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As impeachment axe dangles on Trump, Pence rules out 25th Amendment

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United States Vice-President Mike Pence has ruled out using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office following the US Capitol riot.

But Democrats are moving relentlessly towards making him the first president to be impeached twice after he incited a mob assault on Congress.

With the House of Representatives on the cusp of impeaching President Trump, Pence encouraged Congress to avoid actions to “further divide and inflame the passions of the moment”.

Trump earlier refused to take any responsibility for the US Capitol riot, in which  his supporters smashed into the building, and said his speech for the mob was “totally appropriate”.

In a letter to House speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Pence said the mechanism should not be used “as a means of punishment or usurpation” and reserved for cases of medical or mental incapacitation.

The focus instead should be on smoothing the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, he said.

Ms Pelosi has called on Mr Pence to secure the majority of the Cabinet and vote to declare Mr Trump unfit to serve.

This came less than a week after the president fomented the violent insurrection at the Capitol.

Ms Pelosi has said if Mr Pence rejects use of the 25th Amendment, the House will move to impeach him.

Already, at least three Republicans have said they would vote for that.

The president’s comments appeared to encourage the protesters to march on the Capitol building, and he praised them while they were still carrying out the assault.

“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Mr Trump said during his first appearance in public since the Capitol siege last week.

Trump brushed off Democratic calls on his Cabinet to declare him unfit from office and remove him from power using the 25th Amendment.

“The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration,” President Trump said, adding, “As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.”

His remarks came during a visit to the site of the 450th mile of the border wall his administration is building.

The rampage through the halls of Congress sent lawmakers of both parties and President Trump’s own vice president into hiding, as crowds called for Mike Pence’s lynching for his role overseeing the vote count.

The scene also undermined the hallmark of the republic — the peaceful transition of power. At least five people died, including one Capitol Police officer.

Speaking on Tuesday, President Trump said the “real problem” was not his rhetoric, but the rhetoric that Democrats used to describe Black Lives Matter protests and violence in Seattle and Portland this summer, “Everybody to the ‘T’ thought it was totally appropriate,” President Trump said of his own comments.

He angrily lashed out at lawmakers’ push for his second impeachment this week, claiming: “It’s causing tremendous anger and division and pain far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time.”

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Governors have limited power to tackle insecurity, says Lalong

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Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau, says there are limits to what state governors can do about insecurity in the country.

He lamented that governors don’t have full authority over the security operatives in their states.

Lalong spoke on Friday during the Good Morning Nigeria programme on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

He said even though the constitution makes the governors the chief security officers of their states, there is a limit to the orders they can give security personnel.

Lalong called on the national assembly to intervene, adding that the federal lawmakers have a role to play in ensuring that governors are empowered to tackle insecurity.

“We have also cried and said the constitution provides that we (the governors) are chief security officers in our state,” he said.

“But there are limits to what we can do, the command that we do. If I am the general officer commanding, I should be the general officer commanding. Not the general officer that will command, and the person you command will say I need to get command from somewhere. All these are very important.”

Lalong said it is time for the federal government to address security issues and to implement all the security reports that have been drafted and submitted.

“We can’t be talking unless we address these issues. Let us be addressing these issues, not only talk-shop, because by the time we continue to talk without coming back to implement, we will still be talking of the same issue,” he added.

 

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Buhari meets Chad’s interim leader, promises support

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President Muhammadu Buhari has held a meeting with President of Chad’s Transitional Military Council, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari at the Friday meeting made his visitor a promise that he would help Chad to stabilize and return to a democratic government.
A statement issued by a presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, recalled that Marshal Idriss Deby  President of the country, had died in a battle last month, while leading troops to confront insurgents, who had come in through Libya.
“The country set up the transitional council, headed by the son of the deceased, and a return to democratic order is expected in 18 months,” the statement added.
The President, while speaking to his visitor, said: “We are bound together by culture and geography, and we will help in all ways we can.
“Nigerians know and appreciate the role Chad played in helping us to combat terrorism, and we will continue the collaboration,” said the president.
Buhari said Chad should not hesitate to ask for help in areas it deemed necessary as the late Marshal Itno “was a personal friend, and a friend of Nigeria, and Chad has been very steadfast in defending Nigeria.”
The President, who said Nigeria would help strengthen the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), added, “We will also help you to ensure a smooth transition in 18 months, as you have promised your people.”
Lt. Gen. Itno, who thanked Nigeria for the solidarity shown after the passage of the former President, noted that the main objective of the Transitional Military Council “is the security and cohesion of our country.”
He recommitted to democratic, free, fair polls in 18 months, telling President Buhari: “You were very close to Marshal Itno. I’m here to reaffirm that relationship, and for you to support our transition. We rely on our brother country Nigeria, as we have shared history, culture and geography. We are ready to be guided by you in our journey to constitutional rule.”

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I’ll always be mayor for all Londoners, says Sadiq Khan

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Newly elected London major, Sadiq Khan has said he is humbled by his election for a second term, promising to always remain a mayor for all Londoners.

Labour’s Sadiq Khan won the election by beating Conservative rival Shaun Bailey.

He won 55.2% of the popular vote, after entering a run-off with Mr Bailey when neither managed to secure a majority in the first round of voting.

The former MP became the first Muslim mayor of an EU capital city when he was elected to the role in 2016.

He spoke at the City Hall, pledging “to strain every sinew to help build a better, brighter future for London”.

The Green Party’s Sian Berry came third, while the Liberal Democrats’ Luisa Porritt was fourth.

The Lib Dems lost their deposit, as Ms Porritt failed to win more than 5% of the vote.

Elsewhere on Saturday evening, Labour lost overall control of Durham County Council while the Tories continued to make inroads in their traditional heartlands.

Sadiq Khan: ‘I never wanted to be a culture war poster boy’

Mr Khan was seen as the favourite throughout the campaign, with some pollsters predicting he would win more than half of the first-round votes.

The 51-year-old failed to reach his record-setting vote total of 2016, but won with a 228,000-vote majority.

Khan’s closest rival was Mr Bailey, who received 44.8% of the first and second-round votes, and increased the Conservative vote share by 1.6%.

Speaking after the results were announced, Mr Khan said, “I will always be a mayor for all Londoners, working to improve the lives of every single person in this city.

“The results of the elections around the UK show our country, and even our city, remains deeply divided.

“The scars of Brexit have yet to heal. A crude culture war is pushing us further apart.”

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