Dark clouds on the horizon.
The Electoral College formalized Donald Trump’s election victory on Monday despite protests around the country to encourage GOP electors to abandon the Republican.
The president-elect easily racked up the 270 electoral votes needed to send him to the White House. Interest in the normally mundane voting process spiked this year as opposition to Trump continues to fester, fueled by Clinton’s success in capturing over 2.6 million more votes than her Republican opponent.
Anti-Trump protesters descended on state capitols throughout the U.S. in a last-ditch effort to persuade so-called “faithless electors” in states Trump won to change their vote. Many of the Republicans casting ballots said they were inundated with calls and emails urging them to dump Trump.
And some electors did break with how their state voted, albeit in unexpected ways. In Washington, a state Clinton won by 16 points, the former secretary of state received just eight of the state’s 12 electoral votes. Colin Powell received three votes and Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle received one as part of an effort to promote a candidate other than Trump.
An elector in both Maine and Minnesota attempted to cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders, who unsuccessfully challenged Clinton in the Democratic primary. However state laws requiring electors to follow the statewide vote invalidated both efforts.
Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an Ankara art exhibit on Monday evening by a lone Turkish gunman shouting “God is great!” and “don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” in what the leaders of Turkey and Russia called a provocative terrorist attack.
The gunman, described by Turkish officials as a 22-year-old off-duty police officer, also wounded at least three others in the assault on the envoy, Andrey G. Karlov, which was captured on video. Turkish officials said the assailant was killed by other officers in a shootout.
The assassination, an embarrassing security failure in the Turkish capital, vaulted relations between Turkey and Russia to a new level of crisis over the Syrian conflict on Turkey’s southern doorstep, now in its sixth year.
The longer-term implications for the Russia-Turkey relationship, which had been warming recently after plunging a year ago, were not immediately clear. But some analysts played down the notion that the assassination would lead to a new rupture, saying it could conversely bring the countries closer together in a shared fight against terrorism.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Russian television that Mr. Karlov had been “despicably killed” to sabotage ties with Turkey. Mr. Putin spoke with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, by phone, and the two leaders agreed to cooperate in investigating the killing, and in combating terrorism broadly.
In an emergency meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov and other top officials, Mr. Putin said, “There can be only one answer to this — stepping up the fight against terrorism, and the bandits will feel this.”
At least nine people have been killed and more than 50 injured – some critically – after a lorry ploughed through a crowd of shoppers at 40mph in a busy Christmas market in Berlin.
As German police indicated the incident may be terror related, ISIS moved quickly to claim responsibility for the fatal attack.
The vehicle mounted the pavement before tearing through stalls as it travelled the length of the market on Breitscheidplatz Square, outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the German capital’s main shopping area.
After the driver was arrested nearby and another person was found dead in the cab, there was speculation this evening that the Polish-registered lorry may have been stolen from a construction site in Poland as the haulage firm said they lost contact with the driver in the afternoon.
The vehicle left a trail of devastation in its wake, in a chilling echo of the deadly terror attack in the French city of Nice in July – and came just one hour after the Russian ambassador was shot dead in Ankara.
Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2016
With the dual breaking news events surrounding potential terrorism and a foreign diplomat being shot to death, White House pool reports showed that President Barack Obama headed to a country club in Hawaii near his rental house, where he is vacationing.
Needless to say, there will be a lot of negative attention given to Obama playing golf in the immediate aftermath of these horrific, and potentially history-altering, events.