Angry Democrats file no-confidence motion against Trump

Rep. Joaquin Castro, (D-TX), speaks as (L-R) Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Jason Kander, president of Let America Vote, and DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake listen as they attend a press conference held at the Democratic National Headquarters on Wednesday in Washington, DC. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 19 July 2017
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Angry Democrats file no-confidence motion against Trump

WASHINGTON: Two dozen congressional Democrats Wednesday launched a no-confidence motion against Donald Trump, an effort that will have no practical effect but highlights the rancor aroused by the US president.
“This is an attempt at a political intervention,” Representative Steve Cohen told reporters as he unveiled the resolution questioning Trump’s fitness to serve as commander in chief.
Congress cannot remove a president except by impeachment, so a no-confidence motion would be non-binding.
But Democrats are hoping to send a message of frustration with a leader who has refused to release his taxes, launched verbal attacks on women and the press, pulled the United States out of a pivotal climate pact and cast doubt on the usefulness of traditional alliances.
If Cohen were to use procedural tactics to bring the resolution to the House floor, even for a simple request for a vote, it could serve as a strong if symbolic rebuke.
Cohen said the resolution details “misdeeds and actions that give people lack of confidence in him and the direction he is taking our country.”
They include accusations that Trump accepted payments from foreign powers including from officials staying at his hotels, and fired the FBI director because of the ongoing investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
The resolution urged the president to release his tax returns; “unequivocally acknowledge” that Russia interfered in the 2016 election; and refrain from using Twitter inappropriately.
Cohen said he discussed his motion with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and that she did not object.
“We have a president who actively undermines the very principles of our government, and a Republican Congress that makes excuses for him as though his behavior were normal,” said congresswoman and co-sponsor Judy Chu.
“It is not normal. Trump’s behavior is cruel, unethical and it is driving people’s faith in government to dangerously low levels.”
US resolutions of congressional censure are rare.
In 2007, the Senate considered a no-confidence motion against Bush-era attorney general Alberto Gonzalez, but it failed to advance.
Earlier this month a Democratic congressman formally filed the first article of impeachment against Trump, but the effort has been ignored by Republican leadership.


Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

Updated 5 min 12 sec ago
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Duterte foes cry foul as Philippine police push sedition charges

  • Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition
  • A series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections alleged that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade

MANILA: Opponents of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed shock and outrage on Friday at police moves to charge dozens of them with sedition, calling it persecution aimed at stamping out scrutiny of his increasingly powerful rule.
Thirty-six opposition figures are accused of cyber libel and sedition for orchestrating a series of online videos ahead of May’s mid-term elections. The videos feature a hooded man alleging that Duterte and his family members were involved in the illegal drugs trade, which they deny.
The man, who had said he was a witness, later surrendered and appeared with police on television to say his claims were false and that he was cajoled into making the videos by opposition members. They included the vice president, lawyers, Catholic priests, a former attorney general, and incumbent and former lawmakers, the man said.
The justice department is looking into the complaint, which is the latest move against Duterte’s detractors who say the aim is to create a power monopoly for a president who already enjoys a legislative super-majority and a public approval rating of about 80 percent.
Duterte insists he is open to challenges but has shown no qualms about threatening high-profile critics, several of whom he said last month he would jail if they tried to impeach him.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte had no involvement in the police sedition complaint.
“We have nothing to do with this case, not at all, absolutely nothing,” he told news channel ANC. “Let the judicial process do its work.”
Antonio Trillanes, a former senator and Duterte’s strongest critic, described the complaint as “political persecution and harassment” intended to stifle democratic dissent.
A spokesman for Vice President Leni Robredo, who was not Duterte’s running mate and was elected separately, called the complaint “completely baseless.” Her party ally Senator Francis Pangilinan said it was part of a series of moves toward removing her from office.
Leila de Lima, an anti-Duterte senator detained on drugs charges, said it was “hogwash, pure hogwash,” and Samira Gutoc, a candidate in recent Senate elections, urged the police not to become partisan.
“I really am baffled,” Gutoc said of being accused of involvement.