Thursday briefing: Donald Trump impeached

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Powered by article titled “Thursday briefing: Donald Trump impeached” was written by Martin Farrer, for on Thursday 19th December 2019 06.20 UTC

Top story: Senate will ‘do the right thing’, says Trump

Good morning. My name is Martin Farrer and it’s my pleasure to bring you the Guardian’s top stories this Thursday.

Donald Trump has become only the third US president to be impeached amid a highly charged partisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill in Washington. After a full day of debate, the House of Representatives voted 230-197 to approve a first article of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and 229-198 for a second article charging the president with obstruction of Congress. Trump will now go on trial in the Senate, probably starting in January, but he is expected to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled upper house. Trump learned of the vote while addressing a rally in Michigan. Supporters said the charges were “made up” but the president told them he was sure that senators would “do the right thing”.

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said the president had endangered the republic and its elections with his reckless behaviour and had “given us no choice”. But she was careful not to allow any celebration by Democrats in the House, shutting down applause after she announced the vote results, noting that it was a “sad day”. Find out what happens next here. Our Washington correspondent, David Smith, says Trump will be seething about impeachment but will use it as a weapon in next year’s election.

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Election ‘folly’ – Emily Thornberry says she will join the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party, arguing that she has the “political nous” to take on Boris Johnson. Writing in the Guardian, she says she warned the leadership that it would be “catastrophic folly” to vote for an election before Brexit was settled. The pro-remain London MP also dismisses suggestions that the next leader should be from the more pro-Brexit heartlands where Labour performed so badly. Her predictions were echoed by Labour MP Jon Trickett, who says he warned the party leadership that 50 northern seats were at risk but his research was dismissed by campaign chiefs.

Back in Westminster, the government kicks off the new session of parliament today with the Queen’s speech. It is expected to include a symbolic bill to enshrine in law a £33bn boost for the NHS. Other legislation will enable easier visa systems for overseas medical staff and the scrapping of hospital car-parking charges for disabled people, those with children who are inpatients, and staff working night shifts.

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Bushfires worsen – The bushfire crisis in Australia has worsened overnight with 40 homes destroyed in New South Wales, Sydney blanketed with a thick smoke haze and three firefighters suffering serious burn injuries. Parts of South Australia, Queensland and Victoria are also under threat as a heatwave shows few signs of abating. Wednesday was declared the country’s hottest day ever with an average temperature of 41.9C, beating the mark set on Tuesday. The mercury is on course to hit 45C in western Sydney on Saturday. However, the deputy PM found time to tell climate protesters that they are “wasting their time”. In the UK, the Met office says next year will be among the hottest ever recorded on Earth. It predicts the average global temperature will be 1.11C above pre-industrial levels in 2020.

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BA nosedives – British Airways has suffered a huge fall in its popularity rankings after a Which? survey showed that passengers rated the flag carrier only just ahead of the perennially disliked Ryanair. The survey of 6,500 people revealed dissatisfaction with the airline’s onboard food offering, comfort and value for money on long and short-haul flights. The airline disputes the findings and says they are not based on reliable data.

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Prince unleashed – Emily Maitlis says Prince Andrew was “unstoppable” after refusing to apologise for his friendship with the late convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, in his now infamous Newsnight interview. In an article for the Guardian, the presenter describes how she was surprised about how the prince, after declining the chance to repent, opened up about so many aspects of his life in an interview that went on to make headlines around the world. “He wanted to tell me everything,” she says.

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Truth to power – Stormzy has defended telling schoolchildren that Boris Johnson is a “very, very bad man”, after being criticised for his remarks by Piers Morgan. The grime star, who was visiting his old primary school in south London, was asked by pupils what he thought of the new prime minister. But after Morgan said he “shouldn’t have done this”, Stormzy replied on Twitter by saying he had spoken “truthfully” and that there was “nothing wrong with that”.

Today in Focus podcast: Guardian editor looks back at a turbulent year

Katharine Viner reflects on a turbulent year in politics. The year started with Theresa May as prime minister and is ending with Boris Johnson, who now has a huge Conservative majority in parliament. Our editor-in-chief talks to Anushka Asthana about the year and what it means for 2020. And: Miranda Sawyer on interviewing the grime star Stormzy.

Lunchtime read: Purr-fectly dreadful – one-star review for Cats

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You might not want to see the film but you’ve got to read Peter Bradshaw’s review. The trailer for Cats suggested it would be rubbish, and our critic confirms the verdict with a one-star review. But he turns his disdain into an art form by writing it all in verse to utterly deconstruct “this warbling warbling warbling piffle”. As well as memorably rhyming “McCavity” with “penis locality”, there’s a cunningly clever ending. Catherine Shoard, meanwhile, discusses whether the film’s apparently “seething sexuality” makes its U rating inappropriate. The lols continue with our summary of other reviews from around the world.


Mikel Arteta’s lawyers are holding final talks with Arsenal to conclude a deal for him to take the manager’s job, a turn of events that has left Manchester City furious. The Club World Cup semi-final proved a complication for Liverpool but Roberto Firmino found a familiar solution with a stoppage‑time winner against Monterrey. At Camp Nou, masked protesters set bins on fire and threw rocks and glass bottles at police as Barcelona and Real Madrid contested a rare goalless draw in the first clásico of the season. In darts, Fallon Sherrock became the first woman to defeat a man at the PDC world championship and she is already looking ahead to the next challenge. In cycling, Geraint Thomas has admitted his frustration that he may have to sacrifice his future personal ambitions for Egan Bernal, his Ineos teammate from Colombia.


Union leaders will seek assurances from management about job security after the merger between Vauxhall’s parent company, PSA, and Fiat Chrysler. Vauxhall employs 2,600 people at Ellesmere Port and Luton. The FTSE100 is on course for a quiet start today while the pound is at .308 and €1.176.

The papers

The Queen’s speech occupies many of the front pages today. The Telegraph says “Johnson to enshrine in law £34bn NHS boost”, the Mail says “Boris’s high st boost” and the i has “First aid for NHS in Johnson’s Queen’s speech”. The Express has something slightly different, splashing with “Boris: I’ll wrap up Brexit in a week”.

The Guardian front page, Thursday 19 December 2019

The Guardian stays on party politics and says “Thornberry vows to stand and hits out at Labour’s ‘catastrophic folly’”, while the Metro says “Blair: Labour a comedy cult”. The Times leads with “Hedge funds eavesdrop on vital Bank briefings” and the FT says “Armed forces funding crisis set to put operational readiness in peril”.

The Mirror goes with “Flood victims facing Christmas in the car” and Sun leads with the court ruling that convicted terrorist John Downey took part in the Hyde Park bombing: “Got him” it says. North of the border, the Daily Record leads with “Scotfail” and the possibility that rail services could be taken into public ownership.

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