Trump ‘Offered Kim Jong Un A Ride Home On Air Force One’

US President Donald Trump (R) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shake hands following a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. PHOTO: SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

 

Donald Trump offered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a ride home on Air Force One after a summit in Hanoi two years ago, according to a new BBC documentary.

Kim and Trump first engaged in a war of words and mutual threats, before an extraordinary diplomatic bromance that featured headline-grabbing summits and a declaration of love by the former US president.

But no substantive progress was made, with the process deadlocked after the pair’s meeting in Hanoi broke up over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return.

According to a BBC documentary, “Trump Takes on the World”, the US president “stunned even the most seasoned diplomats” by offering Kim a lift home on Air Force One after the 2019 summit in Vietnam.

If Kim had accepted the offer, it would have put the North Korean leader — and probably some of his entourage — inside the US president’s official aircraft and seen it enter North Korean airspace, raising multiple security issues.

In the event, Kim turned it down.

“President Trump offered Kim a lift home on Air Force One,” Matthew Pottinger, the top Asia expert on Trump’s National Security Council, told the BBC, it reported at the weekend.

“The president knew that Kim had arrived on a multi-day train ride through China into Hanoi and the president said: ‘I can get you home in two hours if you want.’ Kim declined.”

For his first summit with Trump in Singapore in 2018, Kim hitched a ride on an Air China plane, with Beijing keen to keep North Korea — whose existence as a buffer state keeps US troops in the South well away from China’s borders — firmly within its sphere of influence.

During the Singapore summit, Trump gave Kim a glimpse inside his presidential state car — a $1.5 million Cadillac also known as “The Beast” — in a show of their newly friendly rapport.

But last month Kim said the US was his nuclear-armed nation’s “biggest enemy”, adding that Washington’s “policy against North Korea will never change” no matter “who is in power”.

North Korean official media have yet to refer to Joe Biden — who beat Trump in last year’s election — by name as US president.

UN Condemns Myanmar Junta After Two Killed In Anti-Coup Unrest

Protesters lay down to block a road during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 20, 2021.
YE AUNG THU / AFP

 

The deaths of two anti-coup protesters in Myanmar sparked fresh UN condemnation of the country’s new military regime on Sunday, as mourners prepared for the funeral of a young woman who became a national symbol of resistance to the junta.

Authorities have gradually ratcheted up their tactics against a massive and largely peaceful civil disobedience campaign demanding the return of ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Saturday marked the deadliest day yet in more than two weeks of nationwide street demonstrations when security forces fired upon a rally in Mandalay, sending the crowd fleeing in fear.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the use of “deadly violence” in the melee, which emergency workers said killed one teenager and wounded dozens more.

“The use of lethal force, intimidation & harassment against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable,” Guterres wrote.

Security forces in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city and cultural capital, had attempted to raid a shipyard and detain port staff on strike to protest the army takeover.

Medical rescue workers said troops used live rounds and rubber bullets against a crowd of people who had started flinging rocks in an effort to stop the arrests.

“Two people were killed,” said Hlaing Min Oo, the chief of a Mandalay-based volunteer emergency rescue team.

Another 30 were wounded, with half of the injuries from live rounds, he added.

A graphic video circulated on Facebook showing a teenaged victim, splayed on the ground and bleeding from his head as a bystander placed a hand on his chest to feel for a heartbeat.

The Global New Light of Myanmar, a state newspaper, made no mention of the deaths but blamed demonstrators for the affray and said protest leaders had been detained.

The report conceded “some” protesters had been injured by security forces, along with three soldiers and eight police officers.

Large crowds had returned to the streets of Mandalay by the morning, undeterred by the previous day’s violence, with rallies also staged further south in Yangon.

In the capital Naypyidaw, a funeral service was underway for a young protester who died Friday after being shot in the head during a rally last week.

Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, who turned 20 last week as she lay unconscious in a hospital bed, has since become a potent symbol of the campaign against military rule.

Vigils have been held across Yangon, with protesters laying flowers at memorials to the grocery store worker and reciting the Metta Sutta, a Buddhist prayer urging protection from harm.

“We cannot attend her funeral, so we are praying for her,” said Ye Lin Tun, who gathered alongside friends in the commercial hub to mark her death on Sunday.

‘True News Information Team’

Much of Myanmar has been in uproar since troops detained Suu Kyi on February 1, with massive street demonstrations seen in major cities and isolated villages across the country.

The country emerged from its seventh consecutive overnight internet blackout on Sunday, a measure imposed by the regime after neighbourhoods mobilised watch groups to guard against evening arrests.

Earlier that morning, Facebook announced it had booted the military’s “True News Information Team” page from the platform for inciting violence.

The army had used the service to justify its takeover and claim voter fraud tainted Suu Kyi’s landslide election win last November.

The United States, Britain and Canada have all responded with sanctions targeting Myanmar’s top generals.

European Union foreign ministers will meet Monday to discuss their own measures against the regime.

Nearly 570 people have been detained since the army takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.

Among those targeted have been railway workers, civil servants and bank staff, who have walked off their jobs as part of the anti-coup campaign.

Popular actor Lu Min became the latest high-profile celebrity taken into custody for denouncing the regime.

“Many police trucks came and arrested (him),” said his wife Khin Sabel Oo, in a video she broadcast live on Facebook as her husband was taken away overnight.

Suu Kyi has not been seen since she was detained in a dawn raid but has been hit with two charges by the junta, one of them for possessing unregistered walkie-talkies.

Her hearing is expected on March 1.

Myanmar Military Tightens Grip As Protests Enter Fifth Day

Protesters face off with police standing guard on a road during a demostration against the military coup in Naypyidaw on February 8, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

 

Myanmar’s military tightened their post-coup grip on power, stepping up a campaign of intimidation against the ousted civilian leadership while pushing harsher tactics as a fifth consecutive day of nationwide demonstrations began on Wednesday.

Soldiers raided and ransacked the headquarters of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party on Tuesday night, after police shot water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets in a sudden escalation of force against the protests sweeping the country.

A doctor in Naypyidaw also confirmed the use of live rounds that left two people critically injured, but footage showed protesters in the capital were undeterred, returning to a blockade on a major highway on Wednesday morning.

Condemning the use of force, United Nations special rapporteur Tom Andrews said the police fire had injured a young woman, images of whom have spread like wildfire online alongside expressions of grief and fury.

“They can shoot a young woman but they can’t steal the hope & resolve of a determined people,” the human rights envoy wrote on Wednesday. “The world stands in solidarity with the protesters of Myanmar.”

The United States, which has led international condemnation of the army takeover, on Tuesday renewed its call for freedom of expression in Myanmar — and for the generals to step down.

“We repeat our calls for the military to relinquish power, restore democratically elected government (and) release those detained,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

In Mandalay, the country’s cultural capital and the seat of Myanmar’s pre-colonial monarchy, witnesses saw security forces fire tear gas directly at protesters waving the red flags of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

State media claimed that the crowd had used “obscene language” and thrown objects at police, injuring four officers, in its first direct mention of the street protests since they began on the weekend.

“Therefore, the police members dispersed in accordance with the methods and laws,” the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported, without mentioning other police confrontations elsewhere in the country.

Hundreds of protesters had returned to the streets of Yangon on Wednesday morning, where the day before a large crowd faced off against water cannon and a phalanx of riot police near Suu Kyi’s residence.

Though there were no reported clashes with authorities in the commercial hub on Tuesday, university student Khin Nyein Wai said she was still afraid.

“I still came out as I do not like the military dictatorship,” she told AFP. “This is for our future.”

‘Respect the vote’

The military justified last week’s power grab by claiming widespread voter fraud in the November polls, which saw a landslide for Suu Kyi and her party.

It quickly moved to stack courts and political offices with loyalists.

In the 10 days since army chief Min Aung Hlaing ousted the Nobel laureate from power and ended a decade of civilian rule, Myanmar has been roiled by a burgeoning civil disobedience campaign and massive street protests.

Medical staff, air traffic controllers and teachers have staged strikes, fronted for work while wearing red ribbons on their uniforms or posed for photos while brandishing the three-finger salute adopted by the anti-coup movement.

Protesters on the streets have called for the release of Suu Kyi — who has not been publicly seen since she and other top political leaders were detained — and for the generals to respect the results of the last election.

By Tuesday a ban on gatherings and a nightime curfew was in effect in the three biggest cities of Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw, along with various other towns.

‘Disproportionate force’

The United Nations voiced “strong concern” over Tuesday’s violence.

“The use of disproportionate force against demonstrators is unacceptable,” said Ola Almgren, the UN resident coordinator in Myanmar.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned the bloc could impose fresh sanctions on Myanmar’s military, but said any measures should be targeted to avoid hitting the wider population.

New Zealand became the first country taking action to isolate the junta on the same day when it announced the suspension of high-level military and political contacts with Myanmar.

The UN Human Rights Council said it would hold a special session on Friday to discuss the crisis.

AFP

Internet Access Partially Restored In Myanmar

People take part in a noise campaign on the street after calls for protest against the military coup emerged on social media, in Yangon on February 5, 2021. (Photo by YE AUNG THU / AFP)

 

Internet access was partially restored in Myanmar on Sunday, Netblocks reported, as a nationwide web blockade failed to curb public outrage and protests against the coup that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“Partial restoration of internet connectivity confirmed in #Myanmar from 2PM local time on multiple providers following information blackout,” the internet monitoring service said on Twitter.

Myanmar was plunged into cyber darkness on Saturday at the military’s orders.

Netblocks said social media platforms remained off limits on Sunday afternoon.

But mobile phone customers using services with MPT, Ooredoo, Telenor and Mytel are now able to access mobile internet data and Wi-Fi.

Earlier on Sunday Netblocks said connectivity in Myanmar was at 14 percent of usual levels.

Despite the internet blackout several live Facebook feeds were broadcast of tens of thousands of protesters marching in the streets of Yangon.

United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Tom Andrews said the internet disruption was dangerous and a violation of human rights.

“The generals are now attempting to paralyse the citizen movement of resistance — and keep the outside world in the dark — by cutting virtually all internet access,” he tweeted.

AFP

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Says Trump Ban Sets ‘Dangerous’ Precedent

In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone with President Trump’s Twitter page shown in the background on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

 

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey on Wednesday backed the messaging platform’s ban of US President Donald Trump but said it sets a “dangerous” precedent and represents a failure to promote healthy conversation on social networks.

“Having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey said in a string of tweets about his take on the company’s decision late last week to permanently bar the president.

“While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation,” Dorsey said, inviting feedback from users.

Trump’s access to social media platforms that he used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington last week.

In addition to Twitter, bans have also been put in place by Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Snapchat, while YouTube temporarily suspended his channel.

However, Twitter was the Republican billionaire’s go-to tool, which he used to directly communicate on a daily basis with some 88 million followers, posting everything from proclamations to accusations and spreading misinformation via the platform.

Social media operators say the embittered leader could have used his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

On Monday, Twitter took things one step further, announcing it had also suspended “more than 70,000 accounts” linked to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory that claims Trump is waging a secret war against a global liberal cult of Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

Overdue or overdone?

Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Trump is considered overdue by critics who argue he has gotten away with abuses but has worried free-speech advocates and drawn criticism from various NGOs and leaders.

The company said in a blog post explaining its decision that after close review of the president’s recent tweets it had “permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Twitter also blocked efforts by Trump to sidestep the ban of his @realDonaldTrump account when he posted tweets from the official presidential account @POTUS and the @TeamTrump campaign account.

“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now,” ACLU senior legislative counsel Kate Ruane said at the time.

“But, it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions.”

Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in, stating Monday through her spokesman that she believed freedom of opinion should not be determined by “the management of social media platforms.”

Dorsey said Wednesday that while he believes Twitter made the right decision to ban Trump, it “sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”

“This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet,” he said.

Dorsey rejected the notion that social media giants coordinated efforts, reasoning that it was more likely they each came to the same conclusion about the potential for violence.

Snipped by Snapchat

Image-centric social network Snapchat on Wednesday became the latest platform to permanently ban Trump.

“Last week we announced an indefinite suspension of president Trump’s Snapchat account,” the platform told AFP.

“In the interest of public safety, and based on his attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have made the decision to permanently terminate his account.”

The actions by social media companies angered ardent defenders of Trump, who was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday for inciting “insurrection.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a longtime Trump ally, demanded that major tech platforms explain why Trump is no longer welcome.

Removal of the president and others by multiple platforms, he said, “silences those whose speech and political beliefs do not align with leaders of Big Tech companies.”

AFP

Olympic Swimming Medalist Keller Charged Over Capitol Riot

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2008 US swimmer Klete Keller smiles after winning the men’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay swimming heat at the National Aquatics Center in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. GREG WOOD / AFP

 

 

US Olympic swimming gold medalist Klete Keller was charged by the Justice Department Wednesday with participating in the January 6 attack on Congress by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Keller was filmed as part of the crowd that illegally entered the huge Rotunda hall of the Capitol after violent protesters broke through police lines and forced their way in.

A statement accompanying formal charges unveiled Wednesday said police identified the three-time Olympian first by what appears to be an official team jacket bearing the large logo “USA” on the back and an arm patch that read “United States Olympic team.”

He was charged with illegally entering the Capitol, violent or disorderly conduct, and obstructing law enforcement.

Keller, 38, competed in the Olympics in 2000, 2004, and 2008, taking two golds and a silver in the 4×200 meter freestyle relays, and two bronzes in the individual 400-meter freestyle.

His 2004 relay gold in Athens was one of the most celebrated races in swimming, with a US star team that included Michael Phelps, against an Australian foursome led by the powerful champion Ian Thorpe.

In the anchor position, he was able to hold off a surging Thorpe for the win, ending years of Australian dominance in the event.

His life after the Olympics was rocky, with a divorce, multiple lost jobs, and plunge into homelessness and living out of his car for a time, he told The Olympic Channel in a 2018 podcast.

AFP

YouTube Suspends Trump Channel For A Week Over Violence Fears

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

 

Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.

Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.

Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.

The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.

The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.

Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.

In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.

Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.

The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.

Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.

The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.

The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.

On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.

AFP

US Carries Out First Federal Execution Of Woman In Decades

 

 

An American woman who murdered a pregnant dog breeder in order to steal her baby was put to death by lethal injection Wednesday, becoming the first female to be executed by US federal authorities in nearly seven decades.

The US Justice Department said Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 am Eastern Time (0631 GMT) at a penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

It said the execution was “in accordance with the capital sentence unanimously recommended by a federal jury and imposed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri”.

The US Supreme Court cleared the way for Montgomery’s execution just hours earlier — despite doubts about her mental state — after the government of President Donald Trump had pushed for the application of the death penalty.

Montgomery’s defenders did not deny the seriousness of her crime: in 2004, she killed a pregnant 23-year-old in order to steal her baby.

But her lawyer Kelley Henry, in a statement, called the decision — the first for a female inmate since 1953 — a “vicious, unlawful, and unnecessary exercise of authoritarian power.”

“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” Henry said. “Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”

The execution came after a legal back-and-forth that ended with the country’s highest court allowing it to proceed.

Unable to have a child, Montgomery carefully identified her victim — 23-year-old dog breeder Bobbie Jo Stinnett — online.

Under the guise of buying a puppy, Montgomery went to Stinnett’s home, where she strangled her and cut the baby from her body.

In 2007 she was convicted of kidnapping resulting in death and handed a death sentence.

Her defenders believe that she suffered from severe mental health issues stemming from abuse she suffered as a child. She did not understand the meaning of her sentence, they said, a prerequisite for execution.

On Monday evening, a federal judge offered the defense a brief lifeline, ordering a stay of execution to allow time to assess Montgomery’s mental state.

“The record before the Court contains ample evidence that Ms. Montgomery’s current mental state is so divorced from reality that she cannot rationally understand the government’s rationale for her execution,” the ruling stated.

But an appeals court overturned that decision on Tuesday, leaving it up to the US Supreme Court to decide. It said the execution could go ahead.

– Clemency plea ignored –
Trump, like his many of his conservative constituents, is a strong supporter of the death penalty and ignored a plea for clemency from Montgomery’s supporters.

Despite the decline of capital punishment in the US and around the world, Trump’s administration resumed federal executions in July after a 17-year hiatus and has been carrying them out at an unprecedented rate ever since.

Since the summer, 10 Americans have died by lethal injection in Terre Haute. In addition to Montgomery, two men are scheduled for federal execution this week. Their executions were stayed on Tuesday due to them having contracted Covid-19.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin on Monday announced the introduction of legislation to end federal executions. It could be passed once president-elect Joe Biden takes office next week and Democrats regain control of the Senate.

In a scathing statement, Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun known for her activism against the death penalty, spoke over the weekend of federal prosecutors “working all day and through the nights” to counter the appeals of federal inmates.

“You may not have to see the fear or smell the sweat in the execution chamber, but your hand is in this,” Prejean wrote, urging them to “just say ‘no’ this week to working to get one woman and two men executed the week before the Inauguration” of Biden.

Former guards of the penitentiary in Terre Haute have written to the Justice Department to request that the executions be postponed until the penitentiary staff are vaccinated against Covid-19.

Between the executioners, guards, witnesses, and lawyers, an execution assembles dozens of people in a closed environment, which is conducive to the spread of the virus.

US states, including the deeply conservative Texas, have suspended executions for months due to the pandemic — unlike the federal government, which has pushed to carry out many before Trump leaves power.

AFP

Biden Urged To Renounce Sole Control Of US Nuclear Weapons

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP
File photo: US President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address at the Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 25, 2020. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

 

A former US defense secretary has called on President-elect Joe Biden to reform the system that gives sole control of the nation’s nuclear arsenal to the president, calling it “outdated, unnecessary and extremely dangerous.”

The call from William Perry came the same day US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with the nation’s top military leader about ensuring that an “unhinged” President Donald Trump not be able to launch a nuclear attack in his final days in office.

“Once in office, Biden should announce he would share authority to use nuclear weapons with a select group in Congress,” said Perry, who served under President Bill Clinton.

He was writing in Politico magazine with Tom Collina of the Ploughshares Fund, which advocates for stronger nuclear controls.

They said Biden, who takes office January 20, should also declare that the United States will never start a nuclear war and would use the bomb only in retaliation.

The piece argues that the current system gives the president — any president — “the godlike power to deliver global destruction in an instant,” an approach the authors call “undemocratic, outdated, unnecessary and extremely dangerous.”

Perry, who was defense minister from 1994 to 1997, calls Trump “unhinged” and adds, “Do we really think that Trump is responsible enough to trust him with the power to end the world?”

American presidents are accompanied at all times by a military aide who carries a briefcase known as “the football” which contains the secret codes and information needed to launch a nuclear strike.

Perry and Collina warn that presidents possess the “absolute authority to start a nuclear war.

“Within minutes, Trump can unleash hundreds of atomic bombs, or just one. He does not need a second opinion. The Defense secretary has no say. Congress has no role.”

They then ask: “Why are we taking this risk?”

Such vast presidential authority, the article notes, dates from the waning days of World War II, when President Harry Truman decided, after the nuclear horror unleashed by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, that the power to order the use of atomic weapons should not be left in the hands of the military — that it should be up to the president alone.

AFP

Schwarzenegger Compares Capitol Attack To Nazi Violence

 

 

Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed for unity Sunday after the violent attack on the US Capitol, which he described as an attempted coup by President Donald Trump, drawing comparisons to Nazi Germany.

In a video posted on Twitter that quickly went viral, the Hollywood star compared the attack by Trump supporters to Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass,” when Nazis carried out pogroms in Germany in 1938 that included breaking the windows of Jewish-owned stores.

“Wednesday was the Day of Broken Glass right here in the United States,” said Schwarzenegger gravely, sitting at his desk between the US and California state flags.

“The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol.

“Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men, drinking away their guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history,” continued Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria in 1947.

“I have never shared this so publicly because it is a painful memory, but my father would come home drunk once or twice a week and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother.”

The actor, known for his roles in the “Terminator” franchise and “Conan the Barbarian,” did not explicitly say his father had been a Nazi, but said, “my father and our neighbors were misled also with lies, and I know where such lies lead.”

“President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies,” Schwarzenegger said.

“President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever. The good thing is that he soon will be as irrelevant as an old tweet.

“No matter what your political affiliation is, I ask you to join me in saying to President-elect Biden, ‘President-elect Biden, we wish you great success as our President. If you succeed, our nation succeeds,'” Schwarzenegger concluded.

“And to those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: you will never win.”

AFP

Democrats Forge Ahead To Impeach Trump, Again

Republican and Democrats clap as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) commends Capitol Police and law enforcement for their work after Pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the Capitol in the House chamber on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Pool/Getty Images/AFP
Republican and Democrats clap as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) commends Capitol Police and law enforcement for their work after Pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the Capitol in the House chamber on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Pool/Getty Images/AFP

 

US Democrats said Sunday they would push to remove President Donald Trump from office during the final days of his administration after his supporters’ violent attack on the Capitol, with some Republicans supporting the move.

Trump could face a historic second impeachment before the January 20 inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden, at a time when the United States is hit by a surging pandemic, a flagging economy, and searing division.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said there would be a resolution on Monday calling for the cabinet to remove Trump as unfit for office under the Constitution’s 25th amendment.

If Vice President Mike Pence does not agree to invoke the amendment, “we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation” in the House, Pelosi said.

“As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action,” she added.

Trump was already impeached once by the Democratic-controlled House in December 2019 for pressuring the Ukrainian president to dig up political dirt on Biden.

He was acquitted by the Republican-majority Senate.

Though time is running short, Democrats likely have the votes in the House to impeach Trump again and could draw increased Republican support for the move.

But they are unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the 100-member Senate and remove him from office.

‘Incitement to violence’

Authorities are seeking to arrest more Trump supporters who violently stormed the Capitol on Wednesday after the president held a rally outside the White House repeating false claims that he had lost the election to Biden due to fraud.

Trump’s immediate resignation “is the best path forward,” Republican Senator Pat Toomey told CNN on Sunday, adding, “That would be a very good outcome.”

Toomey said that since losing the November 3 vote, Trump had “descended into a level of madness and engaged in activity that was absolutely unthinkable, and unforgivable.”

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the first Republican senator to demand Trump’s resignation, saying, “I want him out.” House Republicans, including Adam Kinzinger on Sunday, have echoed that call.

The article of impeachment is set to charge Trump with inciting Wednesday’s violence, which left five people dead.

Hundreds of off-duty police on Sunday lined Constitution Avenue in Washington and saluted as a hearse rolled slowly by carrying the body of Brian Sicknick, the police officer who died in the attack on the Capitol.

Capitol security has been stepped up, with a seven-foot-tall (about two meters) black metal fence erected around the historic building. Extremists have threatened new action in the coming days both in Washington and state capitals.

Trump goes quiet

One reason Democrats might pursue conviction, even after Trump leaves office, is to prevent him from ever being able to run again for federal office.

The president is reportedly furious over Pence’s rejection of Trump’s vocal pressure to somehow intervene in the Congressional confirmation on Wednesday of the election result.

Trump has gone largely silent in recent days — making few statements and holding no news conferences. Twitter, his favored public platform, has banned him for language that could incite violence.

He plans to travel to Texas on Tuesday in one of his final trips as president to highlight his claims of building a border wall to keep immigrants from Mexico out of the US.

Senate rules mean the upper chamber would likely be unable to open an impeachment trial before January 19, and Toomey said he was unsure it was constitutionally possible to impeach someone once out of office.

Some Democrats, for their part, have expressed concern that a Senate trial would overshadow and hamper Biden’s efforts to quickly lay out his agenda, starting with the fight against the coronavirus and the need to support the economy.

“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days” at the start of his term to deal with the most urgent issues, Democratic House whip James Clyburn told CNN.

“Maybe we’ll send the articles sometime after that.”

But Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a centrist Democrat whose vote could be crucial in the new, evenly divided Senate, told CNN an impeachment after January 20 “doesn’t make any common sense whatsoever.”

AFP

Biden To Receive Second COVID Vaccine Dose Monday

President-elect Joe Biden (L) receives a COVID-19 Vaccination from nurse practitioner Tabe Masa at ChristianaCare Christiana Hospital on December 21, 2020, in Newark, Delaware. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President-elect Joe Biden will receive his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday, his office announced, three weeks after his first injection was broadcast live on TV to boost public confidence in the jab.

Biden, 78, told Americans “there’s nothing to worry about” when he got his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware on December 21.

His team said that his second jab would also be done in front of the media, without giving further details.

More than 374,000 people have died from the coronavirus in America, and Biden on Friday slammed President Donald Trump’s administration’s troubled distribution of vaccines as a “travesty.”

About 6.7 million Americans have so far received their first shot — far short of the target of 20 million by the end of 2020.

But 22.1 million doses have been distributed nationwide, underlining the logistical challenge of getting the injections administered to the elderly and health workers who are the priority.

Both vaccines currently authorized in the US, developed by Pfizer and Moderna, require recipients to receive booster shots after three and four weeks, respectively.

Biden, who will be inaugurated on January 20, plans to release every available dose of vaccine, rather than holding back half to make sure people receive their booster shots on time as is the current protocol.