US Politics

Regional News • Americas • United States
FBI is vetting National Guard ahead of Biden's inauguration amid fears of insider attack
FBI is vetting National Guard ahead of Biden's inauguration amid fears of insider attack
Credit: Georgia National Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

All 25,000 National Guard troops tasked with securing the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20 are being vetted by the Pentagon and the FBI amid fears of a coordinated insider attack.

"This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events. However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique. The DC National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in DC that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command," so Christopher Miller, the acting defence secretary.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden announces that United States will re-join the Paris climate agreement

Immediately after his inauguration, future U.S. President Joe Biden plans to implement about a dozen measures that also represent his promised departure from Donald Trump's course. Among other things, Biden will reverse Trump's entry ban on citizens from several predominantly Muslim countries on Wednesday and lead the U.S. back into the Paris climate agreement, future White House chief of staff Ronald Klain said Saturday.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Kamala Harris to resign as senator on Monday
Kamala Harris to resign as senator on Monday
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Harris plans to leave her post as senator on Monday, two days before she is to be sworn in as the new vice president in Washington. That was announced by staff in her office. She is to be succeeded in office by California Democrat Alex Padilla.

Padilla will be California's first senator with Latino roots. He will take Harris' post for the remaining two years

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump faces Senate trial after impeachment once out of office
Archive image of Donald Trump
Archive image of Donald Trump Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Donald Trump will face trial in the Senate after being charged with misconduct in office. The trial will be held after Mr trump leaves office next Wednesday according to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Armed demonstrators talk to press on the steps of the Texas Capitol building in Austin, Texas
Armed demonstrators talk to press on the steps of the Texas Capitol building in Austin, Texas
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

A group of armed men calling themselves "patriots" have begun talking to members of the press on the grounds in front of the Capitol in Austin, Texas. The group says they are not aligned with the insurrection riots that occurred last week in Washington, D.C., however they have shown up to talk to press to voice their concerns about the current state of US affairs.

Regional News • Americas • United States
U.S. businesses cut Republican party donations in wake of Capitol siege on January 6
U.S. businesses cut Republican party donations in wake of Capitol siege on January 6
Credit: Marriott International

Citigroup, JPMorgan, Mariott International and a major health insurance company confirmed on Sunday that they were rethinking their political donations following the deadly Capitol siege on Wednesday.

Candi Wolff, head of Citigroup's global government affairs, sent a memo to employees on Friday saying that "we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law."

The board of the PGA of America voted to not hold one of golf's four major championships at Trump's New Jersey course. Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, defended the decision, saying: "We're fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission and for our brand.

Regional News • Americas • United States
U.S. House Democrats to kick off impeachment on Monday

The US Democrats want to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Trump as early as Monday. The leader of the House of Representatives, Pelosi, had previously called for Trump to be prosecuted.

After the storm on the Capitol, the Democratic Party in the USA wants to set the course for impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump on Monday. This could theoretically remove Trump from power before he hands over the office to his successor Joe Biden on 20 January anyway. Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said his party would initiate the process at the beginning of the week.

Regional News • World
Eurasia Group finds politically divided US is biggest ‘risk’ to the world in 2021
United States Capitol
United States Capitol Credit: Bernt Rostad (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Ian Bremmer, president of the political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, has found that the United States' political situation poses a key risk for 2021, additionally to the Covid-19 pandemic, global data control and cyber conflicts, as well as the US-China conflicts.

"When you think about 2021, of course, you know, coronavirus is going to dominate the news continually. But the United States today is not only the most powerful country in the world, but it's also the most politically divided and economically unequal of all of the world's wealthy democracies. And President-elect Biden will take office in that environment. He will be seen as illegitimate by almost half of the country," Brenner said in an interview with NPR, adding in a Eurasia Group report that a "superpower torn down the middle cannot return to business as usual. When the world’s most powerful country is so divided, everybody has a problem."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump vetoes US defence budget
Trump vetoes US defence budget
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The United States President Donald Trump justified the move on Wednesday by citing the lack of "critical measures" to protect national security. "It is a 'gift' to China and Russia," he wrote in a memo to the House of Representatives.

Trump criticized that the comprehensive legislative package would not impose stronger regulations on online platforms. He also criticized that the possible renaming of military bases did not respect the history of the armed forces. Trump also criticized the attempt to limit by law the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan, South Korea, and Germany, which he had ordered.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Republicans and Democrats in US Congress have agreed to nearly $900 billion in financial aid
Republicans and Democrats in US Congress have agreed to nearly $900 billion in financial aid
Credit: unsplash.com / Quick PS

Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress have agreed on a gigantic new aid package to ease the impact of the Corona pandemic.

The measures include sending checks for $600 each to family members in households hit particularly hard by the crisis, opposition Democratic parliamentary leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer announced. The new package also includes aid for the unemployed of $300 per week each, according to opposition leaders. In the spring, this special aid had been $600 a week. 25 billion dollars are intended according to Pelosi and Schumer for the housing sector. This is intended to prevent financially distressed tenants from having to move out. There is also to be aid of almost a hundred billion dollars for schools and daycare centers.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden nominates Rep. Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary, first Native American to be considered for this position
Biden nominates Rep. Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary, first Native American to be considered for this position
Credit: U.S. House Office of Photography, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) has been nominated to lead President-elect Joe Biden's Interior Department, and if confirmed by Senate, will be the first Native American to lead a cabinet-level agency.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Pete Buttigieg announced as Joe Biden's pick for transportation secretary
Pete Buttigieg announced as Joe Biden's pick for transportation secretary
Credit: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to lead the Department of Transportation. If Buttigieg's nomination makes it through chambers, he would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Senate confirms Trump nominee Nathan Simington to the FCC
seal of the United States Federal Communications Commission
seal of the United States Federal Communications Commission (Public Domain)

The US Senate has confirmed Trump nominee Nathan Simington to a five-year term at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a 49-46 vote. Simington is a proponent of repealing Section 230, the law that protects internet companies, such as Twitter and Amazon, from being liable for things posted by users.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden introduces health team that will lead Covid-19 response
Biden introduces health team that will lead Covid-19 response
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect; Biden Photo by The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President-elect Joe Biden has introduced his health team alongside his three Covid-19 priorities for his first 100 days in office: urging Americans to wear masks, committing to administer 100 million Covid-19 vaccines and reopening a majority of schools by the end of that timeframe – a plan that was developed with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Biden has nominated California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Health and Human Services Department and, if elected, would be the first Latino to serve as the head of the department and Dr Vivek Murthy as surgeon general. Jeff Zients, a veteran of the Obama administration, will be the White House coordinator of the Covid-19 response.

Alongside Fauci, the other medical doctors selected are infectious-disease specialist Rochelle Walensky to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Yale epidemiologist Marcella Nunez-Smith to head a working group to ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines and treatments.

Regional News • Americas • United States
For 3rd time, Georgia reaffirms Biden's victory, while Biden's transition moves ahead
Joe Biden
Joe Biden Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The results reaffirmed that President-elect Joe Biden as the winner following three counts of ballots.

Monday's certification locks in the state's results for Biden before the Dec. 14 Electoral College vote.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Ivanka Trump deposed in ongoing lawsuit alleging misused inaugural funds
Ivanka Trump deposed in ongoing lawsuit alleging misused inaugural funds
Credit: The White House / via Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump was questioned under oath on Tuesday as a part of an ongoing lawsuit from the Washington, D.C., attorney general, alleging the misuse of not-for-profit funds at President Trump's inauguration. Ivanka Trump has called the case "another politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness and waste of taxpayer dollars."

District of Columbia (DC) Attorney General Karl Racine alleges that the Trump Organization and the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) misused over $1 million by "grossly overpaying" Trump's Washington hotel.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Mike Pompeo is hosting a 900-person indoor Christmas party at the State Department amid Covid-19 surge
Mike Pompeo is hosting a 900-person indoor Christmas party at the State Department amid Covid-19 surge
Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has invited over 900 people to his "Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays" event at the State Department's Benjamin Franklin Room, the Washington Post reports. The event is set to take place on December 15 and has come under scrutiny by various health officials.

Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, said he was "flabbergasted" and warns that this event could repeat "what we saw in the White House Rose Garden following the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett."

Regional News • Americas • United States
DOJ investigates potential White House "bribery-for-pardon" scheme
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr
President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr Credit: The United States Department of Justice, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Justice Department is investigating an alleged "bribery-for-pardon" scheme at the White House, according to heavily redacted documents made public by the DC District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

The documents do not name the individuals involved, but allege that an individual offered "a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of the sentence."

Prosecutors are further investigating a "secret lobbying scheme" in which two unidentified people acted as lobbyists to senior White House officials "without complying with the registration requirement of the Lobbying Disclosure Act".

Regional News • Americas • United States
AOC raises $200k for charity during Among Us stream
AOC raises $200k for charity during Among Us stream
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / AOC

The US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has hosted a Twitch live stream of the game Among Us to raise awareness and money for charitable causes such as food pantries and eviction defense.

On her fundraising page she wrote that "This week, as some families celebrate Thanksgiving, others face food & housing insecurity at levels not seen since the Great Depression," and managed to raise over $200,000. In total, over 104,000 people watched the stream concurrently and she had been joined by multiple other popular streamers such as HasanAbi, Disguised Toast, Myth, Jacksepticeye, xQc and others.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Democrat Pelosi secures nomination for house speaker
US Democrat Pelosi secures nomination for house speaker
Credit: United States Congress, Office of Nancy Pelos / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

At the beginning of January - shortly before the swearing-in of newly elected President Joe Biden, who is also a Democrat the United States House of Representatives will hold a vote for the Speaker of the House of Representatives. US Democrat Nancy Pelosi has now secured her caucus’ nomination to lead the House for a fourth term.