Act now on Covid relief, says president as Trump impeachment divides Republicans

President Joe Biden is urging Congress to “act now” on his $1.9tn Covid-19 relief proposal, saying there is an “overwhelming” consensus among economists that a stimulus package is needed to help Americans hardest hit by the pandemic.

Mr Biden said Democrat lawmakers must take action with or without cooperation from their Republican colleagues, adding that the cost of inaction in this “unique moment” is “high”.

“I support passing Covid relief with support from Republicans, if we can get it,” Mr Biden told lawmakers last night. “But the Covid relief has to pass with no ifs, ands or buts,” he added.

Biden visits wounded soldiers at military medical centre

Meanwhile, the Republican Party remains split over former president Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Senate minority whip, John Thune, said Mr Trump’s actions in the lead up to the Capitol riot were “indefensible”, although the South Dakota lawmaker was hesitant when asked by CNN what should be done with the former president. “Well, that’s a good question,” he said. “One way, obviously, would be in a court of law.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene, on the other hand, is sticking to her guns and flat out denying that the former president had anything to do with the riot that left five people dead. “President Trump did not cause the attack on the Capitol on 6 January,” she told supporters earlier this week.

In other developments, Congresswoman Cori Bush is requesting that her office is moved away from Republican lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene for her own “team’s safety”.

Ms Bush, representative for Missouri’s 1st congressional district, said she and her staff had been “berated” by Ms Greene, representative for Georgia’s 14th congressional district.

“I didn’t move my office out of fear,” she said. “I moved my office because I’m here to do a job for the people of St Louis. “What I cannot do is continue to look over my shoulder wondering if a white supremacist in Congress is conspiring against me and my team. Our focus is St. Louis.”

Ms Greene, an avid supporter of Donald Trump, has previously expressed support for the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory and has been accused of racism.

The newly-appointed lawmaker is refusing to resign after social media videos emerged appearing to show her voice support for 9/11 and other conspiracy theories.

Government pleads with migrants waiting in Mexico ‘to be patient’

The Biden administration is urging migrants waiting in Mexico under restrictions imposed by former US president, Donald Trump, to be patient, even as the population of a makeshift camp in northeastern Mexico begins to swell with hopeful asylum seekers.

On Friday, a senior aide to current US president, Joe Biden, said the administration is working on a system to process the asylum seekers who are waiting in Mexico under a Trump-era program known as Migrant Protection Protocols.

“We’re reviewing now how we can process the migrants who are already in this program,” the aide, Roberta Jacobson, said on a call with reporters. “How to prioritize the people who were enrolled not only months but years ago, and above all, people who are the most vulnerable.”

Jacobson said all of those waiting in Mexico under the program will have an opportunity to present claims.

The protocols, in place since 2019, pushed more than 65,000 asylum seekers back across the border to wait for their U.S. court hearings, although far fewer are believed to still be in Mexico.

The Biden administration stopped adding people to MPP last week, but has not outlined how it will process the claims of those already enrolled.

Advocates have documented the dangers they face while waiting, including rape and murder.

Jacobson said the administration would process people “in a much more rapid manner than in the past.”

Woman charged in Capitol riot said she wanted to shoot Pelosi ‘in the friggin’ brain,’ FBI says

Federal authorities arrested two women in Pennsylvania on 29 January on charges related to the storming of the U.S. Capitol building after the FBI said one of the women expressed an intent to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Dawn Bancroft and Diana Santos-Smith were identified by law enforcement after the FBI said it received a tip on 12 January with a video purportedly capturing the two women as they left the U.S. Capitol on 6 January amid a large mob of people, according to a criminal complaint.

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