US inauguration: Donald Trump facing mammoth legal reckoning

When Donald Trump leaves the Oval Office this Thursday, his Senate impeachment trial won’t be the only thing waiting for him.

The 74-year-old faces mounting government investigations including a civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr and a federal probe by acting US Attorney for DC, Michael Sherwin, that could include his role in the deadly storming of the Capitol earlier this month.

The outgoing President will also face, The Washington Post reports, a trio of lawsuits that allege “defamation, fraud and more fraud” – all helmed by one lawyer, Roberta Kaplan.

“I became the go-to person to sue the president,” the 54-year-old told The Post.

Her clients include writer E Jean Carroll, who filed a defamation case after Trump claimed she was “totally lying” about her allegation that he raped her more than 20 years ago, and his niece Mary L Trump, who claims that Mr Trump and two of his siblings deprived her of an inheritance worth millions.

With a return to private life, “his terror is that he will no longer be protected by the office and will have to deal with these lawsuits”, his niece told the paper.

Kaplan said she will seek to depose Trump (meaning he’ll have to testify/give evidence under oath) in all three cases.

“When we depose you, you’re not going to get away with that,” she said.

“He had the mantle of the presidency, and that’s now gone.”

Meanwhile, in the final hours of his presidency Trump has a huge statement by drastically changing the nation’s travel rules.

He has just lifted entry bans imposed because of the coronavirus on most non-US citizens arriving from Brazil and much of Europe – despite the emergence of new variants in both parts of the world.

The current rules bar nearly all non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe that allow travel across open borders.

The new rules will come into place from January 26. They state that anyone coming into the country on an international flight must have a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from Covid.

FBI tip-off about far-right extremists' plans

The FBI have privately warned law enforcement agencies that far-right extremists have discussed posing as National Guard members in Washington and others have reviewed maps of vulnerable spots in the city, an intelligence report obtained by The Washington Post has revealed.

The document is a summary of threats identified by the bureau in an intelligence briefing on Monday, warning that both “lone wolves” and QAnon adherents have indicated they plan to come to the nation’s capital for Joe Biden’s Wednesday inauguration.

The FBI said it had also observed people downloading and sharing maps of “sensitive locations” in Washington and discussing how they could be used to interfere in security during the president-elect’s swearing-in.

Last week, FBI director Christopher A Wray said agents were monitoring an “extensive amount of concerning online chatter” and noted the challenge of “trying to distinguish what’s aspirational versus what’s intentional”.

“We’re monitoring all incoming leads, whether they’re calls for armed protest, potential threats that grow out of the January 6 breach of the Capitol, or other kinds of potential threats leading up to inaugural events and in various other targets. So we’re latched up with all of our partners in that regard,” he said.

Biden's big plans for first day in office

Biden will sign a series of sweeping executive actions undoing Trump’s signature policies just hours after taking the oath of office on Wednesday, his incoming chief of staff announced.

Following his inauguration at a heavily fortified US Capitol, Biden will sign executive orders to end Donald Trump’s travel ban, rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and mandate mask-wearing on federal property, Ron Klain told senior staff in a memo obtained by the Associated Press.

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