US politics live updates: Mike Pence says he won't remove Donald Trump from office via 25th …

US politics live updates: Mike Pence says he won’t remove Donald Trump from office via 25th …

Follow our live coverage for the latest news on the coronavirus pandemic The US House of Representatives has voted to urge the Vice-President to invoke the 25th amendment to remove Donald Trump from office, a symbolic action due to Mike Pence already saying he will not do so. In a written response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Pence has stated he will not remove the President from office via the 25th amendment. You don’t need to wait that long though! Like I said, Nic McElroy will be back from about 9:00pm AEDT TONIGHT to kick off our impeachment blog, so make sure you come back in a few hours and tell him I said hello. Apologies I wasn’t able to get to as many of your questions as I would have liked today. When the breaking news gets a bit wild it’s tricky to give them the attention they deserve! If you’ve got a BURNING question, make sure you come back tomorrow. Odds are with Emily on deck there’ll be someone even better than me to answer it for you! Thanks once again for all your lovely comments and questions. It’s a pleasure to help y’all navigate through the wild tangle that is US politics. The Associated Press (AP) has interviewed Eric Trump, the eldest son of the president, about the fallout from last week’s unprecedented violence in Washington DC. Hits to President Donald Trump’s business empire since are part of a liberal “cancel culture,” his son Eric told AP, saying his father will leave the presidency with a powerful brand backed by millions of voters who will follow him “to the ends of the Earth.” “We live in the age of cancel culture, but this isn’t something that started this week. It is something that they have been doing to us and others for years,” said Trump, who along with his brother, Donald Jr, have been running the family company since their father took office four years ago. AP reports that Eric Trump seemed unruffled but combative as he spoke by phone from his office in Trump Tower. He dismissed the hits as no big threat to a company that has minimal debt –$400 million against billions in assets – and can always tap its vast real estate holdings for cash, not to mention the allegiance of those sticking by the president. AP reports that when asked directly in his interview if he felt his father incited the crowd, Eric Trump paused and then the line went dead. This is a little bit like asking “how long is a piece of string”, because as we saw today the schedule given out by the House is at best, aspirational. But Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has just released tomorrow’s schedule. A 3-4pm local time vote on impeachment means it’s likely to happen about 7-8am AEDT tomorrow. Now don’t hold me to that, because it could wrap up quicker or drag out a lot further. The good news is, the blog will be here to cover it. In fact, that coverage will kick off about 9:00pm AEDT tonight! My good mate Nic McElroy will be here to cover all the rumblings ahead of the big vote. Then from about 4:00am AEDT tomorrow your favourite American and mine Emily Olson will take over to bring you all the debate from the floor of the House of Representatives. Then I’ll jump in sometime around 5:00am AEDT and join Emily, and we’ll bring you moment to moment coverage of another historic moment in US politics. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has been holding an Instagram Live discussing the events of last week. She’s detailed just how serious things got inside the building. She said she had a “close encounter” that she’s not allowed to disclose full details about because of security concerns.   She also said she did not feel safe when sheltering from the attacks, because she feared Republican members who had spoken in favour of the QAnon conspiracy theory could disclose their location:  This time it’s Republican Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler from Washington’s 3rd District. In her letter she writes: “The President of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. “These terrorists roamed the Capitol, hunting the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House.” Beutler finishes her letter with a direct response to many of her colleagues calls for unity. “The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have. I understand the argument that the best course is not to further inflame the country or alienate Republican voters. But I am a Republican voter. I believe in our Constitution, individual liberty, free markets, charity, life, justice, peace and this exceptional country. I see that my own party will be best served when those among us choose truth,” she said. I missed this in the flurry of news earlier. But Republican Senator Tim Scott announced that he doesn’t support the impeachment of Donald Trump. Scott’s a fascinating voice here, because he’s one of the people often named as the future of the party (and a potential presidential candidate). Scott was given a prime slot to speak at the Republican Convention last year, a nod to his future importance and growing influence in the party. He’s also not a very Trump-y Republican. Sure he’s supported the President, but he’s not as feverish in his support as someone like Senator Ted Cruz for example. And notably, he’s one of the few black Republicans in Congress. Scott won’t have a say in this impeachment vote, of course. But this reads as if he won’t be interested in a conviction should it reach his chamber. You’re right. Pence has already said he’s not interested in the 25th amendment. So, why bother? That’s actually the argument Republicans who are voting against the resolution made in the debate. The Democrats, on the other hand, said it was still about the symbolism of it, and that it was important to officially record the position of the House on the issue. Reading between the lines, and thinking in cold hard political terms, I suspect Pelosi wanted to force Republicans to put their position on the issue on the public record. Vote like these are often used in election advertisements against sitting members, and I suspect this will come up at the next midterms in 2022. It certainly seems so. US media have reported that Pence will attend, and in his letter to Pelosi today Pence promised to do everything to work towards a smooth transition. You’d imagine attending the inauguration would be a part of that. In the House, Justin Amash resigned from the Republican party before voting in favour of impeachment, which meant zero Republicans supported it. In the Senate, only one Republican voted to convict on the charge of abuse of power — Mitt Romney. Romney did not vote to convict on the Obstruction of Congress charge. I mean, in the campaign Biden didn’t hide in his basement so much as take measures to keep himself safe as a 78-year-old living through a global pandemic, which at the time didn’t have a vaccine.  And right now, he’s based himself in Delaware as he runs through the business of his transition and building out his administration. It’s pretty normal for a president-elect to base themselves in their hometowns before they make the big shift to Washington DC. Trump ran his transition from New York (which was his home at the time), and Obama ran his from Chicago. You’re right on that first point and on the second! Remember, McConnell is the Republican leader in the Senate and runs the show there(though obviously, he commands enormous influence in the Republican party outside of it too). The impeachment will happen in the House first, which means Nancy Pelosi has the wheel. It’s almost certain that the impeachment will pass the House. What happens in the Senate is anyone’s guess right now, which is why we’re all watching McConnell so closely. I know, I know. It’s a delicate balance when we have some fun with memes in the blog and right now just isn’t the time I’m afraid, given the significance of what’s happening. Believe me, I wish the stakes were a little lower so we could be graced by the Calamari Chef once or twice in the blog. Hang in there. In this day and age voting in the House takes a looooooong while because of safety procedures put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re seeing a lot of proxy voting, where members can instruct someone else to vote for them. But it’s a little spiel that has to be read every time, and when there’s more than 400 votes to be counted, it takes a while to work through everyone. We’re well into prime time on cable TV news right now in America. And Fox News, via host Laura Ingraham, is backing up the earlier reporting from the New York Times that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is furious with Trump, and won’t stand in the way of a Democratic push to impeachment the President. We’re still yet to hear from McConnell publicly, but it’s significant that conservative Fox News is backing up the reporting from the New York Times. Neither, it should be noted, suggest that McConnell is going as far as to call for Trump’s removal from office. It’s a rare occasion right now that what is happening inside Capitol Hill is even close to the level of the public health disaster that’s unfolding outside of it. Even still, the US has managed to pass yet another grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic today. Today, the US recorded a new high for the most new deaths from COVID-19 in a single day. For the first time, more than 4,000 Americans died of coronavirus in the space of 24 hours. A lot. Like, A LOT … A LOT. So much power that if Mitch McConnell publicly said he supported removing President from office, that would probably the end of the Trump presidency. It’s why that New York Times article is causing such a stir. If McConnell goes (and it’s an IF right now), that’s it for Trump. We’re absolutely in uncharted waters right now, but all signs seem to point to yes. On a little technical note, it’s likely that House impeachment vote will happen before Trump leaves office (maybe as soon as tomorrow). It’ll be the Senate trial that could take place after he has left (although that too, could happen in the next two weeks). It’s basically up to Congress to decide how fast it wants to do this. Basically, yeah. There are no material consequences without conviction and removal. Other than the ignominy of joining a very short list of US Presidents who have been impeached. Some might say it’d be disqualifying should that person want to run for office again too. I guess we’ll be waiting until 2024 to find out. The short answer is that Bill Clinton was impeached and charged obstruction of justice and lying under oath related to a sexual harassment lawsuit. Which is to say that his actions and relationship with Monica Lewinsky weren’t the cause for impeachment, allegedly lying about them was. That’s a VERY, VERY distilled version. If you want the long version, I’d recommend season two of the Slow Burn podcast, which goes over the whole thing in great detail. Representative from Michigan Fred Upton will vote in favour of impeaching Donald Trump. Upton is a close Republican colleague of Representative John Katko, so this announcement was expected. But still, that makes four House Republicans who’ve now said they’re in favour of impeaching Donald Trump. We’re still hearing debate over the resolution to call on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment (to which Pence has already said no). There hasn’t been a vote on that resolution yet. Interestingly, we just heard from Republican Representative John Katko, who announced earlier he’ll support the impeachment of Donald Trump. Katko said that it was time for Congress to show the same courage as the police officers who defended them from the attack on the Capitol Building last week and remove Trump from office. WHO: Congressman Jamie Raskin, Lead Manager, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congressman David Cicilline, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Congressman Ted Lieu, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, Congressman Joe Neguse, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean WHAT: The Democratic members of have been named as impeachment managers. They’ll be responsible for presenting the case for convicting and removing Donald Trump from office at a potential trial in the Senate. Think of them as lawyers for the Democrats in the case. Donald Trump will name his own people to defend him. WHY: They’ve been picked for a variety of reasons. Almost all have vast legal experience before joining Congress, others represent the powerful House Committees that run much of the business on Capitol Hill. HOW: As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has a vast suite of powers. One of them is the power to appoint managers in impeachment proceedings (though it was likely done in consultation with her Democratic colleagues). Yesterday I told you that corporate America was pulling their fundraising dollars and distancing themselves from the Republicans who supported Donald Trump’s push to overturn the election result last week. Communications giants like AT&T and Comcast. Tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Hotel industry giant Marriot. Online shopping giant Amazon. All have either suspended donations to the Republicans who supported Trump, or totally stopped political spending all together. Disney says it will “not make political contributions in 2021 to lawmakers who voted to reject the certification of the Electoral College votes”. “Members of Congress had an opportunity to unite—an opportunity that some sadly refused to embrace,” Disney said via a spokesperson. I shouldn’t need to tell you how deep the coffers of the House of Mouse run. And the reality is that Republicans watching fundraising dollars disappear will be as much as motivation to impeach and remove Trump in the next little while as anything else. It’s SUPER confusing, I know. I’ll run you through it as simply as I can, and I’ll bold the words you’ll hear a lot.  Think of impeachment as as a two-step process (but we tend to just refer to the whole thing as impeachment). The first step is impeachment. The House of Representatives votes on articles of impeachment. If they pass, the President is impeached. If they fail, the President is not impeached. Here the US Senate holds a trial, then votes on whether to convict or remove the President from office. This needs a two-thirds majority vote. If it passes, the President is immediately removed from office. If less than two-thirds of senators vote to convict, the President is acquitted. So, in his first impeachment, Donald Trump was impeached in the House and acquitted in the Senate. That acquittal doesn’t undo the House vote (it’s not like being found not guilty of a crime for example), Trump is still impeached (as are Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson). The acquittal just means they didn’t get booted from office. Which means that this will be second impeachment of Donald Trump if the House votes in favour of it. He’d be the only President ever impeached twice. No president has ever been convicted of an impeachment and removed from office in US history.  All of the impeachment managers are Democrats. At Trump’s first impeachment, there was some speculation that Nancy Pelosi might name a conservative member of Congress as a manager. The name that was floated frequently was former Representative Justin Amash, who left the Republican party after calling for Donald Trump to be impeached over the Ukraine phone call. But it never materialised.  Of course here in 2021 there wasn’t even time to speculate. We’re on fast-forward here folks. Don’t blink. There are plenty. Former Democratic presidential candidates. Congressmen who’ve just lived through the most tragic of circumstances. Up and coming Democratic stars. Once ~ a l l  t h i s ~ calms down a bit I’ll run through the list for you. It’s also interesting who’s NOT there — Representatives Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff. Both of them were key figures in the last impeachment push and became targets for conservative news networks, Republican voters and of course, the President. For whatever reason, Nadler and Schiff won’t have a public role this time. I told you that Liz Cheney was third-highest ranking House Republican earlier. Well the second-highest — Representative Steve Scalise — has told CNN he does not support impeaching Donald Trump. And before you ask, the number one House Republican is Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. In a letter to his colleagues yesterday, McCarthy wrote that he did not support impeachment. So, just like Cheney’s message was a signal to Republicans, so is this. It’s cover for any Republicans who *don’t* want to vote in favour of impeaching Donald Trump. That dam wall I keep talking about is holding, for this moment at least. This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
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