Trump has not held a rally since January 6, when he spoke at a “Stop the Steal” march in Washington, DC, which was attended by his supporters. Hundreds of them went on to violently breach the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the presidential election.
The attempted siege resulted in five deaths and saw Trump face an impeachment trial, in which he was acquitted.
Before and during his presidency, Trump held dozens of rallies across the United States which he favored as an effective way of communicating directly with his supporters.
The former president has repeatedly indicated that he could run for office again in 2024.
“I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement,” Trump told the Daily Wire last week.
“You know, for campaign finance reasons, you really can’t do it too early because it becomes a whole different thing,” he told the host Candace Owens.
“Otherwise, I’d give you an answer that I think you’d be very happy with.
“So, we are looking at that very, very seriously, and all I’d say is stay tuned.”
In March he told Fox News that he was “seriously considering” running but did not provide further details.
“I say this: I am looking at it very seriously, beyond seriously,” Trump told Fox News when asked about the possibility of a 2024 run.
“From a legal standpoint, I don’t want to talk about it yet.”
Mary Trump, the former president’s niece, told Insider in March that she believed the president would tease a 2024 run in order to keep raising money from his supporters.
He has solicited millions of dollars in donations since leaving office through his “Save America” political action fund.
The former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg will plead guilty to six felony counts including sex trafficking, identity theft, and wire fraud, a significant downgrade from the 33 federal charges he was facing through multiple indictments, Insider has learned.
Greenberg is scheduled to appear in court Monday morning to formalize the plea agreement with Justice Department prosecutors, who are investigating whether he and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida violated federal sex-trafficking laws. A judge will have to sign off on the agreement before it is finalized.
Federal prosecutors in Orlando, Florida, initially charged Greenberg in June 2020; after a series of superseding indictments, the total hit 33 felony counts as varied as sex trafficking, stalking, and cryptocurrency fraud.
But a source familiar with the plea deal said the former Seminole County tax collector would admit to six of those charges.
The plea deal is expected to include standard language that Greenberg must cooperate fully with the US government in his case and any other related matters. That could mean testifying in court or before a federal grand jury in the event of a trial. That could be bad news for Gaetz, a GOP congressman and Trump loyalist.
Greenberg’s cooperation with the federal government has been widely known. When news broke in April that his client seemed interested in plea deal, Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller told reporters, “I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today.”
Legal experts told Insider the prosecutors’ decision to whittle the charges down suggested he had information of significant value.
“His cooperation requires him to be providing truthful testimony and to provide it at the government’s request,” said David Weinstein, a former assistant US attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He told Insider that Greenberg’s plea agreement would also be significant because it could mean he’d testify in front of a grand jury should Gaetz be charged with a crime and go to trial.
Prosecutors accused Greenberg, among other things, of carrying out the sex trafficking of a minor between the ages of 14 and 17. Gaetz is also suspected of having had a sexual relationship with the same person, who was 17 at the time of the alleged encounters in 2019.
Cooperating since late 2020
Greenberg had been cooperating since last year with federal authorities in the case against Gaetz, The New York Times reported in April. He’s said to have given investigators information about an “array of topics,” according to the report, including telling them that he and Gaetz had interactions with women who were given cash and gifts in exchange for sex.
According to The Daily Beast, Greenberg also said in a recent letter that Gaetz paid for sex with a minor. Greenberg is said to have sent the letter to the longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone in the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency in a last-ditch bid to obtain a pardon.
“From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18. I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App, or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman,” Greenberg said in the letter, according to the report.
This week’s latest developments come days after CNN reported that federal investigators were also seeking the cooperation of a former Capitol Hill intern who used to date Gaetz. The intern did not work in Gaetz’s office.
Gaetz, who has not been charged with a crime, has vehemently denied the allegations against him and insisted the Justice Department’s investigation is part of an elaborate, multimillion-dollar extortion scheme against him and his family.
“The first indictment of Joel Greenberg alleges that he falsely accused another man of sex with a minor for his own gain. That man was apparently innocent. So is Congressman Gaetz,” said Harlan Hill, a spokesman for the lawmaker. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gaetz has hired legal representation amid the growing investigation, and his office released a statement in early April from unnamed female staffers in his office insisting their boss “has always been a principled and morally grounded leader.”
Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI agent who served as the lead agent in the government’s case against the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, told Insider that Greenberg’s cooperation would be a nightmare scenario for Gaetz.
“What Gaetz would be concerned about is if there’s a cooperation agreement in this matter that involves the defendant flipping on him,” she said. “That gets scary for coconspirators because they know someone who’s either aware of their crimes or someone they coconspired with is now working with the government.”
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming was ousted from her role as the number three Republican in the House of Representatives this week after refusing to pull back on her criticism of former President Donald Trump.
In a voice vote Wednesday, GOP representatives voted to strip her of her role as chair of the House Republican Conference. Rep. Elise Stefanik has been pegged to take her place.
The New York congresswoman has the support of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former President Trump himself, despite the fact that her voting record isn’t nearly as conservative – or as Trumpy – as Cheney’s. The key thing she does have going for her: loyalty to Trump and his claims about the 2020 election.
“The litmus test for leadership at this moment is being on message with Trump and his most fervid supporters regarding the election results,” Kevin Kosar, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co-editor of the book “Congress Overwhelmed,” told Insider. “And Rep. Stefanik has been telling MAGA tales about the election with gusto.”
According to data compiled by FiveThirtyEight, Cheney voted in line with Trump’s position 93% of the time, while Stefanik only voted in line with Trump 78% of the time.
Stefanik’s votes countered the president on issues that included the National Defense Authorization Act, US Postal Service funding, disaster aid to Puerto Rico, and Environmental Protection Agency chemical regulations.
Cheney voted with Trump much more frequently, mostly departing on election issues as well as the National Defense Authorization Act and withdrawing troops from Syria, among others.
Stefanik, who was once considered a moderate in the House, even spoke out against Trump’s rhetoric and policy positions in 2015 and 2016, criticizing his comments on women and Muslims, among other issues, CNN reported.
But she emerged as a staunch Trump supporter in 2019, defending him during his first impeachment. Trump branded her a “new Republican star” at the time. She went on to enthusiastically promote his unsubstantiated and false claims about the 2020 presidential election, Insider’s Eliza Relman previously reported.
She was one of the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted to overturn the results of the election, repeating false claims about widespread fraud. She backed a Texas bid to overturn the results in four battleground states won by Biden, a case dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Trump endorsed Stefanik to replace Cheney, who has consistently pushed back against the former president’s election claims. Cheney was one of just 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, and has criticized her own party for embracing Trump’s efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the election.
Following her vote in favor of impeachment, she survived a February vote over whether she should lose her position, with McCarthy defending her at the time. But Kosar said her refusal to back down on her defense of the election has created problems for others in her party, including McCarthy and the number two House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise.
“She refuses to humor former President Trump and has publicly spoken loudly and clearly since February on this issue, which creates headaches for McCarthy and Scalise, who have to deal with Trump, the GOP base, and media inquiries about Cheney,” he said.
Despite Cheney’s record being more conservative and more in line with Trump’s, Kosar said GOP leadership want the election issue to go away so they can focus on 2022, but the Wyoming congresswoman is intent on not letting her party get away with that.
Rep. Liz Cheney clashed with a Fox News host on Thursday, saying the news outlet “especially” has a “particular obligation to make sure people know the election wasn’t stolen.”
Cheney’s scathing comments came after House Republicans voted Wednesday to oust her from her leadership position amid her public criticisms of former President Donald Trump.
“We all have an obligation, and I would say Fox News especially, especially Fox News, has a particular obligation to make sure people know the election wasn’t stolen,” Cheney said during an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier.
Cheney has been embroiled in a political firestorm after criticizing Trump and other GOP lawmakers who still embrace him post-presidency, particularly with regard to claims the 2020 election was rigged, and about the Capitol insurrection.
The Wyoming congresswoman has consistently pushed back against her colleagues’ false claims the 2020 election was rigged. In January, she was one of just 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol riots.
In a tense exchange on Thursday, Cheney argued with Baier over Fox News’ reporting of the 2020 election, saying “we have to be in a position where we are being clear. We stand for the rule of law,” and Fox News “needs to make sure” that they are doing the same.
“We need to make sure the American people recognize and understand that the election wasn’t stolen, that we shouldn’t perpetuate ‘the Big Lie,’ and that there’s real danger,” she said.
Cheney added: “I’ve worked in countries around the world where we don’t have peaceful transitions of power, and all of us who are elected officials have got to make sure that we obey and abide by the oath that we swore to the Constitution, and that the peaceful of power is key to that.”
Baier responded to Cheney by saying Fox News has reported “numerous times” that the election wasn’t stolen.
On Wednesday, GOP lawmakers in the House voted to remove Cheney as House Republican Conference chair. McCarthy and his Republican allies have bristled at Cheney’s public criticism of Trump in recent weeks, and the House GOP leader authorized the vote to oust Cheney earlier this week.
“We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority” in the 2022 midterm elections, McCarthy said during a Fox News interview last week.
New York prosecutors have subpoenaed an elite private school in Manhattan as part of an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his Trump Organization, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Sources told the Journal that Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School was subpoenaed by prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Jennifer Weisselberg – the childrens’ mother – previously told Insider that Trump would include school tuition in the compensation package for her former husband, Barry Weisselberg. She is a cooperating witness in investigations from both the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the New York Attorney General’s office.
Prosecutors may be examining whether the tuition arrangement allowed Barry or Allen Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes, according to the Journal.
Jennifer Weisselberg told the Journal that more than $500,000 in tuition was paid for with checks written either by Trump or Allen Weisselberg. But the records in her possession don’t show who made the payments, the Journal reported.
The subpoenas for the elite Upper West Side school will allow prosecutors to obtain copies of the transactions for tuition payments, which may tell them whether they came from Trump, Allen Weisselberg, Barry Weisselberg, the Trump Organization, or some other source.
Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office have already gone to the Supreme Court to subpoena reams of financial documents from the Trump Organization, including tax filings. They have also subpoenaed Allen Weisselberg’s bank records.
The Trumps and Weisselbergs have ties to Columbia Grammar
Michael Cohen, a former executive at the Trump Organization and personal lawyer for Trump, was previously the chairman of Columbia Grammar’s board. He helped make sure the Weisselberg grandchildren would be considered for admission, Jennifer Weisselberg previously told Insider.
The children of Jack Weisselberg, Allen Weisselberg’s other son, have also attended Columbia Grammar, according to the Journal.
Barron Trump, the former president’s youngest son, attended the school when he lived in New York City.
And the Trump Foundation – Donald Trump’s now-dissolved charity organization – donated $150,000 to the school between 2014 and 2016, according to the Journal’s review of tax filings.
James’s office is conducting its own investigation into Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s finances. It has made fewer public moves than the investigation from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Vance is set to retire in December, and is widely expected to make a decision about whether to bring charges against Trump or the Trump Organization before then.
Trump faces numerous other legal headaches, including investigations into his conduct as president, lawsuits over sexual misconduct allegations, and an investigation in Georgia into his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results there.
In an earlier interview with Insider, Jennifer Weisselberg said the Trump Organization would pay employees like her former husband with perks like tuition and housing instead of cash as a way to control their lives.
“They want you to do crimes and not talk about it and don’t leave,” she said.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former President Donald Trump have never exactly seen eye-to-eye. And while Trump’s animosity toward Bezos was more public, it appears that Bezos, too, poked fun at Trump behind closed doors.
According to Stone, Bezos demoed a prototype Echo Show on multiple occasions and would ask Alexa to play videos that mocked Trump: “Alexa, show me the video, ‘Donald Trump says “China,'” and “Alexa, play Stephen Colbert’s monologue from last night.”
A vice president who was at the demos told Stone that Bezos would then “laugh like there’s no tomorrow.”
‘I’m an inexperienced trash talker but I’m willing to learn. :)’
Bezos’ and Trump’s animus toward one another extends at least a year earlier, to the winter of 2015, when Trump began tweeting about the Washington Post, which Bezos purchased for $250 million in 2013. Trump tweeted that Bezos only owned the paper to keep “taxes down at his no profit company, @amazon,” adding in a follow-up tweet that the Post is a tax shelter. (There’s no evidence to support these claims, and Bezos’ ownership of the post is separate from his role at Amazon.)
According to Stone, Bezos emailed his senior vice president of corporate affairs, Jay Carney, later that morning with the subject line: “Trump trash talk.”
“Feel like I should have a witty retort. Don’t want to let it go past,” Bezos wrote, according to emails obtained by Stone. “Useful opportunity (patriotic duty) to do my part to deflate this guy who would be a scary prez. I’m an inexperienced trash talker but I’m willing to learn. :)”
Carney recommended that Bezos say nothing back, but Bezos still wanted to engage with Trump, eventually responding with a tweet that offered to reserve Trump a seat on a Blue Origin rocket, also owned by Bezos, and included the hashtag “#sendDonaldtospace.”
A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on Bezos and Trump’s relationship.
Trump and Bezos clashed several more times during Trump’s presidency
The squabble would play a role behind the scenes during several high-profile incidents in Bezos’ personal and professional lives.
In January 2019, Bezos announced his divorce from his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie – soon after, his affair with TV host and helicopter pilot Lauren Sanchez was outed by the National Enquirer. The ensuing tabloid scandal led to speculation that there were political motivations behind publishing the story: David Pecker, then the publisher of Enquirer-owner AMI, is a longtime Trump ally.
Trump later became involved in the competition between Amazon, Oracle, Microsoft, and others to secure a lucrative Department of Defense contract known as JEDI. Trump spoke publicly about complaints he was hearing about Amazon, and Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., called Amazon “shady and potentially corrupt” in a tweet about the situation.
Microsoft ultimately won the $10 billion contract in 2019, and Amazon has publicly stated that it believes Trump’s “repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks” against Amazon and Bezos are the reason it wasn’t awarded the contract.
The group, which includes former governors and lawmakers, plans to release a letter outlining the threat on Thursday.
The preamble to the statement, published by The New York Times, says: “When in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice.”
Those due to sign include former officials, members of Congress, ambassadors, Cabinet secretaries, and party chairmen.
They include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, and former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, who served under President George W. Bush, The Times and Reuters reported.
Miles Taylor, the former Homeland Security chief of staff who anonymously wrote a 2018 Times op-ed about “resistance” in the Trump administration, is one of the group’s organizers.
“If the GOP can’t break free of the nauseating cult of personality around Donald Trump, then they’ll not only get an intra-party civil war, they’ll see a breakaway movement running against them in key races around the country,” Taylor told Insider.
The Republican Party has been split over Trump.
On Wednesday, House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her powerful position as chair of the House Republican Conference after she pushed back against Trump and the Republican Party’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election.
A former Pentagon chief who served during the January 6 riot will defend the Pentagon’s delayed response to the Capitol in a congressional testimony later this week, the Associated Press and Reuters reported Tuesday
Christopher Miller, who served as acting defense secretary under former President Donald Trump on January 6, will appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday in his first public testimony about the insurrection.
Miller is expected to testify alongside former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and District of Columbia Police Chief Robert Contee III.
In prepared remarks reviewed by the AP and Reuters, Miller expressed concern over the possibility of a military coup if he deployed armed troops to respond to pro-Trump supporters storming the Capitol.
“I am keenly aware of the criticism regarding the Department of Defense’s response,” Miller’s remarks read, according to the Reuters report.
“My concerns regarding the appropriate and limited use of the military in domestic matters were heightened by commentary in the media about the possibility of a military coup or that advisors to the President were advocating the declaration of martial law.”
In his remarks, Miller cites public “hysteria” as a factor in his decision of “limited use” of armed forces to “to support civilian law enforcement.”
He also wrote that the Defense Department has “an extremely poor record in supporting domestic law enforcement,” citing specific scenarios like civil rights demonstrations and protests against the Vietnam War, as well as the Kent State shootings. “And some 51 years ago, on May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops fired at demonstrators at Kent State University and killed four American civilians.”
“I was committed to avoiding repeating these scenarios,” he added.
Miller also notes that “logistical challenges” contributed to the delayed deployment of National Guard troops to the Capitol. National Guard troops arrived at the Capitol more than four hours after rioters breached the building as lawmakers worked to certify President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election.
“This isn’t a video game where you can move forces with a flick of the thumb or a movie that glosses over the logistical challenges and the time required to coordinate and synchronize with the multitude of other entities involved, or with complying with the important legal requirements involved in the use of such forces,” the remarks continue.
In his opening statement, Miller wrote that he believes Trump “encouraged the protesters that day,” but it remains unclear if the former acting defense secretary thinks the former president is responsible for the insurrection at the Capitol.
Following a line of fellow Republican speakers condemning “cancel culture,” Rep. Liz Cheney stood on the floor of Congress Tuesday to condemn those in her party who refuse to condemn a former president’s effort to steal the 2020 election and his ongoing “crusade to undermine our democracy.”
Cheney, Wyoming’s sole member of the House of Representatives, is currently the chair of the GOP conference. But her harsh words for Donald Trump, the de facto leader of her party, and refusal to endorse his claims about voter fraud have made her position tenuous.
On Wednesday, her colleagues are voting on whether to replace her with another lawmaker, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a Trump loyalist. But she is not going down quietly.
“Today we face a threat America has never seen before: a former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol, in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him,” Cheney said. “He risks inciting further violence.”
Cheney reminded her fellow Republicans dozens of courts rejected the former president’s claims of mass voter fraud, as did his own Department of Justice. “I am a conservative Republican,” she said, “and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law.”
Those who decline to accept that the election is over – and refuse to state that President Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate – “are at war with the Constitution,” Cheney added.
A majority of Republican voters now believe the former president’s false claims that the election he objectively lost was stolen from him, according to recent polling.
“Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar,” Cheney said. “I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”
According to CNN, only one lawmaker, Colorado Republican Ken Buck, stayed to hear the remarks.
Former Republican congressman Paul Mitchell said that House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is backing Rep. Liz Cheney’s removal from leadership because it benefits McCarthy’s career personally.
Mitchell, who retired last year and left the GOP over concerns with its election lies, argued that McCarthy wants to quell dissent in the caucus in order to win back the House majority in 2022 and become speaker of the House.
“Kevin’s primary interest is achieve ing the gavel, he will do almost anything to get the gavel and become speaker, short of throwing his mother under the bus,” Mitchell told CNN on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the drive for political power for that prestige for some people is extraordinary and I think in this case it’s overwhelmed the best interests of the nation, of members of his party, and will not be long-term good for the country.”
But Mitchell predicted that even if McCarthy is successful in taking back the House majority in 2022, he won’t have enough support in his caucus to win the speakership. The former congressman argued that Republican lawmakers have decided to prioritize fealty to Trump over conservative principles and that the party is “not healthy” as a result. He added that Cheney might be successful in playing the long game and could help lead a post-Trump GOP sometime in the future.
Politico’s Rachel Bade noted on Tuesday that Mitchell publicly announced his retirement shortly after McCarthy dismissed his concerns about Trump telling Democratic congresswomen of color who are from America to “go back” to their countries.
Mitchell, who represented a deep-red district and voted for Trump in November, said he left the GOP and became an independent late last year in response to his colleagues’ lies about the 2020 election. McCarthy stripped Mitchell of his committee assignments shortly after.
“I believe that raw political considerations, not constitutional or voting integrity concerns, motivate many in party leadership to support the “stop the steal” efforts,” Mitchell wrote in a December letter to party leaders. “As elected members of Congress, we take an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ not to preserve and protect the political interests of any individual, be it the president or anyone else, to the detriment of our cherished nation.”