Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Trump urges Republicans to dump Mitch McConnell.

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Trump further blamed McConnell for the party’s loss of two Senate seats in a Georgia runoff election on January 5, handing control of the Senate to Democrats.

Donald Trump urged Republican senators Tuesday to dump Mitch McConnell as their leader in the Senate following his withering criticism of the former US president after his impeachment trial.

In his most extensive comments yet on politics since stepping down from power on January 20, Trump also claimed credit for some Republican gains in the November 3 election and threatened to use his influence against party candidates who don’t align with him.

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“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm,” Trump said in a statement.

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.”

Trump regrets support
The attack came after McConnell said on Saturday that even though he had voted to acquit Trump at his impeachment trial, the former president was nevertheless “practically and morally responsible” for the January 6 storming of the US Capitol.

After 50 Democratic senators and seven Republicans voted that Trump was guilty — a majority in the 100-seat Senate, but not the two-thirds needed for a conviction — McConnell let loose, excoriating Trump for the attack that saw five people die and the halls of the US legislature ransacked by his supporters.

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He called Trump’s actions leading up to the siege, including a White House rally where the then-president urged followers to descend on Congress, “a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”

“These criminals were carrying his banners. Hanging his flags. And screaming their loyalty to him,” McConnell said.

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But Trump blamed the wily veteran lawmaker, who for four years as majority leader kept the Senate aligned with the Republican president, for losing party control of the body.

He claimed credit for McConnell’s own win of another six-year term representing Kentucky in the Senate, where the 78-year-old has served since 1984.

“My only regret is that McConnell ‘begged’ for my strong support and endorsement before the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him,” Trump said.

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“Without my endorsement, McConnell would have lost, and lost badly.”

Trump further blamed McConnell for the party’s loss of two Senate seats in a Georgia runoff election on January 5, handing control of the Senate to Democrats.

Many analysts, however, blame that loss on Trump himself, for his unsettling refusal to accept President Joe Biden’s strong November 3 election victory, based on groundless claims of fraud.

It was that claim, both McConnell and Democrats say, which incited the unprecedented attack on Congress on January 6.

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In another line of personal attack, Trump took aim at McConnell’s wife, Taiwan-born Chinese-American Elaine Chow, who was transportation secretary in Trump’s cabinet but resigned in protest after the January 6 Capitol assault.

“McConnell has no credibility on China because of his family’s substantial Chinese business holdings,” Trump wrote.

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Breaking silence
With his impeachment trial looming, the ex-president had been almost completely silent on politics since moving into his Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida nearly one month ago.

But he used the blast against McConnell to assert his continuing claim to leadership of the Republican party.

He threatened to use his continuing popularity among the Republican base to support any Republican candidates — the next national election is in November 2022 — who support his agenda.

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“If Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” he said.

“Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First.”

“This is a big moment for our country, and we cannot let it pass by using third rate ‘leaders’ to dictate our future!” he added.

Meanwhile, McConnell came under criticism from Biden for his position on the new administration’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 economic relief bill.

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McConnell and other Republicans have declined to endorse the Biden package of stimulus measures, calling it too expensive.

Asked about McConnell’s reported comments that he could unite his party around opposition to the bill, Biden said: “It may unify Republicans but it will hurt America badly.”

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#Newsworthy

Impeachment trial: Donald Trump acquitted.

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Former US president Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Saturday of inciting the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

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A two-thirds majority of the 100 senators was needed at Trump’s impeachment trial for conviction, but it fell short in a 57-43 vote.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict.

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#Newsworthy

Senate votes to prolong Trump’s impeachment trial.

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The move sparked confusion on the Senate floor and it was not immediately clear how many — if any — witnesses would eventually be called to testify.

The US Senate voted Saturday to allow witnesses at the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, a surprise move likely to extend the proceedings, even as the top Republican senator said he would vote to acquit the former president of inciting the deadly January 6 assault on the Capitol.

Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to acquit means Trump is unlikely to be convicted by the Senate of inciting an insurrection by his supporters.

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The second impeachment trial of the 74-year-old former Republican president had been expected to conclude with final arguments and a verdict on Saturday.

But in a surprise move that could potentially prolong the trial for an undetermined time, the lead House impeachment manager, Jamie Raskin, said he wanted to call a Republican lawmaker as a witness.

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“We believe we’ve proven our case,” Raskin said, but he wanted Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler to testify because she can provide an “additional critical piece of corroborating evidence.”

Raskin’s demand prompted a threat by Trump’s defense lawyers to call witnesses of their own, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, and others.

The Senate voted 55-45 to allow witnesses, with five Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues.

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The move sparked confusion on the Senate floor and it was not immediately clear how many — if any — witnesses would eventually be called to testify.

Raskin said he wanted to call Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Washington state, to testify after she released a statement about the events of January 6.

Herrera Beutler was one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump in the House of Representatives.

In her statement, she said Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had called Trump while the attack was ongoing and implored him to call off the rioters.

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“When McCarthy finally reached the president on January 6 and asked him to publicly and forcefully call off the riot, the president initially repeated the falsehood that it was Antifa that had breached the Capitol,” Herrera Beutler said.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 13: Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) wears a protective mask while arriving to the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate approved 55-45 a request to consider calling witnesses in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, a move that may extend the trial. Stefani Reynolds – Pool/Getty Images/AFP

“McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters,” the congresswoman said.

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“That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,’” she said.

– ‘A close call‘ –
Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House on January 13 for inciting the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters, who were seeking to block congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s November 3 election victory.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Trump ally, told reporters he did not think witnesses were necessary.

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“My view remains we don’t need witnesses,” Cruz told reporters. “This is a political theatre.”

He said Democrats did not have the 17 Republican votes needed to convict Trump.

The other Republican senator from Texas, John Cornyn, said calling witnesses could cause the trial to “drag on indefinitely.”

“Kangaroo court anyone?” Cornyn tweeted. “No end in sight.”

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A conviction in the 100-member Senate — which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans — would require a two-thirds majority and appears unlikely in any case after McConnell said he would vote to acquit.

“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and therefore we lack jurisdiction,” McConnell said in an email to his Republican colleagues.

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“The Constitution makes perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in the office can be prosecuted after the President has left office,” he said. “Given these conclusions, I will vote to acquit.”

Trump’s defense lawyers argued on Friday that the former president bears no responsibility for the attack on Congress and wrapped up their presentation in just three hours.

This followed two days of evidence from Democratic impeachment managers centered around harrowing video footage of the mob assault on the Capitol.

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Trump’s defense lawyers called the impeachment unconstitutional and an “act of political vengeance.”

They argued that Trump’s rally speech near the White House that preceded the January 6 attack, when he told supporters to “fight,” was merely rhetorical.

Seeking to turn the table on the Democrats’ powerful use of video evidence, defense lawyers played their own compilations showing Democratic lawmakers at different times using the word “fight.”

House impeachment managers charge that after losing to Biden, Trump deliberately stoked the tension with a campaign of lies claiming there had been mass voter fraud.

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On January 6 he staged a fiery rally near the White House, calling on the crowd to march on Congress, which was in the process of certifying Biden’s victory.

The mob then stormed the Capitol, disrupting the certification. Five people, including a police officer and a woman, shot during the unrest, died in the mayhem.

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#Newsworthy

As Trump’s impeachment trial draws near… | Verdict expected!

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There was little sign of an impending breakdown in the Trump firewall, but the verdict will make many in the party uncomfortable whichever way it goes.

The US Senate was expected to deliver a verdict in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial this weekend after his lawyers argued Friday that the former president bears no responsibility for an attack by supporters on Congress after he failed to win reelection.

Defense lawyers wrapped up their presentation in just three hours, accusing Democrats of persecuting Trump.

This followed two days of evidence from Democratic impeachment managers, centered around harrowing video footage of the mob assault against the Capitol on January 6.

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The Senate was due to reconvene Saturday at 10:00 am (1500 GMT) for debate on whether to allow witness testimony, then closing arguments.

Expectations were that a verdict could be voted the same day, with indications so far that Democrats will not get enough Republican support for a conviction.

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In their arguments Friday, defense lawyer Michael van der Veen called the impeachment unconstitutional and an “act of political vengeance.”

“The Senate should promptly and decisively vote to reject it,” he said.

But Democratic impeachment managers charge that Trump deliberately stoked national tension after losing to Joe Biden on November 3 with a campaign of lies claiming there had been mass voter fraud.

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On January 6 he staged a fiery rally near the White House, calling on the crowd to march on Congress, which was in the process of certifying Biden’s victory.

The mob then charged the Capitol building, disrupting the certification. Five people, including a police officer and a woman shot during the unrest, died as a result of the mayhem.

Impeachment managers say Trump, who has never expressed remorse for his encouragement of the violent crowd, is so dangerous that he should be barred from holding office again.

It would take a two-thirds majority to convict, meaning 17 Republicans would need to join the Senate’s 50 Democrats.

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Although Trump looks set for acquittal, even a few Republican votes against him would leave a historic mark on his presidency, fueling civil war within his party over whether to pursue his populist, divisive vision or return to more moderate values.

‘Hypocrisy’ from Trump’s accusers
The former president’s lawyers argued that his rally speech on January 6, when he told supporters to “fight,” was merely rhetorical.

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They also argue that the Democrats’ true aim is to remove him from the political scene.

“Let us be clear: this trial is about far more than president Trump,” defense lawyer Bruce Castor said.

“It is about canceling 75 million Trump voters, and criminalizing political viewpoints. That is what this trial is really about.”

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Seeking to turn the table on the Democrats’ powerful use of video evidence, defense lawyers played their own compilations showing Democratic lawmakers at different times using the word “fight.”

Democratic senators, along with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were among those shown using the word in past speeches and on television.

“Please, stop the hypocrisy,” Trump’s lawyer David Schoen said.

Trump ‘inflamed’ and ‘incited’
The video footage at the heart of the impeachment managers’ case showed the crowd in the Capitol on January 6 hunting down opponents of Trump as senior figures, including then vice president Mike Pence, fled for safety.

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Schoen mocked the video as “an entertainment package” and said Trump could not possibly be held responsible for the actions of the demonstrators.

But lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin pointed out that the Republican leader had been encouraging extremism even in the lead-up to Election Day by constantly undermining public faith in the election process.

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“This pro-Trump insurrection did not spring out of thin air,” Raskin said. “This was not the first time Donald Trump had inflamed and incited a mob.”

He said it was imperative the Senate convict Trump and bar him from running for the White House again in 2024 or face the risk of the same kind of behavior being repeated.

“Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?”

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Biden ‘anxious’
Earlier, Biden told reporters at the White House that he was “anxious to see what my Republican friends do, if they stand up,” when it comes to the verdict.

There was little sign of an impending breakdown in the Trump firewall, but the verdict will make many in the party uncomfortable whichever way it goes.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said evidence shown by House managers was “powerful,” but reporters spotted a draft statement from him on Friday that indicated he would be voting for acquittal.

Other Republican senators have clearly already made up their minds and do not intend to break with Trump, who has threatened to derail their careers should they back impeachment.

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“The ‘Not Guilty’ vote is growing,” tweeted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri told NoRM‘s known Media the trial was “totally illegitimate.”

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#Newsworthy

House weighs Guantanamo prison shutdown.

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The Biden administration has not made Guantanamo one of its top early priorities as it grapples with the pandemic and its economic fallout at home and other global challenges.

The Biden administration has launched a formal review of the future of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reviving the Obama-era goal of closing the notorious facility, a White House official said on Friday.

Aides involved in internal discussions are considering an executive action to be signed by President Joe Biden in coming weeks or months, two people familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency, signalling a new effort to remove what human rights advocates have called a stain on America’s global image.

Such an initiative, however, is unlikely to bring down the curtain anytime soon on the high-security prison located at the Guantanamo Naval Station, due largely to the steep political and legal obstacles that the new administration will face.

Set up to hold suspects following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the offshore jail came to symbolise the excesses of the US “war on terror” because of harsh interrogation methods that critics say amounted to torture.

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“We are undertaking an NSC process to assess the current state of play that the Biden administration has inherited from the previous administration, in line with our broader goal of closing Guantanamo,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne told Reuters.

“The NSC will work closely with the departments of defence, state and justice to make progress toward closing the GTMO facility, and also in close consultation with Congress,” she added.

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The immediate impact of a new approach could be to reinstate, in some form, the Guantanamo closure policy of Biden’s old boss, former President Barack Obama, which was reversed by Donald Trump as soon as he took office in 2017.

Trump kept the prison open during his four years in the White House – though he never loaded it up with “bad dudes,” as he once vowed. Now, 40 prisoners remain, most held for nearly two decades without being charged or tried.

The Biden administration has not made Guantanamo one of its top early priorities as it grapples with the pandemic and its economic fallout at home and other global challenges.

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In contrast, Obama made the closing of Guantanamo one of his first executive orders in 2009 but failed to achieve that goal by the end of his second term.

The Biden administration has launched a formal review of the future of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, reviving the Obama-era goal of closing the controversial facility, a White House official said on Friday [File: Mike Theiler/Reuters]

Shutting the facility has been a longtime demand of progressive Democrats, whose support helped Biden win the White House in November.

The prison’s continued existence, critics say, is a reminder to the world of harsh detention practices that opened the United States to accusations of torture.

It is also a stark example of how racist-fuelled suspicion of Black and brown men is causing the disproportionate monitoring and suspicion of acts of terrorism.

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More than a hundred human rights organisations signed a February 2 letter to Biden calling on him to close the prison and end the indefinite detention of suspects held there, saying it was long past time for “a meaningful reckoning with the full scope of damage that the post-9/11 approach has caused”.

“Guantanamo continues to cause escalating and profound damage to the men who still languish there, and the approach it exemplifies continues to fuel and justify bigotry, stereotyping and stigma,” according to the letter. “Guantanamo entrenches racial divisions and racism more broadly, and risks facilitating additional rights violations.”

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#Newsworthy

Impeachment trial: Trump’s lawyer ‘first in defense case.’

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Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri echoed the argument by Trump’s defense lawyers that it is unconstitutional to try a former president.

Lawyers for Donald Trump expect to take just a few hours Friday to argue for acquittal in his impeachment trial, and President Joe Biden says he’s “anxious” to see how Republicans will vote after searing testimony that the former president incited insurrection.

“I’m just anxious to see what my Republican friends do, if they stand up,” Biden said at the White House.

So far, there is no sign that enough Republicans will join the Democrats to convict Trump, who retains heavy influence over the right-wing of the party after leaving office.

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Democratic impeachment managers rested their case Thursday after two days of often emotional presentations.

But in a sign that they want to get to a Senate vote as quickly as possible, Trump’s lawyers say they will use as little as three or four hours to state their own case, when under the rules they are allowed up to 16 hours.

“There’s no reason for us to be out there a long time. As I said from the start of this thing, this trial never should have happened,” one of the lawyers, David Schoen, told Fox News.

The team charged Trump with stoking an insurrection after losing re-election to Biden on November 3.

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According to the case against him, the former president began to lay the groundwork for the riot within weeks of refusing to concede with claims that he’d only lost because of mass voter fraud.

On January 6 he staged a fiery rally near the White House, calling on the crowd to march on Congress, which was in the process of certifying Biden’s victory.

The mob then invaded the Capitol building. Five people, including a police officer and a woman shot during the unrest, died as a result of the mayhem.

Impeachment managers insist that Trump, who has never expressed remorse for his encouragement of the violent crowd, is so dangerous he should be barred from holding office again.

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But the former president’s lawyers are set to argue that his speech was rhetorical and that he cannot be held responsible for the actions of the mob.

They also argue that the trial itself is unconstitutional because Trump is now out of office, although the Senate rejected this claim earlier this week.

Biden said Thursday that evidence against his predecessor — including grim, never before seen footage of the January 6 riot — was so strong it could change “some minds” in the Senate.

It would take a two-thirds majority to convict, meaning 17 Republicans would need to join the Senate’s 50 Democrats. This is highly unlikely, but if even a handful of Republicans vote to convict, it would be a historic mark against Trump.

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Trump ‘inflamed’ and ‘incited’
Video footage played by impeachment managers showed the crowd in the Capitol hunting down opponents of Trump as senior figures, including then vice president Mike Pence, fled to safety.

The defense will stress that Trump did not expressly tell his fans to commit violence.

Schoen has mocked the video as a slick product presented as “an entertainment package.”

But lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin pointed out that the Republican leader had been encouraging extremism even in the lead-up to Election Day.

“This pro-Trump insurrection did not spring out of thin air,” Raskin said. “This was not the first time Donald Trump had inflamed and incited a mob.”

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He said it was imperative the Senate convict Trump and bar him from running for the White House again in 2024.

“Is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he’s ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?” Raskin asked.

“Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?”

‘Not guilty’
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said video evidence shown by House managers was “powerful”, but “how that influences final decisions remains to be seen.”

Other Republican senators have clearly already made up their minds and do not intend to break with Trump, who has threatened to derail their careers should they back impeachment.

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“The ‘Not Guilty’ vote is growing after today,” tweeted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “I think most Republicans found the presentation by the House Managers offensive and absurd.”

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri echoed the argument by Trump’s defense lawyers that it is unconstitutional to try a former president.

“You’re not going to get anything but condemnation from me for what happened with those criminals at the Capitol on January 6,” Hawley told Fox News.

“But that doesn’t make the trial any more legitimate than it is, which is totally illegitimate.”

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#Newsworthy

Biden begins destroying Trump’s asylum policy ‘remains in Mexico’

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The program was part of Trump’s hardline plan to fight illegal immigration, one of the hallmarks of his administration and which included efforts to build a border wall and the policy which separated children from thousands of migrant families.

Asylum seekers forced to remain in Mexico while their cases are being resolved in the United States will begin to be admitted into the US as of next week, President Joe Biden’s administration announced Friday.

Biden instructed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier this month to take action to end the controversial “Remain in Mexico” program put in place by his predecessor Donald Trump.

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It saw tens of thousands of non-Mexican asylum seekers — mostly from Central America — sent back over the border pending the outcome of their asylum applications, creating a humanitarian crisis in the area, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Beginning on February 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin phase one of a program to restore safe and orderly processing at the southwest border,” the agency announced in a statement.

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It said there are approximately 25,000 active cases still. Candidates will be tested first for the coronavirus, a senior DHS official who asked not to be identified told reporters.

At least 70,000 people were returned to Mexico under the agreement from January 2019, when the program began to be implemented, through December 2020, according to the NGO American Immigration Council.

US authorities emphasized that they are working closely with the Mexican government and with international organizations and NGOs at the border.

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DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas, who is the first Latino and the first immigrant to head the department, stressed that Washington is committed to “rebuilding a safe, orderly and humane immigration system.”

“This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values,” Mayorkas said in a statement.

The program was part of Trump’s hardline plan to fight illegal immigration, one of the hallmarks of his administration and which included efforts to build a border wall and the policy which separated children from thousands of migrant families.

After Biden took office on January 20, his administration announced that it would reverse the most controversial measures and created a task force to reunite families that remain separated, a policy his administration has termed a “national shame.”

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On the day Biden was inaugurated, the DHS announced the suspension of new registrations in the “Remain in Mexico” program and asked all those enrolled to stay where they are while waiting to be informed about their cases.

Washington said Friday that those waiting “should not approach the border until instructed to do so.”

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#Newsworthy

N.Y Police remove barriers from Trump’s Tower.

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Since leaving the White House, Trump has moved to his resort at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, which he made his official residence at the end of 2019.

New Yorkers walking down Fifth Avenue in recent years have become used to navigating security barriers outside Trump Tower. Now, there’s more space on the sidewalk.

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The barricades that went up after Donald Trump won the presidential election in November 2016 have been removed, New York police confirmed on Thursday.

Police had already reduced their presence around Trump’s New York home, located between 56th and 57th street, following President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Last Friday, “In partnership with the US Secret Service, the decision was made to remove the barriers around Trump Tower,” an NYPD spokesman told AFP.

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Since leaving the White House, Trump has moved to his resort at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, which he made his official residence at the end of 2019.

But his company the Trump Organization, which is headed by his two sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, remains based in the 58-story skyscraper near Central Park.

The spokesman would not say what security has been left in place to protect the Tower or when members of the Trump family visit.

“The NYPD does not discuss security measures,” he said.

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Trump Tower has been the site of many anti-Trump protests over the past four years.

Last summer, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, took great joy in joining with activists to paint a giant Black Lives Matter slogan outside the tower.

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#Newsworthy

Impeachment trial: Prosecutors set to wrap up case against Trump.

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The impeachment managers laid out their case over several hours arguing that the links are clear between Trump, his lies about election fraud, the violence, and the then president’s inaction as the riot unfolded.

Impeachment prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case against ex-president Donald Trump in the US Senate Thursday, backed by chilling footage that showed senior politicians fleeing for their lives during last month’s assault on Congress.

The Democratic impeachment managers will argue for a second day that the riot was deliberately incited by the former president, with an aim of reminding senators, and watching Americans, just how bad things got on January 6.

On Wednesday they walked senators — many of them clearly shaken — through hours of graphic presentations and video, some of which came from security cameras and police bodycams and was being aired for the first time.

The ensuing mayhem left five people dead, including one woman shot after she invaded the Capitol and one policeman killed by the crowd.

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The episode occurred after Trump told a rally near the White House that his failure to win reelection was due to vote rigging, but Trump’s defense lawyers, who will present their arguments later this week, say Trump cannot be personally blamed for the riot and that the entire trial is unconstitutional because he has already left office.

Video played on the Senate floor Wednesday showed then vice president Mike Pence — who was in the Capitol to preside over certification of Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump — being hurried down back stairs to safety by security officers, along with his family.

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Top Democratic senator Chuck Schumer is seen narrowly dodging a rampaging throng of pro-Trump rioters. And Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican who often opposed Trump and was turned into a hate figure by the president, is seen being steered away by an officer at the last moment as an angry crowd approaches.

US President Donald Trump arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on October 14, 2020. – Trumps travels to Des Moines, Iowa, for a Make America Great” rally. (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP)

In another segment, the mob can be seen smashing into the offices of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives and another frequent target of Trump’s most violent rhetoric.

“Nancy, where are you Nancy?” protesters call out as they search, not knowing that eight of her staff were barricaded behind a door in the same corridor. Pelosi herself had already been urgently whisked away.

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“We know from the rioters themselves that if they had found Speaker Pelosi, they would have killed her,” said impeachment manager Stacey Plaskett, a House delegate from the US Virgin Islands.

The impeachment managers laid out their case over several hours arguing that the links are clear between Trump, his lies about election fraud, the violence, and the then president’s inaction as the riot unfolded.

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said Trump “completely abdicated” his duty.

“Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief of a dangerous insurrection,” Raskin said.

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Republicans loyal so far
Holed up in his luxury Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, Trump has been gone from power for three weeks.

But the trial has put the flamboyant and deeply polarizing Republican once more at the center of the national conversation — and underlined his still-powerful hold over the base of the Republican electorate.

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Some Republican senators have expressed disgust with the pro-Trump riot, openly blasted Trump’s refusal to accept defeat to Biden, and acknowledged the compelling case made by the Democrats with the aid of extensive video — an unprecedented development on the Senate floor.

“The evidence that has been presented thus far is pretty damning,” Republican senator Lisa Murkowski said.

“Of course it’s powerful,” Senator Bill Cassidy, who with Murkowski was among six Republicans in supporting the trial’s constitutionality, said of the chilling footage. But “how that influences final decisions remains to be seen.”

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It is highly unlikely that enough Republicans will join the Democrats to secure conviction in the impeachment trial.

This requires a two-thirds majority, meaning 17 Republicans would need to go along with the 50 Democrats.

Forced off Twitter and other social media platforms following his unprecedented attempt to foment a conspiracy theory about his election defeat, Trump has fewer outlets where he can vent.

But it is also believed that advisors are pressing him to keep back, fearing his reappearance could turn Republican senators against him.

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According to US media reports, Trump was privately furious on the trial’s opening day Tuesday at what he saw as his own lawyers’ lackluster performance.

Unlike Trump’s first impeachment trial a year ago, which took three weeks, this one is expected to be over within days.

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#Newsworthy

Twitter boils hot at Trump again.

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Trump was a prolific user of Twitter during his campaign and in his four years at the White House, using the platform for policy announcements

Twitter will not allow former president Donald Trump back on the platform even if he runs for office again, the company’s chief financial officer said Wednesday.

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“The way our policies work, when you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform, whether you’re a commentator, a CFO or a current or former public official,” Ned Segal said in an interview with television network CNBC.

Trump’s “de-platforming” by Twitter came after a violent uprising by his supporters leading to a deadly siege at the US Capitol on January 6. Facebook and other social networks also banned Trump after the incident.

“Our policies are designed to ensure that people are not inciting violence,” Segal said.

“And if anybody does that we would have to remove them from the service and our policies don’t allow people to come back.”

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Trump was a prolific user of Twitter during his campaign and in his four years at the White House, using the platform for policy announcements, to settle scores and for his political campaign.

He had more than 80 million followers when his account was suspended.

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#Newsworthy

Democrats open cases in Trump’s impeachment trial.

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The Trump team will get the same amount of time as the impeachment managers — up to 16 hours divided over two days — to present their defense later.

Democrats present the case against Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial Wednesday, arguing that he directed an enraged crowd to storm Congress in the dying days of his presidency — even if Republicans look unlikely to convict.

Unlike Trump’s first impeachment trial a year ago, which took three weeks, this one is expected to last just days, with lawmakers on both sides keen to move on.

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After a large majority of Republicans voted Tuesday that they consider putting a former president on trial to be unconstitutional, it would take a major surprise for Democrats to obtain the two-thirds majority in the Senate requires for conviction.

But even if Trump looks set for acquittal in the 50-50 Senate, as he was last year, Democrats are presenting a searing case against the populist real estate tycoon, who is holed up in his luxury Florida club.

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Impeachment managers, the equivalent of prosecutors in a regular trial, are expected to take no more than two days to lay out their contention that Trump incited an insurrection when he tried to overturn his November election loss to Joe Biden with a sustained campaign of lies about voter fraud.

On Tuesday they gave a preview, playing a 13-minute compilation of video clips showing Trump stirring up a crowd of supporters on January 6 before a mob rampaged through the halls of Congress, seeking to stop certification of Biden’s victory.

“If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing,” lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said in a speech that riveted watching senators.

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Raskin fought tears as he described going to Congress with his family on January 6, having just buried his 25-year-old son the day before, only to have to flee to safety when the angry pro-Trump crowd burst into the Capitol.

“There was a sound I will never forget: the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram — the most haunting sound I ever heard,” Raskin said, choking up.

Trump lawyers drop ball
Trump is remaining largely and uncharacteristically silent in his Mar-a-Lago retreat. Forced off Twitter and other social media platforms in the wake of his unprecedented attempt to foment a conspiracy theory about his election defeat, Trump has fewer outlets where he can vent.

But it is also believed that advisors are pressing him to keep back, fearing his reappearance would only anger Republican senators.

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According to US media reports, Trump was privately furious on Tuesday at his own lawyers’ performance.

One of the attorneys, Bruce Castor, delivered a rambling, often baffling speech of about 40 minutes that even Trump allies said made no sense.

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The other lawyer, David Schoen, did not defend Trump’s behavior during the post-election period but angrily denounced Democrats and the impeachment process in the kind of high-energy style the former president famously appreciates.

A November 24, 2020 photo shows US President Donald Trump speaking at the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. – Trump’s unprecedented attempt to defy the results of the US election were thrown into fresh disarray November 25, 2020 when he abruptly canceled a trip reportedly meant to showcase his grievances with an appearance at the epic Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

The impeachment trial threatens to “tear this country apart,” Schoen said.

The Trump team will get the same amount of time as the impeachment managers — up to 16 hours divided over two days — to present their defense later.

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Despite leaving office in disgrace — the first president in history to be twice impeached — Trump is still hugely popular among Republican voters, who see him as a champion against Washington elites and a bulwark against rapidly deepening liberal social values.

Because of this, Trump retains considerable power over the party, explaining why so few Republican senators — despite often being openly angry at his behaviour — are willing to convict him.

On Tuesday, just six out of 50 Republican senators voted with the 50 Democrats to confirm that the trial was constitutional and could go ahead.

One of them, Bill Cassidy, said he had previously opposed the trial but changed his mind after hearing the opening presentations.

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He called Trump’s lawyers “disorganized, random. They talked about many things, but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand.”

While the end result seems certain, some doubt remains because the wily Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told members to vote with their conscience — not along party lines.

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#Newsworthy

America faces Donald Trump’s destructive legacy.

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Biden is seeking to rapidly expand vaccine distribution and it is now clear he is preparing to move ahead with trying to pass his $1.9 trillion relief package

In a momentous week, America confronts a new reckoning with the negligent, destructive legacy of Donald Trump.

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The ex-President faces an unprecedented second impeachment trial over a historic insurrection against Congress and an attempt to steal an election that profoundly wounded US democracy. His successor, President Joe Biden, is meanwhile intensifying his national rescue effort from the other crises that Trump left behind, as new viral strains cloud recent good news in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic and with millions of Americans hungry and jobless and out of school.

Nothing is normal about an extreme moment in America’s modern story with a political system assailed by extremism, truth under assault and a country desperate to emerge from a once in a 100-year plague.

One year and four days after then-President Trump was first acquitted by a Republican-led Senate of high crimes and misdemeanors, the now Democratic-steered chamber will sit in judgment again Tuesday, over his seditious summoning of a mob that stormed Congress, in a trial that could last up to several weeks.

The proceeding will restore the full glare of Trump’s compelling but malevolent influence over Washington three weeks after he left office in disgrace and will challenge Biden’s efforts to fully establish his own new presidency.

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Trump has refused to personally step back into the spotlight by testifying in his own defense. But the never-before-seen spectacle of an ex-commander-in-chief being held accountable through impeachment for crimes against the Constitution — even if he’s ultimately acquitted as expected — will be an apt final chapter for a presidency that still threatens to tear the nation apart.

It also seems to mark the culmination of the failure of Trump’s Republican Party to answer for a leader whose bond with grassroots supporters granted him complete impunity and exposed a fatal flaw in the checks and balances of the US political system. A majority of GOP senators have signaled they will yet again punt on Trump’s offenses and take refuge in a questionable constitutional argument that a President impeached while in office cannot be tried as a private citizen.

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Democrats are almost certain to be deprived of the two-thirds majority needed to convict in a presidential impeachment trial and to bar Trump from future federal office. But they plan to lay out a case so damning about the horror inside the Capitol on January 6 that they hope it will forever stain Trump politically and damage the Republicans who defend him.

But the former President’s hold on the GOP was underscored last week when it was left to majority House Democrats to strip conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee slots after a series of inflammatory past statements. “The party is his. It doesn’t belong to anybody else,” the Georgia congresswoman told reporters. The coming days will begin to test whether prolonging the personality cult around the demagogic Trump is a risky long-term bet among the wider, more moderate electorate.

With polls showing increasing public support for Trump’s conviction, the trial could also be an important moment in apportioning wider blame for the Trump presidency and shaping the national politics of the coming years.

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Democrats can “still win in the court of public opinion. That’s why I think the trial remains an important part of our political landscape,” said David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents and a CNN political commentator.

“It’s a chance for Democrats to make the case once and for all that there was no fraud, that Joe Biden was legitimately elected and the people who tried to steal this election are the ones who assaulted the Capitol,” Gergen told CNN’s Ana Cabrera.

Biden criticizes Trump for Covid-19 effort

The sense that America is at a historic and disorientating pivot point is exacerbated by the hopes raised by a decline in new cases of Covid-19 but also fears that new viral variants will dilute the full potential of vaccines that hold the key to ending the disaster.

Biden is seeking to rapidly expand vaccine distribution and it is now clear he is preparing to move ahead with trying to pass his $1.9 trillion relief package without Republican votes, arguing millions of Americans are suffering.

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In his Super Bowl interview on “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” the President stuck to his practice of frank talk about the state of the pandemic while offering optimism of better days to come if America stays united, wears masks and Congress does its part.

“One of the disappointments was — when we came to office, is the circumstance relating to how the administration was handling Covid was even more dire than we thought,” Biden said, again grappling with the legacy of Trump, who downplayed, denied and politicized a virus that has killed more than 463,000 Americans.

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But the President also offered some, albeit distant, hope of a full house at next year’s big game.

“It’s my hope and expectation, if we’re able to put together and make up for all the lost time fighting Covid that’s occurred — that we’ll be able to watch the Super Bowl — with a full stadium,” Biden said.

As the administration heaped pressure on Congress, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that given the scale of the economic crisis, the risks of not acting are worse than the risks of doing something. The US could return to full employment next year if the relief package is passed, Yellen told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” Some Senate Republicans have offered a smaller $600 billion plan to test Biden’s vow of restoring political unity. But the move underscored a deep disconnect in perception between Republicans and Democrats on the magnitude of the economic crisis.

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“The economy has come roaring back, savings rates are at record highs … it is not an economy in collapse,” Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey told Tapper.

“Today, we have serious problems for workers in the restaurant, the hospitality, the travel and entertainment sectors. That’s really a handful of places.”

The US is, meanwhile, in a race against time to build sufficient immunity from vaccines before variants create new viral peaks. A new study shows that a mutation first discovered in the UK, which is more infectious and may be more lethal, is now rapidly spreading in the United States. In another potential blow to hopes of a swift end to the crisis, South African officials said Sunday that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offered only minimal protect against a new variant that originated there.

“It is a pretty big setback,” said Peter Hotez, dean of the National College of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College. While other vaccines may offer more protection against the South African variant, the increasing prevalence of the UK variant in the United States is worrisome, he told CNN “Newsroom.”

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“Even though the number of new cases daily is cut in half, that is the eye of the hurricane and the big wall is going to hit us again, and that is the UK and the South African variant, maybe one or two others will become dominant.”

‘In the Soviet Union, you’d call it a show trial’

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As the virus — and the havoc its wreaked on the economy — continues to pose a serious threat, it’s impeachment that will suck up all the oxygen in Washington this week.

Toomey, who’s not running for reelection in 2022, is a possible vote to convict Trump given his vigorous criticism of his actions on January 6 and attempt to steal an election Biden clearly won. But even he admitted it is unlikely Trump will be convicted.

“I’m going to listen to the arguments on both sides and make the decision that I think is right,” the Pennsylvania Republican said, adding that there was “no place in the Republican Party for people who believe in conspiracy theories like QAnon,” in an apparent allusion to Greene and some other Trump loyalists.

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But Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy slammed Democrats for their swift impeachment of Trump, who is facing a single charge of inciting insurrection, before he left office last month. “There was no process,” Cassidy said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If it happened in the Soviet Union, you would have called it a show trial.”

In the House, 10 Republicans joined Democrats last month in laying down the historic marker of impeaching Trump for a second time. California Rep. Adam Schiff, who was the lead Democratic House impeachment manager during Trump’s first trial last year, defended his colleagues against the “process argument” that the second impeachment of Trump was rushed.

“Every day he remained in office he was a danger to the country. We simply couldn’t sit still and wait for weeks or months while this man posed a danger to the country. So, we did act with alacrity,” Schiff said on “Meet the Press.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, who fought off a bid to strip her of her third-ranking Republican House leadership post last week but was censured by her state party in Wyoming over the weekend, doubled down on her bet that future power in the GOP will rest with those who broke with Trump.

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“Somebody who has provoked an attack on the United States Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral votes, which resulted in five people dying, who refused to stand up immediately when he was asked and stop the violence, that is a person who does not have a role as a leader of our party going forward,” Cheney said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Her remarks underscored the fact that Trump’s trial and the continuing tumult in the Republican Party over his toxic legacy mean that the fight to preserve the traditions of US democracy are far from over even though he left office.

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#Newsworthy

Not enemy, Joe Biden foresees ‘grave rivalry’ with China.

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Trump had chosen open confrontation and verbal attacks, without serious tangible results for the enormous US trade deficit with China.

President Joe Biden anticipates the US rivalry with China will take the form of “extreme competition” rather than conflict between the two world powers.

Biden said in an excerpt of a CBS interview aired Sunday that he has not spoken with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping since he became US president.

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“He’s very tough. He doesn’t have — and I don’t mean it as a criticism, just the reality — he doesn’t have a democratic, small D, bone in his body,” Biden said.

US President Joe Biden makes his way to his vehicle in the snow, after attending Mass at Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Church in Wilmington, Delaware on February 7, 2021. – President Joe Biden anticipates the US rivalry with China will take the form of “extreme competition” rather than conflict between the two world powers.<br />Biden said in a CBS interview aired Sunday that he has not spoken with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping since he became US president. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

“I’ve said to him all along, that we need not have a conflict. But there’s going to be extreme competition,” Biden said.

“I’m not going to do it the way (Donald) Trump did. We’re going to focus on international rules of the road.”

China is considered in Washington as the United States’ number one strategic adversary, and the primary challenge on the world stage.

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Trump had chosen open confrontation and verbal attacks, without serious tangible results for the enormous US trade deficit with China.

Biden has systematically dismantled many of the more controversial measures of the Trump era, while at the same time signaling that the United States will closely look out for its own interests.

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#Newsworthy

Biden Gov’t launches major push for LGBTIQ rights.

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The tough rebukes fueled a backlash in parts of Africa, whose most populous nation Nigeria defiantly pushed through its own draconian law.

President Joe Biden has quickly launched a campaign to support LGBTIQ people abroad, putting their rights higher on the US foreign policy agenda than ever before.

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Elevating a 2011 initiative launched by his former boss Barack Obama — and reversing a turnaround under Donald Trump — Biden is expanding the scope of US efforts on LGBTIQ rights while also adjusting based on lessons learned over the past decade.

In his first foreign policy speech, Biden announced Thursday he was ordering all US government agencies active abroad to promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people and to come up with plans within 180 days.

“All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or whom they love,” Biden said in the presidential memorandum.

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Biden, who plans a dramatic rise in US admissions of refugees, promised greater attention to LGBTIQ asylum seekers, including by ensuring action on urgent cases even when vulnerable people first flee to countries that are less welcoming.

The memorandum said that the United States would also combat discriminatory laws overseas and work to build international coalitions against homophobia and transphobia.

A senior State Department official said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to name a special envoy on LGBTIQ issues.

“I think that when that envoy is appointed, that will help to elevate attention to these issues even further,” the official told AFP.

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Speaking out
The Biden administration has already incorporated its message in public statements. State Department spokesman Ned Price criticized Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his interior minister verbally attacked gay people, and Biden mentioned LGBTIQ rights in a message to an African Union summit.

Considering the outsized US influence on the world, activists expected Biden to set an example. They pointed to the rapid impact both at home and abroad when Biden, then vice president, in 2012 became the highest-ranking US official to back marriage equality — which became the law across the United States three years later.

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After the gradual evolution on LGBTIQ rights under Obama, “we have a radically different opportunity today,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of advocacy group OutRight Action International.

“To have President Biden issue this very holistic presidential memorandum so early in his administration is a clear indication that this is a political priority for him,” she said.

Stern voiced hope for greater funding for non-governmental groups, which a number of European nations fund more generously.

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But she cautioned that the solution was not always vocal US support at the local level.

“One of the most effective and consistent ways of discrediting LGBTIQ people and our movement is to say that they are the result of colonial and Western imposition — they’re getting paid by foreign donors,” Stern said.

The State Department official said the United States would examine each country and decide case by case whether public diplomacy is the best approach.

“Our watch-word always is to work and listen to the activists on the ground working on these issues to get their best advice on how to move the ball,” the official said.

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Backing local voices
The United States has plenty of case studies from the Obama years.

Obama slashed aid or trading privileges to Uganda and Gambia after the countries passed laws that authorized imprisonment for homosexuality.

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The tough rebukes fueled a backlash in parts of Africa, whose most populous nation Nigeria defiantly pushed through its own draconian law.

But there has been steady progress, even in nations once seen as hotbeds of homophobia such as Jamaica. Gay sex is now legal in nearly two-thirds of all nations, and 28 countries allow same-sex marriage, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Phillip Ayoub, an associate professor at Occidental College in California who has studied diplomacy and sexual minorities, said the key was to support local campaigners but to let them lead.

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“There are activists on the ground who will say that it might not make sense to be fully visible right now because that can increase violence toward our communities,” he said.

“This kind of foreign policy cannot be top-down. It has to be done carefully with civil society in different countries and I think empowering them is one way where we can be productive.”

Trump reversed some LGBTIQ gains at home, particularly on transgender people.

Under Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, the United States limited visas for foreign diplomats’ same-sex partners, stopped US embassies from flying rainbow flags and entered a joint declaration with countries including Uganda that promoted the “natural” definition of family.

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Trump appointed an openly gay ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell, who launched a campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality, although critics say the effort was aimed more at furthering other Trump goals such as pressuring Iran and discouraging immigration.

After Trump, Ayoub said, Biden’s approach “is a monumental change.”

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#Newsworthy

Don’t let Trump get intelligence briefings due to his erratic attitude – Biden orders.

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President Trump stripped the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, which ignited a firestorm of criticism that the president was punishing high-profile critics.

President Joe Biden said that former President Donald Trump should not receive intelligence briefings even though they typically have been given to other former presidents.

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Biden told NoRM‘s known Media in an interview that Trump was “unfit to be president” and his “erratic behavior” is why he should not have access to the nation’s classified information.

“I think not,” Biden said when asked if Trump should receive intelligence briefings. “Because of his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection.”

“You’ve called him an existential threat. You’ve called him dangerous. You’ve called him reckless,” CBS News’ Norah O”Donnell said to Biden in a clip released Friday.

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“Yeah, I have. And I believe it,” Biden responded.

Biden added, “I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings. What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

File Photo: United States President, Joe Biden | Noble Reporters Media | Adigun Michael Olamide | NoRM News

In 2018, President Trump stripped the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, which ignited a firestorm of criticism that the president was punishing high-profile critics.

“The President was expressing his concern about former President Trump receiving access to sensitive intelligence, but he also has deep trust in his own intelligence team to make a determination about how to provide intelligence information if at any point former President Trump requests a briefing,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in an emailed statement.

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Biden, a former Senator from Delaware, did not comment on how he would vote in Trump’s upcoming Senate impeachment trial for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, but said he is focused on pushing his aid package through Congress, including a new round of stimulus checks and raising the minimum wage.

“Look, I ran like hell to defeat him because I thought he was unfit to be president. I’ve watched what everybody else watched, what happened when that crew invaded the United States Congress. But I’m not in the Senate now. I’ll let the Senate make that decision,” he said.

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#Newsworthy

Just in: Lawmakers throw questions, dares, orders at Trump during impeachment trial.

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Raskin made the request after Trump’s lawyers filed a pre-trial brief denying the allegations that he encouraged the violent assault by his supporters on the US Congress, which left five people dead.

Democratic lawmakers leading the impeachment case against Donald Trump on Thursday requested the former president to testify in his trial for allegedly inciting insurrection in the attack on the US Capitol last month.

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“I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial, concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021,” chief impeachment manager Jamie Raskin wrote in a letter to Trump, ahead of the February 9 opening of the trial.

Raskin made the request after Trump’s lawyers filed a pre-trial brief denying the allegations that he encouraged the violent assault by his supporters on the US Congress, which left five people dead.

“You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue, notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense,” Raskin said.

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Trump will go on trial in the Senate for the second time in a year beginning next week.

Raskin proposed that Trump provide testimony, and face cross-examination on it, between February 8 and February 11, “at a mutually convenient time and place.”

Raskin said Trump had little excuse to avoid testifying, saying he could no long claim that he was too busy overseeing the country, as was the White House position when he was still president.

“We therefore anticipate your availability to testify.”

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If Trump, who now lives in his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort, declines to testify, Raskin warned, the impeachment prosecutors could cite that as evidence supporting his guilt.

Raskin gave Trump until 5 pm Friday to respond to the letter.

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#Newsworthy

Segun Oni’s interest in 2022 Ekiti poll; .. trump’s fall

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President Donald Trump wanted to conquer America. He introduced Mafian styles, thinking that he could not be defeated. Where is he today?

Former Gov. Segun Oni and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Ekiti, on Monday, said that he would re-contest the governorship post in the state in the Year 2022.

Oni, a former Deputy National Chairman (South) of APC before decamping to the PDP, said this in Ado Ekiti while opening his campaign office christened: `PDP family edifice’, in preparation for the forthcoming poll in the state.

Oni, while expressing his interest in the number one seat in the state, said that the PDP would work with the masses.

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He promised to work with former Gov. Ayodele Fayose, Sen. Biodun Olujimi and others, to reposition the party and make it formidable ahead of the poll to achieve the task of winning the election then.

“I have been in politics for long and I understand the importance of unity. Let all leaders play their roles. Politics is a team game. “As for me, I am not going to engage in names calling,” Oni said.

The former governor said that he decided to name his campaign office, `PDP family edifice’ to convey the sign that politics should not be perceived as an acrimony, an enmity and something meant for character assassination.

Former Governor, Segun Oni shows interest in Ekiti guber

“We want to tell Nigerians that there is a new formula in town, which is the formula of friendship, unity and oneness. I don’t believe in character assassination and exclusion; it is good for all of us to be together.

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“Except the parameters change, I am interested in the governorship. Though, only God knows tomorrow; but as of now yes, I am contesting and we are projecting that God will sanction it”.

He said that Ekiti PDP was not afraid of the power of incumbency.

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“At a time in history, Nigeria was being controlled by the PDP. But Nigerians changed their minds and voted for APC in 2015.

“If you look at the mood in town now, the people have changed their minds going by what they are saying in town.

“People are not inclined to have APC after the next expiry date in 2022 in Ekiti, that is, after Gov. Fayemi.

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“No government is undefeatable. President Donald Trump wanted to conquer America. He introduced Mafian styles, thinking that he could not be defeated. Where is he today? He is in Florida in retirement. That is the power of the people.

“Politicians should be able to subject themselves to the will of the people, so that we won’t destroy the system.’’

He said that if democracy had not been disrupted with the military coup of 1966, Nigeria would have been be better for it now.

” All of us must subject to the will of the masses. No one should think he can perpetuate himself in power.

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“In the Ekiti governorship poll, I won’t advise anybody to do anything funny, that won’t be in the best interest of anyone,” he said.

NoRM reports that Oni was the governor in Ekiti between May 29, 2007 and October 14, 2010 under the PDP.

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#Newsworthy

Republican opposition to Trump ‘impeachment trial’ grows.

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Some scholars argue that conducting an impeachment trial after a president has left office is unconstitutional, while others say it is permitted as long the proceedings begin before a president has left office.

The Senate impeachment trial of former United States President Donald Trump, who stands accused of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, continues to drive a wedge within the Republican Party.

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Ten Republicans in the US House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on January 13, a week after pro-Trump rioters breached the US Capitol as Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Republicans who voted for impeachment included Representative Liz Cheney, the chairwoman of the Republican conference, who has since faced a push from within the party to remove her from her leadership post.

Meanwhile, several Senate Republicans have said they oppose moving forward with the trial in the chamber, which is set to begin on February 9, while at least one, Senator Mitt Romney, has said moving forward with the impeachment trial is “appropriate”.

The House is expected to officially send the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday.

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The inter-party conflict centres on the question of whether Trump committed impeachable offences in his campaign to overturn the election results and to egg on protesters shortly before the riot, as well as whether impeachment proceedings can continue after a US president has left office.

“The article of impeachment that was sent over by the House suggests impeachable conduct,” Romney told NoRM‘s known Media on Sunday. “It’s pretty clear that over the last year or so, there has been an effort to corrupt the election of the United States and it was not by President Biden, it was by President Trump.”

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Romney added that there was a “preponderance of the legal opinion” that moving forward with the trial after Trump has left office is constitutional.

Republicans are unlikely to succeed in any early vote to dismiss the trial, given Democrats now control a slim majority in the 100-seat chamber, with 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote.

Still, Democratic House impeachment managers, who will be arguing for impeachment during the Senate trial, will face an uphill battle; the Senate must secure a two-thirds majority to convict Trump.

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That means 17 Republicans would need to break ranks and vote to convict. Such a conviction could also lead to Trump being barred from holding federal office in the future.

‘Stupid’
Romney’s statements stood in stark contrast to those of many of his Senate colleagues, who have increasingly begun to stake positions on the matter in recent days.

In an interview on NoRM‘s known Media on Sunday, Republican Senator Tom Cotton maintained that moving ahead with the trial after Trump has left office was unconstitutional.

“I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said.

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Republican Senator Marco Rubio, also on Fox News on Sunday, called the trial “stupid”.

“We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Republican Senator John Cornyn, in a tweet on Saturday, suggested that moving ahead with the impeachment trial of a president who has left office would set a precedent that could lead to “former Democratic Presidents” facing impeachment if Republicans regain control of Congress.

But the question of whether impeachment proceedings can begin wholesale after a president has left office is considered even less clear.

Cotton, Rubio and Cornyn join Republican Senators Mike Rounds, Lindsey Graham, John Barrasso, and Ron Johnson in publicly opposing the trial for Trump, who is expected to remain a political force in the coming years.

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Republicans to watch
Still, several influential Senate Republicans have been less clear about their intentions.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has laid the blame for the Capitol riot at Trump’s feet, saying he “provoked” his supporters who were “fed lies” by the president and other powerful people.

McConnell has not said how he would vote on impeachment or taken a public stance on the constitutionality of the trial.

Other Republican senators will be closely watched in the weeks to come, including Lisa Murkowski, who called on Trump to resign after the riot and later said the House acted “appropriately” in impeaching him, and Susan Collins, who said Trump “bears responsibility” for the incident.

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Neither has taken public positions on the constitutionality of the trial or said how they will vote.

Senator Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey have also said they would be open to impeaching the president, but have questioned whether a Senate trial would further divide the country.

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#Newsworthy

Biden reverses Trump’s ‘transgender’ ban in US military.

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The order bans involuntary separations, discharges and denials of re-enlistment on the basis of or relating to gender identity.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Monday reversing a Trump administration policy that barred transgender individuals from serving in the United States military.

“What I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform and essentially restoring the situation as it existed before with transgender personnel,” Biden said in remarks to reporters at the White House,

Former President Donald Trump first ordered the ban on transgender individuals serving in the US military in 2017. The order was challenged in federal courts as discriminatory, revised by Trump in 2018 and eventually allowed to take effect by the US Supreme Court in January 2019.

Incoming Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin supports lifting the ban. Biden met with Austin in the White House’s Oval Office on Monday prior to Austin’s ceremonial swearing-in.

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“Our armed forces are at their best when they represent the talents or our entire population, regardless of gender identity,” Austin said in a tweet on Monday.

“I fully support (President Biden’s) direction today that all transgender individuals who wish to serve and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so,” Austin said.

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Trump’s order drew protests from gay rights advocates who slammed the order as “bigoted” and “irresponsible”. Nearly 60 percent of Americans at the time said transgender people should be allowed to serve in the US armed forces, a Reuters/Ipsos had found.

Biden’s order revokes Trump’s directives and instructs the secretary of defence and the secretary of homeland security to implement the new policy throughout all branches of the military service – the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Democrats in the US Congress applauded the action while some Republicans were quick to criticise.

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“No Americans should be turned away from serving in defence of their country simply because they are transgender,” Representative Steny Hoyer, a leading House Democrat, said in a statement.

“Another ‘unifying’ move by the new administration?” Republican Senator John Cornyn questioned on Twitter.

A 2016 US Defense Department study showed that allowing transgender people to serve would have a minimal effect on military readiness and healthcare costs, the White House said in a statement announcing the new policy.

The study also concluded that open transgender service had no significant impact on operational effectiveness or unit cohesion in foreign militaries.

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Putting the new directive into effect will take time as the service branches unwind policies put in place under the Trump administration. Biden’s order requires the secretaries of defence and homeland security to report back on progress within 60 days.

“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity,” the White House said in a statement announcing the order.

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Trump’s impeachment trial set to begin, second week of February

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The US Senate trial of former president Donald Trump will begin the second week of February, after the article of impeachment is transmitted to the chamber early next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday.

“Once the briefs are drafted, presentation by the parties will commence the week of February 8,” Schumer told colleagues on the Senate floor.

The schedule essentially amounts to a two-week delay, which will allow the chamber to conduct normal business in the interim, including confirmation votes on President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominations and potential action on a massive coronavirus relief package.

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Top lawmaker says Trump’s impeachment to be sent to Senate, Monday.

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The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, severely reprimanded the outgoing president and left the door open for voting to convict Trump.

Donald Trump will go on trial in the US Senate soon after an impeachment case against the former president is transmitted by the House of Representatives on Monday, top lawmakers announced.

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The House impeached the Republican leader for a historic second time on January 13, just one week before he left office, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to send the article of impeachment to the Senate.

The step is necessary in order to launch the trial process.

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“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi who informed me that the article will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Chuck Schumer, the new Democratic Senate majority leader, said in a floor speech Friday.

“A trial will be held in the United States Senate and there will be a vote whether to convict the president,” Schumer told his colleagues.

Trump was impeached on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in whipping up his supporters during a speech in Washington on January 6, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress with deadly consequences.

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He, however, has sought a delay in an impeachment trial until February, arguing Trump needs time to hire lawyers and mount a defense.

But on Friday, McConnell, now the Senate minority leader, acknowledged the Democrats’ timetable.

“As I understand, it must be headed our way Monday. By Senate rules, if the article arrives, we have to start a trial right then,” he said on the floor.

McConnell spoke of the “unprecedentedly fast” process in the House, where Trump was impeached in a single day.

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“The sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former president Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself,” he said.

He also said that delaying the trial would have provided time for the Senate to confirm members of new President Joe Biden’s cabinet, and consider crucial legislation like a coronavirus pandemic rescue package.

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President Joe Biden cancel Trump’s ban on Nigeria, others.

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Biden has made mask wearing in all federal buildings and during interstate travel mandatory.

Thew newly sworn-in president of the United States of America, Joe Biden, began his first day in office by reversing some actions of former President, Donald Trump.

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In his first executive orders, Biden implemented new policies on the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration and climate change.

He cancelled the ban which restricted travel to America from mostly Muslim nations.

The countries are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, Venezuela, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

At the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk, Biden rolled out 15 orders and two other action items.

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“It’s requiring, as I said all along, where I have authority, mandating masks be worn, social distancing be kept on federal property,” he told reporters.

He also signed orders for America to formally rejoin the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Paris climate agreement.

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US Inauguration: President Joe Biden’s first speech. [Details]

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And here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground.

Today January 20, Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America.

Biden of the Democratic Party defeated the incumbent President Donald Trump in last November elections.

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Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office shortly before noon, when Mr. Biden officially became president.

President Biden addressed the nation minutes after Vice President Kamala Harris was first sworn in, making history as the first woman and person of color to become second in line to the presidency.

FULL TEXT:

Chief Justice Roberts, Vice-President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice-President Pence. My distinguished guests, my fellow Americans.

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This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested a new and America has risen to the challenge. Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, a cause of democracy. The people – the will of the people – has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded.

We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and, at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed. So now on this hallowed ground where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundations, we come together as one nation under God – indivisible – to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.

As we look ahead in our uniquely American way, restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on a nation we know we can be and must be, I thank my predecessors of both parties. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter, who I spoke with last night who cannot be with us today, but who we salute for his lifetime of service.

I’ve just taken a sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On we the people who seek a more perfect union. This is a great nation, we are good people. And over the centuries through storm and strife in peace and in war we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go.

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We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibility. Much to do, much to heal, much to restore, much to build and much to gain. Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now. A once in a century virus that silently stalks the country has taken as many lives in one year as in all of World War Two.

Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now. The rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, that we must confront and we will defeat.

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To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy – unity. Unity. In another January on New Year’s Day in 1863 Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper the president said, and I quote, ‘if my name ever goes down in history, it’ll be for this act, and my whole soul is in it’.

My whole soul is in it today, on this January day. My whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face – anger, resentment and hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness.

With unity we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs, we can put people to work in good jobs, we can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus, we can rebuild work, we can rebuild the middle class and make work secure, we can secure racial justice and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.

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I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal, that we are all created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism and fear have torn us apart. The battle is perennial and victory is never secure.

Through civil war, the Great Depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setback, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of our moments enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward and we can do that now. History, faith and reason show the way. The way of unity.

We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbours. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury, no progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America.

If we do that, I guarantee we will not failed. We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together. And so today at this time in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again, hear one another, see one another. Show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.

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My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. We have to be better than this and I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around. Here we stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome. As mentioned earlier, completed in the shadow of the Civil War. When the union itself was literally hanging in the balance. We endure, we prevail. Here we stand, looking out on the great Mall, where Dr King spoke of his dream.

Here we stand, where 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we mark the swearing in of the first woman elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can change. Here we stand where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace.

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It did not happen, it will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever. To all those who supported our campaign, I’m humbled by the faith you placed in us. To all those who did not support us, let me say this. Hear us out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart.

If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peacefully. And the guardrail of our democracy is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. If you hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you. I will be a President for all Americans, all Americans. And I promise you I will fight for those who did not support me as for those who did.

Many centuries ago, St Augustine – the saint of my church – wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. Defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans? I think we know. Opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honour, and yes, the truth.

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Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens as Americans and especially as leaders. Leaders who are pledged to honour our Constitution to protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies.

Look, I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs. I understand like their dad they lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling thinking: ‘Can I keep my healthcare? Can I pay my mortgage?’ Thinking about their families, about what comes next. I promise you, I get it. But the answer’s not to turn inward. To retreat into competing factions. Distrusting those who don’t look like you, or worship the way you do, who don’t get their news from the same source as you do.

We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, if we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say. Just for a moment, stand in their shoes.

Because here’s the thing about life. There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days you need a hand. There are other days when we’re called to lend a hand. That’s how it has to be, that’s what we do for one another. And if we are that way our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. And we can still disagree.

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My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter. We’re entering what may be the darkest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation. And I promise this, as the Bible says, ‘Weeping may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning’. We will get through this together. Together.

Look folks, all my colleagues I serve with in the House and the Senate up here, we all understand the world is watching. Watching all of us today. So here’s my message to those beyond our borders. America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances, and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power but the power of our example.

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Fellow Americans, moms, dads, sons, daughters, friends, neighbours and co-workers. We will honour them by becoming the people and the nation we can and should be. So I ask you let’s say a silent prayer for those who lost their lives, those left behind and for our country. Amen.

Folks, it’s a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy, and on truth, a raging virus, a stinging inequity, systemic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the greatest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up?

It’s time for boldness for there is so much to do. And this is certain, I promise you. We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. We will rise to the occasion. Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world to our children? I believe we must and I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will, and when we do, we’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America. The American story.

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A story that might sound like a song that means a lot to me, it’s called American Anthem. And there’s one verse that stands out at least for me and it goes like this: ‘The work and prayers of century have brought us to this day, which shall be our legacy, what will our children say? Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, America, I gave my best to you.’

Let us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation. If we do this, then when our days are through, our children and our children’s children will say of us: ‘They gave their best, they did their duty, they healed a broken land.’

My fellow Americans I close the day where I began, with a sacred oath. Before God and all of you, I give you my word. I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution, I’ll defend our democracy. I’ll defend America and I will give all – all of you – keep everything I do in your service. Thinking not of power but of possibilities. Not of personal interest but of public good.

And together we will write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity not division, of light not darkness. A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us. And the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history, we met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrive.

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That America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forbearers, one another, and generations to follow.

So with purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time. Sustained by faith, driven by conviction and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May God bless America and God protect our troops.

Thank you, America.

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#Newsworthy