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Trump starts Asia tour with resolve

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United States President Donald Trump launched his Asia tour in Japan on Sunday by saying that no country or dictator should underestimate the resolve of his country. 

“No one, no dictator, no regime…should underestimate American resolve,” Mr Trump told gathered US and Japanese troops at Yokota air base near the Japanese capital Tokyo.

The US president’s trip comes during high international tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program, missile tests and inflammatory rhetoric between Trump and the North’s supreme leader Kim Jung Un.

North Korea has sent two ballistic missiles flying over the Japanese mainland this year, setting off alarms and sending citizens scrambling. Pyongyang has also threatened a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean.

Japan is concerned with the instability of the region, but Trump has taken a hardline stance against the North Korean provacation.

The president delivered an additional veiled threat to North Korean leadership saying that the US military will “always, always win” in any armed conflict.

“This is the heritage of the US armed forces, the greatest force for freedom and justice that the world has ever known,” said Trump.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has supported Trump’s strong stance on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name for the North.

“Japan is a treasured partner and crucial ally of the United States and today we thank them for welcoming us and for decades of wonderful friendship between our two nations,” Trump said, recognizing the support of Tokyo.

“We dominate the sky, we dominate the sea, we dominate the land and space.”

After Trump’s remarks at the air base, the president flew via helicopter to have an informal lunch with Mr Abe and played golf with the prime minister and the world’s fourth best golfer, Hideki Matsuyama.

It is the longest Asia tour by a sitting US president in 25 years since George Bush in 1992.

However, many observers say the trip may be either a great opportunity for a solid round of international stories for Trump or inopportune for domestic chaos he his leaving behind.

On Oct 30, Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort and advisor Rick Gates were indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the president’s 2016 campaign.

What also came to light was the secret confession of George Papadopoulos pleading guilty to perjury over his contacts with Russians as a member of the Trump campaign.


More details to follow. Image 1 of Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Yokota air base from Reuters news agency.  ■

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Trump impeached by U.S. House

Trump could be the third-ever president impeached.

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File photo of U.S. President Donald Trump via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. House of Representatives late on Wednesday impeached Republican President Donald Trump with a vote largely along party lines, passing at two articles of impeachment put forward by the majority Democrats claiming abuse of power and obstruction of justice, handing the fate of the president over to a trial in the GOP-held Senate.

The ballots marked by lawmakers in the House came after a day of debate that saw Democrats calling Trump a threat to democracy as Republicans fought back, claiming the proceedings were a partisan coup with Rep. Kevin McCarthy calling it the “least credible impeachment in American history.”

Democrats in the House, led by Nancy Pelosi, accuse the 73-year-old president of abusing his power by asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President and current presidential hopeful Joe Biden in return for military aid. Trump is also charged with obstructing congressional probes by directing officials and departments to ignore legal summons.

Impeachment is an extraordinary check on presidential power written into the United States Constitution by the founders that allows for the removal of presidents by Congress over the vague “high crimes and misdemeanours” — and Trump is the third president to be impeached after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

As the House made history, Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, rallied supporters from Battle Creek, Michigan. 

Article One was supported by 230 Democrats while two Democrats voted against the article, which accuses Trump of abuse of power over his dealings with Ukraine. Democrats lost one ballot when voting in favour of Article Two, which alleges abuse of power.

Sole Independent Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted with Democrats on both articles. None of the 195 Republicans in the House supported the articles, as expected by political analysts, while Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted only “present”.

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Democrats unveil articles of impeachment against Trump

It starts a process that is likely to end in the Senate.

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U.S. President Donald Trump via Wikimedia Commons.

U.S. Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress as part of a major step forward in a process that is likely to end in a dramatic trial in the Republican-run Senate.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the impeachment charges next week, according to congressional reporters. With a Democrat majority, the House is nearly certain to impeach Trump, which acts as an indictment for the crimes outlined in the articles.

The process will then move to a trial in the Senate where Trump will either be acquitted or removed from office in a two-thirds majority. GOP senators have shown little appetite to remove Trump from office but with public support for such a move growing, there could be surprises ahead.

Trump is the third president in U.S. history to face impeachment.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Chairmen Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff gave a brief press conference announcing the two articles of impeachment that, though expected was historic, as charges of “high crimes and misdemeanours” were laid against the U.S. president.

The impeachment charges stem from an investigation launched on Sept. 24 that probed allegations that Trump carried out a so-called “quid pro quo” arrangement with Ukraine during which he withheld military aid until Kiev would investigate political rival and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Republicans insist that the Democrat-led effort is an attempt to undo the results of the 2016 federal election as part of a so-called “witch hunt” against Trump. The president denies any wrongdoing in the Ukraine case as well as in the special counsel probe that dominated the beginning of his presidency.

An hour later, Pelosi stood before reporters for a second time to announce that Democrats had reached a revised North American free trade agreement deal in what allies of the president view as a victory, fulfilling a policy goal of the Trump administration.


‘Endangered the U.S. Constituition’

In a statement to reporters, House Judiciary Committee Chairman and point man for the impeachment inquiry Jerrold Nadler said that the Democrats were forced to take action due to Trump endangering the U.S. Constitution, undermining the next election and putting national security at jeopardy.

“No one, not even the president, is above the law,” Nadler said, flanked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other chairpersons involved in the impeachment probe, adding that “our elections are a cornerstone of democracy”.  ■

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No Trump crimes in Mueller report: Justice Dept.

Trump is cleared of collusion: AG.

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U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election did not find that President Donald Trump committed a crime but is also not exonerated, according a summary of the investigation released by the United States’ attorney general on Sunday.

Attorney General William Barr sent his briefing of the report to congressional leaders on Capitol Hill after Mueller handed in his findings to the Justice Department on Friday.

Trump responded on Twitter, posting: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

He then talked to the press in a short statement saying that the investigation was an “illegal takedown that failed” and called for a counter-probe into the “other side”.

It has been welcomed as a win from Republican leadership and they say it serves as vindication of Trump, who has denied collusion since the probe started in 2017.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders noted that there was no collusion and no obstruction, saying that the findings are “a total and complete exoneration” of Trump.

Trump lawyer Rudy Guiliani repeated what Sanders’ said.

The attorney general said that the evidence developed during the probe was not sufficient to establish the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.

Mueller wrote in his report that his investigation “does not conclude Trump committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” and Barr wrote that the document identifies no actions that constitute obstructive conduct.

Mueller said that he would leave it to the attorney general to make a decision on whether a crime was committed by the president.

Evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference, Barr says.

President Trump is headed to Air Force One from the Mar-A-Lago resort where he spent the weekend. He has not said a word on the report since Mueller submitted it on Friday, but reporters say he will speak to the press before he departs Florida for Washington.

The investigation took 22 months to complete and cost $25 million, resulting in charges against 34 individuals varying from Russian agents and allies of the president, including ex-campaign  chair Paul Manafort and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

None of the charges were directly related to any cooperation between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian Federation.


Image of Donald Trump from files. ■

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