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Trump news: Roger Stone demands unredacted Mueller report as president orders major changes to asylum

President continues railing against migrants crossing the nation's southern border

Chris Riotta
New York
,Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 30 April 2019 17:10 BST
Trump compares US-Mexico border to Disneyland and calls end to family separations a disaster

Donald Trump has said drug cartels are “in total control of the Mexico side of the Southern Border” as he orders sweeping reforms to the US's immigration system.

The plans introduced in a memo by attorney-general William Barr and acting homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan would see impoverished asylum seekers required to pay a fee to have their applications and work permits processed and migrants who have attempted to enter the US illegally prevented from receiving employment authorisation before any relief or protection is granted.

The president is meanwhile suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One to prevent them complying with House subpoenas and handing over records of his financial dealings with them as former adviser Roger Stone appeared in court Tuesday.

Stone, a longtime confidant of Mr Trump, appeared for a brief status conference after being charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation with lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

His attorneys want to be able to view the full report as they prepare for trial. Material relating to Stone’s case was blacked out in the report.

Jonathan Kravis, an assistant US attorney, says the government has no obligation to provide the information Stone seeks. He says prosecutors have already given Stone significant information, including grand jury testimony and material that may be favourable to his defence.

The president also met with Democratic leaders Tuesday, with Chuck Schumer describing there being “good will” to work together.

Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats had asked for the meeting with Mr Trump to discuss launching an ambitious building program that’s a top priority for the party and has been a rare area of potential bipartisan accord with Republicans. Mr Trump, too, has long promised a big infrastructure plan.

The dozen Democratic lawmakers in the meeting with the president called it a constructive start. They said Mr Trump agreed that infrastructure investments should go beyond roads and bridges and include broadband, water systems, and enhancements to the electrical grid.

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

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 09:00

Donald Trump has dramatically upped the ante in his rhetoric on illegal immigration, making the extraordinary claim that the drug cartels of Mexico are "in total control" on the southern side of the US border.

The tweet came on the same evening the president ordered sweeping reforms on the US asylum system.

The plans, introduced in a memo by attorney-general William Barr and acting homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan, would see impoverished asylum seekers required to pay a fee to have their applications and work permits processed and migrants who have attempted to enter the US illegally prevented from receiving employment authorisation before any relief or protection is granted.

Having told Fox's Maria Bartiromo on Sunday the situation at the border was "like Disneyland" since the US stopped separating children from their parents at detention centres following an international outcry, the president appears to have taken a business idea from the lucrative theme park - charging exorbitant entry fees!

"The purpose of this memorandum is to strengthen asylum procedures to safeguard our system against rampant abuse of our asylum process," it says here.

Trump and adviser Stephen Miller have made big changes to the Department of Homeland Security this month in a bid to take a tough stance on immigration (which they believe is a 2020 election winning issue), ousting Kirstjen Nielsen and others and looking for a "border czar" to oversee its "zero-tolerance" approach.

Trump's wall is meanwhile under construction after he invoked emergency powers to reallocate military construction funds to bankroll the project, vetoing the objections of the House and Senate in the process.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 09:16

Not content with blocking House Democrats at every turn, Trump, three of his children and seven of his companies have now launched legal action against Deutsche Bank and Capital One to stop the banks complying with subpoenas and cooperating with congressional investigations into the president's financial dealings.

The federal lawsuit, filed in the US District Court's Southern District of New York, contends that the Democrat-controlled House committees have no legitimate or lawful purpose in demanding records from

"The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family," court documents said.

"This lawsuit is not designed to succeed; it is only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible,” said committee chairs Maxine Walters and Adam Schiff in a joint statement.

"This unprecedented stonewalling will not work, and the American people deserve better."

Here's more from Chris Baynes.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 09:24

US deputy attorney-general Rod Rosenstein - instrumental in quashing possible obstruction of justice charges against the president arising from the Mueller report - has announced his resignation. 

He will leave office on 11 May and praised Trump's "humour" in his letter of farewell.

Here's Clark Mindock's report.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 09:40

The president was busy on Twitter yesterday afternoon, attacking everyone from union leaders, "Sleepy Joe" Biden, Robert Mueller and The New York Times.

He offered no comment on The Washington Post tally that he has now made more than 10,000 untrue statements and is currently operating on an average lie rate of 23 per day.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 09:55

The president hosted the Baylor Lady Bears at the White House last night in celebration of the Texas university women's basketball team's victory over Notre Dame to win the national title earlier this month.

And, for the third time - following the poisoning of the Clemson Tigers and North Dakota State - Trump served a team of elite athletes junk food from McDonald's, Wendy's and Chick-Fil-A in the State Dining Room, beneath a glowering portrait of Abraham Lincoln. 

The custom began during the 35-day government shutdown and appears now to be the new normal, as with many unnerving developments in America over the last two years.

The reaction of their head coach, Kim Mulkey, was absolutely priceless and deserves to go viral.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 10:10

This clip of Fox's Maria Bartiromo repeatedly attempting and failing to shut down the president's rambling phone interview did the rounds yesterday and deserves to be widely seen.

This has previously happened on Fox and Friends, with the morning hosts increasingly uncomfortable about the Leader of the Free World's reluctance to hang up.

Here's Louis Staples for Indy100.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 10:25

A huge 55 percent of Americans say they would definitely not vote for Trump in 2020, according to a new poll from ABC News/Washington Post, even though his likely Democratic challenger has yet to be identified.

Inaction on healthcare appears to be the final straw for many.


Here's more from Lily Puckett.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 10:40

The New York Times reports today Donald Trump is attempting to get the Muslim Brotherhood declared a terrorist organisation at the urging of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi when he visited the White House on 9 April.

The call has apparently sparked intense debate within Washington, with national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo in favour but other officials less sure on the merits. Doing so would benefit El-Sisi by targeting his political opposition but risk alienating Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who supports the Brotherhood.

The organised was founded in 1928 in pursuit of a society governed by Islamic law but renounced violence in the 1970s - although the behaviour of extremist splinter factions have been a continuing cause for concern.

The Trump administration recently applied the designation to Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 10:59

Trump is sitting down with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer today to talk infrastructure.

The last time they got together, the president walked out in a huff and dismissed their government shutdown talks as a "total waste of time." 

Nearly four months later, they'll have another crack, with infrastructure seen as the one issue with the best chance for the two sides to work together this Congress - and even that isn't given good odds for a fruitful ending.

The meeting plays out against the backdrop of high tensions over escalating Democratic investigations following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian meddling. Politicians and the president also have on eye on the 2020 elections, meaning every provision of an infrastructure package - including how to pay for it - will be made with that in mind. 

More than one "infrastructure week" already has come and gone over the past two years with nothing to show for it. Still, advocates for an infrastructure package boost see a narrow window for action. 

"I think a deal can be had if everybody is willing to put their battle axes away for a period," said former Republican representative Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, who served as chairman of the House's transportation committee for six years. 

A compromise could offer political benefits to both sides. Trump's re-election prospects are tied to a strong economy that would get another boost from new road and bridge projects. House Democrats have passed an array of bills that have gone nowhere in the GOP-controlled Senate. 

Pelosi has dozens of new Democratic House members who won in competitive districts, said Shuster, and "they need to be able to go home next year and say they've accomplished something." 

But the two sides also have some competing priorities that will complicate matters. The president and Republican leaders want to speed up the permitting process for building energy and transportation projects and that's not on most Democratic lawmakers' to-do lists.

Democrats are looking for ways to pay for greater infrastructure spending without adding to the national debt, and that could mean higher fuel taxes. 

The Trump White House has sent conflicting signals on that issue. On Friday, the president tweeted that California's recent 12 cent increase in the state's gas tax was "causing big problems on pricing for that state. Speak to your Governor about reducing."

When asked if Trump could support a higher federal gas tax, economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday, "He hasn't made up his mind on any of that yet."

Pelosi and Schumer sent Trump a letter on Monday setting out their priorities, including a call for "substantial, new and real revenue" and investments to make infrastructure more resilient to climate change. Neither of those bolsters confidence in prospects for a deal. Several Democratic lawmakers from committees with jurisdiction on infrastructure issues are also expected to attend the White House meeting, but no Republican lawmakers.

Joe Sommerlad30 April 2019 11:15

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