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

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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

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Trial begins of Giuliani associate linked to Trump-Ukraine scandal

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independent– Jury selection began on Tuesday for the trial of Lev Parnas, a onetime associate of Rudy Giuliani who is accused along with a co-defendant of making illegal campaign contributions.

US prosecutors allege Mr Parnas, a Soviet-born Florida businessman, ingratiated himself with influential Republicans through big campaign contributions, including a $325,000 donation in 2018 to a super PAC supporting then-President Donald Trump.

An indictment said some of those donations were improperly funnelled through a company that Mr Parnas co-owned in ways that disguised the origin of the money and evaded limits on personal donations.

Mr Parnas initially came to public attention in 2019 as he assisted Giuliani’s effort to get the government of Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of then-presidential-candidate Joe Biden.

Mr Giuliani is not charged in the case and prosecutors haven’t alleged that he knew anything about illegal campaign contributions.

Mr Parnas and a co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, are also accused of arranging donations on behalf of a Russian financier, Andrey Muraviev, as part of an effort to expand his legal marijuana businesses in the United States. Prosecutors said Mr Muraviev put up $1 million dollars for the venture.

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Biden expands US investment ban on Chinese firms

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US President Joe Biden is set to ban Americans from investing in dozens of Chinese tech and defence firms with alleged military ties.

The new executive order will come into effect on 2 August, hitting 59 firms including communications giant Huawei. The list of firms will be updated on a rolling basis.

The move expands an order previously issued by ex-President Donald Trump.

Even before the official announcement, China suggested it would retaliate.

Under the new order, US investors will be banned from buying or selling publicly-traded securities for other companies including the China General Nuclear Power Corporation, China Mobile Limited and Costar Group.

It expands the previous list from 31 firms to include surveillance companies and is aimed at ensuring “US persons are not financing the military industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China,” one White House official said.

“The prohibitions are intentionally targeted and scoped to maximise the impact on the targets while minimising harm to global markets,” the official added.

Huawei recently said that sanctions imposed on it by the US in 2019 have had a major impact on its mobile phone business.

The US took action amid claims that the company posed a security risk and last July, and the UK said it would exclude the company from building its 5G network.

The new list of companies barred from US investment will update one from the Department of Defense.

“We fully expect that in the months ahead… we’ll be adding additional companies to the new executive order’s restrictions,” the White House said.

It comes as the surveillance of citizens, including Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region in particular, has come under scrutiny.

The Biden administration has also accused China of acting more aggressively abroad and more repressively at home.

The China-US relationship is crucial to both sides and the wider world, with Beijing repeatedly calling on the new administration in Washington to improve relations which deteriorated under predecessor Donald Trump.

In their first meeting under the Biden presidency last month, the two countries’ top trade negotiators held “candid, pragmatic” talks on their trading relationship.

President Biden has insisted, however, that existing tariffs will be kept in place for now as he looks to boost the US economy, which was hit hard early in the pandemic but is now recovering.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin suggested China would retaliate against the latest measures.

“China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and resolutely support Chinese enterprises in safeguarding their rights and interests in accordance with the law,” he said.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57334265\

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Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward rejects calls for audit of party elections

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Kelli Ward on Friday rejected calls for an audit into her recent reelection as the chair of the Arizona Republican Party and other party races, arguing that the state GOP does not have the structure to review them.

“We don’t have the structure to be able to do an audit,” she said on KFYI’s radio show “The Conservative Circus with James T. Harris,” adding, “But we welcome their input to make elections bigger.”
She added that the structure for an audit “doesn’t exist in our process, our procedures, our bylaws, in statute.”
Ward, one of the most fervent proponents of former President Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, claimed not only that an audit was not possible, but that calls for it were being pushed as a way to attack her.
She argued that the only people demanding an audit are Sergio Arellano — a Tucson small business owner who challenged Ward for the top state party job — and people who were part of his campaign.
Arellano did not respond to CNN’s request for a response to Ward on Friday.
Last week, Ward secured a second stint as chair of the state party, beating Arellano by 3 percentage points. Arellano on Thursday requested an audit of the votes cast in the race for Arizona GOP chair and other party elections.
“I anticipate the State GOP will do a solid job here and provide election officials around the state with an example of how to conduct a timely audit and how important ballot security and paper backups are,” Arellano said in a statement posted to Facebook.
He claimed that a “reversal of the stated results” in another party race prompted a “number of state committeemen” to raise concerns and reach out to him to ask that he request an audit. Sandra Dowling was announced the winner of a bid for Arizona’s 8th congressional district’s member-at-large committee, only to have the win pulled back because of an error.
During the radio interview, Ward went on to attack the media, saying stories about the possible audit were trying to “gin up something that just doesn’t exist” and that “everything was above board” with the election.
Ward’s tenure as chair of the party has been defined by her unwavering support for Trump, having repeatedly backed his maneuvers to overturn the presidential election results, including in Arizona, which Joe Biden won by more than 10,000 votes.
The former vice president became the second Democrat since Harry Truman in 1948 to win Arizona in 2020. In the wake of Biden’s win, Ward lashed out at some Republicans who backed the new President, including Cindy McCain, the late Sen. John McCain’s widow, and former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

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