Donald Trump news today: Poll says majority of Americans back Mar-a-Lago raid as Pence rebukes GOP for FBI attacks

Michael Cohen says Trump kept Mar-a-Lago documents as ‘bargaining chip’

As he considers whether to mount a 2024 presidential campaign, Mike Pence this morning told an audience that he would consider testifying before the 6 January select committee if invited.

“If there’s an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” he reportedly said. “It would be unprecedented in history for a Vice President to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill, but as I’ve said, I don’t wanna prejudge.”

Mr Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, has already testified to both the select committee and a grand jury convened by the Department of Justice to investigate the attempt to overthrow Joe Biden’s victory.

Tomorrow will see a court hearing on whether or not to unseal the affidavit that provided justification for the search. The Department of Justice has rebuffed demands to release the document, warning that it could “chill” future efforts to secure witness cooperation.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has speculated that his ex-boss may have kept secret documents at Mar-a-Lago to use as a bargaining chip if and when he is arrested for alleged felonies.

A new poll shows the majority of Americans support the FBI’s raid on the Trump Palm Beach estate.


Trump may release surveillance footage from FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, report says

Donald Trump might release surveillance footage of FBI agents executing a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago residence, his son Eric Trump and aides have said, according to reports.

Allies of Mr Trump are pressuring him to make the footage of the raid public, people familiar with the development told CNN.

The CCTV footage is being held so closely that no one apart from his attornies or Mr Trump himself has seen it full, said a person close to Trump.

“I don’t think it’s been shared by anyone outside of the attorneys,” this person said.

But the proposal to release the footage has received a mixed response from people inside his inner circle.

Eric Trump also teased the idea of Mr Trump releasing the footage when he was asked by Fox’s Sean Hannity whether it would be made public.

“Absolutely Sean, at the right time,” his son said.


Trump’s financial officer’s plea deal could make him a prosecution witness

Donald Trump’s legal woes continue to mount as his chief financial officer might be required to testify about illicit business practices at the former president’s company.

Allen Weisselberg is expected to plead guilty to tax violations on Thursday after being charged with taking more than $1.7m in off-the-books compensation from the Trump Organization.

The CFO is expected to take a plea deal that would require him to testify against Mr Trump, speak about the company’s role in the alleged compensation arrangement and possibly serve as a witness when the Trump Organization goes on trial in October on related charges, sources told the Associated Press.

Weisselberg, 75, is likely to receive a sentence of five months in jail and could be required to pay about $2m in restitution, including taxes, penalties and interest, the people said.

If that punishment holds, Weisselberg would be eligible for release after about 100 days.


Matt Gaetz’s GOP opponent releases campaign ad suggesting he was Mar-a-Lago informant

A Republican primary challenger to Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz has launched an ad accusing the far-right representative of tipping off the FBI about documents stored at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

Mark Lombardo, a Vietnam veteran and former FedEx executive, claims in the ad that Mr Gaetz has an animus against Mr Trump because the president declined to grant him a blanket pardon, which he reportedly sought both before and after the events of 6 January 2021.

Andrew Naughtie has the story:


ICYMI: With Trump endorsement, Palin advances to November election for sole Alaska House seat

Sarah Palin, a former Alaska governor who has staged her race for the state’s open congressional seat as a revival of her political career after more than a decade spent out of elected office, will advance to the November general election.

Alaska, whose electorate approved a process being used for the first time in the state, has opted to do away with traditional party primary races in favour of ranked choice voting, which will instead send the top four candidates – regardless of political party – to the general election.

As of Tuesday morning, based on the votes tabulated, the House primary race in November will include Ms Palin, Democrat Mary Peltola and Republican Nick Begich on the ballot. The fourth slot, however, remained too early to call.

Joanna Chisholm is following the results.


Trump resisted advisers’ calls to return White House documents

Donald Trump was warned that the records he was holding on to were illegally retained, but the former president refused to give them back because he disagreed with that assertion, a new report claims.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Mr Trump flat-out refused to return boxes of documents, including some that apparently were marked classified, when approached by his former deputy White House counsel, Patrick Philbin.


Trump’s angry words spur warnings of real violence

A man armed with an AR-15 dies in a shootout after trying to breach FBI offices in Cincinnati. A Pennsylvania man is arrested after he posts death threats against agents on social media. In cyberspace, calls for armed uprisings and civil war grow stronger.

This could be just the beginning, federal authorities and private extremism monitors warn. A growing number of ardent Donald Trump supporters seem ready to strike back against the FBI or others who they believe go too far in investigating the former president.

Law enforcement officials across the country are warning and being warned about an increase in threats and the potential for violent attacks on federal agents or buildings in the wake of the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.


Bolton claims Trump tried to ‘sneak’ classified documents out of White House

John Bolton offered more criticism of his ex-boss on Wednesday, asserting that Donald Trump’s White House did not behave like “normal” presidential administrations and admonishing him over the alleged improper removal of classified materials from the West Wing.

The former national security adviser spoke to a gaggle of reporters at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, where he was attending a conference hosted by Iranian opposition figures.

John Bowden reports from Washington, DC.


County prosecutor removed from office by DeSantis over anti-abortion law sues to get his job back

A twice-elected Florida prosecutor is suing to get his job back after Ron DeSantis removed him from office after joining dozens of officials from across the US who refuse to prosecute abortion providers and doctors who provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth.

Andrew Warren, the 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney, condemned the Republican governor’s “blatant abuse of power” and accused him of violating his First Amendment rights by retaliating against his position on abortion rights, according to a video statement on 17 August

Alex Woodward has the story.


Trump’s purge of the Republican Party is complete

When Liz Cheney delivered her concession speech after losing the Wyoming Republican primary to Harriet Hageman, she rightly said that she could have easily won. But there would have been a catch.

“The path was clear. But it would’ve required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election,” she said. “It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic. That was a path I could not and would not take.”

Read more from The Independent’s Eric Garcia.


Voices: How former president may have violated the Espionage Act without being a spy

Joseph Ferguson and Thomas A Durkin write:

The federal court-authorized search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate has brought renewed attention to the obscure but infamous law known as the Espionage Act of 1917. A section of the law was listed as one of three potential violations under Justice Department investigation.

The Espionage Act has historically been employed most often by law-and-order conservatives. But the biggest uptick in its use occurred during the Obama administration, which used it as the hammer of choice for national security leakers and whistleblowers. Regardless of whom it is used to prosecute, it unfailingly prompts consternation and outrage.

We are both attorneys who specialize in and teach national security law. While navigating the sound and fury over the Trump search, here are a few things to note about the Espionage Act.

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