As it happenedended1613779967

Trump and Biden: Democrat opposes key Cabinet pick as president apologises to G7 for predecessor

Follow for all the latest from the White House, Congress and Mar-a-Lago

Trump: Biden is lying or 'mentally gone’ on vaccines

Joe Biden said the world can't return to a Cold War with Russia and China and must seek ways to cooperate on global challenges like the Covid pandemic even as the two countries pose security risks to the western alliance.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization while apologizing to European leaders for the last four years under Donald Trump.

That apology came with the Biden administration returning the US to the Paris climate accord, another reversal of Trump-era policies of the past four years.

The focus on foreign policy came as the Biden administration continued to face domestic crises in its first weeks, including unprecedented winter weather that delayed 6 million doses of Covid vaccine.

While Biden toured the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant in Michigan, Republican senator Ted Cruz stayed out of the spotlight after coming under intense scrutiny for fleeing Texas for the warmer climes of Cancun.

Congress continued going through its motions, with Democrat Joe Manchin announcing his opposition to the nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management & Budget, Neera Tanden.

The White House has refused to withdraw her nomination, hoping instead to convince Republicans to confirm her post.

Trump himself, meanwhile, “did things that were terrible” when contradicted on the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci has said in an interview.

Fauci said Trump entirely lost interest in tackling Covid-19 as it became clear he had lost November’s presidential election.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s up-to-the-minute coverage of all the latest from the White House and beyond in US politics.

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 07:57
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Trump is reportedly worried he will face lawsuits for the rest of his life

Former President Donald Trump fears he may face lawsuits for the rest of his life from a barrage of plaintiffs seeking justice for the impact his conspiracy theories had over the last four years and on the 2020 election, according to a new report. 

MSNBC Host Joe Scarborough has previously indicated in public comments he was considering filing a lawsuit against the former president after Mr Trump suggested without evidence he “got away with murder” while referring to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, a former congressional aide who had an undiagnosed heart condition at the time of her passing, and whose death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner.

After his relationship with the former Republican congressman and media personality frayed in 2016, Mr Trump began repeatedly promoting the baseless conspiracy theory that Mr Scarborough killed the staffer.

Read more here:

Trump is reportedly worried he will face lawsuits for the rest of his life

Voting technology companies, media personalities and everyone in between may soon file lawsuits against the former president — that is, if his reported fears come true

Chris Riotta19 February 2021 08:11
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AOC raises $1m for Texas in four hours

“Team AOC is launching relief efforts for Texas starting today,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted at 5.42pm on Thursday.

Four hours later, at 9.49pm, the Democratic congresswoman tweeted again: “Wow. We officially raised $1 million for Texas relief at 9:17pm. Thank you all so much. I’m at a loss for words. Always in awe of movement work.”

The astonishing fundraising effort comes after Texas was plunged into an energy and water crises triggered by a brutal cold snap and also demonstrates the growing influence of AOC over politics.

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 08:39
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Ted Cruz jeered by protesters on return to Texas as he admits Mexico trip

US senator Ted Cruz is back in the US after going viral for taking a vacation with his family to Mexico on Wednesday, even as brutal winter weather left hundreds of thousands of his fellow Texans without steady electricity, heat, or running water.

On Thursday Mr Cruz admitted the decision was a “mistake,” but said he was just trying to be a good father and rescue his kids from the state’s power outages and bitter cold.

“Whether the decision to go was tone deaf, look, it was obviously a mistake,” Mr Cruz told reporters, as protesters chanted, “Resign!” in the background. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad.”

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Ted Cruz jeered by protesters as he admits ‘obvious mistake’

He continued to partially defend the choice to take the trip

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 08:59
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Fox New launches bid to rehabilitate Ted Cruz

Fox News host Sean Hannity conducted an extraordinary interview with Ted Cruz last night, in which he attempted to rehabilitate the senator’s reputation after he attempted to flee the Texas cold snap for Cancun.

“You were fully and completely engaged,” Mr Hannity said of a man who was caught with suitcase in hand at the airport earlier this week.

“I think you can be a father and be the senator of Texas all at the same time. And make a round trip, quick, drop off trip, and come home,” Mr Hannity added, despite the fact Mr Cruz planned to spend three days there.

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 09:23
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Trump ‘refused’ to meet Nikki Haley at Mar-a-Lago

Former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador in the Trump Administration Nikki Haley wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal blasting the media for dividing the country to smooth things over after former president Trump rebuffed her on a request for a meeting.

Ms Haley reached out Wednesday to schedule a meeting with Mr Trump at his Florida club Mar-A-Lago, but he turned her down, Politico reported.

Ms Haley initially declined to reprimand Mr Trump over his lies about having won the election, telling Politico in December: “I understand the president. I understand that genuinely, to his core, he believes he was wronged. This is not him making it up.”

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Trump ‘refused’ to meet Nikki Haley at Mar-a-Lago

Haley slammed media for stoking ‘nonstop Republican civil war,’ adding that reporting on Republican feuds is ‘calculated strategy to pit conservatives against one another’

Gustaf Kilander19 February 2021 09:41
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Arkansas’ Republican governor slams Trump

Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has said Donald Trump “cannot define” the Republican Party going into the future after GOP senator Lindsey Graham sided with Mr Trump in a spat with Mitch McConnell.

“It’s hard to play the middle road on this. In an ideal world you can state the truth, which is that former President Trump bears a great deal of responsibility for what happened at our nation’s Capitol on January 6,” Ms Asa told CNN.

It came after Mr McConnell was savaged by Mr Trump and supporters after he condemned the former president for his role in the Capitol insurrection last month.

Republicans are going to “have to determine whether Trump is going to dictate the future of the party, or whether our principles and many other leaders are going to shape the future of our party,” Mr Asa said.

“We should not be defined by one person, particularly a person who has made such an egregious mistake as what we saw happen on January 6.”

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 09:59
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Why McConnell doesn’t matter when it comes to Trump and the Republican Party

Just for a change, you might say, Donald Trump has chosen to tell an old-fashioned truth about a political opponent. The former president says that his Republican “colleague” (loosely) Mitch McConnell is a “dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack”, which is about as near to scientific fact as politics gets.

Of course, McConnell might well be a laugh-a-minute privately, a grinning fun-bunny back at home, a larger than life character who lights up a room every time he walks in; but in his monotonic public outings, not so much.

To be fair to the Senate Republican leader, he doesn’t really pretend to be anything other than a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack. He has no designs on the White House, and he makes Mike Pence seem a magnetic personality. Senator McConnell, unlike ex-president Trump, is at home in his own rumpled skin.

Read more here:

Why McConnell doesn’t matter when it comes to Trump and the Republican Party

McConnell has become the latest former Trump ally to feel the wrath of the ex-president, whose list of friends within the Republican Party continues to shrink. Sean O’Grady explains what this means for any future political ambitions

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 10:20
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Mitt Romney outlines reason for voting to convict Trump

Mitt Romney has released a statement to be entered into the congressional record, in which he explains why he voted to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment trial.

“I consider an attempt to corrupt an election to keep oneself in power one of the most reprehensible acts that can be taken by a sitting president,” the Republican senator said. “The second impeachment resulted from the President’s continued effort to do just that.”

He added: “Despite the obvious and well-known threat of violence, he incited and directed thousands to descend upon the seat of Congress as it was undertaking the constitutionally prescribed process to certify his successor.”

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 10:41
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‘Congratulations, man’: Biden phones Nasa after Perseverance lands on Mars

Joe Biden has congratulated Nasa on its successful landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars.

In a phone call on Thursday the US president spoke of his pride in the space agency’s achievement.

Perseverance touched down in a crater after a seven-month flight and a descent described by Nasa as “the seven minutes of terror”. It is designed to seek out signs of biological life.

Mr Biden watched the landing on television and called Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, near Los Angeles, about an hour after touchdown.

Read more here:

Biden phones Nasa after Perseverance lands on Mars

President hails ‘power of science’

Jon Sharman19 February 2021 10:59

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