As it happenedended1554501772

Trump news: President hints he will shut down asylum process during California border visit

Follow all the latest political updates

Clark Mindock
New York
,Joe Sommerlad
Friday 05 April 2019 18:38
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Donald Trump taunts Biden amid sexual misconduct accusations as two more women come forward to accuse the democrat

Donald Trump has attacked the late former first lady Barbara Bush in a newspaper interview a day after posting a satirical alt-right meme of ex-vice-president Joe Biden on Twitter.

“I see that you are on the job and presidential, as always,” Mr Biden responded to the tweet, which sits pinned to the top of the president’s Twitter profile. The video in question sends up Mr Biden’s apology after he was accused of inappropriate conduct towards women while on the campaign trail, and was circulated by Donald Trump Jr earlier on Thursday.

Mr Trump then made a stop in Calexico, California, to inspect construction work on his US-Mexico wall after rowing back on his threat to close the border, the trip providing a timely change of focus for the president after thousands of protesters campaigned outside the White House and in New York’s Times Square to demand the release of the Mueller report in full.

While in southern California, Mr Trump heard from officials who praised his leadership and promised to build some 400 miles of border wall in the next year and a half.

Mr Trump, during a round table with Border Patrol officials, said that the US has no more room for immigrants — and thanked Mexican officials for what he described as new efforts to stop migrants from making it to the US-Mexico border.

The White House, prior to Mr Trump's visit to the border, hailed the 2-miles of fencing there as the first completed section of the president's border wall.

But, Mr Trump cannot take full credit for the construction: Border barriers have existed there for decades, and plans for the recent renovations first began to develop during the presidency of Barack Obama.

Follow along below for our coverage as it happened

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

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 09:27
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Email joe.sommmerlad@independent.co.uk or message me @JoeSommerlad on Twitter with your Trump-related tips.

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 09:35
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Where else to start but with ex-veep Joe Biden's attack on Donald Trump for his latest act of trolling?

Biden was infuriated after the president posted a crude meme spoofing his apology video, after the former Obama administration elder was accused of inappropriate conduct towards female staff.

In it, the former vice-president is seen molesting himself midway through a sincere address to camera, in which he expresses regret over past conduct and vows to change his ways.

This was his withering response to the president:

Trump appears to have got the meme - which he pinned to his profile page - from his son Don Jr, who had retweeted it earlier in the day from an account called Carpe Donktum, known for political memes commonly shared among the alt-right.

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 09:40
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Biden was not the president's only target yesterday.

After his repeated attacks on late Vietnam war hero and 2008 presidential challenger John McCain, Trump went after another recently-deceased icon of his own party: former first lady Barbara Bush.

Disparaging comments she had made regarding him have been circulated in the press of late due to the publication of Susan Page's new biography, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty.

Bush said Donald Trump's attacks on her sons George "Dubya" and Jeb Bush during his 2016 campaign had given her "a heart attack", that she considered him an emblem of 1980s greed and excess and that she owned a clock counting down to the end of his tenure in the White House.

Speaking to The Washington Times yesterday, the president said: “I have heard that she was nasty to me, but she should be. Look what I did to her sons.”

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 09:47
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President Trump is due to visit Calexico, California, this afternoon to inspect a recently built portion of fence that he believes represents the answer to stopping a surge of migrant families coming to the US in recent months. 

The White House says it's the first section of his proposed border wall to be built, commemorated with a plaque bearing his name and those of top immigration and homeland security officials. 

The new fence that Trump is touring is a two-mile section that was a long-planned replacement for an older barrier. It is one of a handful of current projects that total $1bn (£764m) to replace existing barriers and build new ones across the border. 

This comes as the president backs down on his threat to close the border entirely - an undertaking that would have cost the US $1.6bn (£1.2bn) a day in trade. Even Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz (below) have stood up to him over the issue.

Trump had threatened to shutter the border unless Mexico immediately halted "ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States".

He took a softer tone on Thursday when he told reporters he would try the "less drastic measure" of slapping tariffs on cars coming to the US from Mexico, hoping to strong-arm America's neighbours into doing more to stop the flow of migrants heading north, which he insists constitutes a "national emergency", despite the evident disagreement of Congress.

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 10:00
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The Trump camp is clearly stepping up its illegal immigration crackdown: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested nearly 300 people at a Texas tech company on Thursday in one of the federal agency’s largest raids in a decade.

Here's Chris Riotta's report.

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 10:15
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President Trump could face a new challenge to his invocation of emergency powers in order to reallocate federal funds from the military to get his border wall built. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asked a judge in California to block the Trump administration from building the wall with funds obtained through his national emergency declaration. 

The court papers say Trump has overstepped his executive powers by diverting funds from the Department of Defence for the border wall and the threat is pressing because efforts by Congress to stop him have failed - a resolution of disapproval that passed the House and Senate was simply vetoed in the Oval Office - and building plans are starting to come into focus.

Lawyers asked for a hearing as soon as possible. 

Trump has said he will shift $3.6bn (£2.7bn) from military construction to erecting border barriers and plans are taking shape. Congress has voted to provide less than $1.4bn (£1bn) for border barriers, leaving Democrats and some Republicans fuming that Trump is abusing his powers by ignoring Congress' constitutional control over spending. 

New sections of wall using the funding will be built in Arizona and New Mexico - areas not covered by Congress's allocation. 

"Now that the president has started raiding military funds and vetoed Congress's rejection of his emergency, it's urgent that the court stop his unconstitutional power grab," ACLU attorney Dror Ladin said in a statement. 

The request to block the construction Thursday was part of a legal challenge filed in February on behalf of the Southern Border Communities Coalition and the Sierra Club environmental group, a day after Trump's declaration.

In addition, a group of 16 states, including California, New York and Colorado, have also filed against the emergency declaration on similar grounds. 

Trump has dismissed all legal action as an effort to stall important priorities through "activist" left-leaning judges who lack border experience. 

Separately, US Customs and Border Protection said it was about to begin construction as early as Thursday on approximately 13 miles of levee construction in the Rio Grande Valley using funds that were allocated in 2018. 

Right now there is about 654 miles of barrier built along the 1,954-mile border with Mexico. The majority was constructed under George W Bush's administration. 

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 10:30
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US attorney-general William Barr is defending his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation, saying the confidential document contains sensitive grand jury material that prevented it from being immediately released to the public. 

The House Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to subpoena the unredacted 400-page Mueller report while The New York Times reported yesterday that members of the special counsel's investigative team were frustrated by Republican triumphalism in the wake of Barr's letter to Congress, in which he stated the report contained a "no collusion" verdict, prompting another outburst against the newspaper from President Trump.

The demand for Barr to finally deliver on his "transparency" pledge and release the report, now expected in mid-April, is continuing to grow.

Here's the latest on the AG.

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 10:45
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Public demand for the Mueller report's full release is such that rallies were held across America yesterday.

Organised by liberal advocacy groups, the events saw demonstrators gather in towns from Chicago to Salt Lake City to pressure William Bar into handing over the 400-page dossier.

Hundreds congregated outside the White House and in Times Square in New York. Here's a few of the best signs on show:

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 11:00
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Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen appears to be frantically scrambling through the archives looking for incriminating files on his old employer a month before he's due to go to jail.

Here's Adam Forrest's report on his claim to have millions of documents on the president of "significant value".

Joe Sommerlad5 April 2019 11:15

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