A New President
In the first story of the briefing today, we discuss the one thing that everyone is talking about: the transfer of power in the US. Although the incoming President won the election in November 2020, he has had to wait until noon (EST) today to yield any real power. This is due to the extremely lengthy presidential transition. This means that until then, the outgoing President will still wield presidential power.
One of the most notable powers Trump still had is the ability to pardon individuals for federal crimes. This morning, Trump released the list of those he was issuing a presidential pardon to – and it’s fair to say it’s not as radical as some were expecting.
The first thing to note is that no member of Trump’s immediate family made the list. This was supposedly following a meeting over the weekend where lawyers advised against issuing such pardons as they may make the president’s family look guilty. The same logic was used to advise against Trump issuing himself a “self-pardon”.
So, if neither Trump nor his immediate family made the list – who did? Well, this is where it gets interesting. Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon was pardoned. Bannon has been accredited with the ‘Muslim Ban’ that was implemented early in the Trump presidency. More recently, though, Bannon has been indicted for federal fraud. And more recently still he gave a speech to the Capitol Siegers prior to their descent on the Capitol building. Pretty useful he now has a pardon then!
It wasn’t only political figures who made the list. Rappers Lil’ Wayne and Kodak Black were also granted a pardon – both for charges related to firearms.
So it’s fair to say that while Trump stopped short of pardoning his family, he certainly included some interesting names!
For the second story today, we will continue to discuss Elton John. Okay, not just Elton John. We’re going to discuss the musicians who have claimed that they have been “let down” by the government due to the news rules around touring in Europe. For those of you who are currently wondering how anyone could tour at the moment – this story isn’t actually about coronavirus (for once) – it’s about Brexit. How 2019.
Once the pandemic is over and people are able to travel to Europe again, the new Brexit rules will kick in. For musicians, this means that for every country in Europe that they tour in, they will need separate visas, carnets and work permits – not only for themselves, but for everyone from the UK working on the tour.
This has led a group of musicians, including Sir. Elton John, to lobby the government to negotiate some form of “paperwork free” agreement (sometimes referred to as a “musicians’ passport”) with the EU in order to allow musicians to tour through Europe more easily. The Guardian claims that both the UK and the EU blame each other for this situation.
It is not yet clear whether this situation will be resolved any time soon – and to be fair with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, it’s doubtful that it’s at the top of many policy-maker’s priority list. Sorry Elton.
Missing Ma Re-Emerges
In the last story today, we discuss Jack Ma – a businessman in China. This is just going to be a brief description of today’s events. If you want a more detailed explanation of this story, we’ve released a video on our new channel TLDR Global that explains this story more fully.
For those of you who don’t know – Jack Ma is the founder of the e-commerce site Alibaba. In October, he made a speech in Shanghai in which he criticised China’s regulators. Specifically, he claimed that they had a “pawnshop mentality” in relation to loans.
Since then, he has gone missing. Some have grown concerned that the Chinese Communist Party have made an example of him. This claim has been bolstered by the fact that his businesses have received warnings from anti-monopoly regulators.
However, this morning, Mr. Ma reappeared briefly in a 50 second video made to around 100 teachers. In the video, he made no mention of his disappearance. It is, therefore, still unclear what happened and the extent of CCP involvement.
As I said at the start a full explainer of the video can be found on the TLDR Global channel & that’s linked below.
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out tomorrow’s Daily Briefing.