Will Trump's obstinacy weaken US democracy? – Newstrends
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Will Trump’s obstinacy weaken US democracy?

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  • Pompeo: There’ll be smooth transition to second Trump administration
  • Trump refusal to concede embarrassing – Biden
  • Experts predict what will happen

 

Rasheed Bisiriyu

The world is watching the drama playing out in the United States after the presidential election last week with keen interest.

In the tensely contested poll between the incumbent, Donald Trump of the Republican Party and his challenger, Joe Biden of the Democratic Party, the later won the race with 77,170,769 popular votes (50.8%) and 290 Electoral College votes against Trump’s 72,057,511 votes (47.5%) and 214 electoral votes.

Trump has accused the Democrats of electoral fraud and headed to court to challenge the outcome of the election, insisting that he was victorious at the poll.

But the president-elect, Biden, called Trump’s actions since the election day “an embarrassment.”

Election officials across the country said there was no evidence that fraud or any other irregularity played a role in the outcome of the presidential race.

There appears no sign that Trump is ever going to accept the results of the poll even if he loses at the court.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday with a grin that there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” echoing President Trump’s demands for a delay until “every legal vote” is counted.

President Trump, facing the prospect of leaving the White House in defeat in January, is using power of the federal government to resist the results of an election that he lost, something that no sitting president has done in American history.

In the latest sign of defiance on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” defending the president’s refusal to concede even as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. called Mr. Trump’s actions since Election Day “an embarrassment.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday with a grin that there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” echoing President Trump’s demands for a delay until “every legal vote” is counted.

His words: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration. All right, we’re ready. The world is watching what’s taking place. We’re going to count all the votes. When the process is complete, they’ll be electors selected. There’s a process — the Constitution lays it out pretty clearly. The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today, successful today and successful with the president who’s in office on Jan. 20, a minute after noon, will also be successful. I went through a transition on the front, and I’ve been on the other side of this. I’m very confident that we will do all the things that are necessary to make sure that the government, the United States government, will continue to perform its national security function as we go forward.”

Speaking to reporters in Delaware, Biden shrugged off Pompeo’s comments, saying that his transition was moving along well and that he was confident that Republicans would eventually accept his victory.

“They will; they will,” he said.

The president’s attorney general, William P. Barr, has also authorized investigations into supposed voter fraud, his general services administrator has refused to give Biden’s team access to transition offices and resources guaranteed under law, and the White House is preparing a budget for next year as if Trump will be there to present it.

Trump started the week by firing Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the heads of three other agencies while installing loyalists in key positions.

Allies expect more to come, including the possible dismissal of the directors of the FBI and the CIA.

The moves have left the United States in the position of the kind of country whose weak democratic processes the US often criticises.

Rather than congratulating Biden and inviting him to the White House, as his predecessors traditionally have done after an election changed party control, Trump has been marshaling his administration and pressuring his allies into acting as if the outcome were still uncertain.

The president’s efforts to discredit with false claims both the election results and the incoming Biden administration is in many ways the culmination of four years of stocking the government with pliant appointees while undermining the credibility of other institutions in American life, including intelligence agencies, law enforcement authorities, the news media, technology companies, the federal government more broadly and now election officials in states across multiple time zones.

The president is employing the powers of the government to resist election results.

Officials across the U.S. say they found no evidence that voter fraud played a role in the election results.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose of Ohio, standing, with his team in Columbus on election night. “There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections,” he said.

Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election.

Steve Simon, a Democrat who is Minnesota’s secretary of state, said, “I don’t know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counted when it shouldn’t have or didn’t count when it should. There was no fraud.”

A spokeswoman for Scott Schwab, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas, said in an email on Tuesday. “We are very pleased with how the election has gone up to this point.”

But over the past several days, Trump, members of his administration, congressional Republicans and right-wing allies have falsely claimed that the election was stolen from Trump and refused to accept results that showed Biden as the winner.

According to a report by Joe Middleton in The Independent newspaper of the UK, peaceful transition of power is the bedrock of American society, and notes that even in past contentious elections, resolutions had been made long before any refusal to concede.

It recalled that Richard Nixon conceded to John F Kennedy in 1960 amid several accusations of vote rigging for the Democrat, for instance. Vice president Al Gore accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling that George Bush had won the 2000 presidential election even though there were significant questions about the integrity of the results in Florida.

This view is shared by a writer and editor Amy Mckeever in a national geographical.com report saying no modern presidential candidate has refused to concede.

“The formal concession speech has played a vital role in even the most divisive U.S. elections, from the Civil War to Bush v. Gore,” she states.

Middleton quotes a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, Paul Quirk, as saying Trump refusing to concede could put law enforcement in an awkward position.

Quirk says, “At some point, the question would become: whose orders do law enforcement (agents) obey? Because it would ultimately become a matter of the use of force in one direction or another.”

The US constitution is said to have made no mention of how a president should be removed if they lose an election and refuse to hand over power to their opponent. So, it is hard to say if anyone would have the appetite to send the FBI, or navy seals, or whatever law enforcement agency, storming into the West Wing to arrest recently defeated Donald Trump.

Another professor of political science at the University of New Haven, Joshua Sandman, said he did not think Trump would ever refuse to leave office after an election because it would destroy the president’s legacy.

He insisted intense congressional and political pressure would force Trump out of office quickly.

“The first line of defence would be the congress, and his party pressuring him out, telling him he must resign or leave,” Sandman says, adding, “If he wants to stay in the White House, he would stay in the White House. But, again, hypothetically you don’t need that. The White House is symbolic. It’s not a seat of power, necessarily.”

In an interview with The Independent in 2019, Ross Baker, an American political expert at Rutgers University in New Jersey, made a prediction of what would happen if Trump lost re-election by a very narrow margin.

He imagined a scenario where the popular vote was won by less than one per cent nationwide, and where there was a near tie in the electoral college. On 4 November 2020, America could wake up to tweets from the president calling the previous day’s results a fraud, and saying there is no way he did not win by huge margins.

Should that happen, Baker said he imagined a scenario in which the House of Representatives got to decide the electoral college based upon each state’s delegation

“It would certainly be a constitutional crisis to the first magnitude,” Baker he said.

Mckeever, recalling how concessions became an election tradition, reports that peaceful transfer of power has been a norm since 1800, when the country’s second president John Adams became the first to lose his reelection bid and quietly left Washington, D.C., on an early morning stagecoach to avoid attending his successor Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration.

According to the report, some early presidential candidates did send congratulatory letters to their opponents, says John R. Vile, dean of political science at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, who has written about the history of concession speeches. But formal concessions didn’t become an election custom until 1896, when Republican William McKinley defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

In his account of the campaign in a later memoir, Bryan wrote that he began to resign himself to the loss by 11 p.m. on election night—a resignation that grew in the subsequent days as states completed counting ballots. On Thursday evening, Bryan learned that his loss was certain and immediately sent a telegram to McKinley, offering his congratulations and stating: “We have submitted the issue to the American people and their will is law.”

With that, a custom was born—much to Bryan’s own bewilderment as he considered it to be simply the courteous thing to do. “This exchange of messages was much commented upon at the time, though why it should be considered extraordinary I do not know,” Bryan wrote. “We were not fighting each other, but stood as the representatives of different political ideas, between which the people were to choose.”

Ever since, losing candidates have conceded to their opponents—even sitting presidents. In 1912, for example, Republican President William Howard Taft conceded to Democrat Woodrow Wilson at 11 p.m. on election night, while in 1932 Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover telegraphed his congratulations to Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt the day after the New York governor unseated him, and Hoover promised to dedicate himself “to every possible helpful effort.” (In the wake of the election, however, Hoover became a vocal critic of FDR’s policies.)

In 1960, Republican Vice President Nixon sealed his own loss to Democrat John F. Kennedy when, in his role as president of the Senate, he counted and confirmed the electoral votes. Even though Hawaii had sent two sets of votes after its results had been briefly contested, Nixon asked for, and received, unanimous consent to count the state for his opponent since they would not have changed the results of the election. “I don’t think we could have a more eloquent example of the stability of our constitutional system and the proud tradition of the American people of developing, respecting, and honoring institutions,” even when one loses, Vile says.

He also recalls some sore losers. For instance, in 1916, it took Republican Charles Evans Hughes two weeks to congratulate incumbent Democratic president Woodrow Wilson after a race so close it had taken two days to count the votes—which had initially been erroneously called in Hughes’ favour.

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Hardship: Lagos gov slashes transport fares by 25%, asks civil servants to work three days weekly

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Hardship: Lagos gov slashes transport fares by 25%, asks civil servants to work three days weekly

 

Lagos civil servants are henceforth to show up in their places of work three times a week as a way to ease the currently hardship they face due to high cost of living.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this on Thursday also announced a slash in public transport fares by 25 percent beginning from next week.

Many young people have trooped to the streets in Lagos, Oyo, Lagos, Kano and Osun states to protest the growing hardship in the country.

The labour group has also fixed two days next week for nationwide protests over the issue.

Sanwo-Olu, who spoke at a media chat on Thursday, expressed empathy with the citizens, stressing that “as leaders, we must be able to solve socioeconomic problems.”

“We want to start with our public servants, immediately from next week, civil servants from the lower level to 14 will be working like three times a week and level 15-17 can work four times in a week,” he said.

The governor also said his administration had completed some rail projects including the Red Line for inauguration next week.

The rail system, he added, was aimed at creating robust transportation services in the metropolis.

Sanwo-Olu said the 25 per cent reduction on transport services would start this weekend for the State Public Transport system (BRT, Train, Ferry), while there were discussions with various unions to also reduce their own fares.

The governor said the government would also identify caterers and ‘Mama Put’ in each local government to feed over 1,000 people once per day.

He also spoke on the Lagos Rice Mill, saying there were challenges with Paddy all over the country but disclosed that his administration was in discussions with the Federal Government to get two vessels of Paddy from outside for the rice mill to produce for almost a year.

Sanwo-Olu also said four more food hubs were under construction and that seven other locations in other local governments had been identified for new food hubs to be developed.

Lagos civil servants are henceforth to show up in their places of work three times a week as a way to ease the currently hardship they face due to high cost of living.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this on Thursday also announced a slash in public transport fares by 25 percent beginning from next week.

The governor spoke at a media chat expressing empathy with the citizens, stressing that “as leaders, we must be able to solve socioeconomic problems.”

“We want to start with our public servants, immediately from next week, civil servants from the lower level to 14 will be working like three times a week and level 15-17 can work four times in a week,” he said.

The governor also said his administration had completed some rail projects including the Red Line for inauguration next week.

The rail system, he added, was aimed at creating robust transportation services in the metropolis.

Sanwo-Olu said the 25 per cent reduction on transport services would start this weekend for the State Public Transport system (BRT, Train, Ferry), while there were discussions with various unions to also reduce their own fares.

The governor said the government would also identify caterers and ‘Mama Put’ in each local government to feed over 1,000 people once per day.

He also spoke on the Lagos Rice Mill, saying there were challenges with Paddy all over the country but disclosed that his administration was in discussions with the Federal Government to get two vessels of Paddy from outside for the rice mill to produce for almost a year.

Sanwo-Olu also said four more food hubs were under construction and that seven other locations in other local governments had been identified for new food hubs to be developed.

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EFCC deceived me into admitting N109.4bn fraud – Ex-accountant-general

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EFCC deceived me into admitting N109.4bn fraud – Ex-accountant-general

An ex-Accountant-General of Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, has said he was decieved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to admit his involvement in an alleged N109.4 billion fraud.
Idris is standing trial on a 14-count charge alongside Geoffrey Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited, before a high court of the federal capital territory (FCT) in Maitama.

Idris was arrested on May 16, 2022, by the EFCC over alleged diversion of funds and money laundering.

Halilu Yusuf, the presiding judge, had ordered a trial-within-trial in the matter to enable the court to determine whether all the extra-judicial statements made by the former AGF to the EFCC should be admitted in evidence.

Chris Uche, counsel to Ahmed, alleged that the EFCC had assured the defendant that he would not be subjected to any trial if he gave details that would implicate a former minister of finance and some governors.

Idris urged the court to reject the said confessional statements which he said were obtained in violation of the provisions of sections 15(4) and 17(1) (2) of the ACJA 2015, as his lawyers were not present when he made them and the sessions were not recorded.

But the EFCC’s lead investigator, Hayatudeen Suleiman, denied the allegation.

Suleiman, who appeared as a witness on Thursday, said the statements by the first defendant were obtained voluntarily.

Under cross-examination by Rotimi Jacobs, prosecution counsel, the witness stated that “there was no such deception of promise made to the first defendant”.

“After he was cautioned, he was told that the matter would end up in court. The defendant came along with his legal representative in the person of Gbenga Adeyemi, who witnessed the statement from the beginning to the end and he also signed,” the witness told the court.

“We asked questions which he answered. The 1st defendant voluntarily made the statements and was also notified that it would be used in court for trial.

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Extrajudicial Killing: Court sentences 5 vigilante group members to death

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Extrajudicial Killing: Court sentences 5 vigilante group members to death

For alleged extrajudicial killings of a minor, five vigilance members will be hanged to death in Kano.

The High Court in Kano presided by Justice Dije Abdu Aboki sentenced them to death by hanging for the death of a 17-year-old boy, Ahmed Musa.

The five were attached to Sani Abacha Youth Centre, it was learnt.

They were identified as: Emmanuel Korau, Elisha Ayuba, Irimiya Timothy, Auwalu Jafar and Mustapha Haladu. They all denied committing the offence.

The prosecution lead counsel, Barrister Lamido Abba Soron Dinki, said the convicts committed the offence on 22nd Jan. 2022 at Sabon Titi, Panshekara, Kumbotso local government area.

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Dinki explained that on the same date at about 10am the Convicts conspired and attacked the deceased while he was crossing Sabon Titi, Panshekara Road.

The prosecution counsel told the court that the defendants came out from a tricycle and started beating the deceased with a long club.

The prosecutor said the offence contravened the provision of section 97 and 221(b) of the Penal Code

“In the process, the first defendant used a long sharp knife and stabbed the deceased on his neck and dragged him on the ground, put him in the tricycle and took him away.

“As a result the deceased sustained grievous injuries and swollen face.

“The victim was later taken to Kuntau Police Division Kano and was rushed to Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital Kano, where he died,” he said.

The judge agreed with the prosecutor, saying: “I hereby sentence the five defendants to death by hanging.”

Extrajudicial Killing: Court sentences 5 vigilante group members to death

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