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Trump news: President mocks 'Sleepy Joe' Biden over 2020 election bid and rages at media over Mueller report

The president's allies worry Joe Biden may be a threat to his re-election

Chris Riotta
New York
,Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 25 April 2019 18:11 BST
Joe Biden launches his 2020 presidential campaign

Donald Trump has hit out at Joe Biden after the Democratic veteran announced his intention to run against him in 2020, questioning his intelligence and branding him “Sleepy Joe” while lashing out over the Mueller report and attempting to fend off further congressional investigations into his affairs.

Barack Obama‘s former vice-president, a man with almost half a century of experience in US politics, is widely tipped to be Mr Trump’s most serious challenger at the polls, joining a crowded field of 20 Democratic candidates already confirmed for the race.

Privately, Trump allies have warned that Mr Biden might be the biggest re-election threat given the former vice president’s potential appeal among the white working class in the Midwest, the region that gave Mr Trump a path to the presidency.

The former vice president is paying special attention to his native Pennsylvania, a state that swung to Mr Trump in 2016 after voting for Democratic presidential candidates for decades.

While Mr Biden represented Delaware in the Senate for 36 years, he was often referred to as Pennsylvania’s third senator.

Despite digging in his heels in Washington, the president meanwhile faces a new threat in his old stomping ground of New York City, where Deutsche Bank is beginning the process of handing over records of its dealings with Mr Trump to the state attorney-general, who is investigating allegations made by his ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, that he inflated his assets to secure loans in order to bankroll his hotel business.

Two House committees have also subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and several other financial institutions earlier this month as part of investigations into the president's finances.

It was unclear exactly what the committees asked for. The investigations are among several House Democrats are conducting into aspects of the president’s personal and political life, and top Democrat Adam Schiff has said he is investigating whether foreign actors, including Russia, have sought to hold leverage over Mr Trump or his family and associates.

Deutsche Bank is a German asset management firm that has lent Mr Trump’s real estate organization millions of dollars over time. The two committees have been working with the bank for several weeks, and both chairs have said officials have been cooperative. Mr Schiff said in his statement that the subpoena to Deutsche Bank is a “friendly” subpoena, meaning he expects them to continue working with the committees.

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The request comes as a third committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, is sparring with the White House over Mr Trump’s tax returns.

Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load


Hello and welcome to The Independent's rolling coverage of the Donald Trump administration.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 09:22

Donald Trump is continuing to take a belligerent stance against House Democrats determined to investigate his conduct in office after the Mueller report failed to deliver the clinching evidence against him they hoped for.

The president yesterday reiterated he would be "fighting the subpoenas" issued by the House Oversight Committee and forthcoming from the House Judiciary Committee.

The first requests his ex-personal security director Carl Kline testify on the granting of clearances to senior aides including first daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner despite concerns raised about their suitability. The second will call on ex-adviser Don McGahn, whom Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler hopes to make a star witness of regarding the question of obstruction of justice following his frequent citations in the FBI special counsel's 448-page dossier.

Trump's tweets on the subject yesterday were as measured as ever, the president even threatening to take the matter to the Supreme Court if the Democrats began impeachment proceedings against him.

Here's Chris Stevenson with more on the president's latest threat.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 09:36

His thoughts from the White House lawn - ahead of his trip to Atlanta, Georgia, to address the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit - were little cooler.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 09:40

Arriving in Georgia for the addiction summit, the president gave a typically rambling address, nominally about tackling the opioid crisis but touching on the magnificence of dogs, the US's low unemployment rate and the dangers posed by migrants.

The man seemed frankly exhausted and clearly struggled to focus at times. 

Here's Lily Puckett's round-up.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 09:58

He should be in for a quieter day today - if he can resist the siren song of Twitter, that is - as Joe Biden is expected to finally formally announced his candidacy for president in 2020.

Barack Obama's former vice-president, a man with almost half a century of experience in US politics, is widely tipped to be Trump's most serious challenger at the polls, joining a crowded field of 20 Democratic candidates already confirmed for the race.

It will be interesting to see if the president can offer a more dignified response than the alt-right groping meme he tweeted earlier this month riffing on Biden's apology video, after the veteran statesman was accused of inappropriate touching by female campaign staff.

Here's Harry Cockburn with more on Diamond Joe.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 10:03

However frantically President Trump attempts to draw a line under the Mueller report and steer the national conversation back towards illegal immigration (a subject he regards as a surefire 2020 vote winner), his past is never far behind him.

The good people at Deutsche Bank today begin the process of handing over their records on Trump to New York's state attorney-general Letitia James after she issued subpoenas in response to allegations made by the president's ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, that he inflated the value of his assets to secure loans from the German lender to bolster his property empire.

The bank will turn over files, emails and loan documents to James relating to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, the Trump National Doral Miami, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and his unsuccessful effort to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees are also jointly investigating Deutsche Bank - one of few lenders prepared to do business with Trump due to his checkered history, handing him more than $300m (£233m) for investment in resorts - over money laundering accusations related to the president. 

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 10:21

"Our election was corrupted, our democracy assaulted, our sovereignty and security violated. This is the definitive conclusion of special counsel Robert S Mueller III's report. It documents a serious crime against the American people."

Hillary Clinton here offering a stinging assessment on the Mueller report for The Washington Post.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 10:37

Bernie Sanders has gone one better on the campaign trail, taking the president to task on climate change in appropriately dramatic terms. 

For context, Trump considers global warming a "hoax", pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Accord, believes in bolstering fossil fuel extraction over renewables, does not understand even the basic concept of battery power storage and thinks the noise from wind turbines cause cancer.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 10:50

Buried among the president's tweetstorm yesterday was this peach, recirculating an old conspiracy theory that the UK's intelligence services spied on him during the 2016 presidential campaign just a day after confirming his latest visit to Britain.

Here's Tom Embury-Dennis with GCHQ's withering rebuttal.

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 10:55

Here's Joe Biden's campaign video. It's strong stuff.

The candidate makes a bold attack on Trump's failure to act on the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 in which anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer was run over and killed.

He says Trump's first term will be regarded by history as an "an aberrant moment in time", warns that four more years would "forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are" and says he was inspired to stand by the president's "very fine people on both sides" remark in the wake of Charlottesville.

"In that moment," he states, "I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I'd ever seen in my lifetime".

Joe Sommerlad25 April 2019 11:07

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