Donald Trump Announces 2016 White House Bid

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Trump to hold first public 2024 campaign event in South Carolina
Former U.S. president announced his latest run for office in November

Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Meg Kinnard
Published Jan 12, 2023 • 2 minute read

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump is planning to hold the first public campaign event of his 2024 White House bid in the early-voting state of South Carolina.


Campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung told The Associated Press on Thursday that Trump will visit South Carolina later this month. No other details were immediately announced.


Since announcing his latest presidential run in November, Trump has limited his public campaign appearances to events at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida before an invited crowd or in a virtual setting.

The South Carolina visit, first reported by Politico, comes as Trump’s campaign has faced criticism, even among some longtime allies, for its low profile since the announcement.

Trump remained popular in South Carolina throughout his term in office after his decisive 2016 primary victory in the state helped cement his status atop a wide field of rivals. Heading into the 2024 campaign, it’s unclear how broad his support is in the state, although he has at least one high-level backer among the South Carolina’s GOP leadership.


The night that Trump announced his 2024 bid, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster — who, as lieutenant governor in 2016 was the first statewide-elected official in the country to endorse Trump — said he would again support the former president.

A spokesman for McMaster’s campaign didn’t immediately return a message Thursday regarding whether the governor would attend Trump’s event or was part of the planning for it. The governor’s spokesman said he would wait for an official announcement from the Trump campaign to comment.

Trump’s visit to South Carolina comes as two of the state’s top Republicans mull 2024 bids of their own.

Nikki Haley, a former governor and onetime U.N. ambassador, said she would take the holiday season to consider a White House campaign, though she told the AP in 2021 that she wouldn’t seek the presidency if Trump were already in the race.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, recently reelected to what he has said will be his final Senate term, has been making visits in other early-voting states and launched a political action committee that could become a presidential campaign vehicle.

— Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.
 

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Trump says his campaign talking with Meta about possible return to Facebook: Fox News
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Published Jan 18, 2023 • 1 minute read

Former U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that his campaign was in talks with Meta Platforms about a possible return to Facebook and Instagram, two years after the company banned him for inciting violence.


“We are talking to them, and we’ll see how it all works out,” Trump said, according to the report.


“If they took us back, it would help them greatly, and that’s OK with me,” he said. “But they need us more than we need them.”

Meta declined to comment to Reuters.

Trump launched his bid to regain the presidency in 2024 in November.

Meta, the world’s biggest social media company, is set to make a controversial decision on the future of Trump’s accounts this month.

While Trump has shunned Twitter since its decision in November to restore his account, saying he preferred his own Truth Social platform, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that being back on Facebook “will be an important tool for the 2024 campaign to reach voters.”


Meta revoked Trump’s access to Facebook and Instagram after removing two of his posts during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot, including a video containing false claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.

The company’s independent oversight board ruled later in 2021 that the suspension was justified but objected to its indeterminate nature. In response, Meta committed to reviewing the suspension two years after it began.

“If we determine that there is still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk has receded,” Meta VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg wrote at the time.
 

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Donald Trump mistakes rape accuser for his ex-wife Marla Maples in photo shown at deposition
Author of the article:Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News
Erik Larson
Published Jan 18, 2023 • 3 minute read

Former President Donald Trump mistook a 1980s photograph of New York author E. Jean Carroll, who claims he raped her more than two decades ago, for an image of his ex-wife Marla Maples during a deposition, according to a partially unsealed transcript in Carroll’s defamation suit.


The slip-up during his Oct. 19 testimony could be used by Carroll at trial to undercut the claim by Trump, who denies the rape allegation, that she isn’t his “type.” The testimony was cited by her lawyer Roberta Kaplan in a redacted Jan. 12 filing made public on Wednesday.


Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, in 2019 went public with her claim that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s. She sued Trump for defamation after he called her a liar from the White House. He doubled down in an Oct. 12 post on his Truth Social platform.

“It is a hoax and a lie just like all the other hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years, and while I’m not supposed to say it, I will. This woman is not my type!” Trump said in the post.


But during Trump’s deposition, Kaplan showed Trump the 1987 photograph of him with his then-wife Ivana Trump, chatting and smiling broadly with Carroll and her then-husband at a black-tie party. In the photo, Carroll is looking up at Trump and laughing.

When asked by Kaplan when he’d first seen the photo, Trump at first said he didn’t “know the woman,” but then said, “It’s Marla,” according to the transcript.

“You’re saying Marla is in this photo?” Kaplan asked Trump.

“That’s Marla, yeah,” Trump said. “That’s my wife.”


Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, interjected to correct him. “No, that’s Carroll,” Habba said.

“Oh, I see,” Trump responded.

“The person you just pointed to was E. Jean Carroll,” Kaplan said, according to the transcript.

Trump married Maples six years after the photograph was taken. She gave birth to his daughter Tiffany Trump.


Habba didn’t immediately return a call Wednesday seeking comment.

The implied criticism of Carroll’s appearance is one of several remarks at the centre of her 2019 defamation suit against Trump. Carroll also claims Trump defamed her by saying she fabricated the assault to sell a book and falsely claiming she made similar allegations against other men.

Not Attracted
During the deposition at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the former president repeatedly emphasized that he was not attracted to Carroll. Asked why he felt he should phrase his denial in such terms, he defended his choice of words.

“She’s accusing me of rape, a woman that I have no idea who she is,” Trump said. “It came out of the blue. She’s accusing me of rape — of raping her, the worst thing you can do, the worst charge.”


Kaplan then asked Trump if the point of saying Carroll is not his type is “to persuade people that you didn’t rape her because she wasn’t attractive enough; correct?”

“When I say she’s not my type, I say she is not a woman I would ever be attracted to,” Trump said. “There is no reason for me to be attracted to her. I just — it’s not even meant to be an insult.”

Maples, who was Trump’s second wife, isn’t involved in the matter. She married him at his Plaza Hotel property in Manhattan in 1993. They divorced in 1999. Trump married his current wife, Melania, in 2005, and they have one son, Barron.

Maples attended Ivana Trump’s funeral with her daughter Tiffany.

The case is Carroll v. Trump, 20-cv-07311, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
 

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Three active-duty Marines charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Alanna Durkin Richer
Published Jan 20, 2023 • 3 minute read

A Marine who said he was waiting for “Civil war 2” and two other active-duty members of the military have been charged with participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, authorities said in newly filed court papers.


Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate and Dodge Dale Hellonen were arrested this week on misdemeanor charges after their fellow Marines helped investigators identify them in footage among the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021, according to court papers.


Dozens of people charged in the riot have military backgrounds, but these three are among only a handful on active duty. A Marine Corps officer seen on camera scuffling with police and helping other members of the mob force their way into the Capitol was charged in 2021.

No defense lawyers for the men were listed in the court docket, so it was not immediately clear whether they have attorneys to comment on their behalf.

Their service records show they are all active-duty Marines. Maj. Kevin Stephensen, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, said it is aware of the allegations and “is fully cooperating with appropriate authorities in support of the investigation.”


Coomer, of Indiana, is stationed in Southern California’s Camp Pendleton; Abate, of Virginia, is at Fort Meade in Maryland; and Hellonen, of Michigan, is stationed at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, according to the Marines.

The men spent about 52 minutes inside the Capitol, authorities say. At one point while in the rotunda, they put a red “Make American Great Again” hat on a statue to take pictures with it, according to court papers. Hellonen was carrying a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, authorities said.

Coomer posted photos on Instagram that appeared to be taken inside the Capitol with the caption “Glad to be apart of history,” according to court documents. Days after the 2020 election, he and another person discussed over Instagram message how he believed the election was rigged.


And in late January 2021, he told another person in a message that “everything in this country is corrupt.”

“We honestly need a fresh restart. I’m waiting for the boogaloo,” Coomer wrote in a message detailed in court documents. When asked by the person what’s “a boogaloo,” Coomer responded “Civil war 2,” authorities said.

The boogaloo is an anti-government, pro-gun extremist movement. Its name is a reference to a slang term for a sequel — in this case, a second U.S. civil war. The movement is named after “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” a 1984 sequel to a movie about breakdancing.

Supporters have shown up at protests over COVID-19 lockdown orders and protests over racial injustice, carrying rifles and wearing tactical gear over Hawaiian shirts. The shirts are a reference to “big luau,” a riff on the term “boogaloo” sometimes favored by group members.


During an interview related to his security clearance in June, Abate acknowledged walking through the Capitol with two “buddies,” investigators said. Abate said they “walked around and tried not to get hit with tear gas.”

The trio face charges including illegal entry and disorderly conduct.

Among Jan. 6 defendants with military backgrounds are members of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers, accused of plotting to violently keep President Donald Trump in power. The group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper, was convicted of seditious conspiracy in November.

A Navy reservist from Virginia accused of storming the Capitol was convicted this week on charges that he illegally possessed silencers disguised to look like innocuous cleaning supplies. Hatchet Speed is scheduled to go on trial in his Jan. 6 case later this year.

And a former U.S. Army reservist described by prosecutors as a Nazi sympathizer was convicted of storming the Capitol to obstruct Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who was employed as a security contractor at a Navy base, was sentenced to four years in prison in September.

Nearly 1,000 people have been charged so far in the riot and the tally increases by the week. Almost 500 people have pleaded guilty to riot-related charges and more than three dozen have been convicted at trial.
 

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Judge fines Donald Trump, lawyer for 'frivolous' lawsuit against Hillary Clinton
Ruling required former U.S. president and his attorney to pay nearly $938,000 to defendants

Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jill Colvin
Published Jan 20, 2023 • 1 minute read

NEW YORK — A Florida Judge sanctioned former U.S. President Donald Trump and one of his attorneys Thursday, ordering them to pay nearly $1 million for filing what he said was a bogus lawsuit against Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton and others.


In a blistering filing, U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks accused Trump of a “pattern of abuse of the courts” for filing frivolous lawsuits for political purposes, which he said “undermines the rule of law” and “amounts to obstruction of justice.”


“Here, we are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” he wrote.

Citing Trump’s recent legal action against the Pulitzer Prize board, New York Attorney General Letitia James, big tech companies and CNN, he described Trump as “a prolific and sophisticated litigant” who uses the courts “to seek revenge on political adversaries.”


“He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process,” he wrote.

The ruling required Trump and his attorney, Alina Habba, to pay nearly $938,000 to the defendants in the case.

A spokesman for Trump and Habba did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.

Middlebrooks in September dismissed the suit Trump had filed against Clinton, former top FBI officials and the Democratic Party, rejecting the former president’s claims that they and others conspired to sink his winning presidential campaign by alleging ties to Russia.

The lawsuit had named as defendants Clinton and some of her top advisers, as well as former FBI Director James Comey and other FBI officials involved in the investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had coordinated with Russia to sway the outcome of the election.

He said then the suit contained “glaring structural deficiencies” and that many of the “characterizations of events are implausible.”
 

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Man who propped feet on Nancy Pelosi's desk guilty in Jan. 6 case
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Michael Kunzelman
Published Jan 23, 2023 • 4 minute read
Richard Barnett, an Arkansas man who was photographed with his feet on a desk in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, arrives at federal court in Washington, Jan. 10, 2023.
Richard Barnett, an Arkansas man who was photographed with his feet on a desk in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, arrives at federal court in Washington, Jan. 10, 2023. PHOTO BY MANUEL BALCE CENETA /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — An Arkansas man who propped his feet up on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the U.S. Capitol riot was convicted on Monday of joining a mob’s attack on the building two years ago.


A jury deliberated for approximately two hours before unanimously convicting Richard “Bigo” Barnett on all eight counts in his indictment, including felony charges of civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding.


Barnett lounging at a desk in Pelosi’s office made him one of the most memorable figures from the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, the day when Congress convened a joint session to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper is scheduled to sentence Barnett on May 3. The judge agreed to let Barnett remain free on certain conditions until his sentencing.

Outside the courthouse after the verdict, Barnett vowed to appeal his conviction, calling it an “injustice.” He noted that the judge had rejected his request to move his trial from Washington to Arkansas.


“This is not a jury of my peers,” he told reporters.

Prosecutors asked the judge to jail Barnett while he awaits sentencing. Justice Department prosecutor Alison Prout said the jury concluded that Barnett took a weapon into Pelosi’s office.

“We can only imagine what would have happened if (Pelosi) had been there at the time,” Prout said.

Barnett, 62, testified last Thursday that he was looking for a bathroom inside the Capitol when he unwittingly entered Pelosi’s office and encountered two news photographers. He said one of the photographers told him to “act natural,” so he leaned back in a chair and flung his legs onto the desk.

A supporter of President Donald Trump sits inside the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protest inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
A supporter of President Donald Trump sits inside the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protest inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
“Did it dawn on you that what you were doing could cause some trouble?” defense attorney Joseph McBride asked Barnett.


“I was just in the moment,” Barnett replied. “I’m just kind of going with the flow at this point.”

Barnett’s decision to testify was “unequivocally the right one,” his lawyer told reporters after the verdict.

“He had a story that needed to be told,” McBride said. “People needed to know why he came here, what his intentions were and what he did while he was here.”

Prosecutors said Barnett had a stun gun tucked into his pants when he stormed the Capitol and invaded Pelosi’s office. Barnett was convicted of entering and remaining in restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon — a stun gun with spikes concealed within a collapsible walking stick.

Barnett took a piece of her mail and left behind a note that said, “Nancy, Bigo was here,” punctuating the message with a sexist expletive. The jury convicted of a theft charge for taking the envelope from Pelosi’s office.


Before leaving Capitol grounds, Barnett used a bullhorn to give a speech to the crowd, shouting, “We took back our house, and I took Nancy Pelosi’s office!” according to prosecutors.

Videos support Barnett’s testimony that a crowd pushed him into the Capitol as he approached an entrance, causing him to briefly fall to his knees as he crossed the threshold.

“We have no choice!” he shouted repeatedly as he entered the Capitol.

After police ordered him and others to leave Pelosi’s office, Barnett realized he had left his American flag behind. Body camera video captured Barnett shouting at a police officer in the Rotunda for help in retrieving the flag.

More than 940 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan.6 attack. Nearly 500 of them have pleaded guilty. Barnett is one of several dozen Capitol riot defendants whose case has gone to trial.


Barnett is a retired firefighter from Gravette, Arkansas. He said he regrets coming to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally where then-President Donald Trump addressed a crowd of supporters.

“Two years of lost life. Misery for my family,” he said.

While on house arrest last year, Barnett raised money by charging donors $100 for photos of him with his feet on a desk.

A prosecutor told jurors during the trial’s opening statements that Barnett planned the trip for weeks and came prepared for violence.

McBride told jurors that Barnett was just a “crazy guy from Arkansas” who didn’t hurt anybody on Jan. 6 and couldn’t have harmed anybody with the stun gun device because it was broken that day. McBride sarcastically called it “the most famous trespass case of all time.”

Prosecutors said Barnett had a history of arming himself at political demonstrations. In July 2020, they said, a 911 caller reported that a man matching Barnett’s description had pointed a rifle at her during a “Back the Blue” rally.

“Law enforcement ultimately closed the investigation as unfounded due to unresolved apparent discrepancies in the evidence,” prosecutors wrote.

In November 2020, police were called to a “Save the Children” rally when a caller said Barnett was carrying a gun at the protest and acting suspiciously.
 

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'Diamond' of pro-Trump commentary duo dies of heart disease
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Hannah Schoenbaum
Published Jan 24, 2023 • 2 minute read

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lynette Hardaway, a zealous supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump whose death had prompted widespread speculation over its cause, died earlier this month of a heart condition, according to a death certificate obtained Monday by The Associated Press.


Known by the moniker “Diamond” of the conservative political commentary duo Diamond and Silk, Hardaway, 51, died Jan. 8 of heart disease due to chronic high blood pressure.


Hardaway and her sister, Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, found internet stardom as Black women who ardently backed Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. After making several campaign appearances with the former president, the two leveraged their notoriety to land regular commentator roles at Fox News. Their promotion of coronavirus falsities eventually got them dropped, but they landed at the far-right cable and digital media platform Newsmax.

The cause of Hardaway’s death, which was not released by the family, had become a topic of widespread speculation. A torrent of social media users suggested COVID-19 was to blame.


Many of the posts were based on an unsourced, and since-deleted, online report from November that claimed Hardaway had been hospitalized with COVID-19. Both Diamond and Silk vehemently denied that the virus had put Hardaway in the hospital.

COVID-19 was not listed as a cause or contributing factor on her death certificate, which was provided to the AP by the Hoke County Register of Deeds and was signed by a local doctor. No autopsy was performed.

A memorial ceremony held in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and streamed online Saturday renewed speculation when Richardson suggested her sister’s death was somehow linked to the COVID-19 vaccine. She insinuated Hardaway may have been “poisoned” by another person who had been vaccinated, amplifying the false notion that recipients can affect those around them.


At the memorial, Richardson mentioned people “dying suddenly,” a reference that has become shorthand among some anti-vaccine activists for deaths they say were caused by COVID-19 shots, despite studies showing the vaccines are safe and effective.

Joined on stage at the memorial by Trump, Richardson said her sister died after returning to her North Carolina home from a relative’s birthday celebration. Richardson noticed her sister looking strange and Hardaway suddenly said: “I can’t breathe,” Richardson recalled. She and her husband performed CPR on the kitchen floor as they waited for emergency services.
 

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Classified documents found at Mike Pence's home, lawyer says
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jill Colvin
Published Jan 24, 2023 • 4 minute read

NEW YORK (AP) — Documents with classified markings were discovered in former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, his lawyers says, the latest in a string of recoveries of confidential information from the homes of current and former top U.S. officials.


The records “appear to be a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration,” Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, wrote in a letter to the National Archives shared with The Associated Press.


He said that Pence had been “unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence” until a search last week and “understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry.”

The revelation came as the Department of Justice was already investigating the discovery of documents with classification markings in President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware and his former Washington office, as well as former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. Democrat Biden has indicated he will seek reelection, and Republican Pence has been exploring a possible 2024 presidential campaign that would put him direct competition against his former boss.


The newest discovery thrusts Pence, who had previously insisted that he followed stringent protocols regarding classified documents, into the debate over the handling of secret materials by officials who have served in the highest ranks of government.

Trump is currently under criminal investigation after roughly 300 documents with classified markings, including at the top-secret level, were discovered at Mar-a-Lago. Officials are trying to determine whether Trump or anyone else should be charged with illegal possession of those records or with trying to obstruct the months-long criminal investigation. Biden is also subject to a special counsel investigation after classified documents from his time as a senator and in the Obama administration were found at his properties.


Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, reacted to the new development on his social media site: “Mike Pence is an innocent man. He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”

While a very different case, the Pence development could either dilute or increase the attention on Trump and Biden, who have sought to downplay the importance of the discoveries at their homes. The presence of secret documents at all three men’s homes further underscores the federal government’s unwieldy system for storing and protecting the millions of classified documents it produces every year.

Pence’s lawyer, Jacob, said in his letter that the former vice president had “engaged outside counsel, with experience in handling classified documents” to review records stored at his home on Jan. 16 “out of an abundance of caution” after the Biden documents became public.


Jacob said the Pence documents were immediately secured in a locked safe. According to a follow-up letter from the lawyer dated Jan. 22, FBI agents visited Pence’s residence the night of Jan. 19 to collect the documents that had been secured. He was still in Washington at the time.

A total of four boxes containing copies of administration papers —- two in which “a small number” of papers bearing classified markings were found, and two containing “courtesy copies of vice presidential papers” were discovered. Arrangements were made to deliver those boxes to the National Archives Monday.

The National Archives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the discovery, which was first reported by CNN.


A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment Tuesday, and a lawyer for Pence did not immediately respond to an email seeking elaboration.

Pence told the Associated Press in August that he did not take any classified information with him when he left office.

Asked directly if he had retained any such information, he said, “No, not to my knowledge.”

In a January interview with Fox Business, Pence described a “very formal process” used by his office to handle classified information as well as the steps taken by his lawyers to ensure none was taken with him.

“Before we left the White House, the attorneys on my staff went through all the documents at both the White House and our offices there and at the vice president’s residence to ensure that any documents that needed to be turned over to the National Archives, including classified documents, were turned over. So we went through a very careful process in that regard,” Pence said.


A spokesperson for former President Barack Obama referred to a 2022 statement from the National Archives that said the agency took control of all of Obama’s records after he left office and “is not aware of any missing boxes of presidential records from the Obama administration”

Freddy Ford, a spokesperson for former President George W. Bush, told AP that “all presidential records – classified and unclassified – were turned over to NARA upon leaving the White House.”

A spokesperson for Bill Clinton said all classified documents are in NARA custody and there have been no instances of any being found elsewhere since he left office in 2001.

A spokesman said former Vice President Dick Cheney didn’t leave office with classified materials and at no point since have any been discovered.


Mike Pompeo, who served the Trump administration as secretary of state and is mulling his own 2024 GOP presidential bid, said during a stop in South Carolina in late August that the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago “was a deeply politicized use of the FBI.”

Asked by AP if he took any classified material with him after leaving the administration, Pompeo replied, “no,” adding, “No one should have classified information out of the appropriate place for classified information, anytime, full stop, period.”

Public records show Pence and his wife, Karen, bought their seven bedroom, 10,300 square foot home in Carmel, Indiana, in May 2021 — about four months after moving out of the vice president’s residence in Washington. The Indiana property is spread over a five acre lot just north of Indianapolis.