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Thursday briefing: Donald Trump – 'a danger to America'

The Guardian - Thu Jan 14 06:22

Top story: ‘A presidency centred on fear, rage and division’

Morning everyone. This is Martin Farrer and these are the top stories this Thursday morning.

Donald Trump has become the first US president to be impeached twice after the House of Representatives voted to send him for trial in the Senate on charges of inciting insurrection in last week’s Capitol riot. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said Trump was a “clear and present danger to the nation we all love” as she presided over a 232 to 197 vote that included 10 Republicans in the yes camp. Their desertion of the party leader made the vote the most bipartisan impeachment verdict in history but Mitch McConnell, the outgoing Senate majority leader, said there was “simply no chance” of concluding a trial in the upper house before Trump leaves office next week. The trial will therefore begin once Joe Biden is inaugurated on Wednesday and will require a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict Trump. Senators would then conduct a simple majority vote to bar him from running for office again. Trump later released a video statement condemning the violence but did not mention his impeachment. Security in Washington has been stepped up again before Biden’s big day with the National Guard encamped in the capital.

Five key takeaways from the impeachment vote include the emerging split in Republican ranks and that the incoming Senate leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, is determined to put Trump on trial. Tom McCarthy considers whether the spell that Trump has held over the GOP has really been broken, or whether Trumpism will survive the humiliating second impeachment. And our Washington correspondent David Smith says it is a fitting finale for “a presidency centered on fear, rage and division”.


Covid immunity – Covid-19 victims who recover from the disease have a similar level of protection against future infection as those who receive a vaccine, giving hope for wider immunity as the number of deaths in the UK topped 100,000. The study by Public Health England of more than 20,000 healthcare workers found that an earlier Covid infection provided 83% protection against reinfection for at least 20 weeks. A PHE expert said it was “good news”, but cautioned that it was not complete protection. As doctors warned that inconsistent supply of vaccines was hindering the rollout across England, the UK daily death toll reached a record 1,564 and took the overall total to 101,160. The UK government is expected to ban flights from Brazil today after a new variant of the disease emerged there, while Scotland has tightened its lockdown with curbs on click-and-collect and takeaways. The fatalities are placing huge strain on morgues and crematoria as the country deals with an epidemic of grief. Tributes to some recent victims of the virus, ranging from hospital consultants to a kebab shop owner, provide a moving reminder of the scale of the pandemic. WHO experts have touched down in China to begin their investigation into the origins of the virus as the country recorded its first death from Covid for eight months. You can catch up with all the overnight developments at our live blog.


Train pain – Rail services will be reduced to 72% of pre-pandemic levels across Britain over the next few weeks as the network continues to adapt to the impact of the virus. The cuts are not as bad as the 50% cut that had been expected with operators focusing on retaining services at morning and evening peak travel times so that passengers such as NHS staff can get to their workplace.


Caught out – The fisheries minister Victoria Prentis has admitted not reading the post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels when it was agreed because she was busy organising a nativity trail. Asked for her reaction when she saw the deal with the EU on Christmas Eve, Prentis told the Lords EU environment subcommittee: “No, the agreement came when we were all very busy on Christmas Eve, in my case organising the local nativity trail.” The SNP called for Prentis to quit after the revelation but Downing Street said the prime minister had confidence in Prentis.


Homeless plea – Campaigners for the homeless have urged ministers to reboot their scheme to eliminate rough sleeping by 2024 after a report found the plans had been put on hold because of the pandemic. It came as a National Audit Office report found that the number of homeless people was eight times higher than official estimates. The Tory candidate for London mayor, Shaun Bailey, has been criticised for suggesting in an interview that homeless people would be able to save up for a deposit to buy a home.


bali
Photograph: KPA/Zuma/Rex Features

Monkey business – Light-fingered monkeys have long-plagued tourists in Bali, but a study of the macaques has revealed that they have learned which items people value the most and will offer most food for in return for possessions. The monkeys’ targets include mobile phones, wallets and prescription glasses, while hairpins and empty camera bags are left alone, researchers found.

Today in Focus podcast

Ugandans go to the polls today to elect a new president. Can a charismatic young musician end three and a half decades of rule by a strongman? Freelance reporter Samuel Okiror has been following Bobi Wine’s campaign to defeat Yoweri Museveni.

Today in Focus

Bobi Wine – the man vying to be Uganda's president

Sorry your browser does not support audio - but you can download here and listen https://audio.guim.co.uk/2021/01/13-68449-20210114TIFbobiwine.mp3

00:00:00

00:24:28

Lunchtime read: Tim Rice: ‘Evita was a bonkers idea’

Tim Rice
Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

As the songwriter prepares to take Jesus Christ Superstar on tour to celebrate its 50th anniversary, he tells Rob Walker why Evita was a “bonkers” idea, his idea for a new musical, and how he baffled the Oscar ceremony with an acceptance speech about the English cricketer Denis Compton.

Sport

England’s Test series in Sri Lanka is under way in Galle with the hosts batting after winning the toss. Follow the over-by-over action here. Jacques Kallis, the legendary all-rounder working as England’s batting consultant, has spoken of his regret at being forced out of a similar position with his native South Africa after their adoption of an affirmative action policy last year. The shocking scale of sexual abuse allegations at Haiti’s national football centre has been documented in a Fifa report that outlines why Yves Jean-Bart has been banned from football for life. Olympic swimming champion Klete Keller has been charged over the invasion of the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob last week. Manchester City are now 14 matches unbeaten, with their 1-0 win over not reflecting the conveyor belt of chances they created. Britain’s Francesca Jones has qualified for the Australian Open, defeating Lu Jia-Jing of China 6-0, 6-1 in just 61 minutes to reach the main draw of a grand slam tournament for the first time. A combative Bernard Tomic insists he has demonstrated his whole-hearted commitment to tennis after “risking his life” to play in the Middle East and successfully qualify for another Australian Open.

Business

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has said “I do not celebrate” banning Trump from the site and that the move was in some ways a failure on the company’s part to promote a healthy conversation online. Silicon Valley firms have faced a reckoning over their role in spreading disinformation but Dorsey has seen the company’s share price fall sharply since the ban. The FTSE100 is due to open flat this morning, while the pound is at $1.364 and €1.122.

The papers

Many of the papers carry news of Trump’s impeachment in their editions, but Covid still leads most front pages. The Guardian splash is “Worst day yet for Covid deaths in Britain as toll passes 100,000”, while the Times goes with the PHE study on immunity: “Covid victims gain immunity”. The Telegraph likes Boris Johnson’s promise of more vaccinations with “PM pledges to ramp up vaccination rollout”, as does the Mail’s lead: “21 million reasons to be hopeful”. The Express is even more effusive in its headline – “Coming soon! Covid jabs round the clock” – and the Sun puns “Full time jab”. The Scotsman has “Half of Scots are worried by 12-week vaccine gap”.

Guardian front page, Thursday 14 January 2021
Photograph: The Guardian

The FT leads on events in Washington – “Trump impeached a second time after insurrection on Capitol Hill” – as does the i with “Impeached … again”. The Mirror chooses to lead on the free school meals row with a story about a teacher delivering food parcels: “A lesson in decency”.

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