Inauguration Day 2021: Trump pardons await on final day as president

U

S President Donald Trump is reportedly set to grant clemency to rapper Lil Wayne on Tuesday in a final wave of pardons and commutations that is not expected to include lawyer Rudy Giuliani or ex-aide Steve Bannon.

Tiger king star Joe Exotic’s lawyers have said they fully expect their client to receive a pardon – and have even ordered a limo for the occasion.

It comes ahead of US President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration on Wednesday. Mr Biden will be sworn in atop a specially built platform. There will be no parade this year, however, and the number of attendees will be reduced.

It has been suggested by figures as diverse as former FBI Director James Comey and former White House advisor Anthony Scaramucci that Mr Biden could pardon Mr Trump in an effort to heal divisions. Previously, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon following his resignation in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

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Melania Trump has made a farewell video

She advised viewers to always choose love over hatred.

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Joe Exotic’s lawyers are confident that the President will pardon him

The Tiger King star is serving 2 years in jail for plotting to kill rival Carol Baskin

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Head of Arab league appeals to Biden over US Israel policy

The head of the Arab League expressed hope that the Biden administration will change President Donald Trump’s policies and launch a political process supported by regional and international parties to achieve independence for the Palestinians.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organisation, told the UN Security Council that a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict “has been marginalised by the main mediator in the peace process”, a reference to the United States.

“This encouraged the Israeli government to intensify its settlement activities and to threaten to take dangerous and destructive steps such as annexing occupied land,” he said.

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Dominion voting systems files lawsuit against Trump lawyer

The company is demanding $1.3bn in damages for spreading “wild” and “demonstrably false” allegations.

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Biden’s national security Cabinet will be bare on day one of presidency

President-elect Joe Biden’s national security Cabinet may be bare on Day One of his presidency, but an inauguration-eve spurt of Senate confirmation hearings suggests that won’t be the case for long.

While the nominees to head the State Department, the Pentagon, Homeland Security and the intelligence community are unlikely to be confirmed by the time Biden takes the oath of office at noon Wednesday, some could be in place within days.

The Senate typically confirms some nominees, particularly the secretaries of defense, on Inauguration Day, though raw feelings about President Donald Trump four years ago led to Democratic-caused delays, except for James Mattis at the Pentagon. This year, the tension is heightened by Trump’s impeachment and an extraordinary military presence in Washington because of fears of extremist violence.

Putting his national security team in place quickly is a high priority for Biden, not only because of his hopes for reversing or modifying Trump administration policy shifts but also because of diplomatic, military and intelligence problems around the world that may create challenges early in his tenure.

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Biden to unveil immigration bill on day one of Presidency

President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on day one of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the US without legal status.

It is a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies.

The legislation puts Mr Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of President Donald Trump’s restrictive policies and mass deportations.

It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years, but it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favoured by many Republicans, making passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.

Expected to run hundreds of pages, the bill is set to be introduced after Mr Biden takes the oath of office on Wednesday.

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Woman arrested over alleged theft of laptop from Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s office during Captiol riot

Federal authorities arrested a woman whose former romantic partner says she took a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

Riley June Williams was arrested Monday, according to a Justice Department official. It’s not yet known when her initial court appearance will be.

The FBI said in an arrest warrant Sunday that Williams hasn’t been charged with theft but only with illegally entering the Capitol and with disorderly conduct.

FBI officials said a caller claiming to be an ex of Williams said friends of hers showed him a video of her taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office. The caller alleged that she intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country’s foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it. The FBI says the matter remains under investigation.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed Jan. 8 that a laptop was taken from a conference room but said “it was a laptop that was only used for presentations.”

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Fire in homeless camp causes US Capitol to lock down

The US Capitol complex temporarily locked down during a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after a fire in a homeless encampment roughly a mile away sent a plume of smoke into the air and caused security concerns in an already jittery city.

The false alarm briefly interrupted Monday’s rehearsal for Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony, a quadrennial exercise in which stand-ins take the roles of Biden and other VIPs and the U.S. Marine Band goes through its paces, including practicing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Wednesday’s performance by Lady Gaga. Rehearsal resumed not long afterward, accompanied by frequent passes by a helicopter patrolling the skies over the Capitol.

Law enforcement officials said there was no threat to the public and the fire was not believed to be a threat to the inauguration. Local firefighters put out the blaze quickly. The evacuation of some participants and the lockdown were ordered by the acting chief of Capitol Police in an abundance of caution, officials said.

But the fast decision to lock down underscores the fear that has gripped Washington since the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters and prompted extraordinary measures ahead of the inauguration. Armed protests planned for this past weekend around the country were mostly a bust, but anxiety is still skyrocketing.

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Donald Trump is reportedly set to lift coronavirus travel bans on most non-US citizens arriving from the UK, Europe and Brazil.

The restrictions are set to end under a new proclamation from the president, who is due to leave office on Wednesday.