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Trump praises Putin and denigrates US leaders at CPAC

Donald Trump has once again declined to an opportunity to criticise Vladimir Putin directly. Speaking to Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo, the president said of the war Russia has launched in Ukraine that “This is a holocaust. This is a horrible thing that’s happening, you’re witnessing. I mean, you’re seeing it on television every night.”

However, his overriding verdict was that “the biggest problem we have is that our president and our country is no longer respected” – and that the solution to Russia’s assault on Ukraine is to “work out a deal”.

Earlier this week, former White House aide and Russia expert Fiona Hill claimed in an interview with Politico that Vladimir Putin once tried to make Trump take notice of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, but that the ex-president didn’t understand what the Russian leader was telling him.

Meanwhile, the 45th president remained mostly quiet during Joe Biden’s State of the Union last night, leaving it to Donald Trump Jr attacked transgender children shortly after president Joe Biden extended his support during the State of the Union address, saying “I’ll always have your back”.

“Joe Biden wants to help young transgender individuals achieve their utmost potential… admirable, but it seems their only focus is doing so in women’s sports,” the younger Mr Trump tweeted.

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DC trucker rally flops

A trucker rally at the Washington Monument failed to materialise as just a handful of protesters showed up at the event.

The National Parks Service had given permission for the demonstration at the Sylvan Theater and organisers expected several thousand people would rally against Covid-19 mandates.

But in the end there was more press and police at the event than protesters, according to The Daily Beast.

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Oliver O’Connell2 March 2022 19:41

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Don Jr fill sin for his dad on Twitter

Moments before the speech kicked off, Mr Trump posted a meme of Mr Biden with the caption: “Let’s get ready to mumble”.

That was just the beginning, as Sravasti Dasgupta reports.

Oliver O’Connell2 March 2022 19:10

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Viral photo compares ‘crazy screaming’ Greene and Boebert to ‘historic’ Pelosi and Harris

A viral photo is unfavourably comparing Trump acolytes Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert’s outbursts at the State of the Union with Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi dignified appearance.

Maroosha Muzaffar reports.

Oliver O’Connell2 March 2022 18:40

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Jan 6 committee subpoenas disgraced ex-Kansas attorney general and OAN host

The House select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection has issued subpoenas to six attorneys connected with former president Donald Trump’s failed 2020 campaign who promoted baseless claims of election fraud in the days leading up to the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814.

Two of the highest-profile recipients of these latest subooenas include one former elected official, ex-Kansas attorney General Phillip Kline, and a right-wing television host, Christina Bobb of One America News.

Oliver O’Connell2 March 2022 18:10

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Mitch McConnell clears up ‘confusion’ about Putin

In an appearance on Fox News this morning, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell felt he needed to address the recent “confusion” about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Said Mr McConnell: “There should be no confusion about Vladimir Putin. There has been some confusion lately. He is a thug. He is a killer. He has been on a rampage and this will not end well for him.”

The senator’s comments come on the back of praise heaped on Mr Putin by former President Donald Trump, who called the Russian leader “savvy” and a “genius” for his moves on Ukraine prior to the unprovoked invasion.

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At CPAC last weekend he called the US a “stupid country” and called Mr Putin “smart”.

Oliver O’Connell2 March 2022 17:40

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Lawyer for Jan 6 rioter calls his words “bragging and a lot of hype”

The trial of Guy Reffitt for his behaviour at the Capitol riot has gotten underway, and his court-appointed defence attorney has defended him with a frank assessment of his personality.

William Welch, Reffitt’s court-appointed attorney, told jurors that the government’s case was based on “bragging and a lot of hype,” and that Reffitt’s standoff with police only lasted a few minutes, and ended after he was hit with pepper spray.

“Guy Reffitt did not go in the Capitol,” Welch said in a short opening statement. “Guy does brag, he exaggerates, and he rants. He uses a lot of hyperbole, and that upsets people.”

Read more about Mr Reffitt’s case and why it matters:

Andrew Naughtie2 March 2022 17:09

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Anti-Trump Republican calls out after-the-fact critics

As the looming Bill Barr memoir promises abundant revelations about the inner workings of the Trump White House, former Congressman Joe Walsh, a sometime Tea Party radical-turned-determined anti-Trumper, has these words for staffers who turned on the 45th president once safely out of his orbit:

Andrew Naughtie2 March 2022 16:49

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Trump: Biden’s State of the Union a “snoozefest”

Donald Trump’s Save America PAC has sent out a trademark fundraising callout combining insult with a call for donations, with the de rigeur click-through link to a supposed “survey”. Here’s how the president’s operation is making the sell:

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You are always someone I can count on to tell me the truth. You’ve never failed me when I needed you the most. Joe Biden gave his first State of the Union Address. We can’t trust what HE says, so I want to know what real Patriots, like YOU, think about the State of OUR Union. I urgently need your input on a critical survey that my team just launched…

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Andrew Naughtie2 March 2022 16:21

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Trump passes up another chance to disavow Putin

Many on the Republican right have been working hard in recent days to get Donald Trump to unambiguously condemn Vladimir Putin instead of praising him as “smart” and “savvy” while boasting how well he knows arguably the US’s greatest individual adversary.

The latest person to try and extract a condemnation was sympathetic Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, who this morning failed as so many others have – though she did at least hear the president describing the war in Ukraine as a “holocaust”.

Andrew Naughtie2 March 2022 15:22

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Opening arguments in key Jan 6 trial

The trial of Guy Reffitt, whose son turned him in after he joined the 6 January insurrection, will begin with opening arguments today. Mr Reffitt, who was caught on video at the west front of the Capitol and has admitted to attending the riot, is the first defendant from the incident to face trial.

His own family members are expected to testify against him after he allegedly threatened to kill them if they contacted law enforcement over his actions. Read more on his case below.

Andrew Naughtie2 March 2022 14:40

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