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RBC – 2020 Financials

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Bank of Montserrat 2020 Financials

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Biden win confirmed after pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol

Reprint – (Adapted)

By LISA MASCARO, ERIC TUCKER, MARY CLARE JALONICK, and ANDREW TAYLOR

Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certification of Electoral College votes cast in November’s presidential election during a joint session of Congress after working through the night, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Wednesday, disrupting the process. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner early Thursday after a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Trump in the White House.

Lawmakers were resolved to complete the Electoral College tally in a display to the country, and the world, of the nation’s enduring commitment to uphold the will of the voters and the peaceful transfer of power. They pushed through the night with tensions high and the nation’s capital on alert.

Before dawn Thursday, lawmakers finished their work, confirming Biden won the election.

Vice President Mike Pence, presiding over the joint session, announced the tally, 306-232.MORE ON THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Trump, who had repeatedly refused to concede the election, said in a statement immediately after the vote that there will be a smooth transition of power on Inauguration Day.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by an aide.

The Capitol was under siege Wednesday, as the nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas masks while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington’s mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.

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The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory. Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.

Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Though the efforts to block Biden from being sworn in on Jan. 20 were sure to fail, the support Trump has received for his efforts to overturn the election results have badly strained the nation’s democratic guardrails.

Congress reconvened in the evening, with lawmakers decrying the protests that defaced the Capitol and vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College vote for Biden’s election, even if it took all night.

Pence reopened the Senate and directly addressed the demonstrators: “You did not win.”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the “failed insurrection” underscored lawmakers’ duty to finish the count. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would show the world “what America is made of” with the outcome.

The president gave his supporters a boost into action Wednesday morning at a rally outside the White House, where he urged them to march to the Capitol. He spent much of the afternoon in his private dining room off the Oval Office watching scenes of the violence on television. At the urging of his staff, he reluctantly issued a pair of tweets and a taped video telling his supporters it was time to “go home in peace” — yet he still said he backed their cause.

Hours later, Twitter for the first time time-locked Trump’s account, demanded that he remove tweets excusing violence, and threatened “permanent suspension.”

A somber President-elect Biden, two weeks away from being inaugurated, said American democracy was “under unprecedented assault, ” a sentiment echoed by many in Congress, including some Republicans. Former President George W. Bush said he watched the events in “disbelief and dismay.”

The domed Capitol building has for centuries been the scene of protests and occasional violence. But Wednesday’s events were particularly astounding both because they unfolded at least initially with the implicit blessing of the president and because of the underlying goal of overturning the results of a free and fair presidential election.

Tensions were already running high when lawmakers gathered early Wednesday afternoon for the constitutionally mandated counting of the Electoral College results, in which Biden defeated Trump, 306-232. Despite pleas from McConnell, more than 150 GOP lawmakers planned to support objections to some of the results, though lacking evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.

Trump spent the lead-up to the proceedings publicly hectoring Pence, who had a largely ceremonial role, to aid the effort to throw out the results. He tweeted, “Do it, Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”

But Pence, in a statement shortly before presiding, defied Trump, saying he could not claim “unilateral authority” to reject the electoral votes that make Biden president.

In the aftermath of the siege, several Republicans announced they would drop their objections to the election, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who lost her bid for reelection Tuesday.

Earlier, protesters had fought past police and breached the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags as they marched through the halls, many without masks during the COVID-19 crisis. Lawmakers were told to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks after tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., told reporters he was in the House chamber when rioters began storming it. Security officers “made us all get down, you could see that they were fending off some sort of assault.”

He said they had a piece of furniture up against the door. “And they had guns pulled,” Peters said. Glass panes to a House door were shattered.

The woman who was killed was part of a crowd that was breaking down the doors to a barricaded room where armed officers stood on the other side, police said. She was shot in the chest by Capitol Police and taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. City police said three other people died from medical emergencies during the long protest on and around the Capitol grounds.

Staff members grabbed boxes of Electoral College votes as the evacuation took place. Otherwise, said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the ballots likely would have been destroyed by the protesters.

The mob’s storming of Congress prompted outrage, mostly from Democrats but from Republicans as well, as lawmakers accused Trump of fomenting the violence with his relentless falsehoods about election fraud.

“Count me out,” said Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “Enough is enough.”

Several suggested that Trump be prosecuted for a crime or even removed under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which seemed unlikely two weeks from when his term expires.

“I think Donald Trump probably should be brought up on treason for something like this,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., told reporters. “This is how a coup is started. And this is how democracy dies.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who has at times clashed with Trump, issued a statement saying: “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.

Punctuating their resolve, both the House and Senate soundly rejected an objection to election results from Arizona, which had been raised by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and another from Pennsylvania brought by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa. Still, most House Republicans supported the objections. Other objections to results from Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin fizzled.

The Pentagon said about 1,100 District of Columbia National Guard members were being mobilized to help support law enforcement at the Capitol. Dozens of people were arrested.

___

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller, Kevin Freking, Alan Fram, Matthew Daly, Ben Fox, and Ashraf Khalil in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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Live Updates: Trump’s Allies Will Make Last Stand in Congress

Reprint – (Adapted)

Jan. 6, 2021, 1:31 p.m.

The Presidential Transition

Vice President Mike Pence told President Trump that he did not believe he had the power to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Congress today.

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Here’s what you need to know:

Watch live: The House and Senate have broken into separate sessions to debate the first objection to Biden’s victory.Video Congress holds a joint session to record the votes of the Electoral College and confirm the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Get email alerts with live updates about the U.S. presidential transition.

Republicans objected to Arizona’s electors, forcing the first challenge to Biden’s victory.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, led the objection to the Electoral College’s results in Arizona.
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, led the objection to the Electoral College’s results in Arizona. Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

A group of congressional Republicans led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas objected early Wednesday afternoon to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College win in Arizona, lodging the first of several extraordinary challenges to its outcome and forcing a two-hour debate in the House and Senate over President Trump’s reckless election fraud claims.

“I rise for myself and 60 of my colleges to object to the count of the electoral ballots from Arizona,” said Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona. His objection was met with widespread applause by Republicans gathered on the floor of the House of Representatives for the joint session.

Bipartisan majorities in each chamber were prepared to turn back that challenge and others and formalize Mr. Biden’s victory. But the marathon session promised to be a volatile final act of the Trump presidency, with Mr. Trump — unwilling to cede the limelight or his fantasy of victory — transforming a moment of Democratic triumph into a day of defiance by summoning supporters to his backyard for an airing of grievances.

By using the proceeding as a forum for trying to subvert a democratic election, Mr. Trump and his allies are going where no party has since the Reconstruction era of the 19th century when Congress bargained over the presidency. The effort had already badly divided the Republican Party, forcing lawmakers to go on the record either siding with the president or upholding the results of a democratic election.

The objection to Arizona was the first of at least three expected during Wednesday’s session. Republicans were also eyeing Georgia and Pennsylvania, battleground states Mr. Biden won, for likely objections.

Lawmakers anticipated possible objections for up to three additional states — Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin — although it was not clear whether they would draw the requisite backing from a member of both the House and the Senate to be considered.

Mr. Cruz, a possible 2024 presidential contender, and his allies in the Senate have said he is merely trying to draw attention to the need for an electoral commission to audit the results. But by objecting, he joined ranks with a group of dozens of House Republicans backing Mr. Trump’s attempt to toss out the will of the voters to deliver him a second term in office.

Even before it began, the session was already driving sharp wedges into the Republican Party that threatened to do lasting damage to its cohesion, as lawmakers decided to cast their lot with Mr. Trump or the Constitution. Top party leaders in the House and Senate appeared to be headed for a high-profile split. And while only a dozen or so senators were expected to vote to reject the outcome in key states, as many as 70 percent of House Republicans could join the effort, stoking the dangerous belief of tens of millions of voters that Mr. Biden was elected illegitimately.

Despite a remarkable pressure campaign by Mr. Trump to unilaterally throw out states that supported Mr. Biden, Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding as the president of the Senate, said just before the session began that he did not believe doing so was constitutional and would exercise his duties as his predecessors had. The outcome, after for years of loyal support for the president, risked his political standing in a party Mr. Trump still dominates.

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” he wrote in a letter.

Congress’s counting process began at 1 p.m. and the session had already accepted results from Alabama and Alaska before the objection to Arizona was lodged. A member of the House and Senate must agree for any objection to having force.

Nicholas Fandos

Watch live: The House and Senate have broken into separate sessions to debate the first objection to Biden’s victory.

Video After a joint session of Congress is suspended, the House will return to its chamber to vote on an objection to certifying President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. Electoral College victor. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

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Pence rejects Trump’s pressure to block certification saying he ‘loves the Constitution.’

Vice President Mike Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.
Vice President Mike Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday afternoon rejected President Trump’s pressure to block congressional certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the presidential election, claiming that he lacked the “unilateral authority” to decide the outcome of the presidential election.

“As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reverse its Framers,” Mr. Pence wrote in a two-page letter, “I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no vice president in American history has ever asserted such authority.”

The letter was released by the White House as Mr. Trump was speaking to a group of supporters at the Ellipse, where over and over he implored Mr. Pence to have “the courage to do what he has to do.”

Mr. Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.

But Mr. Trump, listening to the advice of allies like Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, has been convinced that the vice president could do his bidding. “If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday, claiming inaccurately that the vice president has the “the absolute right to” throw out the election results.

Mr. Pence’s defiance — the first in his four years as a differential no. 2 — created a remarkable and uncomfortable split-screen, as the president continued the public pressure campaign even as Mr. Pence arrived at the Capitol to preside over a joint session of Congress where the Electoral College vote will be certified.

On Tuesday night, after The New York Times reported that the vice president in a private meeting had informed Mr. Trump he did not have the authority to change the results of the election, Mr. Trump released a statement disputing the story. “He never said that,” the statement said. “The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the vice president has the power to act.”

The vice president’s advisers have been eager to find some middle ground where Mr. Pence could appease Mr. Trump.

On Wednesday, Kelli Ward, who chairs the Arizona Republican Party, also joined a group of far-right Republicans that petitioned the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to grant Mr. Pence the authority to reject some state electors, after lower courts rejected the request. One of the attorneys who write the petition is Sidney Powell, a longtime member of Mr. Trump’s legal team.

Annie Karni

Trump, speaking to protesters, declares ‘we will never concede.’

“We will never concede,” President Trump said at a rally in front of the White House on Wednesday.
“We will never concede,” President Trump said at a rally in front of the White House on Wednesday. Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

President Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to illegally throw the 2020 election his way, excoriated Republicans, the news media, Democrats, and the U.S. electoral process in a speech before a crowd of supporters on the National Mall on Wednesday.

“We will never concede,” said Mr. Trump at a rally aimed at protesting the results of the election, in which President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. got more than seven million votes more than Mr. Trump did and received 306 electoral votes.

The rally began on an off-note when Mr. Trump started talking but his microphone wasn’t working. People in the crowd shouted that they couldn’t hear him until the microphone suddenly came to life as Mr. Trump was midway through his first of many complaints about the news media.

From there, he went on to describe nearly everything and anyone he sees as critical of him as “corrupt” in one way or another.

Mr. Trump began speaking almost exactly an hour before the start of a joint session of Congress, during which the Electoral College votes are to be certified. Mr. Pence’s Constitutionally-mandated obligation is to oversee the proceedings in a ministerial role.

“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing,” Mr. Trump said. “I hope so, I hope so, because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” He added, “one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country,” told him Mr. Pence has “the absolute right to” throw out the election results

But he does not have the power to toss the results or alter them, despite Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that he does. The president maintained he would be following the Constitution if he sent the results back to the states to be recertified.

In fact, there is no precedent for what Mr. Trump is demanding and Mr. Pence has made clear to the president he does not have the ability to do so, according to people briefed on their conversations.

“Mike Pence has to agree to send it back,” Mr. Trump told the crowd, prompting chants. Later, he conceded he would be “very disappointed” in Mr. Pence if he does not do so.

He insisted the country’s elections are worse than third-world nations, a statement that would be welcomed by authoritarians in countries around the globe.

He addressed the widely-criticized call with Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, which took place on Saturday and a recording of which was made public, in which the president urged Mr. Raffensperger to “find” additional votes to allow Mr. Trump to win the state. “People loved that conversation,” he said.

The Republican governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp? Mr. Trump said he should be voted “out of office, please.”

At one point during the rally, Mr. Trump conceded that the two Republican candidates in the Georgia runoffs on Tuesday, Senator Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, whose Senate term ended Sunday, had lost their races, saying they “didn’t have a shot” as he continued with baseless allegations of electoral fraud and theft.

At other points, he complained that he has no control over the three U.S. Supreme Court justices he appointed. And he complained about the former attorney general, William P. Barr, saying he had liked him, “but he changed, because he didn’t want to be considered my personal attorney.”

He also attacked Representative Liz Cheney, Republican from Wyoming and the party’s third-ranking House leader, who has criticized his efforts to undermine the election, saying she wants to keep U.S. soldiers in foreign countries. “The Liz Cheneys of the world” need to be voted out, he said.

Time and again he returned to the theme that the news media is “the biggest problem we have in this country.” He complained about polls conducted for the Washington Post several months ago, speaking with specifics about the poll he was referring to.

Talking about his inability to get his unvarnished statements into news circulation, Mr. Trump falsely declared, “That’s what happens in a communist country.”

Maggie Haberman

Trump supporters gather in Washington to protest against the certification of Biden’s victory.

Supporters of President Trump demonstrating near the Capitol on Wednesday.
Supporters of President Trump demonstrating near the Capitol on Wednesday. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Under a dreary winter sky, defiant but downbeat Trump supporters began gathering in downtown Washington on Wednesday morning to celebrate a defeated Republican president who suffered a final humiliation in the Georgia Senate runoffs with one declared Democratic victory and the second race with the Democratic candidate maintaining his lead.

Crowds of supporters holding Trump flags marched down the streets of Washington to the elliptical park just behind the White House, where President Trump was set to speak in the late morning from a large grandstand that had been erected. As Congress prepared to conduct the final count of Electoral College votes, the scene outside the walls of Capitol Hill this week reflected the desperation within a White House resisting the transition of power.

“Some of the people here, maybe they’re willing to say Trump lost if things don’t go the way we want them to today,” said Kevin Malone, 43, who drove from Rome, Ga., through the night with two friends, arriving in D.C. looking like they had not slept. “That’s not us. We can’t lose this country. If the Democrats win, there’s not going to be another fair, legal election in this country. We won’t have a democracy.”

He said he and his friends from Northwest Georgia, now represented by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon-supporter, were on the fence about coming but decided to leave shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday when it “started looking like the Democrats were going to steal another election.”

Some of the more than 300 National Guard troops called up for the week stood in camouflage by white vans on Wednesday morning. Rows of local police were stationed on Black Lives Matter Plaza, in front of Lafayette Square after scuffles broke out Tuesday night between pro-Trump demonstrators and local police who deployed pepper spray to quell the unrest.

Tensions briefly rose at the plaza Wednesday around 10:45 a.m. Eastern as a counter-protester standing near police barricades waved for Trump supporters to move along while shouting, “Goodbye, thanks for visiting!” One man in a group of about a half dozen Trump supporters shouted back “Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be back.”

By Tuesday night, the Metropolitan Police Department recorded arrests of five people on charges of assault and weapons possession, including one person who was charged with assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Trump’s false claims of election fraud and promotion of the rallies on Wednesday have encouraged some of his more staunch allies and supporters to travel the country for Wednesday’s rally. The White House had hoped for 30,000 people but aides feared the turnout may be far smaller.

The Trump faithful tried to stay upbeat.

“We are considering this a day that will change history,” said Kevin Haag, 67, who drove about nine hours from his home in Lake Santeetlah, N.C. on Tuesday to participate in the rally. “We are excited.”

He said the road from North Carolina to Washington was dotted with cars and trucks flying Trump flags and American flags, a sign, he said, that the rally would be well-attended. The lobby of his hotel was filled with rally-goers, including Proud Boys, with “their Kevlar and boots have a whole belt full of tasers and you name it,” he said.

But he was not necessarily optimistic that Mr. Trump or his Republican allies would prevail in their efforts to overturn the election. Instead, Mr. Haag said he was hopeful that he and his friends would get some kind of closure on Wednesday. He had planned to come with a number of people, but some had to work, and others said they were worried about what might happen in Washington. His wife stayed home with a migraine. In the end, there were only three of them that made the trip.

“I think the truth will be made known,” he said. “Even if the truth is, the election went the other way,” he said, meaning if Mr. Trump had lost, “we have to hear that. If it’s over, it’s over.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Sabrina Tavernise and Matthew Rosenberg

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Democrats are ebullient as they appear headed for a Senate takeover.

“For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people.” said Senator Chuck Schumer, who would become majority leader if Jon Ossoff wins.
“For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people.” said Senator Chuck Schumer, who would become majority leader if Jon Ossoff wins. Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Democrats exulted on Wednesday morning as they appeared poised to wrest control of the Senate, a feat that would hand them unified control of Congress — albeit by razor-thin margins — as well as the White House.

With the Rev. Raphael Warnock victorious and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff leading in a pair of runoff elections in Georgia, the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, proclaimed on Twitter: “Buckle up!”

“We sure did not take the most direct path to get here, but here we are,” Mr. Schumer said at a celebratory news conference in the Capitol. “For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people.”

Should Mr. Ossoff’s lead over David Perdue hold, twin victories in Georgia would give Democrats 50 seats in the Senate and leave Republicans with the same number, handing Democrats a working majority because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be empowered to break ties?

Mr. Schumer told reporters that he had already spoken to Mr. Biden and Congress’s first order of business would be to approve $2,000 direct payments to sent to Americans struggling in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. But he declined to clarify whether Democrats would approve just the checks or seek a large package including other priorities like state and local aid or increased unemployment insurance.

On a conference call with Democrats, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, played the Ray Charles hit “Georgia on My Mind” for ebullient colleagues as they contemplated what their newfound power on the other side of the Capitol would mean as Joseph R. Biden Jr. assumes the presidency.

“We will pursue a science and values-based plan to crush the virus and deliver relief to struggling families, safeguard the right to quality affordable health care and launch a plan to build back better powered by fair economic growth,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

The Georgia victories would be a strong rebuke of President Trump, under whose leadership Republicans lost control of the House, the White House, and now the Senate.

“It turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and his party’s former nominee for president, told reporters in the Capitol. “President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonored the election system, and has disgraced the office of the presidency.”

Some of the Democrats’ most ambitious priorities could be blocked, however, by the legislative filibuster, which sets a 60-vote threshold for any major initiative. Mr. Schumer batted away questions about a push from the party’s left flank to change the rules to essentially kill the filibuster by lowering the threshold to a simple majority.

“We are united in wanting big, bold change, and we are going to sit down as a caucus and discuss the best ways to get that done,” he said.

Luke Broadwater and Nicholas Fandos

Biden plans to nominate Merrick Garland for attorney general.

Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the position left on the Supreme Court by the death of Antonin Scalia.
Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the position left on the Supreme Court by the death of Antonin Scalia. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to nominate Judge Merrick Garland, whose Supreme Court nomination Republicans blocked in 2016, to be attorney general, placing the task of repairing a beleaguered Justice Department in the hands of a centrist judge, according to a person familiar with the matter.

If confirmed, Judge Garland, who has sometimes disappointed liberals with his rulings, would inherit a department that grew more politicized under President Trump than at any point since Watergate. Judge Garland will face vexing decisions about civil rights issues that roiled the country this year, whether to investigate Mr. Trump and his administration and how to proceed with a tax investigation into Mr. Biden’s son.

The nomination ended weeks of deliberation by Mr. Biden, who had struggled to make a decision as he considered who to fill for a position that he became convinced would play an outsized role in his presidency. Mr. Biden’s nominations are expected to broadly win confirmation as Democrats appear poised to take control of the Senate.

Mr. Biden, who served as the longtime top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and chaired it from 1987 to 1995, was said by aides to have long weighed what makes a successful attorney general and put pressure on himself to make the right pick. Outside groups also pressed him during the transition to appoint someone who is a minority and would take a far more confrontational position with law enforcement.

Mr. Biden also intends to nominate Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security adviser to President Barack Obama, as deputy attorney general; Vanita Gupta, the head of the department’s civil rights division under Mr. Obama, as the No. 3; and Kristen Clarke, a civil rights lawyer, as assistant attorney general for civil rights, which is expected to be a major focus of the department under Mr. Biden.

Judge Garland was initially considered a long shot for attorney general, in part because he is seen as politically moderate. In close cases involving criminal law, he has been significantly more likely to side with the police and prosecutors over people accused of crimes than other Democratic appointees. He also leaned toward deferring to the government in Guantánamo detainee cases that pit state security powers against individual rights.

Moreover, judges are only occasionally elevated directly to the position. The last was Judge Michael Mukasey of Federal District Court, whom George W. Bush appointed to run the Justice Department in 2007.

Mr. Biden was also said to have considered Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration; Doug Jones, the former Alabama senator; and Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts who briefly ran for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Liptak, and Michael D. Shear

A Democratic takeover of the Senate would redefine Biden’s presidency in dramatic ways.

During the primaries and general election, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made much of his willingness to cross the aisle to revive the lost art of bipartisan deal-making.
During the primaries and general election, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made much of his willingness to cross the aisle to revive the lost art of bipartisan deal-making. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday promoted the Senate runoffs in Georgia as an opportunity “to break the gridlock that has gripped Washington,” and his team was cautiously optimistic about the outcome.

In recent days many on his team had downplayed the idea that they would command a legislative majority in the Senate — out of superstition, several jittery Democratic aides suggested in the days leading up to the election.

But the growing possibility of one-party control has now been hurled on their doorstep.

In the most basic sense, the addition of two Democrats — the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who has won his race, and Jon Ossoff, who is maintaining a lead in his — to the Senate would redefine Mr. Biden’s approach to lawmaking, giving him more power but possibly challenging his preferred approach of broad bipartisan deal-making.

“Biden will say all the public things about how he needs to get Republican support, but the truth is that this fundamentally changes the dynamic,” said David Krone, former chief of staff to former Senator Harry Reid, the last Democratic majority leader. “Democrats now control the floor. So he can bring up all kinds of bills that would have been blocked by the Republicans, and force votes on big bills — like a major infrastructure package — that never would have seen the light of day.”

During the primaries and general election, Mr. Biden and his aides pointed out that he had developed a sturdy, if not overly warm, working partnership with the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell. But a Senate takeover might require a shift in Mr. Biden’s compromising approach in favor of the hard-edge tactics demanded by his party’s ascendant left wing.

Embedded in the Democrats’ jubilation Wednesday was a gnawing sense of urgency.

Many in the party fear a Republican takeover of the House in 2022, and a similar possibility looms in the deadlocked upper chamber. But many in Mr. Biden’s circle believe he has two years to jam through Democratic priorities, starting with his pledge to pass a $2,000 payout to ease the economic hardship of the pandemic.

Controlling the majority offers many new opportunities. The central role of Black voters in Georgia and elsewhere virtually ensures that Mr. Biden will push civil and voting rights reform, one Democratic leadership aide said on condition of anonymity. But it also means he will have to referee fierce disagreements among Democratic factions that have already begun feuding in the House over the Green New Deal and expansion of health care.

Then there’s Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

While all eyes were on the twilight machinations of Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday, his replacement will have significantly more power.

She will play a decisive role in the 50-50 Senate on party-line votes, exercising real legislative power and positioning her as Mr. Biden’s visible partner and natural successor, especially if he chooses not to run for re-election in 2024.

Glenn Thrush

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And then there was one: Georgia Senate race between Ossoff and Perdue remains too close to call.

Jon Ossoff on Wednesday declared himself the winner of his Senate runoff election in Georgia. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.
Jon Ossoff on Wednesday declared himself the winner of his Senate runoff election in Georgia. The Associated Press has not yet called the race. Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

While Democrats celebrated the election of the Rev. Raphael Warnock to the Senate, Georgia’s second Senate runoff race — which will determine which party will control the Senate — remained too close to call on Wednesday. The Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, was leading his Republican challenger, David Perdue, by thousands of votes with thousands more that still need to be counted, many of them from Democratic-leaning areas.

After trading leads earlier in the evening, Mr. Ossoff pulled ahead of Mr. Perdue overnight, but by just 0.4 percent — within the range that could trigger a recount. By 4 a.m. Wednesday, an estimated 98 percent of votes had been counted. Georgia elections officials said they expected to complete the count by noon on Wednesday.

Even so, Mr. Ossoff, a 33-year-old documentary film executive, declared himself the winner Wednesday morning in a video posted on Twitter. The Associated Press has not yet called the race. The news organisation called Mr. Warnock’s victory over the Republican incumbent, Kelly Loeffler, early Wednesday.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday congratulated Mr. Warnock and said he was hopeful that Mr. Ossoff would prevail when the vote count is complete.

“Georgia’s voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: They want action on the crises we face and they want it right now,” Mr. Biden said in a statement released Wednesday morning. “I congratulate the people of Georgia, who turned out in record numbers once again, just as they did in November.”

By Wednesday morning, the largest bloc of uncounted ballots in the state was the in-person vote in DeKalb County, a heavily Democratic area that includes part of Atlanta.

Mr. Ossoff’s campaign manager Ellen Foster said in a statement on Wednesday that she expected Mr. Ossoff to win. “The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant,” she said.

Mr. Perdue’s campaign officials said in an early Wednesday statement that the race was “exceptionally close,” but said they believed Mr. Perdue would win and would use“every available resource and exhaust every recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted.”

It could be some time before there is a call in the race, with thousands of late absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted. Under Georgia law, a candidate can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point.

Democrats benefited from a strong turnout among Black voters. According to data compiled by georgiavotes.com, Black voters made up a larger share of early voters for the runoff — nearly 31 percent — than they did in the general election when it was closer to 28 percent.

Mr. Warnock, who is the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the first Black Democrat elected to the Senate from the South. He and Mr. Ossoff ran in tandem throughout the runoffs.

Mr. Perdue, the former chief executive of Dollar General, and Ms. Loeffler, who was appointed to the Senate a year ago and was seeking a full term, had cast the race as a necessary check on Democratic power in Washington in 2021, though these efforts have been complicated by President Trump’s continued insistence, without evidence, that he won re-election.

Eileen Sullivan

You think this is chaos? The 1876 election was worse.

The inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes at the Capitol in Washington in 1877.
The inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes at the Capitol in Washington in 1877. Credit…Associated Press

A few days before the inauguration, no one knew who would actually take the oath of office as president of the United States. There were cries of fraud and chicanery as a divided, surly nation continued to debate the winner of the election many weeks after the ballots had been cast.

The election of 1876 was the most disputed in American history and in some ways among the most consequential. As Congress convenes on Wednesday to formalize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory and dispense with Republican objections, many on Capitol Hill and beyond have been looking to the showdown nearly a century and a half ago for clues on how to resolve the latest clash for power.

The players in that drama have faded into obscurity. Few today remember the story of Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican who ultimately prevailed and served four years as a tainted President. Fewer still can name his Democratic opponent, Samuel Tilden, who lost the White House despite garnering more votes. But the system that will govern the debate on Wednesday was fashioned from that episode, and the standards that were set then are now cited as arguments in the effort to overturn President Trump’s defeat.

Allies of Mr. Trump, led by Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, have latched onto the resolution of the 1876 dispute as a model, proposing that Congress once again create a 15-member commission to decide the validity of various states’ electors. “We should follow that precedent,” Mr. Cruz and 10 other new or returning Republican senators wrote in a joint statement over the weekend.

But there are also profound differences between that battle and this one. For one, the candidate claiming to be aggrieved this time, Mr. Trump, is the incumbent president with the power of the federal government at his disposal. For another, Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud have proved baseless, universally rejected by Republican and Democratic state election authorities, judges across the ideological spectrum, and even by his own attorney general.

Still, Hayes, who was called “His Fraudulency” and “Rutherfraud B. Hayes,” never shed the stigma and did not seek another term. Congress, for its part, resolved never to go through that ordeal again. In 1887, it passed a law setting out the procedures for counting electors, rules that have proved durable ever since. On Wednesday, they will be tested as never before.

Peter Baker

Biden will outline his economic priorities as Congress moves to certify his win.

President-elect Biden speaking in November. He is expected to discuss several of his economic priorities on Wednesday.
President-elect Biden speaking in November. He is expected to discuss several of his economic priorities on Wednesday. Credit…Joshua Roberts/Reuters

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to deliver a speech on the economy on Wednesday afternoon, remarks that could take on greater significance given the chance that the Senate will soon be controlled by Democrats.

Mr. Biden’s speech is expected to emphasize several of his economic priorities, including reiterating his call for another round of financial aid to help people, businesses and state and local governments weather ongoing economic pain from the virus. Mr. Biden is also expected to touch on his “Build Back Better” agenda, including new government spending on clean energy, infrastructure, health care, and education.

His remarks will focus in particular on small businesses, particularly those run by Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native Americans, “who need additional resources to reopen and rebuild,” a transition spokesman said.

Mr. Biden’s speech will take place at a critical moment, as Congress moves ahead to certify the results of the 2020 vote and as a pair of Senate elections in Georgia appear headed for a Democratic win.

The president-elect’s ability to push through many of the programs and policies he campaigned on appeared more likely on Wednesday, as Democrats edged closer to gaining two Senate seats after Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia. The Rev. Raphael Warnock was declared the winner of one seat, defeating Republican Kelly Loeffler, and Jon Ossoff, another Democrat, was leading the race against David Perdue.

If Democrats win both seats, it would give Mr. Biden’s party control of an evenly divided chamber, greatly affecting his ability to fulfill his agenda.

“Georgia’s voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: they want action on the crises we face and they want it right now,” Mr. Biden said in a written statement on Wednesday morning. “On Covid-19, on economic relief, on climate, on racial justice, on voting rights and so much more. They want us to move, but move together.”

“I have long said that the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed in December was just a down payment. We need urgent action on what comes next, because the COVID-19 crisis hits red states and blue states alike,” he said.

Jim Tankersley

Continue reading the main story

Watch out for this misinformation when Congress meets to certify the election.

An audit of election ballots in Atlanta in mid-November.
An audit of election ballots in Atlanta in mid-November.Credit…Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Leer en español

As Congress meets on Wednesday to certify Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the November election, President Trump and his supporters continue to spread rumors, conspiracy theories and misinformation about the vote.

Here are six false voter fraud claims that may be repeated during the proceedings on Wednesday.

Claim: Dominion Voting Systems, which makes software that local governments around the nation use to help run their elections, deleted votes for President Trump.

Fact: There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, including the machines with Dominion software, according to the federal agency that oversees election security.

Background: In the weeks after the election, President Trump and his supporters spread baseless claims about Dominion. The claims included theories that “software glitches” changed vote tallies in several states, including Michigan and Georgia. No such changes were ever found.

Mr. Trump and his supporters subsequently claimed that Dominion had hidden evidence of voter fraud, both by destroying machines or removing parts within the machines. Mr. Trump repeated those claims during a call with Georgia’s secretary of state last weekend. Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, said Monday of the claims of election fraud in the state, “This is all easily, provably false.”

Claim: President Trump and his supporters have claimed that absentee ballots in Georgia were rife with fraud and that state officials have not fully investigated.

Fact: Election officials have audited absentee ballots and found “no fraudulent absentee ballots.”

Background: The Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, ordered law enforcement and election investigators to conduct an audit of more than 15,000 absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County, based on a complaint that signatures were not adequately checked there. The audit found no fraud. Mr. Raffensperger has said that he also plans a statewide audit of each county’s signature-match policies and procedures.

Georgia has already conducted two recounts, both by hand and machine, of all five million ballots cast in the state. No voting fraud was found.

Claim: In an interview on the conservative cable channel Newsmax in December, the Arizona Republican chairwoman, Kelli Ward, said 200,000 ballots were digitally changed to give the victory to Mr. Biden, and Representative Paul Gosar amplified the falsehood on Twitter.

Fact: Audits in Arizona have found no evidence of voter fraud, or changed vote tallies.

Background: While early results in Arizona showed a close race, the final count revealed that Mr. Biden had won the state by more than 10,000 votes.

Audits in Arizona’s four largest counties, which make up 86 percent of all voters in the state, turned up no evidence of systematic voter fraud.

Claim: President Trump’s supporters have pointed to a video as proof that ballots were pulled from a “suitcase” at a vote-counting center in Atlanta.

Fact: Election officials have said the surveillance video shows a normal ballot processing. It is not unusual practice for poll workers to store ballots that still need to be counted on-site at the polling center.

Background: As reported by The New York Times, late on Nov. 3, election workers in Fulton County, Ga., heard that they would be allowed to stop the vote-counting and retire for the evening. So they packed uncounted ballots into suitcases and prepared to lock up. When word came that they couldn’t leave yet, they dragged the suitcases back out and began counting the ballots again.

But that scene of election workers taking out suitcases of ballots was selectively edited and pushed by allies of President Trump as one of the many false theories purportedly proving widespread election fraud. The conspiracists also named the election worker Ruby Freeman as a specific player in this false conspiracy event.

Claim: President Trump’s campaign has claimed that Pennsylvania election officials improperly handled tens of thousands of mail-in ballots in violation of state election law.

Fact: The Trump campaign’s legal efforts to disqualify votes in Pennsylvania have been unsupported by evidence.

Background: The Trump campaign filed several claims in court seeking to invalidate Pennsylvania’s election results, and one ally of Mr. Trump, Senator Josh Hawley, has said he would challenge the results because he believed “some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.”

But the Trump campaign has included no evidence that any vote had been cast illegally.

In a hearing on Nov. 17, President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, acknowledged he had no proof to back up his claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. “This is not a fraud case,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Four days later, the judge overseeing the case dismissed the lawsuit. It was also shot down last month by Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who said in a ruling, “Calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

Claim: Vice President Mike Pence can reject state electors in the Electoral College.

Fact: Federal law stipulates that the vice president’s role is to count Electoral College votes, not decide whether they are valid.

Background: President Trump on Tuesday falsely claimed on Twitter that Mr. Pence has the power to reject electors when the Electoral College vote is certified.

As president of the Senate, Mr. Pence is expected to preside over the pro forma certification of the Electoral College vote count in front of a joint session of Congress. The only electoral certifications available for Vice President Pence to preside over are the ones approved by each state.

Ben Decker and Jacob Silver contributed research.

Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel

Senator Loeffler’s loss makes an awkward backdrop for her starring role in seeking to overturn Trump’s loss.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, lost her Senate seat to the Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, lost her Senate seat to the Rev. Raphael Warnock. Credit…Dustin Chambers for The New York Times

Senator Kelly Loeffler’s stinging loss in Georgia trained increased scrutiny on the prominent role she planned to play on Wednesday in seeking to overturn President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in her home state when Congress meets to formalize his Electoral College win.

Ms. Loeffler had announced on Monday, ahead of a pair of high-stakes Georgia runoffs that will determine Senate control, that she was planning to join the small group of senators lodging objections, and a person familiar with her thinking said Tuesday that she would “likely” focus on Georgia. But with the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, declared the winner by The Associated Press, Ms. Loeffler found herself in an awkward position: a lame-duck senator contemplating a starring role in a politically fraught fight for a president who clearly lost.

Her promise to object may have helped gin up turnout among the president’s loyal supporters in Georgia, but it does little for Ms. Loeffler now that the election has passed. In a speech to supporters late Tuesday night, she did not concede and said she still planned to travel to Washington to contest Mr. Trump’s loss.

“In the morning, in fact, I’m going to be headed to Washington, D.C., to keep fighting,” she said. “We’re going to fight for this president, so I am asking for every single Georgian, every single American: Stay in the fight with us.”

A spokesman for the senator did not respond to questions on Wednesday morning seeking to clarify her position.

Other senators could still join House members to object to Georgia’s electors, but so far, few senators have been willing to raise their hands for a job their own Republican leaders have warned will dangerously divide the party and embarrass the Senate.

If Georgia’s results go unchallenged, it could speed up the counting process by three to four hours.

Nicholas Fandos

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Georgia's Raffensperger says Trump's defeat is the 'cold hard truth,' hints at probe

Georgia’s Raffensperger says Trump’s defeat is the ‘cold hard truth,’ hints at probe

Jan. 5, 2021, 2:41

The Republican secretary of state also said the call from Trump could warrant an investigation into possible conflicts of interest.01:29 /03:07

‘What he said was not factually correct’: Georgia secretary of state on Trump phone call
‘What he said was not factually correct’: Georgia secretary of state on Trump phone call

By Blayne Alexander, Rebecca Shabad, Julia Jester, and Shannon Pettypiece

WASHINGTON — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has never thought it was appropriate to speak to President Donald Trump about the 2020 election results and that the conversations Trump has had with him and other elections officials could pose a conflict of interest that warrants investigating.

When asked by NBC News about the phone call he and the president had on Saturday, Raffensperger said he was concerned about talking directly with the president because of a lawsuit Trump is pursuing against the governor and secretary of state.

“He’s coming up short on the election, he won’t be re-elected, and I know that he’s not pleased with how the results went in other states,” Raffensperger told NBC. “I’m very confident in the results we have here in Georgia. And that’s the cold hard truth.

today.com/video/trump-s-call-to-georgia-secretary-of-state-was-filled-with-false-claims-98745925819(opens in a new tab)

Trump’s call to Georgia secretary of state was filled with false claims

Jan. 4, 202103:13

Ultimately, the call happened after White House staff pushed for it, said Raffensperger. While he said he didn’t personally record the call and doesn’t know who released it, he said he is glad it was made public after Trump’s tweet mischaracterizing the conversation.

“You can’t keep on taking shots from people and people keep putting out stuff that’s not true,” he said. “And we’re gonna respond, we’re going to respond forcefully sometimes with the facts. If people can’t handle the facts, I’m sorry, but those are the facts.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is trumpcircle.focal-760x428.jpg
Full phone call: Trump pressures Georgia Secretary of State to recount election votes
Georgia's Raffensperger says Trump's defeat is the 'cold hard truth,' hints at probe Full phone call: Trump pressures Georgia Secretary of State to recount election votes

Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling, who manages the state’s voting systems, attempted once again to debunk the internet conspiracy theories that Trump raised in his phone call during a press conference Monday where he went through Trump’s claims one by one.

Contrary to claims by Trump and his allies that thousands of votes were cast by felons, dead people, teenagers, or unregistered voters, Sterling said they have found just two possible incidents of people who died before the election casting ballots and 74 potential felons voting. All 76 cases remain under investigation.

“We see nothing in our investigations of any of these data claims that show nearly enough ballots to change the outcome,” Sterling said.

He also debunked a range of other false claims based on misleading videos that have been promoted by Trump’s lawyers accusing Georgia election workers of doctoring the ballot count. He said no ballots were shredded and no Dominion voting machines had parts changed. He said he screamed at his computer when he heard some of Trump’s claims on the call with the secretary of state.

“Again, all of this is easily provably false and yet the president persists and by doing so undermines Georgians faith in the election system, especially Republican Georgians, in this case, which is important because we have a big election coming up tomorrow,” said Sterling, who describes himself as a Republican and voted for Trump in November.

Raffensperger received the call Saturday afternoon after the White House switchboard had made 18 attempts to have him speak with Trump over the two months since the general election, according to a Georgia Republican familiar with the call.

Officials in Raffensperger’s office recorded the call, and he made clear to his advisers that he did not want a transcript or an audio recording released unless Trump attacked Georgia officials or misrepresented the conversation, according to the Georgia Republican. Before the audio leaked, Trump attacked Raffensperger on Twitter, saying that they had a call and that the secretary of state was “unwilling, or unable” to answer his questions, to which Raffensperger responded, “The truth will come out.”

Asked Monday if he felt any pressure when Trump told him to find the votes to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia, Raffensperger told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “No, I, we have to follow the process, follow the law. Everything we’ve done for the last 12 months follows the constitution of the state of Georgia, follows the United States Constitution, follows state law.”

In response to the phone call, whose audio surfaced Sunday, David Worley, a Democratic member of Georgia’s state election board, which Raffensperger chairs, asked him to open an investigation.

Asked if he would do so, Raffenperger said: “I believe that because I had a conversation with the president, also he had a conversation with our chief investigator after we did the signature match audit of Cobb County last week, there may be a conflict of interest, I understand, that the Fulton County district attorney wants to look at. Maybe that’s the appropriate venue for it to go,” Raffensperger said.

Two House Democrats have sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting an investigation into Trump over the call.

As for whether he would vote for Trump again, Raffensperger said he has always supported Republicans and “probably always will,” but that Trump isn’t on the 2024 ballot, “so we’ll just have to wait and see what would happen.”

Blayne Alexander

Blayne Alexander is an NBC News correspondent.

Image: Rebecca Shabad
Rebecca Shabad is a congressional reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.Julia Jester

Rebecca Shabad

Julia Jester is a 2020 campaign embed for NBC News.

Image: Shannon Pettypiece
Shannon Pettypiece

Shannon Pettypiece is the senior White House reporter for NBCNews.com.

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ECSC-logo

Brandt prevails in Court of Appeal – pretrial Constitutional issue on witnesses during trial

By Bennette Roach

Updated: December 18, 2020

As ZJB Radio report begins, “More interesting developments in the court matter involving attorney at law and former Chief Minister David S. Brandt.”

The question being asked more frequently now and in the face of other judicial areas where money would be better served, “Why is the local government allowing the UK to expend the amount of money on a trial that may have gone wrong ‘at’ the overdue time and the way it started? For another consultation and discussion.

We have referred to this ongoing matter as historical and it seems there is little end in sight for the matter to come to a conclusion. And, whereas by virtue of the nature of the case, which we believe has other motives involved, the public seems now to have lost interest in it.

The following was noted in the ruling/decision: “Several trial dates have been set and subsequently vacated on account of supervening litigation at the instance of the appellant over the past five years. To date, Mr. Brandt has not been tried,” Chief Justice the Hon. Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE wrote.

East Caribbean Supreme Court
DPP Oris Sullivan
Helen Weekes QC – Lead prosecutor from the UK

The latest is the decision of the East Caribbean Court of Appeal dismissing appeals brought by the Attorney General (AG) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against a decision by His Lordship Justice Rajiv Persaud, who ruled that consistent with his constitutional rights, Mr. Brandt could not be prevented from cross-examining any witness at his pending criminal trial.

The background of the appeals came from: “…the DPP’s application’

Dr. Dorsett, who appears for Mr. Brandt in these appeals, was appointed by Persad J [Ag.], the learned judge of the High Court presiding over the criminal proceedings… to represent Mr. Brandt for the purpose of cross-examining the prosecution witnesses.

Dr. David Dorsett

[4] Mr. Brandt and Dr. Dorsett were equally aggrieved by the learned judge’s decision. Dr. Dorsett challenged his appointment as counsel for Mr. Brandt by way of CPR Part 56 proceedings, and Mr. Brandt, being desirous of cross-examining the prosecution witnesses himself, raised an objection to Dr. Dorsett’s appointment before the learned judge. Mr. Brandt’s position was that any restriction on his ability to cross-examine prosecution witnesses without the assistance of counsel, runs afoul of his rights to defend himself and to cross-examine witnesses under sections 7(2)(d) and 7(2)(e) of the Constitution of Montserrat2 (“the Constitution”).

Accused David Brandt

Mr. Brandt therefore urged the judge not to apply sections 287, 288, and 291 of the Criminal Procedure Code, on the basis that they are incompatible with his rights under the Constitution.
On 28th September 2020, the judge rendered an oral decision which was later reduced to writing, by which he concluded that sections 287, 288, and 291 of the Criminal Procedure Code infringe Mr. Brandt’s constitutional rights… and vacated his earlier orders limiting Mr. Brandt’s ability to cross-examine in person and appointing Dr. Dorsett for the purpose of doing so.
The DPP also applied under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code to have special measures adopted for the taking of evidence from certain prosecution witnesses (“the special measures application”). In relation to the special measures application, the learned judge was satisfied on the evidence that the application ought to be granted and, on 5th October 2020, made orders permitting the Crown to lead evidence from three prosecution witnesses, who are complainants in the matter, through a video recording to be played in court as the evidence in chief pursuant to… the Criminal Procedure Code. The learned judge also granted leave to have the said three prosecution witnesses appear remotely from another location, outside the court, when they are required to be cross-examined on their evidence… and to have another prosecution witness, give evidence by video link.
Then came the Appeals.

The Attorney General and the DPP by way of appeal against the judge’s 28th September 2020 decision, in essence, challenged the correctness of the judge’s analysis and conclusions, and his order vacating Dr. Dorsett’s appointment as legal representative for Mr. Brandt.

The CPC Appeals were launched as civil appeals and not criminal appeals even though they do not originate from a constitutional motion or civil claim in the court below, and notwithstanding that they arise from a ruling by the learned judge within the context of the pre-trial case management hearing of Mr. Brandt’s criminal trial.

Mr. Brandt, at the same time, launched a criminal appeal challenging the learned judge’s 5th October 2020 decision in relation to the DPP’s special measures application (“the Special Measures Appeal”). The Special Measures Appeal challenges the judge’s orders sanctioning the prosecution’s use of special measures for the protection of certain prosecution witnesses.

Following the filing of these appeals, Mr. Brandt applied also on 15th October 2020 to strike out the CPC Appeals.
In similar vein, the DPP moved the Court to strike out the Special Measures Appeal, in essence on several grounds:
(i) The Special Measures Appeal does not fall within the scope of permissible appeals under section 38 of the Supreme Court Act as it is not an appeal against conviction or sentence;
(ii) There is no legal basis to mount an appeal to the Court of Appeal against a trial judge’s ruling on a pre-trial issue in a criminal trial…
(iii) The issue before the trial judge was well within the competence of a trial judge without there being any reliance upon or invocation of any section of the Constitution.

In the final decision, the Appeal Court ruled “on 11th November 2020 this Court unanimously dismissed three appeals brought respectively by the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions (“the DPP”) of Montserrat and Mr. David Brandt, following the consideration of submissions by the parties on this Court’s jurisdiction to entertain the appeals.”

First – “We are satisfied that the Attorney General in the circumstances has no standing as an appellant in this matter and, on that basis alone, it is sufficient to dismiss…”

In the circumstances, the Special Measures Appeal is clearly not permitted by the Supreme Court Act, is a nullity and must be dismissed…Agreed with Mr. Brandt “that this Court has no jurisdiction to hear either of the CPC Appeals. He argues that the appeals are caught by section 31(2)(a) and must be dismissed.”

And finally, “It is for all the above reasons [in the 50-clause decision] that the Court dismissed the CPC Appeals and Special Measures Appeals.”

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Update to CLICO policyholders

Clico International Life Insurance
Limited – Montserrat Branch
(IN JUDICIAL MANAGEMENT)

On 2 May 2014 the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Montserrat ordered that Clico International Life Insurance Limited’s (“CLICO”) Branch operations in Montserrat (hereinafter referred to as “the Branch”) be placed under judicial management pursuant to Section 53 of the Insurance Act of the Laws of Montserrat at the request of the Supervisor of Insurance.

Russell Crumpler of KPMG (BVI) Limited was appointed as the Judicial Manager of the Montserrat Branch (hereinafter referred to as the “Montserrat Judicial Manager”).  We write to provide an update to Montserrat policyholders in respect of the wider Judicial Management of CLICO and, more specifically, the Judicial Management of the Branch. 

Further to a report filed in the Barbados Court by the Barbados appointed Judicial Manager of CLICO we understand that he has recommended to the Courts in Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent and Anguilla that the judicial management of CLICO be terminated, and that a liquidator appointed. 

Whilst the recommendation for the termination of the judicial management of CLICO and appointment of a liquidator is yet to be considered, we understand from the CLICO Judicial Manager that, as of 29 February 2020, all policies administered under CLICO ceased to be in effect. We understand that whilst all policies ceased to be in effect from 29 February 2020 onwards liabilities accrued to that date in respect of those policies will essentially be fixed. We further understand that this is with the intention of being able to calculate the amount owed under each policy for the purposes of potential future distributions.  We expect to be able to provide further updates on the appointment of the liquidator over CLICO and the effect the liquidation may have over distributions as the process develops.

Accordingly, we provide notice to all policyholders of the Branch that any premiums received for the period 1 March 2020 to date will be returned. We anticipate that the return of those premiums paid to the Branch will be completed by the end of December 2020, and no later than 31 January 2021.  

We also request that no further premiums are paid by Montserrat policyholders to the Branch either personally, or on their behalf by their employers. 

Where premiums are being paid on your behalf by your employer we will also be liaising with them to ensure they are aware that no further payments should be made (and where relevant no deductions).  

We will provide a further substantive update once the Barbados Court has delivered its final determination in respect of the recommendation for the termination of the judicial management and appointment of liquidator.  

In the interim, we thank you for your patience. Should you have any queries in respect of this notice or the information contained therein, please do not hesitate to contact Christina Rodriguez on behalf of the Montserrat Judicial Manager at christinarodriguez@kpmg.vg.

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BBC-1

US election: Trump signals he is prepared to leave White House

Related Topics

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p08zrrmz/55096851

“It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” said President Trump

Donald Trump has said he will leave the White House if Joe Biden is formally confirmed as the next US president.

Answering reporters’ questions for the first time since losing the 3 November vote, Mr. Trump insisted, however, that “this race is far from over”.

He has refused to concede, citing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Individual states are currently certifying their results, after Mr. Biden was projected as the winner with an unassailable lead.

The Democrat leads Mr. Trump 306 votes to 232 under the electoral college system used to pick US presidents.

The tally is far more than the 270 needed to win, and Mr. Biden also leads the popular vote by more than six million.

Electors will meet to formalise the result on 14 December, with Mr. Biden due to be sworn in as president on 20 January.

The president and his supporters have lodged a number of legal challenges over the election, but most have been dismissed.

Earlier this week, Mr. Trump finally agreed to allow the formal transition to President-elect Biden’s team to begin, following several weeks of uncertainty.

The decision means Mr. Biden is able to receive top security briefings and access key government officials and millions of dollars in funds as he prepares to take over on 20 January.

Why is Trump refusing to admit defeat?

Following a video call with military personnel on the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, Mr. Trump faced questions from reporters at the White House.

US President Donald Trump participates in a Thanksgiving video teleconference with members of the military forces at the White House in Washington, 26 November 2020
Mr. Trump spoke with members of the US military – at home and abroad – via video link for the Thanksgiving holiday

He was asked whether he would agree to leave the White House if he lost the electoral college vote. “Certainly I will, certainly I will and you know that,” he said.

However, the president went on to say that “if they do [elect Joe Biden], they made a mistake”, and suggested he may never accept defeat.

“It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud,” he said, an allegation he has stood by without offering proof.

Mr. Trump did not say whether he would run for president again in 2024, or whether he would attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration.

The normally routine process of transitioning from one president to another and confirming the result has been derailed by President Trump’s refusal to concede.

Under the US electoral system, voters do not directly choose the next president. Instead, they vote for 538 officials, who are allocated to American states based on their population size.

The electors almost always vote for the candidate that won the most votes in their states, and although it is possible for some to disregard the voters’ pick, no result has ever been changed this way.

Mr. Trump also said that he was planning to hold a rally in Georgia on Saturday in support of two Republicans in key runoff elections that will decide which party controls the Senate.

What’s the latest from Biden?

The president-elect celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving on Thursday, as coronavirus cases in the US continue to rise.

“This year, our turkey will be smaller and the clatter of cooking a little quieter,” Mr. Biden and his wife Jill said in an op-ed published by CNN. “Like millions of Americans, we are temporarily letting go of the traditions we can’t do safely.”

“It is not a small sacrifice. These moments with our loved ones – time that’s lost – can’t be returned. Yet, we know it’s the price of protecting each other and one we don’t pay alone.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/embed/p08zmkyp/55096851

“We’re at war with a virus, not with one another”: President-elect Biden calls on Americans to unite against Covid-19

Earlier this week, Mr. Biden urged Americans to hold smaller Thanksgiving celebrations, saying that “I know that we can and will beat this virus”. He has said that tackling the pandemic would be his main priority when he takes office.

Mr. Biden has already announced his choice of top officials for when he takes over from Donald Trump in January and said that co-operation from the White House over the transition had been “sincere”.

Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, he said that America “won’t stand” for any attempt to derail the election. Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honour the results,” he said.

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Retrogression is upon this UK Overseas Territory

Retrogression is upon this UK Overseas Territory

November 20, 2020

Since our last publication of April 3, 2020, we have prepared and made attempts to publish, the existing, ‘dire’ circumstances at the time notwithstanding. These were seriously aggravated by a Government which we must say surprisingly if not disappointingly showed the kind of ignorance or badness, which must disturb even some among them. With that said, we still leave that to the saying, ‘who the cap fit, let them wear it’!

There is much more we hope to cover that may well be more important than the scant items covered in this resurrecting issue, though there is much that must fall in place for this to continue. However, as we go forward striving to go ‘up’ where we had hoped to be as far back as 2005, we will get there.

Lord Ashcroft wrote about St. Helena in May, an article captioned, “The damage that even the threat of the virus is wreaking on St Helena”, which at the time had already highlighted some of the poor attitude and actions of the Montserrat government. Some may recall what exposed how ignorant or uninformed the Government (some of them, since nothing here, is intended to indict ‘all’ of them), when on more than one occasion, by whispers at press conferences, they would make statements that are actually contrary to what really is, or may have been published.

St. Helena up to that point did not have a case of COVID-19, and they took action, early, to ensure that did not happen, which caused them to take on such as the cancellation of St Helena Day celebrations on May 21, which as Ashcroft writes “morale on the island is said to be low. That’s entirely understandable: after all, how many setbacks can one small island take?”

On March 28, 2020, when the question of financing was put to the Government of Montserrat (GoM) at a virtual press conference, it was done with the knowledge/information that St. Helena, Cayman Islands, and indeed other OTs, had already received the £2.5 million pounds. St. Helena had already closed its borders. (Our leaders made fun at a later press conference when this was noted to them, that “nobody goes there anyway, etc.”) They seemed ignorant that the airport St. Helena now has serves their tourist industry that they rely. Montserrat should have shared that experience, if not 16 years ago, certainly four years later, i.e. 12 years ago. We were reminded of that eight/nine years ago., Today, where are we? So, is this news to anyone? Let’s talk about it!

It is still a mystery, to us here anyway, how and why there was placed before our Legislative Assembly a ‘deficit’ budget; maybe we should call it a decrepit budget. One explanation heard is that there was the anticipated shortfall in revenue because of COVID-19. Was that whole matter discussed with DFID/FCO? If so why, or where is the pressure that the Premier/Minister of Finance mentioned about being questioned, ‘how are we going fix the “problem?”

For information, Montserrat’s end of year is March 31. The government received UK approval that $79.6 million was allocated, with the additional $8.5 million added few days later; with a promise that there will be further sums after discussions would take place on submissions going further. In normal times DFID usually make good to cover needs re the budget as the year progresses. Was our Premier etc. not familiar with all those ‘sham’ (no unkindness intended here) budgets over the years he served as Minister? Maybe we should not be surprised when he stated in February this year about their ‘just observing, learning’ the discussions at the FAM talks! “…most of the sessions and the only reason why we did that is because we want to be familiar with how it works;

Somehow, hearing so little from Governor Pearce since he had recanted, rather, clarified what he said, ‘we shouldn’t be talking finance but rather concentrate on the health issues’, there seems to be something amiss with conversations with FCO/DFID. That new arrangement which began ten years ago, was what caused the Governor to be able to say regarding the above on March 28, the UK is about to settle the budget allocation and will also provide additional funds…etc.

Indeed, at least two months ago UKG had already mentioned the support they would be providing for their own existence that naturally (without saying so) included the OTs.

It has been a year since the new government and it certainly was mystifying to hear the Premier admitting that all they will be doing in the near future going forward, is continue and complete the projects began by the previous government, above asking for cooperation from a hurt and disgruntled people. The questions to follow are obvious, but they will be exposed. Hopefully by then there will be answers to the questions with admissions and at least explanations.

Of grave concern is how the relief moneys allocated by UKG for the pandemic assistance with more to come as needed, why some businesses and individuals did not benefit from the funds provided by the UKG to provide needed relief, that would save much problems later on.

Unfortunately, very early after the laisse faire approach, when it became urgent to recover and change, it was that same attitude that created hardship in how they managed what they could have avoided. They did not understand the demography and the lives of the people, nor were they familiar with the status of the not so well off. Listening to the ‘uncaring’ statements spouted in all places such as the Legislative Assembly was unbearably sickening. And to think it continues. That is more than sad. Perhaps they do not know or probably do not care but all those actions and lack of plans going forward hurt the island and the people therein. The one word that is matching is ‘retrogression’.

Posted in COVID-19, Editorial, Legal, News, Regional0 Comments

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United States: It Is Time for Reparations

COLONIALISM REPARATION

SO THAT COLONIALISMS OF YESTERDAY AND TODAY ARE NOT REPEATED TOMORROW

Published: 19 November 2020

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Colonialism Reparation welcomes that in the United States of America reparations are gaining traction and invites all the other federal, state, and local administrations to take action in the same direction.

On March 1, 2019, giving continuity to the action of Congressman John Conyers Jr. begun in 1989 and those who preceded and accompanied him, congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee introduces the bill 40 to establish a Commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans, holding during the legislature a public hearing and gathering the support of 162 representatives, 20 senators, and the United States Conference of Mayors.

On January 14, 2020, in New Jersey senators Ronald Rice and Sandra Cunningham introduce the bill 322 to establish a Reparations Task Force to conduct research and develop reparatory proposals and recommendations.
On February 7, 2020, in Maryland delegate Wanika Fisher introduces the bill 1201 to establish a Reparations Commission to develop and administer a program for the provision of compensatory benefits to the descendants of individuals enslaved in the State.

On February 13, 2020, in Illinois representatives William Davis and Carol Ammons introduce the bill 5024 to establish an African descent-citizens reparations Commission.

On February 21, 2020, in California assemblymember, Shirley Weber introduces the bill 3121 to establish a Task Force to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans, which is approved and enters into force on September 30, 2020.

On June 5, 2019, the City Council of Evanston in Illinois adopts resolution 58 launching a local reparations process with the creation of a dedicated Subcommittee, a dedicated fund, and the first reparatory measures.
On June 17, 2020, the City Council of Chicago in Illinois adopts resolution 694 launching a local reparations process with the creation of a dedicated Commission.

On August 10, 2020, the City Council of Burlington in Vermont adopts resolution 7.06 launching a local reparations process with the creation of a dedicated Task Force.

On August 18, 2020, the County Commission of Kalamazoo in Michigan adopts resolution 1917 launching a local reparations process.
On October 20, 2020, the City Council of Carrboro in North Carolina adopts resolution 382 launching a local reparations process.

On October 20, 2020, the supervisor of San Francisco in California Shamann Walton presented the ordinance 201190 to launch a local reparations process.

Colonialism Reparation welcomes that in the United States of America reparations are gaining traction and invites all the other federal, state, and local administrations to take action in the same direction, keeping the electoral promises made.

Posted in Culture, Features, International, Legal, Local, News, OECS, Politics, Regional0 Comments

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