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Joe Biden

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President Donald Trump has accepted a formal transition should begin for President-elect Joe Biden to take office.

He said the federal agency overseeing the handover must “do what needs to be done”, even as he vowed to keep contesting his election defeat.

The General Services Administration (GSA) said it was acknowledging Joe Biden as the “apparent winner”.

It came as Joe Biden’s victory in the state of Michigan was officially certified, a major blow to President Trump.

The GSA announcement means the president-elect now has access to top security briefings, office space and government officials as he prepares to take office on January 20.

Joe Biden’s transition website has now changed to a government domain. He will begin announcing the people he wants in the top jobs in his cabinet on November 24.

Biden’s team welcomed the start of the transition process as the Democratic president-elect gears up to be sworn in.

A statement said: “Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

Earlier, Joe Biden unveiled his nominations for his foreign policy and national security team, consisting of old colleagues from his years in the Obama administration.

Joe Biden Wins Georgia Recount by 12,000 Votes

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

CISA Rejects Donald Trump’s Vote Fraud Claims

Joe Biden is set to appoint Anthony Blinken as secretary of state and John Kerry as climate envoy, while Janet Yellen is tipped to be the first female US treasury secretary.

The list of selections came ahead of a formal announcement on November 24. Most of the appointments will require Senate confirmation.

President Trump tweeted as the GSA, which is tasked with formally beginning presidential changeovers, informed the Biden camp that it would start the transition process.

GSA administrator Emily Murphy said she was making $6.3 million in funds available to the president-elect.

President Trump said: “In the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

However, Donald Trump did not concede and went on to repeat unsubstantiated claims of corruption, pledging to keep up the “good fight”. It is worth noting that Donald Trump does not have to concede for Joe Biden to be sworn in as the 46th US president.

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President-elect Joe Biden has won Georgia by 12,284 votes, according to the audit required by state law.

His narrow victory in Georgia will be officially certified by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

It comes as legal efforts by President Donald Trump’s allies to challenge his defeat were dismissed in three other states.

On November 20, Brad Raffensperger said he was disappointed that his party lost but that “numbers don’t lie”.

Joe Biden is set to take office in January as the 46th US president.

His victory margin in the public vote overall stands at more than 5.9 million. His victory in the Electoral College system is projected to be 306 to 232 – far above the 270 he needs to win.

President Trump has so far refused to concede and has made allegations of widespread electoral fraud, without providing any evidence.

The latest defeat comes as he has summoned Michigan state lawmakers to the White House on November 20 ahead of that state’s deadline to certify election results.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany denied that President Trump was holding a campaign “advocacy meeting” with the lawmakers, saying it was instead a routine check-in with local officials.

On November 19, Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger – who oversees the election process – said the hand audit of ballots had not altered Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

He said in a statement: “Georgia’s historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results.”

On November 20, the self-proclaimed Trump supporter went on to say: “Like other Republicans. I’m disappointed, our candidate didn’t win Georgia’s electoral votes.

“I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie. As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”

Donald Trump Continues to Deny Election Defeat

CISA Rejects Donald Trump’s Vote Fraud Claims

Trump Still Planning Legal Challenges in Key States

The Democrats’ victory is their first in a presidential race in Georgia since Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

The recount found the error rate was no greater than 0.73% in any county and Joe Biden’s margin of victory over Donald Trump remained at under 0.5%. The results will be certified on November 20.

Trump campaign senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said the audit had gone “exactly as we expected” because, she said without evidence, the state had recounted illegal ballots.

Gabriel Sterling, a Republican who serves as Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, told CNN on Thursday: “One of the big complaints is these machines somehow flipped votes or changed votes or did stuff. They didn’t, at least not in Georgia. We proved it.”

During the audit this week, nearly 6,000 untallied votes were found – paring back Joe Biden’s lead slightly – but they were the result of human error and not fraud, Gabriel Sterling said.

Officials in Floyd County have fired their election manager over the matter, local media reported on November 19.

He was speaking after a virtual meeting with governors, including Democrats and Republicans, about the coronavirus crisis.

Asked about President Trump’s lack of concession, Joe Biden said the president was sending “incredibly damaging messages… to the rest of the world about how democracy functions” and that he would be remembered “as being one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history”.

Republicans lost their final lawsuit in Georgia as a court rejected their effort to block the results’ certification, which happened on November 20. The judge who dismissed the case was appointed by President Trump last year.

In Arizona, a judge rejected a lawsuit filed last week by the state Republican Party seeking a new audit of ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix – the state capital and largest city.

In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign lost their bid in state court to throw out more than 2,000 postal ballots.

At a briefing on November 19, Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani continued to lay out unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and accusations of electoral fraud.

He railed against the reporting of his team’s legal challenges, saying the media had shown an “irrational pathological hatred for the president”.

Rudy Giuliani also said the campaign was withdrawing its last remaining lawsuit in Michigan. He said it had achieved its aim of stopping the certification of the result in one key county.

“Donald Trump” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump is still planning legal challenges to the results in some key states as Joe Biden has been declared president-elect.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News that it would be wrong for the president to concede because: “There is strong evidence that this was an election that in at least three or four states, and possibly 10, it was stolen.”

The Trump campaign is yet to provide this “strong evidence” but says it plans to lodge lawsuits in several key states on November 9.

In Georgia

A lawsuit was filed in Georgia’s Chatham County to pause the count, alleging problems with ballot processing.

Georgia Republican chairman David Shafer tweeted that party observers saw a woman “mix over 50 ballots into the stack of uncounted absentee ballots”.

On November 5, a judge dismissed this lawsuit, saying there was “no evidence” of improper ballot mixing.

In Michigan

Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by his slimmest margin – just over 10,700 votes – and Joe Biden has been projected as the winner here in 2020.

On November 4, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit to stop the count over claims of a lack of access to observe the process.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying there was insufficient evidence that oversight procedures weren’t being followed.

In Pennsylvania

Rudy Giuliani says further lawsuits will be filed over a lack of access for poll watchers in the state.

Poll watchers are people who observe the counting of votes, with the aim of ensuring transparency. They are allowed in most states as long as they are registered before Election Day.

In some areas this year, there were restrictions put in place before Election Day, in part due to coronavirus pandemic. There are also capacity limits set to avoid intimidation.

A 20-foot perimeter was set in the Philadelphia counting facility but this was challenged and a court ruling on November 5 said it should be reduced to six feet – as long as poll watchers adhered to Covid-19 protocols.

The Trump campaign has filed a federal lawsuit accusing election officials of violating the judge’s order.

Rudy Giuliani said: “Even when a court order was obtained to allow the Republican inspectors to get six feet closer, they moved the people counting the ballots six further feet away.”

However, the election officials insist they behaved properly.

On November 5, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said: “Every candidate and every political party is allowed to have an authorized representative in the room observing the process. Some jurisdictions including Philly are also live streaming, so you can literally watch their counting process.”

Another ongoing case disputes how long voters should be able to provide proof of identification if it’s missing or unclear on their postal ballots. Voters are currently allowed to fix their ballots up to November 12, but the Trump campaign has filed a lawsuit seeking to reduce this deadline to November 9.

The legal challenge in Pennsylvania also centers on the state’s decision to count ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but arrive up to three days later. Republicans are seeking an appeal.

In Arizona

On November 7, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Arizona, claiming some legal votes were rejected.

The case cites declarations by some poll watchers and two voters who claim they had problems with voting machines.

The lawsuit is under review, but Arizona’s Secretary of State said it was “grasping at straws”.

In Wisconsin

The Trump campaign has said it will request a recount in the state “based on abnormalities seen” on Election Day, although this wouldn’t require a lawsuit.

It’s unclear when this recount would take place, since typically these don’t happen until after officials finish reviewing the votes.

Wisconsin’s deadline for this part of the process is November 17.

Columbia University Law School professor Richard Briffault says there was a recount in Wisconsin in 2016 as well, and it “changed about a hundred votes”.

Joe Biden Wins Presidency as Donald Trump Does Not Plan to Concede

In Nevada

The Nevada Republican Party tweeted saying: “Thousands of individuals have been identified who appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from Nevada.”

Donald Trump’s legal team produced a list of people who it claimed had moved out of state but voted.

However, the list alone does not prove a violation of law.

People who leave the state within 30 days before an election can still vote in Nevada. Students from Nevada – who are studying elsewhere – can also vote.

The case is focused on voters in Clark County, but the county’s registrar has said: “We are not aware of any improper ballots that are being processed.”

In a separate case, a federal judge blocked attempts by the Republicans to stop the use of a signature verification machine, rejecting allegations that it wasn’t able to check signatures correctly.

On November 4, Donald Trump claimed voting fraud – without providing evidence – and said: “We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court.”

If the election result is challenged, it would first require legal teams to challenge it in the state courts.

State judges would then need to uphold the challenge and order a recount.

The Supreme Court could then be asked be asked to weigh in.

To date, the 2000 election is the only one to be decided by the Supreme Court.

In 2000, Democrat Al Gore lost Florida – and the presidential election – by 537 votes out of a total of almost six million cast in the state.

This was followed by a highly controversial recount process that lasted over a month – until the Supreme Court ruled to stop recounting and in favor of Republican George W. Bush who became president.

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The US is voting in one of the most divisive presidential elections in decades, pitting incumbent Republican Donald Trump against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The first polls opened from 05:00 EST in Vermont.

Nearly 100 million Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the US on course for its highest turnout in a century.

Both rivals spent the final hours of the race rallying in key swing states.

National polls give a firm lead to Joe Biden, but it is a closer race in the states that could decide the outcome.

Among the first states to begin election-day voting on November 3 are the key battlegrounds of North Carolina and Ohio, followed half an hour later by Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Arizona will follow.

To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college. Each state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.

This system explains why it is possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally – like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 – but still lose the election.

The coronavirus pandemic has hung over the election campaign, with the epidemic in the country worsening over the final weeks of the race. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than anywhere else in the world, and fear of infection has contributed to an unprecedented surge in early and postal voting.

As the nation counts down the hours to the vote, there are fears that pockets of post-election violence could break out.

A new “non-scalable” fence has been put up around the White House in Washington DC. Businesses in the nation’s capital and also in New York City have been seen boarding up their premises due to concerns about unrest.

On November 2, President Trump sprinted through four more battleground states.

In North Carolina, the president told supporters that “next year will be the greatest economic year in the history of our country”. Economists however warn the damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic – the biggest decline in the US economy in more than 80 years – could still take years to overcome.

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Hit Swing States

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Trade Attacks in Critical State of Florida

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

After North Carolina, Donald Trump headed to Scranton, Pennsylvania, the city where his opponent lived until he was 10. At a rally there he reminded his supporters that he won the state in 2016, despite polls suggesting he would lose.

Joe Biden also went to Pennsylvania where he was joined by singer Lady Gaga at a rally in Pittsburgh. Musician John Legend addressed voters with vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

In Ohio, Joe Biden repeated the core message of his campaign, telling voters that the race was about the soul of America. He said it was time for President Trump to “pack his bags”, saying “we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility”.

On November 2, Donald Trump also held rallies in Traverse City, Michigan, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha was rocked by violent protests in August after the police shooting of a black man.

In Traverse City the president asked for the votes of black Americans.

He travelled to Grand Rapids, Michigan for his last rally, the same city where he held the final event of the 2016 election race.

In the last hours of the campaign, Twitter and Facebook labelled a post by President Trump as “misleading”, after he claimed that postal ballots in the key state of Pennsylvania could lead to rampant fraud. They also added a link to a website explaining why mail-in votes were safe.

It came after the Supreme Court allowed Pennsylvania to count postal ballots received three days after the election.

President Trump and his campaign have indicated they will sue to block the move.

Legal fights over ballots have also been unfolding in Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas.

When will we get a result?

It can take several days for every vote to be counted after any presidential election, but it is usually pretty clear who the winner is by the early hours of the following morning.

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President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have been travelling across the nation as the US election enters its closing stage.

Donald Trump visited five battleground states while Joe Biden spoke at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden maintains a solid national lead in the polls ahead of November 3 general election.

However, his advantage is narrower in key states which could decide the result.

More than 90 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.

The election comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 99,000 infections on October 31 alone.

Top virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has sharply criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, drawing a rebuke from the White House on November 1.

President Trump had a punishing schedule on November 1, holding rallies in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia, followed later by Florida – all states where polls suggest a tighter race.

Speaking in Washington, a town in Michigan north of Detroit, President Trump told his supporters that under his leadership “the economy is now growing at the fastest rate ever recorded”.

He predicted he would take the state again as he did in 2016, and said that the state known for its car manufacturing “didn’t have any auto plants four years ago” when he was elected.

He said: “We brought back your car industry. Your car industry was finished. You would have had nothing left.”

At a later rally in Dubuque, Iowa – joined by high-profile supporters like his daughter Ivanka and aide Hope Hicks – President Trump promised secure borders and more conservative judges in the courts.

Addressing Covid-19, the president told supporters they had a choice between a “deadly Biden lockdown” or “a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.

White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Trade Attacks in Critical State of Florida

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

Donald Trump’s comments came after Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post that the US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” in the coming months.

“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,” he told the newspaper.

Joe Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”, while President Trump had a different perspective and was focusing on “the economy and reopening the country”, he added.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said on November 1 that Dr. Fauci’s comments were “unacceptable”, saying that the expert chose “to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent”.

Joe Biden meanwhile headed to Pennsylvania, place of his birth and another key state in the election. President Trump narrowly won there in 2016 but polls suggest Joe Biden is slightly ahead this year.

At a rally in Philadelphia the former vice-president addressed the city’s black community, vowing to address “systemic racism” in the US and attacking the president’s handling of the pandemic – something which has disproportionately affected African Americans.

He said: “It’s almost criminal the way he’s handled it.

“It’s a mass casualty event in the black community and it’s totally unnecessary.”

Earlier in the day Joe Biden also courted Latino voters with a tweet in Spanish, speaking of the separation of migrant families at the border and his response to Hurricane Maria after it hit Puerto Rico.

He tweeted: “President Trump has attacked the dignity of Latino families time and again…This will end when I am president.”

Joe Biden also addressed a report by news site Axios which says the president will declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks as if he is ahead.

“The president’s not going to steal this election,” he told reporters.

Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for encouraging his supporters after some forced a Biden campaign bus to stop on a Texas highway, something the FBI has now confirmed it is investigating.

Donald Trump tweeted on November 1 that in his opinion, “these patriots did nothing wrong.”

The president denied the Axios report, but told journalists before his North Carolina rally that counting ballots after Election Day was a “terrible thing”.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” he said.

Joe Biden’s campaign said he and his running mate Kamala Harris would “fan out” to “all four corners” of Pennsylvania on November 2, joined by their partners and Lady Gaga and John Legend.

On November 1, Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia, another state which President Trump won in 2016 but which the Democratic Party is trying to win this year.

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President Donald Trump and his Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden have held dueling rallies in the critical election state of Florida.

Joe Biden told supporters: “You hold the power. If Florida goes blue [Democratic], it’s over.”

Celebrating soaring economic figures, President Trump said of his rival: “He’s going to lock you down.”

With just five days to go until Election Day, Joe Biden has a solid lead nationally in opinion polls.

However, his advantage looks less assured in the battleground states, such as Florida, that will decide who ultimately wins the White House.

More than 81 million people have already voted, 52 million of them by mail, setting the US on course for its highest electoral turnout rate in more than a century.

On October 29, at a rally in Tampa, President Trump reveled in a new federal projection that the US economy had expanded at an unprecedented 33.1% annual rate in the most recent quarter, following a record 31% contraction in the previous three months during the coronavirus crash.

Florida is a must-win for President Trump and a key opinion poll average shows him just 1.4 points behind Joe Biden, which amounts to a statistical dead heat.

At a 100-minute outdoor rally, President Trump told thousands of people, many of them crowded together without masks: “Joe Biden’s plan is to deliver punishing [coronavirus] lockdowns. He’s going to lock you down.”

“Look, we were compared to Europe,” noted the president.

“‘Germany is doing so well, France is doing so well, everyone’s doing so well.’ No, they’re not doing well.”

While emphasizing Europeans were allies, he continued: “They’re spiking up big, they’re shutting down, they’re locking down.

“I disagree with that because we’re never going to lock down again. We locked down, we understood the disease and now we’re open for business.”

Final Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash over Covid-19 and Race

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

The president was introduced by First Lady Melania Trump, making a rare appearance on the campaign trail. Her biggest applause line came when she said: “We are a country of hope, not a country of fear or weakness, and we have a leader who shows us that every single day.”

Donald Trump had been due to hit another key state, North Carolina, on October 29, but canceled that event in Fayetteville because of foul weather from Tropical Storm Zeta in the area.

The storm reportedly disrupted early voting in another election battleground, Georgia, sparking power cuts in some precincts and toppling trees that blocked off mobile polling sites.

President Trump – who began this month in hospital with coronavirus – is visiting 10 states in the last week of the campaign and will host 11 rallies in the final two days, a campaign official said.

He is hoping that media coverage of his rallies will compensate for his chronic deficit in ad spending as a result of his now-limited campaign coffers.

In Florida alone, according to data from ad tracking firm Kantar/CMAG, Joe Biden and his allies are outspending Donald Trump by more than three to one.

In a potential boost for President Trump, on October 29 he won a rare thumbs-up from an African American celebrity, rapper Lil Wayne, who appeared to endorse him.

Lil Wayne tweeted: “Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done.”

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President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden clashed over Covid-19 and race while trading corruption charges, in their final live TV debate which took place on Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee.

The first debate was a chaotic, insult-filled exchange between the two candidates. But on October 22, the personal attacks were (mostly) out – instead audiences got the chance to hear some of what Biden and Trump had to offer to Americans.

The muted mics probably helped to cool temperatures and the moderator, Kristen Welker, has been celebrated for encouraging a higher standard of debate.

With arguments on coronavirus, race, climate change and corruption, both candidates made it clear how different their visions for the US were.

On the pandemic, Joe Biden would not rule out more lockdowns, while President Trump insisted it was time to reopen the US.

Donald Trump cited unsubstantiated claims Joe Biden personally profited from his son’s business dealings. The Democrat brought up President Trump’s opaque taxes.

Joe Biden has a solid lead with 11 days to go until the presidential election.

However, winning the most votes does not always win the election, and the margin is narrower in a handful of states that could decide the race either way.

More than 47 million people have already cast their ballots in a voting surge driven by the pandemic.

This is already more than voted before polling day in the 2016 election. There are about 230 million eligible voters in total.

In snap polls – from CNN, Data Progress and US Politics – most respondents said Joe Biden had won the debate by a margin of more than 50% to about 40%.

The final debate was a less acrimonious and more substantive affair than the pair’s previous showdown on September 29, which devolved into insults and name-calling.

Following that political brawl, debate organizers this time muted microphones during the candidates’ opening statements on each topic to minimize disruption.

However, the 90-minute debate, moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker, was the scene of plenty of personal attacks between the opponents, whose mutual dislike was palpable.

White House 2020: States Break Early Voting Records

Second Presidential Debate: President Trump Refuses to Take Part in Virtual Debate

In individual closing argument to voters, they offered starkly different visions for the nation on everything from shutting down the US to tackle coronavirus, to shutting down the fossil fuel industry to confront climate change.

Nowhere was the distinction between the two candidates more apparent than in their approach to the pandemic.

Asked about his support for more lockdowns if the scientists recommended it, Joe Biden, a Democrat, did not rule it out.

Donald Trump, a Republican, said it was wrong to inflict further damage on the economy because of an infection from which most people recover.

“This is a massive country with a massive economy,” said the president.

“People are losing their jobs, they’re committing suicide. There’s depression, alcohol, drugs at a level nobody’s ever seen before.”

Donald Trump, 74, declared that the virus was “going away” and that a vaccine would be ready by the end of the year, while Joe Biden, 77, warned the nation was heading towards “a dark winter”.

President Trump said: “We’re learning to live with it.”

Joe Biden countered: “Come on. We’re dying with it.”

He laid blame for the 220,000-plus American deaths as a consequence of the pandemic at President Trump’s door.

“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain president of the United States of America,” he said.

During a back-and-forth on race relations, President Trump said: “I am the least racist person in this room.”

He brought up the 1994 crime bill that Joe Biden helped draft and which Black Lives Matter blames for the mass incarceration of African Americans.

However, Joe Biden said Donald Trump was “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire”.

He added: “This guy is a [racial] dog whistle about as big as a fog horn.”

President Trump brought up purported leaked emails from Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, about his business dealings in China.

However, Joe Biden denied the president’s unfounded insinuation that the former US vice-president somehow had a stake in the ventures.

“I think you owe an explanation to the American people,” said President Trump.

Joe Biden said: “I have not taken a single penny from any country whatsoever. Ever.”

He referred to the New York Times recently reporting that President Trump had a bank account in China and paid $188,561 in taxes from 2013-15 to the country, compared with $750 in US federal taxes that the newspaper said he had paid in 2016-2017 when he became president.

President Trump said: “I have many bank accounts and they’re all listed and they’re all over the place.

“I mean, I was a businessman doing business.”

Image source: Getty Images

A record numbers of voters casted their ballots ahead of Election Day on November 3, state election officials across the US have reported.

More than 22 million Americans had voted early by October 16, either in person or by mail, according to the US Election Project.

At the same point in the 2016 race, about 6 million votes had been cast.

According to experts, the surge in early voting correlates to the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused many people to seek alternatives to Election Day voting.

On October 13, Texas, a state that has relatively tight restrictions on who can qualify for postal voting, set a record for most ballots cast on the first day of early voting.

On October 12, the Columbus Day federal holiday, officials in Georgia reported126,876 votes cast – also a state record.

In Ohio, a crucial swing state, more than 2.3 million postal ballots have been requested, double the figure in 2016.

White House 2020: Joe Biden Criticizes President Trump’s Handling of Covid-19 While Courting Erderly Voters in Florida

Second Presidential Debate: President Trump Refuses to Take Part in Virtual Debate

VP Debate 2020: Kamala Harris and Mike Pence Clash over Coronavirus Pandemic

Reports indicate that registered Democrats have so far outvoted registered Republicans – casting more than double the number of ballots. And of these early voting Democrats, women and black Americans are voting in particularly high numbers. Some are motivated by dislike for President Donald Trump, while others have been energized by racial justice protests throughout the summer following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

However, this early advantage does not mean that Democrats can already claim victory. Republicans, who claim postal voting is vulnerable to fraud, say Democrats may win the early vote, but that Republicans will show up in large numbers on Election Day.

According to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%.

The enormous numbers of voters have led to long queues, with some people waiting for up to 11 hours for an opportunity to vote.

Younger people, who historically have been difficult to get to the polls, appear to be turning out in larger numbers this year. The youth vote may be the highest it’s been since 2008 for the election of Barack Obama – the US’s first black president.

A recent survey by Axios found that four in ten university students said they planned to protest if President Trump wins. Six in ten said they would shame friends who could vote but choose not to.

By contrast, only 3% of surveyed students said they would protest if Joe Biden was elected.

Image source: Getty Images

Vice-presidential contenders Kamala Harris and Mike Pence have clashed over the coronavirus pandemic in their only debate ahead of next month’s election.

Democrat Kamala Harris called President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic “the greatest failure of any presidential administration” in history.

Republican VP Mike Pence said the Democratic Party’s pandemic plan amounted to “plagiarism”.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Trump with 26 days to go to the vote.

Opinion polls indicate President Trump is trailing by single digits in a handful of battleground states that will decide who wins.

Vice-presidents have tie-breaking power in the Senate and are required to step in if a president is unable to perform their duties. Their day-to-day responsibilities vary with each administration, but they typically serve as top advisers and some take on specific policy portfolios.

October 7 meeting was a civil debate between two smooth communicators compared to last week’s belligerent showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which degenerated into insults and name-calling.

Mike Pence did not interrupt as much as the president last week, but when he did, Kamala Harris interjected: “Mr. Vice-President, I’m speaking, I’m speaking.”

The viral moment on October 7 was a fly landing on Mike Pence’s head and remaining there for some two minutes.

Presidential Debate 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Clash in Bitter Debate

The 90-minute TV debate at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City was marked by disagreements over the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic.

The 55-year-old California senator accused VP Mike Pence and the president of deliberately misleading Americans about the lethality of coronavirus.

“They knew, and they covered it up,” she said, adding that they had “forfeited their right to re-election”.

Mike Pence accused the Biden-Harris campaign of copying the White House’s pandemic strategy, alluding to a blunder that ended Joe Biden’s 1987 run for the presidency when he plagiarized a speech by then-British Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Kamala Harris was asked by the moderator whether she would take an approved Covid-19 vaccine distributed ahead of the election.

She said she would not take a jab touted by President Trump without the say-so of medical professionals.

Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, retorted: “The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine if the vaccine emerges during the Trump administration I think is unconscionable.”

The Plexiglas barriers separating the two debaters seated 12ft apart were a vivid reminder of the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans.

President Trump – who is himself recovering from the virus – returned to the White House on October 5 after three nights in hospital, with his opinion poll numbers drooping.

On October 7, the president declared that catching the disease was a “blessing from God” that exposed to him to experimental treatments he vowed would become free for all Americans.

The virus, meanwhile, has spread through the West Wing of the White House and infected figures inside the president’s re-election campaign.

ABC News reported that an internal government memo, dated October 7, said “34 White House staffers and other contacts” had been infected in recent days.

The White House has not yet commented on this.

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President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have clashed over the violence that has erupted at protests in Portland, Oregon.

President Trump blamed the Democrat mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, for allowing the “death and destruction of his city”.

However, Joe Biden said the president was “recklessly encouraging violence”.

A man was shot dead in Portland on August 29 as elsewhere in the city a pro-Trump rally clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.

Portland has become a flashpoint for demonstrations against police brutality and racism since the police killing of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 triggered a wave of national and international outrage.

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Mayor Ted Wheeler warned against people coming to the city to seek revenge amid a flurry of social media posts.

He said: “For those of you saying on Twitter this morning that you plan to come to Portland to seek retribution, I’m calling on you to stay away.”

The mayor also hit back at President Trump’s criticism, saying it was the president who had “created the hate and the division”.

He said: “I’d appreciate it if the president would support us or stay the hell out of the way.”

Some activists have called for Mayor Wheeler’s resignation, saying that he was not capable of resolving the protests.

In a series of tweets on August 30, President Trump said that “Portland will never recover with a fool for a mayor”, and suggested sending federal forces to the city.

He also accused Joe Biden of being “unwilling to lead”.

The president tweeted: “…The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order. The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!”

In response, Joe Biden said in a statement: “[President Trump] may believe tweeting about law and order makes him strong – but his failure to call on his supporters to stop seeking conflict shows just how weak he is.”

Law and order is a major theme of Donald Trump’s bid for re-election, painting the Democrats and their candidate Joe Biden as soft on crime.

Earlier, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Democrats officials in Portland had allowed “lawlessness and chaos” to develop, saying “all options” were on the table to resolve the situation.

Democrats have responded by saying the violence is happening under President Trump’s presidency, and accuse him of worsening the situation with his rhetoric.

Police are investigating the shooting in Portland, which has seen months of demonstrations.

Portland police said in a statement: “Portland Police officers heard sounds of gunfire from the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street. They responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest.”

According to Oregon Live, a “camouflage gear” with “thin blue line patches” was seen next to the body – a common sign of support for the police.

Another image shows police trying to restrain a man who was apparently with the person who was shot.

Police have not identified the dead man or specified whether the shooting was directly linked to the clashes which broke out elsewhere in the city.

The founder of the far-right group Patriot Prayer identified the victim as Aaron “Jay” Danielson, adding that he was “a good friend and a supporter”, the Associated Press reports.

The shooting came amid fights between the Trump supporters and BLM protesters in Portland.

Tension rose after a convoy of some 600 vehicles flying flags and carrying an estimated 1,000 Trump backers gathered at a mall in Clackamas County on the outskirts before entering Portland’s downtown.

According to police, 10 people were arrested over the clashes.

Speaking on the final night of the Republican convention, President Donald Trump has warned Joe Biden will “demolish” the American dream if he wins the White House in November.

The president depicted his Democratic challenger as “the destroyer of American greatness”.

Donald Trump said the Democrats would unleash “violent anarchists” upon US cities.

Joe Biden has a steady single-digit lead in opinion polls over President Trump with 68 days until voters return their verdict.

The end of the RNC heralds a 10-week sprint to Election Day, and the coming campaign is widely expected to be one of the ugliest in living memory.

On August 27, President Trump asked voters for another four years in office, vowing to dispel the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the US economy and quell civil strife ignited by police killings of African Americans.

He accepted the GOP’s re-nomination from the South Lawn of the White House.

Donald Trump said: “This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.”

He added: “Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.”

His reference to the sometimes violent racial justice protests that have swept the nation in recent months came as hundreds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators gathered outside the White House gates.

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Some of their shouts and car horns could be heard on the South Lawn despite new fencing being erected this week along the White House perimeter to keep protesters at a distance.

President Trump said the Democrats at their party convention last week had disparaged America as a place of racial, social and economic injustice.

He said: “So tonight, I ask you a very simple question – how can the Democrat party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?

“In the left’s backward view, they do not see America as the most free, just and exceptional nation on earth. Instead, they see a wicked nation that must be punished for its sins.”

In a blistering attack on his opponent’s decades-long political life, Donald Trump continued: “Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars.”

While President Trump portrayed his challenger as “a Trojan horse for socialism”, Joe Biden’s lengthy record as a political moderate was a hindrance for him as he competed to capture his party’s nomination.

Donald Trump mentioned Joe Biden more than 40 times; the Democrat did not once name Donald Trump in his speech last week, though criticism of the president permeated Joe Biden’s remarks.

Image source Wikipedia

Democrats have announced the House will vote on January 15 on sending articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats she would also name the House managers who will prosecute the case against President Trump in the Senate trial.

Nancy Pelosi has been withholding the articles of impeachment in a row with Republicans over allowing witnesses.

Donald Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House last month.

The president is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

He denies trying to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into his would-be Democratic White House challenger Joe Biden.

President Trump has been touting unsubstantiated corruption claims about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who accepted a lucrative board position with a Ukrainian energy company while his father handled American-Ukraine relations as US vice-president.

The impeachment trial by the Senate will be only the third ever of a US president.

Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans control the chamber 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit him.

Once the resolution is approved, the House managers will walk to the Senate and formally present the articles of impeachment in the well of the chamber, escorted by the sergeant-at-arms. The articles of impeachment will be read out.

On January 14, Senate leader Mitch McConnell met Republican senators behind closed doors to map out the ground rules.

He said the trial was likely to begin in earnest on January 21.

The first couple of days will involve housekeeping duties, possibly later this week.

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Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in to preside, and he will administer an oath to all 100 senators to deliver “impartial justice” as jurors.

Lawmakers may hear opening arguments next week. The House managers will lay out their case against President Trump, and his legal team will respond.

The trial is expected to last up to five weeks, with the Senate taking only Sundays off.

President Trump suggested over the weekend that he might prefer simply dismissing the charges rather than giving legitimacy to the “hoax” case against him.

Moderate Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah have made clear they would oppose any such motion.

On January 14, the White House said the president is “not afraid of a fight” in his trial.

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said President Trump was in fact eager for witnesses to testify that “this man did nothing wrong”.

One of the biggest sticking points between House Democrats and Senate Republicans has been whether testimony will be allowed during the trial.

Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Rounds said on January 14 the Senate’s trial plan will guarantee votes on whether to call witnesses and hear new evidence.

It takes just 51 votes to approve rules or call witnesses, meaning four Republican senators would have to side with Democrats to insist on testimony.

The White House is understood to have identified several possible defectors in the Republican ranks, including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney.

The others are Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is retiring this year.

Republicans say that if witnesses are allowed, they may try to subpoena Joe Biden and his son, and the unidentified government whistleblower whose complaint about President Trump sparked the whole impeachment inquiry.

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Former White House aide Fiona Hill has told the impeachment inquiry that President Donald Trump disregarded the advice of senior advisers to push a false theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

She said the president had instead listened to the views of his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Fiona Hill called the claims about Ukraine a “fictional narrative”.

The inquiry is assessing if President Trump withheld aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

President Trump denies any wrongdoing.

According to a discredited theory, it was Ukrainians or individuals with Ukrainian connections who interfered in the 2016 vote, rather than Russia.

In a phone call with the Ukrainian president, President Trump urged him to look into the claims as well as open an investigation into Joe Biden, one of the main Democratic presidential candidates.

November 21 is fifth and last scheduled day of public hearings by the House Intelligence Committee.

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In her opening statement, Fiona Hill – the former top Russia experts to the White House – accused other Republicans of sowing doubt about Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

She said: “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country – and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did.”

Fiona Hill urged lawmakers not to promote “politically driven falsehoods” that cast doubt on Russia’s interference in US elections.

“This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves,” she said.

During Fiona Hill’s testimony, Democratic lawyer Daniel Goldman asked her: “So is it your understanding then that President Trump disregarded the advice of his senior officials about this theory and instead listened to Rudy Giuliani’s views?”

“That appears to be the case, yes,” she replied.

In her later testimony, Fiona Hill warned that Rudy Giuliani had been making “explosive” and “incendiary” claims about Ukraine.

She said: “He was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would, you know, probably come back to haunt us.

“I think that’s where we are today.”

Fiona Hill testified that she had a couple of “testy encounters” with Gordon Sondland – the US ambassador to the EU who testified on November 20 – over Ukraine, because the ambassador did not keep her informed of “all the meetings he was having”.

US ambassador to Ukraine David Holmes also testified at November 21 hearing.

In his opening statement, David Holmes said that his work at the embassy in Kiev became overshadowed in 2019 by the actions of Rudy Giuliani.

He said: “I became aware that Mr. Giuliani, a private lawyer, was taking a direct role in Ukrainian diplomacy.”

David Holmes added that he was “shocked” on July 18 when an official from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that military aid to Ukraine was being withheld.

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State department official David Holmes has said at the impeachment inquiry that a US diplomat told Donald Trump Ukraine would carry out investigations the president had asked for.

David Holmes said he had overheard this during a call in July between President Trump and the US envoy to the EU, Gordon Sondland.

He said the call came a day after President Trump asked Ukraine to probe ex-VP Joe Biden.

President Trump has dismissed the impeachment inquiry as “presidential harassment”.

The inquiry is investigating whether Donald Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the country’s new President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce a corruption inquiry into Joe Biden, now his rival for the presidency.

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On November 15, President Trump launched a Twitter attack on another witness – former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

He tweeted in the middle of her testimony: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.

“She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”

Asked for her response, Marie Yovanovitch called it “very intimidating”.

President Trump later hit back, arguing his tweets were not intimidating “at all”. He told reporters he had watched part of the impeachment hearing and considered it “a disgrace”.

David Holmes testified behind closed doors before us lawmakers in Washington DC.

The diplomatic aid said he had overheard the phone call between President Trump and Ambassador Sondland in which “investigations” are said to have been discussed.

He said Gordon Sondland called President Trump from a restaurant in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on July 26, 2019.

According to a copy of his opening statement obtained by CBS News, David Holmes said: “Sondland told Trump that [Ukrainian President] Zelensky ‘loves your ass.'”

“I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So, he’s gonna do the investigation?’

“Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it’, adding that President Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to’.”

Observers have drawn attention to the security implications of making the call from a restaurant, potentially exposing the conversation to eavesdropping by Russian intelligence.

David Holmes’ deposition appears to corroborate the testimony given to the impeachment inquiry by US ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor on November 13.

Bill Taylor said one of his aides heard the same chat.

The aide said President Trump had asked about “investigations” and Gordon Sondland had replied that Ukraine was ready to move forward.

According to Bill Taylor, Gordon Sondland then told the aide that the president cared more about the investigation of the Bidens than anything else involving Ukraine.

The call – which Donald Trump has denied any knowledge of – allegedly happened the day after the now-famous Trump-Zelensky phone call.

While giving her evidence, Marie Yovanovitch was alerted to the president’s criticism by the hearing’s chairman Adam Schiff.

Responding directly to Donald Trump’s tweet, in which he appeared to blame her for upheaval in Somalia, Marie Yovanovitch replied: “I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu and Somalia and not in other places.

“I actually think that where I’ve served over the years I and others have demonstrably made things better, you know, for the US as well as for the countries that I’ve served in.”

Marie Yovanovitch’s response was broadcast live during the televised hearing.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic Chairman of the Intelligence Committee overseeing the impeachment inquiry, suggested the president’s tweets could be classed as witness intimidation.

Marie Yovanovitch was removed as ambassador to Kyiv in May, two months before a controversial phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, which is now key to the inquiry.

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry to be unmasked, ignoring a cease-and-desist warning.

On November 7, a lawyer for a whistleblower told the White House that President Trump’s rhetoric was placing his client and family in physical danger.

However, the president renewed his attacks on the whistleblower and lawyer on November 8.

The whistleblower’s identity has so far been fiercely guarded by Democrats.

In August he filed a report that eventually triggered impeachment proceeding against President Trump.

The report expressed concern over a phone call a month earlier in which President Trump asked his Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, a Democratic front-runner for the 2020 presidential election.

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In the letter, sent to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the whistleblower’s lawyer Andrew Bakaj cites many examples of Donald Trump’s “fixation” on the identity of his client in his comments to the media, at rallies and on Twitter.

Andrew Bakaj wrote: “Such statements seek to intimidate my client – and they have.”  

The lawyer continued: “Should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client.”

However, the next day, President Trump launched a fresh attack at the White House.

“The whistleblower is a disgrace to our country… and the whistleblower because of that should be revealed,” the president told reporters.

“And his lawyer who said the worst things possible two years ago, he should be sued, and maybe for treason.”

President Trump may have been referring to the whistleblower’s other lawyer, Mark Zaid, who has been under fire from the president’s allies over tweet posted in 2017 in which he vowed – among other things – to “get rid of him [Donald Trump]”.

Meanwhile, first daughter Ivanka Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press that she did not believe the whistleblower’s identity was “particularly relevant”.

“The whistleblower shouldn’t be a substantive part of the conversation,” Ivanka Trump said, adding that the person “did not have firsthand information”.

Ivanka Trump echoed her father’s view that the impeachment investigation was about “overturning the results of the 2016 election”.

Democrats have said the whistleblower’s identity is immaterial. They argue that the complaint, which alleges abuse of power by President Trump, has been substantiated by witness testimony to the impeachment committees.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives will next week hold televised hearings for the first time in this inquiry.

If the House eventually votes to impeach President Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate will hold a trial of the president.

If President Trump is convicted – which is widely viewed at present as unlikely – he would be removed from office.

A resolution setting out the next steps in President Donald Trump’s impeachment have been published by House Democrats.

The motion sets out a more public phase of the inquiry and hands the lead role in hearings to the chairman of the intelligence committee, Adam Schiff.

The House, controlled by the Democrats, will vote on the measure on October 31.

A White House spokeswoman said the resolution was an “illegitimate sham”.

So far, hearings have been held behind closed doors. This vote to make the impeachment process public is about the procedure, and not a ballot on whether or not to impeach the president.

Meanwhile, Republicans have criticized Democrats for the closed hearings up to this point, in which Republican lawmakers have also taken part. However, Democrats insist they were needed to gather evidence ahead of the public stage of the inquiry, and deny allegations they have been secretive.

President Trump is accused of trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating unsubstantiated corruption claims against his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked with Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

The president denies wrongdoing and calls the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt”.

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On October 29, the impeachment inquiry heard from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a White House official who had monitored a phone call on July 25 between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

That call sparked a whistleblower complaint and led to the impeachment probe.

Col. Alexander Vindman said he was “concerned” by the call as he “did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a US citizen”.

The eight-page document sets out a two-stage process for the next phase of the inquiry.

In the first, the House Intelligence Committee will continue its investigations and hold public hearings. It will have the right to make public transcripts of depositions taken in private.

In the second phase, a public report on the findings will be sent to the House Judiciary Committee which will conduct its own proceedings and report on “such resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other recommendations as it deems proper”.

President Trump’s lawyers will be allowed to take part in the Judiciary Committee stage.

Republicans on the committees will be able to subpoena documents or witnesses – although they could still be blocked as both committees are Democrat-controlled.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said a House vote on the resolution would take place on October 31. She has previously said such a vote is not required under the US Constitution.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, speaking before the resolution was unveiled, said the entire process was a “sham.”

Referring to the closed-door meetings and depositions he said: “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Due process starts at the beginning.”

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Hunter Biden has defended his foreign business dealings amid attacks by the White House and increasing media scrutiny.

The son of former Vice-President Joe Biden – who has had business ties in Ukraine and China in recent years – told ABC news that he had done “nothing wrong”.

However, he admitted to “poor judgment”, leaving him open to political attacks.

Hunter Biden’s foreign work and President Donald Trump’s intervention have sparked impeachment proceedings against the president.

His interview with ABC comes ahead of Tuesday evening’s Democratic debate, where Joe Biden – a 2020 frontrunner – will square off against 11 other presidential hopefuls.

Breaking his silence on his foreign business dealings, Hunter Biden, 49, dismissed claims of impropriety.

“Did I do anything improper? No, and not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever. I joined a board, I served honorably,” he said, adding that he did not discuss such business with his father.

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However, Hunter Biden acknowledged the possible political ramifications of his work, saying his failure to do so previously demonstrated “poor judgment”.

“Did I make a mistake? Well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah,” he said.

“But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.”

Hunter Biden stressed his record on the board of the UN World Food Program and work for US corporations to defend his lucrative role as a board member for a Ukrainian gas company.

He said: “I think that I had as much knowledge as anybody else that was on the board, if not more.”

However, he acknowledged the appointment may have resulted from his father’s clout.

“I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden,” Hunter Biden said.

His foreign business ventures have pulled him to the epicenter of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

President Trump and his allies have claimed that as vice-president Joe Biden encouraged the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor because the prosecutor was investigating Burisma, a gas company that employed Hunter Biden.

These allegations – though widely discredited – were raised by President Trump in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This call has fuelled the Democratic-led impeachment investigation. The inquiry is trying to establish whether President Trump withheld nearly $400 million in aid to nudge President Zelensky into launching an inquiry into the Bidens.

President Trump tweeted: “A big scandal at @ABC News. They got caught using really gruesome FAKE footage of the Turks bombing in Syria. A real disgrace. Tomorrow they will ask softball questions to Sleepy Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, like why did Ukraine & China pay you millions when you knew nothing? Payoff?”

The president has continued to seize on Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and China to stage political attacks against him and his father, charging both Bidens with corruption, without offering specific evidence.

In an interview on October 15, Hunter Biden dismissed the president’s claims as a “ridiculous conspiracy idea”.

Last week, Hunter Biden announced he would step down from the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company.

His lawyer, George Mesires, told media his client had not acquired an equity interest in the fund until 2017, after his father had left office.

Hunter Biden said last week that he would not work for any foreign-owned companies if his father is elected president.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden is being accused of inappropriate touching for second time in just three days, as the leading Democrat mulls a White House bid.

The second woman, Amy Lappos, said Joe Biden had touched her face with both hands and rubbed noses with her a decade ago.

The allegation comes after another woman, Lucy Flores, said on March 29 that Joe Biden kissed her on the back of her head at a campaign event.

Joe Biden has said he did not believe he has ever acted inappropriately.

The former Delaware senator, who served as President Barack Obama’s vice-president between 2009 and 2017, is seen as a possible front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Amy Lappos, a 43-year-old former aide to a Democratic congressman, said Joe Biden touched her inappropriately at a fundraiser in a private home in Hartford, Connecticut, in 2009.

The woman told Hartford Courant the then vice-president entered the kitchen to thank a group of aides, before wrapping both hands around her face and pulling her in to rub noses with her.

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Amy Lappos called on Joe Biden not to run for the White House, saying: “Uninvited affection is not okay. Objectifying women is not okay.”

Lucy Flores was running as the Democratic candidate for Nevada’s lieutenant governor in 2014 when Joe Biden flew in to support her bid.

As she prepared to go on stage, Joe Biden placed two hands on her shoulders from behind, smelled her hair then planted “a big slow kiss on the back of my head”.

Asked about the new allegation, a spokesman for Joe Biden referred reporters to a statement he issued on March 31.

The statement read: “In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort. And not once – never – did I believe I acted inappropriately.”

“But we have arrived at an important time when women feel they can and should relate their experiences, and men should pay attention. And I will,” it added.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama were known for their close friendship, often seen playing golf and attending sports events together. Joe Biden even said that Barack Obama offered him financial help when his son was ill.

For his vice president’s birthday in 2017, Barack Obama posted a photo of the two of them on Twitter, writing that Joe Biden was his “brother and the best vice president anybody could have”.

On April, a spokesman for Joe Biden also accused “right wing trolls” of presenting harmless images of the former vice president interacting with women over the years as evidence of inappropriate touching.

A number of candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have backed Lucy Flores.

Senator Elizabeth Warren said Joe Biden “needs to give an answer”, and Senator Amy Klobuchar said that in politics “people raise issues and they have to address them”.

Some supporters though have defended him. Cynthia Hogan, a former aide to the vice-president, told the New York Times that Joe Biden “treated us with respect and insisted that others do the same”. An ally of Joe Biden told CNN he was not reconsidering a run for the White House following the allegations but stressed he was yet to make a decision.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden appeared to announce his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, before immediately correcting himself.

Joe Biden made the slip while addressing 1,000 Democrats at a dinner in his home state of Delaware.

The democrat said his record was the most progressive “of anyone running for the United-” before correcting himself and saying, “anybody who would run”.

The audience stood up and chanted “run Joe run”, while the 76-year-old crossed himself and said: “I didn’t mean it!”

Addressing party brokers and leaders in the city of Dover, Joe Biden said that it was time to restore the country’s “backbone”, but that they needed political consensus to move beyond what he called today’s “mean”, “petty” and “vicious” political landscape.

“I’m told I get criticized by the new left,” Joe Biden said, referring to a group of popular new left-wing Democrats that includes congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the United- “

The former vice-president then corrected himself, saying: “Anybody who wouldrun.”

As the diners rose to their feet and chanted “run Joe run”, Joe Biden laughed and insisted: “I didn’t mean it!”

“Of anybody who would run,” he continued.

“Because folks, we have to bring this country back together again.”

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Joe Biden, who was vice-president from 2009 to 2017, added that the 2020 election will be the most important vote in a century.

Speculation that Joe Biden would announce his candidacy has reached feverish levels.

If he were to run, Joe Biden would be entering an increasingly crowded race – with 15 other Democrats having already declared their bids.

Among them are senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, who ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke joined the race last week.

VP Joe Biden has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian honor.

President Barack Obama praised Joe Biden for his “faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and your lifetime of service”.

The award comes as both men prepare to leave office when Donald Trump is inaugurated on January 20.

The vice-president has said he plans to stay active in Democratic Party politics.

A visibly emotional Joe Biden stood by as President Obama heaped praise on what he called the “best possible choice, not just for me, but for the American people”.

According to the New York Times, the medal was awarded with distinction.

Image source NBC News

That additional honor has been reserved in recent administrations for just a handful of recipients, including Pope John Paul II.

Barack Obama joked that the internet would have one last chance to mock the pair’s “bromance”.

Joe Biden said he was “part of the journey of a remarkable man who did remarkable things”.

The vice-president said that he had had no idea the award was coming.

“I had no inkling. I thought we were coming over to Michelle for you, Jill and Barack and I and a couple of senior staff to toast one another and say what an incredible journey it’s been.

“Mr. President, you got right the part about my leaning on Jill but I’ve also leaned on you and a lot of people in this room.

“Mr. President, I’m indebted to you. I’m indebted to your friendship. I’m indebted to your family.”

Barack Obama said that Joe Biden’s career was “nowhere close to finished” both at home or abroad.

The vice-president has said he plans to work on policy issues at institutes at the University of Delaware and University of Pennsylvania, and continue his efforts tackling cancer, which claimed his son Beau in 2015.

Joe Biden gave an hour-long interview with media outlets on January 12 in which he strongly criticized Donald Trump for his condemnation of the US intelligence services.

“It is really very damaging in my view to our standing in the world for a president to take one of the crown jewels of our national defense and denigrate it,” he said.

“It plays into, particularly now, the Russian narrative that America doesn’t know what it’s doing.”

However, Joe Biden was full of praise for his successor, Mike Pence, saying he had sent him memos on how to handle certain situations.

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Vice-President Joe Biden has told Donald Trump to “grow up” and criticized his attacks on the intelligence community.

On January 6, Donald Trump will be briefed on allegations that Russia meddled in the US presidential election – claims he has cast doubt on.

Joe Biden said it was “absolutely mindless” for Donald Trump not to have faith in intelligence agencies.

Russia denies hacking alleged to have helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

On January 5, the president-elect questioned how intelligence agencies were confident about the alleged Russian hacking “if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers” belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

In an interview with the PBS, Donald Trump: “For a president not to have confidence in, not to be prepared to listen to, the myriad intelligence agencies, from defense intelligence to the CIA, is absolutely mindless.

“The idea that you may know more than the intelligence community knows – it’s like saying I know more about physics than my professor. I didn’t read the book, I just know I know more.”

When asked what he thought of Donald Trump’s regular attacks on Twitter, Joe Biden said: “Grow up Donald, grow up, time to be an adult, you’re president. Time to do something. Show us what you have.”

Photo AP

The VP went on to call Donald Trump “a good man”.

Joe Biden said he had read a US intelligence agencies report outlining Russian involvement, the details of which are starting to emerge in media.

According to the Washington Post and NBC News citing intelligence sources, agencies had intercepted communications in the aftermath of the election showing senior Russian government officials celebrating Donald Trump’s win over rival Hillary Clinton.

US authorities had also identified Russian actors who delivered stolen Democratic emails to the WikiLeaks website.

NBC News says the alleged Russian hacking targeted not just the DNC but also the White House, joint chiefs of staff, the department of state and large US corporations.

An unclassified version will be made public next week.

Joe Biden said the report clearly details “that the Russians did, as a matter of policy, attempt to affect and… discredit the US electoral process”.

He said the hacking was part of a systematic campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta was among those hacked on the DNC server.

On January 5, the Director of National Intelligence, Gen James Clapper, told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the hack, and said the motive would be revealed next week.

President Barack Obama last week ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US over the alleged hacking. Russia has said it will not reciprocate.

Donald Trump has repeatedly rejected allegations that the Russian government hacked into the computers of John Podesta or the servers of the DNC.

On January 4, the president-elect repeated a suggestion that “a 14-year-old” may have been responsible for the breach.

On January 5, he said he was a “big fan” of intelligence agencies, after months of casting doubt on the Russian link, but later went on to raise questions over how the Democratic Party responded to the security breach.

Last week, Donald Trump said he would announce information about hacking “on Tuesday or Wednesday”, but no announcement came.

Joe Biden will not run for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 White House race.

The 72-year-old vice-president said his family was ready after the death of his son, Beau Biden, earlier this year, but he had now run out of time.

He also said it would be a mistake for Democrats to turn their backs on President Barack Obama’s record.

Democrats seeking an alternative to frontrunner Hillary Clinton had been urging Joe Biden to run.

Though he will not be a candidate, Joe Biden said he “will not be silent”.

“I intend to speak out clearly and forcefully on where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation.”

Joe Biden said any candidate would be making a “tragic mistake” to reject the Obama legacy, and urged an end to political bickering.

“I believe we have to end the divisive, partisan politics ripping apart this country,” he said as he stood in the Rose Garden of the White House, flanked by his wife Jill and President Barack Obama.Joe Biden White House 2016

Repeating a dig at Hillary Clinton that he has made several times this week, he said it was wrong to see Republicans as enemies.

When asked at last week’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said she was proud of making an enemy out of Republicans.

In explaining his decision not to join the race, after three months pondering it, Joe Biden said his family had “reached a point” where they felt they could cope with his third presidential run, but time was now against him.

Beau Biden died from brain cancer in May, another family tragedy for the former Delaware senator after the deaths of his baby daughter and first wife in 1972.

Joe Biden then rose through the Senate ranks and ran for president in 1988 and 2008.

After hearing the news, presidential candidates for 2016 tweeted their well wishes.

Bernie Sanders also tweeted that he supported Joe Biden’s plans to make college free, fight economic inequality and close tax loopholes.

Democratic candidate Martin O’ Malley tweeted that he respected Joe Biden’s decision and that he is “one of the most decent, compassionate public servants our nation has produced”.

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VP Joe Biden has called Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, who killed four marines and a sailor in Chattanooga in July, a “perverted jihadist”, despite no official determination of motive.

Speaking at a memorial service in the Tennessee town, Joe Biden also called the suspect a “perverse ideologue”.

According to authorities, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez acted alone when he attacked two military facilities in Chattanooga.

However, the FBI has said it has not yet been able to establish a motive.

Joe Biden was joined by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and families of the victims for the service, a month on from the July 16 attack.

The vice president alluded to the recent loss of his own son Beau Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware who died from brain cancer in May.

“I wish I were not here,” he told the families.

Photo AP

Photo AP

“I have some sense of how hard it is for you to be here.”

“I didn’t have the privilege of knowing any one of them personally but oh, I knew them,” Joe Biden added.

“Confident, determined, trustworthy, compassionate and always, always loyal. I knew them. They were my son. And so many other sons I know.”

FBI investigators say Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, acted alone in the crime but say they are still unsure whether he was inspired by radical ideology or driven by mental illness as his family has suggested.

“The meaning of their killing is yet unclear, what combination of disturbed mind, violent extremism and hateful ideology was at work, we don’t know,” said Ashton Carter.

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a former engineering student, was shot dead by police after opening fire at a military recruitment centre and later a reserve centre 7 miles away.

Ashton Carter has ordered the military to review its procedures for protecting American troops inside the US and to step up security at recruiting stations.

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President Barack Obama has delivered an emotional eulogy at the funeral of Beau Biden, the son of Vice-President Joe Biden.

Former Delaware Attorney-General Beau Biden died on May 30 from brain cancer at the age of 46.

Beau Biden was seen as a rising star of US politics but suffered from health problems in recent years.

He had intended to run for Delaware state governor in 2016.

Barack Obama said: “Beau Biden was an original. He was a good man. A man of character. A man who loved deeply and was loved in return.”

About 1,000 people – including Bill and Hillary Clinton and numerous other top politicians – attended the funeral at a Roman Catholic church in Wilmington, the largest city in the state of Delaware.

Joe Biden led a procession into the church with his family at the beginning of the service.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Mourners heard Barack Obama describing Beau Biden as a public servant who learned through early tragedy what mattered most and as a result decided upon living “a life of meaning” that would inspire those around him.

“He was a scion of an incredible family, who brushed away the possibility of privilege for the harder, better reward of earning his own way,” the president said.

Barack Obama described Beau Biden as a son, a father, a soldier and a politician who refused to take short cuts in his determination to serve his country and others.

He said that a “cruel twist of fate” killed Beau Biden’s mother and infant sister in a car crash four decades ago and left Beau – three years old at the time – and his younger brother Hunter in hospital.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin was a soloist at the service – he volunteered to perform after hearing that Beau Biden liked the band.

Beau Biden was diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2013 and underwent treatment that was initially successful. However, the cancer recurred earlier this year.