WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump was told the same thing over and over, by his campaign team, the data crunchers, and a steady stream of lawyers, investigators and inner-circle allies: There was no voting fraud that could have tipped the 2020 presidential election.
But in the eight weeks after losing to Joe Biden, the defeated Trump publicly, privately and relentlessly pushed his false claims of a rigged 2020 election and intensified an extraordinary scheme to overturn Biden’s victory. When all else failed in his effort to stay in power, Trump beckoned thousands of his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, where extremists groups led the deadly Capitol siege.
The scale and virulence of that scheme began to take shape at the opening House hearing by the committee investigating 1/6. The prime-time hearing was watched by an estimated 20 million people on the TV networks, almost double the number who tuned in to the opening of Trump’s two impeachment trials.
When the panel resumes Monday, it will delve into its findings that Trump and his advisers knew early on that he had in fact lost the election but engaged in a “massive effort” to spread false information to convince the public otherwise.
Biden spoke of the importance of the committee’s investigation in remarks Friday in Los Angeles. “The insurrection on Jan. 6 was one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history,” the president said, “a brutal assault on our democracy.”
Ukraine: Russia said to be using more deadly weapons in war
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian and British officials warned Saturday that Russian forces are relying on weapons with the potential to cause mass casualties as they try to make headway in capturing eastern Ukraine.
Russian bombers have likely been launching heavy 1960s-era anti-ship missiles in Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. The Kh-22 missiles were primarily designed to destroy aircraft carriers using a nuclear warhead. When used in ground attacks with conventional warheads, they “are highly inaccurate and therefore can cause severe collateral damage and casualties,” the ministry said.
Both sides have expended large amounts of weaponry in what has become a grinding war of attrition for the eastern region of coal mines and factories known as the Donbas, placing huge strains on their resources and stockpiles.
Russia is likely using the anti-ship missiles because it is running short of more precise modern missiles, the British ministry said in a daily update. It gave no details of where exactly such missiles are thought to have been deployed and there was no immediate confirmation from Ukrainian authorities of the use of the 5.5-tonne (6.1-ton) missiles.
Biden juggles principles, pragmatism in stance on autocrats
WASHINGTON (AP) — As a candidate for president, Joe Biden was not shy about calling out dictators and authoritarian leaders as he anchored his foreign policy in the idea that the world is in a battle between democracy and autocracy.
But Biden’s governing approach as president has been far less black and white as he tries to balance such high-minded principles with the tug toward pragmatism in a world scrambled by the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, concerns about China’s global ambitions, heightened tensions about Iran’s advancing nuclear program and more.
Those crosscurrents were evident this past week when Biden played host at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, where his decision to exclude leaders he considers dictators generated considerable drama and prompted a number of other world leaders to boycott the event.
“We don’t always agree on everything, but because we’re democracies, we work through our disagreements with mutual respect and dialogue,” Biden told summit participants as he tried to smooth over the disputes.
Even as Biden was excluding a trio of leaders from the gathering, his national security team was making preparations for a possible visit to Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich kingdom that the president labeled a “pariah” state in the early days of his successful White House run.