January 23, 2021

AP Top News at 2:00 p.m. EST

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time in a fast-moving House vote, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and then a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. During debate Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Republicans and Democrats to “search their souls” ahead of the historic afternoon vote. Trump would be the first American president to be impeached twice. Trump “must go,” Pelosi said. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.” Actual removal seems unlikely before the Jan.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy says President Donald Trump “bears responsibility” for last week’s storming of the Capitol by his supporters. McCarthy, a close Trump ally, says the president “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” But McCarthy also says he believes it would be a mistake to impeach Trump in such a short time frame. Trump leaves office on Jan. 20 when Joe Biden is inaugurated. The House is set to vote later Wednesday on impeaching Trump, accusing him of rallying the violent mob. McCarthy says “a vote to impeach would further divide this nation, a vote to impeach will further fan the flames, the partisan division.” The California lawmaker is calling instead for a fact-finding commission and censure resolution.

Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. hit another one-day high at over 4,300 with the country’s attention focused largely on the fallout from the deadly uprising at the Capitol. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is closing in fast on the number of Americans killed in World War II, or about 407,000. Confirmed infections have topped 22.8 million. With the country simultaneously facing a political crisis and on edge over threats of more violence from far-right extremists, the U.S. recorded 4,327 deaths on Tuesday by Johns Hopkins’ count. Arizona and California have been among the hardest-hit states.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House impeachment debate on Wednesday heard a distorted account of President Donald Trump’s remarks to his supporters a week ago when he exhorted them to “fight like hell” before they swarmed the Capitol. REP. GUY RESCHENTHALER, R-Pa.: “At his rally, President Trump urged attendees to, quote, unquote, peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. There was no mention of violence, let alone calls to action.” THE FACTS: Trump’s speech was a call to action — a call to fight and save the country. “Our country has had enough,” he told those who went on to stage the violent siege of the Capitol.

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol last week clamoring to overturn the result of November’s presidential election, photographs captured a man in the crowd wearing a shirt emblazoned with “Camp Auschwitz,” a reference to the Nazi concentration camp. Two white nationalists known for racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric livestreamed to their online followers after breaking into the Capitol during the deadly insurrection. And video circulated on social media showed a man harassing an Israeli journalist who was trying to do a live report outside the building. The presence of anti-Semitic symbols and sentiment at the Capitol riot raised alarms among Jewish Americans and experts who track discrimination and see it as part of an ongoing, disturbing trend.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it will halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from the Uighur region of China in its most sweeping action yet to pressure the Communist Party over its campaign against ethnic minorities. Officials said Customs and Border Protection will use its authority to block products suspected of being produced with forced labor to keep out cotton, tomatoes and related products from the Xinjiang region of northwest China. Xinjiang is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on international commerce. The Trump administration has already blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labor in the region, and the U.S.

ROME (AP) — Matteo Renzi, a former Italian premier, yanked his ministers on Wednesday from Premier Giuseppe Conte’s government, triggering a political crisis in the middle of a pandemic that could lead to a revamped Cabinet, a different coalition leader or even an early election that opposition right-wing parties hope will bring them to power. Ex-Premier Matteo Renzi, who leads the small centrist Italy Alive party, has been chafing for weeks at what he sees as Conte’s heavy hand in deciding how some 200 billion euros in European Union funding will be used to help pull Italy out of years of economic stagnation, only worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Census Bureau statisticians are under significant pressure from Trump political appointees to figure out who in the U.S. is in the country illegally, and they’re worried that any such report they produce in the waning days of the Trump administration will be inaccurate, according to the bureau’s watchdog agency. Two Trump appointees to top positions at the Census Bureau, Nathaniel Cogley and Benjamin Overholt, are the driving force behind the effort, according to a memo from the Office of Inspector General posted Tuesday. The appointments of Cogley and Overholt last year were highly criticized by statisticians, academics and Democratic lawmakers, who worried they would politicize the once-a-decade census.

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle-based Amazon.com, Inc. has asked a federal judge to deny a request to reinstate the cloud-service account for conservative social media network Parler, claiming Parler shrugged off police violence content on its site before and after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Amazon’s lawyers made the claim on Tuesday, a day after Parler on Monday filed a lawsuit against Amazon claiming a breach of contract and antitrust violation after its account was suspended and effectively removed from the internet, The Seattle Times reported. The lawsuit claims Amazon colluded with Twitter to “kill Parler’s business — at the very time it is set to skyrocket,” the complaint said.

BORING, Ore. (AP) — A line formed out the door during the lunch rush at the Carver Hangar, a family-owned restaurant and sports bar, and waitresses zipped in and out of the kitchen trying to keep up with orders as customers backed up in the lobby. Indoor dining has been banned in much of Oregon for nearly two months, but the eatery 20 miles southeast of Portland was doing a booming business — and an illegal one. The restaurant’s owners, Bryan and Liz Mitchell, fully reopened Jan. 1 in defiance of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 indoor dining ban in their county despite the risk of heavy fines and surging coronavirus cases.

Trump on verge of 2nd impeachment after Capitol siege

The Latest: McCarthy says Trump bears riot responsibility

US COVID-19 deaths hit another one-day high at over 4,300

AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s call to action distorted in debate

Anti-Semitism seen in Capitol insurrection raises alarms

US to block cotton from China region targeted in crackdown

Italian coalition ally yanks ministers, sparks govt crisis

Trump appointees pressure Census for report on undocumented

Amazon seeks to keep conservative app Parler offline

Defiance of virus dining bans grows as restaurants flounder

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Author: Associated Press

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