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Police could have ended George Floyd’s restraint after he was handcuffed, former sergeant testifies

A former Minneapolis police supervisor, on duty the night George Floyd died, says officers could have stopped restraining him after he was handcuffed and no longer resisting.

That testimony from David Pleoger, now retired, was a key part of the prosecution’s case on the fourth day of the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. It included a snippet of a call between Pleoger and Chauvin — in which Chauvin says he was going to call Pleoger and request that he come to the scene where Chauvin and three other officers had had their encounter with Floyd.

Jurors also heard the emotional testimony of Floyd’s former girlfriend along with evidence from two paramedics who attended to Floyd that day, one of whom said that when he arrived, he thought Floyd was dead.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — in the death of Floyd on May 25, 2020. The 46-year-old Black man died after Chauvin pressed a knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for around nine minutes as two other officers held him down. Video captured by a bystander showed the handcuffed Floyd repeatedly say he couldn’t breathe. 

Floyd had been detained outside a convenience store after being suspected of paying with a counterfeit bill. All four officers were later fired. The footage of the arrest prompted widespread outrage, setting off protests across the U.S. and around the world.

For the prosecution, Pleoger, who had worked with Chauvin for eight years, and whose duties as a sergeant included reviewing police use-of-force incidents, may have offered the most important evidence.


Courteney Ross, the former girlfriend of George Floyd, offers emotional testimony at the trial into his death. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Indeed, his opinion on the officers’ use of force against Floyd became a point of contention between the prosecution and Eric Nelson, defence counsel for Chauvin. 

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked Pleoger, based upon his review of this incident, if he believed the restraint on Floyd should have ended at some point.

That prompted Nelson to object, who argued that Pleoger, because of the “criticality” of the incident, had hiked the review of it up the chain of command, and that he had only reviewed the police officers’ body camera video.

But Judge Peter Cahill allowed Schleicher to ask one question about Pleoger’s view of the incident.

“Do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?” Schleicher asked.

Pleoger answered: “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended the restraint.”


Paramedic Derek Smith testified that he couldn’t find Floyd’s pulse upon arriving on the scene. ‘In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead,’ he told court. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Schleicher followed up: “And that was when he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resistant?” 

Yes, Pleoger replied.

Pleoger had gone to the scene after he was contacted by a dispatcher, who was concerned about what she had seen of the arrest on a city surveillance camera.

He testified that, after hearing from the dispatcher, the first person he called was Chauvin.

Chauvin told Pleoger: “I was just going to call you and have you come out to our scene here,” according to a clip of their conversation played in the Hennepin County District Court in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday.

“We just had to hold a guy down. He was going crazy. He wouldn’t go in the back of the squad,” Chauvin said, as the recording cut off. 

Pleoger described the rest of the conversation, saying that he believed Chauvin told him they had tried to put Floyd in the back of the squad car but that he became combative and injured his nose or mouth. He said Chauvin told him that, after struggling with Floyd, Floyd had suffered a medical emergency and the ambulance was called.

Court also heard from Seth Bravinder, a paramedic, who said when he arrived, he saw no signs that Floyd was breathing or moving, and it appeared he was in cardiac arrest. A second paramedic, Derek Smith, testified that he couldn’t find a pulse: “In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead.”

But the most emotional testimony came from Floyd’s former girlfriend Courteney Ross who chronicled some of their struggles with opioid addiction.

Ross wept through much of her testimony as she told the court about how she met Floyd, their relationship, and their battle with addiction to painkillers.

Floyd’s drug use is a central argument in Chauvin’s defence. The prosecution believes Chauvin’s knee pressing into Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed on to the pavement was the cause of his death. But the defence argues it was a combination of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions, drug use and adrenaline flowing through his system that ultimately killed him.

Under cross-examination, Nelson asked Ross about some incidents of Floyd’s drug use, including an overdose he suffered in March 2020. 

“You did not know that he had taken heroin at that time?” Nelson asked.

She said she didn’t.

Nelson also focused on pills they had purchased that same month that were different than other painkillers purchased in the past.

Ross testified that instead of relaxing her, they made her jittery, and she couldn’t sleep at night.

Ross also testified that in May, she used similar pills and that she experienced the same effects. Nelson reminded her that she has previously told FBI agents that the pill made her feel like she was going to die, although she said she didn’t recall saying that to the agents.

She said she noticed a change in Floyd’s behaviour about two weeks before his death. Court also heard that she had told FBI agents that the pills made Floyd bounce around and be unintelligible at times.

However, prosecutor Matthew Frank tried to downplay the potential toxicity of those pills, getting Ross to agree that, obviously, neither she or Floyd had died from ingesting them in March or May.

She said Floyd “had a lot of energy” after using them.

Court also heard that Floyd’s pet name for Ross in his phone was “Mama” — testimony that called into question the widely reported account that Floyd was crying out for this mother as he lay pinned to the pavement.

In some of the video, Floyd can be heard calling out, “Mama!” repeatedly and saying, “Mama, I love you! … Tell my kids I love them.”

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Former cashier felt ‘disbelief and guilt’ as police confronted George Floyd

A former Minneapolis convenience store cashier who claimed George Floyd gave him a counterfeit $ 20 bill testified on Wednesday he felt “disbelief and guilt” as he later watched the 46-year-old Black man being pinned to the ground by police.

“If I would’ve just not [taken] the bill, this could’ve been avoided,” said Christopher Martin, 19, who had been an employee at the Cup Foods store.

Martin was testifying on the third day of the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — in the death of Floyd. Floyd died after Chauvin pressed a knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for around nine minutes as two other officers held him down. Video captured by a bystander showed the handcuffed Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. 

Chauvin, who was fired from the police force after Floyd’s death, is also charged with the lesser offence of second-degree manslaughter.

Along with Martin’s testimony, the Hennepin County District Court also saw about 10 minutes of video footage of Floyd inside the Cup Foods convenience store, where he had gone to buy some cigarettes.

In the video, Floyd can be seen walking through the store, waiting in line, laughing, and doing what appears to be a brief dance.

Martin testified that Floyd was very friendly, approachable and talkative and that he had asked Floyd if he played baseball.

‘Appeared he was high’

Floyd responded that he played football but it took him a little long to “get to what he wanted to say” and that it “appeared he was high,” Martin told the court.

Martin said he sold Floyd a pack fo cigarettes, at which time Floyd handed him a $ 20 bill. When Floyd left the store, Martin said he examined the bill and determined, because it had a “blue pigment” to it, that it was counterfeit.

Martin also noted that the store’s policy is that counterfeit bills that are accepted by the cashiers will come out of their salary.

He said he initially planned to just put the bill on his “tab” and that he thought Floyd “didn’t really know that it was a fake bill.”

However, Martin notified the store manager, who told Martin to go outside and ask Floyd to come back into the store.


Former convenience store cashier Christopher Martin testified that Floyd gave him a counterfeit $ 20 bill. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Refused to come back

Martin said he attempted that twice, once with one co-worker, and a second time with two different co-workers. Both times, Martin said, Floyd refused to come back into the store.

It was after the second refusal that the manager told another co-worker to call the police.

After police arrived, Martin said he went outside as people were gathering on the curb and yelling at the officers who were confronting Floyd. He then called his mother, with whom he lived in an apartment upstairs, and told her to stay inside. He then took out his phone and began recording.

Martin testified he saw one of the officers, Tou Thao, push one of his co-workers. Martin said he also held back another man who was trying to defend himself after being pushed by Thao.

Under cross examination by Chauvin’s defence counsel Eric Nelson, Martin told court that Floyd had been in the store earlier with another man. That man, said Martin, had been caught trying to pass off a counterfeit $ 20 bill, one that looked similar to the bill Floyd had paid with, Martin said. 

The prosecution claims Chauvin crushed his knee into Floyd’s neck, an application of unreasonable force that it says led to his death later in hospital. But Chauvin’s defence argues the 19-year veteran police officer did exactly as he had been trained to do and that Floyd’s death was the result of a combination of underlying medical conditions and drugs in his system.

Three other officers at the scene were fired. Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, and will go on trial in August.

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Former CPL MVP Tristan Borges rejoins Forge FC on loan from Belgian team

Tristan Borges, a former player of the year in the Canadian Premier League, is returning to Forge FC.

The CPL champion announced Friday a loan deal with Belgium’s Oud-Heverlee Leuven that will see the attacking midfielder rejoin the Hamilton-based side for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season.

Hamilton sold Borges to the Belgian team in January 2020. At the time, CPL commissioner David Clanachan called Borges’ move a “landmark transfer” for Forge and the league.

Borges made 33 appearances in 2019 for Forge in all competitions, finishing as the CPL’s Golden Boot winner with 13 goals while tying for first in the league with five assists. He was named the league’s player of the year and U-21 player of the year after scoring the winning goal in the first leg of the CPL finals in October at Tim Hortons Field against Calgary’s Cavalry FC.

Borges has represented Canada at the under-17 and under-20 level and won his first senior cap for Canada against Barbados in January 2020.

He played for SC Heerenveen’s under-21 side in the Netherlands from 2016 to 2018 before returning home for the CPL’s inaugural season in 2019. With Portuguese bloodlines, he has a European passport that eased the move abroad.

“We’re very happy to welcome Tristan back to our club,” Forge director of football Costa Smyrniotis said in a statement Friday. “The co-operation with OH Leuven has been very good here, with the common, important goal of furthering the competitive development of Tristan over this upcoming year.”

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Former FC Barcelona officials detained after raid on soccer club, Spanish media report

Catalan police detained several people after raiding Barcelona’s stadium on Monday in a search and seize operation, adding to the club’s turmoil less than a week before it elects a new president.

The operation was related to last year’s “Barcagate,” in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the club and then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Police said detentions were made but did not say who or how many people were taken into custody. Spanish media said Bartomeu and other former club officials were among those detained.

Authorities spent several hours at the team’s headquarters searching documents and talking to employees.

The club, mired in debt of more than 1.1 billion euros ($ 1.68 billion Cdn), said it offered “full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation.”

It added the case was related “to the contacting of monitoring services on social networks.”

“The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case. FC Barcelona (expresses) its utmost respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation,” the club said.

The club did not mention Bartomeu.  A text message sent to Bartomeu was not immediately answered.

Key former officials detained

One of the three presidential candidates, Joan Laporta, told Lleida Radio that what happened on Monday “was a consequence of the bad management by the previous administration.”

He said news of Bartomeu’s reported detention was “shocking” and “not good” for the club, but said the former president deserved the “presumption of innocence.”

Laporta was Barcelona’s president a decade ago and, like Bartomeu, also faced a no-confidence vote during his time in charge.

Among those reportedly detained were club CEO Oscar Grau and legal department chief Roman Gomez Ponti. Jaume Masferrer, Bartomeu’s former chief of staff, also was allegedly detained.


Police say several people were detained but did not say who or how many were taken into custody. (AP/Joan Monfort)

They were taken to a police station for interrogation, Spanish media said, and police also went to Bartomeu’s house searching for evidence. 

Court officials said a judge ordered the search and seize operation but the detentions were made at the discretion of the police agents involved. Authorities said the operation was being carried out by the police’s financial crimes department.

A period of struggles

Barcelona has denied accusations that it hired – and overpaid – a company to make negative comments about its own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior club officials.

The company was accused of using fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures when they expressed views that went against the club. Some of the figures were reported to have included players such Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, as well as former coach Pep Guardiola.

The club later released an independent audit report showing that there was no wrongdoing.

Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned last year amid fallout from the controversy surrounding Messi. The club has been mired in political turmoil and debt prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The club has been managed by a caretaker board since Bartomeu left in October while facing a no-confidence motion supported by thousands of club members furious at the team’s poor performances and the club’s financial situation.

The club’s struggles began to surface after the team’s embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season, which was the first without a title for the Spanish club since the 2007/08 season.

Bartomeu was loudly criticized by Messi, especially after the former president denied the player’s request to leave the club at the end of last season. Messi’s contract ends this season and the Argentine great has yet to say whether he will stay or go.

Barcelona is five points off the Spanish league lead. It lost at home to Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League and was beaten by Sevilla 2-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.
 

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New York governor accused of sexual harassment by 2nd former aide

A second former aide has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who responded with a statement Saturday saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate.

Charlotte Bennett, a health policy adviser in the Democratic governor’s administration until November, told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men.

Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, a former deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor, recently accused Cuomo of subjecting her to an unwanted kiss and inappropriate comments. Cuomo denied the allegations.

Cuomo said in a statement Saturday that Bennett was a “hardworking and valued member of our team during COVID” and that “she has every right to speak out.”

He said he had intended to be a mentor for Bennett, who is 25.


“I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate,” Cuomo’s statement said. “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”

Cuomo, however, said he had authorized an outside review of Bennett’s allegations.

The governor’s special counsel, Beth Garvey, said that review would be conducted by a former federal judge, Barbara Jones.

“I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements,” Cuomo said. “I will have no further comment until the review has concluded.”

‘Horribly uncomfortable and scared’

Bennett told the Times that her most disturbing interaction with Cuomo happened last June 5 when she was alone with him in his Albany, N.Y., office. She said Cuomo started asking her about her personal life, her thoughts on romantic relationships, including whether age was a factor, and said he was open to relationships with women in their 20s.

Bennett said she also dodged a question from Cuomo about hugging by saying she missed hugging her parents. She said Cuomo never touched her.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” Bennett told the Times. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”

Bennett said she informed Cuomo’s chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, about the interaction less than a week later. She said she was transferred to another job on the opposite side of the Capitol. At the end of June, she said she also gave a statement to a special counsel for Cuomo.

Garvey acknowledged that the complaint had been made and that Bennett had been transferred as a result to a position in which she had already been interested.

Bennett told the newspaper she eventually decided not to push for any further action by the administration. She said she liked her new job and “wanted to move on.”

The allegations did not result in any action taken against Cuomo at the time.

Jones, who will oversee the investigation, was appointed to the bench in 1995 by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. As a judge, she struck down a portion of the Defence of Marriage Act denying federal recognition of same-sex marriage in a ruling later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Former U.S. federal judge Barbara Jones speaks during a news conference in New York City in September 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

After retiring, she joined the law firm Bracewell LLP, where her work focuses on corporate compliance and investigations.

Her arbitration work included a 2014 decision throwing out Ray Rice’s suspension by the NFL for punching his fiance in an elevator in an attack recorded on video.

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Timberwolves officially hire former Raptors assistant Chris Finch as head coach

Chris Finch is the new coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team announced Monday after dismissing Ryan Saunders the previous night.

Saunders was fired Sunday after the team with the NBA’s worst record this season lost for the eighth time in the last nine games. The team quickly hired Finch, who was in his first season as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors.

“Chris brings a wealth of basketball experience from his time in the NBA, G League and Internationally,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said. “He is one of the most creative basketball minds in the NBA, has success maximizing players, and I am excited to see him bring our team to the next level and beyond.”

At 7-24, Minnesota has the league’s worst record this season and already is 7 1/2 games out of what would be the final play-in spot for the Western Conference post-season. The Timberwolves next play on Tuesday, visiting Milwaukee.

“We would like to thank Ryan for his time and commitment to the Timberwolves organization and wish him the best in the future,” Rosas said. “These are difficult decisions to make, however this change is in the best interest of the organization’s short and long-term goals.”

Key players sidelined

It had been a wildly disappointing season for the Timberwolves, who started 2-0 and haven’t had much to savour since. Karl-Anthony Towns, the team’s best player, dislocated his left wrist in the season’s second game and missed six games, returned and missed 13 more after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

D’Angelo Russell, the other key piece for the Timberwolves, had surgery last week on his left knee and may be out until April.

There was no sign the Timberwolves had stopped playing for Saunders; they were down by 21 points in the third quarter at New York earlier Sunday, then took the lead in the final minutes before falling 103-99.

“Unfortunately we ran out of time,” Saunders said after that loss.

He was talking about the game.

Before long, that sentence had a very different meaning.

Connection to Rosas

Finch has history with Rosas, working together with the Houston Rockets. He coached the team’s affiliate in what is now called the G League, winning a championship with Rio Grande Valley, then became a Rockets assistant. He went on to have assistant jobs in Denver and New Orleans and was hired by the Raptors in November.

“I look forward to working hand and hand with Gersson to build and lead a team Timberwolves fans will be proud of,” Rosas said. “We have excellent pieces in place and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Saunders, the 34-year-old son of longtime Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, was with the Timberwolves for parts of three seasons, going 43-94. Flip Saunders died in 2015.

Dismissing Saunders was the first coaching change in the league since this season began. There were nine coaches in new jobs entering this season.

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Intel Sues Former Employee For Alleged Theft of Xeon Data

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Stealing data on your way out the door is a great way to guarantee consequences — a lesson that various individuals in Silicon Valley have had to learn the hard way. Despite occasional enthusiast rumor-mongering around the idea that Nvidia, AMD, or Intel would steal technology from each other, the practical impacts of such a finding in a court of law would outweigh any potential gain.

Intel has accused Dr. Varun Gupta of stealing trade secrets when he accepted a job with Microsoft as Principal for Strategic Planning in Cloud and AI. After a decade at Intel, Dr. Gupta had access to documents regarding processor pricing and product strategies. Intel alleges that he copied some 3900 documents on to a mixture of Seagate external drives and USB sticks, including files marked “Intel Confidential” and “Intel Top Secret.”

As an aside, files marked “Intel Confidential” aren’t always all that confidential, at Intel or anywhere else. “Intel Confidential” gets stamped on just about every press deck or product announcement that goes out to press prior to NDA. Obviously the restrictions matter, but “Confidential” is a pretty low bar on the secrecy totem pole. AMD and Nvidia follow similar labeling patterns. The theft of “Top Secret” documents carries a bit more weight.

Microsoft is now working on its own ARM CPU designs, but Gupta isn’t accused of stealing any information related to the physical design of Intel processors. Rather, Intel claims Gupta stole pricing and strategy documents in order to give Microsoft an edge “in head to head negotiations with Intel concerning customised product design and pricing for significant volumes of Xeon processors.”

Why Does Microsoft Need Xeon Pricing Information?

In its filing, Intel also claims that Gupta “used that confidential information and trade secrets to gain an unfair advantage over Intel in the negotiations concerning product specifications and pricing.”

This raises the question of why Intel is negotiating Xeon pricing with Microsoft in the first place, given that the software giant isn’t in the server construction business. Roughly a decade ago, major cloud companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon began to shift their server-buying strategies. Instead of relying solely on servers built by the likes of Dell and HPE, cloud compute companies began working directly with vendors to design and customize hardware. Secondary companies like Supermicro, Wistron, Foxconn, and Quanta began to play a more direct role in server sales, rather than merely building boxes for other companies.

The “ODM Direct” category now accounts for 28 percent of all server sales, larger than any other single vendor. The big-name brands still account for 52.71 percent of the market, but ODM Direct sales is growing rapidly. The reason why Intel is unhappy about Microsoft having access to this information is because, thanks to the ODM Direct market, Microsoft is probably making more decisions about the customization and pricing of the hardware in its servers than it was 10+ years ago, when companies were more likely to buy whatever HP and Dell were selling.

Intel and Microsoft conducted a forensic analysis of the data files, including when and how Gupta accessed them, claiming that he plugged the drives in 114 times between February 3, 2020 and July 23, 2020, and that he accessed specific documents, including a slide deck related to Intel’s engagement strategies and its product offerings for “Xeon customised processors.”

Gupta denies claims that he stole the information, while Intel wants a jury trial and damages of at least $ 75,000, along with payment of its legal fees.

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Growing number of Republican senators oppose impeachment trial of former president

A growing number of Republican senators say they oppose holding an impeachment trial, a sign of the dimming chances that former U.S. president Donald Trump will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol.

House Democrats, who will walk the impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday evening, are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar him from holding office again.

But Republican passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. And now that Trump’s presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year.

“I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said.

He said that “the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions.

Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump’s team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees.

Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters who interrupted the congressional electoral count of Biden’s election victory, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump.

17 Republican senators needed to convict

An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the Republican opposition indicates that many of its senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him.

When the House of Representatives impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said that “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument.

WATCH | Senate majority leader lays out impeachment timeline:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer lays out the timeline for former U.S. president Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. Opening arguments are scheduled for the week of Feb. 8. 1:34

“I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said.

Democrats reject that argument, pointing to an 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars

Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812 — perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time — is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again.

A few Republican senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office.

“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?”

LISTEN | Daniel Dale’s epic 4-year Trump fact check:

Front Burner21:15BONUS: Daniel Dale’s epic 4-year Trump fact check

For four years, Daniel Dale, a CNN reporter and former Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star, fact checked every single word that Donald Trump said publicly. Now, he looks back on some of the strangest and most significant lies of Trump’s presidency, and the lasting impact they had on both American politics and our shared sense of reality. 21:15

But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Republican senators Mike Rounds, John Cornyn and Lindsey Graham were among those who recently voiced opposition to the impeachment trial

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his Republican colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience.

‘An extraordinarily heinous presidential crime’

One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was “an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime.”

“I think you will see that we will put together a case that is so compelling because the facts and the law reveal what this president did,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. “I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.”

Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the Nov. 3 election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.”

WATCH | Republican strategist says Trumpism an ‘ongoing problem’:

The co-founder of The Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans dedicated to preventing the re-election of Donald Trump, says the former president still ‘owns the Republican party.’ Rick Wilson believes a split within the party is almost inevitable. 9:02

Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of the centuries-old tradition of peaceful transfers of power.

“It is a critical moment in American history, and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said.

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Former Maple Leafs captain George Armstrong dead at 90

George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the 1960s and wore the blue and white his entire career, has died.

He was 90.

The Maple Leafs confirmed the death Sunday on Twitter.

Armstrong played a record 1,187 games with 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons for the Leafs, including 13 seasons as team captain. The right-winger added another 26 goals and 34 assists in 110 playoff games.


Known as the Chief, Armstrong was one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975. Some 41 years later, Armstrong was voted No. 12 on the franchise’s list of 100 greatest Maple Leafs in its centennial season.

“George is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization and will be deeply missed,” Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement.

“A proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn’t even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row.”

A young Armstrong met Syl Apps when the Maple Leafs star came to his bantam team’s annual banquet. Armstrong would go on to wear No. 10, the first Leaf to do so after the retirement of talismanic Cup-winning captain Apps.

Armstrong would also become one of a select number of Leafs honoured with a banner at Scotiabank Arena, and his number was officially retired in October 2016 at the team’s centennial anniversary home opener.

In 2015, Armstrong and Apps were added to the Leafs’ Legends Row.

Armstrong’s speech released in statement

The Leafs released a statement on Sunday with the words from Armstrong’s unread speech that night.

“Hockey is a great game and I love it. I am part of a fading generation that you will never have again. Every one of us is one of a kind, that will never be repeated. To all of my friends and acquaintances, thank you for your advice and direction, that helped make me who I am today … a very, very happy person.”

After hanging up his skates in 1971, Armstrong coached the Toronto Marlboros to Memorial Cup victories in 1972-73 and 1974-75 before accepting a scouting position with the Quebec Nordiques in 1978.

He spent nine years with Quebec before returning to the Toronto fold as assistant general manager and scout in 1988. Armstrong served as interim coach for the final 47 games of the 1988-89 season after John Brophy was fired following an 11-20-2 start.

The next year, Armstrong returned to his role as a scout for the Leafs.

He scored 20 goals four times during his career but was better known for his leadership and work ethic, helping restore the franchise’s winning touch. A smart player and talented backchecker, he worked the angles to get the best shot at his opponent and formed a formidable penalty-killing tandem with Dave Keon.

Humble approach

A humble man, Armstrong was quick to deflect praise. He credited his players for his Memorial Cup wins as coach.

“It wasn’t because I was a great coach, it was because I had some great players,” he said in a 1989 interview, listing off the likes of the Howe brothers, John Tonelli, Mark Napier and Mike Palmateer.

And he offered a typical response when inducted into the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

“I don’t know whether I deserve it or not, but I sure am happy to get it,” said Armstrong, who lived in several areas of the city before making Leaside his Toronto home.

Born in Bowland’s Bay, Ont., to an Irish father and an Iroquois mother, a young Armstrong honed his hockey skills in Falconbridge near the Sudbury nickel mines, where his father worked.

The Boston Bruins were interested, but Armstrong waited until the Leafs put him on their protected list while he was playing with the Copper Cliff Jr. Redmen of the NOHA in 1946-47. After winning the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the OHA’s leading scorer with Stratford next season, the Leafs sent him to their main junior affiliate, the Toronto Marlboros.


George Armstrong drops the ceremonial opening faceoff to Jason Smith (21) of the Edmonton Oilers and Mats Sundin (13) of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 17, 2007 in Toronto. (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

He was elevated to the senior Marlies for the 1949 Allan Cup playoffs and helped the team win the title over Calgary the next year.

It was during the Allan Cup tournament, specifically a visit to the Stoney Indian Reserve in Alberta, that he got his nickname. When the band heard of Armstrong’s ancestral background, they made him an honorary member with the name “Chief Shoot-the-Puck” and presented him with a ceremonial headdress.

It was a different era and “The Chief” nickname stuck. Armstrong, who was proud of his mother’s heritage, would become the first player of Indigenous descent to score in the NHL.

He spent most of two seasons in Pittsburgh with the Leafs’ American Hockey League farm team before making the big league. He made his NHL debut in December 1949 and became a full-time member of the Leafs in time for the start of the 1952-53 season.

Sign of things to come

“It looks as if he’s going to be here for quite a long time the way he handled that puck,” legendary broadcaster Foster Hewitt said after Armstrong scored his first NHL goal in a 3-2 win over Montreal.

Taking a pass from future Hall of Famer Max Bentley, Armstrong beat defenceman Butch Bouchard and beat goaltender Gerry McNeil.

“I did a little war dance that night, and I think everybody in Maple Leaf Gardens was pretty happy about it as well,” Armstrong recalled 15 years later.

Toronto owner and GM Conn Smythe named Armstrong his captain before the 1957-58 season. Smythe would later call Armstrong “the best captain, as a captain, the Leafs have ever had.”

The Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1962, the first of three straight championships.

Armstrong was 36 when the veteran Leafs won the franchise’s last championship in 1967. His insurance empty-net goal with 47 seconds remaining in the clinching 3-1 Game 6 win proved to be the final goal of the Original Six era.

The six-foot-one, 204-pounder played a few more seasons but suffered a knee injury during the 1969-70 campaign that forced him to retire. Armstrong was convinced to come back for the 1970-71 season before quitting for good at age 40.

At the time, Armstrong had played more seasons and more games as a Maple Leaf than any other player, and was second in career points.

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TFC appoints former Red Bulls coach Chris Armas to succeed Greg Vanney

Toronto FC confirmed former New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas as Greg Vanney’s successor on Wednesday.

The 48-year-old Armas becomes Toronto’s 10th head coach.

“I could not be more excited to join a club with Toronto FC’s level of excellence and winning tradition and I will work tirelessly to uphold those standards,” Armas said in a statement.

“As an opposing coach I felt the passion the fans and supporters bring to BMO Field. It is next level,” he added. “I can’t wait to put a team on the field that will not only make them proud with the way we play, but also with the way we run, battle and compete every minute of every game.”

Vanney stepped down as head coach and technical director on Dec. 1 after more than six years at TFC’s helm. He subsequently was named coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Armas, an elite defensive midfielder during a 12-year playing career with the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire, was let go as head coach by the Red Bulls last September with the team at 3-4-2.

He inherits a Toronto club that finished runner-up in the regular-season standings at 13-5-5 despite playing just four games at home due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. TFC shifted operations to East Hartford, Conn., exiting in the first round of the playoffs after a 1-0 loss to lower-seeded Nashville.

Armas will join the search for a new designated player, with Toronto opting not pick up the option of Argentine forward Pablo Piatti. Depth in the backline is also a need.

‘Excellent winning pedigree’

After succeeding Jesse Marsch as head coach of the Red Bulls in July 2018, Armas led the team on a 12-3-3 run to clinch the 2018 Supporters’ Shield. His overall record with New York was 33-27-11 in all competitions.

“Chris has an excellent winning pedigree and is a fiery, competitive guy who wants his teams to play on the front foot,” Toronto president Bill Manning said. “He is the right fit to build upon the foundation that’s been established at TFC.

“Our fans are going to love his intensity and how that’s going to translate into our team’s style of play for years to come.”

Armas had previously served as a Red Bulls assistant coach for 3 1/2 seasons, two of which were as the top assistant in charge of New York’s attack.

Current Toronto GM Ali Curtis was sporting director of the Red Bulls from December 2014 to February 2017.

Curtis said Armas was unmatched when it came to “integrity, authenticity, and professionalism.”

“While I have known Chris over the years, during the interview process, he conveyed perspective, vision, and coaching qualities, which solidified our belief in him as the top candidate,” he added.

“I am excited about his intensity, passion, tactics, and way of teaching. The resources and support that we will provide to Chris will be different than his previous roles, which we know will be beneficial to his vision and our success. ΓǪ We are a team that strives to win championships, and Chris is the ideal coach to lead us now, and in the future.”

Picked as player in same draft as Vanney

Prior to the Red Bulls, Armas was an assistant coach with the Chicago Fire and head coach of the Adelphi University women’s team in Long Island, N.Y.

The Galaxy drafted Armas seventh overall in the 1996 MLS supplemental draft. That same year, Los Angeles selected Vanney 17th overall in the inaugural MLS College Draft.

Armas, a former Long Island Rough Rider, spent two seasons in L.A. before being traded to the Chicago Fire ahead of their inaugural 1998 campaign. He helped the Fire win both the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup that year.

He was named to the MLS Best XI from 1998 through 2001 before being sidelined by a knee injury. He returned in 2003, earning MLS Comeback Player of the Year and MLS Best XI honours.

Armas, who captained Chicago from 2003 to 2007, played in 264 MLS regular-season games (260 starts) with two goals and 48 assists. He retired at the end of the 2007 season.

On the international front, Armas won 66 caps for the U.S., and was chosen U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2000.

Toronto said Armas’ coaching staff will be announced at a later date.

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