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President says decision on whether to order evacuations in Florida will be made on Sunday

Hurricane Dorian due to hit Sunshine State Monday or Tuesday

Joe Sommerlad,Lily Puckett
Friday 30 August 2019 17:25
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Trump hails space as 'next war-fighting domain' as he launches US Space Force

Donald Trump has said the decision on whether to evacuate residents of Florida to protect them from Hurricane Dorian, would be made on Sunday after meeting with officials.

As he left the White House for the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland, he said members of the federal emergency management agency (FEMA) would be joining him to monitor events.

Forecasters have said the storm could hit Florida on Monday or Tuesday with devastating force.

The president said he had spoken to Republican senator Rick Scott and claimed “tremendous work” was taking place in Florida to mitigate damage.

Meanwhile, Florida governor Ron DeSantis urged residents to closely monitor Hurricane Dorian as it approached the state’s east coast.

Mr DeSantis pointed out during a Friday evening briefing, that no one had accurately predicted the final path of Hurricane Irma three days before it made its US landfall in 2017. Dorian is expected hit Florida late Monday or early Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Centre is predicting landfall near the center of the state, but no evacuations have been ordered yet.

Mr DeSantis said residents need to comply when mandatory evacuations take effect.

Mr DeSantis said: “There is a danger to your life if you remain in these evacuation zones.”

To see how news about the presiden t playd out please read below

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

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 09:20
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Donald Trump has abandoned plans to visit Poland this weekend to observe Second World War commemoration services in order to oversee the federal response to Hurricane Dorian as the storm barrels towards Florida, with his own beloved Mar-a-Lago golf resort reportedly at risk.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the storm could become a Category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches the Florida coast, where it is expected to make landfall by the town of Melbourne, some 115 miles north of the president's favourite glitzy clubhouse.

On Thursday, Trump warned the coming weather front would be "an absolute monster" after it grazed Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, averting the disaster many feared would be a repeat of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

But not everyone is treating the matter so gravely. Former Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell tweeted this.

Andrew Buncombe has the latest as the Sunshine State battens down the hatches.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 09:35
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The president's personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, has meanwhile abruptly resigned amid reports she leaked private details about the Trump family and operations in the Oval Office during an off-the-record dinner with reporters.

Westerhout's indiscreet disclosures are understood to have been made to members of the press staying at hotels near Bedminster, New Jersey, during in the president’s recent working vacation.

The New York Times reports that the PA, a former Republican National Committee aide who also worked for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, was so upset over Trump’s victory that she cried on election night in 2016 but has nevertheless served him since day one of his administration, overcoming the initial suspicions of those around her that she could not be trusted.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 09:50
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Trump officially introduced his US Space Command project at the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, making the worrying declaration that outer space is “the next war-fighting domain” and raising eyebrows with the sluggishness of his delivery from the podium.

Here's Andrew Buncombe's report.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 10:05
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The president's latest campaign video has been causing something of a stir online.

The animated swinging bull's testicles are one thing...

...but his use of a white supremacist lion logo at the end quite another.

The red, white and blue lion surrounded by stars might look harmless enough but, the trouble is, it was originally used by VDare, an anti-immigration Southern Poverty Law Center-designated “hate group”, according to Mediaite.

You may remember them from the outcry last week when a Justice Department morning news briefing was sent out to immigration judges accidentally (?) including one of their posts containing esoteric antisemitic language.

The lion symbol has a long association with fascism, as Trump ought to know since he's such a fan of Italian despot Benito Mussolini.

Here's Lowenna Waters with more.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 10:20
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A Justice Department investigation into ex-FBI director James Comey’s handling of memos written during meetings with Trump  yesterday found the ex-bureau chief had violated its policies.

Despite concluding Comey had broken the rules when he instructed a friend to share his memos with the media, the report by inspector general Michael Horowitz found his notes “did not contain any classified information”, saving him from prosecution.

Comey responded accordingly yesterday, alluding to Trump less than subtly: 

Only for the president to lay into one of his bitterest political enemies, whom he fired in May 2017.

Here's Chris Riotta's report.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 10:40
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The latest nefarious environmental manoeuvre by the administration is to revoke Obama-era regulations designed to prevent hazardous methane leaks from oil and gas drilling operations, a move that has surprised even the fossil fuel industry.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, said the proposed rule change was to follow Trump’s directions to remove "unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry”.

This comes in the same week the US government pushed to overturn a 2001 law banning logging in the world’s largest temperate forest in Alaska.

The president considers himself "an environmentalist", you will recall.

Harry Cockburn has more.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 11:00
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The Trump administration is also considering blocking $250m (£205m) in military assistance to Ukraine, a move being seen as its latest attempt to pander to Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Lily Puckett reports.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 11:20
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Trump has ramped up his attacks on Fox News in recent weeks, flirting with election disaster by risking alienating one of his key propaganda voices with a particularly vitriolic series of tweets on Tuesday.

"We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!" he frothed.

The latest Fox man to hit back is host Neil Cavuto.

"Well I think the president watches Fox," Cavuto said after reading out the angry tweets. "I also think he is getting sick of Fox. Which is weird because I think he gets pretty fair coverage at Fox."

"First of all Mr President," he continued, "We don't work for you. I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you. Just report on you."

"It is called being fair and balanced Mr President. Yet it is fair to say you're not a fan when that balance includes stuff you don't like to hear or facts you don't like to have questioned."

Cavuto listed various outrageous remarks, controversies and double standards associated with the president and said: "These aren't fake items, they're real items and you really said them.

"Fake is when it's wrong Mr President, not when it's unpleasant," he continued, adding that Trump is not entitled to his own version of the truth. 

"You're right to say the media isn't fair to you. That they're more inclined to report the bad than anything good about you. So it is no surprise you're frustrated that more aren't in line with you," he said. "That everyone at Fox might not be in lockstep with you. You might even think that those who are work for you. They don't. I don't."

"Hard as it is to fathom, Mr President, just because you're the leader of the free world, doesn't entitle you to a free pass, just a free press. Goodnight," he continued.

Sirena Bergman has more on the fallout from the president's raving.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 11:40
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The president's eldest son, Don Jr, is not having a good time of it at the moment.

This cruel tweet about Vermont senator and 2020 challenger Bernie Sanders invited brutal mockery from Twitter, of which the below is a fine example.

Worse, he was deeply humiliated when a campaign event he spoke at in Pikeville, Kentucky, in support of Republican governor Matt Bevin was extremely poorly atttended, so much so in fact that audience members were asked to move their chairs closer to the stage.

Trump Jr was introduced on stage by his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle who did at least offer a genuinely funny line when she likened the Democratic 2020 field to "the Star Wars bar scene", which is good, you have to admit. 

Greg Evans has more.

Joe Sommerlad30 August 2019 11:55

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