Trump crisis: What’s next after House impeachment vote

Agencies
January 14, 2021

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Washington, Jan 14: President Donald Trump has been impeached by the House days before leaving office, becoming the first American president to be impeached twice.

The previous three impeachments those of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump took months before a final vote, including investigations in the House and hearings. This time it only took a week after Trump encouraged a crowd of his supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Democrats and 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump on one charge: incitement of insurrection. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will not begin a trial until next Tuesday, at the very earliest, which is the day before Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as president. It's unclear, for now, exactly how that trial will proceed and if any Senate Republicans will vote to convict Trump.

Even though the trial won't happen until Trump is already out of office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.

A look at next steps:

SENDING TO THE SENATE

Once the House votes to impeach, the speaker of the House can send the article or articles over to the Senate immediately or she can wait a while. Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn't yet said when she will send them, but many Democrats in her caucus have urged her to do so immediately.

Pelosi has already appointed nine impeachment managers to argue the case against Trump in a Senate trial, a sign that she will send them sooner rather than later.

Once the articles are sent over that is usually done with an official walk from the House to the Senate then the majority leader of the Senate must start the process of having a trial.

THE SENATE SCHEDULE

The Senate is not scheduled to be in session until January 19, which could be McConnell's last day as Senate leader. Once Vice President Kamala Harris is sworn in, making her the president of the Senate, and Georgia's two Democratic senators are also sworn in, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer will take charge and determine how the trial will proceed.

McConnell said he will not bring the Senate back on an emergency basis to start the trial, so the earliest it could begin would be Tuesday. That means the trial is certain to take place after Trump has already left office.

McConnell noted that the three previous Senate trials lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively.

ALL EYES ON MCCONNELL

McConnell believes that Trump committed impeachable offenses and considers the Democrats' impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the divisive, chaotic president's hold on the GOP, a Republican strategist told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

And McConnell told major donors over the weekend that he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who demanded anonymity to describe McConnell's conversations. His wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, resigned from Trump's Cabinet soon after the riots.

But despite sending signals, McConnell has been characteristically quiet in public. In a note to colleagues Wednesday released by his office, McConnell said he had not made a final decision on how I will vote.

SENATE POLITICS

If McConnell voted to convict, other Republicans would surely follow. But no GOP senators have said how they will vote, and two-thirds of the Senate is needed.

Still, some Republicans have told Trump to resign, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat

Toomey and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and few are defending him.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse has said he would take a look at what the House approves, but stopped short of committing to support it.

Other Republicans have said that impeachment would be divisive. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, long a key ally of the president, has been critical of his behavior in inciting the riots but said impeachment will do far more harm than good. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump in last year's impeachment trial, after the House impeached Trump over his dealings with the president of Ukraine.

In the House, 10 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican. Every single House Republican voted against Trump's first impeachment in 2019.

TRUMP'S FUTURE

If the Senate were to convict, lawmakers could then take a separate vote on whether to disqualify Trump from holding future office.

Schumer said Wednesday: "Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again. In the case of federal judges who were impeached and removed from office, the Senate has taken a second vote after conviction to determine whether to bar the person from ever holding federal office again.

Only a majority of senators would be needed to ban him from future office, unlike the two-thirds needed to convict.

DIFFERENT CHARGES, DIFFERENT IMPEACHMENT

This impeachment trial is likely to differ from the last one in many ways.

The House charges in 2019 on Trump's dealings with the president of Ukraine, whom he urged to investigate Biden, came after a lengthy investigation and testimony from multiple government officials. While Democrats unanimously criticized the conduct and charged Trump with abuse of power, the charges wove together a complicated web of evidence.

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Agencies
February 24,2021

New Delhi, Feb 24: The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday confirmed detection of two new variants of novel coronavirus, other than the Brazilian, UK and South African, in at least three Indian states.

The variants, AN440K and E484Q have been found circulating in a few districts of Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana, it said. The ministry's confirmation comes against the backdrop of Maharashtra and Kerala reporting an upsurge in Covid-19 cases, and both states accounting for more than 75 per cent of overall active caseload of the country, as of Tuesday.

"The genome sequencing of positive patients has confirmed two variants which are detected in a larger number other than the one dominating in the country. They are found circulating in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana," Dr V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and head, National Task Force on Covid-19, said.

While Paul said that no causal link between them and the outbreak in the two states have been established so far, he did not rule out the possibility in future.

"This is a work in progress," he said, adding that the transmissibility and tendency to cause a more severe disease, thereby leading to an increase in deaths, by these variants is being studied.

"So far, the variants cannot be attributed to the uptick of the infection a few states have been witnessing in the country. There is no current evidence for us to believe that these are responsible for upsurge of the outbreak in some of the districts of Maharashtra and Kerala despite being found there," Paul said.

Indian Council for Medical Research Director General, Dr Balram Bhargava, also clarified that these two virus strains have been detected in other countries as well and are not specific to India.

"Moreover, they have been found earlier in some states in India. The E484Q strain was earlier detected in four sequences in Maharashtra as early as March and July 2020. The N440K mutation has been reported on 13 different occasions between May and September 2020 in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. The current upsurge in Maharashtra cannot be attributed to the currently discussed point mutations," he added.

Paul assured that the government is constantly monitoring the behaviour of the mutations in the country and all over the world too.

Meanwhile, the ministry said that the count of people infected from the South African variant has risen to six, against four last week. However, the number of patients infected by the UK and Brazil variants has not changed in the duration. The tally of patients infected from imported variants of novel coronavirus has reached 194 in the country.

Last week, the Indian Council of Medical Research found as many as 192 cases of Covid-19 affected by the new variants of mutated SARS-CoV-2 in the last two months including four from the variant that emerged in South Africa and one from Brazil variant of the virus. The remaining 187 were found infected by the UK variant.

Meanwhile, the ministry did not specify the states that reported cases with these foreign variants. While the UK variant is known to spread faster, the South African one is associated with a high severity of disease.

The ministry said that the situation is being constantly monitored. "As further scientific evidence emerges, it shall be duly shared," it added.

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News Network
February 17,2021

New Delhi, Feb 17: Even as the petrol crossed the Rs 100 mark today Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to hold his predecessors responsible by saying that middle-class would not have been burdened if the previous governments had focussed on reducing India's energy import dependence.

Without referring to the relentless increase in retail fuel prices he said India imported over 85 per cent of its oil needs in the 2019-20 financial year and nearly 53 per cent of its gas requirement.

"Can we be so import dependent? I don't want to criticise anyone but I want to say (that) had we focussed on this subject earlier, our middle-class would not have been burdened," he said at a function to inaugurate oil and gas projects in poll-bound Tamil Nadu.

Price of petrol crossed the Rs 100 per litre mark in Rajasthan after fuel rates were hiked for the ninth day in a row. Since India imports majority of its oil needs, retail rates are benchmarked to international prices, which have spiralled in recent weeks.

Modi said his government is sensitive to concerns of the middle-class and so has focussed on raising share of ethanol mixing in petrol.

Ethanol extracted from sugarcane will help cut imports as well as give farmers alternate source of income.

India, he said, is looking to cut energy import dependence as well as diversify its sources to reduce risks.

The focus now is also towards using renewable sources of energy, which will by 2030 form 40 per cent of energy generated in the country, he said.

Also, the government is working towards raising the share of natural gas in the energy basket to 15 per cent from the current 6.3 per cent and is committed to bringing it under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime to eliminate cascading effect of multiple taxes, he added.

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News Network
February 17,2021

New Delhi, Feb 17: Petrol and diesel prices touched new highs on Wednesday after fuel rates were hiked for the ninth consecutive day. 

In Delhi, petrol and diesel prices were increased by 25 paise each. Petrol is priced at Rs 89.54 per litre, while diesel at Rs 79.95 per litre in the national capital. 

The petrol price in Mumbai has touched the Rs 96 per litre mark. In the financial capital, petrol is priced at Rs 96.00, while diesel cost Rs 86.98 per litre. 

In Bengaluru, petrol is priced at Rs 91.76 per litre, and diesel at Rs 85.09 per litre. 

The Congress on Tuesday hurled the “Modi Tax” accusation at the Centre as prices of petroleum products witnessed a sharp increase owing to steep excise duties levied on fuel.

Congress leaders claimed that the Modi government had collected over Rs 20 lakh crore by imposing additional excise duty on petrol and diesel over the past six years and eight months.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week had told Parliament that the government is not considering a reduction in excise duty to cool rates from their record highs.

Central and state taxes make up for over 61 per cent of the retail selling price of petrol and about 56 per cent of diesel.

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