US House of Representatives passes non-binding war powers resolution

UNTV News   •   January 10, 2020   •   247

Washington – The US House of Representatives on Thursday approved a non-binding resolution to remind President Donald Trump of the key role of Congress in approving any military attack abroad, the move being an attempt to circumscribe the power of the White House to unilaterally undertake “military action” against Iran.

In a 224-194 vote, the Democratic majority in the House approved a motion designed to demonstrate lawmakers’ unease with the fact that the Trump administration did not notify them prior to the operation on Jan. 3 to stage a deadly drone strike on Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani when he was visiting Baghdad.

Eight Democrats opposed the resolution, while three Republicans voted to support it, so it was not a vote that went strictly according to party lines.

To avoid an expected Trump veto, Democratic legislators used a legal formula known as a “concurrent resolution” that will be considered approved once both chambers of Congress ratify it but does not require the signature of the president, and thus cannot become law.

“Members of Congress have serious, urgent concerns about the administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran and about its lack of strategy moving forward,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had said in a statement prior to the vote on the resolution.

“Our concerns were not addressed by the president’s insufficient War Powers Act notification and by the administration’s briefing” on the matter on Wednesday, she added.

“This is a statement of the Congress of the United States and I will not have that statement be diminished by whether the president will veto it or not,” Pelosi said.

The resolution is based on the 1973 War Powers Act and demands that the president provide a report to Congress within 48 hours of any offensive military action not based on a formal declaration of war.

After sending the report, the chief executive must end any military action within the next 60 days, with a possible 30-day extension, if Congress does not formally declare war or approve a specific authorization for that foreign military action.

The text of the resolution is based exclusively on a possible conflict with Iran, despite the fact that both Washington and Tehran on Wednesday expressed their willingness – at least for now – to back away from a military confrontation.

The resolution specifically states that Congress has not authorized the president to use military force against Iran.

Although Trump did not inform Congress before the hit on Soleimani, he did notify lawmakers before the 48-hour limit demanded by law, but he did so in a confidential document.

Democrats are planning to push forward with a similar resolution next week in the Senate, but the Republican majority there complicates approval of that text, which would urge Trump to end within 30 days any military action against Iran that was not authorized by Congress.

Trump takes a limousine lap before Daytona 500 auto race

UNTV News   •   February 17, 2020

President Donald Trump took a loop around the Daytona 500 racetrack on Sunday (February 16) in the presidential limousine known as “The Beast,” drawing cheers from fans at NASCAR’S most prestigious race.

Ramping up his nationwide re-election effort after his acquittal in the U.S. Senate impeachment trial, Trump served as the grand marshal at the annual National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing event, which takes place in the electoral swing state of Florida.

After his motorcade made its way around part of the track, Trump took a break to take pictures with supporters.

After being driven a full lap in the limo before the race began, Trump delivered the opening line: “Gentlemen, start your engines” at the Daytona International Speedway before a crowd of 100,000.

Previous presidents who attended NASCAR events at the speedway include Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

Florida is one of a handful of U.S. states that swing between Democrats and Republicans in presidential elections.

Trump won the state, where he has golf courses and a home that is now considered his primary residence, in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. (Reuters)

(Production: Pavithra George)

Trump celebrates impeachment acquittal, lashes out at political foes

UNTV News   •   February 7, 2020

US President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump, facing a bruising re-election campaign and possible further investigations in Congress, celebrated his acquittal on impeachment charges on Thursday (February 6) in a speech that drew on White House pomp to underscore the fact that he remained in office.

After walking down a red carpet to a standing ovation from scores of Republican lawmakers, administration officials and conservative media figures in the White House, Trump re-aired old grievances and accused Democrats of staging a “corrupt” effort to undermine his presidency.

“We went through hell unfairly. Did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit. Not purposely. But I’ve done things wrong. But this is what the end result is,” he said as he held up a morning newspaper, with a headline reading “Trump acquitted.”

“And there’s nothing from a legal standpoint, this is a political thing. And every time I’d say ‘this is unfair, let’s go to court’, they say ‘sir, you can’t go to court, this is politics’. And we were treated unbelievably unfairly. And you have to understand, we first went through ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’. It was all bullshit. We then went through the Mueller report,” he added.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday voted to acquit Trump on charges bought by the Democratic-led House of Representatives, only the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached.

The acquittal was Trump’s biggest victory yet over his Democratic foes in Congress, who attacked Senate Republicans for refusing to call witnesses or seek new evidence at the trial. (Reuters)

(Production: Mana Rabiee)

US Senate acquits Donald Trump of Impeachment charges

UNTV News   •   February 6, 2020

US President Donald Trump

REUTERS — President Donald Trump was acquitted on Wednesday (February 5) in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial, saved by fellow Republicans who rallied to protect him nine months before he asks voters in a deeply divided America to give him a second White House term.

The businessman-turned-politician, 73, survived only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history – just like the two other impeached presidents – in his turbulent presidency’s darkest chapter. Trump now plunges into an election season that promises to further polarize the country.

Trump was acquitted largely along party lines on two articles of impeachment approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Dec. 18, with the votes falling far short of the two-thirds majority required in the 100-seat Senate to remove him under the U.S. Constitution.

The Senate voted 52-48 to acquit him of abuse of power stemming from his request that Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the Nov. 3 election. Republican Senator Mitt Romney joined the Democrats in voting to convict. No Democrat voted to acquit.

The Senate then voted 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress by blocking witnesses and documents sought by the House. A conviction on either count would have elevated Vice President Mike Pence, another Republican, into the presidency. Romney joined the rest of the Republican senators in voting to acquit on the obstruction charge. No Democrat voted to acquit.

On each of the two charges, the senators voted one by one on the Senate floor with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.

(Production: Mana Rabiee)

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