Trump rally - live: Ex-president says 2024 is ‘final battle’ in grievance-laden rally speech in Waco, Texas

Former President Donald Trump described the 2024 presidential race as “the final battle” in a speech focused on personal grievances and legal woes at his first rally of the campaign in Waco, Texas, on Saturday.

Mr Trump, who is facing a potential indictment for the payment of hush money to an adult film actress with whom he allegedly had an affair, opened with a song recorded by a choir of men imprisoned for their involvement in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

He then launched into a speech that echoed the same language he used in the run-up to that day.

“If we don’t win this election in 2024, I truly believe our country is doomed,” he said.

“This is really prosecutorial misconduct, that’s what it’s called. The innocence of people makes no difference whatsoever to these radical left maniacs,” Mr Trump said of the investigations into him.

Key Points

  • Trump claims to have talked to Putin about Ukraine

  • Trump goes after Michael Cohen and Manhattan DA

  • ‘Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state'

  • Lt Gov Patrick says Trump ‘wouldn’t have put up' with ‘drag queen shows with children attending’

  • Trump says DeSantis ‘became like a rocket ship’ after his endorsement

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow former president another White House run

02:30 , Josh Marcus

Donald Trump’s kickoff campaign rally in Waco on Saturday featured a gaggle of GOP loyalists from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylore Greene.

But one Republican who wasn’t a hot favorite at the sprawling event in the Texas sun? Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida - the former president’s most likely rival in the 2024 Republican primaries.

Many in the crowd told The Independent that Mr Trump still had their support for the top job.

“He’s the only one,” rallygoer David Lee said while dressed in a royal costume he said was in honour of “King Trump.”

Others in Waco were more supportive of Mr DeSantis but said he should wait his turn before taking on Mr Trump.

Read more:

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow him another White House run

‘I wanna see Trump riff. He’s so funny, he’s like a comedian'

02:00 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Dave, a rally attendee from the Austin area, told The Independent that he had come to see Mr Trump speak for his sense of humour.

“I wanna see Trump riff. He’s so funny, he’s like a comedian,” he said.

“He speaks from the heart. He’s off the cuff,” he added.

He went on to praise Mr Trump for having “crushed ISIS”.

Regarding gender issues, he asked, “is this what we should be basing our decisions on, not merit?”

“There’s no place for that in a kid’s class. Let parents tell their kids about that,” he added.

He said he was a fan of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

“I love it. I’m a big DeSantis guy ... smart people are calling on Donald Trump to get smart on certain things ... like some of the gender stuff,” he said.

Rally attendee suggests border be given ‘a breather for a while'

00:30 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Mike Landis, a rally attendee from Whitney, Texas spoke to The Independent about the situation at the southern border.

“No borders, no country,” he said. “Close it up. Shut it down. Give it a breather for a while.”

About Mr Trump’s legal woes and possible upcoming indictment, he added: “It’s all BS.”

“It’s not a big deal,” he added. “They’re trying to get him out. They know they can’t beat him with ballots.”

Trump claims ‘nobody laughed’ at US when he was president

00:28 , Gustaf Kilander

Trump says ‘we need babies’ and promises return to Western classical architecture

00:24 , Gustaf Kilander

Trump claims to have talked to Putin about Ukraine

00:21 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump claimed on Saturday night that “before I even arrive at the Oval Office shortly after I win the presidency, I will have the disastrous war between Russia and Ukraine settled. It would never have happened”.

“I used to talk to Putin, I get along well with Putin. I used to talk to Putin about it,” he said.

“They started putting soldiers on the border but even he didn't want to do it. He wanted to get a piece,” Mr Trump said.

“Now it looks like he'll end up probably getting the whole thing,” he added.

“You saw it the other day with President Xi, smart, top of his game, President Putin – smart, very smart people standing there talking about the world order for the next 100 years,” he said.

“I'm proud to be the only president in decades who did not start a new war,” he claimed.

“It's no coincidence that the deep state is coming after me even harder, since I pledged to swiftly end the war in Ukraine,” Mr Trump said.

“I'm gonna get a settlement very quickly, and I know both people and you can get it very, very quickly. You can only do it through the presidency ... I will have that settlement done within 24 hours,” he added.

The ex-president went on to say that “standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise – I will prevent world war three, which we're heading into”.

“This will be a war like no other. Not only is Biden courting nuclear holocaust, he's blowing up the US economy with the Biden banking crisis – a disaster of historic proportions,” he said.

Trump goes after Michael Cohen and Manhattan DA

00:10 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump bashed the Manhattan DA, saying “they took the word of a proven liar, a convicted felon, and a disbarred lawyer. All the same person” in reference to his former fixer Michael Cohen.

Lt Gov Patrick says Trump ‘wouldn’t have put up' with ‘drag queen shows with children attending’

00:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick claimed that when “Trump was President there was no DEI (Diversity, equity, and inclusion) or ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) or Drag Queen shows with children attending. He wouldn’t have put up with that for one moment”.

Corporations spent as much as $8bn a year on diversity starting in 2003, according to The Cut.

The term Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) was initially used in 2004 in a report entitled Who Cares Wins.

Drag Queen Story Hour is a project that has been going on since 2015, according to NBC News.

Mr Trump became president in January 2017.

‘Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:57 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump made ominous soundings at his rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

“Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state. We’re at a very pivotal point in our country,” he said.

“I only mean it in the proper way, for those who have been wronged and betrayed – there are many people out there who have been wronged and betrayed – I am your retribution,” he added.

Trump says DeSantis is not doing well ‘with anything'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:54 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump bashed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Saturday night in Waco, Texas.

“They keep saying I think DeSantis could do well with farmers, I don’t think so. Based on polls, he’s not doing okay with anything. It’s not good when you look at statistically how he did on Covid. Not good at all. Look at how does on crime. Not good,” he said.

Trump says DeSantis ‘became like a rocket ship’ after his endorsement

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:40 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump went after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his top rival in the 2024 race.

The former president said Mr DeSantis came to him when he was running for governor in 2018.

At his rally on Saturday night in Waco, Texas, Mr Trump claimed that Mr DeSantis had “tears in his eyes” back in 2018.

“You can’t win, can you?” Mr Trump recalled asking Mr DeSantis.

“Please, sir, endorse me,” Mr DeSantis said, according to Mr Trump. “I said alright, let’s give it a shot.”

“I said let’s give a shot Ron. I endorsed him. He became like a rocket ship. Within one day the race was over,” he claimed.

Texas Lt Gov Patrick said Trump made Americans ‘fear’ the US military

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said, “President Trump made America respect our military, fear our military because he said ‘you come after my men and women – I’m coming after you’”.

Trump pushed 2020 election lie

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:25 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump once again pushed the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

“The Supreme Court didn’t have the courage to right the wrong of the 2020 election,” he said at the rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday night.

“We won in 2016. We won by much more in 2020 but it was rigged,” he added.

Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:22 , Eric Garcia

Former president Donald Trump opened his rally in Waco, Texas by playing a song he did with a group of inmates who are in prison for their actions in the January 6 riot.

The group of defendants have billed themselves as J6 Choir and they sing a version of “The Star Spangled Banner” with Mr Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegience entitled “Justice for All.” The former president has pledged that if he is re-elected, he will give pardons to defendants.

Mr Trump is holding his first major campaign event in Texas since announcing his 2024 campaign in Waco a week after he said he expected to be indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The song earned notoriety when it became the number one song on iTunes. The song is being used to raise money for the defendants through an LLC run by conservative activist Ed Henry.

Read more:

Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

Trump claims to be ‘most innocent man in the history of our country'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:21 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump claimed that he was “the most innocent man in the history of our country” during the rally in Waco, Texas.

Trump addresses hush money payment to Stormy Daniels

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:17 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump addressed the hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

He said it was “not a crime. Not an affair. I never liked horse face. Terrible. That would not be the one. There is no one we have a great First Lady”.

VIDEO: Trump plays song featuring ‘J6 choir'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:08 , Gustaf Kilander

“That song tells you a lot because it’s number one in every single category – number two was Taylor Swift,” Mr Trump said. “Number three was Miley Cyrus. So we have our moment and that tells you that our people love those people.”

Trump says ‘2024 is the final battle'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:06 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump said on Saturday night that “our opponents have done everything they can to crush your spirit and to break our will. But they failed. They've only made it stronger”.

“And 2024 is the final battle, that's going to be the big one,” he added. “If you put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again.”

“Our enemies are desperate to stop us because they know that we are the only ones who can stop them. They know that you know there's never been a movement like this in the history of our country probably in the history of almost every country,” he said.

Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick says he chose rally site

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:00 , Gustaf Kilander

The Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick took to the rally stage in Waco on Saturday saying that “you see all these stories that the president chose this town because of [the] anniversary of an event that happened 30 years ago. Well let me tell you, that is pure bulls*** fake news. I picked Waco!”

Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump started the Waco rally by playing a song featuring him and the so-called January 6 choir.

Here’s Alex Woodward’s initial story on the song’s release from earlier this month.

Trump and ‘J6 Prison Choir’ release a song together as rioters get a platform at CPAC

Trump arrives at Waco rally

Saturday 25 March 2023 22:55 , Gustaf Kilander

 (Screenshot / RSBN)
(Screenshot / RSBN)
 (Screenshot / RSBN)
(Screenshot / RSBN)

Aerial images shows attendance at Trump rally

Saturday 25 March 2023 22:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Trump plane circles Waco Regional Airport

Saturday 25 March 2023 22:41 , Josh Marcus

 (Josh Marcus)
(Josh Marcus)
 (Screenshot / RSBN)
(Screenshot / RSBN)

GOP weighs protecting Trump with law shielding ex-presidents from prosecution

Saturday 25 March 2023 22:30 , Andrew Feinberg

A trio of House Republican committee chairs say the House of Representatives could soon take up legislation to strip state and local prosecutors of the authority to prosecute former presidents in response to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s potential indictment of former president Donald Trump.

In a letter to Mr Bragg, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, and House Administration Committee Chair Bryan Steil rejected arguments the Manhattan prosecutor put forth in a response to the trio’s demand that he give evidence before their panels about the ongoing investigation into Mr Trump, which could result in the twice-impeached ex-president becoming the first former US chief executive to face criminal charges over hush money payments he made to an adult film star in 2016.

Read more:

GOP weighs protecting Trump with law shielding ex-presidents from prosecution

Marjorie Taylor Greene claims Trump was elected in 2020

Saturday 25 March 2023 22:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed Mr Trump was elected in 2016 and in 2020, pushing the debunked conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen.

Ted Nugent calls for ‘moment of silence’ for ‘political prisoners in the gulags of Washington DC'

Saturday 25 March 2023 21:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Ted Nugent called for a “moment of silence for the political prisoners in the gulags of Washington DC because of jackbooted thugs in our own government” during his speech at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas.

Ted Nugent calls Zelensky ‘homosexual weirdo'

Saturday 25 March 2023 21:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Ted Nugent called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “homosexual weirdo” during his rally appearance.

“I want my money back! I didn’t authorize any money to Ukraine for some homosexual weirdo!” he said.

Lindell claims Trump’s 2020 Georgia call

Saturday 25 March 2023 21:15 , Gustaf Kilander

MyPillow CEO and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell said Mr Trump’s call to Georgia election officials trying to get them to overturn the 2020 election in the state was “the best call in history”.

“That showed he had the numbers right in front of him,” he suggested.

Rally attendee suggests ‘50,000 people’ should ‘take over the White House'

Saturday 25 March 2023 21:00 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Rally attendee Will Montford’s family is originally from Mexico, he now lives in Bryan, Texas.

“The problem in America is not one person,” he told The Independent.

He said that Mr Trump is a man of the people.

“He’s not fake. He’s one of us, but he’s a billionaire,” he said, adding that he “is a real human being. At least he makes me feel that way”.

“If people really loved this country, 50,000 people would go take over the White House and say no more of this,” he said.

Mike Lindell says DeSantis should ‘endorse Donald Trump tomorrow morning'

Saturday 25 March 2023 20:45 , Gustaf Kilander

MyPillow CEO and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell called Ron DeSantis a “trojan horse” and claimed that “the best thing he could do is endorse Donald Trump tomorrow morning”.

Ted Nugent blasts Afghanistan withdrawal

Saturday 25 March 2023 20:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Ted Nugent slammed the botched withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, saying, “I didn’t authorize giving our military hardware to the Taliban, I want my money back”.

‘Why do you think they’re trying to stop him?’: Rally attendee says Trump is ‘only’ candidate

Saturday 25 March 2023 20:15 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Rally attendee David Lee wore a king outfit to the rally, calling Mr Trump the “MAGA king” when speaking to The Independent.

He said he’s from South Vietnam, a country that no longer exists following the reunification of Vietnam in 1976.

He slammed diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as gender inclusivity, as an attempt to “brainwash the children”.

Mr Lee said Mr Trump is “the only” candidate. “Why do you think they’re trying to stop him?”

When asked about Mr Trump’s legal woes, Mr Lee said “they’re so scared”.

Marjorie Taylor Greene claims Democrats ‘abuse’ Conservatives

Saturday 25 March 2023 20:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Marjorie Taylor Greene has argued that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg “should be arrested”.

“You want to know why? We have to stop allowing Democrats to abuse us. It’s like we are a beaten spouse,” she said.

Rally speakers include Ted Nugent, Mike Lindell, Matt Gaetz, and Marjorie Taylor Greene

Saturday 25 March 2023 19:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Some of the rally speakers include Ted Nugent, Mike Lindell, Matt Gaetz, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

‘Trojan horse’: Mike Lindell says he can’t say ‘enough horrible things’ about Ron DeSantis

Saturday 25 March 2023 19:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Election conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell appeared on the Right Side Broadcasting Network ahead of Mr Trump’s rally in Waco, Texas.

“Ron DeSantis, the Trojan horse. I mean, I can't say enough horrible things about the guy and I don't care. I put it out there,” he said.

Mike Lindell at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Screenshot / RSBN)
Mike Lindell at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Screenshot / RSBN)

Trump supporters believe investigations into ex-president will flame out

Saturday 25 March 2023 19:15 , Josh Marcus

The MAGA faithful say that the multiple legal probes against Mr Trump - who has survived two impeachments, a special counsel investigation, and numerous lawsuits and probes throughout his life - will flame out.

“For almost eight years, that’s what they’ve been doing,” rallygoer Tammy Pavelka told The Independent. “He’s draining the swamp, so they’re after him.”

Mention of Mr Bragg, the New York prosecutor, was particularly unpopular at the rally.

“Bragg, he’s just looking for popularity,” Ms Pavelka said.

Another man was seen holding an “Arrest Alvin Bragg” t-shirt.

Man holds an ‘arrest Alvin Bragg’ t-shirt at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Man holds an ‘arrest Alvin Bragg’ t-shirt at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)

Trump sets off from Palm Beach ahead of rally speech

Saturday 25 March 2023 19:12 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump recently left Palm Beach, Florida to fly to Waco ahead of his rally speech.

Trump leaves Florida ahead of Texas speech (Screenshot / RSBN)
Trump leaves Florida ahead of Texas speech (Screenshot / RSBN)
Trump leaves Florida ahead of Texas speech (Screenshot / RSBN)
Trump leaves Florida ahead of Texas speech (Screenshot / RSBN)

Marjorie Taylor Greene pushes often-made claim that Alvin Bragg is linked to George Soros

Saturday 25 March 2023 18:51 , Gustaf Kilander

Marjorie Taylor Greene repeated a claim often made by conservatives about Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

“Here we have Alvin Bragg, on the verge of breaking the law, as he’s trying to please his Master, George Soros,” she said on RSBN.

Mr Trump pushed the same idea in a post on Truth Social on Wednesday.

“How can a highly controversial, George Soros backed District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, who presides over one of the most crime ridden, violent, and dangerous Cities in the U.S., with no retribution toward these heinous criminals, bring charges against the 45th, and quite possibly the 47th, President of the United States, who received more votes than any sitting President in history, over 75,000,000, and who is currently leading all candidates, by a lot, when there is NO CRIME OF ANY KIND???” Mr Trump wrote.

But the connection between Mr Bragg and Mr Soros is far from as close as Republicans would like it to appear.

The racial justice group Color of Change, to which Mr Soros donated $1m in 2021, works to influence government and corporate policy across the US.

The Open Society Policy Center, which is funded by Mr Soros, sent $7m to the group’s 501(c)(4) branch that same year.

But none of those funds was earmarked for the Bragg campaign or connected to attempts to influence him, CNBC notes.

A spokesperson for Mr Soros told CNBC that he “has never met or spoken to Alvin Bragg”.

Democrats and experts have often argued that the attacks on Mr Soros, who is Jewish, are anti-Semitic.

The president of Color of Change, Rashad Robinson, tweeted on 19 March: “Make no mistake, over the next couple of days as more news about potential consequences for Trump circulates, we will see a flood of anti-Black and anti-Semitic attacks from the former President and his supporters and enablers.”

“They will attack those of us fighting to end mass incarceration, working to hold police accountable & pushing to the day when the rich and powerful don’t live by a different set of rules. They will attack those of us doing the work like @ColorOfChange n allies & those funding it,” he added.

PHOTOS: Trump supporters arrive at rally ahead of ex-president’s speech

Saturday 25 March 2023 18:30 , Josh Marcus

Trump supporters have started to arrive at the rally site in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Trump supporters have started to arrive at the rally site in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Trump supporters have started to arrive at the rally site in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Trump supporters have started to arrive at the rally site in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Trump supporters have started to arrive at the rally site in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Trump supporters have started to arrive at the rally site in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Trump supporters have started arriving at Waco Regional Airport (Josh Marcus)
Trump supporters have started arriving at Waco Regional Airport (Josh Marcus)

Right Side Broadcasting Network advertises ‘free Trump knife’ ahead of Waco rally

Saturday 25 March 2023 18:00 , Gustaf Kilander

The Right Side Broadcasting Network advertised a “free Trump knife” ahead of the rally in Waco, Texas.

Right Side Broadcasting Network advertises ‘free Trump knife’ ahead of Waco rally (Screenshot / RSBN)
Right Side Broadcasting Network advertises ‘free Trump knife’ ahead of Waco rally (Screenshot / RSBN)

‘They’re just attacking him’: Trump supporters think Manhattan DA probe is partisan

Saturday 25 March 2023 17:30 , Josh Marcus

Many who spoke to The Independent believe that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe, into alleged hush money payments made by Mr Trump to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign, is an exercise in partisan politics.

“They’re just attacking him,” said Steve Harris, a retired statistics professor, who lives in Waco. “It’s ridiculous to indict somebody on something when the statue of limitations ran out a long time ago.”

(Manhattan prosecutors will likely argue the statute of limitations hasn’t run out, given pandemic-era legal extensions and Donald Trump’s regular travel in and out of New York, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group.)

The MAGA faithful say that the multiple legal probes against Mr Trump - who has survived two impeachments, a special counsel investigation, and numerous lawsuits and probes throughout his life - will flame out.

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted: ‘It’s complete garbage’

Saturday 25 March 2023 17:08 , Josh Marcus

Investigators might be closing in on Donald Trump – in New York for hush money; Georgia for election meddling; Washington for mishandling classified documents – but the former president shouldn’t be all that worried, according to his loyal supporters who gathered in Waco, Texas, on Saturday for the kickoff of the 2024 Trump campaign.

“I don’t think it’ll stick,” Trump supporter Karey Cottrell told The Independent of the potential charges in New York, which are expected to drop some time next week.

“It’s complete garbage,” she added. “It’s ridiculous. I didn’t think they would stoop this low.”

Queues started to form early on Saturday morning at Waco Regional Airport where field after field was filled with vehicles decked out in Trump flags.

Read more:

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted

What time is Trump’s Waco rally today?

Saturday 25 March 2023 16:49 , Graig Graziosi

Donald Trump is set to hold a rally on Saturday as a grand jury in New York weighs whether to bring criminal charges against the former president for alleged hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The event begins at 2pm local time (3pm Eastern) in Waco, Texas at Waco Regional Airport. Mr Trump is expected to go on stage around 5pm.

The possible indictment will undoubtedly be a focus for Mr Trump after he called on his supporters to protest and for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to be removed from office.

Read more:

What time is Trump’s Waco rally today?

Crowds begin to form outside Waco Regional Airport ahead of Trump rally

Saturday 25 March 2023 16:30 , Graig Graziosi

Lines of MAGA supporters have formed outside the Waco Regional Airport where they hope to see Donald Trump later today at a rally.

The former president’s upcoming rally is happening not only in the midst of his looming potential indictment but also was scheduled to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Waco massacre.

Some extremism experts have expressed concerns over the implications of the location and its timeframe, noting that Mr Trump has previously been accused of fometing violence for his political goals.

In addition to calling for the march that became the Capitol riot, Mr Trump has also called for his supporters to protest his indictment, and warned of “potential death and destruction” if he is arrested.

Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco campaign rally

Saturday 25 March 2023 16:12 , Graig Graziosi

As he enters his 2024 presidential campaign, Donald Trump faces a looming potential indictment in New York, another set of potential charges in Georgia, and other possible criminal charges from a federal special counsel investigation. Meanwhile, a former GOP ally continues to pose a significant threat to his Republican presidential primary election in 2024.

The former president has demanded that his supporters protest and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” from what he calls the “CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL” Manhattan district attorney investigation, but so far only a handful of demonstrators have rallied to his defence at small events in Florida and New York.

Mr Trump, cornered by several investigations and predicting his own arrest in at least one of them, will hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in the city of Waco, Texas – in the middle of the 30th anniversary of the deadly 51-day siege that galvanised the far right and set the stage for the modern militia movement.

Read more:

‘Playing with fire’: Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco rally

Donald Trump celebrates performance in poll conducted by Twitter user 'catturd’

Saturday 25 March 2023 15:47 , Graig Graziosi

Donald Trump took to Truth Social to celebrate the results of a poll conducted by Twitter user “Catturd.”

The poll shows Catturd’s readers prefer Mr Trump over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for 2024 office.

The poll reportedly included approximately 200,000 respondents, but it’s impossible to know much more about the voting demographics than that.

Regardless, Mr Trump seemed very proud of his success in Catturd’s poll.

Donald Trump celebrating a poll by Twitter user ‘Catturd’ showing him winning a poll considering presidential preference against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (screengrab/Truth Social/Donald Trump)
Donald Trump celebrating a poll by Twitter user ‘Catturd’ showing him winning a poll considering presidential preference against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (screengrab/Truth Social/Donald Trump)

New York courthouses increasing security amid Trump tirades

Saturday 25 March 2023 14:43 , Graig Graziosi

Courthouses in New York City have had to increase security after Donald Trump called for protesters to rally against his possible indictment.

In addition to calling on his supporters to protest for him, Mr Trump recently called Manhattan Districat Attorney Alvin Bragg a “degenerate animal” and posted a photo of himself holding a baseball bat next to a photo of the DA’s head.

Both Mr Bragg and at least one courthouse in Manhattan have received threatening messages since Mr Trump put out his call to his supporters.

The Office of Court Administration said Friday that it had increased security as a result. It did not name Mr Trump directly, simply stating that the move follows an “increased interest in proceedings.”

Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco campaign rally

Saturday 25 March 2023 14:10 , Graig Graziosi

Josh Marcus writes:

Mr Trump, cornered by several investigations and predicting his own arrest in at least one of them, will hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in the city of Waco, Texas – in the middle of the 30th anniversary of the deadly 51-day siege that galvanised the far right and set the stage for the modern militia movement.

Read more...

‘Playing with fire’: Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco rally

Trump says he won’t pick DeSantis as his running mate

Saturday 25 March 2023 13:50 , Graig Graziosi

Donald Trump told right-wing media outlet Newsmax that he would not consider Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his running mate in the 2024 election.

Mr DeSantis is widely expected to enter the primary campaign, though he has not announced yet. Mr Trump teased for months that he was going to run before officially announcing his run last year.

In previou comments the governor said he would not accept an offer from the Trump team to join the campaign’s ticket as a running mate.

Trump posts picture of himself wielding baseball bat next to Alvin Bragg’s head

Saturday 25 March 2023 13:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump sparked anger by posting a picture of himself holding a baseball bat next to the head of the Manhattan District Attorney leading an investigation into him.

Mr Trump posted an article to his social media platform Truth Social which included a composite picture of himself next to Alvin Bragg, who has accused the one-term president of creating “a false expectation” of being arrested this week.

Graeme Massie has the story.

Trump posts picture of himself wielding baseball bat next to Alvin Bragg’s head

Trump menacingly warns of ‘potential death and destruction’ if he is charged

Saturday 25 March 2023 13:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump continues to lash out on social media as a decision whether to indict him on charges related to the Stormy Daniels hush money case is pushed into next week.

In a dark late-night Truth Social post attacking Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Mr Trump warned of “potential death and destruction” should charges be brought against him.

Read on:

Trump warns of ‘potential death and destruction’ if indicted in hush money probe

Jan 6 probe: Mark Meadows and other ex-Trump aides ordered to give evidence

Saturday 25 March 2023 12:20 , Oliver O'Connell

A federal judge in Washington DC has rejected former president Donald Trump’s attempt to keep his ex-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and a large group of other former top White House and Trump administration officials from having to give evidence before the grand jury investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

District Judge Beryl Howell, who until last week was the chief judge of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, issued a sealed ruling last week rejecting Mr Trump’s claim that executive privilege — a legal doctrine that normally shields conversations and deliberations between and among a president and his advisers — should preclude Mr Meadows and other aides from testifying.

Andrew Feinberg filed this report from Washington, DC.

Mark Meadows and other ex-Trump aides ordered to give evidence in Jan 6 probe

Could Ron DeSantis stop Trump’s arrest?

Saturday 25 March 2023 11:20 , Oliver O'Connell

And would he want to?

Could Florida governor Ron DeSantis stop Trump’s arrest?

The former president’s shifting indictment timeline - has Trump been arrested yet?

Saturday 25 March 2023 10:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Did Trump get arrested today? The moving indictment timeline

Mary Trump tries to sabotage Trump’s Waco rally

Saturday 25 March 2023 09:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Mary Trump, the clinical psychologist and author who is former president Donald Trump’s niece, has called on Americans to flood her uncle’s campaign website with ticket requests for his 25 March rally in Waco, Texas, so tickets will be allocated to people who won’t show up for the event.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Trump wrote that the Waco location is “a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI”.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Mary Trump tries to sabotage Trump’s Waco rally by filling venue with no-shows

Ahead of Waco rally, Texas newspaper slams ‘bombastic, bullying’ Trump

Saturday 25 March 2023 08:20 , Oliver O'Connell

A Texas newspaper has lambasted former president Donald Trump’s decision to hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally not far from the site of the deadly law enforcement siege in Waco, Texas, an event that galvanised far-right conspiracy theories as a symbol of violent government overreach.

As the state of Texas recognises the 30th anniversary of the deadly 51-day siege, The Houston Chronicle’s editorial board writes that “dog ears won’t be the only ones twitching” when Mr Trump lands on 25 March.

“Trump doesn’t do subtle; dog-whistle messages are not his style. The more apt metaphor is the blaring air horn of a Mack 18-wheeler barreling down [Interstate-10],” the newspaper writes.

Read more:

Texas newspaper slams ‘bombastic, bullying’ Trump for ‘stoking the fires of Waco’

Chilling AI deepfakes purporting to show Trump arrest go viral

Saturday 25 March 2023 07:20 , Oliver O'Connell

AI-generated deepfakes showing Donald Trump making a run from authorities and being arrested have flooded Twitter ahead of the former president’s possible indictment.

Mr Trump could be indicted by a Manhattan grand jury as soon as next week and potentially charged with falsifying business records connected to hush money payments during his 2016 campaign to adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

An indictment in New York would make Mr Trump the first former president to face a criminal charge.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar has the story.

Chilling AI deepfakes purporting to show Trump arrest take over Twitter

DeSantis says he is ‘more of an executive guy’ when asked if he would be Trump’s VP

Saturday 25 March 2023 06:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ruled out being former president Donald Trump’s running mate in the 2024 presidential election, as he prepares to launch his own White House run.

Newsmax host Eric Bolling asked Mr DeSantis if he would consider being Mr Trump’s vice presidential nominee on Thursday evening, which the governor rebuffed.

Eric Garcia reports.

Ron DeSantis rules out being Trump’s VP, claims he is ‘more of an executive guy’

Trump shares deepfake photo of himself praying

Saturday 25 March 2023 05:20 , Oliver O'Connell

The new image shared by Mr Trump also looks uncannily real at first glance, but signs of the shortcomings of artificial intelligence technology become apparent on a closer look at the former president’s hands, shoes and the people around him.

Shweta Sharma reports.

Trump shares deepfake photo of himself praying as AI images of arrest spread online

Rally attendee says DeSantis ‘has a better chance of winning'

Saturday 25 March 2023 22:13 , Josh Marcus

At the Waco rally, amid a sea of Trump memorabilia - cowboy hats, buttons, flags on pickup trucks - there were a few who were more critical of Mr Trump.

Chris, who asked to use only his first name, said that he would rather see Mr DeSantis as the nominee for 2024 because he believes he has a better chance of winning the White House.

To the Austin resident, anyone is better than a Democrat, so the candidate with the best chance of doing so should go ahead.

“I’d rather see DeSantis because he has a better chance of winning,” he said.

While he supported Mr Trump’s policy choices while he was in the White House, he felt that the former president often said such outrageous things that his achievements were ignored.

“Trump’s off-putting to a lot of people,” he told The Independent.

“He gives the media a lot of ammo to focus on things that don’t really matter.” And some at the rally were done with party politics altogether. They just wanted change.

“I don’t rate as a Republican or a Democrat anymore,” Laurie Mogni also said. “I’m a patriot. I want our country back.”

Distant Melania ‘still angry’ at Trump over Stormy Daniels case

Saturday 25 March 2023 04:20 , Oliver O'Connell

According to People, Ms Trump isn’t interested in commiserating with her husband and is instead focused on a small, close-knit group of friends and family, including her 17-year-old son Barron Trump.

“She doesn’t sympathise with Donald’s plight,” one source told the magazine.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

Melania ‘still angry’ at Trump over Stormy Daniels case: ‘She doesn’t sympathise’

Are the Clinton and Edwards scandals anything like Trump is facing?

Saturday 25 March 2023 03:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Podcaster Joe Rogan compared Donald Trump’s hush money case involving payments to Stormy Daniels to two previous scandals involving formerly centre-stage US politicians during his show this week.

Specifically, he referred to social media posts circulating in which the case is compared with those of President Bill Clinton and former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards — both Democrats.

But how similar are they?

Joe Rogan compares Trump hush money to Bill Clinton and John Edwards scandals

Trump darkly warns of ‘potential death and destruction’ if he is charged

Saturday 25 March 2023 02:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Former president Donald Trump continues to lash out on social media as a decision whether to indict him on charges related to the Stormy Daniels hush money case is pushed into next week.

In a dark late-night Truth Social post attacking Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Mr Trump warned of “potential death and destruction” should charges be brought against him.

No stranger to apocalyptic language, his posts protesting his innocence have taken on a darker tone with violent rhetoric, on top of his calls for supporters to protest should an indictment be announced.

Trump warns of ‘potential death and destruction’ if indicted in hush money probe

Another Trump lawyer gave evidence in Mar-a-Lago papers probe in December

Saturday 25 March 2023 01:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Another attorney for former president Donald Trump said he appeared before the Washington DC grand jury probing whether the twice-impeached ex-president broke US law by unlawfully retaining classified documents at his home or obstructed a Justice Department investigation into the documents matter.

Andrew Feinberg has the details.

Another Trump lawyer gave evidence in classified documents probe last year

Trump gave a chilling warning about what might happen after his indictment

Saturday 25 March 2023 00:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward reports on the former president’s dark visions of a looming civil war...

Trump’s chilling warning of what will happen after his indictment

What was the reaction from the far-right to Trump’s call to protest?

Friday 24 March 2023 23:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward writes:

Prominent QAnon influencers, Trump loyalists, Christian nationalists and civil war accelerationists – including figures who were once central to the “Stop the Steal” effort that fuelled the crowds before the riot in the halls of Congress two years ago – have expressed some sceptism over the former president’s latest demands, or have refused to participate in his defence at all.

Far-right supporters aren’t organizing Trump protests. Others think it’s a trap

What would an indictment and arrest mean for the Trump 2024 campaign?

Friday 24 March 2023 22:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Should Mr Trump actually be charged with a crime, it would be the first time an investigation into his inner circle (of which there have been several, with the most famous leading to multiple indictments for figures connected to the 2016 campaign) actually drew blood from the president himself.

But could he still become president?

Could Trump still be elected president if he’s charged?

How did a porn star become one of the most powerful people in politics?

Friday 24 March 2023 21:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Io Dodds explains how Stormy Daniels landed in the middle of a political firestorm.

How Stormy Daniels became one of the most powerful people in politics

How Michael Cohen’s efforts to help Donald Trump could land his ex-boss in jail

Friday 24 March 2023 20:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Former attorney Michael Cohen was once Donald Trump’s top operative: a “fixer” who handled matters both legal and otherwise for the celebrity businessman-turned-political candidate.

But as Alvin Bragg’s grand jury investigation continues in Manhattan, it’s clear that Cohen’s efforts to “fix” problems for his boss may have caused far more harm than good.

John Bowden reports.

How Michael Cohen’s efforts to help Donald Trump could land his ex-boss in jail

White powder discovered in Manhattan DA’s office after Trump’s violent Truth Social posts

Friday 24 March 2023 20:03 , Alex Woodward

White powder was discovered inside an envelope at the New York County district attorney’s office shortly after noon on 24 March, hours after former president Donald Trump raged at Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg and suggested “death and destruction” would follow any potential criminal indictment.

A grand jury has been convened to review evidence and hear witness testimony involving the former president’s alleged hush money payment to an adult film star in the lead up to the presidential election in 2016.

Mr Trump has repeatedly asserted that no crimes have been committed while accusing prosecutors of leading a politically motivated investigation. In a late-night post on 23 March, he wrote that “it is known” that “potential death [and] destruction” following a “false” charge against him would be “catastrophic for our country.” He also labelled Mr Bragg a “degenerate psychopath who truely [sic] hates the USA.”

Read more:

White powder discovered in Manhattan DA’s office hours after violent Trump posts

The danger of those Trump deepfake images

Friday 24 March 2023 19:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Woodward writes that the deepfakes served as a high-profile example of the kinds of viral phenomena relying on false images built with artificial intelligence programmes that could be used to spread harmful disinformation to spark unrest and disrupt news cycles and elections.

The danger of those Trump ‘deepfake’ images

Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco campaign rally

Friday 24 March 2023 18:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Josh Marcus writes:

Mr Trump, cornered by several investigations and predicting his own arrest in at least one of them, will hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in the city of Waco, Texas – in the middle of the 30th anniversary of the deadly 51-day siege that galvanised the far right and set the stage for the modern militia movement.

Read more...

‘Playing with fire’: Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco rally

Is the Trump hush money case comparable to Bill Clinton and John Edwards scandals?

Friday 24 March 2023 18:20 , Oliver O'Connell

Podcaster Joe Rogan compared Donald Trump’s hush money case involving payments to Stormy Daniels to two previous scandals involving formerly centre-stage US politicians during his show this week.

Is there a comparison?

Joe Rogan compares Trump hush money to Bill Clinton and John Edwards scandals

Trump posts picture of himself wielding baseball bat next to Alvin Bragg’s head

Friday 24 March 2023 18:02 , Oliver O'Connell

Donald Trump sparked anger by posting a picture of himself holding a baseball bat next to the head of the Manhattan District Attorney leading an investigation into him.

Mr Trump posted an article to his social media platform Truth Social which included a composite picture of himself next to Alvin Bragg, who has accused the one-term president of creating “a false expectation” of being arrested this week.

Graeme Massie has the story.

Trump posts picture of himself wielding baseball bat next to Alvin Bragg’s head

Jan 6 probe: Mark Meadows and other ex-Trump aides ordered to give evidence

Friday 24 March 2023 17:45 , Oliver O'Connell

A federal judge in Washington has rejected former president Donald Trump’s attempt to keep his ex-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and a large group of other former top White House and Trump administration officials from having to give evidence before the grand jury investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington, DC.

Mark Meadows and other ex-Trump aides ordered to give evidence in Jan 6 probe

Latest: Grand jury to continue hearing Trump case next week

Friday 24 March 2023 17:32 , Oliver O'Connell

A grand jury in New York City investigating Donald Trump’s alleged role in a scheme to pay hush money payments to an adult film star will likely continue considering the case on 27 March, when the panel is scheduled to meet next.

Alex Woodward has the details.

Grand jury not expected to consider Trump hush money payments today, reports say

Judge rejects claims of Trump executive privilege and order Meadows to testify in Jan 6 probe

Friday 24 March 2023 17:05 , Oliver O'Connell

ABC News reports that Judge Beryl Howell has rejected former president Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege and ordered Mark Meadows and other top aides from the administration to testify in the Justice Departments January 6 probe.

The network cites multiple sources familiar with last week’s sealed order.

Meadows and others were subpoenaed by Special counsel Jack Smith for testimony and documents relating to the investigation of the events leading up to the 2021 Capitol riot.

Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, his former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, former top aide Stephen Miller, and former deputy chief of staff and social media director Dan Scavino, are also reported to be covered by the order, in addition to aides Nick Luna and John McEntee, along with former top DHS official Ken Cuccinelli.

More follows...

Missing Trump portrait found next to pile of yoga mats

Friday 24 March 2023 17:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The missing portrait of Donald Trump — a present from El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, given to Mr Trump in his last year in office — has been located in the basement of one of his hotels.

Per The New York Times:

In the bowels of the Trump National Doral hotel in Miami, in a small space leading to electrical rooms, an enormous portrait of the 45th president of the United States rests on a piece of deteriorating purple-colored foam.

Stored next to a stack of old yoga mats, the former president’s portrait sits underneath a halogen light and the metal sheen of air ducts, propped between two doors with placards that read “ELECTRICAL ROOM No Storage.”

The tiny room is overwhelmed by the grandiose portrait, standing about eight feet tall and featuring a grinning Donald J. Trump.

While the portrait has apparently sat there ignored for months, back in Washington, it is at the center of a debate over the laws and ethics covering presidential gifts.

Here’s Josh Marcus with the background on this debate:

Trump didn’t report $300k of gifts to State Department, committee says

Hakeem Jeffries: Trump ‘has not learned his lesson’ after inciting Jan 6

Friday 24 March 2023 16:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Mary Trump tries to sabotage uncle’s Waco rally

Friday 24 March 2023 16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Mary Trump, the clinical psychologist and author who is former president Donald Trump’s niece, has called on Americans to flood her uncle’s campaign website with ticket requests for his 25 March rally in Waco, Texas, so tickets will be allocated to people who won’t show up for the event.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Trump wrote that the Waco location is “a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI”.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Mary Trump tries to sabotage Trump’s Waco rally by filling venue with no-shows

Ahead of Waco rally, Texas newspaper slams ‘bombastic, bullying’ Trump

Friday 24 March 2023 16:20 , Oliver O'Connell

A Texas newspaper has lambasted former president Donald Trump’s decision to hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally not far from the site of the deadly law enforcement siege in Waco, Texas, an event that galvanised far-right conspiracy theories as a symbol of violent government overreach.

Alex Woodward reports.

Texas newspaper slams ‘bombastic, bullying’ Trump for ‘stoking the fires of Waco’

Trump officials pushed to weaken toxic ‘forever’ chemical report, watchdog finds

Friday 24 March 2023 16:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The watchdog for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that Trump administration appointees to the agency intervened to weaken scientific findings on a toxic substance.

Louise Boyle has the story.

Watchdog finds Trump officials pushed to weaken toxic ‘forever’ chemical report

Mary Trump tries to derail her uncle’s Waco rally with no-shows

Friday 24 March 2023 15:52 , Oliver O'Connell

Mary Trump, former president Donald Trump’s niece, has asked for help in derailing his rally in Waco, Texas, tomorrow.

Describing it as “a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI”, she reminded her followers that scores of people died and “he wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice”.

She then directed people to book out the venue to try and ensure there are plenty of empty seats on Saturday night.

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