Trump Tells Congress To ‘Expunge’ His Impeachment After Senate Acquittal

US President Donald Trump announces his Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2020. Trump says his plan ‘could be the last opportunity’ for Palestinians.
MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

President Donald Trump called Friday on Congress to “expunge” his impeachment for abuse of power following his acquittal in the Senate.

“Should they expunge impeachment in the House? They should because it was a hoax,” he told reporters at the White House.

Trump was impeached in December on two charges related to his campaign to get Ukraine’s government to start a corruption investigation into his Democratic election opponent Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the Republican majority in the Senate cleared Trump in only the third impeachment trial of a president in history.

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Trump has emerged from his victory in a furious mood, describing his Democratic opponents as “evil.”

The Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, has said that if his party wins back control of the chamber in the November general election it will seek to overturn, or expunge, the impeachment.

Trump also turned his anger on the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who demonstratively ripped up a copy of his State of the Union speech in Congress on Tuesday after Trump delivered it.

“That was terrible, it was a terrible — so disrespectful,” he said, “and actually very illegal.”

AFP

Trump’s Impeachment Trial Adjourned Till Tuesday

Chief Justice of The U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts (R) is escorted by Senate Sargent at Arms, Michael C. Stenger after leaving the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol, on January 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. Yesterday the House formally transmitted the Articles of Impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump to the Senate for the trial. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP

 

Members of the US Senate were sworn in on Thursday to serve as jurors at the historic impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, administered the oath to the senators who will decide whether the 45th president should be removed from office.

“Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, President of the United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws, so help you God,” Roberts said.

Senators in the chamber responded: “I do.” They then individually signed a book affirming their oath.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, then adjourned the proceedings and said the trial would resume at 1:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Tuesday.

Earlier on Thursday, Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who will serve as lead prosecutor for the trial, read out the two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of “high crimes and misdemeanours.”

The Democratic-controlled House, in an overwhelmingly partisan vote, impeached Trump on December 18 for abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and for obstruction of Congress.

Impeachment rules require a two-thirds Senate majority to convict and remove a president and Trump’s acquittal is widely expected in the Republican-dominated Senate.

AFP

US Senate Prepares To Set Trump Trial In Motion

 

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 15: The seven House impeachment managers, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) leave the Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

 

Articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress will be formally read to the Senate Thursday, setting in motion a historic trial that threatens the US leader with removal from office.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will then be sworn in to preside over the trial and senators sworn in as jurors, as preparations get underway for an impeachment trial that will open on Tuesday, January 21.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said that the articles would be formally read to the chamber at noon (1700 GMT), in an announcement following their delivery to the Senate Wednesday.

“This is a difficult time for our country, but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate,” McConnell said, referring to the authors of the US Constitution.

“I’m confident that this body can rise above short-termism and factional fever and serve the long-term best interests of our nation. We can do this, and we must.”

The two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of power and the other for obstructing the House investigation — were delivered in blue folders in a solemn procession by the newly appointed House managers, seven Democrats who will prosecute the case against the president.

“So sad, so tragic for our country, that the actions taken by the president to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, has taken us to this place,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as she signed the articles.

“This president will be held accountable,” she said. “No one is above the law.”

The solemn formalities underscored the grimness of the occasion, Trump becoming only the third US president in history to be placed on trial in the Senate.

“We feel we are carrying out the will of the framers of our constitution, and that’s a pretty serious load,” said Adam Schiff, the Democratic lawmaker tapped to lead the prosecution team.

– ‘Two weeks’ –

Trump is accused of secretly holding up $391 million in aid to Ukraine between July and September to pressure Kiev to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner in this year’s White House race.

The president is also charged with obstruction for holding back witnesses and documents from the House impeachment investigation in defiance of Congressional subpoenas.

He was formally impeached on December 18.

But Pelosi held back on delivering the articles to the Senate as she pressured McConnell to agree to subpoena the witnesses and documents that the White House blocked from the House probe.

McConnell has refused to commit, saying the issue will only be decided after the trial’s opening arguments and questioning, which could take two weeks.

A Trump administration official told reporters Wednesday that they expect the trial to last no longer than two weeks, suggesting McConnell could use his 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate to stifle calls for witnesses and quickly take the charges to a vote.

“I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely it will be going beyond two weeks,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

With impeachment rules requiring a two-thirds super-majority to convict and remove a president, Trump’s acquittal is widely expected.

Earlier Wednesday Trump ridiculed the investigation and trial, as he has for months.

“Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats,” he wrote on Twitter.

On Tuesday Democrats released newly acquired files that showed Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani working with Ukrainian-born American Lev Parnas early last year to pressure Kiev to investigate Biden.

They also showed the two, working with Ukrainian officials, trying to force out the US ambassador to the country, Marie Yovanovitch, eventually removed by Trump.

In a televised interview that aired Wednesday, Parnas told MSNBC that “President Trump knew exactly what was going on.”

“He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”

– Grave task –

Underscoring the high level of politics surrounding the trial, Pelosi was immediately attacked over the ceremony to sign the articles, in which she used multiple pens to distribute to key lawmakers as souvenirs of the occasion.

House Republican Liz Cheney attacked Pelosi and Democrats for being “giddy with excitement” about the signing and “making a mockery of their duty to the Constitution.”

Aside from Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, the prosecution team will include Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler; House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries; Zoe Lofgren, a veteran of two previous impeachment investigations; and three others.

Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig said the lawmakers chosen stood out for their backgrounds in the US legal system, several of them being former federal attorneys.

The Democrats “signal they intend to do this like a criminal trial and not like a political show,” Honig said.

AFP

US Senate Admonishes Trump, Votes To End Border Emergency

U.S. To Ground All Boeing 737 Max Planes
File: US President Donald Trump 
SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

The US Senate delivered a surprisingly strong rebuke of President Donald Trump on Thursday, as several Republicans joined opposition Democrats in voting to terminate his declared emergency on the southern border.

A dozen Republicans supported ending Trump’s emergency that he hoped would provide him cover to secure alternative government funding for his protective wall on the US-Mexico border denied to him by Congress.

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But opponents warned that Trump’s move smacked of executive overreach, and insisted a vote to curtail his authority would preserve the constitutionally mandated separation of powers in Washington.

US Senate Leader Hails Kavanaugh’s Vote As ‘Proudest Moment’

Brett Kavanaugh Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

US Senate leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday hailed the confirmation of divisive judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as his “proudest moment” in the upper house as the warring Republicans and Democrats turned their focus to the crucial midterm elections.

Kavanaugh was confirmed to the court Saturday by a razor-thin margin in the Senate, ending months of partisan rancor over his nomination and offering Donald Trump one of the biggest victories of his presidency.

“I’m proud of my colleagues, this is an important day for the United States Senate,” McConnell told political magazine show “Fox News Sunday.”

Asked if it was his proudest moment since he first entered the Senate in 1984, the 76-year-old replied: “I think so. I think the most important thing the Senate is involved in is the personal business.

“Of the various 1,200 appointments who come to us for confirmation, obviously the most important are the lifetime appointments to the courts and we prioritize handling President Trump’s outstanding nominees for the Supreme Court.”

Kavanaugh was sworn in shortly after the Senate voted 50-48 in his favor — a move that cemented the high court’s shift to the right under the Republican leader, who has chosen two of the nine sitting justices.

Protesters rallied in Washington and other US cities against the ascent of the 53-year-old jurist, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and been criticized for his angry partisan rhetoric.

The prolonged nomination battle has roiled American politics, disrupting the status quo on Capitol Hill and firing up both Republicans and opposition Democrats a month before the midterms.

“The mob descended on Capitol Hill and tried to intimidate our members into opposing this good man’s nomination. We stood up to the mob,” McConnell said, rejecting the notion that the process had “broken” the Senate.

Trump told a raucous rally in Kansas late Saturday that the confirmation marked “a tremendous victory for our nation, our people and our beloved Constitution.”

Kavanaugh ‘on the ballot’ 

But the bitter fight over Kavanaugh’s confirmation appears to have deepened the fissures separating Congress as lawmakers and their supporters prepare to head out on the campaign trail.

Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, said Sunday that Kavanaugh would be sitting on the court “with a huge taint after his name. The partisanship he showed was astounding.”

Both sides claimed that the brutal political battle over Kavanaugh had mobilized and galvanized their supporters.

Democratic senator Ben Cardin of Maryland noted that several key issues framing the November 6 election — women’s reproductive rights, the Mueller investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and Republican attempts to roll back the Obamacare health program — could all come before a Supreme Court pitched to the right by Kavanaugh’s presence.

“Those issues are going to be on the ballot in the midterm, and Judge Kavanaugh underscores those issues,” Cardin told Fox.

 ‘Mob rule lost’ 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he had never been so disturbed than by the events of recent weeks.

“I’m glad that those who try to overturn the rule of law and replace it with mob rule lost… This is character assassination,” he told Fox.

He added: “I’ve never campaigned against a colleague in my life. That’s about to change.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” Hirono was pressed on whether she might support potential future Democratic efforts to impeach Kavanaugh.

She demurred, but then added: “I’m focused like a laser beam on the elections. All these angry people know that these people sitting in the Senate are making these decisions.

“They’re going to go to the polls and vote differently.”

Senate Poised To Confirm Kavanaugh On Day Of Rage

Protesters shout, sing and chant after being arrested by U.S. Capitol Police for demonstrating against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the center steps of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol October 06, 2018 in Washington, DC. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation later in the day. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

The US Senate was expected to confirm conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice on Saturday, as protesters vented their rage on the steps of the US Capitol.

The months-long battle over the nomination of Kavanaugh, who has weathered accusations of sexual assault, has roiled Americans’ passions — and placed Trump at the threshold of one of the biggest victories of his presidency.

The Senate vote, set to begin at about 3:30 pm (1930 GMT), will bring an end to a raucous nomination process defined by harrowing testimony from a woman who says Kavanaugh tried to rape her when they were teenagers — and by his fiery rebuttal.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, Trump will have succeeded in having his two picks seated on the court — tilting it decidedly to the right in a major coup for the Republican leader less than halfway through his term.

In a sense it would reflect a high water mark of the Trump presidency: Republican control of the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and the judiciary’s top court.

But the Kavanaugh spectacle, fueled by extraordinary accusations and counter-claims in nationally televised hearings, and tense battles over an 11th-hour FBI investigation to address the assault allegations, has enflamed political passions.

‘Shame!’

With just hours before the vote, more than 1,000 protesters, mostly women, broke through barricades and staged a raucous sit-in protest on the US Capitol steps, just feet away from the imposing doors to the Rotunda.

As protesters chanted “Shame!” and “November is coming!” police took several dozen protesters down the steps and put them in plastic flex-cuffs.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has laid bare the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill and the political polarization of America just a month before midterm elections.

His promotion to the Supreme Court will also stand as a demoralizing defeat for Democrats who battled hard to block the 53-year-old judge at all costs.

But Senator Ed Markey insisted the drama playing out will only galvanize Democrats to deliver a “devastating” blow to Republicans at the ballot box.

“The Democrats are going to pivot to the election, and we’re going to turn this nomination into a referendum on whether or not Donald Trump can be trusted to name federal judges or to continue to control an absolute monopoly on creating public policy in the United States,” Markey told reporters.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation was all but sealed Friday when he won the support of key Senate Republican Susan Collins and conservative Democrat Joe Manchin.

Their announcements brought the number of senators supporting Kavanaugh to 51 in the 100-member chamber.

“This is a great day for America,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News late Friday, congratulating his colleagues for “refusing to roll over under all of this intense pressure.”

‘Presumption of innocence’

Kavanaugh’s nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start — but the initial focus was solely on the conservative views held by the married father of two.

His ascent to the Supreme Court was thrown into doubt last week after university research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified that he had sexually assaulted her at a Washington area party in the early 1980s.

The brutal hearing sparked a supplemental FBI dive into Kavanaugh’s background and a week-long delay of the Senate vote.

While many senators say they were satisfied with the FBI probe, her lawyers say the investigation was insufficient.

“An FBI investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word,” they said in a statement quoted in US media.

Collins — a moderate Republican from Maine — said Kavanaugh was entitled to the “presumption of innocence” as the allegations against him were not substantiated with corroborating evidence.

While acknowledging that Blasey Ford’s testimony was “sincere, painful and compelling,” Collins added: “We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness.”

Immediately after that speech, Manchin announced his support, calling Kavanaugh a “qualified jurist” who “will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court.”

Manchin faces extraordinary political pressure. He is up for re-election in West Virginia, a state Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016.

The stage was set for Saturday’s final confirmation when the Senate ended debate on the nomination on Friday with a procedural 51-49 vote — a move cheered by Trump, who said he was “very proud.”

‘Agonizing’

If he wins confirmation, Kavanaugh – who saw questions raised over his candor, partisan rhetoric and lifestyle as a young man — will seal a conservative majority on the nine-seat high court, possibly for decades to come.

His nomination has been met with loud protests, both in Washington and in other cities across the United States. Hundreds have been arrested on Capitol Hill this week.

Authorities took the rare step of putting up low metal fences around the Capitol, keeping the public some distance from the building. But protesters overran the barricades and defiantly claimed the Capitol steps.

Trump tweeted that the demonstrators included female Kavanaugh supporters who were “gathering all over Capitol Hill.” But they were not immediately visible in the area around the legislature.

The president claimed on Friday that billionaire financier George Soros, a Democratic funder and frequent target of conservatives, was behind the demonstrations against his nominee.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to break ranks in Friday’s cloture vote.

US Senate Poised To Confirm Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks to reporters after a cloture vote for the nomination of Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, at the U.S. Capitol, October 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. PHOTO; ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

The US Senate is expected to confirm conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice on Saturday — offering President Donald Trump a big political win and tilting the nation’s high court decidedly to the right.

The months-long battle over Kavanaugh’s nomination has gripped Washington, laying bare the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill and the political polarization of America just a month before midterm elections.

The Senate vote, set to begin from 3:30 pm (1930 GMT), will bring an end to a raucous nomination process defined by harrowing testimony from a woman who says Kavanaugh tried to rape her when they were teenagers — and his fiery rebuttal.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, Trump will have succeeded in having his two picks seated on the court — a major coup for the Republican leader less than halfway through his term.

His promotion to the Supreme Court will also stand as a demoralizing defeat for Democrats who battled hard to block the 53-year-old judge at all costs.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation was all but sealed on Friday when he won the support of key Senate Republican Susan Collins and conservative Democrat Joe Manchin.

Their statements of support brought the number of senators supporting Kavanaugh to 51 in the 100-member chamber.

“This is a great day for America,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News late Friday, congratulating his colleagues for “refusing to roll over under all of this intense pressure.”

‘Presumption of innocence’

Kavanaugh’s nomination as a replacement for retiring justice Anthony Kennedy was controversial from the start — but the initial focus was solely on the conservative views held by the married father of two.

But his ascent to the Supreme Court was thrown into doubt last week after university research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford testified that he had sexually assaulted her at a Washington area party in the early 1980s.

The brutal hearing sparked a supplemental FBI dive into Kavanaugh’s background and a week-long delay of the Senate vote.

While many senators say they were satisfied with the FBI probe, her lawyers say the investigation was insufficient.

“An FBI investigation that did not include interviews of Dr Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word,” they said in a statement quoted in US media.

Collins — a moderate Republican from Maine — said Kavanaugh was entitled to the “presumption of innocence” as the allegations against him were not substantiated with corroborating evidence.

While acknowledging that Blasey Ford’s testimony was “sincere, painful and compelling,” Collins added: “We will be ill-served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness.”

Immediately after that speech, Manchin announced his support, calling Kavanaugh a “qualified jurist” who “will not allow the partisan nature this process took to follow him onto the court.”

Manchin faces extraordinary political pressure. He is up for re-election in West Virginia, a state Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016.

The stage was set for Saturday’s final confirmation when the Senate ended debate on the nomination on Friday with a procedural 51-49 vote — a move cheered by Trump, who said he was “very proud.”

 ‘Elevator screamers’

If he wins confirmation, Kavanaugh — who has faced a bruising process that raised questions over his candor, partisan rhetoric and his lifestyle as a young man — will seal a conservative majority on the nine-seat high court, possibly for decades to come.

His nomination has been met with loud protests, both in Washington and in other cities across the United States. On Friday, more than 100 people were detained.

Trump dismissed the mostly female anti-Kavanaugh protesters — and claimed that billionaire financier George Soros, a frequent target of conservatives, was behind their demonstrations.

“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it!” he tweeted.

Trump’s reference to Soros, who has supported the US Democratic Party for years, appeared aimed at inciting more support and anger from the president’s conservative Christian base.

‘Agonizing’

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to break ranks.

She described her decision to oppose Kavanaugh as “agonizing,” and said that while she hopes he will be a “neutral arbiter” on the court, he was not “the right person for the court at this time.”

However, while she plans to vote “no” on Saturday, Murkowski said she would ask to be recorded as “present” in the final tally “as a courtesy” to a fellow Republican so he can attend his daughter’s wedding instead of returning to Washington to vote.

“It will not change the outcome of the vote, but I do hope that it reminds us that we can take very small, very small steps to be gracious with one another,” Murkowski said late Friday on the Senate floor.

“We owe it to the people of America to return to a less rancorous process.”

AFP