Liz Cheney has become the figurehead of the Never Trumpers, Republicans seeking to loosen the former president’s grip on their party, but the Wyoming congresswoman was for him in the last election.Newly removed from House leadership, Cheney spoke to ABC’s This Week. Asked if she voted for Trump in 2020, she replied: “I did.”Asked if she regretted it, she said: “I was never going to support Joe Biden and I do regret the vote. I think that it was based on policy, based on sort of substance and what I know in terms of the kinds of policies [Trump] put forward that were good for the country. But that I think it is fair to say I regret the vote.”Cheney came out against Trump after the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, by supporters he told to “fight like hell” in service of his lie that his conclusive defeat by Joe Biden was the result of mass electoral fraud.Most of the congressional GOP has stayed behind Trump – to the extent that one representative claimed this week those who entered the Capitol were as orderly as regular tourists.“It’s indefensible,” Cheney said. “I will never forget seeing the law enforcement officers, the members of the Swat team, the rapid response forces, seeing them and their exhaustion. And they had been through hand-to-hand combat – and you know, people died.“And the notion that this was somehow a tourist event is disgraceful and despicable. And I won’t be part of whitewashing what happened on 6 January. Nobody should be part of it. And people ought to be held accountable.”Cheney was one of 10 Republicans in the House to vote for Trump’s impeachment, on a charge of inciting an insurrection. Trump was acquitted at trial after only seven Republican senators followed suit.Cheney also told ABC Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, should either voluntarily testify before any 6 January commission about his conversation with Trump as the attack happened, or be compelled to do so.Cheney is a staunch conservative and a daughter of Dick Cheney, a former congressman, secretary of defense and vice-president. As such she is a member of a party establishment either beaten into near-silence by Trump’s harangues, like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell; vilified by Trump’s supporters, like Utah senator and 2012 nominee Mitt Romney; or simply acquiescent.Trump remains excluded from social media over his role in the Capitol riot but on Saturday he issued statements replete with rants about supposed electoral fraud.On ABC, interviewer Jonathan Karl asked if Cheney would stay in her party should Trump decide to run for president again and win the nomination in 2024.“I will do everything that I can to make sure he’s not the nominee,” Cheney said. “And, you know everything necessary to make sure he never gets anywhere close to the Oval Office again.”But, Karl repeated, would she remain in the party if Trump were the nominee?“I will not support him,” said Cheney. “And we’ll do everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”Asked if she would run for president herself, Cheney said she was focused on re-election in Wyoming, where she will be challenged from the right. Asked if her father would want her to run, she laughed and said: “Well, yeah, but he’s my dad, so he’s not objective.”Some Republicans outside Congress have mooted a new conservative party. Most observers think such a move unlikely to succeed. Karl pointed out that other Republicans who have stood up to Trump, including senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, have been swiftly run out of town.Cheney said only a “handful” of Republicans actually believed Trump’s lies. But, she said, “I know that there are many members who have expressed concern about their own security. And I think that’s an important point to think about as well, that we now live in a country where members’ votes are affected because they’re worried about their security, they’re worried about threats on their lives.“But there’s no question that at this moment, the majority of the Republican party is not where I am. But it’s my responsibility as an elected official, it’s my responsibility as a leader to lead and, and to tell the truth.”The brewing Republican civil war was set to dominate the political talk shows.Cheney was also due to be interviewed on Fox News Sunday. Another anti-Trump House Republican, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, was booked by NBC’s Meet the Press. NBC also booked Dan Crenshaw of Texas, a Trump loyalist.Adam Kinzinger speaks to the media on Capitol Hill. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/ReutersCBS’s Face the Nation was due to feature Joni Ernst of Iowa, the only woman in Republican Senate leadership, who this week criticised the House GOP for “cancelling” Cheney. CNN’s State of the Union booked Fred Upton, a Michigan representative who has been close to Biden.Cheney’s replacement as the No3 House Republican, Elise Stefanik, was due to speak to Fox Business. The New Yorker is a former moderate who swiftly moved to the hard right. Stefanik backed a formal objection to electoral college results in Pennsylvania, one of two states Republicans challenged on the day of the Capitol riot. She indicated a willingness to challenge other states but no senator followed suit.Cheney told ABC there was “no question” an event like the Capitol attack could happen again.“We’ve seen how far President Trump was willing to go,” she said. “We’ve seen not only his provocation of the attack, but his refusal to send help when it was needed, his refusal to immediately say, ‘Stop.’ And that in and of itself, in my view, was a very clear violation of his oath and of his duty.”“I think the issue really is Donald Trump and it really is the party and whether we’re going to be a party that’s based on the truth,” she said.
Liz Cheney has been one of the few Republicans in Congress who have been a vocal critic of Donald Trump’s stance on the US election result and continued to hold him responsible for the riot at the Capitol in January.But this week her colleagues voted to dismiss her from her senior leadership role. The BBC’s Ros Atkins says Congresswoman Cheney’s removal shows how tight a grip the former president still has on the Republican Party. Here he explains what the move says about the party and its immediate future.
An Italian judge in Catania has ruled that the leader of Italy’s right-wing League party, Matteo Salvini, shouldn’t stand trial over claims he kidnapped a group of migrants in July 2019 when he refused to let them disembark.
The allegations center around a July 2019 incident where, as Italy’s interior minister, Salvini refused to allow 131 migrants on a coast guard vessel to disembark, until EU member states agreed a deal on redistributing the refugees.While negotiations were ongoing with EU nations, the migrants had been forced to remain aboard the Italian vessel Bruno Gregoretti for six days while it was docked in Sicily’s port.The judge in Catania sided with prosecutors who had asked that Salvini not face trial over the charge of kidnapping, as his political decision did not violate international treaties and did not warrant further investigation.The decision in the Catania case is at odds with a decision made in a Palermo court in April 2021, where a judge ruled that Salvini must stand trial for the same incident over the kidnapping charges. If found guilty, the leader could face up to 15 years in prison and be permanently barred from holding government office.Responding to the ruling on Friday, Salvini declared “If there was no kidnapping in Catania, then I do not see why there should be kidnapping in Palermo.”The Palermo trial will kick off on September 15.
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Salvini’s League party caused Italy’s coalition government to collapse in 2019 after pulling out of the administration in an attempt to trigger an election. Having failed to force the country to head to the polls, the League has since joined Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s national unity government.Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
New South Wales Labor has warned its members their data could be posted online as early as Saturday after the organisation was targeted by a ransomware attack and the hacker group’s deadline passed.On 5 May, NSW Labor’s systems were taken offline after the party fell victim to a ransomware attack by a hacker group known as Avaddon.The ransomware attack works by sending phishing emails with attachments that look like images but contain malware that steals and encrypts sensitive data. The hacker group then threatens to not only block the organisation accessing it, but to publish the sensitive data. The group also threatens the organisation with distributed denial of service attacks that would keep their systems offline.The information on NSW Labor members obtained by the group allegedly includes contracts, licences, passports and employee information.The hacker group gave NSW Labor 10 days to pay, and the party informed members last night as the deadline drew close that their data may end up online.“We have been working hard to investigate the incident and to protect our systems and prevent the personal data of members from being compromised. This incident has been our absolute priority,” the party told members in an email on Friday evening.”Despite our concerted efforts, there is a possibility that data held by NSW Labor has been compromised and may be leaked on Saturday morning. If this leak takes place, we will issue another member broadcast immediately.”The NSW police cyber crime squad and IT forensic experts have been brought in to investigate. A police spokesperson said detectives were still making inquiries.The party advised members that if data was leaked online they should change their banking passwords and email passwords, and may potentially need to update their passports, tax file numbers and other sensitive information.NSW Labor declined to comment further.The Australian Cyber Security Centre last week issued a high alert about the Avaddon ransomware group, stating multiple organisations across a wide variety of sectors had been targeted by the group in recent weeks.The law enforcement, government, pharmaceutical, academia, marketing, IT, construction and energy sectors had all been targeted in countries including Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, India and China.
This is the third in the South China Morning Post’s series of explainers about China’s Communist Party, in the lead-up to the party’s 100th anniversary in July. In this piece, Josephine Ma looks into the relationship between the party and the military.From a party that fought a guerilla war to one of the longest-running single-party regimes in modern history, the Communist Party of China has paid great attention to its control over the military, which is now the largest in the world with 2 million active personnel.In 1927, chairman Mao Zedong famously said that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”. This was the year the Chinese communists staged the Nanchang uprising against the ruling nationalist government.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.At the time, the Communist Party largely existed in the form of an armed rebellion against the ruling Kuomintang party. The revolutionary force, initially called the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, was later renamed the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).It was the PLA that put the Communist Party in power when it won the Chinese Civil War in 1949. In the early years of its rule, all Communist Party leaders – from senior leaders such as Mao and Deng Xiaoping, to more junior figures such as Bo Yibo and Xi Zhongxun – had military experience.As the founder, operator and leader of the army, the Communist Party has a closer relationship with the military than most political parties around the world.Since the Communist Party’s ideology states that the party represents the interests of the people, the party has argued that having the military serve the party is tantamount to serving the state and the Chinese people.Part of Mao’s strategy to achieve this control over the army was to establish a Communist Party cell in every grass-roots military unit, to ensure loyalty to the party’s decisions and ideology throughout.Story continuesThe collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 further convinced the party it must maintain a tight grip on the military so its rule would not be challenged.”The Russian Communist Party let go of the authority over the military and therefore its regime was overthrown,” warned a 2015 article published in the official army newspaper PLA Daily.The PLA reports to the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party and any talk of nationalising the military – suggesting the military would serve any elected political party – can be seen as subversive in China.In theory, the PLA is also accountable to the National People’s Congress, the highest organ of state power and the national legislature, through a parallel reporting line to another CMC under the State Council, China’s cabinet.But the two CMCs consist of exactly the same members, and the chairman of both is usually the leader of the party – currently President Xi Jinping.The lack of real power the cabinet has over the PLA was clearly demonstrated in 2008 when a magnitude-8 earthquake hit Wenchuan in the Sichuan region leaving 87,000 dead, 370,000 injured and 5 million homeless.When then-premier Wen Jiabao tried to mobilise the military to help with rescue work on the first day, the PLA refused to move until it was commanded to do so by the CMC the next day.In addition to national defence and helping out with disaster and emergency relief efforts, the PLA has also played an unusually important role in the country’s economic and social development. PLA soldiers helped build the Shenzhen special economic zone, and worked at the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary economic organisation tasked with building and operating farms and settlements in the western Xinjiang region.Unlike the defence ministries of other countries, the Ministry of National Defence in China mainly plays the role of engaging foreign countries. Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe is a member of the Communist Party’s CMC.In 1938, Mao wrote in an article that “the party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the party”.Apart from making it clear the party had to control the military, Mao also wanted to make sure the military would not decide who would be the party leader. But in the past, there have been times when the CMC chairman faced difficulty gaining full control of the military.The position of CMC chairman did not stop then-general secretary Jiang Zemin from facing a fierce power struggle with Yang Shangkun and his half-brother Yang Baibing – CMC secretary general and vice-chairman, and PLA political commissar respectively – in the 1980s and early 1990s. The two brothers controlled the army, and it was only with Deng’s backing that Jiang finally sidelined them.When Jiang Zemin passed the baton to Hu Jintao, the latter – a civilian – had a hard time commanding respect as CMC chairman. His two deputies, generals Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, effectively took control of the army’s staff affairs right under his nose.After Xi came into power in 2012, he launched a sweeping anti-corruption campaign in the military and smashed the strongholds of many interest groups in the army.For decades, the military was known to be rife with corruption starting around the 1980s, when military personnel were allowed to run businesses to support their expenses. Such practices were banned in 1998 but corruption was still rampant in the army.In 2015, Xi moved to end the PLA’s profit-making activities and ordered it to focus on transforming into a modern army that could win the wars.Even though the transition from Hu to Xi was hailed by many as a rare peaceful power transition in the party’s history, Xi continued to have his power challenged.Threats included Communist Party “princeling” Bo Xilai, the son of prominent party leader Bo Yibo, then-state security chief Zhou Yongkang, as well as generals Guo and Xu.Between 2013 and 2015, Xi purged all these threats from the party in a sweeping anti-corruption campaign, while accusing his rivals of planning a coup.In November 2014, Xi used the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the 1929 Gutian Conference to remind the 420 generals and senior military officials of Mao’s dictum about the party’s absolute control of the military.Xi also personally headed a commission to shake up the PLA, and successfully uprooted the strongholds of vested interest groups by reorganising the headquarters, the troops and the military regions.He was named “commander-in-chief” in 2016, similar to the US president’s position as the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces, establishing command over the country’s ground, naval, air and rocket forces.In 2017, China amended the party charter to state that all military forces in China were accountable to the CMC chairman, putting in black and white in the party’s most important document that the PLA and the paramilitary forces must be absolutely loyal to the CMC chairman, which is currently Xi. The president said the reforms were part of his efforts to turn the world’s largest armed forces into a modern military, on par with its Western counterparts.Reforms were also introduced to bring the 1.5 million-strong paramilitary police force, the People’s Armed Police Force (PAP), under the sole command of the CMC. Analysts said the change put the PAP directly under Xi’s control.Previously, the PAP came under a dual command structure of the CMC and the State Council via the Ministry of Public Security.It serves as a backup for the military in times of war and domestically has a role in putting down protests and counterterrorism – particularly in areas such as the restive far-western Xinjiang region – as well as border defence and firefighting.In January this year, China further revised its National Defence Law to weaken the role of the State Council in formulating military policy, handing full decision-making powers to the CMC.All of this has expanded the power of the CMC, headed by Xi, to mobilise military and civilian resources in defence of the national interest, both at home and abroad.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2021 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
The nearly completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline is backed by Angela Merkel, but her time as leader ends later this year.
US House Republicans’ swift sacking of Representative Liz Cheney, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, from her leadership post as the party’s conference chairwoman on Wednesday is the clearest signal yet that the GOP is pledging strict allegiance to Trump.
The vast majority of Republican leaders have made it clear in the months following Trump’s departure from the White House that they believe the former president still has coattails they can ride to electoral victory in next year’s midterms and, possibly, reclaim control of the House and Senate.
“If you try to drive him out of the Republican party, half the people will leave,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of Trump, told Fox News on Tuesday. “It doesn’t mean you can’t criticise the president. It means the Republican Party cannot go forward without President Trump being part of it.”
Countering Graham, Republican Trump critic Senator Mitt Romney, tweeted on Tuesday, “Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few.”
Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 10, 2021
As contradictory as it may sound, there is truth in both of their statements.
Individual Republican self-preservation
Looking at Graham’s comments through the lens of individual Republicans, his point is spot on.
Republicans across the country vying to win their primaries against other Republicans, whether they are new candidates or running for re-election, are unlikely to succeed if they are not toeing the Trump line or worse, outright criticising the former president.
Elected Republicans who have dared cross Trump, either verbally or by supporting his February impeachment, have been censured or reprimanded by local and state parties.
Some, such as Cheney, have drawn a long list of pro-Trump primary challengers. Others, like Romney, have been jeered by home-state Republicans.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney was met with a chorus of boos when he addressed a GOP convention in his home state of Utah pic.twitter.com/cnbnI6euQW
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 2, 2021
As most Republican politicians process these reactions to Trump critics and study the polls which continue to show Trump has the support of about eight-in-10 Republicans, it is not shocking that most are avoiding antagonising the former president as they eye their own political futures.
Risky strategy for general election
So, when Romney says the Cheney saga “won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few”, what is he trying to say?
He’s talking about next November’s general election, not the primaries that come before them.
Anybody who studies US general elections knows that party control of Congress is won and lost on Election Day in the dozens of toss-up battleground districts, where the races tend to be very close and highly competitive.
In other words, Romney’s point is if Republicans want to reclaim the majority next year, he believes they will need to appeal to a broader swath of voters – including independents and perhaps some Democrats – not just an ardent base of Trump supporters.
Referendum on the current president or the last one?
Over the past four mid-term elections, going back to 2006, the party in control of the White House has lost seats in the House and Senate and has lost control of at least one chamber of Congress. And in each of those elections, the party out of power successfully turned the congressional contests, at least in part, into a referendum on the sitting president.
Democrats picked up the House in 2006 and 2018 by focusing their campaigns on Presidents George W Bush and Donald Trump respectively, incessantly bashing what were two unpopular presidencies at the time. Bush held a 38 percent approval rating according to Gallup, thanks to his handling of the Iraq War, and Trump was at 40 percent amid his extremely polarised tenure.
For their part, Republicans won the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014 as they slammed President Barack Obama – whose approval rating in both years was about 45 percent – and his Affordable Care Act healthcare plan.
The question for Republicans in 2022 is: Will they be able to frame the mid-terms as a referendum on President Joe Biden or will their obsession with Trump remind battleground voters of the generally unpopular former president?
Republicans are already trying to paint Biden and Democrats as outside the mainstream on economic and cultural issues, while attempting to pin the blame of the growing migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border on the president.
But their actions regarding Trump, not to mention his obsession with relitigating his election loss – 15 out of the 28 statements he posted on his website this month were about the election or hammered his GOP critics – are drawing attention from their statements on Democrats. In fact, Trump only criticised Biden’s policies three times in those 28 statements.
It is folly to try to predict what will happen in November 2022’s 469 US House and Senate elections, especially 18 months ahead of time. But Democrats, in their effort to buck history and maintain their razor-thin majorities, are more than eager to let their opponents turn the fight into a referendum on Trump and minimise the scrutiny of their own potentially politically polarising policies.
To Democrats – and Republicans like Romney – that is a recipe for Republican failure.
PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party has barred a Muslim woman from running for as candidate on its ticket in a local election after she wore an Islamic headscarf for a photo that appeared on a campaign flier. La Republique en Marche said the party line was that in secular France there should be no place for the overt display of religious symbols on electoral campaign documents. “This woman will not be an En Marche candidate,” Stanislas Guerini, the party’s general secretary, told RTL radio. French law does not prohibit the wearing of the hijab or other religious symbols in images that appear on campaign fliers. The episode illustrates how sensitive a subject the place of Islam in France has become ahead of next year’s presidential vote, with the main challenge to a Macron re-election bid coming from the far right. Macron has warned of the growing threat of Islamist separatism in France.The affair erupted after Jordan Bardella, the number 2 in the far-right Rassemblement National party of Marine Le Pen, tweeted a copy of the flier with the post: “Is this how you fight separatism?” En Marche candidate,” Guerini responded, demanding either the flier be withdrawn or the candidate Sara Zemmahi lose support. Zemmahi or her associates could not be reached. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was ejected from New Zealand’s parliamentary chambers after accusing a fellow MP of engaging in racist rhetoric, and then performing a ceremonial dance to express his displeasure.
Waititi took offense after National Party leader Judith Collins pressed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about the government’s plan to introduce a separate health service for indigenous people. The initiative has been billed as an attempt to improve the quality of medical care for the Maori community. Debate over the controversial changes has raged for several weeks, with Collins accusing the government of promoting a “separatist agenda” that was being introduced “by stealth.”The Maori politician interrupted Collins as she questioned the prime minister, asking House Speaker Trevor Mallard to note the “racist propaganda and rhetoric” aimed at indigenous people. He argued that views on indigenous rights should only come from members of the Maori community, adding that non-indigenous people should stay in their lane. “If we find this attitude acceptable in this House, the constant barrage of insults to tangata whenua, then I find this House in disrepute,” he said, using the Maori term for indigenous people. Mallard then called for order, adding that Waititi’s microphone had been turned off. It was then that Waititi launched into a Haka, a ceremonial dance of the Maori that can be used to issue a challenge. Dressed in a pink blazer and wearing a cowboy hat, the politician planted himself in front of his desk as he began to loudly chant. The frustrated House speaker then ordered the MP to leave the chamber. Waititi later told the media that Collins was “bashing” the Maori in order to gain the votes of her non-indigenous constituents. This isn’t the first time that Waititi has caused a ruckus in parliament. He was ejected from the House in February for not wearing a necktie. He defended his decision by claiming that the garment was a “colonial noose,” choosing instead to wear a traditional Maori necklace. New Zealand’s parliament later scrubbed the tie requirement from its dress code.
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The man who shot his girlfriend and five relatives at a birthday celebration had “control issues”.