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Trump news: House votes to overturn president’s defence bill veto after backing $2,000 checks

Republican accuses Trump of trying to create ‘chaos’

Joe Biden says his incoming administration is being obstructed by the Trump White House as the transition team hits roadblocks from the “political leadership” of national security agencies.

Delivering remarks after being briefed from his security and foreign policy teams, Mr Biden said they have encountered obstruction from both the Department of Defence and the Office of Management and Budget.

The signing on Sunday, at his private club in Florida came amid escalating criticism over his eleventh-hour demands for larger, $2,000 relief checks and scaled-back spending even though the bill had already passed the House and Senate by wide margins. 

Meanwhile, the New York Post, a staunch supporter of the president’s, said in an editorial it was time for Mr Trump to end his “ruinous” attempts to overturn the election.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s up-to-the-minute coverage of all the latest in US politics.

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 09:16
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Trump signs $2.3 trillion Covid relief and government funding bill into law

Donald Trump has finally signed a $2.3 trillion Covid relief and government funding package into law.

The move by the outgoing president ended days of impasse after he initially refused to sign the bill, which includes $900bn in coronavirus relief.

He had branded the bill a “disgrace” – despite raising no objections during negotiations – just days before eventually putting pen to paper.

US correspondent Graeme Massie has more:

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 09:21
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Sanders brands Trump ‘pathologically narcissistic’ over delays to Covid relief bill

Despite failing to raise objections during negotiations, and playing next to no role in securing agreement over the bipartisan bill, Mr Trump at first refused to put his name to the $2.3 trillion bill. 

It was only late on Sunday that he caved, but the delay led to a lapse in unemployment benefits for millions of people.

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 09:45
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Trump makes clear frustrations at Covid relief bill

In his statement announcing he was signing the Covid relief bill, Donald Trump repeated his frustrations that it only provides $600 cheques to most Americans instead of the $2,000 that his fellow Republicans already rejected. He also complained about what he considered unnecessary spending by the government at large.

“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,” Mr Trump said in the statement.

Democrats, who have the majority in the House, immediately vowed to prevent any cuts. Democrats “will reject any rescissions” submitted by the president, said Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey. 

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 10:04
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Asian stocks advance after Trump signs $900B aid package

Asian stock markets rose Monday after President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion economic aid package, helping to reduce uncertainty as governments re-impose travel and business curbs in response to a new coronavirus variant.

Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong advanced as traders returned to work following a three-day Christmas weekend.

Trump signed the measure, which also includes money for other government functions through September, despite expressing frustration that $600 payments to the public weren’t bigger. His signature following last-minute objections helped to clear away uncertainty as reinstated travel and business curbs threaten to weigh on global economic activity.

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Asian stocks advance after Trump signs $900B aid package

Asian stock markets have risen after President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion economic aid package, helping to reduce uncertainty as governments re-impose travel and business curbs in response to a new coronavirus variant

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 10:19
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Republican congressman says party belongs to Donald Trump

Representative Matt Gaetz has fired an ominous warning to Republicans who may be hoping to escape Donald Trump’s increasingly erratic and desperate attempts to overturn his general election defeat to Joe Biden. 

Mr Gaetz, a staunch ally of the US president, on Sunday evening tweeted: “I’m not going back to yesterday’s Republican Party. THIS IS DONALD TRUMP’S PARTY!”

Senior Republicans in Congress have reportedly warned members not to attempt a doomed challenge to the electoral college results next month, amid pressure from Mr Trump to do so. 

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 10:43
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Jake Tapper explains why he won’t have Kayleigh McEnany on CNN show

CNN’s Jake Tapper says he won’t have Kayleigh McEnany on his show because she “lies the way most people breathe.”

The TV journalist criticised the White House press secretary and said she was not able to “acknowledge reality” during an appearance on his network,

Ms McEnany has been Mr Trump’s top spokesperson since April 2020 and is a former paid political commentator for CNN.

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Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 11:20
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China anger over Trump measures bolstering support for Taiwan and Tibet

China expressed anger on Monday after US president Donald Trump signed into law measures to further bolster support for Taiwan and Tibet, which had been included in a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package.

China has watched with growing alarm as the US has stepped up its backing for Chinese-claimed Taiwan and its criticism of Beijing’s rule in remote Tibet, further straining a relationship under intense pressure over trade, human rights and other issues.

The Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020 and Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 both contain language objectionable to China, including US support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in United Nations bodies and regular arms sales.

On Tibet, which China has ruled with an iron fist since 1950, the act says sanctions should be put on Chinese officials who interfere in the selection of the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s successor.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China was “resolutely opposed” to both acts.

“The determination of the Chinese government to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests is unwavering,” he told reporters.

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 11:23
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McConnell praises Trump for signing relief bill ‘quickly’ despite president in fact causing damaging delay

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday evening praised Donald Trump for signing a Covid relief bill the US president attempted to sabotage. 

“I applaud President Trump’s decision to get hundreds of billions of dollars of crucial Covid-19 relief out the door and into the hands of American families as quickly as possible,” Mr McConnell said in a statement. 

In fact, Mr Trump’s last minute opposition to the bill – he claims he wanted to more than double the $600 being handed to Americans – caused millions to temporarily miss out on much needed unemployment benefits.

Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 11:33
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Proud Boys settle in at Washington DC’s oldest hotel and bar

Located five blocks from the White House, the Hotel Harrington is the city’s oldest continuously operating hotel and has a long-standing reputation as one of the most affordable hotels in the heart of the DC. 

But over the past few months, the Harrington has been gaining a new reputation: the Proud Boys hangout.

The militant right-wing organisation that supports Donald Trump, which has clashed in violent street battles with members of anti-fascist groups and others who oppose Mr Trump, has made the Harrington its unofficial headquarters when members come to the city. 

Several hundred Proud Boys recently stayed at the hotel while in town for the 12 December protest of Joe Biden’s election.

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Tom Embury-Dennis28 December 2020 11:49