President Trump vetoed the annual defense spending bill The lame duck’s last tee shot in Congress on Wednesday, before he left Washington for Mar-a-Lago, his private Florida country club.
While Trump has long pledged to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress passed the $ 740 billion bill earlier this month with a veto, the House of Representatives by a vote from 335-87 and the Senate by 84-13. The House is expected to vote to overturn Trump’s veto on Monday, while the Senate is expected to vote the next day.
“My administration has taken strong action to help keep our nation safe and support our military,” Trump said in a written message to the House of Representatives. “I will not approve this bill, which would have put the interests of the Washington DC establishment above those of the American people.”
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lambasted the Speaker for his decision to veto the bill.
“For 60 years, the National Defense Authorization Act has been passed on a bipartite and bicameral basis,” Pelosi said in his statement. “The president’s veto on the #NDAA is an act of recklessness that harms our troops, endangers our security and undermines the will of Congress.”
Trump demanded that, as part of the Defense Bill, Congress revoke legal protections for social media companies involving third-party content.
But many Republican lawmakers have said they disagree that the NDAA is the place to address Section 230, which the president says creates an environment that unfairly targets him. and other conservatives.
“[Section] 230 has nothing to do with the military, ”Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe R-Okla said earlier this month. do it in this bill.
Hours after announcing he would veto the defense bill, Trump granted the latest in a series of 26 pardons, including to Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman and longtime friend Roger Stone. While Kushner pleaded guilty in 2004 to 16 counts of tax evasion, Manafort and Stone were indicted as part of Special Prosecutor’s Robert Muller investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to the Russian government during the 2016 elections. While Trump had already commuted Stone’s 40-month prison sentence, Manafort will now escape 7 years in prison for fraud in his financial transactions in the former Soviet Union.
The latest round of pardons comes a day after Trump, now in the last month of his presidency, pronounced 15 pardons and five commutations. Among those pardoned on Tuesday were four military contractors who worked for security firm Blackwater and were convicted of the 2007 massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians. Trump also intervened on behalf of his political allies, Representative Chris Collins, RN.Y., who pleaded guilty to insider trading charges, and Representative Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Who pleaded guilty to ‘stealing campaign funds.
His graces gave ammunition to his political enemies, who noted the president’s personal ties with those he absolved. Despite everything, he should announce more in the coming hours.
In addition to the decisions, Trump left Washington in disarray again on Tuesday after posting a video calling on lawmakers to change their COVID relief bill so that it is stripped of the elements that Trump himself had included in its budget and demanded that $ 2,000 in direct payments be made to every American citizen. Congress, which had worked for months with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to secure the contentious deal for the stimulus package, had accepted payments of $ 600.
Trump’s decision to display his opposition to the stimulus package even surprised Mnuchin, who had tweeted hours earlier, he was “happy that Congress had passed on an overwhelming bipartisan basis additional critical economic relief for American workers, families and businesses.”
In the absence of Trump’s signature on the COVID relief plan, lawmakers will face the possibility of another government shutdown.
Amid all the turmoil and disruption Trump’s actions have caused in Washington this week, the president continues to insist without evidence that he was the rightful winner in the 2020 election. To staff and critics alike, alternate reality is taking its toll.
On Wednesday morning, the White House management office sent an internal memo telling staff members of the president’s executive office to start preparing to leave work ahead of next month’s transition, Politico reported. A few minutes later, an email was sent to the staff telling them to “disregard” the previous guidelines.
Attorney General William Barr, whose last day of work is Wednesday, told associates he was alarmed by Trump’s behavior, the The New York Times reported, while other staff say they are, according to the newspaper, “exhausted and anxiously awaiting the end of the term.”
Despite this fatigue, many in Washington remain concerned about what Trump may still be considering before he leaves office on January 20. Moments before leaving the White House for Florida, the president tweeted as if he was answering this question.
“Some friendly health advice to Iran: If an American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible,” Trump concluded. “Reflect.”
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