THURSDAY, Oct 23
Police were called to President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings in Washington when a posse of Republican politicians forced their way in and refused orders to leave.
The Republicans, encouraged by President Donald Trump to get tougher in fighting the Democrats’ attempts to impeach him, even ordered pizza delivered to the secure, underground of the Capitol.
Ther farcical invasion delayed a Pentagon official Laura Cooper, who oversees Ukraine and Russia matters, from testifying and the hearing was suspended, news agencies reported.
The stand-off delayed a deposition with Ms Cooper until mid-afternoon on Wednesday (local time).
The impeachment inquiry focuses on Mr Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate a domestic rival — Democrat Joe Biden — for his personal political benefit.
In a dramatic confrontation during an escalating probe that threatens Mr Trump’s presidency even as he seeks re-election next year, Capitol police were called in to clear the room and bring order, a Republican congressional aide said.
A witness inside the room said the Republicans brought mobile phones into the high-security facility where electronic devices were forbidden.
“They’re freaked out. They’re trying to stop this investigation,” Democratic representative Ted Lieu said.
“They don’t want to hear from witness [Ms] Cooper today. They know more facts are going to be delivered which are absolutely damning to the President of the United States.”
Mr Trump said earlier in the week that “Republicans have to get tougher and fight” the impeachment, saying the Democrats were “vicious and they stick together”.
“It never ends. The Do Nothing Dems are terrible!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter earlier on Wednesday (local time), later adding their “case is dead!”
Republican representative Mark Meadows told reporters of the situation in the hearing room: “There’s about 20 members [politicians] down there, at least a dozen that are not on the three committees.
The US Constitution gave the House wide latitude in how to conduct the impeachment process and set rules for the inquiry.
The witness who saw the events said the Republican politicians pushed past Capitol Police personnel and started yelling, voicing their objections to decisions made by the Democratic leaders of the House to hold depositions in closed sessions and not release transcripts of the testimony.
A man from Northern Ireland, aged 25, is in police custody after 39 bodies were found in a truck container near London.
Mo Robinson was arrested on suspicion of murder after emergency services made the grisly discovery at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, early on Wednesday morning.
The grissly discovery of the bodies, believed to be from eastern Europe, has sparked one of the biggest murder probes in British history.
Mr Robinson’s Facebook page describes him as a “lorry driver” from Laurelvale and includes several photos of a red truck similar to the one now being examined by police.
Police are yet to identify the 39 victims, but believe they include 38 adults and one teenager.
Officials said the truck originated from Bulgaria and entered Britain at Holyhead in Wales on Saturday.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that while the truck was registered in Bulgaria, it left two years ago “and never returned”.
“It is not possible that these people were taken from Bulgaria,” he said.
Later on Thursday police revealed the trailer unit had travelled separately on a ship from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge and into Purfleet, next to Grays, docking about 12:30am.
It was then picked up by the truck and left the Purfleet port about 35 minutes later.
“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened,” chief superintendent Andrew Mariner said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by the tragic incident and was working closely with police.
“I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex. I am receiving regular updates from the Home Office and will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened,” he tweeted.
“My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives and their loved ones.”
The eight year sentence given to a man who lured a young girl away from her mother in Kmart and molested her will be appealed by Queensland’s Attorney-General.
Yvette D’Ath said she sought advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions and would appeal the sentence on the basis that it was “manifestly inadequate”.
“I understand there has been significant community interest in this matter,” Ms D’Ath told parliament.
Sterling Mervyn Free lured the seven-year-old from her mother in the toy aisle of Kmart in Westfield North Lakes in December last year.
He then drove her to an isolated spot about 30 minutes away and indecently assaulted her.
He dropped the girl back to the shopping centre more than an hour later.
Free, a 27-year-old father of two, pleaded guilty to taking a child for immoral purposes, deprivation of liberty, and indecent treatment of a child under 12.
He was sentenced a fortnight ago to eight years in jail and would be eligible for parole in August 2021.
In sentencing, Judge Julie Dick said Free’s offending was “every parent’s nightmare” and that she found the CCTV footage of him leading the young girl out of the store “chilling”, “opportunistic and predatory” and involved some premeditation.
During sentencing remarks Judge Dick said Free had admitted to police he had always had “sexual thoughts or fantasies” about young girls, but had never acted upon them until that day.
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