Donald Trump has fallen out with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and is refusing to pay the former New York mayor’s legal bills, it was reported, with the president feeling abandoned and frustrated during his last days in office.
Giuliani played a key role in Trump’s failed attempts to overturn the results of November’s presidential election through the courts. The lawyer mounted numerous spurious legal challenges, travelling to swing states won by Joe Biden, and spread false claims the vote was rigged.
According to the Washington Post, relations between Trump and Giuliani have dramatically cooled. Trump has instructed his aides not to pay Giuliani’s outstanding fees. The president is reportedly offended by Giuliani’s demand for $20,000 a day – a figure the lawyer denies, but which is apparently in writing. White House officials have even been told not to put through any of Giuliani’s calls.
The apparent breach with Giuliani – one of Trump’s most loyal and sycophantic supporters – has contributed to the president’s sense of isolation and betrayal, aides have suggested.
Trump is reportedly unhappy that members of his inner circle have failed to defend him following last week’s deadly attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters. Many have been silent following Wednesday’s vote in the House of Representatives to impeach Trump for a second time.
Those who have reportedly failed to step up include Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, responsible for indulging Trump’s belief that the election was rigged.
“The president is pretty wound up,” one senior administration official told the Post. “No one is out there.”
Trump’s refusal to pay Giuliani’s bills is another blow to the former federal prosecutor. Giuliani is already under fire for his own alleged role in inciting Trump supporters to storm the Capitol building.
Read more of Luke Hardin’s report here: Trump ‘refusing to pay’ Rudy Giuliani’s legal fees after falling out
One somewhat lighter-hearted bit of fall-out from last week’s events – Macaulay Culkin has joined calls to get Donald Trump’s cameo removed from Home Alone 2.
Culkin replied to a tweet that asked “petition to digitally replace trump in ‘home alone 2’ with 40-year-old macaulay culkin” with the single word: “Sold.” Culkin then followed up by responding “Bravo” to another tweet that contained a comic edit of Trump replaced by empty space.
Trump appears briefly in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York when Culkin, as its hero Kevin, asks him for directions to the lobby of the Plaza hotel, which Trump owned at the time. In an interview with Insider in December 2020, the film’s director Chris Columbus said that Trump “did bully his way into the movie” by insisting he get a role in the film in return for allowing shooting to take place in the hotel.
The finale of Mike Pompeo’s reign at the state department has been as controversial and clamorous as the rest of his 32-month tenure, but it is unclear what traces will remain after he has gone.
The last days of Pompeo have been played out in a blizzard of self-congratulatory tweets, at the rate of two dozen a day, as he seeks to write his own first draft of history.
The former Kansas congressman, with evident ambitions for a presidential run in 2024, has accented his claims of success by frequent derogatory references to the previous administration, portrayed as hapless appeasers.
Some of the tweets have been factually incorrect, for example blaming Barack Obama for an arms control treaty that was signed by Ronald Reagan.
Other claims are contradictory, like his insistence the US has restored deterrence against Iran, alongside his allegation that Tehran is a greater threat than ever. On Tuesday, he called Iran “the new Afghanistan”, alleging – without evidence – that it has become al-Qaida’s hub of operations.
While Iran’s economy has been successfully pummelled by sanctions, as Pompeo points out, its stockpile of low-enriched uranium is now more than 12 times greater than it was when Pompeo took up the job of US secretary of state in 2018.
“If the real economic duress US sanctions put on Tehran has increased or least failed to stop the very activities that policy was meant to reverse, it’s a matter of having made an impact without delivering a favourable outcome,” Naysan Rafati, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, said.
Similarly, Pompeo argues that Donald Trump’s summits with Kim Jong-un led to a lull in nuclear warhead and long-range missile testing. But he does not mention that Kim has declared an end to that moratorium, and is now set to have a substantially bigger arsenal than when he began meeting Trump.
The portrait Pompeo has painted of Trump’s America has been in dramatic contrast to recent events. Two days after Congress came under an unprecedented violent attack by a mob egged on by Trump, Pompeo blithely tweeted: “Being the greatest country on earth is not just about our incredible economy & our strong military; it’s about the values we project out into the world.”
Read more of Julian Borger’s analysis here: The last days of Pompeo: secretary of state lashes out as reign comes to an end
The son of Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby has strongly condemned insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol last week wearing or brandishing symbols of the Marvel superhero, saying his father would have been “absolutely sickened” by the sight.
In a statement issued to CNN reporter Jake Tapper, Neal Kirby, 72, said he was “appalled and mortified” to see Trump supporters dressed in Captain America costumes or displaying his iconic star shield on 6 January. His father Jack, along with Joe Simon, created Captain America in 1941, with the comic’s first issue famously showing the superhero punching Adolf Hitler in the face.
“Captain America has stood as a symbol and protector of our democracy and the rule of law for the past 79 years,” Kirby wrote. “He was created by two Jewish guys from New York who hated Nazis and hated bullies. Captain America stood up for the underdog and, as the story was written, even before he gained his strength and process from Army scientists, always stood for what was righteous, and never backed down.”
While watching footage of the storming of the Capitol on 6 January, he wrote, “I thought I noticed someone in a Trump/Captain America T-shirt! I was appalled and mortified. I believe I even caught a quick glance of someone with a Captain America shield. A quick Google search turned up Trump as Captain America on T-shirts, posters, even a flag!
“These images are disgusting and disgraceful. Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump. Where Captain America is selfless, Trump is self-serving. Where Captain America fights for our country and democracy, Trump fights for personal power and autocracy. Where Captain America stands with the common man, Trump stands with the powerful and privileged. Where Captain America is courageous, Trump is a coward. Captain America and Trump couldn’t be more different.”
Read more of Sian Cain’s report here: Captain America creator’s son hits out at Capitol mob’s use of superhero imagery