As of April 4, there were almost 8,500 deaths from Covid-19 in the US, with most in New York state – the epicenter of the outbreak.
On the same day, New York state recorded 630 more Covid-19 deaths, another daily record that takes its toll to 3,565. New York state now has almost as many cases – over 113,000 – as the whole of Italy.
The president gave a candid assessment of what lies ahead for the US in the coming weeks.
He said: “This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week, and there will be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done but there will be death.”
To support states in their fight against Covid-19, President Trump said his administration would be deploying a “tremendous amount of military, thousands of soldiers, medical workers, professionals”.
The military personnel will “soon” be advised of their assignments, the president said, adding that “1,000 military personnel” were being deployed to New York City.
President Trump also addressed his use of the Defense Production Act, a Korean-War-era law which gives him powers to control the production and supply of US-made medical products.
He said he was “very disappointed” with 3M, a US company that makes masks, saying it “should be taking care of our country” instead of selling to others.
However, the president rejected accusations that the US had committed an act of “modern piracy” by redirecting 200,000 Germany-bound masks for its own use.
On the question of easing social-distancing restrictions, President Trump reiterated a familiar theme.
President Trump has said: “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”
Elsewhere in the world, there has been cause for optimism as the number of new infections and deaths from coronavirus has started to gradually diminish.
Globally, more than 60,000 people have died and more than 1.1 million have been infected, Johns Hopkins University says.
President Donald Trump has said he will not wear a face mask despite new medical guidelines advising Americans to do so.
He said he could not see himself greeting “presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens” in the Oval Office while wearing one.
President Trump stressed that the guidance released on April 3 was “voluntary”.
“You do not have to do it,” he said.
“I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”
The guidelines issued by the CDC came as the US reported more than 1,100 deaths in a single day – the highest total for a 24-hour period anywhere in the world.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has so far confirmed 278,458 cases of Covid-19 and more than 7,000 deaths.
New York state remains the worst affected area, with nearly 3,000 deaths, and state governor Andrew Cuomo has appealed for help from other parts of the US.
Until now, US health authorities had said that only the sick, or those caring for patients of coronavirus, should wear masks, but newer studies suggest that covering up one’s face is important to prevent inadvertent transmission.
President Trump said on April 2: “From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood.”
However, the president told reporters after announcing the CDC’s new guidance: “I just don’t want to do it myself.”
“Sitting in the Oval Office… I somehow don’t see it for myself.”
Americans are now advised to use clean cloth or fabric to cover their faces whilst in public. Officials have stressed that medical masks remain in short supply, and should be left for healthcare workers.
The CDC guidance comes as the number of cases globally climbs past one million.
President Trump announced the guidance at the White House daily coronavirus briefing, but repeatedly emphasized that the advisory was “voluntary”.
US infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said that “as sobering a number as that [100,000] is, we should be prepared for it. Is it going to be that much? I hope not and the more we push on mitigation the less likely it would be that number.
“But being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves… it will be difficult – no one is denying we are going through a very difficult time right now.”
President Donald Trump is expected to help businesses in America by allowing them to delay payments on certain tariffs.
The US imposes tariffs – fees for importing certain products from overseas – on a raft of goods, including steel from China.
However, the president is expected to waive payment of these fees for 90 days to help improve US companies’ cashflows as they struggle with lockdowns.
The 90-day breathing space will apply to specific goods from “most-favored nations”, although these are not expected to include imports from China or Europe.
Around 400 chief executives of small, medium, and large companies in the US urged President Trump in a letter on March 31 to delay the collection of these fees for up to 180 days.
The cash would normally be paid direct to the US government.
The US last week became the country with the most reported cases, ahead of Italy and China.
Speaking during the latest Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House on March 29, President Trump said that measures such as social distancing were “the way you win”, adding that the US “will be well on our way to recovery” by June.
Suggesting that the “peak” of death rates in the US was likely to hit in two weeks, President Trump said that “nothing would be worse than declaring victory before victory is won – that would be the greatest loss of all”.
Analysts suggest that when President Trump referred to a peak in the “death rate”, he probably meant the total number of recorded infections.
President Trump has signed into law the largest-ever US financial stimulus package, worth $2 trillion, as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
The House of Representatives passed the cross-party bill two days after the Senate debated its provisions.
On March 25, the number of Americans filing for unemployment surged to a record high of 3.3 million people.
As of March 27, the US has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 100,000 positive tests.
No Democratic lawmakers were invited to the historic signing ceremony, which was held at the White House, though the president thanked both parties “for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first”.
President Trump said the package was “twice as large” as any prior relief bill.
He said: “This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses.”
Just before signing the act into law, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), which gives the president the power to force private industries to create items required for national defense.
President Trump said the order will compel General Motors (GM) to manufacture much-needed medical ventilators for the federal government.
Earlier in the day, President Trump tweeted that GM had promised to “give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, very quickly “.
“Now they are saying it will only be 6,000, in late April, and they want top dollar,” he said, threatening to invoke the DPA.
During the bill signing, President Trump said that “tremendous [medical] supplies” would be coming soon, adding: “We’ve had great results on just about everything we’re talking about.”
On March 27, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced eight temporary hospitals to meet an expected surge in cases.
He said 519 people had died in the state – the worst-hit in the US – and there were 44,635 confirmed cases.
Democrats and Republicans in the Democratic-led House approved the stimulus package by voice vote on March 27 following a three-hour debate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “Our nation faces an economic and health emergency of historic proportions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the worst pandemic in over 100 years.”
Members of the House had been ready to conduct the vote at their homes but were forced to return to Washington at the last minute after a Republican representative from Kentucky demanded a quorum of half the chamber be present.
Thomas Massie – who objected to the stimulus package saying it contained too much spending – also sought to delay proceedings by demanding a formal recorded vote, as opposed to a voice vote, but was overruled.
President Trump vented his fury at Thomas Massie on Twitter, calling him a “third-rate grandstander” and demanding he be thrown out of the Republican party.
The new law enables direct payments to individuals and companies whose livelihoods and businesses have been affected by the pandemic.
It seeks to deliver $1,200 to every American earning less than $75,000 per year and $500 to the parents of every child.
The law also gives money directly to state governments, and bolsters the unemployment benefits program.
Under the law, jobless benefits will be extended to those not normally covered, such as freelancers and workers in the gig economy.
It also offers loans and tax breaks to companies that face going out of business, as one in every four Americans is ordered to remain at home and only go outside for essential needs.
Officials across the US have closed restaurants, bars, cinemas, hotels and gyms in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Auto companies have halted production and air travel has fallen dramatically. According to economists, a fifth of the US workforce is on some form of lockdown.
With almost 1,500 virus-related fatalities, the US death toll remains lower than those in Italy and China. But there are virus hotspots in New York, New Orleans and Detroit.
Asked how long the emergency will last, President Trump said: “People are talking about July, August, something like that, so it could be right in that period of time where I say, it washes through.”
The president continued: “They think August, could be July, could be longer than that.”
He said he was not considering a national curfew or lockdown, though added: “We may look at certain areas, certain hot spots as they call them.”
President Trump said he had not yet decided to close the US-Canada border, but told reporters it was something the administration was considering.
He also addressed issues of testing, as the US has been criticized for lagging far behind smaller countries in getting tests out to the states.
Officials said on March 16 that a million tests were currently available and more would be coming this week.
“A lot of testing has been going on,” President Trump said, though he also noted that those without symptoms should not get the test.
“Not everybody should run out and get the test, but we’re able to handle tremendous numbers.”
Health officials also said they are due to add 30 million masks to the US supply and are shipping out gear and health workers to bolster local testing efforts.
Asked how he would score his administration’s response to the crisis on a scale of one to 10, President Trump said: “I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job.”
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, who joined the president, issued an appeal directly to millennials, asking them to limit social contact.
She said: “They are the core people that will stop this virus.
“We really want people to be separated.”
Dr. Birx also warned against socializing even if people feel well.
She said: “We know that there is a large group of infected people who are asymptomatic, who continue to spread the virus.”
VP Mike Pence, who is leading the coronavirus taskforce, told reporters he had not been tested yet.
He said: “I’m in regular consultation with the White House physician and he said I’ve not been exposed to anyone for any period of time that has had the coronavirus and that my wife and I have had no symptoms.”
President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to help handle the growing outbreak of COVID-19.
The move allows the federal government to tap up to $50 billion in emergency relief funds.
It loosens regulations on the provision of healthcare and could speed up testing – the slow pace of which has been criticized widely.
There are 1,701 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US, and 41 deaths.
Several states have taken measures to stem the infections rate, including banning large gatherings, sporting events and closing schools.
The new coronavirus originated in China last December, but Europe is now the “epicenter” of the global pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on March 13, as several European countries reported steep rises in infections and deaths.
Italy has recorded its highest daily toll yet – 250 over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,266, with 17,660 infections overall.
The Trump administration has come under recent scrutiny over its failure to provide Americans with widespread coronavirus testing.
The decision on the state of emergency was announced by President Trump in a live address from the White House Rose Garden.
The “next eight weeks are critical,” President Trump said.
What are the measures envisaged as part of the emergency response?
The US Health Secretary Alex Azar and health officials can waive certain laws and license requirements, giving more flexibility to healthcare providers.
Hospitals have been asked to activate their emergency preparedness plans.
Up to 500,000 additional coronavirus tests will be available by early next week, though authorities are not recommending tests without clear need; private labs and vaccine developers will be able to provide five million coronavirus tests within the month, though authorities are not recommending tests for those without symptoms.
Interest on all student loans is to be waived until further notice as a measure to ease the burden for students as universities and colleges across the country shut their doors.
Democrats in Congress and heavily-affected states had been urging President Trump to issue the order, which will also allow more people to qualify for government health insurance.
Urged again to explain why he hasn’t taken a coronavirus test following reports that he has been in the company of people who have tested positive recently, President Trump said he had no symptoms and there was no need for a test. But he added that he was likely to have one “fairly soon”, anyway.
President Trump’s travel ban on 26 European countries, which was met with anger and confusion this week, will go into effect on March 13 at midnight EDT.
The 1988 Stafford Act gives the president alone the ability to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to co-ordinate a national response to “natural catastrophes” within the US.
There are currently more than 30 national emergencies in effect.
President Trump has declared several national emergencies in his presidency, including one last year to redirect military funds to build a southern border wall to prevent illegal immigration.
With Elizabeth Warren’s departure, a Democratic race that began with a record high of female candidates is now effectively left to two male front-runners, who praised her and her campaign.
Asked how she made the decision to drop out, Elizabeth Warren said she returned to the issues that anchored her campaign – the vast costs of student loan debt, healthcare, and childcare that plague millions of Americans.
The former Harvard law professor was vaulted into the political arena more than a decade ago as she pushed for tougher regulation of the financial sector after the 2008 economic collapse.
In 2010, Elizabeth Warren helped the Obama White House set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a Wall Street watchdog agency she championed.
Two years later, Elizabeth Warren rode that momentum to a seat in the Senate for Massachusetts.
Exit polls across the board suggested Joe Biden attracted large majorities of African-American voters, a crucial bloc for the Democratic Party.
Joe Biden, 77, also appears to have won among the type of suburban voters who pollsters say have been turning away from the current president.
If Bernie Sanders, 78, does win California, as the Associated Press news agency projects, he will pick up the lion’s share of the whopping 415 delegates that the Golden State sends to the party convention.
The left-wing senator also won his home state of Vermont, along with Colorado and Utah.
Bernie Sanders had been heavily favored to win Texas, but it was finally claimed by Joe Biden.
In a victory speech, Bernie Sanders lambasted President Trump, but also took a shot at Joe Biden.
He said: “We’re taking on the political establishment.
“You cannot beat Trump with the same-old, same-old kind of politics.”
The next primaries take place on March 0 in Michigan, Washington state, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri and North Dakota, with 352 delegates available.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been one of the president’s fiercest critics – she was the one who first launched formal impeachment efforts last year. President Trump has frequently taunted her as “Crazy Nancy”.
It was the first time the two had come face-to-face since Nancy Pelosi stormed out of a White House meeting four months ago.
Before President Trump began speaking at the podium in the well of the House, he appeared to snub the outstretched hand of Nancy Pelosi, America’s most powerful elected Democrat.
The House speaker, critics noticed, skipped the traditional introduction welcoming the president as a “distinct honor”.
When President Trump accused Democrats of planning to force American taxpayers to provide unlimited free healthcare to undocumented immigrants, Nancy Pelosi was observed twice mouthing: “Not true.”
Nancy Pelosi stunned onlookers by shredding a copy of the president’s remarks as he concluded.
She told reporters afterwards her gesture was “the courteous thing to do, considering the alternatives”.
Nancy Pelosi did rise to applaud the president more than once, including when he promoted his pet project of infrastructure investment, a possible area of bipartisan co-operation.
President Trump struck an upbeat note in a speech lasting one hour and 18 minutes that contrasted sharply with his lament of “American carnage” in his 2017 inaugural presidential address.
In an implicit rebuke to his predecessor Barack Obama, President Trump told his audience: “In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny.
“We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”
President Trump repeatedly swiped at Democrats, including left-wing candidates such as Bernie Sanders, who are vying to challenge him for the presidency.
As is tradition, President Trump invited several special guests, including Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, military veterans and the brother of a man killed by an undocumented immigrant.
In a move certain to infuriate liberal critics, President Trump announced he would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, to firebrand conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who revealed this week he has lung cancer.
First Lady Melania Trump bestowed the honor on an emotional Rush Limbaugh as the president spoke.
A protester was escorted from the chamber while President Trump defended gun rights. It was Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, a student killed in a mass school shooting at Parkland, Florida, in February 2018.
Fred Guttenberg was a guest of Nancy Pelosi.
Each year after the State of the Union speech, a member of the main opposition party is tasked with responding and this year it fell to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The governor accused the president of failing to fix America’s problems.
She said: “Bullying people on Twitter doesn’t fix bridges – it burns them.”
As they did last year, many female Democrats – including Nancy Pelosi – wore white as tribute to the suffragettes who won the vote for US women a century ago.
Several liberal Democratic lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Maxine Waters of California, boycotted President Trump’s address.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she would “not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution”.
Other left-wing Democrats, including Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, walked out during President Trump’s speech.
As is traditional during the State of the Union, one member of the president’s cabinet did not attend the address.
He or she remains at a secret location to make sure the government can continue should calamity befall the nation’s president, vice-president and other top leaders.
This time, that person, who is known as the designated survivor, was Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
Standing alongside Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, President Donald Trump has presented his long-awaited Middle East peace plan, promising to keep Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.
President Trump proposed an independent Palestinian state and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements.
He said his proposals “could be the last opportunity” for Palestinians.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the plans as a “conspiracy”.
He said in a TV address from Ramallah in the West Bank: “I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale, all our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass.”
The blueprint, which aims to solve one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, was drafted under the stewardship of President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Thousands of Palestinians protested in the Gaza Strip earlier on January 28, while the Israeli military deployed reinforcements in the occupied West Bank.
The joint announcement came as both President Trump and PM Netanyahu faced political challenges at home. Donald Trump is the subject of an impeachment trial in the Senate while the Israeli PM on January 28 dropped his bid for immunity on corruption charges. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, said that the timing of the announcement was not tied to any political development, adding it had been “fully baked” for some time.
President Trump’s proposals are:
The US will recognize Israeli sovereignty over territory that Donald Trump’s plan envisages being part of Israel. The plan includes a conceptual map that President Trump says illustrates the territorial compromises that Israel is willing to make.
The map will “more than double the Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem”, where President Trump says the US would open an embassy. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said President Trump’s plan would give Palestinians control over 15% of what it called “historic Palestine”.
Jerusalem “will remain Israel’s undivided capital”. Both Israel and the Palestinians hold competing claims to the holy city. The Palestinians insist that East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, be the capital of their future state.
An opportunity for Palestinians to “achieve an independent state of their very own” – however, he gave few details.
“No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes” – suggesting that existing Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank will remain.
Israel will work with the king of Jordan to ensure that the status quo governing the key holy site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims is preserved. Jordan runs the religious trust that administers the site.
Territory allocated to Palestinians in President Trump’s map “will remain open and undeveloped for a period of four years”. During that time, Palestinians can study the deal, negotiate with Israel, and “achieve the criteria for statehood”.
President Trump said: “Palestinians are in poverty and violence, exploited by those seeking to use them as pawns to advance terrorism and extremism. They deserve a far better life.”
President Donald Trump has threatened Iraq with severe sanctions after its parliament called on US troops to leave the country.
The president told reporters: “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.”
Tensions are high after the US assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.
Meanwhile, Iran has vowed “severe revenge”.
The 62-year-old general spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East and was regarded as a terrorist by the US.
Qasem Soleimani’s remains have now returned to Iran, where mourners packed the streets of Tehran on January 6.
Esmail Qaani, the new head of Iran’s Quds force – which Qasem Soleimani led – has vowed to expel the US from the Middle East.
Iran’s state radio quoted Esmail Qaani as saying: “We promise to continue martyr Soleimani’s path with the same force… and the only compensation for us would be to remove America from the region.”
The air strike that killed Qasem Soleimani also claimed the life of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi military figure who commanded the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah group.
Speaking from the presidential plane, President Trump said that if Iraq asked US forces to depart on an unfriendly basis, “we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before, ever. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame”.
Some 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq as part of the international coalition against the ISIS group.
On January 5, the coalition paused its operations against ISIS in Iraq, and Iraqi lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops to leave.
The resolution was pushed through by the parliament’s Shia Muslim bloc – which is close to Iran.
Meanwhile, Iran has announced it will no longer abide by restrictions imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal, under which it agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
President Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, saying he wanted to force Iran to negotiate a new deal that would place indefinite curbs on its nuclear program and also halt its development of ballistic missiles.
However, Iran refused and had since been gradually rolling back its commitments under the deal.
In a statement, Iran said it would no longer observe limitations on its capacity for enrichment, the level of enrichment, the stock of enriched material, or research and development.
European leaders, from Germany, France and the UK – which were all signatories to the 2015 deal, alongside China and Russia – responded with a joint statement urging Iran to refrain from “further violent action or proliferation”.
President Putin and President Trump have spoken on the phone and in person various times since the latter took office.
Records from the conversations show they have often talked about Syria, as well as nuclear agreements, North Korea and trade.
In December 2017, Vladimir Putin thanked President Trump for another warning from US intelligence agencies, which again apparently prevented a terrorist plot in St Petersburg, according to a White House account.
During that call, the Kremlin said President Putin had promised to reciprocate with information about terrorist threats to the US.
The US and Russian relations plummeted after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from neighboring Ukraine in 2014.
They were also strained when US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Despite this, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have appeared to be on good terms personally – and they have vowed to co-operate on terrorism.
President Trump has indicated he is considering attending the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow next May, after an invitation from President Putin.
A newly-released government email has revealed that the White House sought to freeze aid to Ukraine just 91 minutes after President Donald Trump spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone in July.
The email, telling the Pentagon to “hold off”, was sent by a senior White House official.
In the phone call, President Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden.
On December 18, President Trump has been impeached for abuse of power over the issue.
Democrats say the phone call shows Donald Trump used the office for personal political gain.
A US whistleblower who heard about the conversation raised concerns, which ultimately triggered the impeachment inquiry.
The president was formally impeached by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but is unlikely to be removed from office as the case will go to trial in the Senate, where his Republican party has a majority.
The newly-released email was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity following a court order in a freedom of information case.
The email shows that Mike Duffey, a senior White House official, contacted senior defense officials about withholding Ukraine’s aid just over an hour-and-a-half after President Trump ended a call with President Zelensky on July 25.
The transcript shows President Trump asked Volodymyr Zelensky to “do us a favor” and investigate Joe Biden, currently a frontrunner to be the Democratic candidate in the 2020 White House race, and his son Hunter Biden, who had previously worked for a Ukrainian energy company.
In the email Mike Duffey asks that the Department of Defense “hold off” on providing aid following the administration’s plan to review.
The email reads: “Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute direction.”
In a statement released to media on December 22, Rachel Semmel, a spokeswoman for the Office of Management and Budget, dismissed the characterization of the email.
After 10 hours of partisan debate on the merits of the two impeachment charges against President Trump, the House called for votes at about 20:30 local time.
The first charge is abuse of power, stemming from President Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into his Democratic political rival, Joe Biden.
It passed by 230 votes to 197, almost completely on party lines. Only two Democrats opposed – New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew, who is set to leave the party, and Minnesota’s Collin Peterson.
The second charge is obstruction of Congress, because President Trump allegedly refused to co-operate with the impeachment inquiry, withholding documentary evidence and barring his key aides from giving evidence.
It passed by 229-198. Democrat Jared Golden of Maine voted for the first charge but opposed this.
No Republicans supported impeachment, although ex-party member Justin Amash, from Michigan, did.
Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted “present” on both charges – effectively an abstention. Two members were absent for personal reasons.
Being impeached places President Donald Trump alongside only two other presidents in the nation’s history – Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
House Judiciary Committee has approved two impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, moving the process towards a full House vote.
The articles are expected to be voted on by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives next week.
President Trump is the fourth US president in history to face impeachment.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Donald Trump again dismissed the process as a “sham” and a “hoax”.
Today’s hearing lasted just over ten minutes before the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstructing Congress – were passed by 23 votes to 17.
The vote was delayed after more than 14 hours of rancorous debate. Republicans criticized that decision by Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Nadler, accusing him of pushing back the vote to ensure more TV coverage.
In the abuse of power article, President Trump is accused of soliciting a foreign country to help him politically by trying to force Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into his political rival Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential contender.
The president is also accused of obstructing Congress by failing to co-operate with the House investigation.
Leading Democrats agreed the articles of impeachment described over nine pages. They say that President Trump “betrayed the nation” by acting “corruptly”.
Jerry Nadler made a brief statement to reporters after the vote, calling it a “solemn and sad day” and pledged that the House of Representatives would “act expeditiously”.
However, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz said: “For Democrats, impeachment is their drug.”
Speaking from the White House Oval Office alongside the president of Paraguay, President Trump called the impeachment process “a witch hunt”, “a sham” and “a hoax”.
Donald Trump said Democrats were “trivializing impeachment” adding that they are “making absolute fools out of themselves”.
House Judiciary Committee has unveiled charges against President Donald Trump, a key move in impeaching him.
The first article revealed by committee chief Jerry Nadler accuses President Trump of abuse of power and the second accuses him of obstructing Congress.
The Republican president is said to have withheld aid to Ukraine for domestic political reasons.
Donald Trump has urged the Senate to try him “sooner than later”.
He insists he has done “nothing wrong” and has dismissed the impeachment process as “madness”.
If the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes to approve the articles later this week, they will then be submitted to the lower chamber for a full vote.
If, in turn, the articles are approved by the House, an impeachment trial in the Republican-held Senate will take place, possibly early in January.
The impeachment process was launched after an anonymous whistleblower complained to Congress in September about a July phone call by Donald Trump to the president of Ukraine.
President Trump is alleged to have committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” (a phrase from the US Constitution) on two counts outlined by Jerry Nadler:
The first allegation is that he exercised the powers of his public office to “obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest”, by allegedly putting pressure on Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election;
The second allegation is that “when he was caught, when the House investigated and opened an impeachment inquiry, President Trump engaged in unprecedented categorical and indiscriminate defiance of the impeachment inquiry”, thereby obstructing Congress.
President Trump “sees himself as above the law”, Jerry Nadler said.
“We must be clear, no-one, not even the president, is above the law.”
In the July phone call to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump appeared to tie US military assistance for Ukraine to its launching of investigations that could help him politically.
In return for those investigations, Democrats say President Trump offered two bargaining chips – $400 million of military aid that had already been allocated by Congress, and a White House meeting for President.
Democrats say this pressure on a vulnerable US ally constitutes an abuse of power.
The first investigation President Trump wanted from Ukraine was into former VP Joe Biden, his main Democratic challenger, and his son Hunter. Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company when his father was President Barack Obama’s deputy.
The second Trump demand was that Ukraine should try to corroborate a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the last US presidential election. This theory has been widely debunked, and US intelligence agencies are unanimous in saying Moscow was behind the hacking of Democratic Party emails in 2016.
President Trump railed at the announcement of the charges, declaring again on Twitter that it was a “witch hunt”.
The US and Iran have had an increasingly strained relationship in recent years and share no diplomatic links.
Both countries have thanked the Swiss government for its assistance as an intermediary facilitator.
Xiyue Wang was flown in a Swiss government plane from Tehran to Zurich, and then to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he will undergo medical check-ups before heading home.
Massoud Soleimani was also flown to Zurich and then on to Iran.
Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted photos of himself with Massoud Soleimani after his release.
He was the first to announce the news, via Twitter: “Glad that Professor Massoud Soleimani and Mr. Xiyue Wang will be joining their families shortly.”
In a formal statement, President Donald Trump said Xiyue Wang had been “held under the pretence of espionage”.
The statement said: “Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my Administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas.”
Hua Qu, Mr
Xiyue Wang’s wife, Hua Qu, wrote in statement: “Our family is complete once again. Our son Shaofan and I have waited three long years for this day and it’s hard to express in words how excited we are to be reunited with Xiyue.
“We are thankful to everyone who helped make this happen.”
Princeton University, where Xiyue Wang was studying as a postgraduate, said in a statement it was “overjoyed” with the news of his release and was looking forward to “welcoming him back to campus”.
Xiyue Wang was arrested in Iran in August 2016 as he was leaving the country.
He had been doing research in Iran for a university dissertation and was accused of seeking to gather “highly confidential articles” for US and British academic institutions.
Xiyue Wang was sentenced to 10 years in jail for spying.
Massoud Soleimani was detained in October 2018 on accusations of attempting to export biological materials to Iran in violation of trade sanctions on the country over its nuclear program.
US-Iran tensions have risen significantly in the last two years.
After President Donald Trump took power, the US pulled out of a 2015 treaty that aimed to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is peaceful, but the US voiced concerns about potential weapon building.
President Donald Trump also reinstated sanctions on Iran, which have led to its currency plummeting and inflation soaring.
President Trump’s original announcement came after three women and six children of dual US-Mexican nationality were killed in an ambush in a remote area of northern Mexico.
Following the attack the victims’ community, the LeBarons, petitioned the White House to list the cartels as terror groups, saying: “They are terrorists and it’s time to acknowledge it.”
The move would have widened the scope for US legal and financial action against cartels but Mexico saw it as a violation of its sovereignty.
President Trump has now put the plans on hold.
He tweeted: “All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations.
“Statutorily we are ready to do so.”
However, he said his Mexican counterpart is “a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us,” adding that he was temporarily holding off on the designation and stepping up “joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!”
President Trump did not comment on how long the delay would last.
Mexico’s brutal drug war claims tens of thousands of lives every year, as powerful trafficking groups battle for territory and influence.
In 2017 more than 30,000 people were killed in Mexico, with the murder rate having more than tripled since 2006.
President Donald Trump and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, have set out opposing views ahead of a NATO summit in London.
In an occasionally tense press conference, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron sparred over NATO’s role, Turkey, and ISIS.
President Trump had described Emmanuel Macron’s comments about NATO as “nasty”, but the French president said he stood by his words.
World leaders gathered in London to mark the Western military alliance’s 70th anniversary.
The NATO summit has already been marked by strained relations between Turkey and other member states.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will oppose NATO’s plan for the defense of the Baltic region if it does not back Turkey over its fight against Kurdish groups it considers terrorists.
On December 3, Emmanuel Macron and Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Downing Street in a four-way meeting that also included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the host, UK PM Boris Johnson.
Ties between President Trump and Emmanuel Macron were already strained amid a trade dispute, and after the French president described NATO as “brain dead” last month because, he said, the US commitment to the alliance was fading.
On December 3, President Trump hit back by saying Emmanuel Macron had been “very disrespectful”, adding that France had “a very high unemployment rate” and “nobody needs NATO more than France”.
At a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron later, President Trump was less combative, stressing that the two countries had “done a lot of good things together”. Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, said he stood by his comments.
The two sides then clashed over foreign ISIS fighters who were captured in Syria.
President Trump jokingly offered them to France, saying: “Would you like some nice [ISIS] fighters? You can take everyone you want.”
Sounding stern, Emmanuel Macron said “Let’s be serious” and that ISIS fighters from Europe were “a tiny minority”, and that the “number one priority” was to get rid of the terrorist group.
President Trump then retorted: “This is why he is a great politician because that was one of the greater non-answers I have ever heard, and that’s OK.”
He also criticized NATO countries who were paying less than the NATO guidelines of at least 2% of GDP towards the alliance.
President Trump said he did not want countries to be “delinquent” and pay less than their share, adding: “Maybe I’ll deal with them from a trade standpoint.”
Emmanuel Macron said France – which currently spends 1.84% of its GDP on defense – would reach the minimum, and acknowledged that the US had “overinvested” in NATO for several decades.
However, he added that there were other pressing issues to discuss.
The two leaders also discussed Turkey’s decision to buy a Russian S-400 missile system.
President Trump said they were “looking at” whether to impose sanctions, while Emmanuel Macron asked: “How is it possible to be a member of the alliance… and buy things from Russia?”
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been key allies of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria. However, Turkey views a section of the group – the YPG – as terrorists.
Ahead of his departure for London, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would not approve a plan to defend Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the event of a Russian attack unless NATO recognized the Kurdish YPG militia as terrorists.