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House lawmakers abandon Ukraine and Israel aid package vote as they head off on recess: Live

Related: Mitt Romney calls Donald Trump’s efforts to stop border resolution ‘appalling’

The House of Representatives has broken up for its winter recess without voting on the $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan passed by the Senate.

The Senate stayed in session last weekend to ensure the bill passed but House Republicans have expressed opposition over its failure to include provisions to address illegal immigration at the US southern border with Mexico, a subject they are incensed about and which inspired them to impeach homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas earlier this week.

The upper chamber moved to pass a standalone bill after an earlier bipartisan deal including border security measures was rejected, allegedly at the insistence of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who believes he can beat Joe Biden in November on that issue and therefore needs it to be kept alive.

The bill that was passed now faces an uncertain future in the House, where speaker Mike Johnson has said he will not bring it up for a vote.

“The Republican-led House will not be jammed or forced into passing a foreign aid bill that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to secure our own border,” Mr Johnson insisted at a press conference.

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Joe Manchin ‘will not run for president as a third-party candidate’

The conservative Democrat from West Virginia will reportedly announce on Friday that he will not run for president as a third-party candidate.

Eric Garcia has the latest.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 17:30

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FBI ‘source’ who made bribery allegations against Biden charged with false statements

The FBI source who claimed to have information regarding alleged bribes paid to President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, has been charged with fabricating the allegations during interviews with federal agents.

David Weiss, the special prosecutor and Trump appointee who is overseeing two federal cases against Hunter Biden, obtained a grand jury indictment in the Central District of California against Alexander Smirnov on charges that he made false statements to federal investigators during his time as a confidential human source for the FBI.

According to the indictment, Smirnov allegedly “provided false derogatory information” to agents about President Biden, who is described in the court documents as “Public Official 1, an elected official in the Obama-Biden Administration who left office in January 2017” and Hunter Biden, who prosecutors describe as “Businessperson 1, the son of Public Official 1, in 2020, after Public Official 1 became a candidate for President of the United States of America.”.

Prosecutors allege that Smirnov made the false allegations to agents in June 2020, when he allegedly told agents about two meetings with an executive from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company which employed Hunter Biden as an attorney and later as a member of its’ corporate board.

Smirnov allegedly told agents that “executives associated with Burisma, including Burisma Official 1, admitted to him that they hired [Hunter Biden] to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems”.

Andrew Feinberg has more.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 17:00

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Kamala Harris echoes Blinken on Navalny death: ‘Russia is responsible’

Here’s the US vice president, attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany, reacting to the news of the slow, drawn-out murder of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a remote prison at the orders of Vladimir Putin, brooding in the heart of the Kremlin.

And, by way of contrast, here’s a reminder of Donald Trump, a matter of days ago, warning America’s Nato allies that he would encourage Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to them if they fell behind on their dues to the military alliance, an organisation that is more vital now than it has been for many a decade.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 16:00

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Will Trump go to prison?

Never a bad time to ask this question these days.

John Bowden offers this answer.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 15:30

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Verdict expected on Friday in Trump’s blockbuster New York fraud case

Judge Arthur Engoron is expected to deliver a verdict in Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud trial on Friday that could see the former president hit with millions of dollars in fines and sanctions.

The justice has already ruled that Trump inflated his wealth on financial statements that were given to banks and insurers to make deals and secure favourable loans.

New York attorney general Letitia James is seeking $370m and a ban on the defendant and his fellow Trump Organization executives from doing business in the state.

A penalty like that could potentially wound the real estate empire that helped Trump craft his image as a savvy billionaire businessman and vaulted him to fame and the White House.

Judge Engoron is set to rule after 10 weeks of testimony from 40 witnesses, including Trump. Closing arguments were held on 11 January. The judge is deciding the case because juries are not allowed in this type of lawsuit and neither James’ office nor Trump’s lawyers asked for one.

The justice is expected to release his decision today, barring unforeseen circumstances that would necessitate a delay, court officials said.

Unsurprisingly, Trump has been raging about his fate on Truth Social, insisting the whole sorry business is just another example of election interference in action.

Here’s more on what to expect today.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 15:00

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Trump claims he deliberately confused Haley and Pelosi

In the same South Carolina rally mentioned earlier, Trump tried to claim that he intentionally confused Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi during a rally address last month when he falsely stated that his rival for the Republican presidential nomination had been in charge of Capitol security in Washington, DC, on 6 January 2021, rather than the then-House speaker.

The former president made the original blunder in New Hampshire on 19 January ahead of that state’s GOP primary – which he nevertheless went on to win – wrongly telling the crowd during an anecdote about the Capitol riot: “Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard, whatever they want. They turned it down.”

The gaffe came a day after Trump had confused Joe Biden with Barack Obama and prompted Haley, whom he has nicknamed “Birdbrain”, to question his mental wellbeing, given that she was not even in DC that day, let alone responsible for its policing.

The mistake also provided an ironic counterpoint to the candidate’s repeated attacks on President Biden, whom he has derided as too old to run for the White House again at 81, even though Trump himself is only four years younger.

But now Trump insists he knowingly mixed-up Haley and Pelosi so as to underline his contempt for both women, complaining about the subsequent adverse press coverage he received by observing bitterly: “It’s very hard to be sarcastic.”

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 14:30

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Blinken warns ‘Russia is responsible’ for Navalny death as world leaders react

US secretary of state Antony Blinken has placed blame for the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny squarely on the shoulders of Russian president Vladimir Putin, leading a string of world leaders who have reacted in horror to the news.

In the hours after Navalny’s death was announced in Russian state media, Blinken reminded reporters travelling with him in Germany that Russia had “persecuted, poisoned, and imprisoned” the anti-corruption activist for decades and said the report of his death, if true, “underscores the weakness and rot at the heart of the system that Putin has built”.

“Russia is responsible for this,” Blinken said.

He added that he and other US officials would be “talking to the many other countries concerned about Alexei Navalny, especially if these reports turn out to be true”.

Kate Devlin and Andrew Feinberg have more.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 14:00

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Naomi Biden rebukes Carlson for Putin interview in wake of Navalny death

The president’s granddaughter has attacked the right-wing broadcaster for his fawning interview with the Russian despot in Moscow last week as the news breaks of the less-than-mysterious death of brave opposition leader Alexei Navalny in an Arctic prison.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 13:30

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House lawmakers leave for recess without voting on Ukraine and Israel aid bill

The House of Representatives has broken up for its winter recess without voting on the $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan passed by the Senate.

The Senate stayed in session last weekend to ensure the bill passed but House Republicans have expressed opposition over its failure to include provisions to address illegal immigration at the US southern border with Mexico, a subject they are incensed about and which inspired them to impeach homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas earlier this week.

The upper chamber moved to pass a standalone bill after an earlier bipartisan deal including border security measures was rejected, allegedly at the insistence of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who believes he can beat Joe Biden in November on that issue and therefore needs it to be kept alive.

The bill that was passed now faces an uncertain future in the House, where speaker Mike Johnson has said he will not bring it up for a vote.

“The Republican-led House will not be jammed or forced into passing a foreign aid bill that was opposed by most Republican senators and does nothing to secure our own border,” Speaker Johnson insisted at a press conference.

(AP)

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 13:00

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Trump boasts about protecting Second Amendment – hours after Kansas City parade shooting

Donald Trump boasted that he did “nothing” to alter the Second Amendment during his time as president – just hours after a mass shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade left one person dead and dozens more injured.

Horror unfolded on Wednesday when gunfire broke out close to Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri.

Police said that 22 were shot including one woman – local radio DJ Lisa Lopez-Galvan – who died from her injuries. Nine children were among those treated for gunshot wounds.

Three individuals, who have not been named, were detained by police for questioning.

Not long after the shooting, Trump appeared at his latest campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday evening – where he was campaigning ahead of the Palmetto State’s upcoming primary on 24 February.

“Nobody took care of our Second Amendment, during that four-year period nothing happened with our Second Amendment,” Trump told his supporters.

He added: “We will protect innocent life and we will restore free speech.”

Some of the deadliest mass shootings in American history took place during Trump’s tenure in the White House from 2017 to 2021.

Joe Sommerlad16 February 2024 12:30


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