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President Trump releases video statement condemning Capitol riots, acknowledging transition of power

Amid calls for his Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office, President Donald Trump finally spoke out on Thursday, acknowledging that a new administration will take the White House this month. In a video posted to Twitter on Thursday night, Trump said he was “outraged” by the violence in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as his supporters stormed the Capitol building. In addition, he recognized Congress’ decision to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, saying, “A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”

However, Trump did remark that he would continue to pursue reforms of the U.S. election laws “to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections,” and delivered a message to his supporters, saying “our incredible journey is only just beginning.”

Trump’s message came as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for him to be immediately removed from office as pressure mounted on Republicans to support invoking the 25th Amendment.

Trump acknowledges Biden will be next president in wake of Capitol chaos

Via www.reuters.com
 

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Sen. Schumer, House Speaker Pelosi call to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office immediately

On Thursday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for President Donald Trump to be immediately removed from office as pressure mounted on Republicans to support invoking the 25th Amendment.

Schumer said in a statement that the president “should not hold office one day longer,” adding, “The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for [Vice President Mike Pence] to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.” Pelosi joined Schumer’s call for invocation of the 25th Amendment, saying, “If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. That is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus.” Pelosi blamed Trump for inciting the violence which “will forever stain our nation’s history.”

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment has never been invoked.  It states the president can be removed from power if the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members find him “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday issued a joint statement calling on Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the amendment.

Democratic leaders call for Trump’s removal from office

Via www.msn.com
 

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Democrats take control of Senate with win in Georgia Senate runoffs

Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday after Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were projected to win their runoff races in Georgia. CNN, NBC, ABC and The New York Times said both Democratic challengers will win the Tuesday election.

Ossoff had 50.28% of the vote to incumbent Sen. David Perdue’s 49.72, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s website. Warnock had 50.7% of the vote in the special Senate race to Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s 49.3%. With 100% of precincts reporting Wednesday afternoon, both Ossoff and Warnock had enough of a lead to avoid an automatic recount.

Warnock will become the first Black senator from Georgia. Ossoff declared victory, saying “I will look forward to serving you in the United States with integrity, with humility, with honor.”

The upper chamber will be divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, but Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would break any tie votes in favor of the Democrats.

Against the odds, Georgia Democrats make history with Senate runoffs

Via www.msn.com
 

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Capitol secured after pro-Trump rioters storm building in protest, leaving 4 dead

As of Wednesday night, the U.S. Capitol building was finally secured, hours after Trump supporters forced their way inside. Thousands had gathered on and around the National Mall earlier to hear remarks by Trump, who falsely claimed he won November’s presidential election “in a landslide.” After his speech, some protesters clashed with police, breaking through a police line, forcing their way to the Capitol, where members of Congress debated certification of the Electoral College win by President-elect Joe Biden.

Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the Washington, D.C. National Guard had been deployed and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also approved the state’s National Guard and state police to be deployed to the Capitol. Authorities deployed tear gas to disperse the crowd surrounding the Capitol ahead of a 6 p.m. curfew ordered by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, which is set to last through 6 a.m. Thursday. She said no one other than essential workers and working media may be in public places or use transportation during the curfew hours. Gov. Northam also instituted a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for Alexandria and Arlington and declared a state of emergency.

A pipe bomb was found at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee, a block away from the Capitol building, and the headquarters of the Democratic National Convention was evacuated after an unidentified package was found. 13 people were arrested and about five weapons were recovered, and at least one person who was shot on the Capitol grounds was later pronounced dead.

Trump released a video on Twitter in which he continued to repeat claims that the election was “stolen from us” but called on people to leave the Capitol and go home. Later in the evening, however, Trump tweeted that the breach of the Capitol building was a result of when “a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long.” That post was also removed and Trump’s twitter account was suspended for 12 hours.

Congress was forced to go into recess and Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress were evacuated due to the violence outside. The session resumed Wednesday night.

Live Updates: Capitol secured after assault from Trump supporters

Via www.cbsnews.com
 

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Democrat Jon Ossoff moves ahead, Raphael Warnock makes history with win over Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia Senate runoff

Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections were held on Tuesday, and Democrats are a step closer to take control of the U.S. Senate as Raphael Warnock became the projected winner over Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.  Democrat Jon Ossoff is also currently in the lead against Republican Sen. David Perdue, though the race is still too close to call.  

As of 2 a.m. ET Wednesday, the Associated Press projected Warnock the winner over Atlanta pastor Loeffler. Warnock made history with his election win, becoming the first Black Democrat elected as a U.S. senator from a state in the South and only the 11th Black senator in the history of the nation. He becomes the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race in Georgia in 20 years.

Ossoff surged ahead of Perdue by more than 8,500 votes after trailing much of the night due to votes counted from Democrat-heavy DeKalb County.  “When all the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election to represent Georgia in the United States Senate,” Ossoff campaign manager Ellen Foster said in a statement. The Perdue campaign said the race is “an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard…We believe in the end, Senator Perdue will be victorious.”

Warnock’s victory gives Democrats 49 seats in the Senate, one shy of creating a 50-50 tie with Republicans, which would effectively give Democrats control because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote. A win for Ossoff would give Democrats their coveted 50th seat. A possible Senate sweep in Georgia would give Democrats control of the Senate for the first time since 2004.

Warnock defeats Loeffler in Georgia, keeping alive Democrats’ hopes of taking Senate, NBC News projects

Via www.nbcnews.com
 

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President Trump signs executive order to ban transactions with eight Chinese apps

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with the companies behind eight Chinese apps. The order prohibits certain future transactions with the companies associated with the apps Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay and WPS Office.

The order stated: “The United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swaths of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information, which would allow the [Peoples Republic of China] and [Chinese Communist Party] access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”  As a result of the order, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the department will “begin implementing the E.O.’s directives, including identifying prohibited transactions related to certain Chinese connected software applications.”

National security adviser Robert O’Brien said the order was issued in response to Chinese government policies requiring all companies to “support the Chinese Communist Party’s political objectives” in an attempt to “co-opt or coerce civilian enterprises into assisting the People’s Liberation Army.”

Trump signs order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps including Alipay

Via www.reuters.com
 

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Iran says it plans to boost uranium enrichment

Iran announced on Monday it would boost uranium enrichment, moving it to a target goal of 20%, well above the 3.67% cap placed under the multinational agreement during the Obama administration. President Donald Trump walked away from the agreement in 2018.

According to Iranian media outlet IRNA, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said that Iran has started the pre-processing stage of gas injection at its Fordow nuclear site, adding that the first UF6 enriched uranium would be produced later in the day.

Iran agreed to the uranium enrichment limits in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the United States, Russia, China, France, Russia, Britain, and Germany. While the other countries have remained part of the deal, Iran has chipped away at its restrictions since the Trump administration’s departure. Before the announcement, Iran was enriching its uranium stockpile up to about 4.5%, just above the agreement’s 3.67% cap. Even at 20%, it is well below 90% for it to be considered weapons-grade. Iran has long denied its nuclear program was meant to make weapons.

Iran starts 20% uranium enrichment, seizes tanker in strait

Via abcnews.go.com
 

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Biden, Trump visit Georgia on last day before Senate runoff vote

On the final day of campaigning for two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia. President-elect Joe Biden appeared in Atlanta to support Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate, Jon Ossoff and David Warnock. Biden said electing Democrats would guarantee that the Senate under a new Democratic majority would revisit the $2,000 stimulus payments opposed by Senate Republicans.

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also visited the state during the day as control of the Senate hung in the balance. The two arrived after controversy caused by release of a recording of a phone call made by Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, asking him to “find” the votes necessary to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. 

Earlier Monday, a Georgia election official said Trump was spreading “misinformation and disinformation” saying the president’s claims were, “all easily, provably false.” President-elect Biden was certified as the winner of the election in Georgia after a recount and audit. Biden won the state’s 16 electoral votes, with 306 votes overall, surpassing the 270 needed to win. Trump garnered 232.

Pence, Biden warn of high stakes in Georgia runoff

Via www.dailynews.com
 

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Suspect held after church shooting in Texas which leaves Pastor dead, 2 injured

A suspect was taken into custody after a shooting at a church in East Texas on Sunday morning. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said Sunday that the person killed in the shooting was the pastor of Starville Methodist Church. Another person was undergoing surgery for a gunshot injury and a female victim was injured in a fall. 

Police had been pursuing the suspect on Saturday night in a car chase when the suspect crashed his car through a yard near the church. Law enforcement searched the area for about two hours but found no sign of the man. At 9:21 a.m. on Sunday the pastor opened the door to the bathroom and confronted the man, who had been hiding in the church, said Smith. The pastor drew a firearm and told the suspect to stop, at which point the suspect disarmed the pastor and shot him with his own weapon.

Police say they do not believe the shooting was a “church-related or religion-related offense,” noting the suspect was seen holding a red bank bag when he encountered the pastor. Texas Gov. Abbott issued a statement offering condolences to the victims and their families, adding that the state is “working closely with first responders and local officials to ensure that the justice is served and that the Starville community has the resources it needs during this time.”

Sheriff: Pastor dead, 2 hurt in shooting at Texas church

Via abcnews.go.com
 

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Nancy Pelosi is re-elected House Speaker in narrow vote

The 117th Congress convened on Sunday to swear in new lawmakers and re-elect Nancy Pelosi as House speaker. Democrats are set to enter the session with the narrowest majority in the House for either party in 20 years with a 222-211 lead over Republicans and two new Democrats and four Republicans were sworn into the Senate while a pair of runoff elections to determine the balance of the chamber will be held Tuesday.

Pelosi secured the votes necessary for another round as House speaker, after running unopposed following a nomination from Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Two Democrats voted against Pelosi, with Rep. Jared Golden of Maine voting for Sen. Tammy, D-Ill., and Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania voting for Jeffries. All Republican members supported House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for speaker with 209.

Sunday’s meeting comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate and House will also prepare to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election on Wednesday in a joint session.

Pelosi wins re-election as House speaker with slim majority

Via www.nbcnews.com
 

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