain any correspondence between Trump & the IRS.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 1, 2019

Pro-Gun safety group targets lawmakers who opposed background checks

Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest anti-gun violence group in the US, has launched a $200,000 digital ad buy targeting members of Congress who voted against a bill to expand background checks.

The ads will target lawmakers in what are seen is key battleground states in the debate over stricter gun laws. The list includes the only two Democrats who opposed the legislation -- Representatives Jared Golden of Maine and Collin Peterson of Minnesota -- and five Republicans spanning Ohio, Florida and Colorado.

“For those elected leaders who put the gun lobby ahead of the safety of their constituents, we’re sending a clear message: Do so at your own peril,” John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown, said in a statement.

The advertisements will appear on Facebook and inform constituents that their representatives “sided with the gun lobby” during the vote, in which the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed universal background checks legislation by a vote of 240-190.

While the bill is not expected to pass the Republican-led Senate, and would almost certainly face a veto threat by Donald Trump, its passage through at least one chamber of Congress marked a major step for the anti-gun violence movement.

Donald Trump defends comments on Kim Jong-un and Otto Warmbier

Donald Trump is pushing back on criticism of his willingness to absolve North Korean leader Kim Jong-un of responsibility in the death of American Otto Warmbier.

The president claimed he had been “misinterpreted” in a pair of tweets, hours after Warmbier’s parents rebuked Trump’s comments accepting Kim’s denial of any involvement in their son’s mistreatment while imprisoned by the North Koreans.

....for Otto’s mistreatment and death. Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019

Earlier on Friday, Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy, issued a statement condemning Trump’s remarks -- albeit without mentioning the president by name.

“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto,” the Warmbiers wrote.

“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that. Thank you.”

Following his second summit with Kim in Vietnam, Trump said he did not believe the North Korean leader was responsible for Warmbier’s death.

“He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word,” Trump said, while adding Kim “felt very badly”.

“He knew the case very well, but he knew it later,” Trump said of Kim.

Warmbier was a student at the University of Virginia and detained in 2016 during a brief visit to North Korea. He remained imprisoned by the North Koreans for over a year, before the Trump administration secured his release in 2017.

Warmbier, then 22, was returned to his home in Ohio in a vegetative state after incurring severe brain damage from his time in captivity. He died days later.


House panel issues White House ultimatum over security clearances

The Democratic-led House oversight committee has issued a warning to Donald Trump’s counsel, demanding that the White House turn over documents related to security clearances for some of the president’s close advisers.

Elijah Cummings, the committee’s chairman, penned a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Friday, giving a deadline of Monday to comply with its request. The move comes in the wake of reports that Trump personally ordered his former chief of staff to grant Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and secret adviser, top-level security clearance against the guidance of intelligence officials.

“If true, these new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory information career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access to our nation’s most sensitive secrets, why President Trump concealed his role in overruling that recommendation, why [former White House chief of staff John] Kelly and [former White House counsel Don] McGahn both felt compelled to document these actions, and why your office is continuing to withhold key documents and witnesses from this Committee,” Cummings wrote.

“I ask that you begin producing all responsive documents immediately, and I request that you begin scheduling transcribed interviews with each witness identified by the Committee.”

If the White House does not comply by 4 March, Cummings could issue a subpoena for both documents and witnesses relating to the matter.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. In response to the report on Kushner, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to comment on the security clearance process.

Trump had previously denied that he intervened in Kushner’s security clearance, which was held up for unknown reasons. Privately, officials raised concerns over ties between Kushner’s family business and foreign governments and investors.

Kushner was forced to amend his financial disclosure forms on multiple occasions after committed more than 100 foreign contacts.

Alongside his letter, Cummings made public previous correspondence with Cipollone in which the White House counsel argued that the president has broad authority over decisions regarding security clearances.

“The President, not Congress, has the power to control national security information,” Cipollone wrote to Cummings earlier this week.

Following the Kushner report, Cummings said the White House had failed to produce “a single document or scheduled a single interview”.

“The Committee expects full compliance with its requests as soon as possible, or it may become necessary to consider alternative means to compel compliance,” he said.

Read Cummings’ full letter here.

Hello! Sabrina Siddiqui here, taking over for the next couple of hours on this Friday evening.

It’s been a wild week, between Michael Cohen’s testimony and the president’s second rendezvous with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The question now is if we’re in for a classic Friday news dump. For your sake and mine, I hope the answer is no.

Stay tuned...!


•Mike Pence has attacked Democrats as “hard-left” socialists in a potential preview of Republicans’ 2020 election strategy. The vice-president whipped up the right-wing at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he claimed the concept of Medicare for All was an example of Democrats “embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the past century”.

•The chair of the House committee on oversight and reform, has demanded “full and immediate compliance” from the White House as the committee investigates the Trump administration’s security clearance procedures. Elijah Cummings said he was making the demand in light of a New York Times report that Trump pushed for Jared Kushner to receive top-level security clearance despite concerns from officials.

•The parents of Otto Warmbier have rebuked Donald Trump’s defense of Kim Jong-un for the death of their son. “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier wrote in a statement. Warmbier suffered severe brain damage in North Korean custody and died in June 2017. On Thursday Trump said he would “take [Kim] at his word” when the North Korean dictator said he had no knowledge of Warmbier’s death.

John Hickenlooper, former Democratic governor of Colorado, is reportedly planning to announce his presidential campaign on March 7.

According to Fox News Hickenlooper will hold an event at Denver’s Civic Center Park on Thursday.

Andy Boian, an informal adviser to Hickenlooper, told Fox News the event will be a presidential announcement.

Should the report prove accurate, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise. Hickenlooper has already made three trips to Iowa and has also popped up in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Confirmed to @FoxNews : @Hickenlooper plans to announce his run for President of the United States on Thursday, March 7th in Denver.

— Alicia Acuna (@aacuna1) March 1, 2019

Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor and former head of Donald Trump’s transition planning team, said the Southern District of New York is more of a “problem and a threat” to Trump than Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“I always said that Bob Mueller is not what should concern the president or the White House. That’s the Southern District of New York,” Christie told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

In an interview likely to offer little solace to Trump, Christie, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN that Michael Cohen and Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates are “two tour guides that can take them through the Trump business and personal life.”

From CNN:

Christie pointed to Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee Wednesday in which Cohen said he was in “constant contact” with the SDNY “regarding ongoing investigations.”

Christie said he’s confident that the SDNY is building a case to go after those around Trump who may have committed crimes and against Trump himself for when he leaves office.”

“Statute of limitations on most of this stuff, my guess is, would not run,” Christie told Cuomo.

The former Republican governor added that he does not believe the SDNY has a case against the President “at the moment.”

Melania Trump is to help present international courage awards to a group of women for the third straight year. In a statement the White House said Trump will participate in the ‘2019 International Women of Courage Celebration’ on March 7.

In a statement Trump said she is proud to be first lady of a country “where our democracy not only allows, but empowers, the ability to defend and promote all of our rights”.

The International Women of Courage award has been given to more than 120 women from more than 65 countries since its inception in 2007.

Melania and Donald Trump
Melania and Donald Trump at the latter’s inauguration ball. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Melania’s husband, President Donald Trump, has a checkered record in defending and promoting women. During the 2016 election an audio recording emerged of Trump saying his fame entitled him to “grab” women “by the pussy”.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has admitted paying off two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. Since being elected, Trump has attempted to rollback birth control coverage from women, and has appointed few women to senior positions.

Trump has, however, been credited with encouraging women’s success in politics and increased engagement in activism. The Women’s March, coordinated in response to Trump’s election, saw millions of women demonstrate across the US, and a historic number of women were elected in the 2018 midterm elections.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller said the trial of Trump advisor Roger Stone will last five to eight days, in a court filing on Friday afternoon.

Stone is charged with lying to Congress about his communications with Wikileaks during the 2016 election. He’s also charged with witness tampering and obstruction of an official proceeding. WikiLeaks published emails from Democrats believed to have been hacked by Russia in an attempt to help Trump win the election.

Stone, who was recently rebuked by a judge for posting a photo of her next to target crosshairs, denies the charges.

Robert Mueller’s office, in a new court filing, says that Roger Stone’s criminal trial would likely last 5 to 8 days.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 1, 2019

Some reaction to Mike Pence’s speech earlier. The vice-president sure does have some interesting ideas.

PENCE makes this historically dubious claim: "It was a freedom, not socialism, that ended slavery, won 2 world wars and stands today as the beacon of hope for all the world.

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 1, 2019

"Veterans Choice is here," Pence says triumphantly about a program created under Barack Obama in 2014, and there is a standing ovation.

— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 1, 2019

“We will always defend the inalienable right to life.”

Reminder that the Trump/Pence administration has been trying to make it legal for doctors to refuse to treat trans people. This could, in emergency rooms, for instance, mean letting them bleed out and die. But sure, life!

— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) March 1, 2019


Mike Pence in diatribe against socialism

Mike Pence, the US vice president, has offered another preview of the 2020 presidential election by whipping up conservatives with a diatribe against socialism.

Pence earned raucous cheers and applause at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the National Harbor near Washington as he warned against “taking a hard left turn” that would deprive Americans of freedom.

Taking aim at policies touted by several Democratic candidates, Donald Trump’s deputy said: “Under the guise of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the past century. That system is socialism.”

Senator Bernie Sanders is an “avowed socialist”, Pence said, “but it’s not just him”, as other candidates have papered over socialism’s failings with “bumper sticker slogans and slick social media campaigns”.

The choice in the next election is “between freedom and socialism, between personal responsibility and government dependence,” Pence continued. “The moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment America ceases to be America.”

Mike Pence
Mike Pence speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

Referring to Trump’s state of the union address, he added: “As the president said 24 days ago, so we must say with one voice: America will never become a socialist country.”

Attendees rose to their feet and chanted: “USA! USA!”

The vice president added: “We know where socialism leads. You want socialism? Just look at Venezuela… If we lay out a choice between freedom and socialism, the American people will choose freedom every single time.”

Pence also defended Donald Trump’s handling of the peace talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Hanoi. “As President Trump said as he departed, sometimes you have to walk… President Trump will stand firm until we achieve the complete denuclearisation of North Korea.”

The vice president also pledged to finish construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border. “I’ll make you a promise: before we’re done, we’re gonna build it all.”


House oversight committee chair demands documents, witnesses from White House

Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House committee on oversight and reform, wrote to the White House on Friday afternoon demanding “full and immediate compliance” with the committee’s investigation into the government’s security clearance procedures.

Cummings said he was making the demand “in light of a new report yesterday that President Donald Trump pushed for his son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner to receive a security clearance despite numerous red flags—directly contradicting the president’s public denials just eight days after the committee launched its investigation”.

He added:

These new reports raise grave questions about what derogatory info career officials obtained about Mr. Kushner to recommend denying him access ... why President Trump concealed his role ... and why your office is continuing to withhold [info] from this Committee.

The committee was already investigating the security clearance process at the White House, and Cummings said the Trump administration had so far “refused to provide any of the documents or produce any of the witnesses the committee has requested for interviews”.

“I am now writing a final time to request your voluntary cooperation with this investigation,” Cummings said.

“I ask that you begin producing all responsive documents immediately, and I request that you begin scheduling transcribed interviews with each witness identified by the committee. Please provide your response to the Committee by March 4 2019.”

New: Elijah Cummings is demanding W.H. Counsel be in "full and immediate compliance" with the Oversight Committee's request for documents and witness interviews in light of the NYT report that Trump intervened to get Jared Kushner his security clearance.

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 1, 2019

Former Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill has criticized “people in Washington” who characterize Trump voters as “stupid” or “all racists”.

McCaskill, who lost her re-election bid in Missouri 2018, told David Axelrod on his ‘Axe Files’ podcast that she would “fight anyone” who looked down on those who voted for the president.

“[Trump] tapped that vein of frustration and anger,” McCaskill said.

And if somebody is frustrated and angry – that they don’t think the world is giving them a fair shot based on their hard work, you need to listen to that and understand it, and not look down your nose at it and call them names and say they’re all racists or they’re all this or they’re all that, because it’s just not true.

Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 18 points in Missouri in 2016. McCaskill, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, lost to Republican Josh Hawley in 2018.

“I know these people that voted for Donald Trump, and some of them I don’t care much for and don’t like much, but a whole bunch of them I get,” McCaskill said.

“And I hate it when people in Washington, especially people from bright blue states just said: ‘Well, the only people voting for Trump are stupid people.’ No, that’s not true.”

Jay Inslee’s announcement this morning that he is running for president brings the number of people in the Democratic race to 13.

More than a dozen others are “looking at it”, “discussing it with family”, and other variations on the verb ‘thinking’. Here’s our guide to the contenders.

The Warmbier family’s remarks come after Republicans were critical of Trump for taking Kim Jong-Un’s word over Otto Warmbier’s death.

Senator Susan Collins said she found “that statement extremely hard to believe, while Rob Portman, in a speech on the Senate floor, warned Trump not to be “naive” about the “brutal nature” of the North Korean regime.

Former Republican senator Rick Santorum said Trump’s comments were “reprehensible”.

Ahead of Trump’s first summit with Kim, in June 2018, the president said the meeting would ensure “Otto is someone who did not die in vain”. At the time Fred and Cindy Warmbier were optimistic.

“We appreciate President Trump’s recent comments about our family,” Warmbier’s parents said.

“We are proud of Otto and miss him. Hopefully something positive can come from this.”

Otto Warmbier family: Kim Jong-un 'responsible for the death of our son'

The family of Otto Warmbier, the American who died in 2017 after being imprisoned and tortured in North Korea, have responded to Trump’s meek statement on Kim Jong-un’s involvement, insisting Kim is “responsible” for their son’s death.

In a statement Otto Warmbier’s parents, Fred & Cindy Warmbier said:

We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.

On Thursday Trump said he took Kim “at his word” when he denied any responsibility Warmbier’s treatment. Warmbier was arrested in North Korea for allegedly trying to take home a propaganda poster. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labour but was returned to the US in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness’ in June 2017. Warmbier died six days later.

“Some really bad things happened to Otto,” Trump said on Thursday. “But Kim tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.”

Otto Warmbier
Otto Frederick Warmbier in a Pyongyang court in March 16 2016. Photograph: KYODO/Reuters


Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson is in “dire” health.

Adelson, a right-wing Vegas casino magnate, almost single-handedly kept Newt Gingrich in the presidential race in 2012. Gingrich ultimately lost to Mitt Romney, who ultimately lost to Barack Obama.

The 85-year-old spent at least $93m to Republican causes during that election cycle, and pumped more than $100m into the 2018 midterms.

The health of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner and one of the biggest donors to Republicans, is “dire,” according to his lawyer

— POLITICO (@politico) March 1, 2019

Andrew Yang, a businessman running for the Democratic nomination, welcomes Jay Inslee to the contest.

Yang, a New York and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, bold plans of his own. He is proposing a universal basic income of $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year, for all US citizens between the ages of 18 and 64.

Jay Inslee has led the charge on addressing climate change for years. He is right - this issue will define this century and the world we leave to our children. So glad he’s in the race - he will move us in the right direction.

— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 1, 2019

Just the president talking about a former employee writing him a love letter:

Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a “love letter to Trump” manuscript for a new book that he was pushing. Written and submitted long after Charlottesville and Helsinki, his phony reasons for going rogue. Book is exact opposite of his fake testimony, which now is a lie!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019

Congress must demand the transcript of Michael Cohen’s new book, given to publishers a short time ago. Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony. Like a different person! He is totally discredited!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019

This literary criticism apparently stems from a Daily Mail report that Michael Cohen wrote a book proposal – working title: ‘Trump Revolution: From The Tower to The White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump’ – last year. According to the Mail, Cohen had “nothing but good things to say about his boss” in the proposed tome.

Unsurprisingly, Trump, who has spent his career inflating his personal wealth, is still keen that his finances not be looked at.

Oh’ I see! Now that the 2 year Russian Collusion case has fallen apart, there was no Collusion except bye Crooked Hillary and the Democrats, they say, “gee, I have an idea, let’s look at Trump’s finances and every deal he has ever done. Let’s follow discredited Michael Cohen.....

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019

...and the fraudulent and dishonest statements he made on Wednesday. No way, it’s time to stop this corrupt and illegally brought Witch Hunt. Time to start looking at the other side where real crimes were committed. Republicans have been abused long enough. Must end now!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2019

A top Democrat has threatened to subpoena the White House over the Jared Kushner-security clearance controversy, with other congressional Democrats accusing Trump of “nepotism” and calling for security officials to immediately stop sharing information with Trump’s son-in-law.

Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House oversight committee, began an investigation into the White House security process last month. On Thursday Cummings said the Trump administration was yet to turn over documents requested as part of that investigation.

“The Committee expects full compliance with its requests as soon as possible, or it may become necessary to consider alternative means to compel compliance,” Cummings said.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of House intelligence committee, said: “There is no nepotism exception for background investigations.”

Schiff added that the New York Times report Trump personally ordered Kushner to be given top-level security clearance “is the latest indicator of the president’s utter disregard for our national security and for the men and women who sacrifice so much every day to keep us safe”.

Meanwhile Ted Lieu, a California Democrat who serves on the House foreign affairs committee, said intelligence officials should stop sharing top level information with Kushner.

“I have a message for our national security, defense and intelligence community: Do not share top secret information with Jared Kushner. Trust the career professionals. Do the right thing. Your loyalty is to America, not to Kushner or Trump,” Lieu said.

As the pressure continues to mount on the White House, #FireKushner began trending on Twitter.


Happy Friday, and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of US political news.

•Donald Trump ordered officials to grant Jared Kushner top-secret security clearance, ignoring concerns from some of his most senior staff members, according to a report. The New York Times said Trump ordered his chief of staff, John Kelly, to grant his son-in-law the elevated clearance in May. Trump’s instruction concerned Kelly enough to write an internal memo documenting the move.

•Democrats are planning to interview Trump’s children and the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, after Michael Cohen named several individuals during congressional hearings. Elijah Cummings, the House oversight committee chairman, said he will call Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump to give testimony, along with the Trump Organization’s Allen Weisselberg.

•Congress has taken a step closer to rejecting Trump’s national emergency declaration over border wall funding. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican, suggested he may vote against Trump’s declaration, which would make him the fourth GOP member to oppose the measure and end the state of emergency. The resolution to oppose the wall passed the House.

•Washington governor Jay Inslee has announced he is running for president. The Democrat said he will make climate change the central feature of his campaign. Inslee, who has been governor of Washington since 2013, has been a vocal opponent of Donald Trump, and sued the president after Trump attempted to ban immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.


Gabrielle Canon in Oakland (now) and Sabrina Siddiqui and Adam Gabbatt in Washington (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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Martin Belam (now), Tom McCarthy, Sam Levin,Tom Lutz, Oliver Holmes and Martin Belam (earlier)

09, Nov, 2020 @9:42 AM

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Joe Biden beats Donald Trump to win US election 2020 – as it happened
Biden has won the election, winning Pennsylvania and Nevada and surpassing the 270 electoral college votes needed for the White House

Joan E Greve (now); Martin Belam, Tom McCarthy and Maanvi Singh (earlier)

07, Nov, 2020 @5:54 PM

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Pence documents discovery sparks scrutiny on US classification system – as it happened
Some lawmakers on both sides now asking if discoveries mean it’s time to look at how government manages its secrets

Chris Stein in Washington

25, Jan, 2023 @9:03 PM

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Don McGahn: former White House counsel must testify, judge rules – as it happened
Federal judge rules McGahn must testify to House judiciary committee, putting pressure on other Trump officials tied to impeachment inquiry

Lois Beckett in San Francisco (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (earlier)

26, Nov, 2019 @1:14 AM

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Democrats say impeachment case 'has been proved' as they make final pitch – as it happened
Recording released as House impeachment managers finish presenting their opening arguments Friday – follow live updates

Vivian Ho in San Francisco (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (previously)

25, Jan, 2020 @4:13 AM