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As it happenedended1608498301

Trump news: President discussed ‘using military to overturn election’ as Powell touted for DOJ role

Chris Riotta,Tom Batchelor
Sunday 20 December 2020 21:05 GMT
Trump ridiculed with montage mocking his sinks, toilets and showers obsession

Donald Trump has reportedly discussed the option of bringing in the military in an effort to rewrite the election result – with senior officials said to have voiced opposition to the plan – as the president searches for options as he refuses to accept his loss.

Michael Flynn, whom Mr Trump recently pardoned for lying to the FBI, apparently suggested the president could impose martial law and use the military to re-run the vote.

Meanwhile, lawyer Sidney Powell, who was booted from his campaign's legal team after pushing unfounded conspiracy theories, has been touted as a potential new special counsel investigating allegations of voter fraud.

Check out The Independent’s live coverage and analysis as it came in below.


Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of developments from Washington DC as lawmakers prepare to vote on a coronavirus economic relief package.

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 08:48

Covid aid bill vote looms

The US Congress appears poised to vote on a $900bn coronavirus aid package after senators struck a late-night compromise to clear one of the final hurdles.

The bill includes $600 direct payments to individuals and a $300 per week unemployment compensation supplement. It appears likely to come with a $1.4 trillion spending bill funding government programmes until September 2021.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters at the US Capitol late on Saturday night: "If things continue on this path and nothing gets in the way, we'll be able to vote tomorrow."

Mr Trump complained early on Sunday morning that a deal had not yet been reached.

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 08:54

Trump downplays Russia in first comments on hacking campaign

Donald Trump has claimed the massive cyber hack that took place was being exaggerated by the media while putting blame on China, despite his secretary of state saying the attack likely came from Russia.

“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality,” the president wrote in a tweet on Thursday, adding: “I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control.”

Mr Trump went on to say that Russia was the “priority chant” in the media because they are “petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!),” he wrote.

Here is the full story:

Trump claims US cyber hack not as big as media reports

President blames China for the attack despite reports indicating it was Russia 

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 09:07

Trump plans ‘big rally’ in Georgia Senate campaign

Mr Trump has said he planned to attend a “big rally” in January in support of the two Republican candidates standing in the Georgia Senate runoffs.

The president had been due to hold a rally in the state today, which now appears to have been postponed.

He tweeted that the Republicans “must have a massive victory” in the 5 January election that will define who controls the Senate.

The president’s children have also campaigned in the Georgia race, with Ivanka and Don Jr. playing an active role.

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 09:23

$900bn Covid package breakthrough

More on the Covid relief package vote, which could come as early as Sunday.

The emerging agreement would deliver more than $300bn in aid to businesses as well as the extra $300-per-week for the jobless and renewal of state benefits that would otherwise expire right after Christmas.

It included $600 direct payments to individuals; vaccine distribution funds; and money for renters, schools, the Postal Service and people needing food aid.

It would be the first significant legislative response to the pandemic since the CARES Act in March, which delivered $1.8 trillion in aid, more generous $600 per week bonus jobless benefits and $1,200 direct payments to individuals.

Here is the story:

Deal on Fed removes obstacle to agreement on COVID relief

Top congressional lawmakers have cleared away the last major obstacle to agreement on a COVID-19 economic relief package costing nearly $1 trillion

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 09:38

Trump ‘tried to get Homeland Security to seize voting machines’

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Mr Trump held a meeting with Ken Cuccinelli, the second most senior official at the Department for Homeland Security, and raised the prospect that voter machines could be seized as part of the effort to pursue allegations of voter fraud.

People familiar with the meeting told the paper that lawyers present pushed back, saying the department lacked the authority to do so, and Mr Cuccinelli agreed.

As recently as Sunday morning, Mr Trump tweeted: 

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 09:53

Mexico’s leader speaks with U.S. president-elect by phone

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he spoke with US president-elect Joe Biden by phone on Saturday, five days after he sent a somewhat chilly letter of congratulations to Mr Biden.

"We reaffirmed our commitment to work together for the good of our peoples and our countries," Mr Lopez Obrador wrote in his social media accounts.

Mr Biden's transition team said the two discussed migration, apparently with a focus on a theme that Mr Lopez Obrador has championed: developing jobs and opportunities so that people will not have to migrate.

"The president-elect emphasised the need to reinvigorate US-Mexico cooperation to ensure safe and orderly migration, contain Covid-19, revitalise the economies of North America, and secure our common border," said a statement posted on Mr Biden's transition website.

"The two leaders noted a shared desire to address the root causes of migration in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and southern Mexico and to build a future of greater opportunity and security for the region," the statement continued.

"They discussed working together on a new approach to regional migration that offers alternatives to undertaking the dangerous journey to the United States."

Here is the story:

Mexico's leader speaks with U.S. president-elect by phone

Mexico's president says he spoke with U_S_ President-elect Joe Biden by phone, and said both “reaffirmed out commitment to work together for the good of our peoples and our countries.”

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 10:11

Trump ‘floats Sidney Powell as special counsel’

Mr Trump floated naming lawyer Sidney Powell, who was booted from his campaign’s legal team after pushing unfounded conspiracy theories, as a special counsel investigating allegations of voter fraud.

During a Friday meeting at the White House, Mr Trump went as far as discussing getting Ms Powell security clearance, two people familiar with the meeting told the Associated Press.

It is unclear whether Mr Trump intends to move forward with the effort.

Here is the story:

Trump considered appointing conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell as DOJ 'special counsel' on voter fraud

Sidney Powell, the attorney who was cast aside by the president’s legal team, was considered by Donald Trump as a special counsel to investigate baseless allegations the election was rigged against him.

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 10:35

Trump accepts election defeat, one White House trinket at a time

A report in the Wall Street Journal suggests President Trump may be beginning to accept the outcome of the election result.

The paper says that during a recent meeting in the Oval Office, Mr Trump began filling up bags with White House trinkets for his visitors.

He reportedly told his guests he didn’t know what to do with the items, a person briefed on the meeting told the WSJ.

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 10:56

Biden and Mexico’s president vow to cooperate on immigration

More on the phone call between Mr Biden and Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The two leaders “discussed working together on a new approach to regional migration that offers alternatives to undertaking the dangerous journey to the United States".

Mr Biden pledged to build “the regional and border infrastructure and capacity needed to facilitate a new orderly and humane approach to migration that will respect international norms regarding the treatment of asylum claims,” the statement from Mr Biden's team said.

Here is the full report:

Joe Biden and Mexico’s president vow to cooperate on immigration

The two leaders say they share a desire to address the reasons for migration in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and southern Mexico

Tom Batchelor20 December 2020 11:19

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