Supreme court rejects Trump's request to keep tax returns from prosecutors – live

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Donald Trump will reportedly tell the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida this week he is the man to drain the Washington swamp – as Republicans’ “presumptive 2024 nominee”.

Trump will address CPAC on Sunday, his subject the future of the Republican party. Citing anonymous sources, the news site Axios has reported his plan to assume the mantle.

Axios quoted an unnamed “longtime adviser” as saying Trump’s speech to the rightwing event would be a “show of force” with the message: “I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I’m still in charge.”

A named source, close Trump adviser Jason Miller, said: “Trump effectively is the Republican party. The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you’re attacking the Republican grassroots.”

Thousands have left the Republican party since the Capitol attack of 6 January, which Trump incited in his attempt to overturn an election defeat he has not conceded, and in which five people including a police officer died.

But polling of those left shows the former president with a clear lead over a range of potential 2024 candidates, both supportive of him and not, in a notional primary contest.

Trump’s grip on the party is clear. On Sunday, for just one example, a key member of GOP House leadership, Steve Scalise, repeatedly refused to say Trump lost the election or bore responsibility for the attack on the Capitol.

Scalise told ABC News he had visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort.

“I noticed he was a lot more relaxed than in his four years in the White House,” he said. “He still cares a lot about this country and the direction of our country. But, you know, it was a conversation more about how he’s doing now and what he’s … planning on doing and how his family is doing.”

Axios cited an unnamed Trump source as saying some potential 2024 contenders have sought Trump’s endorsement already. Axios’s source reportedly said: “Much like 2016, we’re taking on Washington again.”

Many observers expect Trump to give the impression that he will run again in 2024, but ultimately pass the baton on to a favored candidate. He would be 78 on election day.

Hours after Georgia elected its first-ever Black and Jewish senators, a mob of white Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol. They set up a gallows on the west side of the building and hunted for lawmakers through the halls of Congress.

As he monitored the attack from his home in South Carolina, the local historian Wayne O’Bryant was not surprised. He recognized the 6 January attack as a return to the political playbook of white mob violence that has been actively used in this country for more than a century. Mobs of white Americans unwilling to accept multi-racial democracy have successfully overturned or stolen elections before: in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1898, in Colfax, Louisiana, in 1873 and New Orleans in 1874, and, in Hamburg, South Carolina, in 1876.

O’Bryant, who lives just five miles from the ruins of Hamburg, once a center of Black political power in South Carolina, has become an expert on the 1876 massacre. He has relatives on both sides of the attack: one of his ancestors, Needham O’Bryant, was a Black Hamburg resident who survived the violence, while another, Thomas McKie Meriwether, was a young white man killed while participating in the mob.

O’Bryant has spent years researching how the Hamburg massacre unfolded, and how, despite national media coverage and a congressional investigation, the white killers were never held accountable. Now, he is watching history repeat itself. The attack on the Capitol, he said, was “almost identical” to the way white extremists staged a riot in Hamburg during the high-stakes presidential election of 1876.

The Hamburg attack and other battles successfully ended multi-racial democracy in the south for nearly a century. Black Americans, who had filled the south’s state legislatures and served in Congress after the civil war, were forced out of power, then barred from voting almost altogether, as white politicians reinstituted a full system of white political and economic rule. The south became a one-party state for decades. It would take Black Americans until the 1960s to win back their citizenship.

Now, as Republicans have shut down any attempt to hold Trump and other politicians accountable for inciting the attack, historians like O’Bryant are warning of the known dangers of letting white mob violence go unchecked, and about the fragility of democracy itself.

Read more of Lois Beckett’s interview with O’Bryant here: ‘The past is so present’: how white mobs once killed American democracy