Biden news: President unveils plans for taxes and gun control as Ilhan Omar attacks him over Trump wall

1 week ago 8

As it happenedended

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Biden warns of complacency as Covid vaccine rollout continues

Joe Biden is expected to announce executive actions on gun violence that would order buyers of so-called "ghost guns", or improvised firearms, be subjected to background checks, according to reports in Politico.

As the president turns his agenda on gun control and taxes, his predecessor has spoken out to support Matt Gaetz. Donald Trump issued a statement denying claims that embattled Florida congressman Matt Gaetz sought a blanket presidential pardon during the final weeks of his administration.

The statement offers Mr Gaetz a rare reprieve as he fights to recover from the news he is facing a federal sex trafficking investigation.

Stephen Miller, one of Mr Trump’s most hardcore anti-immigration aides, is launching an organisation dedicated to obstructing Joe Biden’s agenda in courts across the US. According to Mr Miller, America First Legal will go after “anything the president does that we believe to be illegal”.

Mr Miller was a key architect of policies including family separations and the incomplete border wall. It has now transpired that the Biden administration may continue to fill gaps in parts of the barrier that have already been constructed.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the Joe Biden administration and the wild world of American politics.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 09:02

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Matt Gaetz ‘sought blanket pardon’ from Trump

Under-fire Florida congressman Matt Gaetz reportedly sought a blanket pardon from former president Donald Trump during the final weeks of his administration, a revelation that comes as he faces a federal sex trafficking investigation.

Gaetz’s spokespeople have denied the story, however, telling The NYT: “Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz - where he called for President Trump to pardon ‘everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic’ - with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him.

“Those comments have been on the record for some time, and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them out himself,” the spokesman added.

Here’s the latest on the one-time MAGA favourite from Namita Singh, as Gaetz refuses to step down while his fellow Republicans gently back away and tiptoe for the fire exit.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 09:15

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Biden warns against Covid complacency and brings forward vaccine deadline

Joe Biden has meanwhile warned Americans against treating the coronavirus pandemic with complacency as he moved forward the deadline for widespread access to the Covid-19 vaccines to 19 April, two weeks earlier than previously planned.

“Despite the progress we’re making as a nation, I want every American to know in no uncertain terms, that this fight isn’t over. This progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve can be reversed. Now’s not the time to let down. Now’s not the time to celebrate,” he said, speaking at a vaccination site at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria on Tuesday.

Justin Vallejo has this report.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 09:35

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President tells states to drop ‘new Jim Crow’ laws and applauds private sector opposition

Responding to the growing backlash against newly-implemented voting restrictions in Georgia, including Major League Baseball withdrawing its All-Star Game from the state, President Biden said yesterday it is “reassuring” to see the private sector speaking out.

“It is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“The other side to it too is when they do in fact move out of Georgia, the people making hourly wages sometimes get hurt the most. But I respect when they make that judgment.”

He urged Republican lawmakers in Georgia - among at least 47 states mulling dozens of GOP-backed legislation to restrict access to the ballot - to “smarten up” and “stop it”.

Alex Woodward has this one,

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 09:55

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Trump plummets 300 places on Forbes billionaires list

Ooof.

You just know the former president and mid-market steak retailer will HATE this.

Chris Riotta has the juicy details.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 10:15

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Pfizer CEO says ex-president urged him to develop vaccine to boost re-election prospects

The pharmaceutical giant’s CEO Albert Bourla has revealed that the ex-president repeatedly called him in 2020 and urged him to get a Covid vaccine developed quickly to boost his own chances of securing a second term.

Speaking to The Carlos Watson Show, Bourla was careful to add that Trump “never pressed me to do something that would be inappropriate with a vaccine.”

“In the few times that he was telling me that we need to do it fast - first he would say, ‘We need to do it quickly; people are dying,’ and then also he would add, ‘Of course it will help me also in the election, but people is the important thing’,” the Pfizer boss told the podcast.

Graeme Massie has more.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 10:35

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Donald Trump Jr trolls Hunter Biden over struggle with drugs

Sticking with the Trumps, the ex-president’s eldest son’s latest appalling intervention in the discourse is to post a picture of a crack pipe, a lighter and a tub of parmesan shavings on Instagram to mock Hunter Biden, who yesterday published Beautiful Things, a harrowing and very moving memoir recounting his years of alcoholism and crack cocaine addiction.

A low blow to someone in recovery, even from a source as boorish and insensitive as Don Jr, you’d have to say.

Maroosha Muzaffar is here to explain.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 10:55

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Gaetz using sex scandal for fundraising pitch

Back to the embattled Republican congressman, who has been using the accusations against him - namely, that he is being investigated by the FBI for trafficking a 17-year-old girl for sex - to call for fresh donations to help him “fight back against the fake news”.

An email his team sent out on Tuesday claims the “far-left New York Times” had published “salacious allegations” against him in a bid to stop him “fighting for the forgotten men and women of this country”.

The appeal also claims the media is only attacking him to cover up stories about Hunter Biden and sexual harassment allegations against New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

Biden Jr is not an elected official and Cuomo’s scandal has been covered exhaustively by media outlets, of course.

“The swamp is out to drown me but I’m not giving up,” Gaetz further insists.

Graig Graziosi has this report.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 11:15

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Trump complains Georgia voting law doesn’t do enough to restrict access to ballots

The ex-president is still clearly embittered over his election defeat and clutching on to his unfounded vote rigging claims for dear life, advocating for the further suppression of demographics more likely to vote Democrat as Biden calls for the Peach State’s racist law’s repeal.

Also disagreeing with the new president on the restrictions is Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who says it is “stupid” for corporations to speak out on political issues, singling out Major League Baseball and Coca-Cola.

“It’s quite stupid to jump in the middle of a highly controversial issue,” McConnell told reporters yesterday. “Republicans drink Coca-Cola too, and we fly and we like baseball. It’s irritating one hell of a lot of Republican fans.”

Akshita Jain has more on Trump’s blustering objections from the fringes of obscurity.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 11:35

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Ex-Trump official barred from public office after admitting violating Hatch Act on ethics

Lynne Patton, who was appointed as a regional administrator with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2017, has admitted to violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from participating in political activities.

Patton admitted using her position to produce a video for Republican National Convention (RNC) last year by interviewing residents of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) about their living conditions, a claim she previously denied.

The US Office of Special Counsel made the announcement after it reached a settlement with the ex-official.

“During her approximately one-month stay, Patton met residents and later leveraged one of these relationships to recruit participants to film a video that would air at the RNC. Patton wanted NYCHA residents to appear in the video to explain how their standard of living had improved under the Trump administration,” a statement from the office read.

Shweta Sharma has more.

Joe Sommerlad7 April 2021 11:55

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