Democrats start historic impeachment proceedings – Thebritishjournal

Good morning.

The Democrats have launched impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, formally charging him with “incitement of insurrection”. If the impeachment goes ahead, Trump will be the first president in history to be impeached twice. The move yesterday follows last week’s riot at the Capitol, when Trump supporters stormed the building in an attempt to stop lawmakers from ratifying Joe Biden’s election win, incited by the president.

Video footage emerged yesterday showing just how close the mob came to a potentially violent confrontation with members of Congress. Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman has been hailed as a hero for leading the rioters away from the Senate floor as they stormed through the building close to the chamber, buying police crucial time to secure the area. However, two other officers have been suspended for their actions: one for taking a selfie with a member of the mob and another for putting on a Make America Great Again hat.

  • Big corporations have cut funding for Republicans after the Capitol siege, with companies such as Citigroup and the Marriott hotel chain halting donations to those who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election.

  • Senator Josh Hawley seems to fancy himself as the political heir to Trump, and is widely expected to run for president in 2024. But his bid to win over diehard Trump supporters has caused a fierce backlash following the invasion of the Capitol – so will it pay off?

The acting head of homeland security has resigned

The acting secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf, unexpectedly resigned last night. Wolf said he had been planning to remain in office until Biden’s inauguration, but would instead stand down at the end of Monday due to “recent events”; including a court ruling that found he was illegally serving as secretary. His resignation letter does not mention last week’s Capitol siege, which he called “tragic and sickening”, but Wolf is the third cabinet secretary to resign in its wake.

The decision comes amid heightened security threats in the US following the Capitol attack. Michigan banned the open carry of guns in its Capitol building yesterday in an attempt to head off further violence, with reports suggesting the FBI are planning for “armed protests” and the “storming” of government buildings if Trump is removed from office prematurely. The Secret Service is also set to begin its security arrangements for Biden’s inauguration almost a week earlier than planned, but the president-elect said he was not afraid of taking his oath outside.

Experts have warned that the threat of violence could intensify, with fears that Trump fans could be drawn into even more extreme rightwing groups who are attempting to recruit disillusioned supporters. Rightwing social media site Parler, which was used by the Capitol mob to communicate, went down yesterday after Amazon refused to host its services, following similar moves by Apple and Google.

  • Facebook is placing limits on the phrase “stop the steal”, which has been the slogan of Trump supporters as they continue to baselessly contest the US election result. The policy is the firms latest attempt to prevent the spread of misinformation and incitement of violence on its site.

  • Twitter has suspended more than 70,000 QAnon accounts since Friday for their propagation of conspiracy theories. QAnon theories include the claim that Trump secretly is fighting a ring of high-profile child abuse predators.

North Korea has escalated tensions with the US

North Korea labelled the US its “biggest enemy” at a rare meeting of its ruling party less than two weeks before Biden’s inauguration. Leader Kim Jong-un used tension with the US as justification to push on with its nuclear weapons programme, saying progress on denuclearisation would only happen if America ended its aggression.

Our foreign political activities should be focused and redirected on subduing the US, our biggest enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development,” Kim said. “No matter who is in power in the US, the true nature of the US and its fundamental policies towards North Korea never change. The key to establishing new relations between [North Korea] and the United States is whether the United States withdraws its hostile policy.”

  • Hong Kong’s leader has accused the US of hypocrisy for condemning the insurrection at the US Capitol last week but supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. “I ask foreign audiences to set aside their double standards,” Carrie Lam said.

In other news …

  • The only woman on federal death row has been granted another stay ahead of what was planned to be the first execution of a female inmate in nearly seven decades. Judge Patrick Hanlon cited the need to determine Lisa Montgomery’s mental competence as he halted the execution late last night.

  • Israel is not a democracy but an “apartheid regime” enforcing Jewish supremacy over Palestinians, an Israeli human rights organisation has said. Israeli authorities have described the report as “propaganda”.

  • Insect populations are decreasing at “frightening” rates which are “tearing apart the tapestry of life”, scientists have said. Insects are facing threats from all angles, including destruction of wild habitats, urbanisation and pesticide use, leading to population collapse.

Stat of the day: One person in LA is contracting Covid every six seconds

Los Angeles is the centre of the US’s coronavirus pandemic, with one person contracting Covid every six seconds and one person is dying every eight minutes. The impoverished Latino and Black neighbourhood served by the Martin Luther King Jr community hospital has been disproportionately impacted, becoming one of the worst Covid hotspots in America. Sam Levine speaks to healthcare workers at the hospital about the battle the community faces.

Don’t miss this: I survived China’s ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs

Gulbahar Haitiwaji was lured back to Xinjang, the region home to a high and systematically repressed Uighur population, to sign pension documents. After five months in police cells, she was transported to a “re-education camp”, where she was put through military style training and ideological brainwashing. Sleeping on planks of wood and living under enforced silence, Haitiwaji was held for two years. Here, she tells her story.

Last thing: Brexit costs Britons their sandwiches

This probably wasn’t what Britons meant when they voted for Brexit: customs officers in the Netherlands have been confiscating ham and cheese sandwiches from drivers arriving by ferry from the UK, under new post-Brexit rules banning the personal imports of meat and dairy. One bemused driver asked if he could surrender the meat from his sandwich but keep the bread, to which one customs officer replied: “No, everything will be confiscated. Welcome to Brexit, sir, I’m sorry.”

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Democrats begin historic impeachment proceedings The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ The Guardian.

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