WEEKLY REPORT: Impeachment Defense Team /// Coronavirus Threats /// New Volcano Eruptions

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Published Date: January 20th, 2020




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Trump Impeachment: Legal Team Says Charges ‘Brazen and Unlawful’

US President Donald Trump’s legal team has issued its first formal response to the impeachment charges against him, describing them as a “dangerous attack” on democracy.

The document said the impeachment articles failed to allege any crime and were a “brazen” attempt to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

The response came as the Democrats filed their brief for the proceedings.

Opening statements in the trial will begin on Tuesday.

Mr Trump is only the third US president in history to face an impeachment trial. He is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He has denied wrongdoing and branded the case against him as a “hoax”.

The House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, impeached the president last month. The Senate, controlled by Mr Trump’s Republican Party, will decide whether to convict and remove him from office.

A two-thirds majority of 67 votes in the 100-seat Senate is required to convict and oust Mr Trump. But because there are only 45 Democrats (along with 53 Republicans and two Independents), the president is widely expected to be cleared.

In their brief filed earlier on Saturday, House Democrats laid out their arguments for why Mr Trump should be removed from office.

They said the president had “abandoned his oath to faithfully execute the laws and betrayed his public trust”, and called his conduct the “worst nightmare” of the country’s founding fathers.

What did Trump’s lawyers say?

The six-page response outlines the defense the president’s legal team expects to use in the upcoming impeachment trial.

The team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, said they were challenging the impeachment on both procedural and constitutional grounds, claiming that the president did nothing wrong and had not been treated fairly.

Their filing said the articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats were a “dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.”

“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away,” it added.

Mr Trump and his legal team said the impeachment charges failed to allege “any crime or violation of law” and were “the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness”.

The lawyers said Mr Trump “categorically and unequivocally” denies all allegations.

The filing on Saturday came a day after Mr Trump finalized his defense team, which includes special prosecutors from former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

What did the Democrats say?

In their own 111-page filing on Saturday, Democratic lawmakers leading the case against Mr Trump summarized arguments made during weeks of testimony in the impeachment investigation last year.

They said the president should be convicted and removed from office “to avoid serious and long term damage to our democratic values and the nation’s security.”

“The case against the president of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming,” they said.

“The only remaining question is whether the members of the Senate will accept and carry out the responsibility placed on them by the Framers of our Constitution and their constitutional Oaths,” they added.

What exactly is Trump accused of doing?

President Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to dig up damaging information on one of his main Democratic challengers for the presidency in 2020, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.

Hunter worked for a Ukrainian company when Joe Biden was US vice-president.

Media caption What does it take to impeach a president?

The president is accused of dangling two things as bargaining chips to Ukraine – withholding $400m of military aid to Ukraine that had already been allocated by Congress, and a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president.

Democrats say this amounts to an abuse of presidential power.

Mr Trump is also accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to co-operate with the congressional inquiry.

The US president was impeached last month, opening the way for a Senate trial.

In the unlikely event of Mr Trump being found guilty, he would be removed from office and Vice-President Mike Pence would be sworn in as president.

A simple majority of senators – 51 – could also vote to end the trial should they wish.

Member of Trump’s defense team Robert Ray on impeachment: Process has been ‘partisan and therefore illegitimate’

Former federal prosecutor Robert Ray, a member of President Trump’s impeachment legal defense team, spoke exclusively on Sunday with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” calling the entire impeachment process “partisan and therefore illegitimate.”

Speaking with Bartiromo on Sunday, Ray shared what Trump’s principle defense could look like, saying he thinks it “is very simple.”

“This is an entirely partisan and therefore illegitimate effort by House Democrats to remove a president from office,” Ray told Bartiromo. “And the remedy for that is the United States Senate, as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution, in order to overturn the will of the electorate in the 2016 election, and particularly given the fact that we are now in the middle of a presidential campaign for 2020, ultimately that will can only be overturned with a bipartisan effort and overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate with a two-thirds majority in order to remove a president, overturn the will of that electorate.”


He added that he doesn’t expect any Republicans to vote for impeachment.

President Trump’s defense team also includes Ken Starr, the former independent counsel who led the Whitewater investigation into then-President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s, attorney Alan Dershowitz, former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and Jane Raskin, who was part of the president’s legal team during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Both Starr and Dershowitz are former Fox News contributors.

The trial will kick off in earnest Tuesday when House impeachment managers will prosecute the case and Trump’s lawyers will offer a robust defense over a period of days.


Ray, former Whitewater Independent Counsel, pointed out to Bartiromo that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was seen “essentially celebrating the notion that the stain of impeachment exists and exists forever.”

“The only rejoinder to that, and that’s the rejoinder that it is my job, together with the rest of the defense team, to place before the United States Senate for their consideration is the question about the rejoinder being that there will be acquittal forever as well. And that’s what we expect,” Ray said. “That’s the task ahead during the next several weeks.”

On Sunday, Ray also outlined what constitutes a “well-founded” article of impeachment, explaining why he believes the two at hand won’t fare well in the Senate.

“Well-founded articles of impeachment both allege that crimes were committed and that those are the type of crimes that constitute abuse of the public trust. Abuse of power alone, and history has shown this, similar to also obstruction of Congress, those types of articles of impeachment have been tried on for size before, but they have not fared well,” Ray said.


Countries Step Up Measures to Prevent Spread of Viral Pneumonia From China as It Reports More Cases

Chinese authorities on Jan. 19 reported a third death due to a viral pneumonia that first broke out in the central city of Wuhan.

And for the first time, China confirmed cases of infection outside of Wuhan, suggesting that the disease has spread more widely than authorities previously let on.

A London research institute estimated that the number of potential infections in Wuhan could be over 1,000.

Over the weekend, the U.S. and Canadian governments joined a growing list of countries that are stepping up monitoring of the disease to prevent its spread: three U.S. airports began screening passengers for possible infection, while three Canadian ones added alert messages for travelers from Wuhan.

The disease is caused by a new type of coronavirus, according to Chinese authorities. The latter is a family of viruses that includes the common cold, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).


Early on Jan. 20, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced that an additional 136 people were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus—bringing the city total to 198.

This was the largest increase since the outbreak was first confirmed by health officials in late December.

Authorities initially reported that 59 were infected. Last week, they lowered the number to 41, without explanation. For several days, authorities did not update the number, while the Japan and Thailand governments confirmed one and two cases of infection respectively—all from patients who had recently traveled to Wuhan—leading some experts to raise concerns about the veracity of Chinese figures.

Currently, nine are in critical condition, 35 in severe condition, and three have died, according to the Wuhan health commission. 25 were released from the hospital after recovering.

China Reports 3rd Death, 136 New Infections, Due to Viral Pneumonia


Chinese authorities on Jan. 19 reported one new death as a result of a viral pneumonia. Also, another 136 patients were infected, raising the global number of infections to more than 200.

That is the largest increase since the virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December. 

The pneumonia disease has killed three so far, all from Wuhan. 

The city’s Ministry of Health said that the new patients, aged from 25 to 89, were infected before Jan. 18.   

As of Sunday, at least 170 people remained in Wuhan hospitals for centralized treatment, with 35 of them in serious condition and nine critically ill. The officials said they are also monitoring 90 others who had close contact with the patients. 

Some 700 miles away from Wuhan, Beijing also confirmed two cases of infection on Sunday, and Guangdong Province in southern China confirmed one case, marking the first confirmation that the virus has spilled to other parts of the country. The two patients in Beijing have recently been to Wuhan, according to state media. 

Thailand confirmed two cases of the new viral pneumonia, while Japan has reported one. All had recently traveled to Wuhan.   

Tourist line-up in a health control at the arrival section at Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok, Thailand
Tourist line-up in a health control at the arrival section at Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on Jan. 19, 2020. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

Shenzhen, a southern city bordering Hong Kong, has also isolated two patients suspected of carrying the Wuhan virus. 

The new numbers rolled in just as Canadian and U.S. health authorities both began screening passengers from Wuhan at three of each country’s biggest airports. 

Other countries, including Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan, have also announced measures to strengthen entry detection measures as the Lunar New Year approaches: peak migration season when large numbers of Chinese travelers are going to travel across Asia. 

Why Are Volcanoes All Over The Globe Suddenly Shooting Giant Clouds Of Ash Miles Into The Air?

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

There certainly hasn’t been a lack of seismic activity so far in 2020.  Just a few days ago, I wrote about the horrific earthquake swarm that Puerto Rico is currently experiencing.  More than 1,000 earthquakes have rattled Puerto Rico so far, and as you will see below, it was just hit by another very large earthquake.  But right now volcanic eruptions have taken center stage.  In particular, a massive eruption in the Philippines is making headlines all over the world, but what most people don’t realize is that several other volcanoes have also blown their tops in spectacular fashion within the past week.  Suddenly, volcanoes all over the globe are shooting giant clouds of ash miles into the air, and this is greatly puzzling many of the experts.

Let’s review what we have witnessed over the past 7 days.

Last Tuesday, one of the most important volcanoes in Alaska shot hot ash 25,000 feet into the air

Shishaldin Volcano erupted at 5 a.m. Tuesday, the Alaska Volcano Observatory announced, and sent up an initial ash cloud to 19,000 feet. Clouds initially obscured the mountain, but satellite imagery confirmed the ash cloud, U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Hans Schwaiger said.

Seismicity diminished for a few hours, but it then increased again. During the increase, the volcano spewed an ash cloud to 25,000 feet, the observatory announced. The later eruption increased the volume of ash.

There are 5280 feet in a mile, and so we are talking about an ash cloud nearly 5 miles high.

Then on Thursday, Mt. Popocatepetl in Mexico shot hot ash nearly 4 miles into the sky

Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano burst to life on Thursday in a spectacular gush of lava and clouds of ash that hurled incandescent rock about 20,000 feet into the sky.

The dramatic explosion of the active stratovolcano, a little over 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, was captured on video by Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention, CENAPRED.

Those that follow my work on a regular basis already know that I am deeply concerned about Mt. Popocatepetl.  It has the potential to create the worst natural disaster in the modern history of North America, because it is quite close to Mexico City.  The following summary of the potential threat that Mt. Popocatepetl poses comes from one of my previous articles

Approximately 26 million people live within 60 miles of Popocatepetl’s crater, and so we are talking about the potential for death and destruction on a scale that is difficult to imagine. In ancient times, Mt. Popocatepetl buried entire Aztec cities in super-heated mud, but then it went to sleep for about 1,000 years. Unfortunately for us, it started waking up again in the 1990s, and now this is the most active that we have seen it ever since the volcano originally reawakened.

Let us hope that Mt. Popocatepetl settles down, because the death and destruction that a catastrophic eruption would cause would be off the charts.

Meanwhile, down in South America the Sabancaya volcano in Peru just shot a plume of volcanic ash approximately 24,000 feet into the air

Explosive activity continues. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) Buenos Aires warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 24000 ft (7300 m) altitude or flight level 240 and is moving at 15 kts in S direction.

But hardly anyone is paying any attention to what just took place in Peru because of what just happened in the Philippines.

On Sunday, Taal volcano roared to life, and it is being reported that the eruption sent “steam, ash and pebbles up to 10 to 15 kilometers (6 to 9 miles) into the sky”.

Can you imagine that?

According to USA Today, ash has already reached Manila, and “red-hot lava” has started gushing out of the volcano…

Red-hot lava gushed from of a Philippine volcano on Monday after a sudden eruption of ash and steam that forced villagers to flee and shut down Manila’s international airport, offices and schools.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage from Taal volcano’s eruption south of the capital that began Sunday. But clouds of ash blew more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) north, reaching the bustling capital, Manila, and forcing the shutdown of the country’s main airport with more than 240 international and domestic flights cancelled so far.

Unfortunately, authorities are warning that the worst may still be yet to come.

In fact, they are telling us that a “hazardous explosive eruption” could literally happen at any moment…

“The earthquakes were strong, and it felt like there was a monster coming out” as in the movies, Cookie Siscar, who had left the area and was relaying a report from her husband, Emer, a poultry farmer, told the Times.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology increased its threat level for Taal Volcano to four out of five, saying that a “hazardous explosive eruption” could happen at any minute

Meanwhile, we continue to see unusual earthquake activity all over the globe.

After already experiencing more than 1,000 earthquakes since the beginning of 2020, Puerto Rico was hit by a magnitude 5.9 quake on Saturday

A magnitude 5.9 quake shook Puerto Rico on Saturday, causing further damage along the island’s southern coast, where previous recent quakes have toppled homes and schools.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 8:54 a.m. (1254 GMT) quake hit 8 miles (13 kilometers) southeast of Guanica at a shallow depth of 3 miles (5 kilometers).

For quite a while, I have been warning that our planet is becoming increasingly unstable and that the shaking is only going to get worse.

I know that a lot of people didn’t believe me at first, and that is okay.

After the events of the last few days, perhaps a few more people will start to understand what is going on.

There have always been earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but for most of our lives we have been able to assume that our planet is generally stable.

Unfortunately, that is no longer a safe assumption.

We have entered a period of time when all of the old assumptions will no longer apply, and everything that can be shaken will be shaken.

This Week’s News At a Glance

Internal emails from Boeing staff members working on the 737 MAX were made public earlier this month have revealed new safety problems for the company’s flagship 777X, a long-range, wide-body, twin-engine passenger jet, currently in development that is expected to replace the aging 777-200LR and 777-300ER fleets

Ahead of Tuesday’s opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial, House Democrats – seven impeachment managers led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff – filed their legal brief today. The 111-page summons urges the Senate to “eliminate the threat that the President poses to America’s national security” as it lays out the case against President Trump. President Trump’s legal team outlined the fiery response to its impeachment summons, calling the two articles of impeachment passed by the House last month “a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.”

Opioid overdoses may have leveled off last year after soaring over the last ten, but Americans are still dying in droves from another, far more popular substance: alcohol. According to a series of studies cited by MarketWatch, the number of Americans drinking themselves to death has more than doubled over the last two decades, according to a sobering new report. That far outpaces the rate of population growth during the same period.

A peace conference on Libya is kicking off in Berlin at the Federal Chancellery attended by the rival faction heads commander Khalifa Haftar and head of the UN-endorsed government in Libya Fayez al-Sarraj.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that the black boxes from the downed jetliner were to be sent to Ukraine for examination. Instead, Iran is decoding the flight recorders from the Boeing 737 and has not taken a definitive decision to send them for analysis abroad.

Puerto Rico Governor fired the island’s emergency management director after a video showing aid sitting unused in a warehouse went viral on social media. Some of the aid has allegedly been sitting in the warehouse since Hurricane Maria struck in 2017. “There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to help those in the south, and it is unforgivable that resources were kept in the warehouse,” Vázquez said in a statement. Trump was right after all. VIDEO

Thousands of anti-government protesters flooded the streets of the French capital Paris on Saturday, chanting slogans to berate the sweeping social security system reforms initiated by the pro-business government of French President Emmanuel Macron. The march led by Yellow Vest protesters in downtown Paris was marred by violence, and saw police using batons and tear gas on activists, who hurled objects in return.

Ed Buck, a reportedly a pervert with a “thing” for getting young black male prostitutes high through date-rape drugs and involuntary meth injections, resulting in 2 deaths. Schiff was very close with Buck and not only visited this drug den 17 times, they were constantly together at rallies, parties, social events, political fundraisers, and other events.

After a week which tragically witnessed a sudden uptick in refugee and migrant incidents and drowning deaths in the Mediterranean, a dramatic video has been published online showing the Turkish Coast Guard resorting to extreme measures while intercepting migrant boats. VIDEO

Protesters from across Lebanon flocked to Beirut on Saturday to attend a rally against economic mismanagement and the weakening national currency, dubbed “Saturday of outrage”. Clashes with law enforcement ensued as demonstrators attempted to storm the parliament building’s fences, police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse them. More than 165 people were injured in the clashes, according to the Lebanese Red Cross. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has ordered the army to the capital to protect peaceful protesters and keep the situation under control. Mass protests engulfed Lebanon last October amid a crippling economic crisis, people have been demanding urgent reforms.

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app was facing issues in parts of India, Brazil, and parts of the Middle-East including UAE. The map also shows that Europe is also facing severe outage. First #whatsappdown of the year!

Qatar Airways, Emirates and several other Gulf airlines still fly in Iraqi and Iranian airspace even as other international carriers have rerouted planes since the United States and Iran traded military strikes. They have few alternative routes to choose from in an area where much of the airspace is kept clear of civilian aircraft for military use.

Hong Kong protests: thousands join rally in Central to demand universal suffrage in upcoming election.

Hong Kong protests: two plain-clothes police officers beaten up, tear gas fired and rally organiser arrested as mayhem breaks out in Central. Several rounds of tear gas fired after police shut down event in Central while eight people arrested. Protesters in Chater Garden had urged foreign governments to consider sanctions against Hong Kong administration if democracy demands not met.

Harry and Megan coverup for the Prince of the Pedos is becoming pathetic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is as of now including in the U.S. Senate impeachment trial rules a “kill switch” that effectively allows for the president’s legal team to seek an immediate verdict or dismissal of the case should Democrats engage in any shenanigans like they did in the House process.

Strongest EQ in Europe M5.0 Greece
Strongest EQ in US M3.0 Oklahoma
Strongest EQ on the Planet M6.0 China and Indonesia
Deepest EQ M4.7 537 km South of the Fiji Islands

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