Connect with us

US

Biden cabinet: Inner circle get key posts as John Kerry named climate envoy

Published

on

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry will act as climate envoy when US President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Mr Kerry was one of several people named for top positions by the Biden transition team on Monday.

Other key picks included long-time Biden aide Antony Blinken as secretary of state, while reports say former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will be the choice for treasury secretary.

It comes as calls are growing for Donald Trump to concede the election.

He has made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud and is continuing to pursue legal challenges over the result.

Mr Biden is projected to beat President Trump by 306 votes to 232 when the US electoral college meets to formally confirm the winner on 14 December. This is far above the 270 votes he needs.

In a statement following the announcement on Monday, Mr Biden said: “I need a team ready on day one to help me reclaim America’s seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity, and values. This is the crux of that team.”

Some of the positions require confirmation in the US Senate.

Who is John Kerry and what will he do?

Mr Kerry was chosen for the role of special presidential envoy for climate.

The Biden transition team said the position would see him “fight climate change full-time”. He is also set to be the first official dedicated to climate change to sit on the National Security Council.

Mr Kerry signed the Paris climate agreement on behalf of the US in 2016. The deal committed countries to working to limit the global temperature rise.

Under Mr Trump, the US recently became the first country to formally withdraw from the agreement. But Mr Biden has said he plans to rejoin the accord as soon as possible.

In 2019, Mr Kerry launched a coalition of world leaders and celebrities – dubbed World War Zero – to call for climate change action and net zero carbon emissions.

Following news of his new role on Monday, he tweeted: “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.”

Mr Kerry previously served as secretary of state during Barack Obama’s second term as president. A veteran Democratic politician, he lost to incumbent Republican George W Bush in the 2004 presidential election.

He was a senator for 28 years and chairman of the foreign relations committee.

He endorsed Mr Biden to be the Democratic Party’s candidate in the 2020 race and joined him on the campaign trail.

What about the other roles?

Mr Blinken was nominated as secretary of state – the most important foreign policy position. The 58-year-old was deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration, in which Mr Biden served as vice-president.

He is expected to manage a Biden foreign policy agenda that will emphasise re-engaging with Western allies.

Avril Haines was nominated as the first female director of national intelligence. Ms Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and deputy national security adviser.

Alejandro Mayorkas was the first Latino nominated to serve as secretary of homeland security. He previously served as deputy secretary of homeland security under President Obama.

Jake Sullivan was named White House national security adviser. Mr Sullivan served as Mr Biden’s national security adviser during Mr Obama’s second term.

Long-time diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield was nominated US ambassador to the UN. She also served under President Obama, including as assistant secretary of state for African affairs between 2013 and 2017.

Biden projects stability and familiarity

In his choice of a national security team, Joe Biden has signalled that the US is resuming its conventional international role, after four turbulent years of Donald Trump’s America First.

He’s appointing Obama administration veterans to top positions and elevating a long-serving career diplomat sidelined by the Trump administration.

His pick for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, is an advocate of global alliances. Mr Blinken will lead the charge to re-establish ties with allies and rejoin agreements and institutions rejected by Trump. And there’s no doubt that he’ll be speaking for the man in the White House: Mr Blinken has advised Biden on foreign policy for so long he’s been described as an alter ego.

Another familiar face is former Secretary of State John Kerry. The president-elect’s decision to give him a new cabinet-level position as climate envoy shows he’s treating the issue as a significant national security threat.

But even with the old team this is not going to be Obama 2.0: the landscape has shifted in both America and the world during the last four years. Still, Mr Biden is projecting stability and familiarity, and international leaders know what they will be getting

What about the calls for Trump to concede?

President Trump is continuing to refuse to concede and facilitate a smooth presidential transition. He has been pursuing so-far fruitless legal challenges in several states to try to overturn his loss.

His latest legal setback came on Saturday when a judge dismissed his attempt to have millions of postal votes in Pennsylvania invalidated.

It comes as calls are growing for him to accept defeat.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a prominent Trump ally, called the president’s legal team a “national embarrassment”.

“I have been a supporter of the president’s. I voted for him twice. But elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen,” he told ABC.

High-profile Trump supporter Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of investment company Blackstone, also said it was time for Mr Trump to accept he lost.

“Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-Covid economy,” he said in a statement reported by US media.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-55046714

Continue Reading

US

‘QAnon Shaman’ Jake Angeli charged over pro-Trump riots

Published

on

By

A prominent follower of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon has been charged over the US Capitol riots.

Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli, is in custody on charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.

Mr Chansley, who calls himself the QAnon Shaman, is allegedly the man pictured with a painted face, fur hat and horns inside Congress on Wednesday.

Donald Trump faces another impeachment charge for his role in the unrest.

Democrats accuse the president of encouraging the riots, in which five people died.

The FBI has been appealing to the public to help bring the assailants to justice.

Mr Chansley has not commented publicly on the charges.

A statement from the federal attorney for Washington DC said: “It is alleged that Chansley was identified as the man seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants.

“This individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade.”

The statement said police had also detained a man from Florida believed to have been photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern from the House of Representatives chamber.

Adam Johnson, 36, is being held on charges including one count of theft of government property and one count of violent entry.

Also among those charged is West Virginia lawmaker, Derrick Evans. He is alleged to have posted a video of himself online, standing outside the building with Trump supporters, and then going inside.

He was arrested on Friday and is also accused of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, the Department of Justice statement said.

More than a dozen people have now been charged in offences related to the assault on the Capitol building. They include an Alabama man allegedly found with 11 Molotov cocktails near the unrest.

Mr Trump is due to leave office in 11 days. Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to introduce an article of impeachment against him on Monday, for “incitement of insurrection”.

A White House spokesperson said impeaching the president at this late stage would only further divide the country.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55606044

Continue Reading

US

US election: Trump tells Georgia election official to ‘find’ votes to overturn Biden win

Published

on

By

US President Donald Trump has been recorded telling Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Mr Trump told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post.

Mr Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results were correct.

Mr Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 electoral college votes to his Mr Trump’s 232.

Since the 3 November vote, Mr Trump has been alleging widespread electoral fraud without providing any evidence.

He tweeted on Sunday that Mr Raffensperger had not given details of the fraud the president alleges. “He has no clue!” the president tweeted.

All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals. So far, US courts have rejected 60 challenges to Mr Biden’s win.

Congress is due to formally approve the election result on 6 January.

Mr Biden, a Democrat, is due to be inaugurated as president on 20 January.

Voters in Georgia are due to vote again on Tuesday to elect two senators for the state. The result could determine the balance of power in the Senate – if the two Democrat contenders win, then there will be equal numbers of Republican and Democratic senators and Democratic Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will have the deciding vote.

Mr Biden’s Democrats already control the lower House of Representatives.

What happened during the call?

In the excerpts released by Washington Post, Mr Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurising Georgia’s secretary of state.

He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Mr Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.

Mr Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have Mr president is that the data you have is wrong.”

Later in the call Mr Trump said the rumour was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – a charge Mr Raffensperger’s lawyer said it was not the case.

The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.

“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer,” Mr Trump said.

He told Mr Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.

“You can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people who want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers,” he said.

“Mr President, you have people who submit information and we have our people that submit information and then it comes before the court and the court has to make a determination,” Mr Raffensperger replied. “We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”

 

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-55524838

Continue Reading

US

Fact-checking Trump’s conspiracy theory connecting Georgia’s secretary of state to China

Published

on

By

In the waning days of his presidency, Donald Trump continues to spread nonsense conspiracies over the 2020 election and the officials who oversaw it, attacking Georgia’s governor and secretary of state on Twitter Tuesday.

Following Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s announcement that a ballot signature match audit found no evidence of absentee voter fraud in Cobb County, Georgia, Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory linking Raffensperger to the Chinese government.
Trump tweeted that Raffensperger has a brother who “works for China,” insinuating some nefarious, pro-China plot to have Trump lose the race in Georgia.
“Now it turns out that Brad R’s brother works for China, and they definitely don’t want ‘Trump’. So disgusting!” the President tweeted after attacking Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.
Facts First: This is false. A spokesperson for Raffensperger told CNN that the secretary of state has no siblings who work for China, as Trump baselessly alleged.
“There are no relatives who work for China or are affiliated with China,” said Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs.
Though it’s unclear exactly where Trump is getting the idea that Raffensperger’s brother works for China, it’s possible he is picking up on a false conspiracy theory spread by former political consultant Dick Morris, who made the allegation during an interview on Newsmax Tuesday evening and on his personal website.
In the interview, Morris leveled several false or misleading accusations against Raffensberger, including that Raffensperger is related to Ron Raffensperger, the chief technology officer of the Chinese company Huawei Enterprise Storage Solutions. Fuchs said that the secretary of state does not have a sibling named Ron.
Georgia Public Broadcasting reported Wednesday “public documents and records [show] that Raffensperger does have four siblings, including a brother, but none of them are named Ron, none work for Chinese technology companies.”
Morris also falsely accused Raffensperger of standing in the way of recounts and refusing to verify signatures. Georgia conducted a statewide audit, hand-counting about 5 million ballots and Raffensperger oversaw an additional recount. And in addition to the state’s existing signature verification process that occurs twice in the case of absentee ballots requested by mail, Raffensberger announced his office would help conduct a signature match audit statewide to further verify signatures on absentee ballots.
In a statement, Newsmax told CNN:
“Newsmax has never made any claim of impropriety by Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger or any member of his family. On Tuesday night, while appearing on the network, commentator Dick Morris claimed he was reporting on Dickmorris.com an allegation that Raffensperger had a brother who worked at a Chinese company. This claim was apparently inaccurate. During the segment the Newsmax host was highly skeptical of Mr. Morris’ claims and suggested there was no evidence behind Mr. Morris’ assertion, and specifically asked Mr. Morris to provide evidence of his claim.”
CNN has attempted to reach Morris for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 , madridjournals.com