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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has signed the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has become the first sitting president to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives.

Congress voted 232 to 197 on the sole article of impeachment.

Now, President Trump faces trial in the senate.

Ten Republicans voted with Democrats to impeach the president, making this vote the most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history.

They are:

  • Liz Cheney of Wyoming (the third highest-ranking Republican in the House)
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (the only Republican that voted on a bill calling for Vice-President Mike Pence to take over as president yesterday)
  • John Katko of New York (the first House Republican to say he’d vote to impeach)
  • Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
  • Tom Rice of South Carolina
  • Dan Newhouse of Washington State
  • Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State
  • Fred Upton of Michigan
  • David Valadao of Florida
  • Peter Meijer of Michigan

Senators will then act as jurors during the trial and ultimately decide whether or not to convict the president on the charge.

The lead manager is Jamie Raskin. He’s joined by Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Madeleine Dean and Joe Neguse.

“Today the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States,” Nancy Pelosi said before signing.

“That Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to the country and that once again we honor that oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

“And now, I sadly and with a heart broken over what this means to our country, of a president who would incite insurrection, will sign the engrossment of the article of impeachment.”

Trump Impeachment: Democrats Call on VP Pence to Invoke 25th Amendment

Pro-Trump Protesters Storm Capitol Building

In a video message posted to the White House’s Twitter account, President Trump has condemned the violence in the Capitol last week, saying “violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement”.

He did not make any reference to impeachment.

The president ends with a call for unity.

“All of us can choose by our actions to rise above the rancor and find common ground and shared purpose. We must focus on advancing the interests of the whole nation, delivering the miracle vaccines, defeating the pandemic, rebuilding the economy, protecting our national security and upholding the rule of law,” Donald Trump said.

“Today I am calling on all Americans to overcome the passions of the moment, and join together as one American people,” he said.

“God bless you, and God bless America.”

When he was first impeached in 2019, President Trump became part of a small group of rebuked US leaders.

After today, President Trump is the first president to be impeached twice.

Only two other presidents in history have been impeached by the House of Representatives – Andrew Johnson, back in 1868, and Bill Clinton in 1998.

President Richard Nixon stepped down and resigned.

But to date, no president has ever been removed from the White House by Congress.

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Image source Wikipedia

Google-owned video service YouTube has become the latest platform to suspend President Donald Trump’s account.

YouTube has prevented the president’s account from uploading new videos or live-streaming material for a minimum of seven days, and has said it may extend the period.

It said Donald Trump’s channel had broken its rules over the incitement of violence.

The president had posted several videos on January 12, some of which remain online.

Google has not provided details of what President Trump said in the video it banned.

The move came hours after civil rights groups had threatened to organize an ads boycott against YouTube.

Jim Steyer – who previously helped coordinate similar action against Facebook last year – had called on Google to go further and take President Trump’s channel offline.

He tweeted after the suspension: “We hope they will make it permanent. It is disappointing that it took a Trump-incited attack to get here, but appears that the major platforms are finally beginning to step up.”

Google said that President Trump could still face his page being closed if he falls foul of its three-strikes policy.

It said in a statement: “After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies.

“It now has its first strike and is temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a minimum of seven days.

“Given the ongoing concerns about violence, we will also be indefinitely disabling comments on President Trump’s channel, as we’ve done to other channels where there are safety concerns found in the comments section.”

President Trump had already been suspended by Facebook and Instagram following January 6 rioting on Capitol Hill, until at least the transition of power to Joe Biden on January 20.

Twitter has gone further by imposing a permanent ban on the president’s account.

Amazon’s Twitch has also disabled Donald Trump’s account on its platform. And Snapchat has locked his account.

Shopify, Pinterest, TikTok and Reddit have also taken steps to restrict content associated with the president and his calls for the results of the election to be challenged.

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Image source: Anadolu Agency

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests across the US as Trump supporters and far-right groups call for demonstrations before Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration.

According to the agency, armed groups are planning to gather at all 50 state capitols and in Washington DC in the run-up to Biden’s inauguration.

Security will be tight for the event after a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress on January 6.

House Democrats say a vote to impeach President Donald Trump will happen on January 13.

Democrats accuse President Trump of “incitement of insurrection” and say the vote will be held unless VP Mike Pence invokes constitutional powers to remove President Trump from office. There is no sign Mike Pence is prepared to do so.

Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris are expected to be sworn in at a ceremony at the Capitol. The Biden team had already urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a call that is now being repeated by local authorities.

According to security officials, there will be no repeat of the breach seen on January 6, when thousands of pro-Trump supporters were able to break into the building where members of Congress were voting to certify the election result.

Pro-Trump Protesters Storm Capitol Building

Five people died in the riot, which happened after President Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the November vote and encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol.

Since then, calls for Donald Trump’s resignation, removal from office or impeachment have grown among Democrats and some Republicans.

President Trump has made no public statements since he was banned from several social media platforms – including Twitter – on January 8.

Donald Trump became the third president to be impeached in December 2019 over charges of breaking the law by asking Ukraine to investigate his rival in the presidential election. The Senate cleared him.

Image source Flickr

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stepped up the pressure on VP Mike Pence to act to remove President Donald Trump from office over his role in last week’s storming of Congress.

Lawmakers are expected to bring up a resolution asking VP Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare the president unfit for office.

Mike Pence is said to oppose the idea.

If he refuses, the House will hold a vote to impeach President Trump who had urged supporters to march on the Capitol.

Donald Trump has been accused by Democrats and an increasing number of fellow Republicans over the riot, following a rally in which the president repeated unsubstantiated allegations of vote fraud. Five people died in the attack, including a Capitol police officer.

President Trump has made no public statements since he was banned from social media platforms on January 8.

He is due to leave office on January 20, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as president.

Donald Trump has said he will not attend Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.

Pro-Trump Protesters Storm Capitol Building

Nancy Pelosi wrote to lawmakers saying the House of Representatives would present a resolution on January 11 to formally request that VP Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which would allow him to remove President Trump from the White House and become acting president.

The House could vote on the resolution on January 12. After that, Mike Pence and the cabinet would be given 24 hours to act before the House’s potential move toward impeachment.

Nancy Pelosi wrote in her letter: “We will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat to both.

“The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this president is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”

Although Mike Pence has appeared to distance himself from the president by saying on January 10 he planned to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration, there is no sign that the vice-president is prepared to invoke the amendment.

In a separate development, First Lady Melania Trump, who rarely makes public comments about political events, condemned January 6 violence, saying the “nation must heal in a civil manner”.

Melania Trump said in a statement called Our Path Forward released by the White House: “I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness.”

House Democrats have vowed to press ahead quickly with impeachment. To impeach, in this context, means to bring charges in Congress, and Nancy Pelosi said Democrats could introduce a charge of “incitement of insurrection” against President Trump.

Senior lawmakers say a vote to impeach President Trump in the House could be held by mid-week.

Donald Trump could become the only president in US history to have been impeached twice.

Joe Biden has said impeachment is for Congress to decide, even though he has thought “for a long time President Trump was not fit to hold the job”.

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Hundreds of protesters broke into buildings on Capitol Hill after attending a rally in support of President Donald Trump.

Some were carrying symbols and flags strongly associated with particular ideas and factions, but in practice many of the members and their causes overlap.

Jake Angeli – QAnon supporter

According to images, there were individuals associated with a range of extreme and far-right groups and supporters of fringe online conspiracy theories, many of whom have long been active online and at pro-Trump rallies.

One of the most startling images, quickly shared across social media, shows a man dressed with a painted face, fur hat and horns, holding an American flag.

Image source: AFP

The man has been identified as Jake Angeli, a well-known supporter of QAnon. Jake Angeli calls himself the QAnon Shaman.

According to Jake Angeli’s social media presence, he’s attending multiple QAnon events and posting YouTube videos about deep state conspiracies.

Angeli was pictured in November making a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, about unproven claims the election was fraudulent.

His personal Facebook page is filled with images and memes relating to all sorts of extreme ideas and conspiracy theories.

Proud Boys members

Another group spotted at the storming of the Capitol were members of the Proud Boys.

The far-right organization was founded in 2016 and is anti-immigrant and all male. In the first presidential debate President Trump in response to a question about white supremacists and militias said: “Proud Boys – stand back and stand by.”

One of their members, Nick Ochs, tweeted a selfie inside the Capitol building saying: “Hello from the Capital lol.”

Nick Ochs also filmed a live stream inside.

His profile on the messaging app Telegram describes himself as a “Proud Boy Elder from Hawaii.”

Pro-Trump Protesters Storm Capitol Building

Richard Barnett – the man who entered Nancy Pelosi’s office

A photo that went viral of a man who had entered the office of Nancy Pelosi has been named as Richard Barnett from Arkansas.

Outside Capitol Hill buildings, Richard Barnett told the New York Times that he took an envelope from the speaker’s office and says left a note calling her an expletive.

Image source: Twitter

Local media reports say Richard Barnett is involved in a group that supports gun rights, and that he was interviewed at a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally following the presidential election – a movement that refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory and supports the president’s unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud.

In the interview at the rally organized by ‘Engaged Patriots’ Richard Barnett said: “If you don’t like it, send somebody out to get me ’cause I ain’t going down easy.”

According to the Westside Eagle Observer, the group associated with Richard Barnett held a fundraiser in October with proceeds going towards body cameras for the local police department.

Online influencers

Individuals with large followings online were also spotted at the protests.

Among them was Tim Gionet, who goes under the pseudonym “Baked Alaska”.

Gionet’s livestream from inside the Capitol posted on a niche streaming service was watched by thousands of people and showed him talking to other protesters.

A Trump supporter, Tim Gionet has made a name for himself as an internet troll.

He has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a nonprofit legal advocacy group, as a “white nationalist”, a label he disputed in a comment to The Insider.

YouTube banned Gionet’s channel in October after he posted videos of himself harassing shop workers and refusing to wear a face-mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other platforms that have previously shut down Gionet’s accounts include Twitter and PayPal.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Congress has certified Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president of the United States.

The electoral votes were approved after both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected objections to the votes in the states of Pennsylvania and Arizona.

The normally procedural session of Congress was disrupted on January 6 when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building. The session resumed and continued through the night after the building was cleared.

The announcement was made by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, one of the four “tellers” appointed by the House and Senate to count the Electoral College votes.

She said: “The report we make is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the president and vice president according to the ballots that have been given to us.”

VP Mike Pence, who as president of the Senate oversaw the certification process, confirmed to Congress that, of the 538 Electoral College votes cast, Joe Biden and Kamal Harris received 306 and Donald Trump and Mike Pence received 232 – mirroring the results of November’s election.

He said: “The announcement of the state of the vote by the President of the Senate shall be deemed as sufficient declaration of the persons elected President and Vice President of the United States, each for the term beginning on the 20th day of January, 2021 and shall be entered together with the list of the votes on the journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives.”

Pro-Trump Protesters Storm Capitol Building

President Trump has just released a statement committing to “an orderly transition on January 20th” but repeating his unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud.

“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 20th,” the president said, in a comment published on his spokesperson’s Twitter account.

 Meanwhile, Twitter has temporarily blocked Donald Trump from using his own account.

“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” he added.

More than 60 legal cases by Trump’s campaign team challenging the November result have failed.

Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory, alongside far-right pro-Trump groups, were planning the rally outside Congress for weeks.

QAnon is a baseless conspiracy theory that claims President Trump and a secret team of military intelligence officers have been waging a war against Satan-worshipping pedophiles in the Democratic party.

In addition, supporters of the “Stop the Steal” election movement, Proud Boys and other groups have been encouraging their followers to attend the march.

So-called “patriot caravans” and other initiatives were organized online to help transport activists to Washington DC in anticipation of today’s protest.

Many of those attending the rally had consumed viral conspiracy theories and misleading narratives about the presidential election on major online platforms, convinced that the vote was stolen from Donald Trump.

However, election officials have described the vote as the most secure in history.

Discussion on Gab and Parler, social media platforms popular with far-right groups banned from Facebook and Twitter, featured threats that anything other than Congress overturning the outcome would lead to “patriots” having to rescue their country from traitors, communists, Satanists and pedophiles.

Image source: Anadolu Agency

Chaos has broken out within the Capitol as pro-Trump supporters break into the building.

The ongoing special House and Senate sessions have been recessed amid the escalating clashes between protesters and police.

Lawmakers had gathered to confirm the election of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden – an outcome rejected by protesters.

Photos show demonstrators gathered just outside the Senate chamber. Other images show demonstrators carrying firearms.

Capitol Police have put the Capitol Building on lockdown amid violent clashes between police and Trump supporters, gathered to protest the 2020 election results.

Footage shows demonstrators swarming the Capitol building, breaking the temporary barrier that had been put in place ahead of today’s events. Media describe some protesters climbing on parts of the Capitol building, attempting to get inside.

Capitol police have detained some protesters as they continue to storm the building.

Some demonstrators have broken into the Senate chamber, climbing on the side of the walls as police drew their weapons.

President Donald Trump has just tweeted another message to protesters who have stormed the US Capitol, saying: “No violence!”

He tweeted: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

Georgia Voters Head to Polls in Senate Runoff Elections

Capitol Hill police are calling for reinforcements as the violence continues at the Capitol.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said members of the Secret Service and the Federal Protective Service are currently meeting calls to provide assistance.

The Department of Defense has not yet decided to deploy the National Guard to back up law enforcement on the scene.

Protesters who have stormed the US Capitol are trespassing on federal property and may face charges.

After a summer of protests against coronavirus lockdown measures, including in Michigan where armed militia members stormed the state capitol, we’re now seeing similar scenes playing out in Washington DC.

While both chambers of the US Congress were meeting on January 6 to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump, the proceedings were interrupted by police clashes with rioters in adjoining corridors.

President Trump has for weeks claimed to have been the true winner, saying without evidence that the votes cast for Biden in crucial swing states were fraudulent.

He and his supporters have been pressing VP Mike Pence to overturn the election result by refusing to certify Joe Biden’s win, something that experts agree he does not have the legal power to do.

In the days leading up to the certification, President Trump said that he would attend the “Save America” rally happening in Washington on January 6, promising on Twitter that it would be “very big” and “wild”.

About an hour after President Trump addressed thousands on the National Mall, promising to “never concede” that he had lost, chaos was unleashed.

Lawmakers and reporters inside the building say they have been asked to evacuate, shelter in place and put on gas masks.

Both chambers of Congress abruptly stopped proceedings as they were debating November’s election results.

As his supporters storm into the Capitol in quickly-escalating protests, President Trump has broken his silence and tweeted for demonstrators to “support Capitol Police and Law Enforcement”.

Media report that tear gas has now been used inside the Capitol building as a growing number of demonstrators enter the building.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew beginning at 18:00 EST.

Image source: Getty Images

Georgia is going to the polls for a second-round vote that will decide whether President-elect Joe Biden’s Democrats control the Senate.

The Democratic Party needs to win both seats in the state’s runoffs to gain full control of Congress – and with it the power to push forward his agenda.

The Republican Party of outgoing President Donald Trump needs only to win one in order to retain the Senate.

Joe Biden said Georgians could shape the US for years to come.

Meanwhile, President Trump told voters it was their “last chance to save the America” they loved.

Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue currently hold Georgia’s two Senate seats.

Kelly Loeffler is taking on Reverend Raphael Warnock and David Perdue is battling Jon Ossoff.

None of the candidates reached the 50% needed to win outright in the elections in November, forcing Tuesday’s runoffs under Georgia’s election rules. Voting began at 07:00.

The vote will decide the balance of power in the Senate.

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The Republicans currently hold 52 of the 100 seats. If both Democrats win on December 5, the Senate will be evenly split, allowing incoming Democratic VP Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.

This would be crucial for pushing through Joe Biden’s agenda, including on key issues such as healthcare and environmental regulations – policy areas with strong Republican opposition.

The Senate also has the power to approve or reject Joe Biden’s nominees for cabinet and judicial posts.

If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both win, it would bring the White House, Senate and the House of Representatives under Democratic control for the first time since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

Voting should last about 12 hours, ending at 19:00 local time, although all those still in line to vote at that time will be allowed to do so.

Democrats are hoping for a large turnout and have been buoyed by the fact that more than three million Georgians have already cast their ballots – nearly 40% of the state’s registered voters. Early voting was a key benefit for Joe Biden in the presidential election.

The Democrats will be looking to turn out supporters in major urban areas, particularly the suburbs of Atlanta. The issue of long lines of voters could be more of a problem for them.

For the Republicans, getting out voters on the day is even more crucial, and they will be looking to the stronghold of north Georgia, as well as rural areas and smaller towns.

Generally, results come in quickly but if these races are close, it could take days.

David Perdue nearly won first time out against Jon Ossoff in November, falling just short of the needed majority with 49.7%. The other seat had more candidates, with Democrat Raphael Warnock recording 32.9% to Kelly Loeffler’s 25.9%.

A Democrat has not won a Senate race in Georgia in 20 years but the party will be boosted by Joe Biden’s presidential election win over Donald Trump there. Joe Biden’s margin of victory was about 12,000 votes among five million cast.

Georgia’s black community is more than double America’s national proportion, making up a third of the population.

Across America, nine in 10 black voters supported Joe Biden in the presidential election, according to a survey of more than 110,000 voters for the Associated Press.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump has been recorded telling Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.

The president told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post: “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

Brad Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results are correct.

Joe Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 Electoral College votes to Donald Trump’s 232.

VP-elect Kamala Harris called President Trump’s comments “a bold abuse of power”.

It comes ahead of two crucial runoff elections in Georgia on January 5 that will decide which party controls the Senate.

Since the November 3 vote, President Trump has been making unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud.

All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals.

Congress is due to formally approve the election result on January 6 and Democrat Joe Biden is due to be inaugurated as president on January 20.

In excerpts of January 2 phone call released by the Washington Post, President Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurizing Georgia’s secretary of state.

He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Brad Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.

Brad Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have, Mr. President, is that the data you have is wrong.”

Later in the call, President Trump said the rumor was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – claims denied by Brad Raffensperger’s lawyer.

The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.

He said: “You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer.”

Joe Biden’s Presidential Election Victory Confirmed by Electoral College

The president then called for the extra 11,780 votes – which would have given him a total of 2,473,634 votes in the state, one more than Joe Biden, who received 2,473,633 votes.

President Trump told Brad Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.

He said: “You can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people who want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers.”

Brad Raffensperger replied: “Mr. President, you have people who submit information and we have our people that submit information, and then it comes before the court and the court has to make a determination.

“We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”

President Trump also warned Brad Raffensperger that by refusing to recalculate the election result he would deter Republicans from turning out to vote in January 5 runoff elections for the Senate.

If the two Democratic contenders win, then there will be equal numbers of Republican and Democratic senators, and Kamala Harris, as vice-president-elect, will have the deciding vote.

Joe Biden’s Democrats already control the lower House of Representatives.

Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are due to visit Georgia on January 4 to campaign ahead of the elections.

On January 3, President Trump tweeted that Brad Raffensperger had not given details of the fraud the president alleges: “He has no clue!”

Brad Raffensperger tweeted back: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”

The White House has not commented on the release of the audio.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has rejected calls from an unlikely alliance of President Donald Trump, congressional Democrats and some Republicans to boost coronavirus aid.

The House of Representatives, held by the Democrats, had voted to increase aid cheques to Americans to $2,000.

Dozens of House Republicans, reluctant to defy President Trump, backed the increase.

Republican Mitch McConnell’s objections mean there will not be a direct vote on a revised Covid aid bill in the Senate.

He said raising aid cheques would be “another fire hose of borrowed money”.

The move could in effect kill off President Trump’s demands for bigger cash handouts to help the economy recover.

Congress had initially agreed to the smaller $600 payments in a Covid relief and government funding bill.

President Trump sent that back to Capitol Hill before Christmas, saying the stimulus payment should be higher.

He eventually, and grudgingly, signed the original bill with the lower payments into law on December 27, but has continued to demand more money.

On December 28, House Democrats – usually sworn political foes of President Trump – passed the measure for $2,000 cheques that he requested.

The president tweeted on December 29: “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2,000 payments ASAP.”

President Trump Threatens to Block Covid-19 Relief Bill

The total number of people who have died with Covid in the US stands at nearly 350,000. There are concerns that the figure could continue to surge following Christmas and New Year gatherings.

California meanwhile became the second state to confirm a case of the new strain of the virus, considered to be highly contagious. The first case of new variant of coronavirus was confirmed in Colorado.

Mitch McConnell rejected Democrats’ calls for the upper chamber to vote on the $2,000 cheques package passed by their counterparts in the House.

The Kentucky senator said the bill had “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate”.

Speaking in the chamber on December 30, he said: “The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help.”

Instead Mitch McConnell offered to roll the proposal for bigger cheques into another bill to include other measures that have been requested by President Trump but raised objections from Democratic leaders.

One would end legal protection for tech companies, known as Section 230. The other would set up a bipartisan commission to investigate President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of systemic electoral fraud.

Democrats said Mitch McConnell’s proposal was merely a legislative poison pill designed to kill higher stimulus payments.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who votes with Democrats, said on the Senate floor: “All we are asking for is a vote. What is the problem?

“If you want to vote against $2,000 checks for your state, vote against it.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said: “What we’re seeing right now is leader McConnell trying to kill the cheques – the $2,000 cheques desperately needed by so many American families.”

The GOP usually professes an opposition to government spending as an article of faith, but some of its top conservative senators have rallied behind President Trump’s call for $2,000 cheques.

They include Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri, both considered possible presidential contenders in 2024.

President Donald Trump has urged Congress to amend a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill to more than triple its stimulus payments to Americans.

In a video message posted on Twitter, the president said the package “really is a disgrace”, full of “wasteful” items.

He said: “It’s called the Covid relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid.”

The $900 billion bill includes one-off $600 payments to most Americans, but President Trump said the figure should be $2,000.

Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating a coronavirus stimulus rescue package since July and President Trump – who has largely stayed out of the talks – had been expected to sign the legislation into law following its passage through Congress on December 21.

The package of measures is linked to a bigger government spending bill, which includes foreign aid funding as well as a $1.4 trillion spending measure to fund federal agencies for the next nine months. Those agencies will have to shut if the president vetoes or refuses to sign it by midnight on December 28.

Most legislation that comes from Congress requires the approval of the president before becoming law. If the president rejects this bill, it would require at least a two-thirds majority in each chamber – the House of Representatives and the Senate – to override the veto.

However, President Trump has not specifically said he would veto the bill.

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While Congress has overridden fewer than 10% of all presidential vetoes, media say there could be enough votes from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to do so in this instance.

In December 22 message from the White House, President Trump baulked at spending in the bill on other countries, arguing that this money should go to struggling Americans.

He said: “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.”

President Trump questioned why the Kennedy Center, a performing arts complex in Washington DC, was set to receive $40 million when it is not open, and more than $1 billion has been allocated to museums and galleries in the capital.

He concluded: “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.

“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.”

On December 21, congressional leaders unveiled a 5,593-page package and voted on it several hours later.

Several lawmakers protested that they had not been given an opportunity to read the contents.

Nevertheless the bill sailed through the House of Representatives by 359-53 and the Senate by 92-6.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Deborah Birx has resigned after it emerged she hosted a Thanksgiving gathering.

Deborah Birx, 64, cited the criticism she had faced for a family get-together over Thanksgiving in Delaware in her decision to step aside.

She said: “This experience has been a bit overwhelming.

“It’s been very difficult on my family.”

Dr. Birx had reportedly been seeking a job from President-elect Joe Biden.

A world-renowned AIDS researcher, Deborah Birx has worked in the US government since the Reagan administration.

In December 22, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted President Donald Trump’s good wishes, saying he “has great respect for Dr. Birx and likes her very much. We wish her well”.

In an interview with Newsy aired on December 22, a masked Dr. Birx did not specify when she would stand down, but said she would help the incoming Biden administration and “and then I will retire”.

Dr. Birx had urged Americans in the days before Thanksgiving to restrict gatherings to “your immediate household”.

But it emerged on December 20 she had travelled from Washington to one of her other properties, on Fenwick Island in Delaware, where she was joined by three generations of her family from two households.

While in Delaware, Dr. Birx did an interview with CBS in which she noted that some Americans had “made mistakes” over Thanksgiving by travelling and they “should assume they were infected”.

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Joe Biden Receives Covid Vaccine Live on TV

The CDC, whose director has often joined Dr. Birx on the podium during briefings, has warned Americans not to travel over the holidays.

As the US coronavirus caseload surges, the CDC has also cautioned against indoor gatherings with people from different households.

Dr. Birx had insisted she went to the property in Delaware to prepare it for a potential sale, though she acknowledged sharing a meal with her family during the visit.

Explaining her decision to gather with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, Deborah Birx told Newsy: “My daughter hasn’t left that house in 10 months, my parents have been isolated for 10 months.

“They’ve become deeply depressed as I’m sure many elderly have as they’ve not been able to see their sons, their granddaughters.

“My parents have not been able to see their surviving son for over a year. These are all very difficult things.”

According to the Associated Press, Deborah Birx owns another home in Potomac, Maryland, where her parents live, and where she visits from time to time.

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Image source Wikimedia

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is just the latest world leader to test positive for coronavirus.

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) died on December 14, four weeks after he tested positive for Covid-19.

US President Donald Trump contracted the virus in October. He was given an experimental drug cocktail and returned to the White House after three nights in hospital.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda contracted the virus in October and went into self-isolation.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has spent two months in hospital in Germany after catching the disease in October – last week he appeared in video for the first time since testing positive, saying he hopes to return to Algeria soon.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei tested positive in September – despite calling himself “high-risk” he did not appear to suffer a severe case.

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro,tested positive in July and spent more than two weeks quarantining in his residence.

In June, the outgoing President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, died of an illness suspected by many to be Covid-19.

Russia’s PM Mikhail Mishustin contracted the virus in April and was admitted to hospital with moderate to severe symptoms.

UK PM Boris Johnson tested positive in March – he spent three nights in intensive care in a London hospital, later saying he owed the health workers there his life.

Image source: Getty Images

Joe Biden’s presidential election victory was confirmed by the US Electoral College.

In a speech after the announcement, the president-elect said US democracy had been “pushed, tested and threatened” and “proved to be resilient, true and strong”.

He condemned President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the result.

Later Russian President Vladimir Putin became one of the last world leaders to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory.

Moscow had said it would wait for the official results before doing so. Most other national leaders contacted Joe Biden days after the vote on November 3.

Confirmation by the Electoral College was one of the steps required for Joe Biden to take office.

Democrat Joe Biden won November’s contest with 306 Electoral College votes to Republican Donald Trump’s 232.

Donald Trump, who shows few signs of conceding, has not commented. Shortly after the Electoral College’s vote, the president announced on Twitter the departure of Attorney General William Barr, who had said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election, despite President Trump’s claims.

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Speaking in Delaware, Joe Biden praised “ordinary men and women” who had refused to be bullied, referring to the president’s efforts to question and overturn the results, involving legal challenges which have been rejected by courts across the country.

He described the efforts as “a position so extreme we’ve never seen it before”.

“Respecting the will of the people is at the heart of our democracy, even when we find those results hard to accept,” he said.

“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago,” he added.

“And we know that nothing not even a pandemic or an abuse of power can extinguish that flame.”

Joe Biden said it was time to “turn the page, as we’ve done throughout our history, to unite, to heal”.

But he warned that, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to ravage the US, there would be difficult months ahead.

“There is urgent work in front of us,” Joe Biden said.

“Getting this pandemic under control and getting the nation vaccinated against this virus.”

Joe Biden stressed the importance of immediate economic help that was “so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today” and rebuilding the economy to be “better than it ever was”.

He was speaking as the coronavirus death toll in the US rose above 300,000.

Normally the electors do not get that much attention but this year, after uncertainty generated by a raft of challenges to results in Democrat-won states by the Trump campaign, the state-by-state vote was in the spotlight.

Solidly Democrat California, with its 55 electors, was one of the last states to vote on December 14 and took Joe Biden across the 270-vote threshold required to win the presidency.

Heightened security had been put in place in some states, including Michigan and Georgia, ahead of voting, which took place in state capitals and Washington DC.

In Michigan – a key swing state Joe Biden won – legislative offices in the state capital Lansing were closed due to “credible” threats of violence.

The vote at the capitol building went ahead peacefully although a group of Republicans tried to enter the building to hold their own vote and were turned away.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Joe Biden has fractured his foot while playing with one of his dogs, his doctor has announced.

The president-elect twisted his ankle on November 28 when he slipped while with Major, one of his two German shepherds.

Joe Biden visited an orthopedist in Newark, Delaware, a day later “out of an abundance of caution”.

His personal physician, Kevin O’Connor, said initial x-rays did not show an “obvious fracture”, but ordered a more detailed CT scan.

The subsequent scan found that the 78-year-old had suffered “hairline fractures” of two small bones in the middle of his right foot, the doctor said.

Dr. O’Connor said: “It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks.”

On November 29, President Donald Trump tweeted: “Get well soon!”

Joe Biden, who beat President Trump in November’s election, is due to receive his first presidential daily briefing on November 30. This was made possible by the announcement a week ago that the transition process had begun.

Joe Biden will become the oldest US president to take office after he’s inaugurated on January 20 next year.

Given this, his health is expected to be watched closely by allies and opponents.

Dr. O’Connor described him as “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency” in a medical report released last December.

Joe Biden is set to bring his two German shepherds – Champ and Major – with him to the White House.

The Democrat and his wife, Jill Biden, fostered Major from a dog shelter in Delaware and made his adoption official in November 2018.

Champ lived with the Bidens on Capitol Hill in Washington DC during Barack Obama’s presidency, when Joe Biden was vice-president.

Image source: Getty Images

The Trump campaign’s attempt to block President-elect Joe Biden from being declared winner in Pennsylvania has been rejected by a federal appeals court.

The panel of three judges deemed the case was without merit, saying the Trump campaign had not made specific allegations or provided proof.

The ruling is another major setback for Donald Trump in his attempts to overturn the November 3 election.

On November 26, President Trump said he would give way if Joe Biden was declared the winner.

However, on the next day he again made unfounded allegations of “massive voter fraud”, tweeting: “Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained.”

Trump Administration Allows Biden Transition to Begin

Joe Biden Wins Georgia Recount by 12,000 Votes

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals had been asked to consider a lower court’s decision to dismiss the Trump campaign’s attempts to invalidate millions of mail-in votes in Pennsylvania.

The lower court ruling had paved the way for the battleground state to certify Joe Biden’s win, giving him 20 vital Electoral College votes and effectively the presidency.

In giving the appeal court’s opinion, Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so.”

“Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here,” wrote Judge Bibas, who was nominated by President Trump.

Following the ruling, Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis wrote: “On to SCOTUS!”

The Trump campaign has filed a slew of lawsuits alleging voter fraud in several states, but with little success.

Joe Biden is projected to defeat President Trump 306 to 232 in the US electoral college, which determines who becomes president – far above the 270 he needs to win.

Time is running out as states have until December 8 to resolve election disputes before the Electoral College meets on December 14 to formally declare the victor.

Donald Trump’s refusal to concede has upended the process that normally follows a US election.

However, it is not a requirement for Donald Trump to concede in order for Joe Biden to be sworn in as the 46th US president.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump has accepted a formal transition should begin for President-elect Joe Biden to take office.

He said the federal agency overseeing the handover must “do what needs to be done”, even as he vowed to keep contesting his election defeat.

The General Services Administration (GSA) said it was acknowledging Joe Biden as the “apparent winner”.

It came as Joe Biden’s victory in the state of Michigan was officially certified, a major blow to President Trump.

The GSA announcement means the president-elect now has access to top security briefings, office space and government officials as he prepares to take office on January 20.

Joe Biden’s transition website has now changed to a government domain. He will begin announcing the people he wants in the top jobs in his cabinet on November 24.

Biden’s team welcomed the start of the transition process as the Democratic president-elect gears up to be sworn in.

A statement said: “Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

Earlier, Joe Biden unveiled his nominations for his foreign policy and national security team, consisting of old colleagues from his years in the Obama administration.

Joe Biden Wins Georgia Recount by 12,000 Votes

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

CISA Rejects Donald Trump’s Vote Fraud Claims

Joe Biden is set to appoint Anthony Blinken as secretary of state and John Kerry as climate envoy, while Janet Yellen is tipped to be the first female US treasury secretary.

The list of selections came ahead of a formal announcement on November 24. Most of the appointments will require Senate confirmation.

President Trump tweeted as the GSA, which is tasked with formally beginning presidential changeovers, informed the Biden camp that it would start the transition process.

GSA administrator Emily Murphy said she was making $6.3 million in funds available to the president-elect.

President Trump said: “In the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

However, Donald Trump did not concede and went on to repeat unsubstantiated claims of corruption, pledging to keep up the “good fight”. It is worth noting that Donald Trump does not have to concede for Joe Biden to be sworn in as the 46th US president.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

President-elect Joe Biden has won Georgia by 12,284 votes, according to the audit required by state law.

His narrow victory in Georgia will be officially certified by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

It comes as legal efforts by President Donald Trump’s allies to challenge his defeat were dismissed in three other states.

On November 20, Brad Raffensperger said he was disappointed that his party lost but that “numbers don’t lie”.

Joe Biden is set to take office in January as the 46th US president.

His victory margin in the public vote overall stands at more than 5.9 million. His victory in the Electoral College system is projected to be 306 to 232 – far above the 270 he needs to win.

President Trump has so far refused to concede and has made allegations of widespread electoral fraud, without providing any evidence.

The latest defeat comes as he has summoned Michigan state lawmakers to the White House on November 20 ahead of that state’s deadline to certify election results.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany denied that President Trump was holding a campaign “advocacy meeting” with the lawmakers, saying it was instead a routine check-in with local officials.

On November 19, Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger – who oversees the election process – said the hand audit of ballots had not altered Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

He said in a statement: “Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results.”

On November 20, the self-proclaimed Trump supporter went on to say: “Like other Republicans. I’m disappointed, our candidate didn’t win Georgia’s electoral votes.

“I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

CISA Rejects Donald Trump’s Vote Fraud Claims

Trump Still Planning Legal Challenges in Key States

The Democrats’ victory is their first in a presidential race in Georgia since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

The recount found the error rate was no greater than 0.73% in any county and Joe Biden’s margin of victory over Donald Trump remained at under 0.5%. The results will be certified on November 20.

Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said the audit had gone “exactly as we expected” because, she said without evidence, the state had recounted illegal ballots.

Gabriel Sterling, a Republican who serves as Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told CNN on Thursday: “One of the big complaints is these machines somehow flipped votes or changed votes or did stuff. They didn’t, at least not in Georgia. We proved it.”

During the audit this week, nearly 6,000 untallied votes were found – paring back Joe Biden’s lead slightly – but they were the result of human error and not fraud, Gabriel Sterling said.

Officials in Floyd County have fired their election manager over the matter, local media reported on November 19.

He was speaking after a virtual meeting with governors, including Democrats and Republicans, about the coronavirus crisis.

Asked about President Trump’s lack of concession, Joe Biden said the president was sending “incredibly damaging messages… to the rest of the world about how democracy functions” and that he would be remembered “as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history”.

Republicans lost their final lawsuit in Georgia as a court rejected their effort to block the results’ certification, which happened on November 20. The judge who dismissed the case was appointed by President Trump last year.

In Arizona, a judge rejected a lawsuit filed last week by the state Republican Party seeking a new audit of ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix – the state capital and largest city.

In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign lost their bid in state court to throw out more than 2,000 postal ballots.

At a briefing on November 19, Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani continued to lay out unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and accusations of electoral fraud.

He railed against the reporting of his team’s legal challenges, saying the media had shown an “irrational pathological hatred for the president”.

Rudy Giuliani also said the campaign was withdrawing its last remaining lawsuit in Michigan. He said it had achieved its aim of stopping the certification of the result in one key county.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Joe Biden is to becoming the next US president after defeating Donald Trump in a cliff-hanger vote count after November 3 election.

According to most recent projections, Joe Biden has won the key battleground of Pennsylvania, propelling him over the 270 electoral college vote threshold required to clinch the White House.

However, the Trump campaign has indicated their candidate does not plan to concede.

The former vice-president said it was now time for America to “unite and heal”.

He said: “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.”

Joe Biden said he was “honored and humbled” to be elected and said the record turnout in the face of “unprecedented obstacles” showed that democracy “beats deep in the heart of America”.

The result makes Donald Trump the first one-term president since the 1990s.

Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, is set to become the first woman vice-president.

Joe Biden’s victory is based on the unofficial results from states that have already finished counting their votes, and the expected results from states like Wisconsin where the count is continuing.

His projected win in Pennsylvania takes him to 273 electoral college votes.

White House 2020: Joe Biden Overtakes Donald Trump in Pennsylvania

Election Day 2020: America Braces for A Presidential Race Like No Other

The 2020 election has seen the highest turnout since 1900. Joe Biden has won more than 74 million votes so far, the most ever for a US presidential candidate. Donald Trump has drawn more than 70 million, the second-highest tally in history.

DonaldTrump had falsely declared himself the winner of the election when vote counting was unfinished. He has since alleged irregularities in counting, but has not presented any evidence of election fraud.

The Trump campaign has filed a barrage of lawsuits in various states and on November 6, as Joe Biden appeared on the cusp of victory, said: “This election is not over.”

The election was fought as coronavirus cases and deaths continued to rise across the United States, with President Trump arguing a Biden presidency would result in lockdowns and economic gloom. Joe Biden accused Donald Trump of failing to impose sufficient measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Joe Biden is now set to return to the White House, where he served for eight years as President Barack Obama’s deputy.

At the age of 78, Joe Biden will be the oldest president in American history.

Usually the losing candidate concedes but Donald Trump has vowed to contest the election results on several fronts.

Responding to the Pennsylvania results, the Trump campaign put out a statement saying: “This election is not over. The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final.”

A recount will be held in Georgia, where the margins are tight, and Donald Trump wants the same in Wisconsin. He has also vowed to take legal action to the Supreme Court, alleging voting fraud without evidence.

If the election result is challenged, it would require legal teams to challenge this in the state courts. State judges would then need to uphold the challenge and order a recount, and Supreme Court justices could then be asked to overturn a ruling.

Meanwhile, votes in some states are continuing to be counted and results are never official until final certification, which occurs in each state in the weeks following the election.

This must be done before 538 electors from the Electoral College – which officially decides who wins the election – meet in their state capitals to vote on December 14.

The electors’ votes usually mirror the popular vote in each state. However, in some states this is not a formal requirement.

The new president is officially sworn into office on January 20 after a transition period to give them time to appoint cabinet ministers and make plans.

The handover of power takes place at a ceremony known as the inauguration, which is held on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC.

After the ceremony, the new president makes their way to the White House to begin their four-year term in office.

Joe Biden ran for the White House twice before.

In 1988, he withdrew from the race after he admitted to plagiarizing a speech by the then leader of the British Labor Party, Neil Kinnock.

In 2008, he tried again to get the Democratic nomination before dropping out and joining Barack Obama’s ticket.

Joe Biden’s eight years as vice-president allowed him to lay claim to much of Barrack Obama’s legacy, including passage of the Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare.

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The US has become the first nation in the world to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

President Donald Trump announced the move in June 2017, but UN regulations meant that his decision only takes effect today, the day after the US election.

The US could re-join it in future, should a president choose to do so.

The Paris deal was drafted in 2015 to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.

It aims to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C.

The delay is down to the complex rules that were built into the Paris agreement to cope with the possibility that a future US president might decide to withdraw the country from the deal.

Previous attempts to put together a global pact on climate change had foundered because of internal US politics.

The Clinton administration was unable to secure Senate backing for the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997.

So in the run up to the Paris climate talks, President Barrack Obama’s negotiators wanted to ensure that it would take time for the US to get out if there was a change in leadership.

Even though the agreement was signed in December 2015, the treaty only came into force on November 4,2016, 30 days after at least 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions had ratified it.

No country could give notice to leave the agreement until three years had passed from the date of ratification.

Even then, a member state still had to serve a 12-month notice period on the UN.

So, despite President Trump’s announcement in June 2017, the US was only able to formally give notice to the UN in November last year. The time has elapsed and the US is now out.

While the US now represents around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it remains the world’s biggest and most powerful economy.

So, when it becomes the only country to withdraw from a global solution to a global problem it raises questions of trust.

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For the past three years, US negotiators have attended UN climate talks while the administration has tried to use these events to promote fossil fuels.

While on the campaign trail, Joe Biden said he would seek to re-join as soon as possible – if he was elected President.

Under the rules, all that is required is a month’s notice and the US should be back in the fold.

However, even if the US chose to re-enter the agreement, there would be consequences for being out – even for a few months.

President Trump made leaving Paris a key part of his election platform in 2016, tying it into his vision of a revitalized US with booming energy production, especially coal and oil.

Donald Trump’s perspective on the Paris agreement was that it was unfair to the US, leaving countries like India and China free to use fossil fuels while the US had to curb their carbon.

Image source: Getty Images

The US is voting in one of the most divisive presidential elections in decades, pitting incumbent Republican Donald Trump against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The first polls opened from 05:00 EST in Vermont.

Nearly 100 million Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the US on course for its highest turnout in a century.

Both rivals spent the final hours of the race rallying in key swing states.

National polls give a firm lead to Joe Biden, but it is a closer race in the states that could decide the outcome.

Among the first states to begin election-day voting on November 3 are the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Ohio, followed half an hour later by Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Arizona will follow.

To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college. Each state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.

This system explains why it is possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally – like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 – but still lose the election.

The coronavirus pandemic has hung over the election campaign, with the epidemic in the country worsening over the final weeks of the race. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than anywhere else in the world, and fear of infection has contributed to an unprecedented surge in early and postal voting.

As the nation counts down the hours to the vote, there are fears that pockets of post-election violence could break out.

A new “non-scalable” fence has been put up around the White House in Washington DC. Businesses in the nation’s capital and also in New York City have been seen boarding up their premises due to concerns about unrest.

On November 2, President Trump sprinted through four more battleground states.

In North Carolina, the president told supporters that “next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country”. Economists however warn the damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic – the biggest decline in the US economy in more than 80 years – could still take years to overcome.

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Hit Swing States

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Trade Attacks in Critical State of Florida

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

After North Carolina, Donald Trump headed to Scranton, Pennsylvania, the city where his opponent lived until he was 10. At a rally there he reminded his supporters that he won the state in 2016, despite polls suggesting he would lose.

Joe Biden also went to Pennsylvania where he was joined by singer Lady Gaga at a rally in Pittsburgh. Musician John Legend addressed voters with vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

In Ohio, Joe Biden repeated the core message of his campaign, telling voters that the race was about the soul of America. He said it was time for President Trump to “pack his bags”, saying “we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility”.

On November 2, Donald Trump also held rallies in Traverse City, Michigan, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha was rocked by violent protests in August after the police shooting of a black man.

In Traverse City the president asked for the votes of black Americans.

He travelled to Grand Rapids, Michigan for his last rally, the same city where he held the final event of the 2016 election race.

In the last hours of the campaign, Twitter and Facebook labelled a post by President Trump as “misleading”, after he claimed that postal ballots in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to rampant fraud. They also added a link to a website explaining why mail-in votes were safe.

It came after the Supreme Court allowed Pennsylvania to count postal ballots received three days after the election.

President Trump and his campaign have indicated they will sue to block the move.

Legal fights over ballots have also been unfolding in Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas.

When will we get a result?

It can take several days for every vote to be counted after any presidential election, but it is usually pretty clear who the winner is by the early hours of the following morning.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have been travelling across the nation as the US election enters its closing stage.

Donald Trump visited five battleground states while Joe Biden spoke at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden maintains a solid national lead in the polls ahead of November 3 general election.

However, his advantage is narrower in key states which could decide the result.

More than 90 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.

The election comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 99,000 infections on October 31 alone.

Top virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has sharply criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, drawing a rebuke from the White House on November 1.

President Trump had a punishing schedule on November 1, holding rallies in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia, followed later by Florida – all states where polls suggest a tighter race.

Speaking in Washington, a town in Michigan north of Detroit, President Trump told his supporters that under his leadership “the economy is now growing at the fastest rate ever recorded”.

He predicted he would take the state again as he did in 2016, and said that the state known for its car manufacturing “didn’t have any auto plants four years ago” when he was elected.

He said: “We brought back your car industry. Your car industry was finished. You would have had nothing left.”

At a later rally in Dubuque, Iowa – joined by high-profile supporters like his daughter Ivanka and aide Hope Hicks – President Trump promised secure borders and more conservative judges in the courts.

Addressing Covid-19, the president told supporters they had a choice between a “deadly Biden lockdown” or “a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Trade Attacks in Critical State of Florida

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

Donald Trump’s comments came after Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post that the US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” in the coming months.

“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,” he told the newspaper.

Joe Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”, while President Trump had a different perspective and was focusing on “the economy and reopening the country”, he added.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said on November 1 that Dr. Fauci’s comments were “unacceptable”, saying that the expert chose “to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent”.

Joe Biden meanwhile headed to Pennsylvania, place of his birth and another key state in the election. President Trump narrowly won there in 2016 but polls suggest Joe Biden is slightly ahead this year.

At a rally in Philadelphia the former vice-president addressed the city’s black community, vowing to address “systemic racism” in the US and attacking the president’s handling of the pandemic – something which has disproportionately affected African Americans.

He said: “It’s almost criminal the way he’s handled it.

“It’s a mass casualty event in the black community and it’s totally unnecessary.”

Earlier in the day Joe Biden also courted Latino voters with a tweet in Spanish, speaking of the separation of migrant families at the border and his response to Hurricane Maria after it hit Puerto Rico.

He tweeted: “President Trump has attacked the dignity of Latino families time and again…This will end when I am president.”

Joe Biden also addressed a report by news site Axios which says the president will declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks as if he is ahead.

“The president’s not going to steal this election,” he told reporters.

Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for encouraging his supporters after some forced a Biden campaign bus to stop on a Texas highway, something the FBI has now confirmed it is investigating.

Donald Trump tweeted on November 1 that in his opinion, “these patriots did nothing wrong.”

The president denied the Axios report, but told journalists before his North Carolina rally that counting ballots after Election Day was a “terrible thing”.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” he said.

Joe Biden’s campaign said he and his running mate Kamala Harris would “fan out” to “all four corners” of Pennsylvania on November 2, joined by their partners and Lady Gaga and John Legend.

On November 1, Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia, another state which President Trump won in 2016 but which the Democratic Party is trying to win this year.

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump and his Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden have held dueling rallies in the critical election state of Florida.

Joe Biden told supporters: “You hold the power. If Florida goes blue [Democratic], it’s over.”

Celebrating soaring economic figures, President Trump said of his rival: “He’s going to lock you down.”

With just five days to go until Election Day, Joe Biden has a solid lead nationally in opinion polls.

However, his advantage looks less assured in the battleground states, such as Florida, that will decide who ultimately wins the White House.

More than 81 million people have already voted, 52 million of them by mail, setting the US on course for its highest electoral turnout rate in more than a century.

On October 29, at a rally in Tampa, President Trump reveled in a new federal projection that the US economy had expanded at an unprecedented 33.1% annual rate in the most recent quarter, following a record 31% contraction in the previous three months during the coronavirus crash.

Florida is a must-win for President Trump and a key opinion poll average shows him just 1.4 points behind Joe Biden, which amounts to a statistical dead heat.

At a 100-minute outdoor rally, President Trump told thousands of people, many of them crowded together without masks: “Joe Biden’s plan is to deliver punishing [coronavirus] lockdowns. He’s going to lock you down.”

“Look, we were compared to Europe,” noted the president.

“‘Germany is doing so well, France is doing so well, everyone’s doing so well.’ No, they’re not doing well.”

While emphasizing Europeans were allies, he continued: “They’re spiking up big, they’re shutting down, they’re locking down.

“I disagree with that because we’re never going to lock down again. We locked down, we understood the disease and now we’re open for business.”

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

The president was introduced by First Lady Melania Trump, making a rare appearance on the campaign trail. Her biggest applause line came when she said: “We are a country of hope, not a country of fear or weakness, and we have a leader who shows us that every single day.”

Donald Trump had been due to hit another key state, North Carolina, on October 29, but canceled that event in Fayetteville because of foul weather from Tropical Storm Zeta in the area.

The storm reportedly disrupted early voting in another election battleground, Georgia, sparking power cuts in some precincts and toppling trees that blocked off mobile polling sites.

President Trump – who began this month in hospital with coronavirus – is visiting 10 states in the last week of the campaign and will host 11 rallies in the final two days, a campaign official said.

He is hoping that media coverage of his rallies will compensate for his chronic deficit in ad spending as a result of his now-limited campaign coffers.

In Florida alone, according to data from ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG, Joe Biden and his allies are outspending Donald Trump by more than three to one.

In a potential boost for President Trump, on October 29 he won a rare thumbs-up from an African American celebrity, rapper Lil Wayne, who appeared to endorse him.

Lil Wayne tweeted: “Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done.”

Image source: Getty Images

President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden clashed over Covid-19 and race while trading corruption charges, in their final live TV debate which took place on Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

The first debate was a chaotic, insult-filled exchange between the two candidates. But on October 22, the personal attacks were (mostly) out – instead audiences got the chance to hear some of what Biden and Trump had to offer to Americans.

The muted mics probably helped to cool temperatures and the moderator, Kristen Welker, has been celebrated for encouraging a higher standard of debate.

With arguments on coronavirus, race, climate change and corruption, both candidates made it clear how different their visions for the US were.

On the pandemic, Joe Biden would not rule out more lockdowns, while President Trump insisted it was time to reopen the US.

Donald Trump cited unsubstantiated claims Joe Biden personally profited from his son’s business dealings. The Democrat brought up President Trump’s opaque taxes.

Joe Biden has a solid lead with 11 days to go until the presidential election.

However, winning the most votes does not always win the election, and the margin is narrower in a handful of states that could decide the race either way.

More than 47 million people have already cast their ballots in a voting surge driven by the pandemic.

This is already more than voted before polling day in the 2016 election. There are about 230 million eligible voters in total.

In snap polls – from CNN, Data Progress and US Politics – most respondents said Joe Biden had won the debate by a margin of more than 50% to about 40%.

The final debate was a less acrimonious and more substantive affair than the pair’s previous showdown on September 29, which devolved into insults and name-calling.

Following that political brawl, debate organizers this time muted microphones during the candidates’ opening statements on each topic to minimize disruption.

However, the 90-minute debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, was the scene of plenty of personal attacks between the opponents, whose mutual dislike was palpable.

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In individual closing argument to voters, they offered starkly different visions for the nation on everything from shutting down the US to tackle coronavirus, to shutting down the fossil fuel industry to confront climate change.

Nowhere was the distinction between the two candidates more apparent than in their approach to the pandemic.

Asked about his support for more lockdowns if the scientists recommended it, Joe Biden, a Democrat, did not rule it out.

Donald Trump, a Republican, said it was wrong to inflict further damage on the economy because of an infection from which most people recover.

“This is a massive country with a massive economy,” said the president.

“People are losing their jobs, they’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level nobody’s ever seen before.”

Donald Trump, 74, declared that the virus was “going away” and that a vaccine would be ready by the end of the year, while Joe Biden, 77, warned the nation was heading towards “a dark winter”.

President Trump said: “We’re learning to live with it.”

Joe Biden countered: “Come on. We’re dying with it.”

He laid blame for the 220,000-plus American deaths as a consequence of the pandemic at President Trump’s door.

“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,” he said.

During a back-and-forth on race relations, President Trump said: “I am the least racist person in this room.”

He brought up the 1994 crime bill that Joe Biden helped draft and which Black Lives Matter blames for the mass incarceration of African Americans.

However, Joe Biden said Donald Trump was “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire”.

He added: “This guy is a [racial] dog whistle about as big as a fog horn.”

President Trump brought up purported leaked emails from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, about his business dealings in China.

However, Joe Biden denied the president’s unfounded insinuation that the former US vice-president somehow had a stake in the ventures.

“I think you owe an explanation to the American people,” said President Trump.

Joe Biden said: “I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever. Ever.”

He referred to the New York Times recently reporting that President Trump had a bank account in China and paid $188,561 in taxes from 2013-15 to the country, compared with $750 in US federal taxes that the newspaper said he had paid in 2016-2017 when he became president.

President Trump said: “I have many bank accounts and they’re all listed and they’re all over the place.

“I mean, I was a businessman doing business.”