Trump impeachment trial to open with debate on whether it is constitutional – live updates

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The prosecution is expected to brandish dramatic footage of the violence at the Capitol on 6 January. The trial is set to strike a sharp contrast of tone with Donald Trump’s first trial in early 2020, at which prosecutors used documents, emails and testimony to tell a complicated story about a Trump pressure campaign in Ukraine.

This time the alleged crime scene is much closer to home – in the very chamber where the trial will play out, which was invaded by Trump supporters moments after members of Congress and staff had been evacuated.

With a majority of Americans expressing horror and outrage at the attack on the Capitol, the allegations against Trump could land much more powerfully with the public than did the story of his seeking political favors from Ukraine in return for official acts.

Donald Trump vetoed a series of brutal attack ads in the 2020 election campaign that targeted Joe Biden’s behavior towards women, because he was afraid of opening his own “can of worms”.

Biden has been criticized for touching and hugging women in ways widely deemed inappropriate, behavior he has said was not meant to be “disrespectful” and complaints to which he said he would “listen respectfully”. In early 2020, he faced a claim that he sexually assaulted a former aide. He forcefully denied it.

Trump famously boasted he was allowed to “grab” women “by the pussy”. He has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by no fewer than 25 women. He forcefully denies all such claims. But some have landed him in court and his former attorney Michael Cohen was convicted of violations of campaign finance law over hush money payments made to women before the 2016 election.

The news site Axios reported on Monday night on campaign ads it said were considered by Trump but which proved “so far-fetched even he vetoed them”.

One, titled “Predator”, showed Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate who is now the first woman to be vice-president, saying: “I know a predator when I see one.”

The clip included quotes from Tara Reade, the former aide who accused Biden of assault, and Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state politician who in 2019 told CNN Biden’s behaviour towards women including her was “disqualifying”.

But Trump “never wanted to run the predator or women’s-style ads against Biden”, Axios reported an unnamed campaign source as saying, “because he was afraid he was going to open up his own can of worms”. Axios said a second unnamed source confirmed the story.

Read more of Martin Pengelly’s report here: Trump vetoed ads attacking Biden’s record on women to avoid ‘can of worms’

If you were looking for something to lighten the mood…

The US ambassador to Vietnam has recorded an original rap and music video ahead of Tet, the lunar new year, risking inevitable ridicule by styling himself as “the boy from Hanoi”.

“I’m from Nebraska. I’m not a big city boy,” raps Dan Kritenbrink in the song, released on the US embassy in Hanoi’s Facebook group. “Then three years ago I moved to Hanoi.”

He goes on to sip tea, walk the streets with an entourage, which includes bona fide Vietnamese rapper Wowy, and check a sheet of paper that appears to contain the lyrics.

Khang Vu (@KhangXVu)

US ambassador to Vietnam Dan Kritenbrink just released this rap song to wish everyone in Vietnam a Happy Lunar New Year.🧧The full original video can be found on the Facebook of US Embassy in Hanoi.

February 8, 2021

One Twitter user called the track a “full assault on the art of rap” but conceded that Kritenbrink “seems genuine and sincere”.

“I’m assuming it’s intentionally awful,” wrote another, though he admitted that he himself was “no rap connoisseur”.

Facebook commenters were more forgiving, calling the song “so cute”, “super cute” and “too cute”.