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Trump must be removed from office to safeguard 2020 election, Democrats say in impeachment trial briefDonald Trump must be removed from office to safeguard the 2020 election, preserve the constitution and protect national security, according to an impeachment trial brief filed by House Democrats.The US president abused the powers of his office, “abandoned his oath to faithfully execute the laws and betrayed his public trust” in his dealings with Ukraine, the memorandum stated.


1/18/2020 6:08:34 PM

Virginia gun rally: anti-fascist activists will not mount counter-protest* Local leftist groups cite serious safety concerns * Far-right groups expected to attend Richmond eventAnti-fascist activists will not mount a counter-protest at a gun rights rally at Virginia’s state capitol on Monday that is expected to attract thousands, including white supremacists and anti-government militia groups.Anti-fascists from Richmond and Charlottesville publicly advised supporters to avoid the rally altogether, citing serious safety concerns. Molly Conger, a journalist and activist, told the Guardian activists in Charlottesville had agreed to encourage supporters to stay away.“There is no counter-demonstration planned for the 20 January convergence of armed militias on Virginia’s capitol,” Conger wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Conditions [on] Monday will not be safe. This is not an outcome we can affect.”Anti-fascist groups cited several reasons for their decision, including serious threats of violence, their own opposition to some gun control measures proposed by the Virginia government and concern for ordinary gun owners planning to attend the rally.A number of arrests have highlighted the risk of white supremacist violence at the event. Among those arrested are alleged members of a neo-Nazi group, including men who reportedly discussed opening fire at the Richmond rally, and men who were charged with plotting to murder an antifascist couple in Georgia.As white supremacists, militia groups and conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones announced plans to attend, the event has drawn comparisons to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, which produced extensive violence and the murder of counter-protester Heather Heyer. Some local activists who monitor the far right, however, said there were clear differences this time.“The Charlottesville event was, from the beginning, an event by neo-Nazis and for neo-Nazis,” a Twitter account run anonymously by a longtime Richmond anti-fascist activist said on Saturday.“There were no other players. Everyone going into that event knew exactly who would be participating and there wasn’t the risk of 5,000 unknowing subjects caught in the middle.”In contrast, Monday is Lobby Day, an annual event organized by a gun rights group, the Virginia Citizens Defense League, that attracts a range of local residents.“I expect a lot of the participants to be older, working class Virginians that are not far-right and do not fit into the category of any hate group,” the anonymous anti-fascist activist who runs the Richmond Twitter account told the Guardian. “Part of the concern is their safety.”The activist said many locals showing up to the rally will likely have had no experience with volatile protest environments.As conspiracy theories about what “antifa” activists might do at Lobby Day continue to circulate on the right, one Richmond-based anti-fascist group has publicly pushed back against such rumors.“Hey! Antifascists are NOT bussing [people] in,” Antifa Seven Hills wrote on Twitter. “In fact we are encouraging folks to stay away from the capitol and downtown [Richmond] because of far-right escalations like this.”In a direct message, the group told the Guardian: “We are against the [gun control] legislation and the racists attempting to take advantage of this typically calm and multi-issue lobby day.”Skepticism about government gun control is a point of agreement between rightwing activists and some US leftists, who argue that marginalized Americans should have the right to defend themselves with firearms.Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said last week his supporters had been told antifa “is actually on our side of the fence, because they don’t like these gun laws either”.“If they show, it’s not going to be to protest us,” Van Cleave told the Guardian on Wednesday.


1/19/2020 4:30:20 PM

ICE ups ante in standoff with NYC: 'This is not a request'Federal authorities are turning to a new tactic in the escalating conflict over New York City's so-called sanctuary policies, issuing four “immigration subpoenas” to the city for information about inmates wanted for deportation. “This is not a request — it's a demand,” Henry Lucero, a senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official, told The Associated Press. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration said Saturday the city would review the subpoenas.


1/18/2020 6:23:51 PM

Two More Bodies Found at Tijuana Property Where Missing California Couple Were Buried Under the Dirt FloorTwo more bodies have been discovered at a Tijuana, Mexico, property where investigators earlier found the remains of a missing California couple buried under the dirt floor of a house on Friday. Jesús Rubén López Guillén, 70, a U.S. resident, and his wife Maria Teresa Guillén, 65, a naturalized U.S. citizen, were reported missing by their daughter Norma López after they traveled from Garden Grove to Tijuana on Jan. 10 to collect more than $6,400 in overdue rent from their 37-year-old son-in-law. Police in Garden Grove launched a missing persons investigation after López said she could no longer track her parents’ movements through the Find My Phone app. She said the last signal she received before their phone went dead was at the property they owned where her husband was living in southern Tijuana, about 4 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Their bodies were found buried under the dirt floor of one of the property’s three homes late Friday.While conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the Guilléns’ murder, Mexican investigators say they discovered the bodies of another couple buried in the property. It is not known if they were found in the same house as the Guilléns’ remains. The new victims have not yet been identified, but police in Mexico say they also may have been involved in a monetary dispute with the son-in-law.The son-in-law, a Mexican national who was deported from the U.S. in 2012 and identified only as “Santiago” in court documents, was first charged with the California couple’s disappearance and taken into custody while the property was searched. Baja California state prosecutor Hirán Sánchez confirmed that when his in-law’s bodies were found, he was charged with their murder.Sanchez told reporters that when the son-in-law was first questioned about what happened to his in-laws, he offered up a “series of contradictions” including a tale that they had walked across the border and that he had picked them up. López says her parents had instead driven their own pickup truck to retrieve the money. The son-in-law also told police that he first took them to their property and then they went together to a bank to exchange currency he paid them, after which he said he drove them back to the border. Instead investigators say that the son-in-law tried to extract money with the couple’s bank cards.“The Guilléns drove themselves to their houses, not Santiago,” Sanchez said at a news conference. “They never left.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


1/19/2020 11:00:13 AM

Bless Virginia for passing the Equal Rights Amendment, but blame women for taking this longWomen could've fought for the ERA long before now, but too many chose political ideology over enshrining protections in the U.S. Constitution.


1/19/2020 5:00:11 AM

Ex-Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line workers reveal the things they couldn't live without on boardWorkers for cruise lines like Carnival and Norwegian might be away from home for over six months, so they need to be thoughtful about what they pack.


1/19/2020 8:35:05 AM

China Thinks It Can Nuke American Cities. Should We Worry?World War III is no joke...


1/18/2020 4:00:00 PM

Trump's Russia adviser 'escorted from White House' amid investigationPresident Trump's latest Russia expert has reportedly been escorted from the White House amid claims of a security-related investigation.


1/19/2020 3:06:55 PM

Ten charred bodies found in vehicle in violence-plagued Mexican stateMexican prosecutors are investigating the discovery of a burned-out vehicle containing the charred bodies of 10 people in the southwestern state of Guerrero, authorities said late on Friday. Police made the grisly discovery on a country road in the municipality of Chilapa de Alvarez after locals saw the vehicle on fire and alerted authorities, state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez said in a statement published on Facebook.


1/18/2020 12:08:03 PM

House Files Brief Arguing for Trump’s Removal From Office(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s attorneys and the House Democrats managing his impeachment trial filed their first formal briefs in the case on Saturday, pursuing familiar arguments aimed more at influencing the voters than the senators who will be his jurors.In a 111-page trial brief, the seven Democratic impeachment managers say the president’s pattern of misconduct made him a “threat to the nation and the rule of law.” An initial six-page response from Trump’s own lawyers takes aim at the House Democrats who investigated Trump, calling the impeachment probe a “brazen and unlawful” attempt to overturn the 2016 election.The Senate will begin its first impeachment trial in 20 years on Tuesday, a process that will end with the lawmakers rendering judgment on whether Trump’s presidency should be ended over his efforts to force Ukraine’s government to open investigations into one of his political rivals. The Republican-led Senate is exceedingly unlikely to convict Trump, but the House managers are also targeting undecided voters, with polls showing Americans leaning toward replacing the president in November’s elections.Democrats called on senators to conduct a fair trial as part of the oath they took this week to “do impartial justice.”“President Trump has demonstrated his continued willingness to corrupt free and fair elections, betray our national security, and subvert the constitutional separation of powers—all for personal gain,” the brief says. “It is imperative that the Senate convict and remove him from office now, and permanently bar him from holding federal office.”The White House declined to participate in the House’s investigation, so their brief filing is the first time that Trump’s counsel addressed the merits of the case against him, rather than simply criticizing the process.‘Dangerous Attack’The president’s legal team, including Ken Starr, who served as independent counsel for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, wrote that the articles are unconstitutional and that Trump “did nothing wrong.”“The articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president,” Trump’s team said.House Democrats dismissed Trump’s response and said it demonstrates why he should be removed from office.“Rather than honestly address the evidence against him, the president’s latest filing makes the astounding claim that pressuring Ukraine to interfere in our election by announcing investigations that would damage a political opponent and advance his re-election is the president’s way of fighting corruption,” the seven impeachment managers said in a joint statement Saturday night. “It is not. Rather it is corruption itself, naked, unapologetic and insidious.”The White House is slated to file its more complete trial brief on Monday at noon, which will expand on the arguments in Saturday’s six-page filing.The president’s legal team will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and the Trump’s private attorney, Jay Sekulow. Other members of the team expect to give discrete presentations on specific topics.Democratic officials close to the House impeachment managers refuted the White House’s claims Saturday that Democrats are trying to undo his election, saying Trump’s conduct is exactly what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they set up the impeachment process. The officials also said that the House inquiry afforded Trump the same chances to defend himself as previous presidential impeachments.The House’s prosecution team -- seven impeachment managers led by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff -- will have the option to respond to Trump’s initial legal arguments before the Senate reconvenes on Tuesday for the trial.Pressure CampaignMost of the evidence in Saturday’s House filing came from weeks of closed door depositions and open hearings with witnesses who participated in the planning for -- and fallout from -- a pressure campaign from Trump associates to get Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.Trump and his allies frequently claim that Biden acted corruptly to protect Burisma, a Ukranian gas company where his son was a board member. The impeachment managers refute that claim in the filing.The theory is “baseless” and there is “no credible evidence” to support the allegation that Biden acted improperly when he encouraged Ukraine to remove a prosecutor who was facing corruption accusations, the brief said. Biden was carrying out official U.S. policy, a view that was shared by European allies and the International Monetary Fund, according to the filing.As leverage to demand an investigation of the Bidens, the White House blocked nearly $400 million in congressionally approved security aid for Ukraine, as well as a White House meeting sought by newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The brief includes evidence from witnesses making those connections as part of a quid pro quo.The report also includes a finding released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office that Trump’s withholding of military assistance for Ukraine violated federal law.The managers quoted the nonpartisan congressional watchdog’s statement that “faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.Senate Democrats said last week the GAO report bolsters their push to subpoena documents and witnesses that are relevant to the withholding of military aid.‘Ominous Pattern’The impeachment managers cite the administration directive for current and former officials to not participate in the House inquiry, as well as Trump’s own statements, as evidence of obstruction. They point to the 12 Trump officials who declined to appear for requested testimony, “nine of whom did so in defiance of duly authorized subpoenas.”The brief also accuses Trump of “intimidation tactics” against the witnesses who did appear, as well as “sustained attacks” on the intelligence community whistle-blower who filed a complaint about Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine.This is part of an “ominous pattern” of behavior for the president, the House prosecutors said in the brief, pointing to the way Trump responded to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.“Allowing this pattern to continue without repercussion would send the clear message that President Trump is correct in his view that no governmental body can hold him accountable for wrongdoing,” according to the brief. “That view is erroneous and exceptionally dangerous.“Although the articles of impeachment don’t rely on evidence from Mueller’s report, the House managers drew parallels between Trump’s behavior in the two episodes. Both included Trump associates in contact with a foreign power regarding a U.S. election, as well the president’s refusal to engage with investigators probing those interactions.“Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation -- like the House’s impeachment inquiry -- sought to uncover whether President Trump coordinated with a foreign government in order to obtain an improper advantage during a Presidential election,” the managers said.Obstruction of JusticeMueller said there was not enough evidence that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia regarding the 2016 election. His report highlighted several episodes that could amount to obstruction of justice, but it left it up to Congress to weigh the severity of those offenses.”President Trump repeatedly used his powers of office to undermine and derail the Mueller investigation, particularly after learning that he was personally under investigation for obstruction of justice,” the brief says.The case that House prosecutors sent to the Senate references new evidence that wasn’t part of the impeachment inquiry, including material from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Parnas, who was arrested in October and indicted on campaign finance violations, this month provided House committees with documents to reinforce accusations that the president was personally involved in efforts to pressure Ukraine to conduct investigations that would benefit him politically.At least four of the impeachment managers, including Schiff, are scheduled to appear Sunday on political talk shows. All of them will be back in Washington on Sunday, and they’ll do a walk-through of the Senate chamber Monday on the eve of the trial, the officials said.(Updates with impeachment managers response starting in ninth paragraph)\--With assistance from Laura Davison.To contact the reporters on this story: Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net;Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net, Anna EdgertonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


1/18/2020 8:05:00 PM

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