New President

Biden Victory Certified After Attacks on US Capitol

Congress has certified Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, just hours after Donald Trump supporters stormed the building in hopes of delaying or stopping the electoral college vote count. Four died as Trump supporters stormed government buildings in Washington DC after the president urged them to march on the Capitol in an attempt to overturn his defeat.

After police finally removed the mob that had been encouraged by President Trump, lawmakers were able to resume their session and certify the result of the election, paving the way for Biden to be sworn in as president on January 20. In response, Trump finally mustered a pledge of an orderly transition of power.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20,” the president said in a statement following the conclusion of the counting of electoral college votes.

The chaotic scenes on Wednesday came after months of rhetoric from Trump and some of his Republican allies, who claimed that the result of the November 3 election was reached fraudulently and that Trump was the true winner. Trump’s refusal to accept defeat and his subsequent calling of arms to his fans to march on the Capitol is unprecedented in modern US history.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer released a statement following the Capitol attack, suggesting that Trump should be removed from office after his actions.

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“What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,” Schumer said in a statement.

“The quickest and most effective way – it can be done today – to remove this president from office would be for the vice-president to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the vice-president and the cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”

Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger also called for invoking the 25th amendment in the aftermath of Wednesday’s chaos, and some progressive lawmakers, including congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said Trump should be impeached for the second time.

“Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are. What we’re seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness,” president-elect Joe Biden said during a public address condemning the violent attacks.

“This is not the dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now. I call this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward. You’ve heard me say before in different contexts, the words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that President is. At their best, the words of a President can inspire. At their worst, they can insight,” Biden continued.

“The world’s watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation, so long, the beacon of light and hope for democracy has come to such a dark moment. Through war and strife, America’s endured much and we will endure here and we will prevail again, and we’ll prevail now.

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“The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, honor, respect the Rule of Law, just plain, simple decency, the renewal of a politics.”

Trump has come under further criticism for the way he reacted to the violence and his attitude towards the terrorists who stormed the Capitol. Instead of condemning them or their acts of terror, Trump instead praised the offenders and even professed his love for them, a reaction that many have guessed would be different if they were not Trump supporters.

Trump has now been banned indefinitely from Facebook and Instagram, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced.

“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home now.
We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time,” the president said in a video posted online during the Capitol attacks.

“There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us, from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace.

“So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home at peace.”

Capitol in DC

Capitol Rioters Wanted To ‘Capture And Assassinate’ Lawmakers, Prosecutors Claim

Federal law enforcement officers have been working non-stop since last Wednesday to get a greater understanding over what exactly transpired that allowed the riot at the Capitol to get so out of hand, and what was the actual plan for this mob should they have interacted with any US lawmakers or government officials. 

Officials are now claiming that they have found clues and evidence that points to one of the mob’s most distinctive figures, Jacob Anthony Chansley; the shirtless, tattooed man who many online have been referring to as “QAnon Shaman,” who stormed around the Capitol wearing a headdress made of coyote skin and buffalo horns. 

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Federal prosecutors in Phoenix, Arizona submitted a court filing this Thursday that wrote that “strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government.” 

The entire filing was 18-pages long, and included a request to the judge to keep Chansley detained before his trial. One of the biggest pieces of evidence working against Chansley right now is the fact that he left a note for Vice President Pence at his desk in the Senate chamber which read: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Chansley himself has personally called on President Donald Trump to pardon him for his crimes after his lawyer, Albert Watkins, claimed that Chansley acted in a “peaceful and compliant fashion” towards the law enforcement officials who have been running the investigation, and besides, Chansley only stormed the Capitol after Trump invited him and the rest of the mob to; according to Watkins. 

“He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump. Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt — for the first time in his life — as though his voice was being heard.”

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Law enforcement officials have warned that it’s likely there were multiple motives among the mob of those who stormed the Capitol, and an FBI investigation is currently in the works to determine whether some intended to do more than just disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

One man who was arrested was carrying a pistol and others were wearing tactical gear and were holding zip ties. Another individual was arrested after his truck was spotted near the Capitol building with 11 molotov cocktails inside. 

Trump has so far pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, and Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff, before they were both sentenced. Within the past month the most action the president has done in terms of political policy has been a slew of pardons for his allies, friends, family, and fellow republicans. 

Prosecutors have pointed out that Chansley brought a weapon in the Capitol building, a spear, so the charges being presented aren’t to be taken lightly and his request to be pardoned should sound ridiculous to law enforcement. However, Chansley and every other Trump supporter present that day have forced America to have a much larger conversation over if Chansley was a person of color slinging a giant spear around the Capitol building, if the response would’ve been different.

Congress in Capitol

House Voting On Resolution Calling On Pence To Invoke 25th Amendment 

The House is gearing up to vote on a resolution this Tuesday that would call on current Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office following last week’s riot at the Capitol building that the current standing president helped insurrect. 

The measure that the House is introducing claims that Pence should convene and mobilize Trump’s Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment and declare the president “incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president.” The resolution itself is sponsored by Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin. 

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A mob of hundreds of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building last week after Trump made a speech further emphasizing his belief that Biden won the 2020 election illegally and that this was one of the most “fraudulent elections in US history.” The crowd of angry rioters then stormed the Capitol building after Trump ended his speech claiming that they would be walking to the Capitol to make their voices heard; the president was nowhere to be found once the riot began though. 

The six-page resolution stated that the mob of rioters “threatened the safety and lives of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, the first three individuals in the line of succession to the presidency, as the rioters were recorded chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and ‘Where’s Nancy’ when Trump tweeted to his supporters that ‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country.’”

The measure also lays out a slew of evidence that Trump incited his supporters to commit acts of violence at the Capitol building, as the president has “demonstrated repeatedly, continuously and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office.” 

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Trump’s disrespect over the 2020 election and democratic process within the past two months is also mentioned quite a bit in the measure, as his complete disinterest in participating in a peaceful transition of power has only further motivated his supporters to “take back the White House” and give it to Trump, as that’s who they believe rightfully won the election. 

Pence is unlikely to remove Trump from office, especially considering House Democrats have also introduced articles of impeachment against the president that could likely be passed before inauguration. Sources close to Pence also claim that at this point he’s just trying to make it to January 20th “in one piece.” 

According to senior White House officials Pence and Trump met in the Oval Office on Monday morning in which they discussed the past four years and the attacks on the Capitol building. They apparently both said that those who broke the law and stormed the building “don’t represent America.” 

The House is projected to vote this Wednesday on an article of impeachment that would charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection” in motivating his supporters to storm the Capitol last week and fight. If passed the Senate will then hold a trial to determine whether or not Trump should be convicted and will potentially eliminate his ability to run for office again. 

American Flag Waving

Trump Demands Georgia Secretary of State ‘Finds’ Votes in Bizarre Phone Call

Donald Trump has this week pressed Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory there as the president continues to refuse to concede the election. Raffensperger pushed back Trump on all fronts in a call that the Washington Post were able to obtain a tape of.

The pressure Trump is putting on officials to seek ways to change the outcome of the election has sparked anger across the country, with some now asking for a second impeachment. Senior Biden adviser Bob Bauer said: “We now have irrefutable proof of a president pressuring and threatening an official of his own party to get him to rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” Trump said during the phone call to Raffensperger, who is a Republican but has caught the ire of Trump and his fans for maintaining that Biden’s victory in his state is legitimate. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.

“So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” the president continued.

He insisted: “There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”

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Raffensperger has consistently refuted Trump’s baseless claims of fraud and wrongdoing since the election and the secretary of state has revealed that he has received abuse and death threats for doing so. The 65-year-old continued this theme in the phone call with Trump, at one point saying: “Well, Mr President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”

“So we’ve spent a lot of time on this and if we could just go over some of the numbers, I think it’s pretty clear that we won. We won very substantially in Georgia. You even see it by rally size, frankly. We’d be getting 25-30,000 people a rally and the competition would get less than 100 people,” Trump said at the beginning of the phone call, per Rev.com.

“And it never made sense. But we have a number of things. We have at least 2 or 3, anywhere from 250-300,000 ballots were dropped mysteriously into the rolls. Much of that had to do with Fulton County, which hasn’t been checked. We think that if you check the signatures, a real check of the signatures going back in Fulton County, you’ll find at least a couple of hundred thousand of forged signatures of people who have been forged. And we are quite sure that’s going to happen.”

Despite his claims, Trump did not win Georgia, instead the state went Democratic for the first time since 1992 as Biden picked up a key victory, which has been certified. Other attempts to pressure Republicans in battleground states have proved fruitless for Trump, just like the vast majority of his election lawsuits.

Biden’s victory will be ratified by Congress on Wednesday and he shall be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20.

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“That is another tremendous number. We’re going to have an accurate number over the next two days with certified accountants, but an accurate number will be given,” Trump continued on the phone call.

“But it’s in the fifties of thousands and that’s people that went to vote and they were told they can’t vote because they’ve already been voted for. And it’s a very sad thing. They walked out complaining, but the number is large. We’ll have it for you, but it’s much more than the number of 11,779. The current margin is only 11,779. Brad, I think you agree with that, right?” he asked.

“That’s something, I think, at least that’s a number that everyone agrees on. But that’s the difference in the votes. But we had hundreds of thousands of ballots that were able to… Actually, we’ll get you a pretty accurate number.

“Although I saw you on television today, and you said that you found nothing wrong. I mean, and I didn’t lose the state, Brad. People have been saying that it was the highest vote ever. There was no way… A lot of the political people said that there’s no way they beat me. And they beat me. They beat me in the… As you know, every single state… We won every state,” Trump said.

“We won every State House in the country. We held the Senate which is shocking to people, although we’ll see what happens tomorrow or in a few days. And we won the House. And we won Congress, which was supposed to lose 15 seats, and they gained, I think 16 or 17 or something. I think there’s now a difference of five. That was supposed to be a different substantially more.”

Washington DC, Capitol Building

Mayor Of Washington DC Calls On National Guard Ahead Of Pro-Trump Protests 

The National Guard has officially been mobilized to Washington DC ahead of a multitude of pro-Trump demonstrations current scheduled for this week at Congress; where members will be convening to certify the 2020 election results as well as the runoff election results that will appear this week. 

According to DC’s police chief the Guard will be used to help control crowds and manage traffic jams. Mayor Muriel Bowser initially requested for the Guard to be activated and brought into the city after urging residents and others to stay home, stay safe, and be cautious when out today. 

“We’re asking DC residents and people who live in the region to avoid confrontations with anybody who’s looking to fight, and the best way to do that is to avoid the area.”

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Congress is scheduled to officially meet on Wednesday and formally count the Electoral college votes, declaring Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Donald Trump’s election loss was confirmed last month, however, the current standing president has made constant baseless claims of voter fraud and a rigged election, and has even filed multiple lawsuits against states that he lost; all cases have been thrown away due to a lack of evidence. 

This Tuesday Georgia will be holding runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate, which also has prompted the mayor to call on the National Guard. Organizers are already planning on rallying this Tuesday evening at Freedom Plaza and all day on Wednesday. At 1 p.m. on Wednesday the organizers are planning on marching to the Capitol as well. 

Trump himself has been encouraging the rally on Twitter, where he also claimed that he would be at the rallies themselves to celebrate the “historic day.” More than 300 District of Columbia National Guard personnel will be deployed throughout the DC streets this Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The Guard will mainly be stationed around Metro stations and main roads to help individuals cope with any road closures or public transportation delays. Major General William Walker is the commanding general of the DC National Guard who said that they would be a major supporting role in keeping the city and its residents safe. 

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Man arrested on gun charges after officers spotted him carrying a concealed firearm during a pro-Trump rally at Freedom Plaza on January 5, 2021 

Acting Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee warned all demonstrators that guns, firearms, and weapons of any sort are not permitted at the rallies, and claimed that the police department already received some staggering information regarding the demonstrations.

“We have received some information that there are individuals intent on bringing firearms into our city, and that just will not be tolerated.”

Back in December several individuals were stabbed during altercations at a Pro-Trump rally, and who can forget 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse who shot and killed two individuals at a Kenosha rally months ago. 

A leader of the Proud Boys – an alt-right neo-fascist male-only organization – was arrested this week after entering into Washington after being accused of burning a Black Lives Matter sign that had been torn down at a historic Black Church during a rally in December. He also allegedly was holding two high-capacity magazines, his intent was unclear. 

Regardless, safety is always a concern when it comes to alt-right groups that the president is further encouraging online with dozens of tweets of a rigged election and failed democracy, anyone in the DC area stay vigilant this week, and remain indoors as much as possible, after all, we are still in a pandemic as well.

Investigation Folder

Investigators Identify Nashville Bomber But Still Seek Motive

Investigators have identified Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, as the man responsible for the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville after his remains were found at the scene. Investigations still continue, however, as authorities seek to ascertain the motives behind Warner’s actions.

Donald Cochran, US attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said: “We’ve come to the conclusion that an individual named Anthony Warner is the bomber and he was present when the bomb went off and that he perished in the bombing.”

Hundreds of tips and leads have been submitted to various law enforcement agencies in the few days since the bombing but so far officials have not been able to provide substantial information on what may have driven Warner to set off the explosion. Various agency officials have stated that he had not been on anybody’s radar before the Christmas day incident and a TBI records report released on Monday revealed that Warner’s only arrest was for a marijuana-related charge in the 1970s.

At around 06:00 local time in an area of Nashville known for its restaurants and nightlife, police responded to reports of gunshots and soon discovered a camper van that was broadcasting a warning message to leave the area.

Police also say that the van was broadcasting the 1964 hit song Downtown by British singer Petula Clark and a warning of an imminent explosion. Officers set to work on evacuating the area and a few minutes later the van exploded, causing mass destruction and injuring a few nearby civilians. Warner himself is the only person known to have died.

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The director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation David Rausch told NBC that it looked like “the intent was more destruction than death”.

“The audio from the vehicle warning people that an explosion was imminent, the opportunity to clear the area, certainly gives you that insight that the top possibility was that he had no intention of harming anyone but himself,” Rausch said.

“We hope to get an answer. Sometimes, it’s just not possible,” Rausch continued. “The best way to find motive is to talk to the individual. We will not be able to do that in this case.”

According to the Tennessean, Warner was raised in the Nashville neighborhood of Antioch and graduated from the Antioch high school. Warner went on to put roots down in the area, according to the newspaper, and would later become a computer analyst. During his time at high school, Warner was on the golf team. Charlie Bozman, who oversaw the school’s golf team when Warner was a student, described him as ‘quiet, polite, and I don’t like to use the term, but quite frankly nerdish.’

Jason Pack, a special agent with the FBI, said the investigation into a motive was still “in the early stages”.

“FBI and ATF agents are still collecting evidence from the scene and conducting numerous interviews, which our team will need to analyze. It’s a time-consuming process which could take several weeks,” Pack said.

It was reported by the Associated Press that Rick Laude, a neighbor of Warner’s, saw him standing at his mailbox less than a week before Christmas and pulled over in his car to talk. After asking how Warner’s elderly mother was doing, Laude said he casually asked, “Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?”

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Warner smiled and said, “Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me,” Laude recalled.

Laude said he had not thought much of the remark and thought Warner only meant that “something good” was going to happen for him financially.

“Nothing about this guy raised any red flags,” Laude said. “He was just quiet.”

Others familiar with Warner told The Washington Post that Warner was a lonely “oddball” who often was spotted fiddling with antennas in his yard. His house was apparently covered in “No trespassing” signs, spotlights and security cameras.

Steve Fridrich, president of Fridrich & Clark Realty in Nashville, who hired Warner to fix computers about once a month, told Nashville’s News4 that Warner was a “nice guy”. Warner told Mr Fridrich in an email on 5 December that he was retiring.

“He’s a techie guy, I don’t mean that as negative it’s just, he kind of did his thing, he’d come in, do it, and leave. And the guy we know was a nice guy. I cannot imagine that that’s what he would do,” Mr. Fridrich said about the explosion.

Earlier on Sunday, the officers who responded provided harrowing details, at times getting choked up reliving the moments that led up to the blast.

“This is going to tie us together forever, for the rest of my life,” said Metro Nashville police officer James Wells, who suffered some hearing loss due to the explosion, to reporters at a news conference. “Christmas will never be the same.”

Gavel, Scale & Agreement

Criticism For President Trump After He Issues More Pardons

President Trump has faced criticism after announcing a new wave of pardons. Full or partial pardons were handed out to 20 individuals, including two for men who pleaded guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation and ones for military contractors involved in a deadly shooting of Iraqi civilians.

Among those pardoned were George Papadopoulos and Alex Van der Zwaan, who both pleaded guilty and served prison time off the back of the Mueller investigation for lying to investigators. 2016 Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos had lied to investigators about the contacts he had with people connected to Russia and it was found that he had discussed with them ‘dirt’ on Hilary Clinton and a potential Trump visit to Russia to see Putin.

“Notably, Mueller stated in his report that he found no evidence of collusion in connection with Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election. Nonetheless, the Special Counsel’s team still charged Mr. Papadopoulos with this process-related crime,” a White House statement on the pardons said.

The four Blackwater guards that were a part of the Nusoor Square shooting, Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard were also given pardons by Trump. The four were convicted by a federal jury in 2014 after a long trial in which 30 witnesses traveled from Iraq to testify against them.

Prosecutors claimed that the men, along with three other Blackwater employees illegally unleashed ‘powerful sniper fire, machine guns and grenade launchers on innocent men, women and children’ in the killing of 17 people. An FBI investigation later found that 14 of the deaths were unjustified, according to the rules of engagement for private security contractors in Iraq.

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Slatten was accused by prosecutors of firing the first shots.

“These veterans were working in Iraq in 2007 as security contractors responsible for securing the safety of United States personnel. When the convoy attempted to establish a blockade outside the “Green Zone,” the situation turned violent, which resulted in the unfortunate deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians,” the White House statement said of the four Blackwater employees.

“Initial charges against the men were dismissed, but they were eventually tried and convicted on charges ranging from first degree murder to voluntary manslaughter. On appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that additional evidence should have been presented at Mr. Slatten’s trial.

“Further, prosecutors recently disclosed—more than 10 years after the incident—that the lead Iraqi investigator, who prosecutors relied heavily on to verify that there were no insurgent victims and to collect evidence, may have had ties to insurgent groups himself,” it continued.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy tweeted: “Pardoning these murderers is a disgrace. They shot women and kids who had their hands in the air.”

“But it’s all part of a plan to limit [President-elect Joe] Biden’s national security tools. These pardons will greatly damage U.S.-Iraq relations, at a critical moment.”

“Trump has no right to decide on behalf of victims’ families to pardon these criminals,” said Dr Haidar al-Barzanji, an Iraqi researcher and academic. “It is at odds with human rights and against the law. In Iraqi law they can only be pardoned if the families of victims pardon them. I encourage the families of the victims to request a complaint against Trump when the Biden administration starts.”

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The Iraqi human rights activist Haidar Salman tweeted: “I still remember my professor of haematology at Baghdad University department of pathology (who was shot during the massacre along with his family) when he returned to life after his two children and his wife were killed in Nisour Square and almost lost his mind.

“One reason for him to survive was to condemn the murderers. The person who releases these criminals is more of a criminal. The Iraqi government should ask the Biden administration to revoke the pardon.”

Former congressman Duncan Hunter was also given a pardon by Trump, which the White House says was at the request of many members of Congress. Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison and three years of supervised release earlier this year after misusing over $200,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

The former California lawmaker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds. The 44-year-old was due to start his sentence in May but it was delayed due to the pandemic. Without the pardon, he would have had to report to a federal prison in West Texas in January 2021.

A spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, Marta Hurtado, expressed deep concern and said pardoning the guards “contributes to impunity and has the effect of emboldening others to commit such crimes in the future”.

“The UN Human Rights Office calls on the US to renew its commitment to fighting impunity for gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law, as well as to uphold its obligations to ensure accountability for such crimes,” she added.

Covid Relief Bill

Trump Signs Covid-19 Relief and Spending Bill After Delay

After days of drama following Donald Trump’s refusal to sign the bipartisan Covid-19 relief and spending bill, the president has released a statement announcing that he has made a U-turn and will allow the bill to be passed.

The legislation will provide much-needed financial relief to businesses and individuals at a time in which many are continuing to feel the harsh effects of the global pandemic. Without Trump’s signature, the government would have shut down on Tuesday and millions of Americans would have lost unemployment benefits and eviction protections, potentially causing heartbreak, hunger and death across the country.

Trump’s decision to not support and sign the $900 billion bill took members of both parties by surprise and he seemed to put months of negotiations in jeopardy when he demanded the package, already easily passed in the House and Senate, be revised to include less spending and larger relief checks. The president’s decision to delay has already meant that many have missed out as crucial unemployment aid programs have been allowed to collapse.

Both Republicans and Democrats were quick to criticize Trump and many seemed bewildered at the president’s refusal to sign the bill. However, the external pressure did not seem to alter Trump’s stance and the government looked set for a Tuesday shutdown until Sunday night, when Trump, vacationing in Florida, released a statement to say he had signed the bill.

“As President of the United States it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship that was caused by the China Virus,” Trump’s statement said.

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“I understand that many small businesses have been forced to close as a result of harsh actions by Democrat-run states. Many people are back to work, but my job is not done until everyone is back to work.

“Fortunately, as a result of my work with Congress in passing the CARES Act earlier this year, we avoided another Great Depression. Under my leadership, Project Warp Speed has been a tremendous success, my Administration and I developed a vaccine many years ahead of wildest expectations, and we are distributing these vaccines, and others soon coming, to millions of people.
“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child.”

It is as yet unclear why Trump chose to delay the signing of the bill or what may have changed his mind so abruptly. The 74-year-old congratulated himself on the avoidance of this crisis of his own creation and the end of the in-fighting between his party, which the delay caused.

Trump has also confused and argued some within his own party as his main reason for the delay seemed to be to push for higher relief checks, something which Democrats have been asking for and the Republicans have thus far opposed.

Although Trump said in his statement that he would be sending a ‘redlined’ version of the bill back to Congress to highlight changes he wants in the legislation, there is no indication that Congress will act on these changes at all, especially as Trump’s presidency ends in less than a month.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell welcomed Trump’s signing of the bill. “I am glad the American people will receive this much-needed assistance as our nation continues battling this pandemic,” the Kentucky Republican said.

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Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was a “down payment on what is needed” adding: “Now, the president must immediately call on congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000.”

White House officials have revealed little about Trump’s thinking and the reasoning behind his decision over the past week but Reuters reported that some advisers had urged the president to cease his refusal to sign as there seemed little point and would only have caused him further issues in the twilight of his presidency.

“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” Trump continued in his statement.

“I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more.

“On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200. Additionally, Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed.

“Likewise, the House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election.

Trump Signs Covid-19 Relief And Government Funding Bill 

President Donald Trump has signed the $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill into law this past Sunday night. The $900 billion coronavirus relief package will extend unemployment benefits to millions of jobless gig-workers, independent contractors, and long-term unemployed individuals. 

12 million Americans have been receiving benefits from two key pandemic unemployment programs. This past weekend would’ve marked their last weekend of payments had this bill not been signed; they will now receive another 11 weeks. All individuals collecting unemployment payments will also be receiving an additional $300 weekly through the middle of March. 

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Since Trump didn’t sign the bill on Saturday, however, those who are in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of 2020, and the $300 additional payments may only last 10 weeks due to the fact that the states can’t provide benefits for weeks before a program is fully authorized. 

The Covid-19 relief package was initially passed by Congress on Monday and then was flown to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday so Trump could then sign it. After endless hours of negotiations, the current president finally signed the bill, which will provide $600 stimulus payments to all adult Americans, and $1,200 to all couples; exactly half of what was given out during the initial round of stimulus payments. 

Trump himself has been spending the past month trying to get the 2020 election investigated on dozens of baseless claims of voter fraud, in fact, this past weekend when he signed the bill Trump claimed that the Senate would be “considering legislation that repeals Section 230, and thus start an investigation into voter fraud.” It’s currently unclear what that legislation would actually look like, and it’s important to note that there has been 0% evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election. 

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The two programs previously mentioned that are being extended allows the self-employed, freelance, and gig workers to qualify for up to 39 weeks of payments, and will now be opened up to those who can’t work in general due to the pandemic. 

The new deal extends the programs for up to 11 weeks and each will close to new applicants on March 14th but will continue through April 5th for individuals who have existing claims and have not reached their maximum number of weeks by that point. Eviction protection is also extended until January 31st and will provide $25 billion in rental assistance to those who are unable to work for pandemic-related reasons. 

It’s estimated that 9.2 million renters in America have lost their employment during the pandemic, and are struggling to pay their rent. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented an order in the beginning of the pandemic that halted some evictions and rental payments through 2020, however, the program didn’t cancel out the payments, so without this new package many Americans were gearing up to receive a massive bill on January 1st for all the rent they would owe from the past nine months.

Covid Relief Money

Trump Criticizes Covid Relief Package

Speaking in a video posted to social media, President Trump has criticized the $900 billion economic relief package passed by Congress this week. Trump demanded that the bill be amended, with certain items removed and higher stimulus payments and even suggested that he would veto the bill if it is not altered.

The relief fund includes $600 for almost every American, but Trump has argued that it should instead be $2000. Capitol Hill was largely shocked by the video, with both Republicans and Democrats who had been negotiating the package since July expecting Trump, who has largely stayed away from the talks, to sign the legislation into law after it passed through Congress on Monday.

“Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left wing agenda and influence the election,” Trump said in the video.

“Then a few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever. However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace.

“For example, among the more than 5,000 pages in this bill, which nobody in Congress has read because of its length and complexity, it’s called the COVID Relief Bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID,” he said.

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The relief package is linked to a larger government spending bill, which accounts for foreign aid funding as well as $1.4 trillion in spending measures federal agencies funded for the next nine months. Some agencies will be forced to close if Trump chooses to veto the bill or fails to sign it by midnight Monday.

Legislation from Congress typically requires the approval and signature of the president before becoming law. If the president chooses not to sign the bill, a two-thirds majority in each chamber, the House of Representatives and the Senate, is required to overrule the veto.

To date, Congress has overridden fewer than 10% of total presidential vetoes. However, experts are suggesting that there is a good chance of enough votes from both sides of the political spectrum to do so this time.

“This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia, $134 million to Burma, $1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment. $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan, $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama,” Trump continued.

“$40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which is not even open for business. $1 billion for the Smithsonian and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art.
Likewise, these facilities are essentially not open.

“$7 million for reef fish management, $25 billion to combat Asian carp, $2.5 million to count the number of amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico. A provision to promote the breeding of fish in federal hatcheries, $3 million in poultry production technology, $2 million to research the impact of down trees, $566 million for construction projects at the FBI.”

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The 5,593-page package was unveiled by congressional leaders on Monday afternoon and then voted on just hours later, prompting several lawmakers to protest that they had not been given sufficient time to read the contents. However, the bill was passed through the House of Representatives by 359-53 and the Senate by 92-6.

“The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up to $1,800 each. This is far more than the Americans are given. Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments and not enough money is given to small businesses,” Trump said in the video.

“And in particular, restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously. They were only given a deduction for others to use in business, their restaurant, for two years. This two year period must be withdrawn, which will allow the owners to obtain financing and get their restaurants back in condition. Congress can terminate it at a much later date, but two years is not acceptable. It’s not enough,” he added.

“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it. It wasn’t their fault, it was China’s fault. Not their fault. I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple. I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package, and maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done. Thank you very much.”