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Trump news – live: Series of explosive allegations made against president including accusations he asked China to help him win 2020 election

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UK-US deal 'almost impossible' before 2020 election, says Trump's trade representative

A pre-publication release of John Bolton's upcoming book unleashed a flood of shocking revelations about Donald Trump's presidency, including asking Xi Jinping to help his re-election campaign and voicing his approval of Chinese internment camps for Muslims.

Trump meanwhile said he would support Colin Kaepernick's return to the NFL, and said if there was one thing he could change about his handling of race relations was his "tone".

Police reform hangs in the balance as Democrats and Republicans move forward with separate bills following the president's executive order to increasing policing standards.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's rolling coverage of the Donald Trump administration and its response to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 09:45
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Trump fails to mention racism in speech praising police after recent unrest

Donald Trump failed to address concerns about systemic racism in US law enforcement during a White House speech on Tuesday accompanying his signing of an executive order on police reform, instead praising “the brave men and women in blue who police our streets and keep us safe”.

Speaking in the Rose Garden in the wake of nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the president ushered in better police practices while insisting excessive force was a concern in only a “tiny” number of cases among otherwise “trustworthy” police ranks.

"Americans know the truth: without police, there is chaos. Without law, there is anarchy. And without safety, there is catastrophe," he said, attacking the "Defund the police" calls of activists.

"Reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals," the president added, before signing on the dotted line, flanked by police officials.

The president and his Republican allies in Congress have been forced to respond to the mass demonstrations against police brutality and racial prejudice that have raged for weeks across the country in response to the deaths of Floyd and other black Americans.

But Trump, who has faced criticism for failing to acknowledge racial bias and has advocated for rougher police treatment of suspects in the past, has continued to hold his “law and order" line. At the signing event, he railed against those who committed violence during the largely peaceful protests while hailing the vast majority of officers as selfless public servants.

Trump's executive order would establish a database that tracks police officers with excessive use-of-force complaints in their records. Many officers who wind up involved in fatal incidents have long complaint histories, including Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with murder in the death of Floyd. Those records are often not made public, making it difficult to know if an officer has such a history.

The order would also give police departments a financial incentive to adopt best practices and encourage co-responder programmes, in which social workers join police when they respond to non-violent calls involving mental health, addiction and homeless issues.

Trump said that, as part of the order, the use of chokeholds, which have become a symbol of police brutality, would be banned "except if an officer's life is at risk." Actually, the order instructs the Justice Department to push local police departments to be certified by a "reputable independent credentialing body" with use-of-force policies that prohibit the use of chokeholds, except when the use of deadly force is allowed by law. 

Chokeholds are already largely banned in police departments nationwide.

Here’s John T Bennett’s analysis.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 10:00
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President nods to non-existent Aids vaccine in optimistic assessment of Covid-19

His speech also saw him refer to a non-existent Aids vaccine as reason for optimism over the coronavirus, which did not exactly inspire optimism despite positive recent news on that front.

“These are the people - the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere, and they've come up with the Aids vaccine. They've come up with... various things,” he said.

In fact, no one has come up with a vaccine for Aids, nor is there a cure. But nearly 38,000 people were diagnosed with HIV infection in the US and about 1.7m globally in 2018, according to the latest totals.

However, powerful medicines have turned HIV into a manageable chronic condition for many patients, prompting major global efforts to get those drugs to more of the people who need them.

In addition, taking certain anti-HIV drugs every day also can work as prevention, dramatically reducing the chances that someone who is still healthy becomes infected through sex or injection drug use. A small fraction of the Americans who might benefit use that so-called "pre-exposure prophylaxis."

Yet there is "no vaccine available that will prevent HIV infection or treat those who have it," says the US Health and Human Services Department in outlining efforts to develop one.

As for a vaccine to end the coronavirus pandemic, Trump appears confident one will be ready by the end of the year, but public health authorities warn there's no guarantee that any of the candidates currently being tested will pan out. Dr Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says a vaccine by year's end is conceivable only if everything goes right in final testing this summer.

Here’s Graig Graziosi's report.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 10:15
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Trump says fighting for school choice 'really is the civil rights issue of all time'

Another eyebrow-raising moment from his 25-minute address came when Trump attempted to position school catchment areas as the real focal point for African American concerns about inequality, not police violence.

“All children have to have access to a quality education. A child's ZIP code in America should never determine their future,” he said, shifting the debate towards underfunded inner city schools (without offering a solution to that problem) and away from discrimination and brutality in law enforcement.

The president closed with a veiled attack on demonstrators across the country calling for the removal of statues of divisive figures from America’s history, from Christopher Columbus to Confederate generals and Spanish conquistadors.

“We must build upon our heritage, not tear it down,” the president said, following up on his refusal to countenance renaming military bases and again siding with right-wing activists in what has become a cause celebre.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that he would be opposed to the scrapping of disputed monuments in DC - but broke with Trump to say he had no issue with renaming Army bases like Fort Bragg in North Carolina - on the same day as California moved to take away a statue of Columbus from the Capitol rotunda in Sacramento after 137 years.

Here’s Justin Vallejo on the president’s civil rights pronouncement.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 10:30
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Democrats accuse Trump of 'throwing red meat to his base' with 'inadequate' order after 'years of inflammatory rhetoric'

While Trump hailed his police reform order yesterday as "historic," Democrats and other critics said he didn't go nearly far enough.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer responded: "One modest inadequate executive order will not make up for his decades of inflammatory rhetoric and his recent policies designed to roll back the progress that we've made in previous years."

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the order "falls sadly and seriously short of what is required to combat the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality that is murdering hundreds of Black Americans" while Kristina Roth of Amnesty International USA said the order "amounts to a Band-Aid for a bullet wound."

Here's Alex Woodward's report.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 10:45
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Administration suing ex-adviser John Bolton over tell-all memoir

It also emerged yesterday that Trump is suing his ex-national security adviser John Bolton for pressing ahead with the publication of his memoir, The Room Where It Happened, without first securing permission from the West Wing.

The administration called on a federal judge to block all sales of the Simon and Schuster memoir on the basis that it is “rife with classified information” regarding the Ukraine talks that led to the president's impeachment and other foreign policy matters.

John T Bennett has more details.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 11:00
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Dr Fauci issues new coronavirus caution as early reopening states report spikes

“People keep talking about a second wave,” the nation’s top infectious diseases expert told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “We’re still in a first wave.”

Dr Fauci added that it remains “very risky” to ignore social distancing guidelines in order to congregate in bars and restaurants and said that that higher percentages of positive tests in some states “cannot be explained by increased testing”, again finding him at odds with the president’s proclamations on the subject.

The comments come as states including Texas, Arizona and Florida - some of the earliest to reopen - report consistent increases in Covid-19 case counts. The US has reported more than 2.1m cases in total and more than 116,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

In Texas, Tuesday marked the eighth time in nine days the state has set a new high for hospitalisations of Covid-19 patients with 2,518 - a jump of nearly 200 patients from Monday. That's more 1,000 more patients than on Memorial Day, which had been the lowest day in more than a month.

Texas began aggressively reopening its economy on 1 May and its Republican governor, Greg Abbott, has continued to relax restrictions. "It does raise concerns, but there is no reason right now to be alarmed," he said yesterday.

Arizona also reported a new daily high of nearly 2,400 more confirmed coronavirus cases yesterday. The state Department of Health Services saw 2,392 new cases and 25 additional virus-related deaths. A day earlier, the state recorded 1,104 new confirmed cases and eight deaths, bringing the state's totals in the pandemic to 39,097 cases and 1,219 deaths.

Gino Spocchia meanwhile has this on the situation in Florida, the Sunshine State now due to host the Republican National Convention this summer, which is not good either.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 11:15
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Trump retweets another QAnon conspiracy account and heartily agrees with himself again on Twitter

Despite those very real concerns about the deadly virus enjoying a resurgence in the US, Trump again yesterday dismissed the matter in his speech, saying disease "goes away" on its own.

So, with that settled beyond doubt, let's see what else he had to communicate to the public yesterday.

In amongst the familar slew of partisan retweets and GOP candidate endorsements was this hip hop oddity, from an account committed to the notorious "deep state" conspiracy theory.

Andrew Naughtie has this report on another instance of the president conversing with himself on the same platform.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 11:35
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'I spoke to doctors and people close to Trump. We're right to worry about his health'

For Indy Voices, Andrew Feinberg has this take on the president's health, after he turned 74 surrounded by questions arising from his unsteady descent down a ramp at West Point and made hard work of a glass of water.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 11:55
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New Lincoln Project attack ad argues Trump is not well

Right on cue, the Republican Never Trumper collective led by the husband of the president's own top adviser has this new 2020 promo on the same subject.

Here's more from Andrew Naughtie.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2020 12:15

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