Politics Trump slams House’s impeachment delay as ‘so unfair’•Senate Looks Ahead To Trump Impeachment Trial
Scroll back up to restore default view.By Alexandra Alper and Jan Wolfe WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Saturday criticized House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding off on sending the articles of impeachment against him to the Senate.”It’s so unfair,” Trump said, days after he was impeached by the House, during a speech to conservative student group Turning Point USA, saying that Pelosi adopted the strategy because she has „no case.””They are violating the Constitution,” Trump said, calling Pelosi „crazy Nancy.”
The Democratic-controlled House voted on Dec. 18 to impeach Trump, setting the stage for a trial in the Senate. Trump is very unlikely to be convicted and removed from office by the upper chamber of Congress because it is controlled by his Republican Party. A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate is needed for a conviction on impeachment charges.
Republicans and Democrats are at loggerheads over how the trial will play out. Pelosi and other Democrats want to call top Trump aides as witnesses and are seeking assurances that the trial will be held on terms they consider fair.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said he is working in tandem with the White House on trial preparations, drawing accusations from Democrats that he is ignoring his duty to consider the evidence in an impartial manner.
Pelosi has not yet sent the impeachment package to the Senate in a bid to increase pressure on Republicans there. Pelosi has also not yet announced the managers, or prosecutors, who will present evidence in the trial.
„Until the House gets a clearer picture of what a Senate trial will look like, the Speaker will not be in the position to appoint managers and take the next steps in holding this President accountable and ensuring the Senate fulfills its constitutional duty,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement on Saturday.
Pelosi’s office said senators have a constitutional obligation to conduct a „fair process that provides both the Senators, who will act as jurors, and the public with the opportunity to understand the full extent of President Trump’s abuse of power.”
Trump is accused of abusing his power by holding back $391 million in security aid to Ukraine in an effort to get Kiev to announce a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the November 2020 election.
The president is also charged with obstruction of Congress for directing administration officials and agencies not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.Trump says he did nothing wrong and has dismissed his impeachment as a partisan bid to undo his 2016 election win.(Reporting by Alexandra Alper, Jan Wolfe and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Trump escapes chill of Washington for Florida holiday•House votes to impeach President Trump WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump escaped the chill of Washington and his impeachment on Friday to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in sunny Florida with family and friends.One thing he isn’t celebrating is the delay in his Senate impeachment trial.It’s got him “mad as hell,” according to one ally.The Senate adjourned until January with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer unable to agree on trial procedure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she wants to know how the trial will be handled before she sends two House-passed articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate.Trump, who flew to his private Palm Beach resort late Friday, has been looking forward to a trial in the friendlier Republican-controlled Senate and is riled up about the delay, according to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is close to the president.
“He’s mad as hell that they would do this to him and now deny him his day in court,” Graham said in an interview on Fox News Channel after meeting with Trump at the White House on Thursday night.A likely avenue for Trump to vent his frustration over being impeached — though he has said he doesn’t feel like he has been — will be his scheduled address Saturday to conservative student activists attending the Turning Point USA conference in West Palm Beach.The House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for withholding military aid while pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company there while the elder Biden was vice president.The House also said Trump sought to obstruct its investigation.
Evangelical Leaders Close Ranks With Trump After Scathing Editorial
The publication is small, reaching just a fraction of the evangelical movement.
But when Christianity Today called for President Donald Trump’s removal in a blistering editorial on Thursday, it met the full force and fury of the president and his most prominent allies in the Christian conservative world. If the response seemed disproportionate, it vividly reflected the fact that white evangelicals are the cornerstone of Trump’s political base and their leaders are among his most visible and influential supporters.
In the background, however, is a more nuanced reality that Christianity Today’s editorial hints at: a number of conservative Christians remain deeply uncomfortable with an alliance with the president.
Trump, after being impeached this week, is extremely sensitive to any signs of a fracture in his political coalition and has repeatedly insisted that the Republican Party and its voters are unanimously behind him. And on Friday he lashed out on two separate occasions at Christianity Today, seeking to brand it as a “far left magazine” that was doing the Democratic Party’s bidding.
“I guess the magazine, ‘Christianity Today,’ is looking for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or those of the socialist/communist bent, to guard their religion,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “How about Sleepy Joe? The fact is, no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!”
Evidently leaving little to chance, Trump’s reelection campaign announced Friday evening that he would go to Miami on Jan. 3 to start an “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition.
The response from his leading Christian supporters was laced with animosity that mimicked Trump’s signature style, and reflected the extent to which they have moved into lock step with him, even in rhetoric.Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said on Twitter that he was “sad” to see the publication “echo the arguments of The Squad & the Resistance & deepen its irrelevance among Christians.”Franklin Graham, whose father, the Rev. Billy Graham, founded Christianity Today, said in a Facebook post that the editorial was a “totally partisan attack” and said that the elder Graham had voted for the president in 2016, a little more than a year before he died.
Hero who used narwhal tusk to stop UK attack praises victims•Man who used narwhal tusk to help subdue extremist identified
LONDON (AP) — A mysterious figure who used a rare narwhal tusk to help subdue a knife-wielding extremist on London Bridge last month has been identified as a civil servant in Britain’s Justice Ministry.
Darryn Frost broke his silence Saturday, telling Britain’s Press Association that he and others reacted instinctively when Usman Khan started stabbing people at a prison rehabilitation program at Fishmongers’ Hall next to the bridge on Nov. 29.
Frost used the rare narwhal tusk that he grabbed from the wall to help subdue Khan even though the attacker claimed to be about to detonate a suicide vest, which turned out to be a fake device with no explosives. The intervention of Frost and others helped keep the death count to two. He said another man used a chair as a weapon in the desperate struggle.
“When we heard the noise from the floor below, a few of us rushed to the scene,” the 38-year-old said. “I took a narwhal tusk from the wall and used it to defend myself and others from the attacker. Another man was holding the attacker at bay with a wooden chair.”
He said Khan had two large knives, one in each hand, and pointed at his midriff.
“He turned and spoke to me, then indicated he had an explosive device around his waist,” Frost said. “At this point, the man next to me threw his chair at the attacker, who then started running towards him with knives raised above his head.”
The confrontation quickly moved onto London Bridge, where Frost and others — including one man who sprayed Khan with a fire extinguisher — managed to fight the attacker to the ground until police arrived.
The extremist, who had served prison time for earlier terrorism offenses, was shot dead by police moments later after he threatened again to detonate his vest.
There had been much speculation in the British media about the identity of the man who used the narwhal tusk in such a dangerous situation. Video of the event showed him helping to keep the attack from being much more lethal.
He was one of a handful of people who defied danger to help keep Khan from doing even more damage in the crowded hall and on the bridge.
Frost said he was „eternally grateful” to the former prisoners and the members of the public who were taking part in the meeting and ran to help.
“Not only do I want to thank those who confronted the attacker, but also those who put themselves in danger to tend to the injured, relying on us to protect them while they cared for others,” he said.
Frost said he was withholding many details out of respect for the victims and their families and because of the ongoing investigation. He paid tribute to Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt, the two young people stabbed to death when the attack started.
“In reading about their lives and work I am convinced they represent all that is good in the world, and I will always feel the deep hurt of not being able to save them,” he said.
Frost praised those wounded in the attack and said some had refused treatment until the more severely hurt were cared for.
“That consideration and kindness filled me with hope on that dark day,” he said.
A firearms buyback scheme launched in New Zealand after the Christchurch mosque shootings ends on Friday, with gun control groups hailing its success despite opposition from some firearms owners.
The March 15 attacks in which 51 Muslim worshippers were killed shocked the normally peaceful South Pacific nation and prompted a swift ban on assault rifles and military-style semi-automatic weapons used by the lone shooter.
A key element of the ban was a buyback scheme accompanied by an amnesty, giving gun owners a payment and a guarantee of „no questions asked” when they handed in weapons deemed illegal under new laws.
Police said Friday that 56,350 firearms and 188,000 parts had been handed in and they were expecting a late rush before the final collection event at 8:00pm (0700GMT) Friday.
„There will be no extension -– anyone prosecuted may lose their firearms licence and could face a penalty of up to five years imprisonment,” police said.
Gun control advocates say the scheme has succeeded despite opposition from some firearms owners, who they accuse of adopting hardline tactics similar to the US National Rifle Association (NRA).
„Their rhetoric and style of approach very much comes from the NRA,” Gun Control NZ spokeswoman Hera Cook told AFP.
„Everything’s a slippery slope, everything’s a burden on gun owners, there are no compromises that are reasonable.”
The Council of Licenced Firearms Owners (COLFO) estimates there are 170,000 banned firearms in New Zealand, arguing that its data indicates less than a third of the illegal weapons have been collected.
„The scheme is looking like a failure due to the rush on implementing political and ideological remedies, instead of developing a more fair and reasonable hand-in regime,” spokeswoman Nicole McKee said.
But police have provided no official estimate of illegal firearms numbers and Waikato University law professor Andrew Gillespie said there was no way to gauge them accurately.
„I have no idea how they (COLFO) got to this figure, given there’s been no central firearms register since 1982,” he said.
„Estimates of how many firearms are in the country overall are guesswork, with margins of hundreds or thousands either side.”
Regardless of the numbers, University of Sydney gun policy researcher Philip Alpers said the buyback would result in a safer community.
„No one pretended police would immediately find every one of these guns,” he said.
„But… for each rapid-fire weapon destroyed, you can expect the risk of another mass shooting to decrease.”
– ‘Unprecedented act’ –
The buyback’s completion is not the end of gun reform in New Zealand and the government has already introduced a second tranche of measures to parliament.
They include establishing a firearms registry to track every gun in the country and ensuring only a „fit and proper person” can hold a firearms licence.
The measure will give police the power to exclude anyone promoting extremism, convicted of violent crime or with mental health issues, including attempted suicide.
Gun Control NZ’s Cook said the latest reforms would lead to a long-term change in New Zealand’s firearms culture.
But she warned the government had only a brief window of opportunity to further tighten gun laws before political inertia set in and pro-gun advocates set about watering down reforms.
„A lot of New Zealanders who are not gun owners are complacent and think we’ve solved the problem with the buyback,” she said.
„They don’t understand how important the legislation currently before parliament is for creating long-term change.”
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand authorities said Saturday their country will be a safer place after owners handed in more than 50,000 guns during a buyback program following a ban on assault weapons. But critics say the process was flawed and many owners have illegally stashed their firearms.
The government banned the most lethal types of semi-automatic weapons less than a month after a lone gunman in March killed 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques. The police then launched a six-month program to buy the newly banned weapons from owners.
The buyback ended midnight Friday, with gun collection events staying open late as police reported in a surge in last-minute returns.
Provisional figures indicate 33,000 people handed in 51,000 guns, and another 5,000 guns as part of a parallel amnesty in which owners could hand over any type of firearm without any questions being asked but without getting compensated.
Owners also modified another 2,700 guns to make them legally compliant, while police said they had seized a further 1,800 guns from gangs since March. And police said they’re in the process of collecting another 1,600 guns from gun dealers.
Police Minister Stuart Nash told reporters Saturday that criminals would find it harder to get their hands on assault weapons because they tended to steal them from lawful owners, but those weapons would now be out of circulation.
Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement thanked gun owners for doing the right thing. He acknowledged in a statement it had been “a difficult process for some people.”
Both Nash and Clement said the country was now safer than it had been before the March attacks.
But Nicole McKee, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group Council of Licensed Firearms Owners, said owners had kept about two-thirds of the banned weapons because they had lost faith in the government and hadn’t been offered adequate compensation.
“They never overcame being blamed by authorities for being somehow responsible for a heinous act of terrorism — something they would never do,” McKee said in a statement.
The ban on assault weapons was strongly backed by lawmakers in an historic 119-1 vote after the mosque attacks. Lawmakers are now considering further restrictions, including creating a register to track all guns.Police figures indicate the government paid out just over 100 million New Zealand dollars ($66 million) to compensate owners during the buyback.