In this episode of UpFront, we challenge a close Trump ally on the president’s impeachment and acquittal and discuss the global response to the coronavirus epidemic.
And in a special interview, we discuss the worldwide effects of the coronavirus with China Global Television Network anchor Wang Guan.
Is Trump’s acquittal really a ‘full exoneration’?
After a two-week-long impeachment trial, United States President Donald Trump was acquitted of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Senate Republicans found that the allegations of Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political opponent and interfering with witness testimonies did not justify removal from office.
“I think it is a partial exoneration. So, I will partly agree with you. By the way, I’m one of the few people in […] Team Trump who wanted witnesses because I think the witnesses would have achieved that full exoneration,” former National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump member and close Trump ally Steve Cortes said.
Trump is the third US president to face an impeachment trial and the first to have a trial without witnesses after Senate Republicans voted against allowing additional evidence to be presented.
Cortes stressed the importance for presidents to be able to have confidential conversations with his advisers under executive privilege: “It’s something that’s important, not just for President Trump to protect, but important for any president to have protection,” he said.
The vote to convict Trump of abuse of power was bipartisan with former presidential candidate Mitt Romney joining Senate Democrats in a guilty vote. Only Republicans voted to acquit, and several senators openly said the president’s actions were wrong.
“Despite what the Democrats wanted to tell us, that [Trump] supposedly controls Republicans on the Hill with an iron grip, I think we’ve seen actually exactly the opposite, particularly when it comes to the Senate,” Cortes said.
Trump delivered remarks following the acquittal vote, calling for a celebration and saying he has endured a corrupt “witch-hunt” since the day he announced his run for president.
Coronavirus Outbreak: ‘We need facts not fear’
We ask China Global Television Network anchor Wang Guan about China’s response to the spread of the virus.
In December 2019, the first case of the coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan, China. Since then, it has spread to dozens of other countries and resulted in tens of thousands of people infected and hundreds of deaths.
When the virus began to spread, Chinese citizens who tried to warn others about the illness were accused of lying and told by police to stop their “illegal activity”. Since China’s top officials have admitted that there were shortcomings in response to the virus and recognised they must improve their national emergency management system.
“There’s no denying that there should have been more information, more transparency, and a better emergency response system in place,” China Global Television Network anchor Wang Guan said.
In Xinjiang Province, where at least one million Uighur Muslims are being held in re-education camps, multiple cases of coronavirus have been confirmed raising fears it could spread rapidly in the region.
“There have been very few cases in Xinjiang. Actually, Xinjiang ranks number six from the bottom in terms of the confirmed cases. There has not been a single death in Xinjiang so far. The situation is well under control over there,” Wang said.
Dozens of commercial airlines have imposed travel restrictions on flights to China. There have also been several reports of business and individuals inciting racism against people of Chinese descent, in response to the virus originating in Wuhan.
“These are really concerning issues because now some westerners are calling China, calling the Coronavirus the China Virus, but I didn’t remember people calling Zika, the Brazil Virus, or Ebola the Congo Virus,” Wang said.
Wang argues that China is fighting the virus to the best of their ability.
Source: Al Jazeera