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Pelosi to Introduce Legislation on 25th Amendment over Trump’s Health

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jamie Raskin. (Image via J. Scott Applewhite/AJC)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jamie Raskin. (Image via J. Scott Applewhite/AJC)

Given the current state of COVID-19 running rampant in the Trump administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to introduce legislation Friday that would create a “Commission on Presidential Capacity,” which deals with the presidential transfer of power in accordance to the 25th Amendment.

What We Know:

  • A new release from Pelosi’s office stated that the legislation would create the commission “to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office in the Executive Branch of government”. Pelosi held a news conference at the Capitol Friday morning over the new measure with Rep. Jamie Raskin, who is a constitutional law expert that has also introduced a similar bill previously.
  • During Friday’s meeting, it was revealed that the commission would consist of 17 people, eight appointed by Republicans and eight appointed by Democrats, and a chair selected by the whole. The commission would be allowed to monitor the president’s health as well as request an exam of the president. If the president would decline, the commission will pass judgment based on the information they already have.
  • When questioned on Thursday whether she had considered or if it was time to invoke 25th Amendment due to Trump’s illness, Pelosi refused to talk on the matter. “If you want to talk about that, we’ll see you tomorrow,” said Pelosi. She later brought up why the White House has yet to reveal the President’s most recent COVID-19 test results.
  • The 25th Amendment provides for procedures for transferring power to other figures such as the vice president in case of the president’s “death, incapacitation, removal or resignation”. The amendment was ratified and approved in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As it stands, the current line of succession places House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as acting president if the president and vice president are incapable of fulfilling their duties.
  • A recent interview with the speaker suggested that President Trump may not have clear judgment at the moment because of the drugs he’s taken as a treatment. “The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now,” Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV.
  • This was brought up again during Friday’s conference and she stuck with her claim of “I don’t know”. She addressed the president’s behavior by saying “there are those who say when you are on steroids or have Covid-19, there may be some impairment of judgment.”
  • Trump responded Thursday afternoon, tweeting that Pelosi “is the one who should be under observation”. On Friday afternoon, he tweeted “Crazy Nancy Pelosi is looking at the 25th Amendment in order to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris. The Dems want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of it!!!” This implied a move to aid Biden who Trump continues to allege is a failing campaign.

The destiny of this bill remains on the shoulders of Pelosi. Normally a piece of legislation like this could easily pass in a Democrat-controlled House, but given the current Republican-controlled Senate, it seems very unlikely for it to pass unless the president’s state of health declines drastically.

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Javier Garay is Media & News SVCS Intern at UnmutedCo. He is currently enrolled in the University of North Georgia seeking a bachelor's degree in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. Javier writes for Black News Alerts (BNA) along with social media management for both BNA and BossFM, and is a part of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

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India and US Sign Defense Agreement Following Standoff With China

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. (Adnan Abidi/ AP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. (Adnan Abidi/ AP)

The United States and India have rejuvenated their defensive and security relationship. This comes at a time where Washington is seeking out allies in Asia due to China’s increasing military presence in the region, much of which has caused tensions this year, especially near the China-India border.

What We Know:

  • A press conference took place at the Indian capital on Tuesday announcing the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), where US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Minister of Defense of India Rajnath Singh were present.

“The defense ties between our two nations remain a key pillar of our overall bilateral relationship,” stated Esper. “Based on our shared values and common interests, we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific for all, particularly in light of increasing aggression and destabilizing activities by China.”

  • Singh noted that BECA will expand upon both country’s ongoing commitment to achieve a solid standing of law, order, and freedom across international seas, while at the same time “upholding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states”.
  • The U.S and India are set to perform Malabar naval exercises in the Indian Ocean next month, along with other members of the “Quad,” an informal alliance of the US, India, Japan, and Australia. The Quad, which has been seen as a potential “Asian NATO,” was formed to counter the Chinese military growth on the continent.
  • The Quad held a meeting earlier this month in Tokyo where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hammered on the “Chinese Communist Party’s coverup” of the severity of COVID-19. He said, “it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion.”
  • With the signing of the BECA agreement, it will allow both the U.S and India to broaden the amount of cooperation in regards to intelligence and defense measures. For example, giving New Delhi access to US geo-spatial intelligence which would help the accuracy of Indian weapons systems.

A dicey situation occurred last month between India and China when they accused the other of trespassing borders once again near the Line of Actual Control (LAC). At first, attempts at smoothening out the tensions failed, but both sides agreed to stop sending more troops into the region around the end of September.

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Protestors Clash with Police in Philly, Local Black Man Killed

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Police charge at a crowd along 52nd Street in West Philadelphia in the early hours of Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Police charge at a crowd along 52nd Street in West Philadelphia in the early hours of Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

The Philadelphia police precinct went under fire on Monday night hours after police shot and killed a local Black man. The victim was revealed to be 27-year old Walter Wallace Jr. A video of the incident went viral and occurred Monday afternoon when Police received a call about a man with a knife.

What We Know:

  • Sergeant Eric Gripp, a Philadelphia police spokesman, stated that “responding officers witnessed a male on the block. Immediately they noticed he had a knife in his possession and he was brandishing it and waiving it erratically.”
  • Police allegedly ordered Wallace to surrender his weapons and come forward slowly. Wallace’s mother later attempts to intervene by grabbing her son. The moment he broke away and headed straight towards police, they opened fire. The result was considerable injuries in the shoulder and chest areas and the victim later passed away at a nearby hospital because of them.
  • The outcry of yet another mishandled police incident involving a man of color has sparked new and ongoing protests. An officer was struck by a pickup truck early Tuesday. A 56-year-old female officer was later taken to a hospital with a broken leg and other injuries, according to Gripp.

  • Police reported about 29 officers that have been hospitalized at this point due to being struck by projectiles such as bricks and rocks. They also stated that they have made around 30 arrests and have had reports of looting and vandalism throughout the city, including law enforcement vehicles.
  • In response to the recent unrest, the White House has said they would be ready to give federal assistance, according to White House communications director Alyssa Farah. “We’re monitoring the situation closely. If necessary, we’ll be standing by and prepared to deploy federal resources, if necessary,” Farah said on Tuesday.
  • Walter Wallace Sr., the victim’s father, questioned why officers used deadly force. “Why didn’t they use a Taser?” he asked. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.” Wallace Sr. made it clear that his son has known mental health issues and had medication for it. “Why you have to gun him down?”

The identities of the officers involved have not been revealed as of late and they were also taken off duty amid a future investigation into the matter. “I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered. I spoke tonight with Mr. Wallace’s family and will continue to reach out to hear their concerns first-hand,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement.

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Senate Set to Confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court on Monday

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Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett arrives Wednesday for the third day of her confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett arrives Wednesday for the third day of her confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

After only 30 days since Trump announced he was nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18, a Republican-controlled Senate is ready to confirm her as a Supreme Court justice.

What We Know:

  • The final vote occurred on Monday, October 26th at 7:30 pm EST. The final Senate vote was 52-48 in favor of confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and a ceremony did end up taking place at the White House ceremony following the vote where Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered the constitutional oath to Coney Barrett.
  • President Trump spoke at the event, thanking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and calling today a “momentous day” for America, the constitution and the rule of law. He also praised Barrett’s intellect and poise during the confirmation process. Several Republican senators were also in attendance. Barrett must still take the judicial oath.
  • The significance of her confirmation now could be that Barrett could quickly be able to help decide applications from states for the court to settle disputes about voting methods, but she should not be able to give a vote on currently ongoing cases.
  • Moreover, the court has already made decisions regarding how to address several election-related disputes such as the previously blocked curbside voting in Alabama and imposed witness requirements in South Carolina. Her confirmation is a solid victory for Trump and a predominantly Republican Senate whose campaigning efforts have achieved a conservative majority on the court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said, “We made an important contribution to the future of this country. A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

  • Prior to the vote, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski changed opinions over the weekend and stated she would vote in favor of Barrett even though she previously opposed swearing-in a new justice before Election Day. On the other hand, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, another Senate Republican running for re-election, made it clear she would vote against Barrett.

Democrats have signaled that in the wake of Barrett’s confirmation, several major changes could occur such as the end of the Affordable Care Act. It’s been reported that the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over the health care law in November. Another fear is that she would vote for overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that made abortion legal.

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