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The Biden administration says it wants to open a new chapter in US politics and focus on its own policy program following the end of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

Mr Biden, who was at the Camp David presidential retreat when the Senate voted on Saturday to acquit Mr Trump, had acknowledged that Democrats needed to hold the former president responsible for the siege of the US Capitol but did not welcome the way it distracted from his agenda.

The trial ended with every Democrat and seven Republicans voting to convict Mr Trump, but the 57-43 vote was far from the two-third threshold required for conviction.

In a statement, Mr Biden referenced those GOP votes in favour of convicting the former president – and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s own indictment of Mr Trump’s actions – as evidence that “the substance of the charge,” that Mr Trump was responsible for inciting violence at the Capitol, is “not in dispute”.

But he quickly moved on to the work ahead, sounding a note of unity and declaring that “this sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile” and that “each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies”.

“It’s a task we must undertake together. As the United States of America,” Mr Biden said.

White House aides had worried that a lengthy proceeding could bog down the Senate and slow the passage of Mr Biden’s massive COVID-19 relief bill. That $1.9 trillion proposal is just the first part of a sweeping legislative agenda Mr Biden hopes to pass as he battles the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 480,000 Americans and rattled the nation’s economy.

The end of the impeachment trial frees the party to focus on less divisive and more broadly popular issues and policies, like the coronavirus relief package, which polls show has significant support among Americans.

White House legislative affairs staffers were poised to work with House committees on crafting details of the COVID-19 relief bill, which Democrats hope to vote on next month.
(SBS)

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Capitol riot

Forensics report reveals details on pipe bombs left near U.S. Capitol in January

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A new forensics report released by the National Explosives Task Force is shedding light on pipe bombs that were placed in Washington D.C. a day before the deadly riot January 6.

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Capitol riot

ABC gives thousands of taxpayer dollars to Capitol Hill rioter for footage

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A man indicted on six federal charges in the US for his involvement in the Capitol riots on January 6 was paid thousands of dollars from the ABC for his footage of the siege.

Remittance advice from the national broadcaster shows taxpayers spent $2375 to buy footage from disgraced Capitol Hill rioter and anti-Trump activist John Sullivan. Sullivan was captured on camera encouraging rioters to “we gotta get this s—t burned.” Sky News host Andrew Bolt said there were “very serious questions” for the ABC after the documents revealled the public broadcaster paid Mr Sullivan after he was charged.

Mr Sullivan was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on six charges including obstruction of a civil proceeding, civil disorder, and disorderly conduct. Federal police also accused the self-described anti-Trump activist of actively encouraging the siege.

The ABC’s flagship current affairs program Four Corners last week ran a report on protesters rioting at the US Capitol. “The reporter, Sarah Ferguson, was clear that this was all the work of wicked right wingers,” Mr Bolt said. Mr Bolt approached the ABC to respond on the issue, but the public broadcaster has not replied. The ABC was not alone in bankrolling the rioter with US media companies CNN and NBC paying $35,000 for the footage.

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Angry Trump partisans facing major obstacles in effort to oust Murkowski after impeachment vote

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With fellow Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) facing pushback and censure in their home states for voting to convict Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection in his just-concluded impeachment trial, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) may get flack, but she has far fewer worries about losing her seat if she runs for re-election.

Murkowski is the only one of the dissident Republicans facing a referendum on her vote in the form of facing voters in the coming midterm election, but recent election law changes in Alaska make the probability of a pro-Trump insurgent nominee from the right unseating her as a nominee highly unlikely.

According to the National Review’s John McCormack, Alaska enacted new voting rules in the just concluded election that switched the state’s primary to an open one and not divided by parties.

As McCormack writes, “First, Alaska got rid of partisan primaries and established an open primary in which the top four primary candidates will compete in the general election.” Add to that, Alaska will be implementing ranked-choice voting that will create another obstacle.

According to Ballotpedia, “A candidate needs a simple majority of the vote (50%+1) to be declared the winner of an election. If no candidate wins a simple majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes would be eliminated. People who voted for that candidate as their first choice would have their votes redistributed to their second choice.”

McCormack also notes that this will not be the first time that Murkowski has drawn the ire of far-right Republicans. In 2010 she lost the primary to arch-conservative candidate Joe Miller, only to defeat him in the general election by successfully running a write-in campaign.

Since 2016, Murkowski has bucked her party on a number of issues. She declined to vote for Trump or the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 (just as she had done in 2016),” before adding, “It’s been a delicate dance for Murkowski, but if she simply finishes first or second place in the first round of balloting in 2022, she’ll very likely keep her seat.”
(Raw story media)

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