This is the 98th Daily Briefing meaning that Monday will be the 100th episode, so to celebrate we’re doing a livestream that goes through the 100 weirdest, craziest and funniest news stories of 2020. If you want to watch it, click the link in the description and hit the bell to be notified when the event goes live. We’ve put a tonne of time into it, so thanks for your support.
In the first story in the Daily Briefing today, we look at a story from the US. Clearly, we’ve already broken our promise not to discuss the 2020 presidential election too much more – we hope you’ll forgive us. But in our defense, this is only loosely related.
Anyway, let’s get into it. Since Trump lost the election, it has been made clear that he will aim to use his last few months in office to ensure his allies do not suffer legally as a result of their actions working for him or on his behalf. This is through his ability to issue presidential pardons – something that, come January, will no longer be at his disposal.
Trump has, today, pardoned General Michael Flynn – his former national security advisor. In December 2017, Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI regarding his ties to Russia. Many close to the president see Gen. Flynn’s prosecutions as politically motivated and are therefore likely to be behind the president’s pardon. However, obviously, the Democrats disagree and instead see the pardon as a way for the president to undermine the rule of law and undermine democracy itself by pardoning officials convicted of violating the law to aid Trump politically.
We should point out that all presidents have this power, and Barack Obama used it more than any modern president. So far, Trump has done the opposite – using it the least of any modern president.
It is to be expected, though, that Trump will issue more pardons over the last few months of his presidency, with some even speculating that he could try to pardon himself.
In the second story today, we talk about a country we discuss very little on the Daily Briefing – and all of our channels to be fair – Turkey. While we’re talking about a pardon in the US today, we’re going to be talking about the exact opposite in Turkey. This is because a court in Turkey has imprisoned 337 military officers for life for their roles in the 2016 attempted coup against Turkish President Recep Erdoğan.
The court concluded that many of those involved were intending to use F-16 bombers to strike key buildings, including the Turkish parliament. Many of those involved in this plot were given aggravated life sentences – the ‘aggravated’ part means that the sentence will be even harsher than a life sentence.
The 2016 coup resulted in 251 deaths and over 2,000 injuries.
In the last story today, we move to the UK to discuss the announcement, today, of the tiering system which will be reimplemented in England on the 2nd December. It has been known for a few days that today the government would announce which areas would fall under which tier of restrictions. With the Health Secretary set to make a statement at 11.30am today, it all seemed to be fairly standard.
But, it didn’t quite go to plan. The government decided to release the website that allowed people to check which restrictions they’d be under by entering their postcode. They did this mere minutes before Hancock made his statement to the House of Commons. This led the Speaker of the House of Commons (Lindsey Hoyle) to scold the Leader of the House (Jacob Rees Mogg). The speaker made clear that announcements should be made to the Commons first.
While the Health Secretary was speaking, the website allowing people to enter their postcodes had crashed. It was not until later in the day that it began working again. This was something his counterpart, the Shadow Health Secretary (Jonathan Ashworth), commented on following the announcement.
Hopefully the next coronavirus announcement will be a bit more smooth!
One last quick reminder, do join us for the live event on Monday, the link’s in the description.
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out tomorrow’s Daily Briefing.