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Migrants from Central America walk at the Paso del Norte international border bridge to request for asylum in the U.S., in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzale

U.S. President Joe Biden signed half a dozen executive orders on Wednesday to reverse several hardline immigration policies put in place by former President Donald Trump, although migration experts warn that it will take months or longer to unravel many of the restrictions imposed in the past four years. 

In a sharp departure from his Republican predecessor, Biden, a Democrat, just hours after being sworn in also sent an immigration bill to Congress that proposes opening a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the United States unlawfully.

The executive actions, signed at a ceremony at the White House, included immediately lifting a travel ban on 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries, halting construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reversing a Trump order preventing migrants who are in the United States illegally from being counted for congressional districts.

Biden also signed a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. attorney general to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects migrants who came to the country as children from deportation, and reversed Trump’s executive order calling for stricter immigration enforcement away from the country’s international borders. Biden‘s DHS also issued a memorandum calling for a 100-day moratorium on some deportations.

DHS also said it would end all enrollments in a controversial Trump program – known as the Migrant Protection Protocols – that forced more than 65,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for U.S. court hearings. The release did not clarify what will happen to migrants currently in the program, many of whom have been stuck for months in squalid tent camps near the southwest border.

The actions show that Biden is beginning his presidency with a sharp focus on immigration, just as Trump kept the issue at the center of his policy agenda until the last days of his administration – though they come at the issue from radically different perspectives. In one of his rare post-election public appearances, Trump earlier this month visited a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, which he had ordered built by shifting funds, partly from the military budget.

Biden‘s decision to immediately roll back Trump’s travel ban won praise from business groups and migrant advocates. Myron Brilliant, the head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the ban was “was not aligned with American values” and its reversal would help “restore our credibility on the global stage.”

MORE ACTIONS COMING

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, travel to the United States has been curbed and DHS said in its announcement Wednesday that current non-essential travel restrictions will remain in place.

Biden has not yet laid out clear plans for a March 2020 order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that allows officials to expel almost all border crossers. Since the order was put in place, around 380,000 people have been quickly sent to their home countries or pushed back to Mexico, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

Incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on a call with reporters on Tuesday it would be “unwise” for migrants to come to the border now because of limited capacity to process asylum claims.

“The situation at the border is one we intend to change, but it is going to take considerable time,” he said.

In Central America in recent weeks, migrant caravans have been on the move, with some aiming to arrive at the southwest border after Biden‘s inauguration.

The president plans additional immigration moves soon. On Jan. 29 he will issue executive actions to restore U.S. asylum protections, strengthen refugee processing and set up a task force to reunify families still separated by Trump’s border policies, according to a memo shared with lawmakers and obtained by Reuters.

The Biden administration will also review barriers to legal immigration put in place by Trump over the past four years, including a regulation that made it harder for poorer immigrants to get permanent residency, the memo said.

BILL NO SLAM DUNK

Lifting the travel ban and implementing executive orders may be an easier task than getting Congress to pass Biden‘s ambitious immigration bill. It lays out an eight-year road map to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country unlawfully, according to a fact sheet distributed to reporters by incoming White House officials on Tuesday.

Eligible immigrants who were in the country as of Jan. 1 and meet certain requirements would be given a temporary status for five years before being granted green cards. They could apply for citizenship after three more years, officials said.

The wait time for legalization would be shorter for DACA recipients and immigrants living in the United States with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), both programs Trump tried to end. It would also be expedited for some farmworkers.

While Democrats effectively hold a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate will be divided 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote. A lack of bipartisan support has torpedoed past efforts to overhaul the immigration system.

On Tuesday, Republican Senator Marco Rubio called the bill a “non-starter” that included “a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully.”

Advocates acknowledge privately the bill will probably serve more as a statement of goals to set the stage for a series of smaller, single-issue bills that might attract more bipartisan support.

President Biden also announced America’s return to the international Paris Agreement to fight climate change, the centerpiece of a raft of day-one executive orders aimed at restoring U.S. leadership in combating global warming.

The announcements also included a sweeping order to review all of former President Donald Trump’s actions weakening climate change protections, the revocation of a vital permit for TC Energy’s Keystone XL oil pipeline project from Canada, and a moratorium on oil and gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that Trump’s administration had recently opened to development.

The orders by the newly sworn-in president will mark the start of a major policy reversal in the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China, after the Trump administration pilloried climate science and rolled back environmental regulation to maximize fossil fuel development.

Biden has promised to put the United States on a track to net-zero emissions by 2050 to match the steep and swift global cuts that scientists say are needed to avoid the most devastating impacts of global warming, using curbs on fossil fuels and massive investments in clean energy.

The path will not be easy, with political divisions in the United States, opposition from fossil fuel companies, and wary international partners concerned about U.S. policy shifts obstructing the way.

“We got off track very severely for the last four years with a climate denier in the Oval Office,” said John Podesta, an adviser to former President Barack Obama who helped craft the 2015 Paris Agreement. “We enter the international arena with a credibility deficit.”

Biden‘s orders also require government agencies to consider revising vehicle fuel efficiency standards and methane emissions curbs, and to study the possibility of re-expanding the boundaries of wilderness national monuments that the Trump administration reduced in size.

While environmental advocates were thrilled by the orders, industry groups and conservatives criticized them.

Alaska’s Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy mocked Biden‘s decision to shut down oil and gas work in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, saying the new president “appears to be making good on his promise to turn Alaska into a large national park.”

The American Petroleum Institute, the nation’s top oil and gas industry lobby group, said it believed blocking the Keystone XL oil pipeline was a “step backward.”

“This misguided move will hamper America’s economic recovery, undermine North American energy security and strain relations with one of America’s greatest allies,” API President Mike Sommers said.

HARD PART AHEAD

Global counterparts and climate advocates welcomed Washington’s return to cooperation on climate change, but expressed some skepticism about its staying power and its ability to overcome domestic political turmoil.

A group of Republican senators on Wednesday called on Biden to submit his plan to re-engage the United States in the Paris climate agreement to lawmakers for “review and consideration.”

Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris deal late last year, arguing it was too costly to the U.S. economy.

Biden submitted the formal letter to the U.N. secretary-general re-entering the agreement on Wednesday evening, and it will enter force on Feb. 19.

Brian Deese, Biden’s director of the National Economic Council, told Reuters that the United States hopes to encourage other big emitters to also “push their ambition, even as we have to demonstrate our ability to come back on the stage and show leadership.”

Pete Betts, an associate fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House who led climate negotiations for the European Union when the Paris deal was struck, said the United States will need to match its promises with financial commitments too.

The United States under Obama pledged to deliver $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help vulnerable countries fight climate change. It has delivered only $1 billion so far.

“The U.S. will need to put some money on the table, and also encourage others to do the same,” he said.

 
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China announced sanctions against "lying and cheating" outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump

China said on Wednesday it wanted to cooperate with President Joe Biden’s new U.S. administration, while announcing sanctions against “lying and cheating” outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump.

The move was a sign of China’s anger, especially at an accusation Pompeo made on his final full day in office that China had committed genocide against its Uighur Muslims, an assessment that Biden’s choice to succeed Pompeo, Anthony Blinken, said he shared.

In a striking repudiation of its relationship with Washington under Trump, the Chinese foreign ministry announced the sanctions in a statement that appeared on its website around the time that Biden was taking the presidential oath.

Pompeo and the others had “planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves, gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-U.S. relations,” it said.

The other outgoing and former Trump officials sanctioned included trade chief Peter Navarro, National Security Advisers Robert O’Brien and John Bolton, Health Secretary Alex Azar, U.N. ambassador Kelly Craft and former top Trump aide Steve Bannon.

The 28 ex-officials and immediate family members would be banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao, and companies and institutions associated with them restricted from doing business with China.

China has imposed sanctions on U.S. lawmakers in the past year, but targeting so many former and outgoing U.S. officials on inauguration day was an unusual expression of disdain.

Pompeo, who unleashed a barrage of measures against China in his final weeks in office, announced that on Tuesday that the Trump administration had determined that China had committed “genocide and crimes against humanity” against Uighur Muslims.

Blinken said on Tuesday he agreed with Pompeo’s genocide assessment.

“The forcing of men, women and children into concentration camps; trying to, in effect, re-educate them to be adherents to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, all of that speaks to an effort to commit genocide,” Blinken said.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of abuse in its western Xinjiang region, where a United Nations panel has said at least 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims had been detained in camps.

Responding to the Xinjiang allegations, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a media briefing on Wednesday: “Pompeo has made so many lies in recent years, and this is just another bold-faced lie.”

“This U.S. politician is notorious for lying and cheating, is making himself a laughing stock and a clown,” she said.

Hua said China hoped “the new administration will work together with China in the spirit of mutual respect, properly handle differences and conduct more win-win cooperation in more sectors.”

“We hope the new U.S. administration can have their own reasonable and cool-minded judgment on Xinjiang issues, among other issues.”


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BlackRock Inc is adding bitcoin futures as an eligible investment to two funds, a company filing showed, in a move to bring the world of cryptocurrency to its clients.

The world’s largest asset manager said it could use bitcoin derivatives for its funds BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities and BlackRock Global Allocation Fund Inc.

The funds will invest only in cash-settled bitcoin futures traded on commodity exchanges registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the company said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink had said at the Council of Foreign Relations in December that bitcoin is seeing big giant moves every day and could possibly evolve into a global market. (bit.ly/2XXFHrB).

Fink even acknowledged bitcoin’s rising popularity, saying it had potential to turn into a global market asset last year.

The asset manager also recently posted a job opening for a blockchain and crypto executive, seeking a vice president of blockchain for its New York office.

Last November, the company’s CIO for fixed income, Rick Rieder, told CNBC that cryptocurrency may be “here to stay,” and could even replace gold “to a large extent,” noting that it was “much more functional” than the yellow metal.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, hit a record high of $40,000, rallying more than 900 per cent from a low in March and having only just breached $20,000 in mid-December.

A BlackRock spokesperson declined to comment beyond the filings when contacted by Reuters.

BlackRock did not state which commodity exchange it will choose to execute these crypto futures buys. However, the funds may only invest in cash-settled bitcoin futures. CME is the only exchange registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that offers similar futures products at this time.

The price of bitcoin fell slightly on Wednesday, dropping to €28,499 at this writing. The cryptocurrency had been as high as €33,000 this month.


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Paul Pogba scored a superb winner as Man United reclaimed top spot in the Premier League by coming from behind to win at Fulham

Manchester United reclaimed pole position in the Premier League as Paul Pogba’s stunning second-half strike earned them a 2-1 victory at Fulham on Wednesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had been leapfrogged by Leicester City on Tuesday and then Manchester City earlier on Wednesday, but responded with an eighth away win of the season.

United moved to the top with 40 points from 19 games, two points above City, who have played a game less, and Leicester. It is the first time for eight years they have been top at the halfway stage of the season.

It had not looked good when Ademola Lookman rewarded the hosts for a bright start by firing home after five minutes.

But United, sluggish to begin with, came to life though and Edinson Cavani equalsied from close range in the 21st minute after a mistake by Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola.

A rejuvenated Pogba earned United a vital in the 65th minute when he cut in and arrowed an unstoppable shot past Areola.
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Man City missed several great chances amid a relentless downpour at the Etihad, but finally broke through with Silva’s spectacular strike 11 minutes from time

Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan struck late on as Manchester City maintained their title charge with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

The hosts spurned a succession of great chances amid a relentless downpour at the Etihad Stadium but finally broke through with Silva’s spectacular strike 11 minutes from time.
The Portuguese rattled a powerful left-foot drive into the top corner from the edge of the area to pierce Villa’s admirable resistance.

Gundogan then wrapped up City’s sixth successive Premier League win from the penalty spot in the final minute after a handball by Matty Cash.

In all City racked up 28 attempts at goal and they had numerous other openings on a night when they missed having a specialist centre forward for most of the game.
Yet Villa deserved huge credit for acquitting themselves well on their return to action. Aside from an FA Cup tie in which they fielded a youthful side, it was their first game since New Year’s Day following a Covid-19 outbreak at the club.

They contributed to an entertaining game and had the occasional chance themselves, but it was a tale of their defence versus City’s attack and Pep Guardiola’s men ultimately prevailed.

Speaking to Match Of The Day after the final whistle, Villa manager Dean Smith was not a happy man. “It was a farcical decision for the first goal. I’ve not seen a goal like that given. It needs to be looked at. I don’t think anyone in this stadium thought it was a goal,” he said.

“I thought they would go over to the VAR screen. I saw the incident and saw it was kicking off, so I asked the fourth officials did they get juggling balls for Christmas.
“For the second goal, a header from a yard out that has hit his arm. That’s not handball. Ridiculous.
“It’s been tough but much tougher for other people across the country, so it’s not too hard for my lads to do ten days in isolation when some people have done it for nine months.”


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1386 new cases of COVID-19N in Nigeria;

Lagos-476
Rivers-163
FCT-116
Kaduna-114
Oyo-68
Plateau-62
Ogun-56
Imo-55
Osun-55
Edo-51
Anambra-50
Kwara-44
Kano-17
Ebonyi-14
Cross River-10
Delta-10
Jigawa-8
Bayelsa-6
Ekiti-6
Borno-2
Taraba-2
Zamfara-1

114,691 confirmed
92,336 discharged
1,478 deaths

Discharges includes 626 community recoveries in Lagos State managed in line with guidelines.

A breakdown of cases by state can be found via http://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng
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Health care workers transport a coronavirus patient at the Royal London Hospital

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisted calls for an inquiry into his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday as the country’s death toll neared 100,000 and his chief scientist said hospitals were looking like war zones.

Johnson has been accused of reacting too slowly to the crisis, failing to supply sufficient protective equipment and bungling the testing system, although the United Kingdom has been swift to roll out a vaccine.

The official death toll is 93,290 – Europe’s worst figure and the world’s fifth worst, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico. Deaths rose by another record daily number on Wednesday.

There have been calls for a public inquiry from some doctors and bereaved families into the management of the crisis.

Johnson last year said he would hold an inquiry when the time was right, but has not outlined when that will be. Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, he said: “The idea that we should now concentrate…vast state resources to an inquiry now, in the middle of the pandemic, does not seem sensible to me.”

Ministers say that while they have not got everything right, they were making decisions at speed in the worst public health crisis for a century and that they have learned from mistakes and followed scientific advice.

As hospital admissions soared, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said there was enormous pressure on the National Health Service with doctors and nurses battling to give people sufficient care.

“It may not look like it when you go for a walk in the park, but when you go into a hospital, this is very, very bad at the moment with enormous pressure and in some cases it looks like a war zone in terms of the things that people are having to deal with,” Vallance told Sky television.

The British government reported a fresh record rise in deaths on Wednesday with 1,820 people dying within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. Currently, 39,068 people are in hospital with COVID, 3,947 of them on ventilation.

The United Kingdom is currently under a lockdown, with bars and restaurants closed, only essential shops open, and restrictions on people’s activities.

But Vallance – formerly head of research at GlaxoSmithKline and a professor of medicine at University College London – said that loosening the lockdown too soon would be a mistake.

“The lesson is every time you release it too quickly you get an upswing and you can see that right across the world.”


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Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden kiss after he was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States

Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday, vowing to end the ‘uncivil war’ in a deeply divided country reeling from a battered economy and a raging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.

With his hand on a five-inch thick heirloom Bible that has been in his family for more than a century, Biden took the oath of office administered by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts that binds the president to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

“Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge,” Biden said in his inaugural address. “Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause: the cause of democracy…At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

Biden, 78, became the oldest U.S. president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.

The norm-defying Trump flouted one last convention on his way out of the White House when he refused to meet with Biden or attend his successor’s inauguration, breaking with a political tradition seen as affirming the peaceful transfer of power.

Trump, who never conceded the Nov. 3 election, did not mention Biden by name in his final remarks as president on Wednesday morning, when he touted his administration’s record and promised to be back “in some form.” He boarded Air Force One for the last time and headed to his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.


Top Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence and the party’s congressional leaders, attended Biden‘s inauguration, along with former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Biden‘s running mate, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, became the first Black person, first woman and first Asian American to serve as vice president after she was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member.

Biden takes office at a time of deep national unease, with the country facing what his advisers have described as four compounding crises: the pandemic, the economic downtown, climate change and racial inequality. He has promised immediate action, including a raft of executive orders on his first day in office.

After a bitter campaign marked by Trump’s baseless allegations of election fraud, Biden struck a conciliatory tone, asking Americans who did not vote for him to give him a chance to be their president as well.

“To overcome these challenges to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity,” he said. “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this – if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

The ceremony on Wednesday unfolded in front of a heavily fortified U.S. Capitol, where a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building two weeks ago, enraged by his false claims that the election was stolen with millions of fraudulent votes.

The violence prompted the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Trump last week for an unprecedented second time.

Thousands of National Guard troops were called into the city after the siege, which left five people dead and briefly forced lawmakers into hiding. Instead of a throng of supporters, the National Mall on Wednesday was covered by nearly 200,000 flags and 56 pillars of light meant to represent people from U.S. states and territories.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“Here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work on our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground,” Biden said. “It did not happen; it will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”

Biden‘s inauguration is the zenith of a five-decade career in public service that included more than three decades in the U.S. Senate and two terms as vice president under former President Barack Obama.

But he faces calamities that would challenge even the most experienced politician.

The pandemic in the United States reached a pair of grim milestones on Trump’s final full day in office on Tuesday, reaching 400,000 U.S. deaths and 24 million infections – the highest of any country. Millions of Americans are out of work because of pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions.

Biden has vowed to bring the full weight of the federal government to bear on the crisis. His top priority is a $1.9 trillion plan that would enhance jobless benefits and provide direct cash payments to households.

But it will require approval from a deeply divided Congress, where Democrats hold slim advantages in both the House and Senate. Harris was scheduled to swear in three new Democratic senators late on Wednesday, creating a 50-50 split in the chamber with herself as the tie-breaking vote.

Biden will waste little time trying to turn the page on the Trump era, advisers said, signing 15 executive actions on Wednesday on issues ranging from the pandemic to the economy to climate change. The orders will include mandating masks on federal property, rejoining the Paris climate accord and ending Trump’s travel ban on some Muslim-majority countries.

Although Biden has laid out a packed agenda for his first 100 days, including delivering 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations, the Senate could be consumed by Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial, which will move ahead even though he has left office.

The trial could serve as an early test of Biden‘s promise to foster a renewed sense of bipartisanship in Washington.

Trump issued more than 140 pardons and commutations in his final hours in office, including a pardon for his former political adviser, Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to charges that he swindled Trump supporters as part of an effort to raise private funds for a Mexico border wall.

But Trump did not issue preemptive pardons for himself or members of his family, after speculation that he might do so.


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Donald Trump and Melania Trump arrive at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS

President Donald Trump left the White House and Washington for a final time as commander-in-chief on Wednesday after a tumultuous presidency stained by two impeachments, deep political divisions, and a pandemic that caused 400,000 U.S. deaths.

The Republican president departed the White House with his wife, Melania, saying it had been a great honor to serve and giving a final wave as he boarded the Marine One helicopter for Joint Base Andrews, where he delivered farewell remarks.

“So just a goodbye. We love you. We will be back in some form,” Trump told supporters before boarding Air Force One for a flight to Florida. “Have a good life. We will see you soon.”

The plane then taxied and lifted off as Frank Sinatra’s classic song “My Way” played over the loudspeakers.

Trump left a note for his successor, Democrat Joe Biden, a spokesman said, following one small bit of traditional protocol related to the peaceful transfer of power that Trump has otherwise eschewed. Trump has declined to mention Biden’s name even as he wished the incoming administration luck on his way out of office.

Trump, 74, bade his farewell hours before Biden’s inauguration. That made him the first outgoing president since Andrew Johnson in 1869 to skip the Inauguration Day ceremony that marks the formal transfer of power, in a final display of pique at his failure to win re-election in November.

Trump later landed in Florida and was driven to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, timed to get behind the wall of the resort before his term as president expires at noon.

In his remarks, Trump wished luck to Biden’s administration but again declined to mention his successor by name.

“I will always fight for you. I will be watching. I will be listening. And I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better,” Trump said in his final public remarks. “I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success. They have the foundation to do something really spectacular.”

Trump has a long way to go to rebuild an image left in tatters by his stormy presidency, particularly the final months. Trump now has a unique place in history – as the only president ever impeached twice.

Even after he leaves office, the Senate is still to hold a trial on the impeachment charge brought by the Democratic-led House of Representatives that Trump incited an insurrection in connection with the Jan. 6 deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Its outcome could determine whether he will be disqualified from running again for president.

“He is going to be an asterisk president, a one-termer who did more damage than good,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.

Trump maintained to his last days in office that the Nov. 3 election was stolen from him, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Courts have rejected his campaign’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud and his vice president, Mike Pence, led the U.S. Congress in certifying Biden’s victory over Trump’s objections, after the protesters had been cleared from the Capitol following the deadly assault.

The Washington that Trump leaves behind is being guarded by 25,000 National Guard troops, while the National Mall, traditionally thronged with spectators on Inauguration Day, is closed to the public because of threats of violence from groups that attacked the Capitol.

While preoccupied with fighting the election results, Trump did not put a dent in the spiraling death toll from the coronavirus, which crossed the grim 400,000 mark in the United States on Tuesday, the most of any country. Pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions have also cost millions of Americans their jobs.

In his farewell remarks, Trump acknowledged the suffering visited upon Americans during the pandemic. The president downplayed the risks of the coronavirus in the pandemic’s early stages and did not model consistent wearing of a mask to stop its spread.

TARNISHED BRAND

Trump, a former real estate tycoon who owns 17 golf resorts around the world, faces a gigantic task rebuilding his tarnished brand.

The New York Times reported that many of his resorts have been losing millions of dollars and that hundreds of millions in debt must be repaid within a few years.

Trump must also decide how to stay involved in politics as he has said he will do. He has talked of using a super PAC (political action committee) for supporting candidates who try to oust Republicans who he believes have crossed him politically.

But whether he can maintain his grip on the Republican Party will remain to be seen.

“I would predict in the not-too-distant future that American political candidates will be more motivated to show that they are unlike Trump than candidates after 1974 were to show that they were unlike (Richard) Nixon,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss. Nixon resigned in 1974 over the Watergate scandal.


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Juergen Klopp

Liverpool’s performance level has not dropped despite the team slipping to fourth place and not scoring in the last three Premier League games, manager Juergen Klopp said on Wednesday.

Sunday’s goalless draw with Manchester United at Anfield meant Liverpool had failed to score in three successive league games for the first time since March 2005.

Klopp said his players were not fatigued but they need to improve in finishing off their chances.

“We didn’t score a lot, that doesn’t mean our performances have dropped,” Klopp told reporters before Thursday’s Premier League game at home to Burnley.

“We know we are not where we want to be but the reasons are not too important. We have to play our football at a high level. In the final third we haven’t.

“Goals are not flying in, so we have to work on it. Look at John Stones at Manchester City, he scores three and you cannot explain it. We need to stay calm, greedy and make good decisions and the situation will change.”

Stones scored for the first time in more than three years in City’s 2-0 League Cup semi-final win over Manchester United on Jan. 6 and twice in a 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Klopp said Liverpool must strive to play “close to perfection” to retain the title after Leicester City were the latest team to reach the summit on Tuesday, replacing United who had earlier taken over from Liverpool at the top.

“It changes all the time because it’s so close. That makes it a different title race this year,” he said. “We have to be ready. I know that in this business, only results count. The last one was good (the draw against United).”

Klopp said centre back Joel Matip, who sustained an adductor injury last month, could feature against Burnley but striker Diogo Jota is a few weeks from returning after a knee issue.

Liverpool are fourth with 34 points after 18 matches, four points behind leaders Leicester who have played a game more.

Burnley are 17th on 16 points from 17 games, four points above the relegation zone.


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