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Paramount+ | Watch Live Sports, News & Originals 8.0.24 by CBS Interactive, Inc.

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Trump’s 2022 Endorsements Are Earlier, Bolder And More Dangerous Than When He Was President

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Almost since the moment of his inauguration, former President Donald Trump has been the kingmaker of the Republican Party. In both the 2018 and 2020 elections, Trump-endorsed candidates won almost every Republican primary they competed in. (Of course, many of Trump’s endorsees were already well on their way to victory, but it was still a hot commodity among candidates, serving as evidence of their pro-Trump bona fides. And in several cases, Trump’s support really did appear to influence the outcomes of primaries.)

Now that Trump is no longer president, however, one of the big questions of the 2022 midterms is what degree of influence he still wields within his party. We won’t really know the answer to that question until next year’s elections get going in earnest. But one thing we already know is that Trump’s endorsement strategy looks pretty different from when he was in office. Here are three patterns we’ve noticed so far:

1. He’s endorsing earlier than usual

First, Trump is endorsing more candidates earlier. So far in the 2022 midterm cycle (as of Dec. 7), he has endorsed 31 candidates in Republican primaries to fill roles in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state governorships. That’s more than double the number of candidates Trump had endorsed by the end of December 2019.

The fact that Trump is endorsing earlier could do a couple of things: One, it could dissuade other Republican challengers when Trump isn’t endorsing them — more on that in a bit — and two, it helps Trump solidify his influence in the party.

On that first point, consider that Trump endorsed Sen. John Kennedy, one of the former president’s top allies, for reelection to his Louisiana Senate seat back in March — 20 months ahead of the state’s November 2022 jungle primary. No Republican has announced their intention to challenge Kennedy, and Trump’s endorsement could keep it that way. Even in crowded fields like the North Carolina Senate race, Trump’s early endorsement of Rep. Ted Budd could signal to the former president’s supporters who the most Trump-aligned candidate is and stop other candidates from gaining traction.

But perhaps most importantly, with Trump no longer in office, his early endorsements are the biggest signal that he has no intention of leaving politics anytime soon. And with recent polling suggesting that Republican voters want Trump to maintain a major role in politics, endorsements could be a key way for him to keep his base engaged.

2. He’s taking more risks with his endorsements

A big reason why Trump-endorsed primary candidates have had such stellar records is that most of them were already heavily favored to win their elections. For example, in the 2020 election, Trump endorsed 113 candidates in GOP primaries for Senate, House and governor — but 21 of them ran completely unopposed, and another 67 were incumbents (who rarely lose renomination). That means Trump endorsed only 25 non-incumbents in contested Republican primaries for those three offices. In other words, only about 22 percent of his 2020 primary endorsements were actually risky.

So far in the 2022 elections, however, Trump has endorsed 15 non-incumbents in contested Republican primaries for these offices — almost half of his total endorsements.

Trump has already endorsed in many GOP primaries

Senate, House and governor candidates who have been endorsed by Donald Trump in 2022 Republican primaries, as of Dec. 7, 2021

Candidate
State
Office
Incumbent?
Incumbent challenger?
Mo Brooks Alabama Senate
Kelly Tshibaka Alaska Senate
Kari Lake Arizona Governor
John Boozman Arkansas Senate
Rick Crawford Arkansas House
Anna Paulina Luna Florida House
Mike Waltz Florida House
Marco Rubio Florida Senate
Herschel Walker Georgia Senate
David Perdue Georgia Governor
Mike Crapo Idaho Senate
Chuck Grassley Iowa Senate
Jerry Moran Kansas Senate
Rand Paul Kentucky Senate
John Kennedy Louisana Senate
Geoff Diehl Massachusetts Governor
Steve Carra Michigan House
Ryan Zinke Montana House
Adam Laxalt Nevada Senate
Virginia Foxx North Carolina House
Ted Budd North Carolina Senate
Max Miller Ohio House
Sean Parnell* Pennsylvania Senate
Henry McMaster South Carolina Governor
Tim Scott South Carolina Senate
Diana Harshbarger Tennessee House
Bill Lee Tennessee Governor
Joe Kent Washington House
Derrick Van Orden Wisconsin House
Ron Johnson† Wisconsin Senate
Harriet Hageman Wyoming House

*Dropped out.
†Has not yet announced his campaign.

The incumbents in Max Miller’s and Geoff Diehl’s races dropped out after Trump endorsed their challengers.

Source: Save America

What’s more, Trump has actively tried to unseat seven incumbent members of his own party: He has endorsed primary challengers to Rep. Liz Cheney, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Fred Upton, and he also endorsed challengers to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez — before both announced they would not seek reelection (decisions that may have been influenced by Trump’s opposition). Opposing the reelection of an incumbent from your own party is quite rare, even for Trump. In 2018 and 2020 combined, Trump endorsed only two candidates who were challenging incumbents: Katie Arrington against Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Kris Kobach against Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer.

These two facts suggest a clear shift in Trump’s endorsement strategy: Instead of trying to pad his win rate by endorsing in a bunch of uncompetitive primaries, he is actively putting his clout on the line more often in hopes of installing more of his loyalists in Congress and governor’s offices — and purging the GOP of his critics. Cheney, Gonzalez, Herrera Beutler and Upton all voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, while Murkowski voted to convict him. Baker and Kemp, as governors, played no role in Trump’s impeachment, but Baker did express support for it, and Kemp earned Trump’s wrath for certifying President Biden’s win in Georgia.

3. He’s endorsing down-ballot candidates, especially in election-administration roles

Finally, not only is Trump endorsing earlier in national races, but he’s also backing candidates in state-level elections, particularly for secretary of state.

Trump has endorsed candidates for secretary of state — a state’s top election official — in Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. This is an unusually niche endorsement for a president to make; Trump didn’t endorse in any secretary of state primaries in 2018, for instance. But the logic here is clear: These three secretaries of state in question refused to overturn the 2020 presidential result in their states, and Trump is now attempting to fill these positions with officials who baselessly think the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

The candidates Trump is backing for these offices are all supporters of the “Big Lie,” or Trump’s unfounded claims that voter fraud cost him the 2020 election. For instance, Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, the Trump-backed secretary of state candidate, believes the 2020 election was unfair and voted against certifying the election. It’s a similar story in Arizona, where Mark Finchem, a current state representative, has continued to call for the decertification of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County. And finally, in Michigan, Kristina Karamo claimed that as a poll challenger she saw fraud during the state’s absentee ballot counting in the 2020 election.

Taken together, Trump’s endorsements so far paint a picture of an ex-president who is eager to maintain his influence within his party — perhaps even paving the way for the (possibly illegitimate) continuation of his own political career. By endorsing early, he’s trying to fill a power vacuum at the head of the GOP caused by his own loss in the 2020 election. And by endorsing in more competitive races, he’s also taking a more active role in ensuring that the direction of the Republican Party remains a Trumpy one. Finally, by trying to replace his critics with those who support the Big Lie, he is trying to create a scenario where a Republican-controlled state government or Congress might refuse to certify a Democratic victory in the 2024 election, potentially returning him to the White House despite losing the election. Such a scenario would trigger a constitutional crisis — but, of course, Trump’s endorsees will first have to win their elections to make this possible. Be sure to stick with us throughout the primary season as we once again track the success rate of Trump’s endorsement in the GOP primaries.

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Woman passenger from UK tests Covid positive at Hyderabad airport

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Hyderabad: A 35-year-old international passenger who reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19 after undergoing an RT-PCR test at the airport itself. The woman passenger had traveled from the United Kingdom, which has been categorised as an ‘At Risk Country’. 

The passenger has been admitted to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) and samples were collected and sent for genetic sequencing. Officials said she did not have any symptoms and that her health condition was being monitored closely. 

According to officials, the woman hails from Rangareddy district and was on a visit to UK from Hyderabad. Though her close relatives tested negative, their health condition is also being monitored. 


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Revealed: how Sidney Powell could be disbarred for lying in court for Trump | US elections 2020

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Sidney Powell, the former lawyer for Donald Trump who filed lawsuits across America for the former president, hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has on several occasions represented to federal courts that people were co-counsel or plaintiffs in her cases without seeking their permission to do so, the Guardian has learned.

Some of these individuals say that they only found out that Powell had named them once the cases were already filed.

During this same period of time, Powell also named several other lawyers – with their permission in those instances – as co-counsel in her election-related cases, despite the fact that they played virtually no role whatsoever in bringing or litigating those cases.

Both Powell’s naming of other people as plaintiffs or co-counsel without their consent and representing that other attorneys were central to her cases when, in fact, their roles were nominal or nonexistent, constitute serious potential violations of the American Bar Association model rules for professional conduct, top legal ethicists told the Guardian.

Powell’s misrepresentations to the courts in those particular instances often aided fundraising for her nonprofit, Defending the Republic. Powell had told prospective donors that the attorneys were integral members of an “elite strike force” who had played outsized roles in her cases – when in fact they were barely involved if at all.

A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020.
A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Powell did not respond to multiple requests for comment via phone, email, and over social media.

The State Bar of Texas is already investigating Powell for making other allegedly false and misleading statements to federal courts by propagating increasingly implausible conspiracy theories to federal courts that Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States was illegitimate.

The Texas bar held its first closed-door hearing regarding the allegations about Powell on 4 November. Investigations by state bar associations are ordinarily conducted behind closed doors and thus largely opaque to the public.

A federal grand jury has also been separately investigating Powell, Defending the Republic, as well as a political action committee that goes by the same name, for fundraising fraud, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.

Among those who have alleged that Powell falsely named them as co-counsel is attorney Linn Wood, who brought and litigated with Powell many of her lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the election with her, including in the hotly contested state of Michigan.

The Michigan case was a futile attempt by Powell to erase Joe Biden’s victory in that state and name Trump as the winner. On 25 August, federal district court Judge Linda Parker, of Michigan, sanctioned Powell and nine other attorneys who worked with her for having engaged in “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” in bringing the case in the first place. Powell’s claims of election fraud, Parker asserted, had no basis in law and were solely based on “speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion”.

Parker further concluded that the conduct of Powell, Wood, and the eight other attorneys who they worked with, warranted a “referral for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment to the appropriate disciplinary authority for each state … in which each attorney is admitted”.

Wood told the court in the Michigan case that Powell had wrongly named him as one of her co-counsel in the Michigan case. During a hearing in the case to determine whether to sanction Wood, his defense largely rested on his claim that he had not been involved in the case at all. Powell, Wood told the court, had put his name on the lawsuit without her even telling him.

A man holds a sign reading "The dead cannot vote" at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Trump supporters attend a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, where Sidney Powell spoke on efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Wood said: “I do not specifically recall being asked about the Michigan complaint … In this case obviously my name was included. My experience or my skills apparently were never needed, so I didn’t have any involvement with it.”

Wood’s attorney, Paul Stablein, was also categorical in asserting that his client had nothing to do with the case, telling the Guardian in an interview: “He didn’t draft the complaint. He didn’t sign it. He did not authorize anyone to put his name on it.”

Powell has denied she would have ever named Wood as a co-counsel without Wood’s permission.

But other people have since come forward to say that Powell has said that they were named as plaintiffs or lawyers in her election-related cases without their permission.

In a Wisconsin voting case, a former Republican candidate for Congress, Derrick Van Orden, said he only learned after the fact that he had been named as a plaintiff in one of Powell’s cases.

“I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission,” Van Orden said in a statement he posted on Twitter, “To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.”

Jason Shepherd, the Republican chairman of Georgia’s Cobb county, was similarly listed as a plaintiff in a Georgia election case without his approval.

In a 26 November 2020 statement, Shepherd said he had been talking to an associate of Powell’s prior to the case’s filing about the “Cobb GOP being a plaintiff” but said he first “needed more information to at least make sure the executive officers were in agreeing to us being a party in the suit”. The Cobb County Republican party later agreed to remain plaintiffs in the case instead of withdrawing.

Leslie Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut Law School, said in an interview: “Misrepresentations to the court are very serious because lawyers are officers of the court. Bringing a lawsuit in someone’s name when they haven’t consented to being a party is a very serious misrepresentation and one for which a lawyer should expect to face serious discipline.”

Nora Freeman Engstrom, a law professor at Stanford University, says that Powell’s actions appear to violate Rule 3.3 of the ABA’s model rules of professional misconduct which hold that “a lawyer shall not knowingly … make a false statement of fact of law to a tribunal”.

Since election day last year, federal and state courts have dismissed more than 60 lawsuits alleging electoral fraud and irregularities by Powell, and other Trump allies.

Shortly after the election, Trump named Powell as a senior member of an “elite strike force” who would prove that Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential race because the election was stolen from him. But Trump refused to pay her for her services. To remedy this, Powell set up a new nonprofit called Defending the Republic; its stated purpose is to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”.

As a nonprofit, the group is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of “dark money” and donors are legally protected from the ordinary requirements to disclose their identities to the public. Powell warned supporters that for her to succeed, “millions of dollars must be raised”.

Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, Powell told prospective donors that Defending the Republic had a vast team of experienced litigators.

Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Among the attorneys who Powell said made up this “taskforce” were Emily Newman, who had served Trump as the White House liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security. Newman had been a founding board member of Defending the Republic.

But facing sanctions in the Michigan case, some of the attorneys attempted to distance themselves from having played much of a meaningful role in her litigation.

Newman’s attorney told Parker, the judge, that Newman had “not played a role in the drafting of the complaint … My client was a contract lawyer working from home who spent maybe five hours on this matter. She really wasn’t involved … Her role was de minimis.”

To have standing to file her Michigan case, Powell was initially unable to find a local attorney to be co-counsel on her case but eventually attorney Gregory Rohl agreed to help out.

But when Rohl was sanctioned by Parker and referred to the Michigan attorney disciplinary board for further investigation, his defense was that he, too, was barely involved in the case. He claimed that he only received a copy of “the already prepared” 830-page initial complaint at the last minute, reviewed it for “well over an hour”, while then “making no additions, decisions or corrections” to the original.

As with Newman, Parker, found that Rohl violated ethics rules by making little, if any, effort to verify the facts of the claims in Powell’s filings.

In sanctioning Rohl, the judge wrote that “the court finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that Rohl read an 830-page complaint in just ‘well over an hour’ on the day he filed it. So, Rohl’s argument in and of itself reveals sanctionable conduct.”

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