Donald Trump Says He Might Run For US President In 2024

File photo: Ex-U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. U.S. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP

 

Donald Trump told conservatives Sunday he was considering running for president again in 2024, as he reasserted dominance over the Republican Party and warned of a “struggle” for America’s very survival.

Echoing the grievance politics of his 2016 campaign and the harsh rhetoric of his one-term presidency, the 74-year-old fired up an enthusiastic crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

In a keynote speech — his first since leaving the White House on January 20 — he repeated his false claims that he won the election instead of President Joe Biden, and hammered establishment Republicans who voted against him in the latest impeachment drama.

But while he teased his future plans, he left the crowd guessing about whether he will challenge Biden in a rematch.

“With your help we will take back the House, we will win the Senate, and then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House — and I wonder who that will be?” Trump said to a raucous cheer.

“Who knows?” he boomed about his potential plans. “I may even decide to beat them for a third time, OK?”

Banned from Twitter and other social media, Trump has maintained a low post-presidential profile at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

At CPAC, he walked on stage to revel in a lengthy standing ovation by cheering loyalists, the vast majority maskless despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Like he did so often during his two campaigns, he painted a pitched battle against as Democrats’ “socialist” agenda to remake the nation.

“We’re in a struggle for the survival of America as we know it,” Trump said. “This is a terrible, terrible, painful struggle.”

But he said the “incredible” populist movement that propelled him to victory four plus years ago is just beginning, “and in the end, we will win.”

Trump also put to rest the rumors that he might take his base of support to create a new political party.

“I am not starting a new party,” Trump said. “We have the Republican Party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”

Trump as expected took swipes at Biden, saying the Democrat just concluded a “disastrous” first month in office.

In his rambling 90-minute speech he attacked immigrants, slammed “cancel culture,” criticized Biden policies on climate change and energy, and repeated his false claims that “illegal” actions by Democrats had cost him the election.

But he also took aim at Republicans he feels betrayed him — a strong signal that he will seek to help oust them in upcoming elections.

He called out by name the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him in the House of Representatives, and the seven Republicans who voted unsuccessfully to convict him in the Senate.

“Get rid of them all,” he seethed, while the crowd jeered.

Trump remains the most potent force in the Republican Party, something he made clear he was acutely aware of Sunday when he described his own endorsement as “the most powerful asset in politics.”

– ‘Cautionary note’ –

US political parties usually face a reckoning after a string of setbacks such as those the Republicans saw under four years of Trump: losing the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The party is also marked with Trump’s repeated lies about his election loss, his impeachment over inciting the US Capitol riot on January 6, and the faultline his actions have caused between establishment Republicans and pro-Trump populists.

But, instead of jettisoning its troubled leader and charting a new path, much of the party still sees Trump as retaining a vice-like grip on its future.

At least at CPAC, enthusiasm for Trump remained sky high. Attendees posed next to a shiny gold-colored statue of the former president, and cheers rose up whenever panelists praised him.

In a straw poll conducted at the conference, nearly seven in 10 respondents said they want him to run again.

On future direction for the party, support for Trumpism was rock solid, with 95 percent of respondents wanting to continue Trump’s policies and agenda.

But when asked who they prefer as the party’s 2024 nominee, a moderate 55 percent chose Trump, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a distant second on 21 percent.

Veteran Republican strategist Karl Rove said he would have expected a stronger result for Trump, especially at a gathering so supportive of the ex-president.

“I’d take that as a cautionary note,” Rove said on Fox News.

For some Republicans like Senator Bill Cassidy, who voted to convict Trump, moving on from the brash billionaire is critical.

Republicans can win “by speaking to those issues important to the American people,” he told CNN, “not by putting one person on a pedestal.”

 

AFP

Trump’s Casino Demolished In Atlantic City

The former Trump Plaza hotel and casino is imploded on February 17, 2021 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After 30 years of operation, the Trump Plaza was imploded after closing its doors in 2014. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP

 

The former jewel in the crown of Donald Trump’s bankrupted Atlantic City casino empire was demolished Wednesday with 3,000 sticks of dynamite.

The detonator button was pressed shortly after 9:00 am (1400 GMT), reducing the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino to a pile of rubble in just a few seconds.

Closed since 2014, the casino was Trump’s first property in the US coastal gambling town in which he came to own several properties.

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It opened in 1984 and has undergone little to no maintenance since shuttering.

On several occasions during storms, pieces of its exterior have fallen onto the seaside promenade that runs alongside the building.

Police officers secure the area near the former Trump Plaza hotel and casino before been imploded on February 17, 2021 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP

 

Since 2016, the two-building complex has belonged to billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who was one of Trump’s main Atlantic City financiers.

In mid-June, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small announced the building’s demolition, after taking legal action over what he considered to be a danger to residents.

Icahn has not said what he will do with the land once the building is destroyed.

Trump had already filed a lawsuit in 2014 asking that his name be removed from the building’s facade, believing its presence there was bad for the Trump name and brand.

The former real estate developer has owned up to four casinos in the northeast gambling capital: apart from Trump Plaza there was also Trump World’s Fair which closed in 1999, Trump Marina which was sold by creditors in 2011, and the Trump Taj Mahal which closed in 2016.

The subsidiary that ran the former president’s Atlantic City properties, Trump Entertainment Resorts, filed for bankruptcy three times, in 2004, 2009 and 2014, weighed down by debt each time.

AFP

Movement ‘Has Only Just Begun’, Says Trump After Acquittal

A file photo of Former US President Donald Trump

 

 

Former US President Donald Trump on Saturday welcomed his acquittal in the US Senate on an impeachment charge and said his political movement “has only just begun.”

“Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” Trump said in a statement issued just moments after the Senate vote.

“In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people,” he said.

“We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future,” Trump said.

A two-thirds majority was needed in the 100-member Senate to convict Trump of the charge of inciting the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters but only 57 senators voted “guilty.”

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in the Senate in voting to convict the former president.

Trump denounced his second impeachment trial as “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”

“No president has ever gone through anything like it,” Trump said.

JUST IN: Donald Trump Acquitted In Impeachment Trial

(FILES) In this file photo former US President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing at the White House on September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC.(Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

Donald Trump survived a second impeachment trial Saturday when the US Senate acquitted him on the charge of incitement of insurrection, ending Democratic efforts to hold the former president accountable over the deadly US Capitol riot.

The five day trial, in which Democratic impeachment managers argued that Trump betrayed his oath of office by urging his supporters to storm Congress in a bid to block certification of the November election, concluded with an insufficient 57-43 majority of senators voting to convict.

It was the most bipartisan impeachment trial vote ever, with seven Republicans breaking ranks to join all 50 Democrats in seeking conviction — a dark and permanent stain on a former president who may yet seek to run for office again.

But two-thirds of the chamber, or 67 senators, is necessary to convict, and the Senate ultimately was not willing to punish the former president.

In Trump’s historic second impeachment trial, the senators for the first time ever were not only jurors, but witnesses to the assault at the heart of the charge against Trump.

Democrats argued that Trump’s behavior was an “open and shut” example of an impeachable offense, saying that as president he repeated the falsehood that the election was stolen, then whipped up supporters to attack Congress and stop the certification of the vote.

“He summoned his supporters to Washington, on the Ellipse, whipped them into a frenzy, and directed them at the Capitol,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.

The defense team swatted such evidence away, insisting the Senate had no constitutional jurisdiction to try a former president. Most Republican senators agreed.

Trump, who has been secluded in his Florida club since leaving office on January 20, issued a statement in which he expressed thanks for the verdict, and called the proceedings “yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”

 

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 13: House impeachment managers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) depart the Senate Chamber at the conclusion of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 57-43 to acquit Trump. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP

 

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 13: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to his office at the conclusion of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 57-43 to acquit Trump of the charges of inciting the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

 

The 74-year old Republican also hinted at a possible political future, and at “continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people.”

“We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future,” Trump said.

– ‘Never happened’ –

Democrats described how Trump refused to call a halt to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol that left then-vice president Mike Pence and lawmakers in mortal danger.

But the defense team repeatedly proclaimed Trump’s innocence, insisting “the act of incitement never happened” and rioters acted alone.

With influential Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell revealing he would vote against convicting Trump, the case tilted even more solidly toward acquittal.

Before moving to final arguments, the proceedings were interrupted for a few hours when House impeachment managers, in a surprise move, said they wanted to call witnesses at the trial.

Lead manager Jamie Raskin, a Democratic congressman, said he wanted to call a Republican lawmaker as a witness but eventually agreed with Trump’s defense lawyers just to have a statement of hers entered into evidence.

Trump’s lawyers had threatened in response to call witnesses of their own, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and others in a process that could have prolonged the trial for days if not weeks.

Raskin had wanted Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted to impeach Trump last month, to testify after she released a statement about a notable exchange on January 6.

In her statement entered into the record, she said Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had made a frantic call to Trump while the attack was ongoing and implored him to call off the rioters.

Instead Trump falsely blamed other groups, not his own supporters, for breaching the Capitol, Herrera Beutler said.

“McCarthy refuted that and told the president that these were Trump supporters,” the congresswoman said.

“That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,'” she said.

– ‘Willfully betrayed’ –

Democrats pounced on her statement.

“There can be no doubt that at the moment we most needed a president to preserve, protect and defend us, president Trump instead willfully betrayed us,” impeachment manager David Cicilline told the Senate, adding Trump “violated his oath” of office.

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House on January 13 for inciting the attack by his supporters, who were seeking to block congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s November 3 election victory.

Trump’s defense lawyers argued on Friday that the ex-president bears no responsibility for the attack on Congress and wrapped up their presentation in just three hours.

This followed two days of evidence from Democrats centered around harrowing video footage of the mob assault on the Capitol.

Trump’s defense lawyers called the impeachment unconstitutional and an “act of political vengeance.”

They argued that Trump’s January 6 rally speech near the White House that preceded the attack, when he told supporters to “fight like hell,” was merely rhetorical.

US Senate Votes To Allow Witnesses, Prolonging Trump Trial

(FILES) “The Article of Impeachment presented by the House is unconstitutional for a variety of reasons, any of which alone would be grounds for immediate dismissal,” Trump’s lawyers said in a 78-page brief on the eve of his trial on charges of inciting a deadly riot at the US Capitol. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

 

The US Senate voted Saturday to allow the calling of witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, throwing a wrench into Republican hopes to wrap up proceedings with a swift acquittal of the former president.

Five Republicans joined all 50 Democrats to vote to allow witnesses, after Democratic impeachment managers signalled their intent to subpoena congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted to impeach Trump in January, to testify about the then-president’s phone call with a House leader during the US Capitol insurrection.

The call for witnesses triggered moments of chaos on the Senate floor, with leaders hitting the pause button on the trial so they can figure out the next steps in the process.

House Rests Trump Impeachment Case, Defense Begins Today

In this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 -ex-US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony. PHOTO:AFP

 

House prosecutors wrapped up their impeachment case against Donald Trump on Thursday with an impassioned appeal to the Senate to convict the former president of inciting the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol and bar him from holding office again.

“We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime (of) which he is overwhelmingly guilty,” said Democratic Representative Joe Neguse, one of the nine impeachment managers from the House of Representatives.

“Because if you don’t, if we pretend this didn’t happen — or worse, if we let it go unanswered — who’s to say it won’t happen again?”

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The House impeachment managers rested their case after two days of arguments that included Trump’s own words and hours of graphic video from the assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters who were seeking to halt certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s November 3 election victory.

Trump’s lawyers will begin their defense on Friday, arguing that the former president cannot be held personally responsible for the storming of Congress.

They have also argued that the trial itself is unconstitutional because Trump is now out of office, although the Senate rejected that argument earlier this week.

Jamie Raskin, the lead House manager, reminded the 100 senators who are sitting as jurors of their oath to render “impartial justice.”

“Exercise your common sense about what just took place in our country,” Raskin said, noting that Trump stood by doing nothing for two hours as his supporters rampaged through Congress.

“Why did President Trump not tell his supporters to stop the attack on the Capitol as soon as he learned about it?” Raskin asked. “As our constitutional commander in chief, why did he do nothing to send help?”

Earlier, Biden said the video evidence against his 74-year-old predecessor presented at the Senate trial may change “some minds.”

But despite what even some Republicans have said was a strong prosecution case, Trump retains an unshakeable grip on the party, making conviction highly unlikely.

It would take a two-thirds majority in the 100-member Senate, meaning 17 Republicans would need to join the chamber’s 50 Democrats.

 

– ‘Future of democracy’  –

The mayhem on January 6 erupted after Trump held a large rally near the White House, insisting falsely, as he had done since losing to Biden in November, that he was cheated.

Instructed by Trump to march on Congress, where lawmakers were at that moment certifying Biden’s election, the crowd smashed through police lines, then went on a rampage.

The chaos left five people dead, including one woman shot after she invaded the Capitol and one policeman killed by the crowd.

Video footage played by impeachment managers showed the mob hunting down opponents of Trump, as well as senior figures, including then vice president Mike Pence, having to flee to safety.

The defense will stress that Trump did not expressly tell his supporters to commit violence, but Raskin pointed out that the Republican president had been stoking anger and encouraging extremism since Election Day — and even before.

“This pro-Trump insurrection did not spring out of thin air,” Raskin said. “This was not the first time Donald Trump had inflamed and incited a mob.”

Raskin said it was imperative the Senate convict Trump and bar him from running for the White House again in 2024.

“Is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he’s ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?” Raskin asked.

“Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?”

Raskin also dismissed claims by Trump’s lawyers that the president did not incite the riot but was just exercising his free speech rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Calling this a “smokescreen,” Raskin said that “nobody can incite a riot.”

“First Amendment doesn’t protect it,” he said. “Nobody in America would be protected by the First Amendment if they did all the things that Donald Trump did.”

 

– Republicans stand by Trump –

Biden said he did not watch any of the trial live but had seen news coverage of Wednesday’s wrenching video footage.

“My guess is some minds may be changed,” Biden told reporters in the White House.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden, who has been trying to stop the trial from overshadowing his push for a huge economic stimulus package and the fight against Covid-19, was not intending to predict the outcome.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said video footage shown by House managers on Wednesday was “powerful,” but “how that influences final decisions remains to be seen.”

Other Republican senators have clearly already made up their minds and do not intend to break with Trump, who has threatened to derail their careers.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida insisted the Senate cannot try a former president.

“What happened on Jan. 6 — I said it the moment it started — was unpatriotic, un-American, treasonous, a crime, unacceptable,” he said.

“The fundamental question for me, and I don’t know about for everybody else, is whether an impeachment trial is appropriate for someone who is no longer in office. I don’t believe that it is,” said Rubio.

AFP

US Senators Vote To Proceed With Trial Of Donald Trump

n this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.

 

The US Senate voted on Tuesday to proceed with the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump, rejecting defense arguments that it was unconstitutional.

Defense lawyers had argued that Trump should not face a trial in the Senate for inciting insurrection because he was no longer president.

But the Senate voted 56-44 to proceed with the trial, with six Republicans joining Democratic lawmakers.

The vote, held before the main part of the trial was to get underway Wednesday, saw six Republicans join all 50 Democrats in the evenly divided Senate.

Despite this modest show of bipartisanship, the result highlighted the nearly impossible task of getting the two-thirds majority — requiring 17 Republicans to join the Democrats — that would be needed to convict Trump of inciting insurrection.

Earlier, both sides presented their opening cases, with Democrats arguing that Trump broke his oath in a naked bid to retain power after losing the November election to Joe Biden.

Refusing to accept his defeat, Trump spread lies about vote rigging and repeatedly pressured officials, including then vice president Mike Pence, to try and stop the transfer of power.

Finally, on January 6, Trump told enraged Republican supporters near the White House to “fight like hell.” The crowd, chanting “stop the steal,” then attacked Congress, where Pence and lawmakers were in the process of certifying Biden’s victory.

“If Congress were to just stand completely aside in the face of such an extraordinary crime against the Republic, it would invite future presidents to use their power without any fear of accountability,” Democratic impeachment manager Joe Neguse said.

Video from the January 6 mayhem played back inside the ornate Senate packed the biggest punch.

Senators — who witnessed the events first hand when they had to be rushed to safety that day — watched raw footage of Trump’s speech and the crowd’s ensuing assault on the Capitol.

The video montage showed the mob chanting pro-Trump slogans as it smashed through the doors, swarmed over police, and managed for the first time in history to disrupt the congressional vote certifying the election.

“If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing,” lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said.

Fighting tears, Raskin recounted how he and his family — who were visiting to watch the certification — had been trapped, listening to “the sound of pounding on the door like a battering ram, the most haunting sound I have ever heard.”

“This cannot be the future of America,” he implored senators.

Trump laywer David Schoen, however, said the Senate had no jurisdiction to try Trump once he had left office and warned that the impeachment threatened to “tear this country apart.”

It will leave the United States “far more divided and our standing around the world will be badly broken,” he argued.

Trump sets record

Trump is the first president ever to face two impeachment trials — he was already acquitted in 2020 of abuse of power — as well as the first in history to be tried after leaving the White House.

His team is basing its case largely on the procedural argument that a former president cannot be tried, calling the Senate trial “absurd.”

They also argue that whatever Trump said during his January 6 rally is protected by the constitutional right to free speech and did not amount to ordering the assault on Congress.

The trial is clearly uncomfortable for many Republican senators, who, like their Democratic colleagues, had to flee to safety during the violence. Reminders of the mayhem are everywhere around them, with thousands of National Guard troops still deployed around the newly fortified Capitol building.

Despite this, a second acquittal is all but certain for Trump, who is holed up in his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Amped up on four years of Trump’s populist claims to be fighting for ordinary people against the elites, huge numbers of Republican voters continue to support the ex-president, pushing their party ever further to the right.

Polls show that a small majority of the country overall believes Trump deserves conviction. An Ipsos/ABC News poll found 56 percent back this, while a Gallup poll found 52 percent support.

Among Republicans, however, an overwhelming majority opposes convicting Trump.

Biden above the fray

Biden, who succeeded Trump on January 20, is attempting to stay above the fray.

Daily, the White House is sending a message that the Democrat is focused instead on the fragile economy and the desperate effort to vaccinate Americans against the still out-of-control Covid-19 pandemic.

When asked on Tuesday about the trial, Biden offered a short few words.

“Look, I told you before… I have a job,” he said. “The Senate has their job and they are about to begin it and I am sure they are going to conduct themselves well.

“That’s all I am going to say about impeachment.”

If Trump were convicted, the Senate would then hold a simple-majority vote on barring him from future public office.

But even if the impeachment trial ends in acquittal, calls to punish Trump for his behavior will likely continue, including possibly a push for a bipartisan vote of censure

Second Impeachment Trial Of Donald Trump Begins

File Photo of Donald Trump

 

 

The US Senate on Tuesday opened the historic second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, who stands accused of inciting insurrection on January 6, when the former president’s supporters stormed Congress.

Trump is the first president ever to face two impeachment trials — he was acquitted in 2020 of abuse of power — as well as the first in history to be tried after leaving office.

“It’s our solemn constitutional duty to conduct a fair and honest impeachment trial of the charges against former president Trump — the gravest charges ever brought against a president of the United States in American history,” Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy is presiding over the trial, which will begin with hours of debate, followed by a vote, on the constitutionality of trying an ex-president.

This will almost certainly be just a formality as the Democrats have enough votes, but it will give an early indication of how to open Republicans are to the case at all.

The main part of the trial will start Wednesday, with each side having 16 hours to present oral arguments

Amazon’s Bezos, Latest Tycoon To Pursue His ‘Passion’

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifies via video conference during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, July 29, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images/AFP
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifies via video conference during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power in the Rayburn House office Building, July 29, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

Bill Gates set out to heal the world. His Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought sports teams. Ted Turner raced yachts. And Donald Trump went into politics.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, plans to build rockets and save the planet.

Bezos, 57, is the latest in a line of corporate titans who have stepped away from their day jobs to devote themselves to other activities.

Bezos, whose net worth is $197 billion according to Forbes magazine, announced on Tuesday he was resigning as chief executive officer of the online retail giant he launched 27 years ago.

He said he would remain executive chairman of Amazon but would devote more time to “passions” such as his private space firm Blue Origin and the Bezos Earth Fund, to which he made a $10 billion donation last year.

In stepping away from the executive suite, Bezos is following in the footsteps of other tycoons who temporarily — and in some cases permanently — walked away from running the businesses that made them rich.

Gates, 65, and Allen, who died of cancer in 2018 at the age of 65, founded Microsoft in 1975 and built it into the world’s leading computer software company.

Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000 and with his wife launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is devoted to improving global health.

Gates, the world’s fourth-richest man according to Forbes, resigned as Microsoft’s chairman in 2014 and left the board in March of last year.

Allen, whose fortune was estimated at $20 billion by Forbes when he died, left Microsoft in 1983 when he suffered a first bout with cancer but remained on the board until 2000.

After leaving the company, Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association and Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League.

He was also an active philanthropist, giving away billions of dollars for medical research and other worthy causes.

– Sights on space –
Turner, 82, turned his father’s advertising company into a multi-billion dollar business, launching Cable News Network (CNN) and also buying sports teams — Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA.

But his real passion was sailing.

As the skipper of the yacht “Courageous,” he successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1977 against the Australian challenger.

A number of tycoons have put aside business for politics, most recently former president Trump, a global real estate magnate, and Michael Bloomberg.

Trump, 74, ran for the White House in 2016 while Bloomberg, founder of the financial news company that bears his name, was elected mayor of New York City in 2001.

Bloomberg, 78, was re-elected mayor of the Big Apple in 2005 and in 2009 and made an ill-fated bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Bezos, who founded his space company Blue Origin in 2000, is not the only tycoon who has expanded his sights beyond Earth’s orbit.

Richard Branson, 70, founder of the Virgin Group, also has a spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, and is seeking to make space tourism affordable.

Both Bezos and Branson, however, have been left in the dust when it comes to space by another billionaire — South African-born Elon Musk, the world’s second-richest man.

Musk, 49, made his first major fortune when PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002 and has gone on to launch electric car company Tesla and solar power company SolarCity.

In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX.

It has since become the world’s leading private rocket launch company, sending commercial satellites into space and delivering cargo to the International Space Station.

SpaceX became the first private company to launch humans into space last year when it sent two astronauts to the ISS.

House Sends Trump Impeachment Article To Senate, Triggering Trial

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25: (L-R) The impeachment managers Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA), Stacey Plaskett (D-US Virgin Islands AT-Large), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Madeleine Dean (D-PA) leave the Senate floor after delivering the article of impeachment on Capitol Hill on January 25, 2021 in Washington DC.  Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images/AFP

 

The US House of Representatives presented a single article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday accusing Donald Trump of inciting the storming of the Capitol, setting in motion the first-ever impeachment trial of a former president.

In a solemn procession, the nine House impeachment managers silently walked the article through the same ornate halls of Congress overrun by Trump supporters on January 6 and delivered it to the Senate.

Representative Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, then read out the charge against Trump on the Senate floor, where the former president continues to enjoy significant support from Republican senators.

“Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the government of the United States,” Raskin said. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”

The Senate trial of the 74-year-old Trump, who was impeached by the Democratic-majority House on January 13 for an unprecedented second time, is to begin the week of February 8.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the 100 members of the Senate, who will act as jurors, will be sworn in on Tuesday and a summons issued to Trump.

Democrats and Republicans agreed to delay the start of the trial for two weeks to allow Trump to prepare his defense against the charge of “incitement of insurrection,” and for the Senate to confirm President Joe Biden’s cabinet appointees.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump’s previous Senate trial — which ended with his acquittal — but presiding this time will be the Senate president pro tempore.

The president pro tempore is the senior senator of the party with the majority in the Senate, currently the Democrats. Patrick Leahy, 80, who was elected to the Senate in 1974, holds the position.

Republican senator John Cornyn said having a senator serve as both judge and juror raised a conflict of interest, but another Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, dismissed his concerns.

“I’ve known Pat a long time,” Graham said. “I believe and hope he’ll be fair.”

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25: Snow falls as the U.S. Capitol building is seen past a perimeter fence after the House Impeachment Managers delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on January 25, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

‘Must be held accountable’

Leahy said he would take an oath to be impartial.

“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents,” Leahy said.

“When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws,” he said. “It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.”

Biden, 78, eager to put Trump in the rear-view mirror and make progress in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and reviving the economy, has taken a hands-off approach to the impeachment. However, he told CNN on Monday evening, “I think it has to happen.”

Democratic representative Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, said Monday that Trump “must be held accountable.”

“We must not give Donald Trump a pass for inciting a deadly insurrection on our Capitol,” Nadler said.

“The House has done its job by impeaching Trump, and now the Senate must complete the task by ensuring that he is never again in a position to directly harm the United States.”

Ten Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in the House in voting to impeach Trump for inciting the crowd that stormed the Capitol while Congress was certifying Biden’s November 3 election victory.

Five people died in the mayhem, including a police officer and a protester who was shot by Capitol police.

The House also impeached Trump a year ago for seeking to dig up political dirt on Biden from Ukraine, but he was acquitted by the Senate, where only a single Republican senator, Mitt Romney of Utah, voted for conviction.

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25: Snow falls around the U.S. Capitol after the House Impeachment Managers delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on January 25, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

‘Get out of jail free card’

While more Republican senators may vote to convict Trump this time, it seems unlikely at least 17 of them will do so.

Democrats control 50 seats in the 100-seat chamber, and a two-thirds majority is needed to convict Trump, who remains a powerful figure in the Republican Party.

If Trump is convicted, the Senate could bar him from holding office again, a move that would prevent him from running for president in 2024.

A number of Republicans have denounced the plans to try Trump in the Senate, and some have argued that the body has no authority to put a private citizen — as Trump now is — on trial.

Schumer dismissed that argument in remarks on the Senate floor on Monday.

“It makes no sense whatsoever,” he said. “The theory that the Senate can’t try former officials would amount to a constitutional ‘get out of jail free card’ for any president who commits an impeachable offense.”

Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed he had won the election and summoned his supporters to Washington on January 6 for a rally that coincided with the certification of the results by Congress.

Following a speech by Trump, thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol, fighting pitched battles with police and sending lawmakers into hiding.

Trump is facing potential legal jeopardy on numerous fronts, but he got welcome news on Monday when the Supreme Court shut down lawsuits claiming he had violated laws barring a president from accepting income from foreign sources.

Voting Machine Maker Sues Trump’s Lawyer For Defamation

) In this file photo taken on July 01, 2020 Rudy Giuliani, attorney for US President Donald Trump, speaks at the White House in Washington, DC. JIM WATSON / AFP
In this file photo taken on July 01, 2020 Rudy Giuliani, attorney for ex-US President Donald Trump, speaks at the White House in Washington, DC. JIM WATSON / AFP

 

A voting machine manufacturer sued Rudy Giuliani, the lawyer for former US President Donald Trump, on Monday after he claimed the company had cost Trump last November’s election.

In a defamation lawsuit seeking damages of $1.3 billion, Dominion Voting Systems said Giuliani and other Trump allies had damaged its reputation by alleging its widely used voting machines were part of a “massive fraud” that Giuliani claimed had “fixed the vote” for now-President Joe Biden.

Dozens of state and federal rulings, as well as the US Congress, have rejected such claims.

READ ALSO: Biden To Reinstate COVID-19 Travel Ban

But the allegations underpinned what Dominion called the “Big Lie” behind the January 6 attack on the US Congress by Trump supporters attempting to overturn Biden’s victory.

Former New York mayor Giuliani and his allies “manufactured and disseminated the ‘Big Lie,’ which foreseeably went viral and deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election,” Dominion said in the suit, filed in Washington federal court.

Giuliani did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

Dominion said Giuliani, 76, had requested $20,000 a day from Trump’s campaign for pushing the fraud argument, which he also used to publicize other commercial ventures — selling gold coins, cigars and cybersecurity services.

“Even after the United States Capitol had been stormed by rioters who had been deceived by Giuliani and his allies, Giuliani shirked responsibility for the consequences of his words and repeated the Big Lie again,” it said in the suit.

Dominion said Giuliani knew the claims that Dominion’s voting machines produced false counts were bogus because, while he repeatedly promoted the idea in public, he declined to say so in court before a judge.

“He was unwilling to make false election fraud claims about Dominion and its voting machines in a court of law because he knew those allegations are false,” it said.

The viral claims saw Dominion pilloried online and in conservative media and forced the company to repeatedly defend its reputation, despite no evidence that its vote tallies were erroneous.

It was the second such case filed by Dominion.

On January 8 it sued Sidney Powell, another attorney representing Trump in the effort to overturn the election results, also for $1.3 billion.

Similar to the Powell suit, the Giuliani suit said he worked “in concert with” conservative media companies Fox News, Fox Business, Newsmax, One America News Network, and The Epoch Times to push “defamatory falsehoods.”

It was not clear if Dominion intended action against any of those companies or against Trump himself, who also questioned Dominion’s technology.

AFP

Biden Undoes Trump Migration Orders, Pushes For Major Reform

File photo: Then President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre on November 25, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.  Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

 

Within hours of taking office, President Joe Biden undid some of Donald Trump’s most controversial immigration policies and sparked cautious hope that millions living in the shadows could one day get legal status in the US.

Scribbled signatures from his pen on Wednesday lifted an entry ban for people from many majority Muslim nations and halted construction of Trump’s border wall with Mexico, heartening immigration defenders left reeling by four years of “America First” nationalism.

Yet advocates see new battles ahead, including whether lawmakers can finally overhaul the nation’s immigration system which has been branded as “broken” with some 11 million undocumented people living in limbo.

These discussions, however, have only begun as the Trump administration has just left the White House.

His so-called “Muslim ban,” which in 2017 targeted citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, ignited international outrage and lead to domestic court rulings against it.

Iraq and Sudan were dropped from the list, but in 2018 the Supreme Court upheld a later version of the ban for the other nations — as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

As part of his first acts, Biden signed new protections for so-called “Dreamers” — immigrants who arrived illegally as children and had been temporarily shielded from deportation by a program Trump tried to dismantle.

In addition, the new president overturned one of his predecessor’s orders pushing aggressive efforts to find and deport unauthorized immigrants, and imposed a 100-day suspension on most deportations.

Immigration advocates erupted in support for Biden’s first orders.

“There is that dark cloud that used to hang over our heads, which is gone,” said Camille Mackler, the executive director of a pro-migrant lawyers group founded against the ban targeting Muslim nations.

– Republican pushback –
“After four years of what was a war on immigration and immigrants, this feels like the dawn of a new day,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

“I think (this) is pretty significant action for, you know, a president unilaterally on day one,” she added.

Aura Hernandez, a 39-year-old immigrant from Guatemala who doesn’t have papers, heaved a sigh of relief.

“These past four years have been the worst of my life,” said the mother of five, who took refuge for several months in a Manhattan church in 2018 to avoid deportation.

But like millions of others in her position, Hernandez has to keep her hope in check because Biden’s executive orders do not change the fundamentals of the nation’s immigration system.

The president’s nominee to lead the nation’s Homeland Security department, Alejandro Mayorkas, said this week that Biden has “committed to presenting Congress, on day one, with an immigration reform bill that, once and for all, fixes I think what we all can agree is a broken immigration system.”

Previous efforts to pass a major reform of the system have come tantalizingly close but failed in the end, leaving powerful Democratic Senator Bob Menendez to describe what he expects will be a “Herculean” effort in Congress this time around.

A proposed bill would allow immigrants without documents, but who pay taxes and have no criminal record or national security issues, to work legally for six years and then get on a possible track to permanent legal status.

Menendez noted that 60 of 100 votes would be needed for passage in the Senate, which means Democrats would have to have bipartisan support.

Immigration reform is a particularly delicate issue for Republicans, who have been skeptical of regularization measures and some of whom will be up for re-election in 2022.

Menendez called on the business community, especially in the migrant-heavy agricultural and tech sectors, to push Republicans for action.

Apple boss Tim Cook said on Wednesday he was ready to work with the Biden administration and Congress for “comprehensive solutions to fix our broken immigration system.”

Yet any reform proposal will likely require negotiation and thus compromise, Menendez noted.

The legal status of millions of undocumented people “is a major immigration issue that hasn’t been resolved for decades,” said Sahar Aziz, a law professor at Rutgers University.

“Each time a Democratic president tries to find a path to citizenship, Republicans push back.”