Toshiba regains Tokyo exchange’s top category amid calls for better governance


TOKYO: The Tokyo Stock Exchange approved on Friday (Jan 22) Toshiba Corp’s return to the bourse’s first section amid calls from some shareholders for better governance at the Japanese industrial conglomerate.

Toshiba, which filed an application for the return in April last year, will move back to the first section on Jan 29. The company has said the return could help lure buying from investors in stock indexes.

The Japanese company was relegated to the second section in 2017 after massive writedowns at its US nuclear power business caused liabilities to exceed assets – a condition for automatic demotion.

The TSE’s decision comes as two large shareholders – Singapore-based Effissimo Capital Management and US hedge fund Farallon Capital Management – demand an extraordinary shareholders meeting for governance-related issues.

Effissimo Capital has called for an investigation in Toshiba’s annual general meeting held last July, at which the company said the voting rights of several shareholders were compromised.

Farallon Capital is asking the firm to seek shareholder approval over what the fund said is a change in investment strategy.

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Five-day 3G, 4G outage in remote community caused by rodents sparks calls for tailored services


A prolonged phone and internet outage at one of South Australia’s most remote Aboriginal communities was likely caused by rodents and has prompted a call for fresh approaches to telecommunications in the bush.

Telstra services went down at Pukatja on January 15 and meant people could not make phone calls nor use EFTPOS and ATM machines.

The outage meant people were unable to buy goods and fuel with bank cards and were unable to withdraw cash.

Services were restored on January 20.

Pukatja is an Aboriginal community on the APY Lands in far north South Australia, 1,400 kilometres north of Adelaide.

Sarah Ken and her husband Joel had to travel 40 minutes to nearby Fregon to speak with the ABC during the outage and said it was making life even harder.

“Living here and being remote is already very challenging. The services are already limited,” she said.

“You expect people to respond very quickly in the city, but out here you can’t have those same expectations.”

Joel and Sarah Ken with their daughter, Kaylah, were without mobile connectivity for five days.(Supplied: Sarah Ken)

Mr Ken, who is from Pukatja, said local people, Anangu, usually only buy food to meet daily needs.

“The way that it affects us more than people in the city is that people don’t really have the ability to store food,” he said.

“Anangu people buy food on the day and eat it on the day, and to be unable to do that is the main way it affects Anangu people.”

Rodents eating lines

Telstra apologised for the inconvenience caused by the outage, which affected both 3G and 4G services, but not NBN satellite services.

A Telstra logo on the side of a building through some trees.
Telstra has apologised for the inconvenience caused by the prolonged outage.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

A company spokesperson said the outage was likely due to rodents eating away at transmission lines.

Chris Cusack, general manager of NBN Local, said more than 20 per cent of premises at Pukatja are connected to the NBN.

Mr Cusack said NBN recently met with representatives from the APY Lands about installing a Sky Muster Plus connection.

“Participation in the project is being considered for the Pukatja community,” he said.

“NBN also plans to visit the area in the coming months to host engagement and educational sessions.”

Needs-based approach

The Pukatja outage prompted fresh calls from a rural telecommunications advocacy group for a tailored approach to services in the bush.

Kristy Sparrow from Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) said services need to be specifically tailored for each community.

“Each community in all of the states and territories around Australia are so very different,” she said.

A group of people look at a satellite as it's being built.
Sky Muster satellites aim to deliver broadband internet services to hundreds of thousands of remote Australians.(Supplied: NBN)

“It could be a high tourist area. If you’re looking at somewhere like Mallacoota in Victoria, it’s only a population 1,000, but in tourist season it grows to 9,000.

“The connectivity options available to that particular community when they’ve got 1,000 people aren’t going to suit where there’s 9,000.”

Ms Sparrow said Aboriginal communities also need special consideration.

“Staff working at local schools and health centres in those communities might be able to access another type of connection that suits their needs.”

Ms Sparrow said people in remote areas could not rely on just one form of phone or internet connection.

“Some of those outages are outside the carriers’ control, so it’s always a wise move for those communities to have a backup connection,” she said.

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South Australia’s Australian of the Year finalist Tanya Hosch calls for Australia Day date change


South Australia’s Australian of the Year finalist says Australia Day should be moved away from January 26 so it can become a public holiday celebrated by everyone.

Tanya Hosch, a Torres Strait Islander woman who is the AFL’s executive general manager for inclusion and social policy, says it is time for a mature debate to permanently change the date.

“I’m definitely one of those Australians who think we’ve got an opportunity for a nation-building moment to change the date that we hold Australia Day on,” Ms Hosch told ABC News presenter Emma Rebellato in an Instagram Live interview yesterday.

“We haven’t celebrated Australia Day on this date for decades and decades and decades — it’s only been about 20 years — so we definitely have an opportunity, I think, to revisit that date.

“Because we have the conversation perennially — like every 12 months, we have the conversation — we have the same debates and the same ideas, but we don’t ever seem to resolve it.”

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Ms Hosch was adopted at three years old by an Aboriginal father and a white mother.

She grew up in the north-eastern Adelaide suburb of Gilles Plains and now lives in the same area.

She was the first Indigenous person, and second woman, on the AFL’s executive leadership team.

Tanya Hosch stands with AFL players, coaches and executives around the AFL’s Yes logo in support of same-sex marriage.(AAP: AFL House)

Unsure about accepting nomination

She said she debated about whether or not to accept the nomination as South Australia’s Australian of the Year.

“When I got notice that I had been nominated for this award, I really needed to think about whether I would accept this nomination,” she said.

“But I think as a mature nation there’s a whole lot of things we have the opportunity to do to build our nation — to make it stronger, to address the sorts of things that often create dissent and pain for people and tap into some significant trauma.

“I think as a country, if we want Australia Day to be a day that is truly unifying for all the stories that make up our nation, then reviewing the date — thinking about it differently — I don’t think there’s anything to fear in that, there’s jut some great opportunities.”

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Role in Adam Goodes documentaries

Ms Hosch championed the first statue of an Indigenous AFL player, Nicky Winmar, and instigated a review of anti-vilification policy within the sporting code.

Ms Hosch also helped to secure an apology from the AFL for former Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes, following the racial vilification he endured throughout the final years of his football career.

Goodes was criticised by some Aboriginal leaders for not pushing for Australia Day’s date to be changed when he was Australian of the Year in 2014.

Ms Hosch worked with the producers of the two 2019 films about Goodes, The Final Quarter and The Australian Dream.

She said the documentaries helped people — including footballers Goodes played against — recognise how long he had to endure the “horrible behaviour”.

“It was a real pleasure, privilege and a great opportunity to work with the filmmakers to say ‘how do I harness this moment?'” Ms Hosch said.

The 2021 Australian of the Year will be announced on January 25.

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Eighteen years and six premiers later, calls for an inquiry into child sex abuse in Tasmania have been answered


Almost 20 years have passed and six premiers have held office in Tasmania since the Greens first called for a commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse in the state.

In November, Premier Peter Gutwein, under increasing pressure as allegations relating to three departments came to light, announced a commission of inquiry to investigate Tasmanian government agencies’ responses to allegations of child sexual abuse.

“Things have gotten to the point where the Government can no longer duck and weave,” said Angela Sdrinis, a lawyer who specialises in child sexual abuse.

“We’ve known for a long time, certainly through my work, that there have been some very serious systemic issues in terms of how the Tasmanian Government has dealt with issues of child sexual abuse.”

The national Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse did not look specifically at Tasmanian government institutions.

A 2004 Tasmanian ombudsman’s inquiry heard from people with stories of abuse dating back to the 1950s.

The allegations that have recently come to light have led to multiple state service employees being stood down, pending investigations.

The royal commission

Justice Peter McClellan and Justice Jennifer Coate on the first day of the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission’s public hearing in 2013.(AAP: Jeremy Piper)

While the pressure in Tasmania came to a head last year, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which delivered its final report in 2017, was a major turning point in Australia.

Social welfare historian, Australian Catholic University Emeritus Professor Shurlee Swain, said it did away with focusing on “bad apples”, a tactic that had been used to shut down previous investigations.

“It’s the only way to bring about change because if you think it’s just the individual bad apple, you’re never going to know who the bad apple is until the behaviour starts to manifest,” Professor Swain said.

“If you look at what is it in this situation, in the institutional situation that creates the environment in which the bad apple, if indeed it is a bad apple, can thrive, then you can identify features that enabled the behaviour to be hidden in the past.”

The royal commission also recommended a raft of legislative changes, which have been adopted by the Tasmanian Government, including removing the time limit for survivors to take civil legal action.

Survivors with civil claims have turned to interstate lawyers with expertise in child sexual abuse matters.

“Pressure from outside lawyers probably has made at least some difference in terms of saying we need to hold the government to account and there appears to be a culture sometimes in Tasmania of not holding the government to account,” Odin Lawyers director Sebastian Buscemi said.

Sebastian Buscemi looks at the camera.
Sebastian Buscemi says no-one really understands the extent of child sexual abuse in Tasmanian government institutions.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

Secrecy more of a problem in Tasmania: lawyer

Ms Sdrinis, whose Melbourne firm opened an office in Hobart in 2018, said that while she had encountered secrecy and cover-ups in other jurisdictions, it seemed to be more of a problem in Tasmania.

“The evidence is that the Tasmanian Government denies right to information requests at a much greater level than other Australian jurisdictions,” she said.

“The fallback position always seems to be deny, deny, deny, and then if pressed provide some information.”

Responding to criticism late last year about the Government’s record on Right to Information requests, Mr Gutwein said the Government “will take whatever steps we need to ensure we can provide a full, frank, open and transparent government that is accountable to the Tasmanian people”.

People Protecting Children president Allison Ritchie said the commission of inquiry was a chance to overcome the secrecy that has existed around institutional abuse for too long.

“There’s a feeling in the community that governments and other authorities just don’t want to get to the bottom of these things,” she said.

“We need to see that that’s not the case, that it’s a no holds barred inquiry that it will go where it needs to to get to the bottom of what’s gone on in this state.”

Allison Ritchie looks at the camera.
Allison Ritchie says the commission of inquiry must take a “no holds barred” approach.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

‘No-one really understands why that was happening’

The commission of inquiry will be the first formal investigation of Tasmanian government institutions’ responses to child sexual abuse allegations.

Education Department documents associated with a civil court case show two teachers who were the subject of numerous complaints, and who were later convicted of child sexual abuse, were moved from school to school.

“No-one’s gotten to the bottom of it, no one really understands why that was happening, who was behind it and how high up it went,” Mr Buscemi said.

‘We have missed 20 years’

Peg Putt was Tasmanian Greens leader and Nick McKim, now a Senator, the justice spokesman when the Greens tried in 2003 and again in 2004 to establish a commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse.

Portrait of woman with out of focus trees in the background
Peg Putt says Tasmania has “missed 20 years” in which it could have tackled the problem of child sexual abuse.(ABC News: Scott Ross)

The then Bacon Labor government, which had established a more limited ombudsman’s inquiry into abuse in state care, opposed the inquiry.

One Liberal — Peter Gutwein — crossed the floor to vote with the Greens in 2003. The Liberals supported the Greens’ 2004 attempt.

“There’s been some sort of development in society where we now begin to recognise that if we don’t uncover this and track it right down to the last little bit, then we’re not going to deal with it, it’s not going to go away, and we have shirked our responsibility to people in society who need our help the most.”

When he announced the commission of inquiry, Mr Gutwein said the current Government was taking decisive action in response to allegations of child sexual abuse.

“I have great faith that our current processes and practices ensure higher safeguards and swifter action than was historically the case,” he said.

“Over a number of years significant systems have been implemented to protect our children and young people.”

Mr Gutwein has released the draft terms of reference for the inquiry and the commission is expected to begin its work early this year.

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Lake Torrens drilling approval by SA Premier prompts Greens calls to change heritage laws


A contentious minerals exploration project in outback South Australia, approved by the Premier, is prompting calls for a change to heritage laws.

Premier Steven Marshall, who is also the Aboriginal Affairs Minister, approved an application by exploration company Kelaray to explore for ore bodies on the surface of Lake Torrens.

The salt lake, part of a national park, is considered sacred by at least four Aboriginal nations but does not have any native title protections.

Kelaray, a subsidiary of Argonaut Resources, made the application under Section 23 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act, which allows the minister to approve the damage or disturbance of sacred sites.

An email obtained by the ABC revealed almost every Aboriginal person consulted on the project opposed it, but Mr Marshall chose to prioritise the project’s potential economic benefits.

The State Government says the drilling will not cause permanent damage.(Supplied: Rebecca Tayler)

The approval has prompted calls from the SA Greens to change the act to give Aboriginal people a greater voice.

“If we’re really going to get serious about reconciliation in this state, I think that act needs to be revisited and done properly this time,” Greens MP Tammy Franks said.

“Not rammed through Parliament in a couple of days, but properly considered and Aboriginal voices heard.

“The review should really listen to Aboriginal people this time.

Government defends decision

Mr Marshall was not available for an interview, but a Government spokesperson defended the Premier’s decision.

“This follows extensive consultation with Aboriginal organisations and people claiming an interest in Lake Torrens,” the spokesperson said.

“The authorisation requires Argonaut to undertake its exploration in accordance with conditions to minimise impacts of the program and to keep interested Aboriginal parties informed on a regular basis of the progress of the company’s work.”

The spokesperson said Mr Marshall also took into account:

  • a history of mineral exploration activity on Lake Torrens and close to its shoreline, with government records indicating the first exploration hole was drilled in 1960
  • the granting of 282 exploration licences over areas of Lake Torrens since the early 1970s
  • Section 23 authorisations approved in 2010 and 2018 by the former government to permit exploration on and in the vicinity of Lake Torrens
  • a separate Section 23 authorisation would have to be sought by Kelaray if exploration led to any proposal to mine at Lake Torrens
A aerial shot of a large salt pan. There is a plane wing in the shot.
The SA Greens want changes to the state Aboriginal Heritage Act.(Supplied: Tony Magor/Department of Environment and Water)

Project on scale ‘never seen before’

SA Labor’s Aboriginal affairs spokesperson, Kyam Maher, defended the 2010 and 2018 approvals that were made when his party was in government.

Mr Maher said those projects were on a smaller scale.

“Very widescale drilling over a very large area and people are concerned that firstly, it is happening, and also what sort of conditions are on there to make sure it’s done sensibly?”

He said heritage concerns and minerals projects needed to be given equal weight.

“Once Aboriginal heritage is destroyed or damaged on such a large scale, you can’t reverse that,” Mr Maher said.

“I think people are more alive to some of the concerns that Aboriginal people and traditional owners have.”

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Northern Australia’s decade-long syphilis outbreak prompts calls for a national response


Australia’s peak medical body is calling for a coordinated national response to bring an end to a syphilis outbreak that has spread through the country for 10 years.

The sexually transmitted infection is easily treatable but has been moving through parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia since January 2011.

It has primarily affected young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and rural areas, particularly Northern Australia.

More than 3,600 people have been diagnosed since the outbreak began, according to federal Department of Health data.

“It was fairly clear that there was a very ineffective response to this very significant disease epidemic across four states,” the Australian Medical Association’s NT president, Dr Robert Parker, said.

“And there was a total lack of coordination from the various states and territories in dealing with it,”

Australia does not currently have a national CDC, but the AMA has been calling on the Federal Government to establish one since 2017.

In a statement, a spokeswoman from the federal Department of Health said a body called the National Framework for Communicable Disease Control, endorsed by the COAG Health Council in 2014, was considered a better option than a national CDC.

Dr Robert Parker has been calling for a national CDC to tackle the issue since 2017.(ABC News: Samantha Jonscher)

Simple to treat, difficult to control

Syphilis can be diagnosed with a blood test and treated with a course of penicillin.

But Dr Andrew Webster, the head of clinical governance at the Darwin-based Indigenous health service Danila Dilba, said the infection can have catastrophic consequences if it isn’t dealt with early.

“It’s a really challenging disease to get on top of because people aren’t necessarily knowing they have the disease until they come to a clinic, get a blood test, and then are identified so we can treat it,” Dr Webster said.

“If left untreated, it can cause tertiary syphilis which can create something that sort of looks like dementia, I guess, in layperson’s terms.”

Syphilis can also be transmitted from pregnant women to their children, with the departmental data confirming at least 10 congenital cases and three deaths across Australia since 2011.

“If this epidemic had occurred on the Queensland-New South Wales border … there would have been a lot of federal interest and intervention.

“Because it’s Aboriginal kids in remote places, the Federal Government really doesn’t seem to care.”

Fears of funding cliff

In 2017, a group of state and federal government health officials developed a strategic approach to deal with the outbreak, which was endorsed by a ministerial advisory council alongside an action plan.

$21.2 million in federal funding was given to Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations to fund extra staff and point-of-care testing until 2021.

John Paterson, the CEO of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT, says the funding is due to expire next month.

He’s questioned what that will mean for screening and education programs in remote areas, which he says already need more resourcing.

“It’s not enough,” he said.

AMSANT chief executive officer John Paterson in Darwin.
John Paterson, AMSANT CEO, says health organisations need more funding to tackle the issue.(ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)

Dr Webster credited the Federal Government for its efforts so far in bringing the outbreak under control, and hoped funding and good relationships with Indigenous health organisations would continue.

The department spokeswoman said the government’s response would be reviewed this year before any further commitments were made.

She said a syphilis medication was also added to the Emergency Drug Supply Schedule in September 2019, and that was intended to treat the infection for Aboriginal populations in non-remote areas in a timely manner.

Indigenous medical groups hope the positive relationships they’ve built with governments during the COVID-19 pandemic response will help streamline the response to other major health issues in the future.

“It’s allowed us to have our input and have a say and ensure that Aboriginal voices are being heard,” Mr Paterson said.

“A very similar model is what we should be striving for to deal with STIs as well.”

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RCMP union calls for clear guidelines on when body cameras can be turned off


The union representing more than 19,000 Mounties is seeking clearer guidelines on when body-worn cameras can be turned off — and tougher penalties for those who make false accusations against officers.

“We believe that body-worn cameras will contribute to a greater level of context, transparency and accountability for both police and citizens,” said National Police Federation president Brian Sauvé in a media statement today.

“We are also aware of very real privacy issues at play and want to be sure that this new tool won’t encumber our members, interfere with their core police work or compromise their safety in any way.”

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki agreed back in June to begin outfitting officers with body cameras — a move that came in response to recent controversies connected to police use of force, accountability and systemic racism. A pilot project is already underway in Nunavut. 

The union released six calls to action on Tuesday, including a demand for RCMP policies and training that clearly state when the body cameras may or must be activated, and why.

“The RCMP must ensure that reasonable expectations of privacy — both for members as well as the public — are respected with regards to policy for the storage and editing of footage and for when the [body-worn cameras] can be turned on and off,” said the union statement.

The RCMP has said it intends to work with the federal privacy commissioner as it rolls out body cameras.

The union is also asking for legal penalties against those who make unfounded claims against officers.

“When legally applicable and appropriate, charges of public mischief should be laid against those who, with intent and in bad faith, make accusations of misconduct against members that are clearly unfounded, as revealed by [body-worn cameras,]” it said.

Unfounded claims are not unheard of, according to the RCMP’s own statistics.

In August, the RCMP said just one per cent of the more than 3,000 allegations it’s received about improper use of force over the past five years have turned out to be founded — although critics have called those figures into question.

Millions set aside for national rollout

The union is also asking for user-friendly equipment and a commitment from the RCMP to not divert members from their frontline duties to deal with hours of bodycam footage.

“Special attention should be paid to the situation of small and remote detachments, who often have limited numbers of support staff, if any,” said the union’s statement.

“We’re supportive so long as this new equipment does not unreasonably add to an already heavy workload or imperil the safety of RCMP members.”

November’s fall economic update included $238.5 million over the next six years, beginning in 2020-21, to outfit RCMP officers with body cameras. After that, the program will be sustained with $50 million in annual funding.

Mary-Liz Power, spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said program funding will equip front line RCMP officers with the cameras and build a digital evidence system to store and manage footage.

Rebuilding trust with racialized, Indigenous communities

She said the government promised to implement a national body-worn camera program for the RCMP to rebuild trust between police and Canadians, including racialized and Indigenous communities.

The program aims to provide more transparency on police interactions and to modernize training with standards on the use of force, she said.

“The level of police intervention that is applied in any situation must be done in the context of a careful risk assessment. This includes making every effort to minimize the use of force,” Power said in an email.

“Most occurrences can be resolved through dialogue, which is why crisis intervention and de-escalation training is mandatory for all RCMP officers.”

A pilot project now underway in Iqaluit equips four on-duty RCMP officers per shift with the body cameras.

Data from the pilot will help guide policy and strategy for a broader rollout, Power said.

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London head calls for students to repeat year instead of trying to ‘patch up’ education


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London headteacher today called for all schoolchildren to repeat the year instead of trying to “patch up” their education.

Alun Ebenezer, head of Fulham Boys School, admitted that keeping every year group back for a year would be “strewn with problems” but said: “Instead of patching things up, we could use the year to consolidate what’s been covered, plug gaps that have grown (maybe over years), have more time to learn content that needs to be taught and send pupils to the next stage (secondary school, GCSE, A-level, university, world of work) with solid foundations in place.”

His comments came as fellow heads called for clarity about what will replace GCSE and A-level exams as they warned that rumours are causing students’ stress levels to rocket.  

Ofqual is to publish its proposals for how teenagers will be assessed this week. According to reports, the consultation will include plans for pupils to sit tests or “mini exams”.

It is believed that the consultation will include plans for pupils to sit these tests in schools, and they will be marked by teachers. If schools do not reopen as planned these will have to be taken at home. There would also be internal assessments set by teachers in some subjects, and the chance for pupils to submit portfolios of work completed in the past two years.

But school leaders today voiced their frustration at the lack of official information about the plans, saying that levels of anxiety and uncertainty among exam candidates and their families is extremely high.

Vicky Bingham, head of South Hampstead High School, said: “Young people and their teachers have been plunged into another period of uncertainty. They need clarity and a sense of purpose. The way in which, from the start of the pandemic, the Government has briefed school leaders on critical developments via leaks to the media is adding to our frustration. Such leaks create further confusion. We are being lied to – there was no proper contingency plan for cancelling exams – and treated with contempt.”

Bethany Dawson, head of Sutton High School said: “It is totally unfair that a cancellation of exams was announced without any further information. This has greatly increased the stress levels amongst pupils in Year 11 and 13 and they are being further confused by the various reports and rumours of different plans.  

“I hope that Ofqual will engage with schools in a meaningful way over the coming weeks to consult clearly on the way forward, so that our pupils are very quickly reassured and informed about how their grades will be decided this year.”

Emma Pattison, head of Croydon High School said: “The situation with examinations for summer 2021 is leaving pupils and parents confused and worried. I am sure I am not alone in feeling incandescent at the position pupils in Year 11 and 13 have been left in. This is the most important year in their academic careers so far and the lack of clarity and certainty at this stage is unacceptable.  

“Before Christmas, the department for education and Ofqual wanted to offer examinations come hell or high water and that was appreciated and laudable. However, now, the seeming lack of a back-up plan in case that became impossible is a dereliction of duty.”

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Pelosi Invokes Nixon, Calls on GOP to Impeach Trump



During an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) invoked Watergate and former President Richard Nixon as she discussed her push to impeach President Donald Trump. This comes in the wake of last week’s riots in which a group of Trump’s supporters breached the U.S. Capitol.

Pelosi announced Sunday in a letter that the House of Representatives would move to impeach Trump just 10 days before his presidential term is over because he “represents an imminent threat” to “our Constitution and our Democracy.”

“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” she wrote.

With calls increasing for Trump to resign or be impeached, the House speaker on Sunday urged Republicans to join the Democrats’ push to impeach the president, much like when Senate Republicans told Nixon that “it’s over,” she said.

“I remember when Republicans in the Senate went to see Richard Nixon and said, ‘It’s over,’” Pelosi recalled while speaking with CBS’s Lesley Stahl.

“That’s what has to happen now,” she emphasized.

In the letter, Pelosi said the House would call for Vice President Mike Pence to activate the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. If Pence does not respond “within 24 hours,” Pelosi advised the House would move forward with impeachment.

Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent



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Calls to impeach Trump gain momentum, Republicans ask Biden to intervene


Congressional calls for the impeachment of President Trump are gaining traction on both sides of the aisle, as lawmakers announced Saturday that impeachment would be introduced in the House Monday.

Many agree that the violent breach and riot at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that left five people dead was a direct result of the president’s conduct and a rally he held that morning.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R- Ill., on Thursday became the first House Republican to voice his support for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, but could not be reached by Fox News to confirm whether or not he would support impeachment.

The House could vote on articles of impeachment as soon as Wednesday, with more than 185 cosponsors having signed the Articles of Impeachment document Saturday.

But at the same time, GOP House lawmakers made a plea with President-elect Joe Biden to intervene.

In a joint letter, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Ariz., along with other Republican lawmakers, asked Biden to urge the speaker to drop her “inflammatory” intent to impeach Trump for the second time.

Buck congratulated Biden on his win and noted that he, along with the other signatories on the letter, were opposed to the objections made by their fellow House Republicans during the certification of the Electoral College results.

“[W]e believe the Constitution is clear that the role of Congress is simply to count the electoral votes,” Buck wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News. “The Twelfth Amendment does not give Congress the authority or discretion to disqualify electors based on its own findings or beliefs that fraud took place. 

“Nor does the Constitution envision impeaching a President without an adequate investigation and congressional hearings,” he added, saying that the move would only further divide the nation.

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Fox News could not immediately reach Biden for comment on whether he intends to intervene in the House’s push to introduce articles of impeachment.

The president-elect tweeted Saturday that he does not think anyone is above the law, but stopped short of saying Trump should be impeached. He said earlier this week that it was a decision he thought Congress needed to make.

Buck said that he and his fellow signatories would be in attendance of Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Trump refuses to attend – marking the first time in nearly 200 years a president has not attended his successor’s inauguration.  

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, Penn., said in a Fox News interview with “The Journal Editorial Report” earlier in the day that Trump had “committed impeachable offenses and that his behavior disqualifies him from serving.”

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski became the first Republican senator to call for the impeachment of Trump, telling The Anchorage Daily News Friday, “I want him out.” GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, Neb., also said Friday that he would “consider whatever articles” the House may push forward.

IN WAKE OF CAPITOL HILL RIOT, REP. BEYER CALLS FOR MCCARTHY TO RESIGN

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who has been highly critical of Trump throughout his presidency, called Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol the result of “a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters, whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action.”

But Fox News could not reach Romney to confirm whether or not he would again support the impeachment of the president, after being the only GOP senator to vote in favor of impeaching him in February 2020.

Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.  

 

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