US lawyers ask 2nd Circuit to nix Trump from defamation suit

NEW YORK (AP) — Justice Department lawyers asked a federal appeals court Friday to replace President Donald Trump with the United States as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says he raped her in the 1990s.

The lawyers filed papers in an appeal of a lower-court Manhattan judge’s ruling denying the substitution in a lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll, a columnist who in a June 2019 book described her encounter with Trump at an upscale Manhattan department store.

Mexico: ‘This is not a game’: Global virus death toll hits 2 million

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 2 million Friday, crossing the threshold amid a vaccine rollout so immense but so uneven that in some countries there is real hope of vanquishing the outbreak, while in other, less-developed parts of the world, it seems a far-off dream.

USA: Trump trial pending, McConnell calls it ‘vote of conscience’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial is likely to start after Joe Biden’s inauguration, and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is telling senators their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president over the Capitol riot will be a “vote of conscience.”

USA: Feds back away from claim of assassination plot at Capitol

PHOENIX (AP) — Federal prosecutors who initially said there was “strong evidence” the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week aimed to “capture and assassinate elected officials” backed away from the allegation after the head of the investigation cautioned Friday that the probe is still in its early stages and there was no “direct evidence” of such intentions.

USA: NY prosecutors interview Michael Cohen about Trump finances

NEW YORK (AP) — New York prosecutors conducted an hourslong interview Thursday of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, asking a range of questions about Trump’s business dealings, according to three people familiar with the meeting.

The interview focused in part on Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, his biggest and longest standing creditor, according to the three people, who weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

U.S. imposes fresh sanctions on Iran in final days of Trump presidency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on companies in Iran, China and the United Arab Emirates for doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and on three Iranian entities over conventional arms proliferation.

They are the latest in a series of measures aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration, which ends on Wednesday.

US Biden: We’ll ‘manage the hell’ out of feds’ COVID response

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to boost supplies of coronavirus vaccine and set up new vaccination sites to meet his goal of 100 million shots in 100 days. It’s part of a broader COVID strategy that also seeks to straighten out snags in testing and ensure minority communities are not left out.

“Some wonder if we are reaching too far,” Biden said Friday. “Let me be clear, I’m convinced we can get it done.”

The real payoff, Biden said, will come from uniting the nation in a new effort grounded in science.

Trump’s presidency not just a blip in US foreign policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to scrap President Donald Trump’s vision of “America First” in favor of “diplomacy first” will depend on whether he’s able to regain the trust of allies and convince them that Trumpism is just a blip in the annals of U.S. foreign policy.

It could be a hard sell. From Europe to the Middle East and Asia, Trump’s brand of transactional diplomacy has alienated friends and foes alike, leaving Biden with a particularly contentious set of national security issues.

USA: Inauguration Day also is move in/out day at the White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Moving from house to house is challenging under the best of circumstances, and even with movers as first rate as the housekeepers and other staff who work in the White House.

But the coronavirus pandemic could be a complicating factor as the executive mansion gets ready for a new president and executes the Inauguration Day ritual of moving out one leader and settling in another.

Trump to fly to U.S. Florida state shortly before Biden's inauguration: reports

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump will leave Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning shortly before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, with a grandeur ceremony being planned for his departure, U.S. media reported Friday.

The Associated Press cited people familiar with the plan as saying the farewell ceremony, to be held in Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, will probably feature the reception Trump used to get as president during state visits abroad, "complete with a red carpet, color guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute."

France: Major European powers rebuke Iran over uranium metal plans

PARIS (Reuters) - Three European powers on Saturday warned Iran against starting work on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor, saying it contravened the 2015 nuclear deal and stressing that it had no civilian use but serious military implications.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog and Tehran said on Wednesday that Iran had started the work, in the latest breach of its nuclear deal with six major powers as the country presses for a lifting of U.S. sanctions.

USA: Trump administration carries out 13th and final execution

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — The Trump administration early Saturday carried out its 13th federal execution since July, an unprecedented run that concluded just five days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden — an opponent of the federal death penalty.

Dustin Higgs, convicted in the killings of three women in a Maryland wildlife refuge in 1996, was the third to receive a lethal injection this week at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.

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