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Trump Shows No Contrition for Inciting Mob, Calling Remarks ‘Appropriate’

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President Trump on Tuesday showed no contrition or regret for instigating the mob that stormed the Capitol and threatened the lives of members of Congress and his vice president, saying that his remarks to a rally beforehand were “totally appropriate” and that the effort by Congress to impeach and convict him was “causing tremendous anger.”

Answering questions from reporters for the first time since the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, the president sidestepped questions about his culpability in the deadly riot that shook the nation’s long tradition of peaceful transfers of power.

“People thought what I said was totally appropriate,” Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews, en route to Alamo, Texas, where he was set to visit the border wall. Instead, Mr. Trump claimed that racial justice protests over the summer were “the real problem.”

“If you look at what other people have said, politicians at a high level about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle and various other places, that was a real problem,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s defiance came despite near universal condemnation of his role in stoking the assault on the Capitol, including from within his own administration and some of his closest allies on Capitol Hill.

Earlier, he asserted that it was the impeachment charge, not the violence and ransacking of the Capitol, that was “causing tremendous anger.”

Mr. Trump has been largely silent since Friday, when Twitter permanently suspended his Twitter account. When asked directly on Tuesday morning if he would resign with just nine days left in office, Mr. Trump said “I want no violence.”

He did not address his own role in inciting the mob of Trump supporters. Instead, the president framed himself as a victim, calling impeachment a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”

“I think it’s causing tremendous anger,” he said.

The aim of the trip to the border with Mexico is to promote the partially built border wall, which the Trump administration views as an accomplishment. The president is scheduled to land in Harlingen at 1 p.m. local time, then fly by helicopter the short distance to McAllen. From there, he is expected to visit a portion of the border wall in nearby Alamo, along the Rio Grande River.

Across the street from McAllen airport, pedestrian fences have been placed where the president’s motorcade is expected to travel. Vehicles from the McAllen Police and the U.S. Border Patrol, as well as unidentified unmarked vehicles, patrolled the area ahead of Mr. Trump’s arrival.

At the Aztek Barber Shop in Alamo, Alejandro Silva, 27, said he held nothing against Mr. Trump and did not have an opinion about the border wall.

“But he shouldn’t be visiting now,” said Mr. Silva, a mechanic. “He should leave office and leave everyone alone.”

The president’s supporters were planning two parades on Tuesday in Harlingen and McAllen, but a coalition of anti-border wall activists, led by La Unión del Pueblo Entero, circulated a petition to urge politicians to cancel Mr. Trump’s trip to Alamo.

“We cannot allow Trump to bring his racist mob to the Rio Grande Valley,” said John-Michael Torres, a spokesman for the organizers.

In response to fears, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said in a statement: “I understand that emotions are high on both sides, for or against the President and I hope that if there are demonstrations for or against, that they are peaceful with respect to our law enforcement personnel.”

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Despite Vaccination, Brazil Health Minister Tests Positive For COVID-19 After UN Assembly

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Despite Vaccination, Brazil Health Minister Tests Positive For COVID-19 After UN Assembly

Despite the Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga having received the Covid-19 vaccine, he tested positive for the virus on Tuesday after attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

The assembly was inaugurated by Queiroga’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.

“The other members of the delegation have been tested and are negative,” said an official Brazilian government press release.

Queiroga was the second member of Bolsonaro’s entourage to test positive for the virus since arriving in New York for the UN gathering.

The 55-year-old health minister will remain in the United States for a period of isolation, even though the rest of the delegation has returned to Brazil.

Bolsonaro, who appeared without a mask on several occasions during the trip, has not been vaccinated and repeated that he would be “the last” Brazilian to receive the vaccine.

READ ALSO: Sudan Coup Attempt Fails

Queiroga was with Bolsonaro, who last year survived a bout of the virus, at several events, including a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday.

He was “doing well,” the statement said. He wrote on Twitter that while following “all health security protocols,” the ministry “will continue to take firm action to deal with the pandemic in Brazil.”

Bolsonaro caused a stir on social media after a photograph showed him taking few precautions against contagion while around others in his delegation, as he ate a slice of pizza from a New York street vendor.

The health minister was the only one in the photo wearing a mask, but he had pulled it down under his chin.

Under fire for his controversial handling of the pandemic, which has claimed more than 591,000 lives in Brazil, Bolsonaro opened the General Assembly with a speech in which he made several misleading or inaccurate statements, some of which related to the pandemic, according to AFP’s Factcheck team.

AFP

 

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Sudan Coup Attempt Fails

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Sudan Coup Attempt Fails

A coup attempt in Sudan reportedly failed early Tuesday.

Top military and government sources told AFP that the attempt involved a group of officers who were “immediately suspended” after they

“failed” to take over the state media building.

“There has been a failed coup attempt, the people should confront it,” state television said, without elaborating.

Senior member of Sudan’s ruling body, Taher Abuhaja, said “an attempt to seize power has been thwarted.”

Another senior ruling body member, Mohamed al-Fekki said: “Everything is under control and the revolution is victorious.”

Traffic appeared to be flowing smoothly in central Khartoum, AFP correspondents reported, including around army headquarters, where protesters staged a mass sit-in that eventually led to Bashir’s ouster in a palace coup.

Security forces did however close the main bridge across the Nile connecting Khartoum to its twin city Omdurman.

Sudan is currently ruled by a transitional government composed of both civilian and military representatives that was installed in the aftermath of Bashir’s April 2019 overthrow and is tasked with overseeing a return to full civilian rule.

READ ALSO: German Lawmakers Quiz Merkel’s Likely Successor Over Corruption Charge

The August 2019 power-sharing deal originally provided for the formation of a legislative assembly during a three-year transition, but that period was reset when Sudan signed a peace deal with an alliance of rebel groups last October.

More than two years later, the country remains plagued by chronic economic problems inherited from the Bashir regime as well as deep divisions among the various factions steering the transition.

The promised legislative assembly has yet to materialise.

The government, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, has vowed to fix the country’s battered economy and forge peace with rebel groups who fought the Bashir regime.

In recent months, his government has undertaken a series of tough economic reforms to qualify for debt relief from the International Monetary Fund.

The steps, which included slashing subsidies and a managed float of the Sudanese pound, were seen by many Sudanese as too harsh.

Sporadic protests have broken out against the IMF-backed reforms and the rising cost of living, as well as delays to deliver justice to the families of those killed under Bashir.

On Monday, demonstrators blocked key roads as well as the country’s key trade hub, Port Sudan, to protest the peace deal signed with rebel groups last year.

AFP

 

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German Lawmakers Quiz Merkel’s Likely Successor Over Corruption Charge

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German Lawmakers Quiz Merkel's Likely Successor Over Corruption Charge

A top contender for Angela Merkel’s office as chancellor will on Monday face an investigation into an anti-money laundering agency overseen by his ministry.

The appearance of Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, the frontrunner in the race to succeed Merkel, before the German parliament’s finance committee comes less than a week before Germans go to the polls in national elections on September 26.

MPs from opposition parties will have the opportunity to ask Scholz questions via video link after the finance and justice ministries were raided by prosecutors on September 9 as part of a probe into the Cologne-based Financial Intelligence Unit.

The body, part of Germany’s customs authority tasked with tackling money laundering, is suspected of failing to report potential wrongdoing to the relevant authorities.

Merkel’s conservative bloc has seen a steady decline in opinion polls under unpopular candidate Armin Laschet, allowing Scholz’s centre-left Social Democratic Party to grab a late polling lead.

“Nerves at the SPD are shredded” at the prospect that the scandal could have an impact on the party’s poll ratings, according to German weekly Der Spiegel.

But prosecutors are also under scrutiny over the timing of their raids.

READ ALSO: ECOWAS Gives Guinea Military Deadline To Restore Democracy

The under-pressure conservatives have seized the opportunity to attack Scholz for his involvement in the controversy.

In a televised election debate last Sunday, Laschet said the result of the finance minister’s actions was that “supervision had failed” and accused Scholz of trying to brush the issue under the carpet.

In response, Scholz distanced himself from the unit, saying the raids “had nothing to do with the ministries”, and accused Laschet of asking “dishonest” questions.

Scholz has previously been criticised for the failure of his ministry to heed early warning signs from the payments company Wirecard, which collapsed last year after acknowledging a 1.9-billion-euro ($2.2-billion) hole in its accounts.

The finance minister appeared in front of a parliamentary inquiry into Wirecard earlier this year, where he denied responsibility for the collapse of the company.

On the campaign trail, Scholz has defended his response to Wirecard, saying that he has led an effort to strengthen Germany’s financial watchdog in the aftermath.

“We did what we had to do,” Scholz said when confronted with accusations in a televised debate.
Scholz has also come under fire over Germany’s “cum-ex” tax fraud saga, a complicated share dividend scam that went on for years and is estimated to have cost the state some 5.5 billion euros.

The former mayor of Hamburg has denied putting pressure on the city’s tax authorities after meeting with the owner of a bank implicated in the scandal in 2016.

 

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