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Trump retreats from his job, and Pence fills the void – Latest News, Breaking News, Top News Headlines – CVBJ

Frustrated by the loss of his Twitter account and forced to accept that he must soon leave office, President Trump has stopped doing his job, delegating daily responsibilities to Vice President Mike Pence while taking cover with a shrinking group of aides. condescending and provides for additional presidential pardons.

Trump had considered leaving the White House before his last day in office on Wednesday, including this weekend, but has chosen to leave on the morning of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration day, according to two people familiar with discussions that warned that, with Trump, plans are always subject to change.

Intrigued by the idea of ​​overshadowing Biden, the ever self-centered president has requested a big sendoff. It will begin with a crowd of staff and supporters cheering and waving flags to see him off on the South Lawn of the White House, according to a person familiar with the planning, and will continue with a more formal ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, with red carpet, band military man, color guard and a 21-gun salute. He will make his last Air Force One flight to Florida, to settle in Mar-a-Lago, his property in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Although Trump is not yet willing to formally give in to Biden, or participate in the traditional spectacle of the peaceful handover of power by attending the inauguration of his successor, Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday and “congratulated her and offered her help before the inauguration, ”according to a person familiar with the call.

Pence’s relationship with Trump was nearly severed after he refused to support the president’s efforts to challenge the Constitution and overturn the election result, confirming earlier in the week that he plans to attend Biden’s inauguration. Trump, in one of his last tweets last week, made it clear that he would not go.

Earlier, Trump had floated the idea of ​​leaving town early to avoid having to greet Biden at the White House before inauguration ceremonies on Capitol Hill, as has long been traditional – to provide the time honored photo of the presidents. outgoing and incoming that gives visual definition to the peaceful transfer of power from the United States. Although he could now stay until inauguration day, Trump has no plans to meet with the president-elect yet.

His administration this week extended a traditional courtesy, inviting Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, to stay at the Blair House, just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, on the eve of the grand opening.

Finally, forced by bipartisan furor to acknowledge the “new administration” – if not its defeat – Trump has almost completely withdrawn from his hard-earned job duties. Helpers and friends who have spoken to him this week describe him as “furious” that Twitter deleted his account, but also say he has been somewhat sober over warnings from his attorneys about his potential legal liability for inciting the deadly riot last week.

From the moment the pro-Trump mob broke through the Capitol doors and entered the House and Senate chambers to stop the counting of Congressional electoral votes, Pence has effectively assumed the responsibilities of the presidency. With Trump mesmerized by live television coverage of his supporters fighting for him, it fell to Pence – who had been presiding over the recount, and had to be driven into hiding – to authorize the deployment of the National Guard to the District of Columbia to suffocate the mob.

Just a week later, the president was watching television again – with country music star Toby Keith, to whom he gave a medal – when the House voted to accuse him of inciting an insurrection, making him the only president to have been accused twice. He was confident the Senate would not convict him, according to a person who speaks to him regularly, and he mostly focused his anger on the 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment, peppered aides with questions about who some of the members were. legislators and what he could do to get revenge.

Trump spent time Thursday instructing officials to destroy reports of his frustration with Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the few outside attorneys still willing to defend him. That afternoon, as Trump took farewell photos with staff as others loaded boxes into vans and moving cars outside the West Wing, Pence visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a briefing on safety preparations. for the opening ceremony.

After the meeting, Pence told reporters that the government “will ensure that we have a safe inauguration, that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in … consistent with our history and traditions.”

On the way home, Pence stopped to greet some of the 20,000 National Guards posted outside the Capitol, thanking them for their service in ensuring that the opening ceremonies are safe.

By Friday, Trump had not yet addressed the nation about reports from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies that domestic terrorists, emboldened by events on Capitol Hill that left at least five dead, were threatening not only the inauguration but the 50 state capitals.

Mike Lindell, one of Trump’s staunch defenders, arguing that the fraud cost the president re-election, was seen around an otherwise quiet White House. When Lindell left the West Wing, a photographer captured an image showing that the notes he was holding referred to “martial law” and the “Law of Insurrection.”

Pence is also scheduled to deliver a speech Saturday on the administration’s “foreign policy achievements” at the California Naval Air Station in Lemoore, and then at the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY, his announcement announced. office on Wednesday.

Normally, outgoing presidents participate in an official farewell ceremony with members of the military. On Thursday, the White House emailed a short statement to Trump reporters that could mark a final 67-word farewell. It was, above all, a greeting to himself.

“US troops in Afghanistan are at their lowest level in 19 years. Likewise, Iraq and Syria are also at their lowest point in many years, ”the president said. “I will always be committed to stopping endless wars. It has been a great honor to rebuild our army and support our brave men and women in uniform. $ 2.5 billion invested, including beautiful new equipment – all made in the USA.

Spending his final days almost entirely out of sight, Trump is said to be preparing a vast number of pardons and weighing whether he should give one to himself. A car pardon would be an act of dubious constitutionality – at a time when he and his family’s business are under investigation – suggesting disregard for the law in an effort to inoculate himself from any federal prosecution.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Made clear in a statement Wednesday that he is open to voting in favor of Trump’s conviction, a move that some administration officials say was intended to deter. to the president of a car pardon or any other damaging move in his last days.

“He knows that the auto pardon is not correct, it will invite scrutiny and it will not protect him from the actions of the state,” said a former Trump administration official. But the calculation, the official said, was more about “if it is worth the worth the scrutiny and hassle ”than impeachment.

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