Expired: **UPDATE** Cabinet discussing 25th Amendment to remove Trump after Capitol riot – National & International News- THU 7Jan2021

Capitol police aim their weapons at rioters attempting to break into the Senate chamber.
January 7th, 2021     Today's News Summary

Four dead, Biden confirmed after Capitol riot. Dems to control Senate after Georgia wins. North Korea’s Kim admits economic failures, doubles down on military. That and more below…

NATIONAL NEWS

**UPDATE**

After yesterday’s deadly riots, members of Trump’s Cabinet are reportedly mulling 25th Amendment proceedings to remove Trump from office. The 25th Amendment provides for a president to be removed from office in the event of the president’s death, removal from office, resignation or incapacitation. It is unclear how far along these discussions are or if Vice President Mike Pence is on board.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has demanded that the Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment, or that Congress should reconvene immediately to begin impeachment proceedings.

***

Four dead, Biden confirmed after Capitol riot.

It’s not every day one wakes up to realize they’ve been living in a banana republic. Such seemed to be the case yesterday when hundreds of pro-Trump protesters, many of them armed, stormed the Capitol to thwart what should have been a routine Congressional procedure to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory. This was soon followed by pictures of Capitol police aiming their guns at rioters from inside the Senate chamber. After months of stoking unrest among his supporters since the election, Trump’s chickens finally came home to roost.

Yesterday afternoon, a video circulated on social media depicting a shocking scene inside the Capitol. On the floor in a corridor, a woman lay apparently dead as several people crowded around her panicked and shoved one another in the confined space. That woman has now been identified as Ashli Babbit of San Diego, one of the protesters. Babbit was a 14 year US Air Force veteran and leaves behind a husband, Aaron. It appears she was shot by Capitol police as she attempted climb through a broken window into a corridor which had been sealed off. Three other people, as yet unidentified, also died in the mayhem due to “unspecified medical emergencies”.

After a year of armed riots at state capitols across the country, a plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, and Trump telling his unruly base to “stand down and stand by”, this frenzied crescendo now seems to have been inevitable. But only in hindsight.

Biden confirmed

Once Capitol police finally succeeded in driving out the mob, lawmakers worked into the wee hours to confirm the vote. Despite the tragic events, a few Republicans raised objections, which then had to be debated. These were overruled and Biden was eventually confirmed

Blowback

Leaders and officials in both parties, including some in Trump’s circle, have been quick to condemn the riots and Trump’s part in them. Hours before the riots, Trump addressed a crowd of his supporters, saying “We will never give up, we will never concede”.

Several prominent Republicans, including some Trump allies, turned on Trump following the violence. Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and House of Representatives Republican Conference Chairwoman, tweeted, “There is no question that the president formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame”.

Republican Representative Mike Gallagher, who supports Trump, tweeted, “We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now. @realDonaldTrump, you need to call this off”.

As the riots were still ongoing, Trump released a brief video addressed to the rioters. In it, he first repeats his claim that the election was stolen from him and refers to his detractors as “evil”. Only then does he implore the rioters to “go home” saying that “we can’t play into the hands of these people”. The statement seemed calculated to do little but make matters worse.

Following this unhelpful response from Trump, numerous White House officials have resigned.

Democrats have also condemned Trump and the riot, with President-elect Joe Biden saying this was “an insurrection, not a protest”.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer commented, “This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away. The final, terrible, indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States, undoubtedly the worst”.

A change of tune

Even in the immediate aftermath, Trump remained defiant, tweeting: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

This was later deleted by Twitter, which, along with Facebook, has temporarily frozen Trump’s account.

Now, for the first time, Trump has finally conceded defeat in the election and promised an orderly transition.

This may be too little too late as officials and even a group representing 14,000 corporations are calling for Trump’s immediate removal from office.

 

Dems to control Senate after Georgia wins

The Georgia senate run-offs have been called for Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The pair defeated Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue, respectively. While their victory margins were narrow (each less than a point), Republicans are casting Warnock and Ossoff’s victories as a popular rejection of Trump’s policies. Trump spent several days campaigning in the state for Loeffler and Purdue as Biden also stumped for Warnock and Ossoff. However, Republicans may be eager to downplay the fact that the vote came after Senate Republicans rejected a bill which would have given Americans $2000 stimulus checks, a cause championed by Trump. Voters may be banking on the Democrats to do more to help average Americans after a tough year. It remains to be seen whether this help will materialize.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

North Korea’s Kim admits economic failures, doubles down on military

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un opened the country’s first congress of the country’s ruling Worker’s Party for nearly 5 years with an admission that his economic plans have fallen well short of their goals. Kim said the plan and failed in “almost all areas” and called the past five years “unprecedented” and the “worst of the worst” for the country. When President Trump first came into office promising dialog, optimism was high in North Korea that the US and other countries might ease sanctions. However, these talks quickly went off the rails. Efforts to reach some sort of understanding with South Korea also went nowhere. When this diplomacy strategy fell apart, Kim urged acceleration of his country’s missile testing.

The country’s economy suffered massively in 2020 due to the pandemic. While the North still claims to have no infections, they have shut their borders with China, their main trading partner. To make matters worse, the country was hit by devastating floods over the summer.

Kim’s remedy to the crisis is “to make every possible effort to strengthen our own power and our own self-reliant capacity”. This apparently means, in part, further development of the country’s military and nuclear capacity, which was the one bright spot in Kim’s five-year assessment.

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Immigrant advocates press Biden to end “Remain in Mexico” program

Two years ago, the Trump administration instituted the deceptively named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Under this policy, people wishing to enter the US have to remain on the Mexican side of the border to await asylum hearings rather than staying in the US which was previously the case. More than 69,000 asylum seekers were sent back to Mexican towns like Ciudad Juarez, Mexicali and Matamoros, all of which are rife with cartel activity. In these cities, migrants have been raped, abducted, extorted, robbed at gunpoint and subjected to other crimes.

Activists are calling on Biden to reverse this policy when he assumes office. Despite promises to reverse many of Trump’s policies, Biden has not signaled any real urgency to act on immigration. Many of the immigration advisers expected to be part of his administration are Obama alums. During Obama’s time in office, Obama put in place many of the policies which Trump has weaponized. By 2016, Obama’s administration had deported more immigrants than any before it, earning him the moniker of “Deporter-in-Chief”.

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