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Democrats could move to impeach Donald Trump if Mike Pence fails to act

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House Democratic leaders say the House could take up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as soon as next week if Vice President Mike Pence and Mr Trump’s Cabinet do not act to remove him.

Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark of Massachusetts says the House “can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the House floor quickly”, as early as the coming week, if Mr Pence does not invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Mr Trump from office.

Representative James Clyburn, the number three House Democrat, says he can confirm that “we have had discussions about it”.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The South Carolina Democrat says he hopes Speaker Nancy Pelosi “would move forward if the vice president refuses to do what he is required to do under the Constitution.

“Everyone knows that this president is deranged.”

The 25th Amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare a president unfit for office.

That section of the amendment has never been invoked.

On Thursday, Mrs Pelosi said the House could move on impeachment if Mr Pence and the Cabinet do not remove Mr Trump before his term ends on January 20.

Mr Pence has not publicly addressed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment.

But that possibility may have faded after two Cabinet members resigned on Thursday in protest after Mr Trump egged on protesters who then mounted an assault on the Capitol the day before.

Ms Clark and Mr Clyburn spoke Friday on CNN.

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Republican Senate leader wants Donald Trump’s impeachment trial delayed

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Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial to give the former president time to prepare and review his case.

House Democrats who voted to impeach Mr Trump last week for inciting the deadly Capitol riot on January 6 have signalled they want to move quickly to trial as President Joe Biden begins his term.

They argue a full reckoning is necessary before the country – and the Congress – can move on.

But Mr McConnell has suggested a more expansive timeline that would see the House transmit the article of impeachment next week, on January 28, launching the trial’s first phase.

After that, the Senate would give the president’s defence team and House prosecutors two weeks to file briefs, with arguments in the trial likely to begin in mid-February.

He said: “Senate Republicans are strongly united behind the principle that the institution of the Senate, the office of the presidency, and former President Trump himself all deserve a full and fair process that respects his rights and the serious factual, legal, and constitutional questions at stake.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reviewing the plan and will discuss it with Mr McConnell, a spokesperson said.

The ultimate power over timing rests with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who can trigger the start of the trial at any point by sending to the Senate the charge of incitement of an insurrection.

The Democrat has not yet said when she will do that, saying on Thursday: “It will be soon. I don’t think it will be long, but we must do it.”

Shortly before the insurrection on January 6, Mr Trump told thousands of his supporters at a rally near the White House to “fight like hell” against the election results that Congress was certifying.

A mob marched down to the Capitol and rushed in, interrupting the count.

Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the mayhem, and the House impeached Mr Trump a week later, with 10 Republicans joining all Democrats in support.

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Google threatens to pull search engine in Australia in row over Government plans

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Google has threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government goes ahead with plans to make tech giants pay for news content.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly hit back, saying “we don’t respond to threats”.

Mr Morrison’s comments came after Mel Silva, the managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, told a Senate inquiry into the bill the new rules would be unworkable.

The mandatory code of conduct proposed by the government aims to make Google and Facebook pay Australian media companies fairly for using news content they siphon from news sites.

Ms Silva said: “If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google search available in Australia.

“And that would be a bad outcome not only for us, but also for the Australian people, media diversity, and the small businesses who use our products every day.”

Ms Silva said it was willing to pay a wide and diverse group of news publishers for the value they added, but not under the rules as proposed, which included payments for links and snippets.

She said the code’s “biased arbitration model” also posed unmanageable financial and operational risks for Google and suggested a series of tweaks to the bill.

“We feel there is a workable path forward,” she said.

Facebook has also spoken out against the plans (Niall Carson/PA)

Like in many other countries, Google dominates internet searches in Australia, with Ms Silva telling senators about 95% of searches in the nation are done through the company.

Mr Morrison, speaking to reporters in Brisbane, said: “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia.

“That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government. And that’s how things work here in Australia.”

Facebook also opposes the rules and has threatened to remove news stories from its site in Australia.

Simon Milner, a Facebook vice president, said the sheer volume of deals it would have to strike would be unworkable.

The Australia Institute, an independent think tank, said politicians should stand firm against Google’s bullying.

“Google’s testimony today is part of a pattern of threatening behaviour that is chilling for anyone who values our democracy,” said Peter Lewis, the director of the institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.

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