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Trump news: White House lowers flags days after officer death as lawmakers call for impeachment

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Chantal Da Silva,Danielle Zoellner
Sunday 10 January 2021 22:24
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Moment pro-Trump rioters storm US Capitol captured on TV broadcast

Donald Trump could soon face impeachment proceedings for the second time in his single-term presidency, with Democrats in the US House of Representatives seeking to oust the “unhinged” president after his supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday. 

On Monday, Democrats will introduce legislation seeking to impeach the president, California Rep. Ted Lieu confirmed on Saturday. But House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said the articles of impeachment might wait until after Joe Biden becomes president before they’re passed on to the Senate. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she hopes Mr Trump will resign from his role before Democrats are forced to act. In the meantime, she has pushed for the “unhinged president” to be stripped of access to the US’s nuclear codes.

Meanwhile, a number of pro-Trump rioters have been arrested and charged over their roles in Wednesday’s deadly siege of the US Capitol. Among them is Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli, a prominent pusher of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon. Also known as the "QAnon Shaman", Mr Chansley was taken into custody on charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.

The White House finally lowered its flags to half-staff on Sunday afternoon, a move controlled by the president, days after it was announced a police officer died during the Wednesday riots. Mr Trump has offered no condolences or a public statement about Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. 

On Sunday, it was also revealed that second police officer who was at the US Capitol on Wednesday has died. Officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide, a police union confirmed. 

Mr Trump remained out of the public eye throughout the day on Sunday except to issue his proclamation in the afternoon to lower the flags to half-staff. The White House press office revealed he would be travelling to Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday to check out the border wall. This would likely be one of the president’s last events before leaving office. 

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog following the latest developments in US politics as Democrats prepare to introduce legislation seeking to impeach President Donald Trump.

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 10:28
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Top Republican says Trump committed ‘impeachable offences’

A top Republican has said he believes Donald Trump committed “impeachable offences” as the president faces calls to resign or be ousted after pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday. 

Speaking with Fox News on Saturday, GOP Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said: “I do think the president committed impeachable offenses, but I don’t know what is going to land on the Senate floor, if anything." 

The senator made the comments as House Democrats hashed out plans to introduce legislation on Monday seeking to impeach the US leader in the final days of his presidency.

Sen. Toomey did not say whether he personally would back the effort should there be a Senate trial.

However, he said he was concerned that the Democrat-controlled House would “completely politicise” the situation. 

“I don’t know what they are going to send over and one of the things that I’m concerned about, frankly, is whether the House would completely politicise something,” Mr Toomey, who has said he will not be seeking reelection in 2022, said.

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 10:46
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Donald Trump to visit US-Mexico border wall in final days of presidency

President Donald Trump is expected to travel to the US-Mexico border on Tuesday to mark his administration’s progress in bringing one of his key 2016 election campaign promises to fruition: the construction of the border wall. 

The president had vowed to see at least 450 miles of border wall built by the end of 2020. 

On Tuesday, Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agency tweeted that the milestone had been reached.

Mr Trump is expected to travel to the town of Alamo, Texas, to mark the milestone and highlight his administration’s efforts to reform what it has described as the nation’s broken immigration system. 

Read more here: 

Donald Trump to make triumphant visit to US-Mexico border wall

The US government has built hundreds of miles of fencing along the border, mostly in the last 12 months

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 11:07
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House Republicans implore Biden to stop Pelosi from pursuing Trump impeachment

A group of House Republicans who voted to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory have called on the incoming president to persuade House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call off an effort to see the US leader impeached a second time.

In a letter sent on Saturday, lawmakers, led by GOP Colorado Rep. Ken Buck urged Mr Biden to intervene in plans to pursue Mr Trump’s impeachment “in the spirit of healing”. 

“In the spirit of healing and fidelity to our Constitution, we ask that you formally request that Speaker Nancy Pelosi discontinue her efforts to impeach President Donald J. Trump a second time,” the Republicans wrote, according to Bloomberg.

The speaker has called on Mr Trump to resign. Otherwise, House Democrats are expected to move forward with plans to introduce legislation seeking to impeach the president over pro-Trump rioters’ deadly siege on the US Capitol on Wednesday.

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 11:23
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German parliament ramps up security after U.S. Capitol riots: Report

Germany’s Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, has reportedly ramped up security following the storming of the US Capitol in Washington on Wednesday. 

According to German weekly Bild am Sonntag, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in a letter that Berlin state police had arranged for a “reinforcement of their forces”. 

A spokeswoman for the Bundestag reportedly  confirmed that Mr Schaeuble had written to lawmakers about the situation, but declined to reveal the contents fo the letter. 

Bild am Sonntag reported that Mr Schaeuble had also asked the Foreign Ministry for a report on the US Capitol riots to help clarify “what conclusions should be drawn for Bundestag security”.

The reported ramping up of security also comes after protesters in Berlin stormed the steps of the parliament building during a demonstration in August against coronavirus measures.

Some rioters were reportedly waving the far-right Reichsflagge flag during the incident.

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 11:40
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Pope urges Americans to shun violence in Sunday address

Pope Francis has urged Americans to shun violence and to seek to “protect democratic values” in his Sunday address following Wednesday’s mob attack on the US Capitol building.

"I repeat that violence is self-destructive, always. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost," the Pope said, according to Reuters.

Pope Francis had already spoken out about the violence that unfolded on Wednesday, asserting earlier this week that it “must be condemned". 

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 11:46
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Congress should impeach Trump before presidency ends, Laurence Tribe says

Prominent constitutional law scholar Prof Laurence Tribe has called on Congress to impeach President Donald Trump before his time in power comes to an official end.

In a Washington Post op-ed written with Joshua Matz, a partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP who served as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment and trial of Mr Trump last year, the two legal experts said an article of impeachment expected to be put forward by House Democrats on Monday "accurately captures the gravity of Trump’s misconduct".

Mr Trump has faced widespread accusations of inciting the violence that unfolded at the US Capitol on Wednesday as a mob packed with pro-Trump supporters attacked the Capitol Building. 

In their op-ed, Mr Tribe and Mr Matz said the president should rightly shoulder the blame for “gleefully” having “lit a match and tossed it at Congress”.

“Trump spent months convincing his followers, without factual basis, that they were victims of a massive electoral fraud. He summoned them to D.C. for a ‘wild’ protest as Congress met to certify the election results,” they wrote. “He then whipped them into a frenzy and aimed the angry horde straight at the Capitol.”

“When Trump’s mob breached the building, he inexcusably dawdled in deploying force to quell the riot. And when he finally released a video statement, it only made matters worse,” they said.

“Simply put, Trump knew perfectly well that his rally on Wednesday was a powder keg of his own creation. But he gleefully lit a match and tossed it at Congress,” the two legal experts argued.

The pair said that by approving articles of impeachment, the House would give Senate the option to convene, try, convict and remove the president and with a separate vote, disqualify him from holding office in the future.

Even if the Senate did not act, they said, the House approving articles of impeachment would at least “mark the historical record” and “serve as a valuable deterrent in the interim and draw a line against future abuses”.

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 12:02
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Matt Hancock says decision to ban Trump on social media platforms raises ‘very big question’

The decisions of social media companies to ban President Donald Trump from their platforms after his followers stormed the US Capitol in a deadly siege on Wednesday raises a “very big question,” Matt Hancock has said.  

Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, the Health Secretary and former culture secretary said there are questions to raised around social media giants making “taking editorial decisions”.

 “I think it raises a very important question, which is it means that the social media platforms are taking editorial decisions," he said, according to PA. "And that is a very big question because then it raises questions about their editorial judgments and the way that they're regulated.”

Mr Hancock said the matter was more for the current culture secretary to address. However, he said:  “As a former culture secretary, I can tell you that I think it does lead to very interesting questions about the role of social media and the role of the social media companies in the decisions, in the editorial decisions that they take.”

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were among a number of social media platforms to block the president from their sites following Wednesday’s deadly riots.

In a later interview on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Mr Hancock said: “The scenes, clearly encouraged by President Trump - the scenes at the Capitol - were terrible - and I was very sad to see that because American democracy is such a proud thing.”

“But there's something else that has changed, which is that social media platforms are making editorial decisions now,” he said.

“That's clear because they're choosing who should and shouldn't have a voice on their platform,” he said.

“Now I think we should just be straightforward about that. Now that has consequences and they're very much,” he said. 

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 12:22
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Chinese state media accuses Pompeo of seeking to inflict ‘long-lasting scar’ on ties with latest move

China's state media has accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “seeking to maliciously inflict a long-lasting scar on China-US ties” by lifting longstanding restrictions on US government contacts with Taiwanese counterparts.

In a commentary on Sunday, a writer for the official Xinhua News Agency said the decision was proof that Pompeo “is only interested in stoking unwarranted confrontations, and has no interest in world peace”.

Meanwhile, a commentary posted online by CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV, branded the decision "a cowardly act of sabotage" against the incoming Biden administration.

"The Trump administration, in its continuing efforts to burn the house down before leaving office, has crossed a dangerous red line with China days before incoming President Joe Biden takes office," the commentary said, with Mr Biden set to take office on 20 January.

On Saturday, Mr Pompeo declared that he was “lifting all of these self-imposed restrictions” on how U.S. officials can engage with Taiwan counterparts.

China’s ruling Communist Party has insisted Taiwan is a breakaway state that should be under its rule, while Taiwan's leaders maintain that it is a sovereign state.  

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 12:31
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Theresa May accused of being too eager to ‘pay homage’ to Trump early on in his presidency

Former Commons speaker John Bercow has criticised Theresa May over what he branded her “breathless" efforts to appeal to President Donald Trump in the early days of his presidency. 

Speaking on Times Radio, Mr Bercow said the former prime minister was too eager to “pay homage" to the outgoing president after he took office four years ago.

Meanwhile, current PM Boris Johnson has also faced criticism over his past support of Mr Trump.

Read more here: 

Chantal Da Silva10 January 2021 12:34

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