Barack Obama has accused Donald Trump of violating a “core tenet” of democracy by refusing to concede the presidential election and making up a “whole bunch of hooey”.
The former president said his successor’s unfounded “big lie” claims about 2020 had helped fuel anti-democratic measures such as voter suppression and warned that if action was not taken now, “we are going to see a further delegitimizing of our democracy”.
Making the comments in a fundraising call for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, his first virtual fundraiser since last year’s election, he said: “What we saw was my successor, the former president, violate that core tenet that you count the votes and then declare a winner – and fabricate and make up a whole bunch of hooey.”
What’s the context? Since last year’s election, Georgia, Arizona, Florida and Iowa have signed new voting restrictions into law and state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Texas are attempting to. These states will be key battlegrounds in the 2022 midterms.
Obama also said he believed there would be a new vote on the voting rights bill in the Senate after it was blocked last week by Republicans.
Republicans have also spoken out against Trump recently – including William Barr, his former attorney general, who said the former president’s claims were always “bullshit” and Senator Mitt Romney who compared his claims of a stolen election to tv wrestling (entertaining but “not real”).
Portland is bracing for temperatures of 115F as the Pacific north-west ‘heat dome’ breaks records
Portland is braced for temperatures of 115F (46C) and Seattle for 110F (43C) after the cities broke all-time heat records over the weekend caused by an extended “heat dome” over the Pacific north-west.
Light rail, street cars and summer school buses were shut down in Portland because of the heat, which was straining the city’s power grid. Meanwhile, in nearby Eugene, the US track and field trials were stopped on Sunday and the stadium evacuated.
Experts warned that the heatwave was a preview of the future as the climate crisis dramatically changes the world’s weather patterns.
It is likely to be “one of the most extreme and prolonged heatwaves in the recorded history of the inland north-west”, the National Weather Service has said, and will make the region “increasingly vulnerable to wildfires”.
Why is the Pacific north-west facing record temperatures? And what is a heat dome? Hallie Golden explains.
Trump is in financial and political danger as his company faces possible criminal charges
Donald Trump could face a potentially devastating political and financial hit as state prosecutors decide whether to file criminal charges against the Trump Organization this week.
Prosecutors in New York could soon bring an indictment against his family business tied to taxation of lucrative perks that it gave to top executives – such as use of cars, apartments and school tuition.
What would it mean for Trump? While the former president is not expected to be personally charged, it could bankrupt his company by damaging relationships with banks and business partners, writes David Smith, the Guardian’s Washington bureau chief. It could also get in the way of a political comeback.
In other news …
The Miami condo collapse has prompted questions over the role of the climate crisis and whether south Florida’s vulnerability to rising seas could lead to the destabilization of more buildings. The cause of the collapse of the 12-storey building last week is not yet known, but a 2018 engineering report warned of “significant cracks and beaks in the concrete” and design flaws and deteriorating waterproofing. Eleven people have been confirmed dead and 150 people are still unaccounted for.
A staggering 400,000 lives in Brazil could have been saved if the country had enforced stricter social distancing measures and started a vaccination programme earlier, an eminent epidemiologist has said. Pedro Hallal, a professor at the Federal University of Pelotas, said these policies would have prevented 80% of Brazil’s half a million Covid deaths.
A federal judge has dismissed lawsuits brought against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states and districts in a considerable blow to attempts to rein in big tech. They sued Facebook in December, accusing the company of abusing its market power in social networking. But on Monday the US district judge James Boasberg ruled the lawsuits “legally insufficient”.
Stat of the day: the US needs to plant 31.4m more trees – about a 10% increase of today’s tree cover – to combat shade disparity
As much of the American west endures a record-breaking heatwave, the first nationwide tally of trees, the Tree Equity Score, has found that neighborhoods where the majority of residents are people of color have 33% less tree canopy on average than majority white neighborhoods. Cities identified to benefit most from tree equity include Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and San Jose.
Don’t miss this: Fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in the pandemic
Lockdown hit LGBTQ+ communities hard. But as Pride parades in San Francisco, Brighton and New York are cancelled, there is hope that they will return, writes Lizzy Davies. “You can’t cancel Pride. The pride lives in all of our hearts,” says Fred Lopez, the executive director of San Francisco Pride.
… or this: Experts warn plan to build a city in California grasslands could go up in flames
Tejon Ranch Company wants to build 20,000 homes an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles in what Maanvi Singh describes as “one of the last remaining pieces of the truly wild, wild west”. The developers say it would help the housing crisis, but scientists and climate activists fear it could put people in danger.
Last Thing: Picasso and Mondrian stolen in 7 minutes recovered nearly a decade later
They were stripped from their frames at the National Art Gallery in Athens in 2012 in a heist that lasted just seven minutes. But nearly a decade later, the two paintings by the 20th-century masters Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian have been recovered. A statement issued last night said police had the two works – a cubist female bust that Picasso donated to Greece in 1949 and a 1905 oil painting of a windmill by Mondrian – but did not include information on their condition or any arrests.
First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.
Get in Touch
If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email [email protected]