Donald Trump to ‘redefine’ the social media game as he plans his return

Donald Trump will be back on social media in the next few months with his own platform which his senior adviser describes as “redefining the social media game”.

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Donald Trump makes surprise speech at Mar-a-Lago fundraising event



Former President Donald Trump has hinted that his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, might be running for the Senate.

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Donald Trump facing another lawsuit over US Capitol attack



A Democratic congressman filed a lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, his son Donald Jr, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and a Republican lawmaker for allegedly inciting the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Trump, 74, and the other defendants waged a “campaign of lies and incendiary rhetoric” which led to the assault on Congress, Representative Eric Swalwell of California charged in the civil suit lodged in a US District Court in Washington.

Another Democratic congressman, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, filed a similar suit against Trump last month.

Both cite a little used law, the Ku Klux Klan Act, to make the case against the former president.

The 1871 Act was designed to prevent the white supremacist KKK from intimidating elected officials.

Trump, Donald Jr, Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks, a congressman from Alabama, all spoke at a rally which preceded the January 6 attack on Congress by Trump supporters seeking to block the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

“Unable to accept defeat, Donald Trump waged an all out war on a peaceful transition of power,” Swalwell said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

“He lied to his followers again and again claiming the election was stolen,” the congressman said, “and finally called upon his supporters to descend on Washington DC to ‘stop the steal.'”

3 March 2021: FBI Director says Capitol riots were ‘dommestic terrorism’

“The defendants assembled, inflamed and incited the mob, and as such are wholly responsible for the injury and destruction that followed,” Swalwell said.

The suit demanded unspecified monetary and punitive damages to be determined at a jury trial.

Swalwell was one of the impeachment managers for Trump’s trial in the Senate on the charge of inciting insurrection.

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-majority House of Representatives for his role in inciting the attack on the Capitol but acquitted by the Senate.

Thompson and the NAACP, a civil rights organization, filed suit against Trump, Giuliani and two right-wing groups, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, last month.

Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, responded to the latest lawsuit in a statement to The Washington Post. “Eric Swalwell is a low-life with no credibility,” Miller said.

Trump State Dept appointee arrested 

More than 300 people have been arrested so far for their role in the storming of the Capitol, which left at least five people dead.

Among the latest arrests was Federico Guillermo Klein, 42, a Trump appointee to a low-level State Department job.

Klein, who resigned from the State Department on January 19, a day before Trump left office, was arrested by the FBI on Thursday after a review of video of the Capitol attack.

In a criminal complaint obtained by The New York Times, an FBI special agent said Klein, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, is seen assaulting police officers with a riot shield.

According to the complaint, Klein worked at the State Department since 2017 on Brazilian and other Latin American affairs and had a Top Secret clearance.

He is believed to be the first member of the former Trump administration to directly charged in connection with the ransacking of the Capitol.

Klein faces multiple charges including assaulting police officers, obstructing an official proceeding and disorderly conduct.

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Microgrids could become new energy solution for towns like Tarnagulla and Donald


Regional towns once ran on their own power transfer stations, and it could be a case of history repeating if a new three-year study finds microgrids a viable option for resilient energy supply.

The not-for-profit Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4NET) will conduct the study, which will be funded by the federal government’s Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund.

C4NET considers the goldfields town of Tarnagulla and the Wimmera township of Donald as the perfect locations to examine the use of microgrids.

Microgrids are a smaller, self-sustaining part of the energy network which are more resilient to disruptions of the power supply.

Tarnagulla is situated at the end of a long electricity feeder line from Maryborough, while Donald is on the end of a feeder line from Charlton.

“Donald and Tarnagulla were specifically chosen for this study because of the community groups; they are already looking into their future energy needs in the towns,” C4NET chief executive James Seymour said.

“What we were really interested in studying here is an intersection between what is a community need and what’s the power system dynamics of that location.

“What we wanted to do is study two contrasting towns, looking for those bespoke elements and what the commonalities are as well.”

Julie Davis runs the post office in Tarnagulla, population 130, and is interested in creating long-term resilience.

“This all started a few years back when there was flooding; Tarnagulla got isolated.”

It encouraged Mrs Davies to think about alternative power supplies.

“I mainly thought we should at least have the hall, the school, the police station, the fire station — all these places should have batteries or solar,” she said.

“If we got isolated again, we would have power … or at least we had somewhere to go to charge a mobile, make a cup of tea.”

For power distributor Powercor, the findings of the study could see changes in the way it conducts business across Victoria.

“My understanding is that this size of a community has never been taken off the main power grid before and put onto a microgrid before,” spokesman Jordan Oliver said.

“We have to see if that is feasible, if that is technically feasible, if that is economically feasible and what’s the impact for customers.

“If this is going to cost customers too much money, we wouldn’t support it.

“If this study found that this would be of benefit to customers financially, it is something we would absolutely support.”

Jeanette Shipston moved to Tarnagulla just over two years ago and said the idea of economic savings and creating a resilient community was appealing.

“I am actually a bit excited about the idea of having a community battery,” she said.

The threat of bushfires and unforeseen events are at the top of mind as well.

“I really do want to learn more about [the study]. I have previously looked at these sorts of things and thought, ‘I do not know if that’s going to benefit me cost-wise’, and just left it at that,” she said.

“But I really think that now we really must start questioning these things from a wider perspective; it is not just all about us, it really is about the wider community.”

The study will begin in September.

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Two nations under God – Evangelicals are divided over the movement’s support for Donald Trump | United States


SET IN THE bucolic countryside on the edge of Nashville, Christ Presbyterian Church is a stately building where, in normal times, hundreds of evangelical Christians gather to worship. On a recent Sunday a smaller, socially distanced congregation assembled to hear the preacher speak on the eighth chapter of the gospel of Mark, in which Jesus asks his disciples: “Who do people say I am?” Such questions of identity are troubling many in the congregation, too. Chatting after the service, Samantha Fisher, a mother of two who works in public relations, sums up the current moment: “I don’t know any more what it means to be a Christian and an American.”

White evangelicals like Ms Fisher are undergoing an identity crisis that has been a long time in the making, but has crystallised during four years of Donald Trump’s presidency and, especially, with the violent uprising at the Capitol on January 6th. Images of activists waving flags with Christian messages, praying in the name of Jesus inside the Senate chamber and claiming to defend America as “a Christian nation”, have left many evangelicals angry and confused. About 80% of white evangelicals supported Mr Trump in 2016 and at least 75% did so in 2020. The Pew Research Centre found last year that 59% of evangelicals felt the Trump administration had helped not hurt their interests. But conversations with a wide range of believers suggest that many churches are divided, and that support is not as overwhelming as the 80-20 split might suggest.

“For every evangelical I meet who supports what happened on January 6th, I meet 5,000 who do not,” says Scott Sauls, senior pastor at Christ Presbyterian. Leaders like him are trying to shift the focus of their churches, warning that putting too much faith in politics is not only spiritually misguided, but also self-defeating. “The culture wars are the greatest distraction from the mission of the church,” he says.

Evangelicalism is traditionally defined by four theological beliefs: the need for a spiritual rebirth (being “born again”); the centrality of Christ’s death on the cross to bring about that rebirth; the spiritual authority of the Bible; and an outworking of faith in missionary and social-reform efforts. The current reckoning centres on how to carry out that fourth belief and how much to stress political activism. “I think to some degree, there is an understanding in popular culture of ‘evangelical’ as referring to a personal relationship with Donald Trump rather than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” says Russell Moore, head of the public-policy arm of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), who opposed Mr Trump.

A growing number of people are differentiating between the two. Ten days after January 6th Hunter Baker, the dean of arts and sciences at Union University, a Southern Baptist college in the town of Jackson, 130 miles west of Nashville, published an apology in which he declared that, though he had voted for him twice, he had “severely underestimated the threat posed by a Donald Trump presidency.” In an interview, he added: “I have been pouring myself into politics most of my adult life. I think now we need to focus back on the church and less on politics.” He says he will not vote for Mr Trump again. “I am not prepared to put the whole American order up for grabs. It is time to walk away.”

Some evangelical institutions, though remaining conservative, are also readjusting. Before the November election, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), one of the largest umbrella groups for the movement, representing millions of people in 45,000 churches from 40 denominations, released a statement resolving to “seek racial justice and reconciliation” and to “resist being co-opted by political agendas”. Many within the NAE are trying to represent a new type of evangelical, more intellectual, less white and less confrontational. Its new head, Walter Kim, holds a Harvard doctorate and is its first non-white leader. The chairman of its board, John Jenkins, is African-American.

Demography is having an impact, too. Robert P. Jones of PRRI, a think-tank, and author of “The End of White Christian America”, says that 22% of American pensioners are white evangelicals but only 8% of millennials are. Between a quarter and a third of evangelicals are not white, and many vote Democrat. Some of these shifts could start to influence politics.

And on the sixth day

The current moment is in some ways a replay of an earlier crisis. In the baking summer of 1925, outside a courthouse in Dayton, 150 miles east of Nashville, a teacher called John Scopes was charged with illegally teaching evolution in school. Scopes was found guilty by the court, though he was acquitted on a technicality and in the court of public opinion. The fundamentalism that underpinned the law was ridiculed, and the “monkey trial” became a turning point for American Christianity. Many strict fundamentalists withdrew from national life (though they remained strong in the South) while modernists, who questioned the literal truth of the Bible, became the mainstream.

Some theological conservatives, however, did not retreat. Intent on engaging with society, they created a third way after the second world war. It initially called itself evangelicalism, a word with roots in the Reformation, and it split into two strands. Divisions were messy but, broadly speaking, outside the South it sought to combine “deep, biblical reflection with social engagement, careful academic scholarship and a trust in science and reason,” says Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. It tried to steer away from literalist interpretations of the Bible, to support civic engagement and free itself from the more fundamentalist and overtly racist tendencies of its Southern cousins. One figure who became the face of the movement, and held sway in both strands, was Billy Graham.

After a period of political dormancy, however, the southern branch re-emerged in the late 1970s and 1980s with a social and political agenda. “A tsunami of fundamentalism washed over evangelicalism,” says Mr Labberton. This more tribal form of faith became synonymous with the word evangelical. Its leaders, such as Jerry Falwell senior and Pat Robertson, he says, claimed to be most faithful to the Bible, but were in fact “the ones with the loudest media voices” on issues such as abortion and homosexuality. Politics became its priority and, crucially, it was still infused with the racism and sexism of the old South.

In its current incarnation, some of this has morphed into a form of “Christian nationalism”, which says that America has been and should always be distinctively Christian. In their book, “Taking America Back for God”, Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry claim roughly half of evangelicals, by some definitions, embrace Christian nationalism to some degree (and often subconsciously). This kind of nationalism, say the authors, believes that non-Christian Americans are unable ever to be “truly American”. It also presents fertile ground for conspiracies.

A poll for the American Enterprise Institute recently found that 28% of white evangelicals believe in QAnon, a conspiracy suggesting that Mr Trump is locked in a battle with a cabal of depraved deep-state actors who want to ruin America. Numerous evangelicals contacted by The Economist, none of whom would speak on the record, said their church had split as a result. A deacon left a church in New England because the pastor did not urge people to vote for Mr Trump (“you now have blood on your hands”, she told him in an email). At a church in Seattle, the pastor was driven out by anti-maskers. At another church in the north-west a leader was fired for writing online that “this is not the gospel”, when Mr Trump posed with a Bible last year.

Now, though, the successors of the “third-way” evangelicalism of the 1950s are trying to reform the movement once again. When Bob Roberts, a pastor at Northwood church in Keller, a suburb of Dallas, realised his church did not reflect the diversity of his message, he promoted black and Hispanic leaders and linked with the local Muslim community, some of whom visited his church. A quarter of the 2,000-strong congregation left. “We are Christians not Muslims,” wrote one. Mr Roberts is no closet liberal. Pro-life and a member of the SBC, he insists: “I do not view the church as a tribe for white evangelicals.”

Many agree, and deplore Mr Trump’s character, but worry that Christians who vote Democratic, or who do not vote at all, are ignoring an even greater danger from the left, which they believe is about to steamroller people of faith. “Those people will soon be experiencing buyer’s remorse as the emerging oligarchy of politics, media, academia, woke business and high-tech threaten to create one-party national politics that undermines religious freedom and true democracy,” says Os Guinness, a prominent evangelical author of more than 30 books, who is also critical of Mr Trump. Mr Labberton is concerned about the radical left, too, but says Trumpism is “too blunt an instrument” with which to fight it.

Meanwhile, America is changing rapidly. The percentage of Americans who say they are Christians declined between 2009 and 2019 from 77% to 65%. White evangelicals declined from 20% to 16% in that time, says Greg Smith of the Pew Research Centre, though the share of white Protestants identifying as evangelical is higher in 2020 (56%) than a decade ago (53%). Ryan Burge of Eastern Illinois University says this may reflect more non-observant conservatives identifying as evangelical. From 2008 to 2019, the share of evangelicals who said religion was very important fell from 81% to 74%. One in ten self-identified evangelicals is Catholic, says Mr Burge.

Voices crying in the wilderness

The slow death of a culture can, however, lead to resurrection. In Oregon a group of Christian NGOs has sprung up, whose founders are theologically evangelical and socially conservative but have no links to politically conservative evangelicalism. The left-leaning state government is working enthusiastically with them. Ben Sand runs a group called Every Child, which mobilises communities to work with Oregon’s Department for Human Services (DHS). Three-quarters of the 1,500 families who became certified for fostering children in 2020 have come through Every Child.

“Evangelicals look at Oregon and say this is where God goes to die,” says Mr Sand. But having no cultural power can be helpful to the spiritual message, he says. “The best thing for the evangelical movement is for it to lose its cultural influence, because only in that context of humility, of going back to what matters most in the ethics of Jesus, will the church find its soul again.” The detachment of faith from right-wing politics appeals to Fariborz Pakseresht, director of the state’s DHS: “Perhaps this is what true Christianity looks like.”

Mr Sand says evangelicals need a more biblical definition of Christian victory, one that is not political. He and many of his millennial friends voted Democrat and he says that does not define them. Millennial evangelicals are no less socially conservative but many are less political. They are more racially diverse, care more about racial justice, immigration and climate change. The old battlegrounds such as gay marriage interest them less. “We lost the culture wars. I’m not fighting for a power I never had,” says John Mark Comer, an influential young pastor in Portland.

Mr Jones of PRRI says there are few signs yet that these shifts are filtering through into voting patterns. White evangelical backing for Republican presidential candidates has hovered around 75-80% for decades, he says. Even conservatives who did not like Mr Trump still voted for him. But he points to one PRRI poll after January 6th that hints at change: it asked if Mr Trump was a true patriot. Among white evangelicals, 66% agreed and 32% disagreed. “What would it mean if the 20% of non-Trump white evangelicals became a third of them?” he muses. “That would be a game-changer.” He is not sure it can happen, however, because modern evangelical culture has become so entwined with Republican power. But after January 6th and Mr Trump’s attempts to overthrow a fair election, says Mr Jones, “If there ever was such an opening this is it.”

Meanwhile, moderate evangelicals across the country, unheard amid the cacophony of cable news, continue to talk about “the radical centre”. “What evangelicals should be doing is calling both Trump and the far left back to the best of the first principles of the American experiment that made America great in the first place,” says Mr Guinness. He points to George Washington’s letter in 1790 to the Hebrew congregation in Rhode Island, whose rabbi had written to ask if the Jewish faith would be protected in the New World. “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship,” replied Washington, before quoting the Old Testament prophet, Micah, saying that “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “Two nations under God”

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Sacha Baron Cohen Mocks Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani at Golden Globes



Sacha Baron Cohen used his two Golden Globe wins on Sunday as an opportunity to further burnish his left-wing activist credentials, taking pot shots at former President Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.

The British star and anti-free speech activist won two Golden Globes for Amazon’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Giuliani made an unsuspecting appearance in the movie in a scene in which he appeared to be unzipping himself and sticking his hands down his pants. The former New York mayor later explained that he was tucking in his shirt and dismissed the scene as a “complete fabrication.”

Watch below: 

Accepting the award for best comedy film, Cohen took a parting shot at Giuliani.

“Thank you to the all white Hollywood Foreign Press,” Cohen said. “I gotta to say this movie could not have been possible without my co-star, a fresh new talent, who came from nowhere, and turned out to be a comedy genius, I’m talking of course about Rudy Giuliani. I mean who can get more laughs out of one unzipping. Incredible.”

Cohen continued the joke, saying that Giuliani went on to “star in a string of comedy films.”

“Hits like Four Seasons Landscaping, Hair Dye of the Day, and the courtroom drama aa a Very Public Fart,” he said.

Later, Cohen made fun of Trump while accepting the award for lead actor in a comedy film.

“Donald Trump is contesting the result,” the actor said, adding that the former president is claiming that “dead people voted … which is a nasty thing to say about HFPA.”

Sacha Baron Cohen has used this year’s Hollywood awards season to advocate for more restrictions on speech by conservatives. The British actor celebrated Twitter’s decision to ban Trump, saying that Silicon Valley tech giants need to crack down further on conservative speech.

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Go big or go home – Donald Trump thrived by painting Democrats as soft on immigration | United States


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Mitch McConnell says he would ‘absolutely’ support Donald Trump in 2024



Less than a month after excoriating Donald Trump in a blistering floor speech, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he would “absolutely” support the former president again if he secured the Republican nomination in 2024.

The Kentucky Republican told Fox News on Thursday there’s still “a lot to happen” between now and the next presidential election.

“I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” Mr McConnell said.

“There’s no incumbent. Should be a wide open race.”

But when directly asked if he would support Mr Trump again were he to win the nomination, Mr McConnell responded: “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”

Mr McConnell’s remarks underscore an awkward balancing act he sought to maintain since Mr Trump lost the election, reflecting the reality that Mr McConnell’s own path back to power in the Senate hinges on enthusiasm from a party base that still ardently supports Mr Trump.

Mr McConnell’s comments come before an annual gathering of conservative activists that this year is expected to showcase Mr Trump’s vice grip-like hold on the GOP base.

Mr Trump, along with most other leading 2024 presidential prospects, are set to address the Conservative Political Action Conference, which will be held in Orlando this year due to coronavirus restrictions.

Mr McConnell, a regular at the annual conference, will not be on the program following his condemnation of Mr Trump.

The 36-year Senate veteran had an expedient relationship with Mr Trump while he was in office. He made a habit of saying little about many of Mr Trump’s outrageous comments.

But together they secured key Senate victories such as the 2017 tax cuts and the confirmations of three Supreme Court justices and more than 200 other federal judges.

Their relationship soured after Mr Trump’s denial of his 3 November defeat and relentless efforts to reverse the voters’ verdict with his baseless claims that Democrats fraudulently stole the election.

It deteriorated further last month, after Republicans lost Senate control with two Georgia runoff defeats they blamed on Mr Trump, followed by the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters.

The day of the riot, Mr McConnell railed against “thugs, mobs, or threats” and described the attack as “this failed insurrection”.

Still, Mr McConnell likes to pride himself on playing the “long game,” which was the title of his 2016 memoir. And his comments on Thursday may yet prove prescient.

Recently, Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, a longtime Trump opponent, predicted the former president would win the nomination if he ran again.

“I don’t know if he’ll run in 2024 or not but if he does I’m pretty sure he will win the nomination,” Mr Romney said during an online forum hosted by the New York Times.

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Golf, sports stars react with messages of support, including Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Jack Nicklaus, Justin Thomas, former president Donald Trump


“I have no doubt in my mind he’ll be back,” Bryson DeChambeau said of Woods. DeChambeau mentioned Ben Hogan, the legendary golfer who overcame a major car crash in 1949 to win six of his nine major championships, and praised Woods as “an amazing human being”.

“Heartbroken and shocked to hear about @Tiger Woods accident today,” DeChambeau tweeted. “My thoughts and prayers are with him for a full recovery.”

Describing the atmosphere in Bradenton as “very quiet,” Xander Schauffele told the Tour’s website, “Everyone I’ve talked to has been in a strange mood due to the news. I was talking to my caddie about the impact he’s had on the game of golf. It’s not good for us, not good for the game of golf. All we can do is hope that he’s fine and has a speedy recovery.”

Woods “means a lot to the game of golf,” said Tony Finau, who finished second in a play-off at the Genesis Invitational and who declared that Woods’s stunning, runaway victory at the 1997 Masters “changed the course of my life”.

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“When I saw the condition of his car, you just hope that he’s OK,” added Finau.

Jon Rahm said he was playing a practice round with Finau when Finau began seeing the news on his phone. “I couldn’t believe it – as if his body hasn’t endured enough,” Rahm said of Woods, whose career was derailed for several years by back surgeries and knee procedures.

“On behalf of the PGA TOUR and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers,” Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. He added that his organisation was “awaiting further information when [Woods] comes out of surgery”.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” said a visibly upset Justin Thomas, who is 18 years younger than Woods but has formed a tight personal bond with him. “You know, it hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right. Just worry for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”

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Thomas was speaking at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship in Florida, where the Tour has arrived after a swing through California that included last week’s Genesis Invitational. In a non-playing capacity, Woods, who is recovering from back surgery he underwent in January, served as the host of the Genesis. The event was held in Pacific Palisades, California, approximately 40 kilometres north of the crash site.

Many current and former PGA players chimed in on Twitter, including Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and a pair of British stars, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

Saying that he and wife, Barbara, were “deeply concerned” about Woods’ condition, Nicklaus tweeted, “We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time.”

Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins has long been chased by Woods, who won his 15th at the 2019 Masters, capping a return to form that thrilled fans and peers alike. “Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery,” Nicklaus wrote.

Mickelson, a longtime competitive rival who has forged a friendship with Woods, tweeted, “We are all pulling for you, Tiger. We are so sorry that you and your family are going through this tough time. Everyone hopes and prays for your full and speedy recovery.”

“We know how tough you are,” tweeted Rose, “we’ve seen it a hundred times. Hoping and praying you’re ok my friend.”

The golfing world is sending its best wishes to Tiger Woods, who was injured in a car crash in Los Angeles.Credit:AP

“Thoughts are with [Woods] and others involved,” Poulter wrote, “wishing a speedy recovery and I hope the injuries are not bad.”

Another golf legend, Gary Player, shared a note in which he said, “I would like to let Tiger and his family know that we are pulling for him in surgery and wishing him a speedy recovery. Prayers that it is not too serious.”

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Former president Donald Trump is unable to tweet from his own account, but through adviser Jason Miller he said, “Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion!”

In an appearance Tuesday evening on Fox News, Trump said it was “tragic” that Woods – whom Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 – suffered this calamity while already trying to recover from another back procedure. “It’s pretty bad on the legs, I understand, and he’ll figure a way – but he’s a wonderful person.”

Other major sports figures added well-wishes, including retired Lakers great Magic Johnson, who tweeted, “Everyone send your prayers out to Tiger Woods! He was just in a bad car accident. Let us all pray for his speedy recovery.”

Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez said on Twitter, “Praying for my brother [Woods] as we all anxiously await more news. Thinking of him and his entire family.”

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps offered prayers, and former Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn – whose romantic relationship with Woods ended approximately six years ago – tweeted, “Praying for TW right now.”

Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Tuesday that Woods was “fortunate to come out of this alive”.

The fact that the golfer was wearing a seat belt helped, they said, as did the safety features of the SUV he was driving. The department also said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was driving while impaired.

Washington Post

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Major setback for Donald Trump as US Supreme Court allows the release of his tax returns


Donald Trump suffered a major setback in his quest to conceal details of his finances as the Supreme Court paves the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain the former president’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation.

Mr Trump has been waging a protracted legal battle to prevent his tax records from being handed over to New York prosecutors investigating hush payments to women and possible fraud.

The nation’s highest court denied the request filed by lawyers for the ex-president without comment, paving the way for the documents to be handed over to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The prosecutor has been fighting for months to obtain eight years of Mr Trump’s tax returns as part of an investigation into the ex-president’s finances.

Former US President Donald Trump.

AP

Monday’s ruling concerns a subpoena that Vance had issued to Mr Trump’s accountants Mazars USA ordering it to furnish documents stretching back to 2011.

“The work continues,” Mr Vance said in a three-word statement issued after the ruling.

Mr Vance’s probe was initially focused on payments made before the 2016 presidential election to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr Trump, including porn star Stormy Daniels.

But the state-level investigation is also now examining possible allegations of tax evasion, and insurance and bank fraud.

Mr Trump, who left the White House last month, did not immediately respond to Monday’s ruling.

In the past, he has called the investigation “the worst witch hunt in US history.”

US presidents are not required by law to release details of their personal finances but every US leader since Richard Nixon has done so.

Mr Trump repeatedly said he would release them pending an audit but ultimately broke with the tradition.

Mr Vance’s investigators have interviewed Mr Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who received a three-year prison term after admitting making hush payments to the two women.

The ex-lawyer had testified to Congress that Mr Trump and his company artificially inflated and devalued the worth of their assets to both obtain bank loans and reduce their taxes.

Civil probe

If Mr Trump were charged and convicted he could face a possible jail term. Unlike federal offenses, state crimes are not subject to presidential pardons.

Investigators also recently interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank, which has long backed the former president and the Trump Organization, US media reported.

They spoke to staff at Mr Trump’s insurance broker Aon, too.

Vance’s investigation is taking place behind closed doors in front of a Grand Jury.

It is unclear if and when it will lead to a prosecution, which would be the first of a former US president.

In July, the Supreme Court rejected Mr Trump’s argument that as a sitting president he was immune from prosecution.

Mr Trump’s lawyers then challenged the scope of the requested documents, saying it was too broad.

Ahead of the 3 November election, The New York Times alleged that Mr Trump had avoided paying federal taxes for 11 out of the 18 years it obtained the returns.

The newspaper also reported that Mr Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, a claim the former president denies.

New York state’s Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud through civil proceedings.

Mr Trump’s legal troubles may not end there.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said that as a civilian Mr Trump “is liable for everything he did while he was in office.”

The US Senate acquitted Mr Trump at his impeachment trial of inciting the crowd that stormed the US Capitol in January, but McConnell suggested Mr Trump could face criminal and civil action over the riot.

In February, prosecutors in Georgia opened an investigation “into attempts to influence” the presidential election in the state.

Mr Trump had pressured officials to overturn his loss in the key battleground.



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