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How Donald Trump’s second impeachment will unfold

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President Donald Trump is on the verge of becoming the first president to be impeached twice, as politicians move quickly to punish him over last week’s deadly US Capitol attack.

Mr Trump’s fiery speech at a rally just before the January 6 riot is at the centre of the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread for months about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.

A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege.

Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.

What to watch as the Democratic-controlled House moves to impeach Mr Trump for the second time in 13 months, now with just days left in the defeated president’s term.

– Were there any alternatives to impeachment?

Before proceeding with impeachment, the House pressed Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to remove Mr Trump more quickly and surely, warning that he is a threat to democracy in the few remaining days of his presidency.

The House approved a resolution late on Tuesday calling on Mr Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to declare the president unable to serve.

Vice President Mike Pence rejected calls to enact provisions under the 25th Amendment to remove the president (AP)

Mr Pence, who was among those forced to take shelter inside the Capitol complex during the attack, said before the vote that he would take no such action, leaving politicians with impeachment as their only option to remove Mr Trump from office before January 20, when President-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as president.

– What is the Democrats’ case for impeachment?

Mr Trump faces a single charge, “incitement of insurrection”, after the deadly Capitol riot in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating on Wednesday.

It is a stunning end for Mr Trump’s presidency as Democrats and a growing number of Republicans declare he is unfit for office and could do more damage after inciting a mob that ransacked the Capitol.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” reads part of the four-page impeachment bill.

President Donald Trump speaks near a section of the US-Mexico border wall, in Alamo, Texas (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor/AP)

“He will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said impeachment is needed despite the limited number of days left in Mr Trump’s term.

“The president’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action,” she said.

Mr Trump’s actions were personal for Ms Pelosi and many other politicians.

She was among those forced to huddle in a bunker during the Capitol riots, and armed rioters menaced staffers with taunts of “Where’s Nancy?”

– How many Republicans will support the move?

Unlike the last time Mr Trump was impeached, when no House Republicans supported charges against Mr Trump over a call he made to Ukraine’s new president, the current impeachment effort has drawn support from some Republicans.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and his deputy, Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, are again expected to oppose impeachment, but Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the third-ranked House Republican, said Tuesday she will support it.

Ms Cheney, whose father, Dick Cheney, served as vice president under George W. Bush, has been more critical of Mr Trump than other Republican leaders.

She said in a statement on Tuesday that Mr Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack”.

She added: “Everything that followed was his doing” and noted that Mr Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters from rioting but did not.

Representatives John Katko and Adam Kinzinger also said they would back impeachment, and some other Republicans seem likely to follow.

Mr McCarthy, one of Mr Trump’s closest allies in Congress, echoed Mr Trump in declaring that “impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together”.

– Will the house censure Mr Trump?

In a move short of impeachment, Mr McCarthy and other Republicans have floated the idea of a House censure of Mr Trump.

Although it was not clear how much support the proposal has, Mr McCarthy said censure or some other mechanism — such as a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack — would “ensure that the events of January 6 are rightfully denounced and prevented from occurring in the future”.

A police officer’s riot shield leans up against a statue in the Rotunda (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Democrats, with the votes to impeach in hand, are not minded to support the move.

– How will Mr Trump respond?

So far, Mr Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violent insurrection, despite his comments encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol and praising them while they were still carrying out the assault.

“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” he said on Tuesday.

In the days leading up to the January 6 certification vote, Mr Trump encouraged his supporters to descend on Washington, DC, promising a “wild” rally in support of his baseless claims of election fraud, despite his own administration’s findings to the contrary.

President Donald Trump salutes as he steps off Air Force One (Miguel Roberts/AP)

Speaking for more than an hour to a crowd assembled near the White House, Mr Trump encouraged supporters to “fight like hell” and suggested they march down to the Capitol to encourage Republican politicians to “step up” and overturn the will of voters to grant him another term in office.

He also said he would join them in marching on the Capitol, although he returned to the White House immediately after the speech and watched the riot on TV.

One significant difference from Mr Trump’s first impeachment: He no longer has a Twitter feed to respond in real time.

– Has security been increased at the Capitol?

In a sign of the increase tensions in the wake of the attack, House politicians will for the first time be required to go through a metal detector before being allowed to enter the chamber.

This new security measure will stay in effect every day the House is in session for the foreseeable future, according to a directive by Timothy Blodgett, the acting House sergeant-at-arms.

Mr Blodgett replaced the longtime sergeant-at-arms who resigned after widespread criticism about poor security planning for the January 6 certification vote.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, an ally of President Donald Trump, passes through a metal detector before entering the House chamber, a new security measure put into place after a mob stormed the Capitol (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Members of Congress have previously enjoyed nearly free roam at the Capitol, able to bypass security screening stations at most entrances to the building.

In the House chamber, there have been Capitol Police officers and civilian door monitors but no screening stations.

Mr Blodgett also told politicians they must wear masks during the Covid-19 crisis and that they face removal from the chamber if they fail to do so.

– Will politicians rein in emotions on the floor?

While debate on the House is often impassioned, emotions are expected to run unusually high as lawmakers debate impeachment.

Not only is it the second time they have voted on such a measure, the debate comes exactly one week after a majority of House Republicans objected to the certification of Mr Biden’s victory, setting the stage for the hours-long siege that rocked the Capitol and the nation.

President-elect Joe Biden (Susan Walsh/AP)

In the end, 121 House Republicans voted against Arizona’s certification of Mr Biden’s victory — and 138 Republican politicians opposed Pennsylvania’s certification — even after the assault on the Capitol, an unprecedented break with tradition that has Democrats seething.

A recent breakout of Covid-19 among politicians who were held in lockdown with others who refused to wear masks has only heightened tensions.

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Iran

Tehran, Yerevan to boost coop. in joint tech. projects

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Tehran, Yerevan to boost coop. in joint tech. projects

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Armenian Minister of Economy Vahan Karubian met and held talks with Iranian Vice President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari so as to discuss the conditions for the development of the relations between the two countries in the field of technological infrastructure and scientific achievements.

Referring to Iran’s program and initiatives to return Iranian elites to the country, he said, “First, some mechanisms are provided for their return to the country. For example, by creating science parks, innovation centers, and innovation factories, we pave the way for elite activities in the country and then encourage them to return home.”

He went on to say that through this plan, in 3 years, 2,000 Iranian students, graduated from the top 100 universities in the world, have returned to the country.

Given that this model is closer to the culture of Armenia, it is certainly more applicable to the officials and managers of this country for the return of their elites. Iran is also ready to provide Armenia with its native model, Sattari said.

Sating that Iran owns the largest start-ups in the region specialized in the field of information and communication technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology, stem cells, as well as about 50 science parks, he said, “Today, 98% of the medicine needed in the country are produced domestically by Iranian experts.”

He also expressed Iran’s readiness to assist Armenia in the development of new technologies.

Armenian Minister, for his part, welcomed the implementation of a joint project in the field of technology parks, saying that Iran enjoys high scientific and technological capacities, his country interested in using them.

Armenia seeks a program to repatriate its elites and educated people from all over the world. Therefore, elite return program implemented in Iran can be used in Armenia indigenously, he added.

RHM/5131158

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Iran

Indonesia sends seized Iran tanker to Batam for investigation

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Indonesia sends seized Iran tanker to Batam for investigation

The two supertankers, with crew members from Iran and China, were seized last Sunday (Jan 24) in Indonesian waters near Kalimantan island. 

The MT Horse, owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company and MT Freya, managed by Shanghai Future Ship Management Co, had a total of 61 crew members on board.

“The ships will arrive in Batam at around 3pm to 4pm later today,” Wisnu Pramandita, spokesman of the Indonesian coast guard, told Reuters.

Wisnu said some of the crew remained in the supertankers, but others were being detained on coast guard ships for questioning while the investigation was underway.

Wisnu told Reuters on Monday that the ships were “caught red-handed” transferring oil from MT Horse to MT Freya and that there was an oil spill around the receiving tanker.

Iran said on Monday that MT Horse was seized over a “technical issue” and had asked Indonesia to explain the seizure.

ZZ/IRN84199848/PR

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AstraZeneca offers to bring forward some Covid vaccine deliveries to EU

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AstraZeneca has offered to bring forward some deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union while the bloc has asked the British drugmaker if it can divert doses from the UK to make up for a shortfall in supplies, European officials told Reuters.

The Anglo-Swedish company unexpectedly announced on Friday it would cut supplies to the EU of its vaccine candidate in the first quarter of this year, a move that a senior EU official said meant a 60 per cent reduction to 31 million doses for the bloc.

That complicated the EU’s vaccination plans, after Pfizer had also announced a temporary slowdown in deliveries of its vaccine, and triggered an outcry in Brussels and EU capitals.

Two European officials said on Tuesday that AstraZeneca at two extraordinary meetings on Monday had offered the EU to bring forward to February 7th the start of deliveries from an initial plan to begin on February 15th.

One of the sources, briefed on talks, said that AstraZeneca had also revised upward its supply goals for February compared to the cuts announced last week, but the company offered no clarity on supplies for March.

This appears to be an overture by AstraZeneca to try and keep the peace with the EU as the row over its sudden cut to deliveries escalates, damaging trust between Brussels and the drugmaker before the shot has been approved in the region.

The second EU official, directly involved in the talks, said however there was no offer to increase supplies.

AstraZeneca has quarterly supply targets. Therefore an increase in February, if not followed by a rise in March, may not constitute an overall increase in the quarter.

The head of Lithuania’s drugs watchdog Gytis Andrulionis told Reuters AstraZeneca on Monday increased its planned supplies for February for Lithuania and other EU countries compared to Fridays cuts, but noted that was still not enough to comply with the EU contract.

AstraZeneca was not immediately available for comment.

Inadequate answers

After Monday’s meetings, EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said AstraZeneca had not offered adequate answers to questions posed by the EU.

The EU official involved in the talks also said that the EU had explicitly asked AstraZeneca whether it could divert to the 27-nation bloc doses produced in Britain, at least through March.

Covid vaccine

EU to monitor vaccine exports, but says it is not…

But the company did not answer these questions, the official said.

AstraZeneca has said the revised timetable was caused by production issues in Europe. One EU senior official told Reuters last week that the problem was at a vaccine factory in Belgium run by AstraZeneca’s partner Novasep.

A spokesman for the EU Commission declined to comment on details of the talks with AstraZeneca, but added that the EU wanted “a precise delivery schedule”.

On December 30th Britain granted emergency approval to the shot developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. A decision on authorisation in the EU is expected on Friday.

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