Trump to forgo New Year’s Eve in Florida for early return to Washington

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Trump had ramped up pressure on fellow Republicans to back the bigger checks for struggling Americans in a series of tweets in recent days in which he attacked Republican leaders as “pathetic” and accused the party of having a “death wish” if it did not increase stimulus payments.

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Republicans in Congress have largely stuck with Trump through four turbulent years, but the president is angry that they have not fully backed his claims of election fraud in the Nov. 3 election that was won by Democrat Joe Biden.

The tensions among Republicans have been exacerbated by a second showdown over an effort in Congress to override Trump’s veto of a defence policy bill.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 80-12 on Wednesday to begin debate on the issue, with another procedural vote due on Friday. If successful, the effort would lead to the first veto override of Trump’s presidency.

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The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to overturn Trump’s defence bill veto on Monday.

U.S.-Iran tensions, meanwhile, have again spiked.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused Washington of trying to fabricate a pretext for attacking his country and vowed Tehran would defend itself even though it does not seek war.

Two U.S. B-52 bombers flew over the Middle East on Wednesday in what U.S. officials said was a message of deterrence to Iran ahead of the first anniversary of a U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

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