Donald Trump has publicly renounced further efforts to overturn the US election results and have himself returned as president. In a video on his reinstated Twitter account, the president pretended not to have precipitated the violence at the Capitol, saying “My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote” – despite no evidence that the election was unsafe or unfair – and that he was “outraged” by what happened. He called for a smooth and orderly transition of power. Welcome to the Briefing – I’m Warren Murray, here to walk you through the key points.
Calls for Trump’s removal from office have continued amid fears of further dangers in the final days of his presidency after he incited a mob to march on the congressional building, which they ransacked, and where five people died including a police officer.
Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate majority leader following the Democratic sweep of Georgia, and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, have called for Trump to be dismissed immediately and replaced by the vice-president through the 25th amendment to the constitution; or failing that, impeached for a second time. Pelosi described Trump as “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office … This is urgent. This is an emergency of the highest magnitude.” Several Democratic members of Congress drafted new articles of impeachment for inciting Wednesday’s violence and trying to subvert US democracy. The Trump-backing Wall Street Journal’s editorial board has called for his resignation.
The education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has become the second person in Trump’s cabinet to resign, following on from the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao. DeVos said the attack on the Capitol was unconscionable and told Trump: “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation and it is the inflection point for me.” The American Federation of Teachers issued a pithy two-word statement on DeVos’s departure: “Good riddance.” Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, said he was leaving and told CNN: “Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in.” The chief of the Capitol Police, who are supposed to protect the congressional building, has resigned, while the top protection officials for the House and the Senate have also been forced out amid anger and disbelief that their security was so easily overrun. Trump has been banned from Facebook indefinitely, although experts say social networks have acted four years too late.
Cleric of Bali bombers freed – The radical Islamist preacher suspected of masterminding the Bali bombings has been released from prison in Indonesia. Abu Bakar Bashir, 82, is considered the spiritual leader of militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) whose 2002 terrorist attack killed more than 200 people, most of them foreign tourists. The preacher had completed an unrelated jail term for helping fund militant training in conservative Aceh province. But he has long been suspected of involvement in the holiday island bombings, Indonesia’s worst terror attack.
Covid test rule for arrivals – International travellers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the UK, the government has announced. The rule will apply from next week to returning UK nationals as well as foreign citizens. They will all still need to quarantine for 10 days, even with a negative test, unless from low-risk countries on the UK’s travel corridor list. Moderna’s Covid vaccine is likely to be approved for use in Britain next week but the 7m doses ordered by the government will not start becoming available until April, because of Brexit. Inspectors have uncovered serious weaknesses in some care homes’ pandemic defences, including Covid-positive carers being told to work because of staff shortages, a failure to isolate residents returning from hospital and poor use of PPE. Boris Johnson has pledged to immunise every elderly care home resident by the end of the month. The lockdown in Wales is to continue for at least three more weeks.
Musk racks it up – Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, has overtaken Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person. Shares in Tesla have soared on hopes a Democrat-controlled US Senate will usher in a new green agenda. The 49-year-old entrepreneur’s net worth hit $186bn (£136bn) at 10.15am in New York on Wednesday, making him $1.5bn richer than Bezos, who had held the top spot since October 2017. Musk responded to the news of his status as the world’s richest person with tweets stating “how strange” and “well, back to work”.
UK hits the home button – British consumers spent a record £9bn on entertainment in 2020 as the pandemic fuelled a boom in the popularity of digital services such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify while the public sought to alleviate lockdown boredom. Overall spending on entertainment, which covers digital and physical video, music and gaming including sales of CDs, DVDs and video games software, soared by 17% year-on-year in 2020 – the fastest annual rate in the 25 years the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has been compiling figures. Frozen II was the best selling video, with Fifa 21 topping the game charts and Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent the biggest album.
When rioters stormed into the Capitol building in Washington DC this week, it marked a new low for the Trump presidency. David Smith and Lauren Gambino describe a week in US politics like no other.
The Oscar-winning Beale Street actor Regina King on success and her sharply topical feature debut, a civil rights-era film that coincided with the explosive rise of Black Lives Matter.
Boreham Wood, Marine and Stockport are hoping for romance but a shadow of uncertainty is hanging over the FA Cup as the competition enters the third round. Aston Villa plan to use youth-team players to fulfil their FA Cup tie against Liverpool following a Covid outbreak that forced Villa’s entire first-team squad and staff into isolation. The Women’s Six Nations is in doubt because of the rising number of Covid-19 infections, but the Premiership has avoided more cancellations this weekend despite 16 more players testing positive. Jonny Bairstow appears set to make his Test return at No 3 next week and will do so believing there are “plenty more runs left in the tank” to offer England in cricket’s longest format. And the world No 29, Dayana Yastremska, says she is “astonished” after being provisionally suspended from all tennis activity following a positive doping test.
Asia-Pacific shares have mostly been higher after the US Congress confirmed Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election. Despite Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency its Nikkei 225 jumped 1.7% in morning trading while South Korea’s Kospi gained 2.5% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.3%. The Hang Seng added nearly 0.9% while the Shanghai Composite was little changed. Yesterday the S&P 500 rose 1.5% to a record 3,803.79 as investors seemed reassured by Biden’s confirmation. This morning the pound is on $1.356 and €1.105 while the FTSE appears poised to open about 30 points or 0.4% higher.
Our Friday print edition of the Guardian leads with “Democrats seek to remove Trump after ‘darkest’ day”. While the Metro blares “Lock him up!” amid calls for the president’s removal and more. The Telegraph’s splash headline expands that theme: “Remove Trump or we will: Democrat threat after America’s day of shame”.
The i has “Trump faces wrath of America” which might be considered debatable; “Biden attacks Trump over Capitol riot” says the Financial Times. “Trump must go or we will impeach” – that’s the Democratic party position on the front of the Times, though its splash is “New hope for Covid patients”, reporting news that arthritis medications might be life-saving for some of the critically ill.
“You’re fired” says the Mail, to Trump, because somebody had to do that one. That’s the picture lead – the splash is “Boris battle plan for jabs” as the army swings in to help. “A shot in the army” says the Mirror while its picture lead is “A dark day in American history”, showing congressional staffers holed up during the rioting. “Call to arms” says the Sun, once again about the army helping with vaccinations, while the Express combines that with the arthritis drug news, hailing them jointly as “Lifesavers!”.
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Friday briefing: Back on Twitter, ‘I’m outraged’ says Trump The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ The Guardian.