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Senate votes to call witness in Trump impeachment trial

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Senate votes to call witness in Trump impeachment trial

The Senate on Saturday voted 55-45 to accept a surprise request by Democratic impeachment managers to extend former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by calling at least one witness.

Impeachment managers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said they want to depose and subpoena notes written by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) regarding Trump’s remarks during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which he was impeached for allegedly inciting.

Herrera Buetler said overnight that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pleaded with Trump during the riot to call his supporters off, but that Trump told him, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

Five Republicans backed the request for trial witnesses.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned Democrats before the surprise announcement by Raskin that “if you want a delay, it will be a long one with many, many witnesses.”

He then changed his vote to aye, after first voting nay, an indication he and the GOP will want to call their own witnesses, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Trump defense attorney Michael van der Veen said he was outraged that Democrats made the decision, saying it was commonly understood that the trial would conclude with four hours of closing arguments on Saturday.

Van der Veen said he would fight to subpoena a large number of people and rejected Raskin’s proposal that only Herrera Buetler be deposed and via Zoom.

“I’m gonna slap subpoenas on a good number of people if witnesses are what is required here for them to try to get their case back in order,” he said.

“Nancy Pelosi’s deposition needs to be taken. Vice President Harris’ deposition absolutely needs to be taken. And not by Zoom. None of these depositions should be done by Zoom. We didn’t do this hearing by Zoom. These depositions should be done in person in my office in Philadelphia. That’s where they should be done.”

Witnesses were not called during Trump’s first impeachment trial last year.

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Idaho protesters burn masks at state capital

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Idaho protesters burn masks at state capital

Protesters in Idaho staged a mask burning event at the state capital on Saturday, as frustration over coronavirus-related disruptions to daily life continue to fester.

At least three lawmakers from the state legislature and the Lt. Gov Janice McGeachin were there to cheer them on, according to local media reports from the scene.

Video posted to Twitter suggests that most of the actual burning of masks took place inside small, self-contained fires lit in garbage bins. At least one person was filmed burning a picture of Joe Biden.

Many protesters, often with children in tow, displayed signs reading “I will not self-suffocate,”

“We’re standing here today to rein back government. To reestablish our Republican form of government, a government that has balance between the branches,” said Daar Moon, a protest organizer, in a Twitter video. “It’s a widespread grassroots movement, an uprising in that regard, it’s come off very well today here in Boise.”

Last week Idaho legislators introduced a bill to make mask mandates illegal. Though there is no current statewide requirement, mask mandates are in force in seven of 11 Idaho counties, according to the Associated Press.

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Biden cheers passage of $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill in White House speech

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Biden cheers passage of $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill in White House speech

President Biden celebrated the party-line passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Saturday, saying the measure is another step for the country’s return to normalcy.

The bill will “get the country in a place to get back to normal” Biden said in a 9-minute address in the White House State Dining Room.

The rescue plan includes $75 billion for pandemic-related medical costs, such as vaccine production.

“I believe we’ll have enough by the middle of May to vaccinate — it’s going to take longer to get it in their arms, but that’s how much vaccine we’ll have,” Biden said.

He appealed to the House of Representatives — which the Democrats control by a slim 10-vote margin — to pass the Senate-revised bill in the next few days.

“By passing this plan we’ll have proved that this democracy, this government, can still work,” he said.

The House is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday.

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You can now be a ‘millionaire’ in Venezuela for 50 cents

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You can now be a ‘millionaire’ in Venezuela for 50 cents

All it takes to be a millionaire in Venezuela is a few American pennies: the beleaguered South American country’s economy is so bad, they’re introducing a million bolivar note worth roughly 53 cents.

According to a statement from the country’s central bank, Venezuela will also be printing 200,000 and 500,000 bills along with the 1,000,000 bills.

The move comes as hyperinflation has made smaller bills superfluous and worthless – and most citizens are “turning to the U.S. dollar for everyday transactions,” Bloomberg notes, adding “About 66 percent of transactions across the country are (now) estimated to be made in foreign currency.”

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has claimed he is going to make the country the world’s first fully digital economy, in an attempt to fight the inflation which ballooned to more than 3000 percent last year.

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