Donald Trump is giving his first speech since leaving office as president at the Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC).
His public appearance comes just weeks after he was acquitted during an impeachment trial which saw some members of his own Republican Party vote against him.
The former president is expected to attack the actions being taken by successor Joe Biden in the Florida speech.
The C-PAC appearance represents his continued influence over Republicans.
The mood of the conference so far has been extremely pro-Trump, with loyalists including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his son Donald Trump Jr. among the speakers confirmed.
Donald Trump’s speech was hotly anticipated by his supporters, given his relative absence from the political spotlight since leaving office.
He remains banned from social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, over his response to January’s deadly riot at the US Capitol.
He has been living at his Mar-a-Lago Florida golf resort since leaving the White House.
According to prepared script excerpts sent by his office ahead of time, Donald Trump will attack early actions by President Joe Biden during the speech – especially on immigration.
He is also set to focus on what he will describe as the future of “our movement” during the speech, amid a divide among some Republicans over the party’s future political direction.
He is expected to say that the “incredible journey” that he and supporters “began together four years ago is far from over”. But Donald Trump is not expected to confirm another presidential run in 2024 yet, according to a senior adviser quoted by CBS.
Donald Trump Jr. trailed his father’s appearance during his own speech on February 26.
He told the audience: “I imagine it will not be what we call a low energy speech, and I assure you that it will solidify Donald Trump and all of your feelings about the MAGA [Make America Great Again] movement as the future of the Republican party.”
Members of the Republican Party remained largely loyal to Donald Trump during his time in office but 10 voted to impeach him in the House of Representatives last month and seven voted to convict him in the subsequent Senate trial. The overall tally, 57-43 in favor of his guilt, fell short of the two-thirds margin needed to convict Donald Trump.
The schism in the party has remained since, with those who have broken rank against him notably absent from the CPAC stage.
The C-PAC, which began in 1974, is seen as the most influential gathering of conservatives and a barometer of the Republican party’s political direction.
Despite losing November’s presidential election and being deeply criticized over the January riot by some of his supporters, reports suggest Donald Trump remains extremely popular among his voting base.
Last week, one poll suggested 46% of surveyed Trump voters would vote for him on a third-party ticket rather than another Republican candidate.
Earlier on November 20, Andrew Giuliani, a special assistant to President Donald Trump, announced he had tested positive for coronavirus.
Andrew Giuliani, the son of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tweeted that he was experiencing mild symptoms after receiving his positive test on November 20.
According to CBS News, at least four other White House aides have tested positive for Covid-19 in a new outbreak there.
Earlier this month, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was among several aides who tested positive for the infection. https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.36.3/iframe.html President Trump spent three nights in hospital at the beginning of October after being hit by Covid-19. First Lady Melania Trump also had a bout of the infection.
Last month, Donald Trump Jr. was criticized for downplaying the US coronavirus death toll.
In an interview with Fox News, he argued that the media was focusing on the caseload, while ignoring the mortality rate.
Donald Trump Jr. said: “I was like, ‘Well, why aren’t they talking about deaths?’ Oh, oh, because the number is almost nothing. Because we’ve gotten control of this, and we understand how it works.”
The virus has infected 11.8 million Americans and killed more than 253,000.
On November 20 alone, 192,000 people tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
President Donald Trump has been widely criticized after investors in a luxury property development in India are being offered the chance to have “conversation and dinner” with his eldest son, Donald Jr.
Donald Trump Jr. is visiting India this week and will promote the Trump Towers development near Delhi.
Critics say the Trump family is cashing in on the president’s name.
However, Donald Trump Jr. has said he has been building relationships in India for years.
The full-page advertisement, which ran as the front cover of several Indian newspapers over the weekend, featured a picture of Donald Trump Jr. together with text: “Trump is here. Are you invited?” and “Trump has arrived. Have you?”
The 47-storey towers in Gurgaon, close to New Delhi, are being developed by the Trump Organization and local partners – with some apartments selling for more than $1 million.
The Trump Organization, formerly headed up by President Donald Trump, is an umbrella company for hundreds of investments in businesses including real estate. Donald Trump Jr. is now its executive director.
India is the Trump Organization’s biggest property market outside the US, and in 2016 the Trump family earned up to $3 million in royalties from ventures in India, according to a financial disclosure report.
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) – a watchdog group – added the Indian promotion to a list of instances it believes show the Trump name being used for commercial gain.
In an interview last week, cited by The Guardian, Donald Trump Jr. said he had spent nearly a decade “cultivating relationships in India” and that the company was “now seeing the response of that effort”.
The president’s son said his itinerary was designed to steer clear of politics.
However, Donald Trump Jr. is listed as a keynote speaker at a global business conference, which will be attended by Indian politicians, including PM Narendra Modi and some of India’s business elite.
President Donald Trump handed over control of his business empire to Donald Jr. and Eric Trump before his inauguration last year.
However, the director of the US Office of Government Ethics said at the time that this did not go far enough to ensure there would be no conflict of interest between his politics and personal business.
Since taking office, critics have claimed President Trump is continuing to profit from his family’s business interests.
They have also accused the Trump family of playing up its connections with the White House in order to influence business deals.
In May 2017, the company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, pulled out of a real estate presentation in China.
Kushner Companies had been scheduled to pitch opportunities to real estate investors in China, but Jared Kushner’s sister was widely criticized for using his name in a pitch.
In November 2017, President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, was criticized for speaking at a global entrepreneurs summit in Hyderabad, with some saying the summit had become more about Ivanka Trump and her namesake brand than the wider issue.
Steve Bannon has left Breitbart News organization, where he built his reputation.
The move comes amid a furore over remarks Donald Trump’s former chief strategist reportedly made about the president’s son, Donald Jr.
Steve Bannon described a meeting Donald Trump Jr. held in New York with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential election campaign as “treasonous”.
He was one of Donald Trump’s most trusted – and controversial – aides.
However, Steve Bannon left his post last summer after reports of a power struggle among President Trump’s White House staff.
Steve Bannon’s subsequent attempt to take on the Republican establishment suffered a severe blow when Roy Moore, the Senate candidate he championed in a special election in Alabama, lost to a Democrat – the first time that party has won in the state in decades.
President Trump has recently taken to referring to Steve Bannon as “Sloppy Steve”, a derogatory reference to his former aide’s famously disheveled appearance.
Rebekah Mercer, a wealthy benefactor of Steve Bannon, said at the weekend she had ended her support for his political efforts.
On January 7, Steve Bannon insisted that his “treason” comments – quoted in an inside account of the Trump White House, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury – were not directed at Donald Trump’s son but at another former aide, Paul Manafort, who was also present at the meeting in Trump Tower.
The Senate, House of Representatives and a special counsel are all investigating alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, allegations denied by both Russia and President Trump.
Steve Bannon had served as executive chairman of Breitbart since 2012.
Breitbart issued a statement saying it and Steve Bannon would “work together on a smooth and orderly transition”.
The organization quoted Steve Bannon as saying: “I’m proud of what the Breitbart team has accomplished in so short a period of time in building out a world-class news platform.”
Larry Solov, the Breitbart chief executive, was quoted as saying: “Steve is a valued part of our legacy, and we will always be grateful for his contributions, and what he has helped us to accomplish.”
Steve Bannon has tried to reverse remarks in which he called President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Jr., “treasonous”.
His accusation appears in Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
Donald Trump’s former chief strategist was referring to a meeting in June 2016 between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians.
However, on January 7, Steve Bannon said the barb was directed at former aide Paul Manafort, who was also present.
The Senate, House of Representatives and a special counsel are all investigating alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, allegations denied by both Russia and President Trump.
In a statement first reported by news site Axios, Steve Bannon called Donald Jr. “both a patriot and a good man”.
“My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate,” he said. “He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.”
The original remark, published in Michael Wolff’s book and not disputed by Steve Bannon, appeared to take aim at all three Trump campaign officials in the room, including Donald Jr.
It read: “The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers.
“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Steve Bannon’s attempt to clarify follows repeated denunciations by President Trump, who dubbed him “Sloppy Steve” and said his former aide “cried when he got fired”.
It also follows the loss of the main financial backer of his conservative Breitbart website, heiress Rebekah Mercer, who said in a rare public statement that she had cut off Steve Bannon from funding following his remarks to Michael Wolff.
Steve Bannon went on in his statement to say he regretted waiting five days to say something, and called Michael Wolff’s reporting “inaccurate”.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House rocketed to the top of the Amazon bestseller list upon publication last week and became the talk of Washington DC and beyond.
Based on first-hand reporting at the White House and, according to Michael Wolff, more than 200 interviews with top administration figures and others, it portrays the president as impatient, unable to focus and with no interest in reading or attempting to understand policy.
President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has released private Twitter correspondence with WikiLeaks after a publication revealed they had communicated shortly before his father’s election.
The Atlantic magazine revealed WikiLeaks had asked Donald Trump Jr. for co-operation and information.
WikiLeaks published leaks of Hillary Clinton campaign emails during the election.
Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyers handed the Twitter direct messages to congressional investigators.
The congressional investigation is one of several looking into allegations of Russian collusion and meddling in the US election.
The largely one-sided transcripts show the president’s son replied only a few times to a series of requests from Wikileaks.
In a series of tweets on November 13, Donald Trump Jr. played down his contact with WikiLeaks, referring to his “whopping 3 responses” which he said one of the congressional committees “has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic!”.
Messages show WikiLeaks appeared to have first contacted Donald Trump Jr. on September 20, asking if he knew the origin of an anti-Trump website.
Donald Trump son replied the next day saying: “Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around. Thanks.”
The Atlantic alleges Donald Trump Jr. then emailed senior officials, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to tell them WikiLeaks had made contact.
The correspondence between September 2016 and July 2017 shows WikiLeaks urging Donald Trump to share their Clinton files; asking him to supply his tax returns to WikiLeaks and advising him to challenge the result if he lost the election.
The Atlantic piece points out that while Donald Trump Jr. didn’t reply to later messages, timestamps from tweets show instances where he and his father appear to have “acted on its requests” by mentioning or sharing WikiLeaks stories shortly afterwards.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has criticized The Atlantic‘s story.
Julian Assange accuses it of selecting messages that were “edited” and failing to show the full context of the conversations.
He also said the messages were part of the group’s promotional efforts.
He wrote on Twitter: “WikiLeaks can be very effective at convincing even high-profile people that it is their interest to promote links to its publications.”
Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer Alan Futerfas told The Atlantic: “Over the last several months, we have worked co-operatively with each of the committees and have voluntarily turned over thousands of documents in response to their requests.
“Putting aside the question as to why or by whom such documents, provided to Congress under promises of confidentiality, have been selectively leaked, we can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents and any questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum.”
President Donald Trump issued a brief statement in support of his son, describing him as “a high-quality person” and applauding his transparency.
Image source Wikimedia
The emails to Donald Trump Jr., which he released on Twitter, say “the crown prosecutor of Russia” (a role that does not exist) had “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father”.
The email chain was also forwarded to Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and campaign manager Paul Manafort.
All three later met Natalia Veselnitskaya at New York’s Trump Tower.
Since he was elected, Donald Trump has been dogged by allegations that Russia tried to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The president has denied any knowledge of this and Russia has also repeatedly denied interfering.
In May, the DoJ appointed ex-FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into the Russian matter.
The New York Times first reported on July 8 that a meeting had taken place on June 9, 2016, between Natalia Veselnitskaya and the Trump team.
It later reported that Donald Trump Jr. had earlier been offered alleged damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
The Times had been expected to publish emails connected to the meeting, but Donald Trump Jr. pre-empted this by posting the email chain on Twitter.
He had earlier admitted meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya but insisted she had provided “no meaningful information”. He said she had wanted to talk about adoptions.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has been linked to the Russian government, has insisted she was never in possession of information that could have damaged Hillary Clinton.
The Russian lawyer said Donald Trump’s son and two senior campaign aides may have met her last summer because they were “longing” for such information. She has denied any connection with the Kremlin.
The email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. shows that:
On June 3, 2016, he received an email from intermediary Rob Goldstone promising documents from Russia that would incriminate Hillary Clinton and her supposed dealings with Russia;
One email from Rob Goldstone said the information they had been promised was “obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”;
The person who was to meet Donald Trump Jr. in New York was described as “a Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow”;
Within the week, a meeting had been arranged which included Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.
Donald Trump Jr. also posted a statement saying he was releasing the email chain “to be totally transparent” and reiterated that the Russian lawyer had “no information to provide”.
Rob Goldstone has previously denied any knowledge of involvement in the election by the Russian government.
It is thought to be the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Donald Trump’s inner circle.
After the New York Times first reported the meeting on July 8, Donald Trump Jr. released a statement which confirmed that it had taken place but did not mention whether it was related to the presidential campaign.
However, another Times report, on the next day, said Donald Trump Jr. had agreed to the meeting after being offered information that would potentially prove detrimental to Hillary Clinton.
The newspaper cited three White House advisers briefed on the meeting, and two others with knowledge for it, as its sources.
Image source Wikimedia
Donald Trump Jr. said that an acquaintance he had known from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant had set up the meeting. The Washington Post confirmed that figure to be music publicist Rob Goldstone, who has links to the Russian music industry.
In a statement on July 9, Donald Trump Jr. said he had been asked to meet “an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign”.
“I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared [Kushner] and Paul [Manafort] to attend, but told them nothing of the substance.”
Donald Trump Jr.’s statement continues: “After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton.
“Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.
“She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act.
“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.”
Natalia Veselnitskaya said on July 8 that “nothing at all was discussed about the presidential campaign” and insisted she had “never acted on behalf of the Russian government and have never discussed any of these matters with any representative of the Russian government”.
The Magnitsky Act was adopted by Congress in 2012 and allows the US to withhold visas and freeze financial assets of Russian officials thought to have been involved in human rights violations.
The law so incensed President Vladimir Putin that he suspended a program allowing Americans to adopt Russian children.
Natalia Veselnitskaya is a lawyer whose clients include companies and individuals said to be close to the Kremlin and her main role has been campaigning against the Magnitsky Act.
The attacker drove a car through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then fatally knifed a police officer who tried to stop him entering the Houses of Parliament. He was then shot dead.
Two hours later, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an article from the Independent newspaper in September 2016.
The tweet added: “Terror attacks are part of living in a big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.”
Image source Flickr
In the article, Sadiq Khan was speaking shortly before a meeting with New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, on the day after three bombs exploded in New York City and nearby towns, wounding 29 people.
The attacks had given him a sleepless night, he said, as he pondered the dangers faced by big Western cities like New York and London.
“Part and parcel of living in a great global city is you have to be prepared for these sorts of things, you have to be vigilant, you have to support the police doing an incredibly hard job, you have to support the security services,” Sadiq Khan said.
On March 22, after the attack in Westminster, Mayor Khan said that Londoners “will never be cowed by terrorism” and that the city stood together in the face of those seeking it harm.
Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, has previously clashed with Donald Trump Jr’s father, in January denouncing his travel ban as “shameful and cruel”.
In 2016, Sadiq Khan accused the then-candidate Trump of being “ignorant” about Islam.
Donald Trump responded by challenging the mayor to an IQ test.
The president’s eldest son, who now manages his father’s business and has no White House role, has been accused of insensitivity before.
Donald Trump Jr. has caused uproar on social media by comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles candy.
Trying to suggest the US should not accept any refugees, Donald Trump’s eldest son asked the question: “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?”
“That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”
Donald Trump Jr. added: “This image says it all. Let’s end the politically correct agenda that doesn’t put America first.”
The food analogy has been used before to imply that, if a few people in a group are bad, it would be dangerous to take a single one in.
The language in Donald Jr.’s tweet was used in a post by conservative radio host Joe Walsh in August.
Following tweet by the Republican presidential candidate’s son, the company that owns Skittles, Wrigley, stepped in.
Image source Flickr
Denise Young, vice-president of corporate affairs for Wrigley America, said: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people.
“We don’t feel it is an appropriate analogy.
“We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”
There has been no reaction from the campaigns of the main presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Angered by Donald Trump Jr.’s statement, however, some people posted images of child refugees on their Twitter feeds.
Many of the posts both mocked the comparison and tried to highlight the plight of Syrians caught up in their country’s civil war.
In a tongue-in-cheek article, Washington Post journalist Philip Bump did some calculations around Donald Trump Jr.’s statement, using data showing that the annual chance that an American would be murdered by a foreign-born terrorist was 1 in 3,609,709.
Based on Philip Bump’s sums, it would take about one and a half Olympic swimming pools of Skittles in order to find three killers.
Some people on Twitter used the meme to reflect on their feelings about the 2016 presidential race.
However, many supporters of Donald Trump and right wing commentators welcomed his son’s message and hit out at the criticism online, referring to recent attacks in the US.
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