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Donald Trump is jetting out to Florida for Christmas after catching Republicans cold by issuing a video statement suggesting he could veto the $900bn Covid Relief Bill just passed by Congress, calling it a “disgrace” and demanding clauses related to overseas aid be removed and its $600 stimulus cheques upgraded to $2,000 before he would sign it.
Following through on a threat, Mr Trump vetoes the $740bn defence bill, partly over a clause that would see bases named after Confederate generals renamed. After boarding Air Force One to head to Florida for the Christmas holiday, he then tweeted out a threat to Iran.
Despite Mr Trump’s public insistence that he won the election, an email has been quietly sent out to White House staff giving them instructions on how to clear out their desks in preparation for Joe Biden’s team coming in, the latest tacit admission of defeat. But in a twist on Wednesday, a second email was sent telling them to disregard the first mesage
The president has also provoked fresh anger by issuing 20 lame duck pardons overnight to cronies including George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan, who lied to FBI special counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia investigation, ex-GOP congressmen Duncan Hunter, Chris Collins and Steve Stockman plus four Blackwater contractors involved in the Nisour Square massacre in Iraq.