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As it happenedended1610924047

Trump news – Armed groups dwarfed by security at state capitals as president’s approval at new low

The latest updates from the White House and beyond on 17 January 2021

Oliver O'Connell,Chantal da Silva
Sunday 17 January 2021 22:54 GMT
Trump says impeachment moves causing anger, but 'I want no violence'

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has plummeted to an all-time low as the US leader prepares to exit the White House. 

In the wake of the deadly Capitol riots on 6 January, the president has seen his approval rating dive, with the change in perception being largely among Republicans. 

The worst polling came from Pew Research Center, which found Mr Trump’s disapproval rating to be at 68 per cent, with his approval rating falling to 29 per cent, the lowest yet, in a poll of 5,360 adults conducted between 8-12 January.

The findings come as states across the US brace for the possibility of inauguration week violence as President-Elect Joe Biden prepares to take office on Wednesday. Small armed groups appeared at statehouses on Sunday, but the size of the gatherings appeared dwarfed by the security presence.

On Sunday, former FBI director James Comey warned of the “very serious” risk of violence breaking out around the inauguration following deadly riots at the US Capitol last week. 


Presidential historian brands Trump’s Twitter banishment a ‘gift to American democracy’

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss has celebrated Donald Trump’s permanent suspension from Twitter as a “gift to American democracy".

Praising Twitter’s “banishment” of the president, Mr Beschloss’ comments came as the decision continued to receive a mixed response. 

The decision has sparked further division in an ongoing international debate around free speech, with some questioning the precedent Twitter has set, while others have celebrated Trump’s removal.

A recent study by Zignal Labs reportedly found that mentions of election fraud dropped by 73 per cent on Twitter following Mr Trump’s permanent suspension.  

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 14:36

Incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain says administration will ‘work hard’ with GOP

President-Elect Joe Biden’s incoming chief of staff Ron Klain has said the administration will “work hard” with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to “get things done”.

Questioned by CNN’s Jake Tapper on whether Mr Biden was being “naive” to think he could work with Republicans, Mr Klain said the Biden administration would need to work with both Democratic and GOP members, particularly as voters elected “an evenly divided Senate”.

"What I will say is this: 93 senators in both parties, obviously, voted to confirm the electoral results on January 6th. Senator Mitch McConnell, a very conservative Republican stood in the well of the Senate and made it clear that Joe Biden had won and that he opposed these efforts to overthrow the results of the people.

I think there are people in both parties we can work with to move this agenda forward," he said.

Noting that Democrats and Republicans will not always agree, he said: "We are going to try to work hard with people in both parties,” he said. 

“[Voters] elected a closely divided Congress," he added. "We’re gonna have to find ways for Democrats and Republicans to get things done.”

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 14:55

Former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson blames Trump for Capitol riots

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson criticised President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the Capitol riots on 6 January, saying he hopes the US never has another sitting president who stokes such violence. 

Speaking on CNN on Sunday, Mr Johnson suggested that Mr Trump’s rhetoric has fuelled “things like Charlottesville in 2017” and the “boiling over of this violence at the US Capitol”. 

As the Senate prepares to vote on whether to convict Mr Trump over his role in inciting the violence, Mr Johnson said: “I believe that history will not view the Trump presidency and those who supported it kindly.”

The former DHS secretary also said he would never forget one particular moment captured during the Capitol riots. 

“I have to say, out of the many horrible images we saw...the one that I will never forget is the confederate flag being paraded through the US Capitol,” he said, adding: “All during the Civil War, we never saw such a thing.” 

Mr Johnson warned that the division in the US could be a “permanent phenomenon that I'm afraid is going to continue to exist". 

He said he hoped to “never again have a sitting president” stoke such violence again. 

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 15:19

US military says troop removal from Somalia is complete in one of Trump administration’s final acts

The US military has said its troop withdrawal from Somalia is complete, with the withdrawal representing one of the Trump administration’s final acts before President-Elect Joe Biden takes office. 

The US personnel who had supported Somali forces are being moved to other African countries, such as nearby Kenya and Djibouti, which is home to the only permanent US military base in Africa, according to the Associated Press.

Some experts have warned against the withdrawal of troops, given that it comes at a time when the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group has continued to attack military and civilian targets in the capital, Mogadishu. 

The withdrawal also comes less than a month before Somalia is set to hold a national election. 

The withdrawal was announced last year and was given a 15 January deadline. 

It is unclear how Mr Biden will respond to the decision when he takes office on 20 January.

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 15:40

Law enforcement officials batten down statehouses ahead of planned protests

Law enforcement officials have ramped up security at statehouses across the country on Sunday in preparation for the possibility of violent protests ahead of Joe Biden’s Wednesday inauguration.

Security officials have been on alert after members of the anti-government “Boogaloo” movement made plans to hold rallies across the country on Sunday.

There were questions over whether the protests would move ahead, but CBS News reported that on Friday its team received an email from an administrator of the Tree of Liberty website, an online forum for members of the movement, saying the rallies would go forward. 

More than a dozen states have activated National Guard troops and taken other measures to secure their capitol buildings after the FBI warned of armed protests. 

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 16:05

Trump is still ‘telling people he won’, Maggie Haberman says

New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman has said President Donald Trump is “still telling people that he won” the 2020 election.

Asked on CNN what Mr Trump has been up to over the past few days, the NYT correspondent said the president has been busy saying his farewells as US leader, despite still maintaining that he won the 2020 election as President-Elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.

“We haven't heard from him in part because he lost his Twitter feed,” she noted. 

However, the journalist said Mr Trump has been “taking farewell pictures with aides, still talking to people” and “still telling people that he won". 

“He has not accepted that he lost but he has accepted the fact that he is not going to be president,” she said. 

On accepting his loss, she said: “He is not there yet, if he is ever going to get there”.

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 16:22

Trump’s approval rating plummets to record-low

As President Donald Trump prepares to exit the White House, his approval rating has plummeted to an all-time low.

In the wake of 6 January’s deadly Capitol riots, approval for the US leader has taken a major dive, with a change in sentiments coming largely from Republicans.

The worst polling came from Pew Research Center, which found Mr Trump’s disapproval rating to be at 68 per cent, with his approval rating sinking to 29 per cent in a poll of 5,360 adults conducted between 8-12 January.

Other polls also put the president’s disapproval rating at over 60 per cent. 

Oliver O'Connell breaks down the latest polling results and what they mean for Mr Trump as he exits office: 

Trump to leave office with approval rating at all-time low

Biggest change in perception is among Republicans

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 16:30

Lindsey Graham accuses Schumer of seeking ‘vengeance’ with Senate impeachment trial

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham has accused Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate majority leader, of seeking “vengeance” by pushing forward with plans to hold President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial after the US leader leaves office. 

Noting that present Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence had stood against calls for the results of the 2020 election to be overturned, Mr Graham claimed that “virtually all" Republicans in Senate “rejected further challenges to the 2020 election”. 

"But now, in your first act as Majority Leader, rather than begin the national healing that the country so desperately yearns for, you seek vengeance and political retaliation instead. 

“While the Vice President and Senate Republicans rejected unconstitutional actions, you seek to force upon the Senate, what would itself be but one more unconstitutional action in this disgraceful saga - the impeachment trial of a former president”. 

Mr Trump has already been impeached by the House of Representatives over his role in inciting the riots at the US Capitol on 6 January. 

Now, he faces a Senate trial to determine whether he should be convicted over his role in inciting the deadly insurrection. 

Mr McConnell had announced that the Senate trial would take place after President-Elect Joe Biden’s 20 January inauguration in order to allow Congress to focus on the transition between administrations.

The full letter can be read here: 

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 16:43

Trump has less than 72 hours left in office

Donald Trump officially has less than 72 hours as the President of the United States, with President-Elect Joe Biden set to take up the presidency as of 12pm ET on 20 January. 

With less than three days to go before Mr Biden takes office, states across the country have been preparing for the possibility of violent protests. 

Following the deadly Capitol riots on 6 January, states have ramped up security at their capitols, with some activating National Guard troops.

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 17:01

Kamala Harris to resign Senate seat on Monday

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is set to resign her Senate seat on Monday as the California senator prepares to take office alongside President-Elect Joe Biden two days later.

According to the Associated Press, aides the Democrat’s aides confirmed the timing on Sunday and said Gov. Gavin Newsom was prepared for the decision. 

 Mr Newsom is expected to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, now California's secretary of state, to serve out the remaining two years of Ms Harris' term.

Mr Padilla will be the first Latino senator to represent California, where around 40 per cent of residents are estimated to be Hispanic.  

Chantal Da Silva17 January 2021 17:30

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