/US briefing: Trump speech, whistleblower doctor dies and Iowas caucus shambles

US briefing: Trump speech, whistleblower doctor dies and Iowas caucus shambles

Good morning, I’m Molly Blackall with today’s key stories.

Trump hits back after impeachment acquittal

Donald Trump described the occasion as a ‘celebration’.

Donald Trump described the occasion as a ‘celebration’. Photograph: Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Donald Trump made his first speech since the Senate found him not guilty of two articles of impeachment, describing the occasion as a “celebration”.

He took the opportunity to denounce his enemies, calling chief Democratic prosecutor Adam Schiff “corrupt”, former FBI director James Comey “a sleazebag”, and Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi “a horrible person”. Trump also claimed that the 2016 investigation into his relationship with Russia during the election was “all bullshit”.

Tom McCarthy looks at what’s next for Trump and those trying to stop him, while Richard Luscombe talks to voters in the crucial swing state of Florida about the impeachment trial and its implications for the election.

  • Nancy Pelosi. The House speaker has spoken out about the impeachment, saying Trump will be “impeached for ever”. Watch the video below.

  • Politics blog. Today’s US politics liveblog is up and running, follow all the updates here.

‘He’s impeached forever’: Nancy Pelosi on Trump’s acquittal – video

Whistleblower doctor dies of coronavirus

Chinese coronavirus whistleblower, Dr Li Wenliang, dies from the disease

Chinese coronavirus whistleblower, Dr Li Wenliang, dies from the disease Photograph: YFC/EPA

A Chinese doctor who warned of the risks of coronavirus has died in hospital, Chinese state media confirmed on Thursday. Li Wenliang, 34, became a target of Chinese police in December last year, when he began to warn on social media about the spread of the virus in Wuhan. China’s National Supervisory Commission has announced a “full investigation” into the handling of his death, and there has been an outpouring of grief and anger on social media.

Currently, the death toll stands at 636 in China, 73 more than the previous day, and more than 31,000 people have been infected in the country. There are now more than 280 cases worldwide across 28 countries.

  • US evacuation. Two US evacuation planes are set to arrive home on Friday, after setting off on Thursday from Wuhan. This is the third group of evacuees from the city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, and one is carrying 60 Canadian citizens who will be dropped off in Vancouver.

  • Donald Trump. The US president has praised China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying President Xi Jinping “strongly leads what will be a very successful operation”.

Iowa: Caucus still too close to call after all precincts announce

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders delivers an update.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders delivers an update. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The head of the Democratic National Party has called for Iowa to immediately “recanvass” the votes, with the results still neck-and-neck between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders after all precincts announced.

Buttigieg is leading by just 1.5 state delegate equivalents – an advantage of about 0.1 percentage points, while Sanders is ahead in the popular vote. Both candidates have claimed victory.

  • Live updates. Follow our latest results breakdown for all election result developments, and get all the latest on election news from our live blog here.

Cheat sheet

  • Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has been accused of plagiarising sections of his policy plans, with at least eight plans or fact sheets released by the campaign seemingly copied from news outlets including CNN, Time and CBS, an Intercept report finds.

  • Trump announced on Thursday that a counter-terrorism operation in Yemen killed Qassim al-Rimi, an al-Qaida leader who claimed to be responsible for the shooting of three US sailors by a Saudi aviation trainee at Naval Air Station Pensacola last year.

  • The chief executive of Credit Suisse has been ousted by his boardroom, after news broke that the bank had hired spies to follow Iqbal Khan, the former head of the bank’s wealth management section, when he left to join rival UBS.

  • Antarctica has reached its highest temperature since records began in 1961, with one climate scientist saying this shows the area is heating even faster than the rest of the planet.

Must reads

Preparations take place for the 92nd annual Oscars in Hollywood.

Preparations take place for the 92nd annual Oscars in Hollywood. Photograph: Valérie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

How to win an Oscar

As the Oscars loom, Guy Lodge unpicks the “award-season machine”, looking at the cost and tactics of the promotion campaigns which are integral to Oscar success. He also takes a look at the five biggest Oscars upsets, and what was to blame.

Green Day: ‘Trump is a piece of shit

As their new album, Father of All Motherfuckers, is released today, Green Day talk to James MacMahon about politics, inspiration, and the world via Twitter. While making their contempt for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell clear, the band insist they want to bring people together and create an escape: “It’s become something of a far-out concept to love each other!”

Politics and new media

Social media, memes and online trolls are playing an increasingly important role in US politics, Andrew Marantz writes in this long read. He examines the sidelining of mainstream media in favour of “meta-media insurgents”, committed to changing political discourse from behind a computer screen.

Adult AI

As AI continues its rapid development, Katie Bishop looks at the growing use of ‘deepfakes’ in porn, which experts believe might lead to “full body” versions eventually replacing real actors.


The chaos of the Iowa caucas results has shown that apps and AI can’t replace humans, Julia Carrie Wong writes. She calls for a focus on community-led initiatives and a return to traditional political elbow grease.

Pulling the US back from the brink of authoritarianism is not going to be accomplished with Facebook ads and liberal propaganda masquerading as local blue-tinged fake news.


Barcelona has been plunged deeper into crisis after they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao in a 1-0 defeat last night. It came after divisions between their captain and sporting director surfaced this week, causing a “civil war” within the club. Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey dreams also came to an end, after they defeated for the first time in 22 games by Real Sociedad.

One of the US’s most notorious sporting competitions will be rebooted this weekend, after collapsing at the end of its first season in 2001. Viewing rates on XFL plummeted after rowdy fans and on-pitch antics led to a reputation for “sex, booze and sleaze”, but will return as NFL’s league rival with new rules.

World Athletics has denied tipping off Nike, after the US footwear company unveiled a new trainer which fits narrowly inside new requirements just days after they were updated. The shoe, with a 39.5mm heel, scrapes under the new requirement of 40mm, leading to claims that the US company must have been warned about the changes.

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