Former US president Donald Trump was at his Florida resort on Saturday, beginning post-presidency life while US President Joe Biden settled into the White House, but in Washington and beyond, the chaos of the 45th president’s final days in office continued to throw out damaging aftershocks.
In yet another earth-shaking report, the New York Times said that Trump plotted with an official at the US Department of Justice to fire the acting attorney general, then force Georgia Republicans to overturn his defeat in that state.
Meanwhile, former acting US secretary of defense Christopher Miller made an extraordinary admission, telling Vanity Fair that when he took the job in November last year, he had three goals: “No military coup, no major war and no troops in the street.”
“The ‘no troops in the street’ thing changed dramatically about 14.30 [on Jan. 6]. So that one’s off [the list],” the former special forces officer added.
That was the day a mob of Trump supporters smashed its way into the US Capitol.
The president’s persistent and possibly illegal efforts to overturn his loss to Biden in Georgia had been widely reported. Had he been successful, he would not have gained enough electoral votes to overturn his overall defeat.
On the day Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol, leaving five people dead, 147 Republicans in the US House of Representatives and US Senate lodged objections to electoral college results. That attempt to overturn the election also failed.
The law enforcement and Pentagon response to the Capitol riot has been questioned, regarding the ease with which security was breached and the time it took the US National Guard to get to the scene.
“We had meetings upon meetings,” Miller told Vanity Fair. “We were monitoring it, and we’re just like: ‘Please, God, please, God.’ Then the damn TV pops up and everybody converges on my office: [US Joint Chiefs of Staff] Chairman [General Mark Milley], [US] Secretary of the Army [Ryan] McCarthy, the crew just converges.”
“We had already decided we’re going to need to activate the National Guard, and that’s where the fog and friction comes in,” he said.
Miller called accusations the Pentagon was slow to respond “complete horseshit” and said: “I gotta tell you, I cannot wait to go to the Hill and have those conversations with senators and representatives... I know for an absolute fact that historians are going to look … at the actions that we did on that day and go: ‘Those people had their game together.’”
As the Capitol riot failed to overturn the election, so, according to the Times, Trump’s alleged plot against acting US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen did not work out either.
The report detailed “stunned silence” among US Department of Justice leaders as they were told of moves by Trump and “unassuming lawyer” Jeffrey Clark to “cast doubt on the election results and bolster … legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians.”
Rosen became acting attorney general after the resignation of William Barr, who was widely seen as a Trump crony, but who crossed the president by saying there was no evidence of the election fraud he alleged, claims that were repeatedly thrown out of court.
Georgia Republicans including Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — the recipient of a wheedling and bullying call from Trump — also refused to accede to the president’s demands.
In November 2018, Clark became assistant attorney general of the justice department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. In September last year, he became acting assistant attorney general of the Civil Division. On Jan. 14, six days before the Biden inauguration, he resigned .
In an interview with Clark published on Tuesday last week, Bloomberg Law said he had “a reputation for pushing aggressive conservative legal principles and taking a hands-on approach that drew kudos from some colleagues but often frustrated career lawyers on his team.”
The Web site of the right-wing Federalist Society lists Clark as a contributor.
“The allegations would have been outlandish in a normal administration, but for Trump it was par for the course,” said Carl Tobias, a professor of law at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
Of Clark’s prospects, Tobias said: “Outlets have reported that he does not yet have post-government employment, a situation that last night’s revelations may exacerbate.”
According to the Times, justice department leaders decided that if Rosen was fired and replaced by Clark, they would resign en masse.
“For some, the plan brought to mind the so-called Saturday Night Massacre of the Nixon era , where [then-US] Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy resigned rather than carry out the president’s order to fire the special prosecutor investigating him,” the paper reported.
A rogue overgrown sheep found roaming through regional Australia has been shorn of his 35kg fleece — a weight even greater than that of the famous New Zealand sheep Shrek, who was captured in 2005 after six years on the loose. The merino ram, dubbed Baarack by rescuers, was discovered wandering alone with an extraordinarily overgrown wool coat, and was promptly shorn to save his life. Kyle Behrend, from the Edgar’s Mission farm sanctuary, said that it appeared Baarack was “once an owned sheep” who had escaped. Merino sheep do not shed their fleece and need to be shorn at least annually, as
‘GRAVE CONCERN’: A critic of the government died immediately following his complaints of torture at the hands of security forces, a human rights group said Students on Friday clashed with police in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, as anger mounted at the death of a writer and government critic in a high-security jail. At least 18 police and an unknown number of protesters were injured in the clashes, authorities and witnesses said, amid international demands for an independent investigation into the death of Mushtaq Ahmed. An Agence France-Presse correspondent witnessed police using batons and firing tear gas at students who staged a torchlight march calling for “justice” near the University of Dhaka. At least six students who allegedly attacked security forces with torches were detained, police said. More protests were planned
China, under growing global pressure over its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign to push back, including explicit attacks on women who have made claims of abuse. As allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang mount, with a growing number of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide, Beijing is focusing on discrediting the female Uighur witnesses behind reports of abuse. Chinese officials have named women, disclosed medical data and information on their fertility, and accused some of having affairs and one of having a sexually transmitted disease. Officials said that the information was evidence of bad character,
The plane laden with vaccines had just rolled to a stop at Santiago’s airport in late January and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was beaming. “Today is a day of joy, emotion and hope,” he said. The source of that hope: China — a country that Chile and dozens of other nations are depending on to help rescue them from the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged about 500 million doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press (AP). With just four of China’s many