Connect with us


Putin rejects charges of Russian meddling in UK politics, praises Johnson –



By Andrew Osborn and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected allegations of Russian interference in British politics and praised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for better understanding the mood of British society on Brexit than his political rivals.

Relations between London and Moscow remain strained over everything from the 2018 poisoning in England of a former Russian spy and his daughter to Syria and Ukraine.

Putin, fielding questions from reporters at his annual news conference, was asked about an unpublished British parliamentary report into allegations Russia had attempted to interfere in British politics, something the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

“As regards (Russian) interference or non-interference, we’ve heard many times from official governing bodies in various countries, including Britain, assessments of what is happening inside Russia. Is that interference?” said Putin.

“We reserve the right to behave in the same way toward you. If you think that is interference, then keep thinking that. But it has nothing at all to do with interference.”

Reminded by a BBC reporter that Johnson had once compared him to Dobby the House Elf from the Harry Potter films, Putin said he didn’t care.

“I know what my country’s interests are. And whatever anyone has said about me has no importance when compared to the fundamental tasks that Russia is interested in solving,” he said.

Citing unnamed British business people and investors whom he said Russia regarded as friends, Putin said he believed London was interested in forging stronger economic ties with Moscow.

“We value this and are doing everything to support them so that they feel like they are at home here,” he said.

And despite being reminded of Johnson’s elf joke about him, Putin had warm words for the British politician.

“As regards what’s happening now, it’s possible to congratulate Johnson. He turned out to be the victor after all (in this month’s British election) and better grasped the mood in British society than his opponents,” said Putin.

“And as I understand it, he intends to go through with all of his Brexit plans.”

(Reporting by Reuters reporters; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link


Politics Crashes a $20 Billion Canadian Shopping Trip to Paris – Bloomberg



Carrefour SA Hypermarket as Couche-Tard Said to Plan $3.6 Billion Investment

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. founder Alain Bouchard hoped to salvage a $20 billion offer for Carrefour SA when he arrived at the French Finance Ministry, whose headquarters juts out over the Seine like a beached aircraft carrier in eastern Paris.

After being kept waiting for a brief audience with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Bouchard got the message: The proposed deal was dead on arrival, torpedoed by French political opposition.

The meeting Friday capped a tumultuous week for Couche-Tard and Carrefour. Bouchard, a self-made billionaire who had transformed an obscure Canadian gas-station operator into an empire of 14,200 retail sites through acquisitions, wanted to take the next step. Buying the French grocer would have turned Couche-Tard into a global retail giant, alongside the likes of Walmart Inc.

However, the overture ended only four days after it came to light, and the companies said they’ll seek a looser alliance instead. Ceding one of France’s biggest supermarket owners to foreign ownership was impossible at a time when Covid-19 lockdowns underlined the strategic importance of the country’s food supply, Le Maire said.

Couche-Tard is not the first foreign acquirer to be stymied by French concerns about economic sovereignty, but it underestimated flag-waving reflexes that have sharpened amid Covid-19. With regional elections looming later this year and a presidential vote set for 2022, allowing the country’s biggest private employer to fall into foreign hands could have given nationalist leader Marine Le Pen and leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon a new cause celebre to attack centrist President Emmanuel Macron.

Bad Timing

“It wasn’t the moment to do a deal like that,” said Fabienne Caron, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux. “The government had much more to lose than to win. The real reason is politics.”

The companies compounded their miscalculation by blindsiding Le Maire and Macron. The finance minister found out about the talks late Tuesday via a text message from Carrefour Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Bompard, according to a Finance Ministry official who asked not to be named, citing government rules. It came around the time a Bloomberg News report revealed the talks that evening.

This article is based on interviews with people familiar with the discussions and the government’s position, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Representatives for Carrefour and Couche-Tard declined to comment.

Talks between the two companies began in the autumn, after Couche-Tard failed in an effort to buy Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Speedway gas station network. Previous acquisitions had built up Couche-Tard from a single store in a Montreal suburb into an operator of convenience outlets spanning from Texas to Hong Kong.

Carrefour, best-known for giant, out-of-town stores that sell everything from baguettes to T-shirts to grass seed, has been challenged by the rise of online shopping and the growth of discounters Lidl and Aldi. Under Bompard, it has scaled back its hypermarkets while investing in convenience stores, e-commerce and organic food, but the shares had fallen by more than one-third over his 3 1/2-year tenure before Tuesday’s news broke.

Friendly Talks

Later that evening after the leak, both companies confirmed the discussions, emphasizing that the negotiations were friendly. The next day, Carrefour’s stock surged, with Couche-Tard confirming it was weighing a price of 20 euros per share.

In government quarters, however, opposition was welling up. On Wednesday afternoon, Le Maire spoke with Bompard as well as key Carrefour investors such as LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, who holds a 5.5% stake. Late in the day, the finance minister went on television to say he opposed the deal.

A representative for Arnault did not respond to a request for comment.

Carrefour’s advisers and some analysts saw an element of posturing in Le Maire’s hard line, figuring the finance minister would eventually yield. They had reason to believe that this deal might be seen differently from a 2005 approach by PepsiCo Inc. to French yogurt maker Danone SA, which was blocked on grounds of sovereignty.

After all, Macron is a former Rothschild banker who entered office four years ago with a vow to shake up a French economy held back by state interventionism. Couche-Tard hails from Quebec, which shares close linguistic, cultural and business ties. And Carrefour could use a deep-pocketed partner to finance its incomplete turnaround.

In 2019, France led European countries in a ranking of foreign investment projects by accounting firm EY. Its companies have also stepped up overseas expansion, with LVMH recently completing its $16 billion purchase of Tiffany & Co. Some French champions have stumbled of late, however — notably drugmaker Sanofi, whose Covid vaccine project faces a months-long delay after a dosing problem during tests.

Couche-Tard was ready to respond to French concerns with commitments to pump 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) into Carrefour while guaranteeing jobs and pledging to maintain the retailer’s headquarters in France, as well as listing the combined companies’ shares in both countries.

‘Major Difficulty’

Le Maire appeared to open the door slightly at a conference Thursday when he described Carrefour being acquired by a foreign entity as a “major difficulty.” By Friday morning, he attempted to clear up any ambiguity, declaring in a morning TV appearance that his position on the Couche-Tard approach was a “clear and definitive no.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, the strident French reaction left little room or time for behind-the-scenes lobbying. The effort was led by Quebec, which deepened its economic ties with France last year, when Bombardier Inc. agreed to sell its rail unit to Alstom SA. The province also owns 25% of the A220, the former Bombardier jet project now controlled by Airbus SE, headquartered in Toulouse, France. That’s a relationship the French-speaking province expected to go both ways.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon first reached out for information to Roland Lescure, a former top official at Quebec’s pension fund who, in his current job as head of the French National Assembly’s economic affairs committee, has regular contacts with Macron’s and Le Maire’s teams. Fitzgibbon also spoke to Bouchard on Thursday evening before the Couche-Tard chairman flew to France, and was about to go on a call with Le Maire when he briefed journalists on Friday morning, Canadian time.

The economy minister said he understood concerns about food security, a recurring topic at home, too. In speaking with Le Maire, he intended to promote Couche-Tard’s track record, and to tout the links between France and Quebec, he said. He struck a hopeful tone.

“The dust has to settle a bit,” Fitzgibbon said. “Nothing’s going to get decided in the next 24 hours.”

He was proven wrong a few hours later.

Ministry Visit

Bouchard’s visit to the French Finance Ministry was the second of the day by Couche-Tard officials, some of whom had spent part of the week in Paris. Earlier Friday, CEO Brian Hannasch met with Le Maire’s chief of staff, Bertrand Dumont.

Between both meetings, the Canadians huddled with their bankers and advisers at Rothschild & Co.’s headquarters on Paris’s elegant Avenue de Messine. Bouchard and Bompard strategized that day, working on the best arguments to win over the government, a person familiar with the men’s day said.

Their efforts were fruitless, as the finance minister made it clear in the hastily arranged meeting that his opposition was unconditional.

With any hope for a deal dashed, Couche-Tard and Carrefour say they’re focusing on the proposed alliance. The companies will consider how to work together on fuel purchases, branding and distribution where their networks overlap.

Meanwhile, however, the Canadians had to return home empty-handed.

— With assistance by Manuel Baigorri

    Let’s block ads! (Why?)

    Source link

    Continue Reading


    Biden’s long political evolution leads to his biggest test – 95.7 News



    WILMINGTON, Del. — Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has navigated a half-century in American politics by relentlessly positioning himself at the core of the Democratic Party.

    Wherever that power centre shifted, there Biden has been, whether as the young senator who opposed court-order busing in school integration cases or the soon-to-be 46th president pitching an agenda on par with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.

    The common thread through that evolution is Biden always pitching himself as an institutionalist — a mainstream liberal but also a pragmatist who still insists that governing well depends on compromise and consensus.

    Now Biden’s central political identity faces the ultimate trial.

    On Wednesday, the 78-year-old president-elect will inherit stewardship of a nation wrenched by pandemic, seismic cultural fissures and an opposition party’s base that considers him illegitimate, even to the point of President Donald Trump’s supporters violently attacking the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress convened to certify Biden’s victory.

    Biden’s answer follows two tracks: defending the fabric of society and institutions of government that Trump’s tenure has stressed and calling for sweeping legislative action. His agenda includes an initial $1.9 trillion pandemic response, along with proposed overhauls for health care, taxation, infrastructure, education, criminal justice, the energy grid and climate policy.

    “A message of unity. A message of getting things done,” Ron Klain, his incoming White House chief of staff, explained Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    The first approach, rooted in Biden’s campaign pledge to “restore the soul of the nation,” netted a record 81 million votes in the election. In his Nov. 7 victory speech, Biden called that coalition “the broadest and most diverse in history” and framed it as evidence Americans are ready to “lower the temperature” and “heal.”

    Biden’s second, policy-based approach, however, still must confront a hyperpartisan age and a closely divided Congress.

    The outcome will determine the reach of Biden’s presidency and further test the lifetime politician’s ability to evolve and meet events.

    “We can’t have a claim to want to heal the nation if what people mean is just having the right tone and being able to pat one another on the back,” said the Rev. William Barber, a leading social justice advocate who has personally pushed Biden to prioritize the marginalized and poor of all races.

    “Real healing of the nation,” Barber said, “must be dealing with the sickness in the body of the nation caused by policy, by racism, by polity.”

    Activists such as Barber represent just one of many flanks surrounding Biden.

    Republicans are clear they won’t passively ratify Biden’s responses to the pandemic or deep-seated problems that came before it: institutional racism, widening wealth gaps, the climate crisis. The Democratic Party isn’t marching in lockstep, either, as progressives, liberals and moderates dicker over details.

    “I wouldn’t expect big, sweeping change,” said Michael Steel, once a top aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

    Democrats will control a 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote as presiding officer. But the chamber’s 60-vote filibuster threshold for major legislation remains. Biden’s longtime friend, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is the House speaker, but presides over a diminished Democratic majority and slim margin for error.

    Harris framed the stakes Sunday, telling “CBS Sunday Morning” that the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 “was an exposure of the vulnerability of our democracy.”

    John Anzalone, Biden’s campaign pollster, noted in a recent interview that Biden won with a message spanning ideology. Some voters “may not believe in his politics. But they believe in him,” Anzalone said. “They believe in his compassion and they believe in, quite frankly, his leadership skills.”

    Anzalone loosely compared Biden’s appeal to Ronald Reagan’s. Reagan was a hero of movement conservatives yet drew support from a wide swath of “Reagan Democrats” to win the presidency in 1980 amid economic and international instability. By extension, Reagan could count on support or at least good faith from many Democrats on Capitol Hill, most notably then-Speaker Tip O’Neill, D-Mass.

    “The analogy sort of fails when you ask who are the Tip O’Neills for Republicans at this point?” Anzalone acknowledged. But, he said, Biden “is not averse to big fights.”

    Biden projects confidence regardless, in part, those close to him say, because of his long tenure in Washington buttressed now with the presidential megaphone.

    “Part of the president’s job is making the case to the American people and persuading them what the right way forward is,” said Stef Feldman, policy director for Biden’s campaign.

    Through that lens, it becomes less surprising to see the politician who joined Republicans in the mid-1990s to clamour for a balanced budget now declares emergency spending measured by the trillions “more urgent than ever,” even “including deficit spending.”

    It was a similar course for Biden as he aged from a young senator in a chamber still stocked with old-guard segregationists into the trusted lieutenant for the nation’s first Black president. The Senate Judiciary Chairman who in 1991 led an all-male panel in Supreme Court confirmation hearings involving sexual harassment claims turned the widely panned experience into invitations for the committee to seat its first Democratic female members.

    The Catholic politician who for decades acknowledged his struggle over abortion policy flouted church teachings as vice-president by announcing his support for same-sex marriage before most other elected Democrats, including the ostensibly more socially progressive Obama. And during the 2020 campaign, even as Biden started to the left of Obama and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, he inched further leftward on health care, college tuition aid and climate policy.

    While Biden aides argue his shifts don’t involve changes in principle or fundamental values, some other observers say the point is moot. The question, said Maurice Mitchell, who leads the progressive Working Families Party, is simply whether Biden will continue to evolve and leverage his political capital into both post-Trump stability and big policy wins.

    “We can’t control people’s convictions but we can shift the politics of the possible,” Mitchell said, noting that Johnson signed seminal civil rights laws less than a decade after quashing such measures as Senate majority leader.

    Barber, the minister, pointed to other historical figures whom Biden sometimes mentioned while campaigning: Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Both, Barber noted, were savvy, even ruthless politicians who reached for their biggest achievements only after winning the nation’s highest office — and they did so against vicious opposition and during times of existential national threats.

    “There’s good record in our history that there are moments in this country can and has taken great steps forward,” Barber said. “And many times, it was right on the heels of great pain. The movement and the moment can cause leaders — presidents, senators, congresspeople — to be much greater than they even intended or imagined.”

    Bill Barrow, The Associated Press

    Let’s block ads! (Why?)

    Source link

    Continue Reading


    Live politics updates: Twitter temporarily suspends account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene – USA TODAY



    Rebecca Morin

    David Jackson

    Matthew Brown

    Show Caption

    Hide Caption

    COVID relief: Biden introduces plan that includes $1,400 stimulus checks

    Joe Biden introduced a $1.9 trillion spending package that aims to speed distribution of the coronavirus vaccines and provide economic relief.

    Associated Press, USA TODAY

    Twitter temporarily suspends account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

    Twitter announced Sunday it had suspended the account of freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for 12 hours.

    The Georgia Republican’s last post to the site was a video in which she continued to allege debunked and unfounded conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud in Georgia. Twitter flagged the post with a warning and blocked users from liking or commenting on the post.

    In another post earlier in the day, Greene attacked Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voter system implementation manager, spreading a false claim about alleged corruption from Dominion voting machines.

    “Morons like you are responsible for losing GA’s 2 Republican Senate seats,” Greene said. The post was again flagged by Twitter for spreading misinformation.

    Greene is a firebrand conspiracy theorist who has claimed the United States is experiencing an “Islamic invasion into our government offices,” that the Pentagon was not actually attacked on 9/11, that Black people are “slaves to the Democratic Party” and that billionaire Jewish philanthropist George Soros is a Nazi.

    And she has expressed support for the baseless and wide-ranging QAnon conspiracy theory.

    “Q is a patriot. We know that for sure,” Greene has said.

    Twitter’s temporary suspension of Greene comes after it suspended 70,000 Twitter accounts connected to the QAnon believers, as well as prominent rightwing pundits and President Donald Trump.

    CNN host Jake Tapper was not optimistic that Twitter’s brief suspension would change Greene’s ways. 

    “I’m sure the woman who claimed a plane never really flew into the Pentagon on 9/11, an anti-Muslim bigot who has been nonetheless welcomed by @GOPLeader and @SteveScalise into the GOP caucus, will totally be chastised by this 12 hour suspension, examining her life choices,” Tapper tweeted with sarcasm. 

    – Matthew Brown

    GOP Sen. Ben Sasse denounces QAnon, conspiracy theories on the right

    Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., condemned the popularity of conspiracy theories within the Republican Party and the broader conservative movement in a blistering op-ed for The Atlantic, telling his party it must “reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them.”

    Sasse’s opinion piece comes after a mob ransacked the U.S. Capitol. President Donald Trump had called on the crowd of his supporters to “march down Pennsylvania Avenue” and “show strength” as Congress voted to certify the Nov. 3 presidential election.

    Sasse admonished his fellow Republicans, stating that many had deluded themselves about the threat conspiracy theories posed to the party. Sasse said prominent newly-elected conspiracy theorists like freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., whom he called “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.”

    “Until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon. They can’t,” Sasse wrote. “Now is the time to decide what this party is about.”

    Sasse argues that the rise of right-wing conspiracy theories in the Trump era has occurred for three reasons: the ostensibly poor media diet of Americans, a collapse of trust and engagement with civic institutions, and a loss of national meaning.

    “A conspiracy theory offers its devotees a way of inserting themselves into a cosmic battle pitting good against evil. This sense of vocation that makes it dangerous is also precisely what makes it attractive in our era of isolated, alienated consumerism,” Sasse writes.

    The junior Nebraska senator argued that to win again, Republicans must “repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire” and then “offer a genuine answer to the frustrations of the past decade.”

    Referencing a viral confrontation between Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman and a QAnon adherent storming the Capitol, Sasse wrote. “In a standoff between the Constitution and madness, both men picked a side. It’s the GOP’s turn to do the same.”

    – Matthew Brown 

    Biden aides: Threats won’t stop Joe Biden from taking the oath of office and getting to work

    Aides to President-elect Joe Biden said Sunday they are aware of threats nationwide surrounding this week’s inauguration, but they won’t stop his plans to take the oath of office and get to work.

    Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, speaking on CNN, said he has confidence that the Secret Service, National Guard, and others can protect Washington, D.C., but “we are concerned, certainly, about these threats in other places.”

    “We will have a team in place in the White House to monitor these actions going forward starting on 12:00 noon on Jan. 20,” Klain said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    Less than two weeks after a mob of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol, officials in Washington are bracing for the inauguration with street closings, high fences and concrete barriers, and thousands of armed police officers and National Guard troops.

    Kate Bedingfield, the incoming White House communications director, told ABC News’ “This Week” that “you only have to look at the chatter on social media to see that we are in a volatile time, and so we are making preparations.”

    That said, she added, it is “our plan and our expectation” to have Biden take the oath of office outside on the west front of the Capitol.

    After that, aides said, Biden has an agenda of items to move forward on. They ranged from having the United State rejoin the Paris climate change accord to new plans to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “We’re inheriting a huge mess here,” Klain said, referring in particular to problems with distributing COVID vaccines. “But we have a plan to fix it.”

    – David Jackson

    Trump aide: Members of impeachment legal team (including Giuliani) yet to be determined

    While Rudy Giuliani was at the White House on Saturday, an adviser to outgoing President Donald Trump said he has not selected members for his impeachment defense team.

    Trump “has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him for the disgraceful attack on our Constitution and democracy, known as the ‘impeachment hoax,'” spokesman Hogan Gidley tweeted Sunday. “We will keep you informed.”

    The House impeached Trump last week on charges of inciting the insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The Senate is scheduled to try Trump later this year, even though he will be out of office.

    Giuliani told ABC News he is working on Trump’s defense, though Gidley’s statement indicates that is not official – at least not yet.

    – David Jackson

    Trump approval ratings hold steady after Capitol riot, second impeachment

    President Donald Trump will be leaving office with a record low, yet historically stable approval rating, according to recent polls.

    An NBC News poll found that Trump’s approval rating with voters nationwide stood at 43%, slightly down from the 45% the poll registered before the November election. A similar Washington Post/ABC News poll found Trump held a 38% approval rating, down seven points from when that poll was conducted in October.

    The findings come after Trump became the first president in American history to be impeached twice by Congress, a week after he told a large crowd of his supporters to march to the Capitol ahead of a deadly riot in which the mob stormed the building. 

    The recent polls underscore Trump’s tenure as one of the most polarizing figures in American history.

    While only 5% of Democrats approved of Trump in the NBC News poll, 87% of Republicans gave the president a positive approval rating. Those numbers show only marginal declines from late October, when Trump had a 6% and 89% approval rating among Democrats and Republicans, respectively. In both reports, independents gave the president a 44% approval rating.

    Forty-nine percent of respondents said Trump was “one of the worst” presidents, and an additional 9% said he was “not as good as most,” in the NBC News poll. Nineteen percent of respondents, however, believed Trump was “one of the best,” and another 21% said he was “better than most.”

    A new USA TODAY/ Suffolk University poll found Americans are worried about the health of the nation’s democracy. Seventy percent of respondents in that poll said American democracy was weaker than it was four years ago. Another 70% called the Capitol rioters “criminals,” though one in four felt the rioters “went too far, but they had a point.”

    A recent CBS News poll found that 54% of Americans believed that the biggest threat to the American way of life was “other people in America,” highlighting high levels of distrust within the nation.

    Divisions over Trump’s conduct and the legitimacy of the presidential election are also evident in the polls.

    Sixty-six percent of respondents in the Post/ABC poll said Trump acted irresponsibly in the aftermath of the November election. Sixty-two percent believed that Joe Biden won the presidential election legitimately and that there was no solid evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.

    The Post/ABC poll also found persistent divides over not only the 2020 election, but also Trump’s win in 2016. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said Trump’s 2016 victory was legitimate versus 42% who said it was not.

    It is likely these divides will persist. While 69% of voters overall would like to see the Republican Party chart a new path after Trump, 57% of Republican-leaning voters want Republican leaders to follow Trump’s lead, the Post/ABC poll found.

    – Matthew Brown

    Lindsey Graham to Trump: Don’t pardon insurrectionists

    South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham once criticized President Donald Trump over his demands to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden, but Graham was full of support in an interview broadcast Sunday – though he did warn Trump not to pardon extremist supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

    “To seek a pardon of these people would be wrong … I think it would destroy President Trump,” Graham said on the Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures.” “And I hope we don’t go down that road.”

    Graham also praised Trump’s accomplishments in office and reaffirmed the president’s place as the leader of the GOP. 

    “Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time,” he said on the Fox program that Trump is known to watch. “You’re the most important figure in the Republican Party. You can shape the direction of the party, keep your movement alive.”

    Demonstrating his fealty to Trump, Graham later released a letter to incoming Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., requesting a dismissal of the impeachment case charging him with inciting the Capitol riot. Holding a Senate trial, he said, would delay “the healing of this great Nation.”

    Schumer is not expected to grant the request, and several political analysts mocked Graham’s call for unity. 

    “You don’t get to whine about ‘healing’ now after you personally inflicted so many of the wounds,” tweeted historian Kevin Kruse.

    – David Jackson

    House prosecutor: We’re developing a trial plan to detail Donald Trump egged on capital rioters

    WASHINGTON – The top House impeachment prosecutor said Sunday his team is developing a “trial plan” designed to detail President Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

    Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told CNN the plan would be used during Trump’s Senate trial later this year. Raskin said he did not know exactly when the trial might take place, but noted that a conviction would bar Trump from holding future office and end any of his remaining presidential aspirations.

    “This was the most serious presidential crime in the history of the United States of America,” Raskin said on “State of the Union.”

    The House impeached Trump on charges of inciting an insurrection designed to intimidate lawmakers into reversing his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Ten Republicans voted for the impeachment of Trump as a result of the riot that left five people dead.

    Raskin said Trump inspired the insurrection with his constant lies about widespread election fraud after Biden’s win, from a series of lawsuits to his fiery speech at a rally right before the invasion of the Capitol building.

    House leaders have not delivered the impeachment article to the Senate, which is responsible for trying Trump even though he is out of office. Democrats will take political control of the Senate later this week.

    Raskin is leading the House prosecution team in the wake of his son’s self-inflicted death.

    The Maryland congressman told CNN he is inspired by the memory of his late son, as well as colleagues, aides, and workers who were threatened by the mob at the U.S. Capitol.

    “I’m not going to lose my son at the end of 2020, and lose my country and my republic in 2021,” Raskin said.

    – David Jackson

    Biden outlines executive orders planned for first 10 days

    President-elect Joe Biden will sign more than a dozen executive orders on his first day in office reversing key Trump Administration policies on issues from immigration to climate change, Biden’s transition team announced Saturday.

    On Wednesday, the day Biden is inaugurated as president, his executive actions will include:

    • Asking the Department of Education to extend the pause on student loan payments and interests on federal student loans
    • Rejoin the Paris Agreement, which focuses on goals to help mitigate climate change
    • Reverse the travel ban for Muslim-majority countries

    He will also enact orders that address the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. As president, he will launch his “100 Day Masking Challenge,” which includes a mask mandate on federal property and inter-state travel. He will also extend nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures.

    On Biden’s second day in office, he will sign more executive actions addressing the pandemic that will “change the course of the COVID-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses,” the transition team said. He will take actions that aim to mitigate the spread of the virus by expanding testing, protecting workers and establishing public health standards.

    More: A Biden presidency could bring a wave of policy shifts. Here are the ones you likely care about.

    On his third day in office, Biden will direct his Cabinet agencies to take immediate action to deliver economic relief to working families, though the transition team did not provide specifics. 

    Between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, Biden will sign more executive actions, memoranda and issues additional Cabinet directives, including ones addressing equity and support in communities of color and underserved communities, and criminal justice system reforms.

    Biden also plans to sign more executive actions addressing the climate crisis, in addition to taking his first steps to expand access to health care. And he will begin reuniting families separated at the border. As of December, 628 parents who were separated from their children at the border are still missing.

    – Rebecca Morin

    Let’s block ads! (Why?)

    Source link

    Continue Reading