World

Weakened but defiant, Trump rejects blame for assault on US Capitol

WASHINGTON : A defiant Donald Trump on Tuesday rejected blame for a deadly assault on Congress by his supporters, but cracks emerged in the president's Republican support with several now backing his removal.

The US president's historic second impeachment seems a certainty when the Democrat-led House of Representatives votes. The voting was scheduled for 3pm yesterday (4am today, Singapore time).

But Vice-President Mike Pence gave the besieged Mr Trump a lifeline by saying he would not invoke the 25th Amendment that allows him and the Cabinet to strip a sitting president of his powers.

"I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation," Mr Pence wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Earlier, Mr Trump travelled to Alamo, Texas, and although he urged "peace and calm" during a visit to the US-Mexico border wall, his overall message was of refusal to take blame for last week's violence.

On Jan 6, the pro-Trump crowd attacked the Capitol, fighting with the police and briefly forcing terrified lawmakers - and Mr Pence - to abandon a session certifying Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.

Mr Trump, unapologetic, insisted that "everybody" thought his speech was "totally appropriate".

He dubbed his likely impeachment a "continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics". And he warned that while "you have to always avoid violence", his supporters are furious.

"I've never seen such anger," he said. - AFP

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