Government coalition in Italy burst: crisis at an inopportune time

Italia-Viva boss Matteo Renzi believes that in the midst of the pandemic, he must also bring a government crisis to Italy. So he gambled himself away.

Italy plunges into a government crisis: Matteo Renzi Photo: dpa

Which devil is Matteo Renzi riding? The former prime minister and today’s head of the small party Italia Viva believes that in the middle of the pandemic, of all things, in the middle of the deep economic and social crisis it triggered, he would have to give Italy a government crisis.

Italy doesn’t need this crisis. Under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the government has done a decent job overall in the face of the corona pandemic, it reacted decisively both in the first wave in March and in the second wave from October onwards, not least in Brussels when it launched the big one European “Next Generation EU” package reached, from whose funds 209 billion euros will flow to Italy.

Certainly, like other governments in Europe, it could have done a lot more in the summer to better prepare the country for the second wave, had it had to take tougher measures earlier in the autumn – but it was and is Renzis Italia again and again Viva, who resisted further restrictions in school, business and private life.

Fighting the pandemic cannot be the sole purpose of a government, Renzi said at his press conference, at which he announced the break of the coalition on Wednesday evening. But then he got down to business – better to the person who really bothers him: Giuseppe Conte. Unlike the unpopular Renzi, the head of government enjoys great popularity, and he was allowed to be painted by his adversary as a “populist”, even a little dictator who “inflicted wounds on democracy”, who “with one decree after another” rule.

Conte has to go – that is Renzi’s real message. After the break of the coalition between the five stars and the right-wing populist Lega (also under Conte), he himself was at the cradle of the second Conte government with its five-star coalition, the moderate left Partito Democratico (PD) and the small radical left list Liberi e Uguali (LeU) confessed.

Buying time for your own small party

At the time, Renzi probably only wanted to buy time to split the PD, to which he still belonged at the time, and to be able to found his own party Italia Viva, without having quick new elections with a victory for Lega boss Matteo Salvini thwarting his plans did.

Italia Viva (“Living Italy”) came along too, but it quickly turned out to be stillborn, which is around 3 percent in opinion polls. Renzi had to bury the dream of becoming the Italian Macron. Even worse, the PD and the five stars did not work smoothly during the pandemic, but overall they worked together quite well – and Renzi was on the sidelines, had hardly anything to report, and worse: was hardly noticed in public.

At least that he could change with the government crisis that he set off. But neither Italy nor its party will take this step, or better: this act of desperation will be of much use. For the time being, Renzi only managed to get the other three coalition partners to rally behind Conte more united than ever, to brand Renzi’s actions as “extremely serious”, as “directed against the country”. And he can look forward to the applause of the right-wing opposition, which, under the leadership of the Lega, is now smelling the morning air of faster new elections.

But he did not solve his problem: His Italia Viva will remain marginal with any solution – re-launch of the coalition, Contes continuing to govern without Renzi and instead with the confidence of newly recruited center-members, an all-party emergency government or new elections. Only 13 percent of Italians believe that Renzi is acting in the interests of the country; 73 percent see him as being driven by personal interests. And new elections in particular would mean the political death of his party.

Renzi is considered to be a player who likes to play poker high. But this time he could have gambled himself away, just like the other Matteo, Salvini from the Lega in the government crisis of August 2019. Unlike Salvini, who heads a party that is 30 percent good, Renzi could, however, with his 3 percent Party on a suicide mission to which he himself fell victim first.

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From Wilmington to the White House: the Joe Biden story

CAPE AMERICAS © France 24

On the occasion of Joe Biden’s assumption of the American presidency, Cap Amériques is going back in his footsteps, notably in its stronghold of Wilmington in the United States. This city saw him grow, emancipate himself in politics, also go through hardship. His family, friends and former collaborators have shared with us some of the key moments in his life. They also explain what the term of the 46th President of the United States might look like.

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Georgia Senate Elections: A Medium Revolution – Politics

You will have to get used to that in Washington. He’ll have to get used to it himself. Mitch McConnell, the head of the Republicans in the Senate and the most powerful man in Congress for years, will soon have a new title: minority leader.

If what the leading US media predict after a long election night and the extensive counting of votes is confirmed, the Democrats will celebrate a triumph they did not expect – not in Georgia, in the conservative south of the USA. It is Donald Trump’s last and almost complete defeat. The presidency has already lost his party under him, as has the House of Representatives. And now the Senate too.

According to consistent projections, the Democrats win the two seats in the Georgia by-election, breaking Republican supremacy in the Senate. You’re breaking the power of Mitch McConnell.

It’s not official yet, the margins are tight, a recount is possible at one of the races. But everything points to a double victory for the Democrats, a slide to the left – and thus a new era in the USA.

Warnock would be the first black for Georgia in the Senate

On the one hand, the party owes this victory to its candidates. The 51-year-old Baptist pastor Raphael Warnock, who preaches in the parish of the civil rights activist Martin Luther King, would be the first black person to represent the former Confederate state of Georgia in the Senate. Warnock has never held any political office but is well known as a pastor in Georgia. He belongs to the left wing of the Democrats. His lead over Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler is so great that a recount seems impossible.

When Warnock’s historic choice was all but certain, he took a video message to voters talking about his 82-year-old mother, who used to pick other people’s cotton in the field. Now, with her vote, she has helped her youngest son to become a Senator in the United States. “This is America,” said Warnock.

In the other by-election, filmmaker Jon Ossoff managed to get more votes than David Perdue, the second Republican incumbent. Ossoff’s lead is much narrower, but Republican observers also assume that nothing will change in the interim result. And while a mob of Trump supporters storms the Capitol in Washington, the AP agency and the broadcasters NBC, CNN and CBS are committed: Ossoff will also win a Senate seat. The Democrat positions himself more at the center of the party and at 33 he would become the youngest senator since 1973 – the year in which a certain Joe Biden was sworn in for the first time.

Loeffler and Perdue, two very wealthy investors, had called their challengers in an aggressively led election campaign as left-wing extremists who would help Biden turn the US into a socialist hell. In previous elections this might have worked. Probably not this time. Loeffler and Perdue weren’t good candidates. They have been under pressure since the pandemic started because they had sold large blocks of shares before the population realized how dangerous Covid-19 actually is. Their democratic challengers never missed an opportunity to exploit these stock deals.

Trump and his talk of electoral fraud has cost votes

The Republicans’ own weakness was only one factor. The more important one was called Donald Trump. In the minds of Republican strategists, the Georgia by-election should have been a referendum on whether Biden and his Democrats can rule Washington in the future or whether they are controlled by a Republican-ruled Senate.

But Trump ruined this plan. By making demonstrably bogus, increasingly bizarre allegations of electoral fraud and attacking the Georgia Republican electoral authorities for weeks, the out-of-town president kept the debate open. He also urged the two senators of his party to adopt at least parts of his plot theories, which they willingly did.

It is not yet possible to say precisely whether Trump’s talk of fraud is the reason that significantly fewer of his party supporters went to the polls on Tuesday than two months ago. But in Republican circles, Trump is already blamed for this. In return, the Democrats were much better able to mobilize their own voters – especially black Americans and voters in the suburbs.

For the Republicans, the foreseeable loss of the two seats is a disaster. The Senate, as the Conservatives had stressed over and over again in recent weeks, was their last line of defense against Biden’s future government – their bastion from which they would block everything that came from the White House into Congress. Now this bastion has fallen. Joe Biden will benefit from this. His party now has 50 seats in the Chamber, as many as the Republicans. With the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, however, the Democrats can break a stalemate, provided they hold together their own faction, which also includes the two independents who are traditionally inclined to the Democrats, including the left primary candidate Bernie Sanders.

However, 51 votes are not enough for the very large projects

That would mean that Biden will have no problem getting his cabinet and his candidates for the federal courts confirmed by the Senate – which will make his government work much easier. It will also allow him to implement at least parts of his agenda. To spend more money fighting the economic consequences of the pandemic or raising taxes, a simple majority in the Senate is enough.

On the other hand, the future president will still need the 60 votes in the Senate that are necessary to pass most of the laws for big throws like an infrastructure package or a climate protection program. So it will depend on the cooperation of the Republicans, which, however, will not exist for many of the preferred projects of the Democrats.

Smaller compromises, on the other hand, would certainly be possible again after years of stagnation. From the Democratic perspective, that would have done something like a miracle in Georgia – at least.

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Democrat Jon Ossoff declares himself the winner in Georgia

Runoff election for Senate seat

Democrat Ossoff declares himself the winner in Georgia

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Senate – What Georgia Elections Are About – Politics

In the southern state of Georgia, runoff elections for two seats in the powerful Senate will take place this Tuesday. The outcome of the votes will determine whether the Republicans can defend their majority or whether the Democrats will dominate the other House of Representatives in the future. With control of the Senate, the future President Joe Biden could rule – provided that the Democrats pull together on bills or appointments of government officials.

In the first vote on November 3rd, none of the candidates had the necessary absolute majority (unlike in the rest of the country, a Senate candidate in the state has to achieve an absolute majority to win – more than 50 percent of the votes). Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock challenge Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

A single victory is enough for the Republicans, who currently have 52 senators, to maintain a narrow majority in the Senate. The democratic candidates, however, would both have to prevail so that there is a stalemate with 50 to 50 votes in the chamber. A stalemate could then be resolved ex officio by the future Vice President Kamala Harris in favor of the Democrats.

The polling stations should close at 7 p.m. (local time / Wednesday morning at 1 a.m. CET). It was initially unclear when there would be reliable results. This is also due to the corona pandemic, because of which hundreds of thousands of citizens have made use of postal votes. According to statistics from the Elections Project, around three million of the 7.2 million registered voters in Georgia cast their ballot papers by letter or personally at the polling station before the actual election day.

The count could take longer

In November’s presidential election, it initially took three days to announce that Biden had done better than Trump in the state. His lead was less than 12,000 votes, with a turnout of around five million voters. There could be a similar delay in the runoff elections for the Senate seats, said Walter Jones, a spokesman for election officer Brad Raffensperger. The election workers are only allowed to start counting after the voting stations have closed.

Almost a million postal voting documents are already available, as can be seen from official data. In addition, there are more than two million votes from early voters who took the opportunity to vote in person in polling stations before the actual election date.

The three million votes that have already been cast should be evaluated relatively quickly on election night, as preliminary checks such as the comparison of signatures on postal ballot papers could already be carried out. The counting of the postal voting documents, which only arrive during the course of election day, could prove to be tedious. Envelopes have to be opened, the signatures checked, and finally the ballot papers have to be loaded into the counting machines. In addition, there are expected to be hundreds of thousands of votes from voters who will vote in person on election day in the polling stations.

The “red mirage” and the “blue shift”

As in the presidential election, it is possible that mostly Democratic supporters cast their votes by postal vote. A similar phenomenon as in November could therefore occur. At that time Trump was initially in the lead, but the more postal ballot papers were evaluated, the more the result turned in favor of Biden. Electoral researchers refer to the party colors – red for the Republicans and blue for the Democrats – of a “red mirage”, followed by a “blue shift”.

The result of the presidential election in Georgia was checked twice after the fact because of the tight outcome: first by hand and then again using computer scanners. Biden’s victory in the state was not finally confirmed until two weeks after the actual election.

There are also scenarios for a recount in the Senate runoff elections. For example, a losing candidate in Georgia may force a recount if his rival’s lead is 0.5 percent or less of the vote. A review can also be requested if an error is suspected in the collection of results. But election officers from individual districts can also order recounts at the local level before the results are officially confirmed.

On Monday, the Democrat Biden had strongly promoted Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia’s capital, Atlanta, who were slightly ahead in polls. “Tomorrow may be a new day for Atlanta, Georgia and America,” said the president-elect. Regarding the two Democratic candidates, he added: “You are principled, you are qualified. You are honorable, you mean what you say.”

Trump still does not give up

Trump, on the other hand, called on an election campaign appearance in Dalton, north of Atlanta, to vote for Republicans Perdue and Loeffler. “That could be the most important vote you will cast for the rest of your life,” he said in front of thousands of followers. Ossoff and Warnock are “extremists who would destroy everything that the patriots in Georgia hold dear.” Despite Biden’s imminent swearing-in on January 20, Trump wants to hold on to his office with all his might. “You will not conquer the White House, we will fight like the devil,” he said in Dalton.

In his address, Trump repeated his known and unproven election fraud allegations. The Republican again claimed that he clearly won the November 3rd election. In fact, according to the official results from the states, Biden has clearly won. Trump’s camp failed with dozens of lawsuits against the election results, including before the US Supreme Court in Washington.

Trump claims to have clearly won in Georgia too. The victory was stolen from him by tricks by Biden, with the help of Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Republican Interior Minister Brad Raffensperger. There is no evidence for the charge.

On Sunday published the Washington Post the recording of a phone call between Trump and Raffensperger from the previous day. You can hear him practically pushing the Georgia Home Secretary to vote fraud. Raffensperger should kindly “find” enough votes to make Trump the winner in Georgia, the President demands on the tape.

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USA: Trump reaches his limits with Republicans – politics

Flattery, threats, conspiracy theories: the US president reveals his entire repertoire in one phone call. But unlike in the past, at least some Republicans are defying him.

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Christian Zaschke, New York

When Georgia’s Home Secretary Brad Raffensperger found out that the President of the United States wanted to see him, he felt no joy. He suspected what Donald Trump wanted from him. So he discussed it with his advisors, who advised him to record the conversation. That’s how one of the consultants told the magazine Politico.

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Nancy Pelosi (80) re-elected – Trump’s arch enemy triumphs – Politics abroad

For two years she had made life difficult for Donald Trump (74), initiated impeachment proceedings against him and tore up his speech to the nation in front of millions of TV viewers. Now the democratic opposition leader Nancy Pelosi (80) showed her archenemy how to be re-elected.

The political grandmother from California (she gave birth to five children in just six years before her Washington career, has nine grandchildren!) Was re-elected chairman of the US House of Representatives on Sunday. At the constituent meeting of the Congress Chamber, Pelosi just achieved the necessary majority for re-election for the influential top post with 216 votes. Their challenger, Republican Kevin McCarthy, got 209 votes.

She is number three in the state ranking after the President and his Vice President, the most politically powerful woman in America!

As soon as Joe Biden (78) is sworn in on January 20th, that will change. The future Vice President Kamala Harris (56) – the first woman to hold this post – will then replace Pelosi as the most powerful US politician.

The other power woman in US politics: the future Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday at an election campaign event in Georgia, where the majority in the US Senate will be on TuesdayPhoto: AP

Similar to Harris, Pelosi has already made history. From 2007 to 2011, the Democrat was the chairman of the House of Representatives – as the first woman.

She has been in the political business for decades. In 1981 she was promoted to chairman of the Democratic Party in California, and six years later she went to Washington DC as a member of her district

There she made a name for herself as a skillful tactician and ideal party leader. Her image: she knows how to ward off criticism, organize majorities and catch deviants.

She belongs to the moderate wing of her party and is a realpolitician. For a long time she was reluctant to initiate impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Their calculation: There would never be a necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate, which is dominated by the Republicans. That’s why she wanted to defeat Trump in the November 2020 elections.

But when it emerged that the ex-entertainer had urged the new President of Ukraine to deliver incriminating material against alleged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, she had no choice. In the end she was proven right. The impeachment proceedings were thrown out by the Senate.

How much political skill she has became apparent in January 2019. When her election as chairman of the Congress Chamber wobbled and the left wing of the Democrats called for rejuvenation, she successfully fended off the revolt. She was elected by a clear margin with 220 to 192 votes (also against McCarthy).

In the past two years under Trump, she showed what decades of political experience can be worth: She knew the finesse of parliamentarism only too well and let Trump appear several times.


Nancy Pelosi's most popular appearance: She tore up a copy of Donald Trump's State of the Union address on February 4, 2020

Nancy Pelosi’s most popular appearance: She tore up a copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on February 4, 2020 Photo: REUTERS

The democrat has often shown perseverance. She will probably need toughness over the next few months. You will then no longer have to do with a President Trump, but possibly with a Senate that continues to be dominated by the Republican.

The majority will be decided by the runoff elections for two Senate seats in the US state of Georgia on Tuesday. And: with the narrow majority of her party in the House of Representatives, she will have to hold her own ranks even closer together and keep left-wing MPs in check.

It had its most spectacular appearance on February 4, 2020. At that time, Donald Trump gave his last address on the situation to the nation in front of almost 40 million American TV viewers. When he finished, Nancy Pelosi could be seen tearing up a copy of his speech. A previously unique incident.

The Republicans spoke indignantly of disgrace. But the Democrats celebrated them frenetically – and promptly re-elected them. But Pelosi vowed: This will be her last term.

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2000 dollars to Americans: Trump puts Republicans in need – politics

The democratically run House of Representatives votes in favor of Trump’s proposal to give US-Americans $ 2,000 checks, but overrides his veto on the defense budget. The Republicans must now position themselves in the Senate.

The US House of Representatives voted to raise aid checks for US citizens, following a demand from President Donald Trump. The Democratic-dominated chamber spoke out on Monday with 275 votes to 134 in favor of increasing the one-time payment to $ 2,000. A compromise had previously been reached with the Republicans in the struggle for a corona aid package, which provides for a one-off payment of $ 600. Many Democrats consider this to be far too little money.

On Sunday after days of blockade, Trump reluctantly signed the Compromise Act, which also ensures the operation of the federal authorities until September and plans $ 1.4 trillion for it.

The outgoing president demands that every US citizen be given $ 2,000. With the attitude he drove a wedge between his Republicans, the majority of whom are against broader spending. On Tuesday, the Senate is to deal with the raising of the Corona aid checks.

The US House of Representatives has also for the first time overruled a veto of the incumbent president with 322 to 87 votes and thus the necessary two-thirds majority. If, in a next step, Trump’s objection to the defense budget is rejected in the US Senate, a Trump veto would be overturned by Congress for the first time.

Trump had previously justified his resistance with the lack of “critical measures” to protect national security. The law was “a ‘gift’ to China and Russia,” he wrote in a statement to the House of Representatives. There, as in the Senate, the bill was passed with a clear majority.

Senate must decide whether a Trump veto will be overruled for the first time

The law, which is renewed annually, regulates a large number of defense policy issues. Starting with the number of ships bought and the soldiers’ pay to dealing with geopolitical threats. It has been adopted for 59 years in a row.

Trump, however, wants to make corporations like Facebook more responsible for the content of their users and has demanded a corresponding passage and other changes. So far, the corporations are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Critics complain that as a result, there is insufficient action against terrorist propaganda, for example. Proponents speak of a pillar of freedom of expression.

If the Republicans, led by Republican Mitch McConnell, vote against Trump’s will in the Senate, that would be a one-time process during his term in office. The outcome is open in both cases.

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Since the 19th century, a president has not executed so many people – and wants to kill more

There are 22 American states that do not have capital punishment and among the 28 that provide for it 12 have not applied it for 10 years. This year, there have only been executions in five states – a total of eight dead convicts; the downward trend in executions has been noticeable in the US since the 1990s. But the Trump administration decided, in its final year, to resume federal executions, which had not taken place since 2003. And it did so with such enthusiasm that in the week of July when he ordered his first federal execution marked two more; right there, it equaled the number of federal executions of the last three decades. Two more in August, two more in September; after the elections, on November 19, one more, and in December two.

It adds up to ten, that is, more than 21% of all federal executions since the 1920s – totaling 47. And making 2020 the first year in the history of the country where there were more federal executions than of all states combined .

But Trump does not intend to stop here: there are three more federal executions scheduled for 2021, including the first for a woman since 1953. This is Lisa Montgomery, 52, convicted in 2004 for the murder of an eight-month-old pregnant woman who subsequently removed the baby from the belly with a knife (the child survived). Montgomery is the only woman on federal death row (there are 50 women sentenced to death in 15 states), with 61 men. His execution was scheduled for December 8 and was postponed to January 12, eight days after Biden’s inauguration.

Since 1889, an outgoing president has not had someone killed during the transition period – in what the United States calls the president “lame duck“, that is,” lame duck “. The last president to order executions as a lame duck was Grover Cleveland, in 1889, and he was also Cleveland, in his second term (he is the only one in US history who has had two non-consecutive terms, having been the 22nd and 24th president) , setting the record for federal executions – 16. If he kills the 13 he has planned, Trump will be second in this category.

Executions have been declining since the 1990s

Federal executions result, as the name implies, from decisions of federal courts, which can sentence to death for murder or attempted murder of witnesses, jurors, or members of the courts, but also treason, espionage and even drug trafficking, among others. other crimes. Contrary to what happens in the courts of the states, in which each attorney has the autonomy to ask for the death penalty, in the federal system only the US Attorney General (the correspondent to the Portuguese Attorney General but also to the Minister of Justice ) may ask for capital punishment. Convicts can only appeal to federal courts.

But despite the killing fury of the Trump administration, and there are still about 2,600 people on death row in the U.S. since 1991, that few people have been executed in a year. After a peak of 98 executions in 1999, the number has been noticeably lower. And the state of California, which has the largest number of people sentenced to capital punishment – 720 – has not done so since 2006.

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On a collision course with Trump, US Attorney General admits to leaving ahead of time | USA Elections 2020

The attorney general of the United States of America, William Barr, admits to step down in the next few weeks, before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. According to US newspapers, Barr began to consider leaving shortly after the November 3 presidential election, but the criticism he has received from President Donald Trump in the past week may accelerate his decision.

The relationship between Barr and Trump has cooled in recent days, after the attorney general said, in an interview with the Associated Press, that his Justice Department has yet to find evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential election.

Trump and at least two of his lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, have said in press conferences and on Twitter that Joe Biden’s victory was achieved by using fraud in six states (Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin , Pennsylvania and Georgia), where the Democratic Party candidate was the most voted.

More than a month after the election, all six states concerned and most of the rest have already certified their election results, confirming Joe Biden’s victory. And among the more than 40 complaints filed in court by Trump’s lawyers and other supporters, none of them validated the complaints of the U.S. President.

William Barr was appointed attorney general (attorney general, a mix of Justice Minister and Attorney General) by Donald Trump in early 2019, following the resignation of Jeff Sessions.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator who was an early supporter of Trump’s candidacy for the White House in summer 2015, fell out of favor in the U.S. President’s circle in the early months of 2017.

At that time, the then attorney general surrendered oversight of investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections to his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, and was targeted by Trump. After months of public humiliation, with the U.S. President on several occasions saying he was sorry to have appointed him, Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation in November 2018.

The current attorney general was appointed to replace Sessions due to his opposition to investigations into suspected collusion between Trump’s election campaign and Russia in the 2016 elections. Furthermore, William Barr was, for a long time, one of the greatest defenders the thesis that US presidents have almost complete freedom to make decisions without being questioned by Congress and the courts.

The press conference at which he presented, according to his version, the main results of the Justice Department’s investigations into Russia in April 2018, was seen by critics as a bleaching of the charges made in the final report by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

Days after the press conference, Mueller sent a letter to the Justice Department leadership, where he accused the attorney general of “not fully grasping the context, nature and substance” of the report.

The rapport between Barr and Trump continued until before the November 3 elections, with the attorney general corroborating the US President’s accusations that the process could turn out to be fraudulent.

And on November 9, Barr authorized the Justice Department to use his resources to investigate Trump’s fraud complaints – despite the government’s assurance that the elections had been the safest ever, and with no evidence that the charges were more than baseless complaints.

The relationship appears to have broken out on Tuesday of last week, when William Barr took the initiative to speak to the Associated Press about the results of the investigations. In confirming that, in addition to the usual problems, there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would jeopardize Joe Biden’s victory, the attorney general found himself in a position similar to that of his predecessor.

Barr’s interview with the Associated Press was published just days after Trump suggested, in an interview on Fox News, that the Justice Department itself and the FBI were involved in the alleged fraud.

And last Thursday, at the White House, the President of the United States again complained about the way his attorney general was managing the investigations. “He hasn’t done anything,” said Trump, adding that the Justice Department and the FBI “haven’t been looking forward to it, which is a disappointment.”

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