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Trump news: President vows to release 'racism list' after being labelled 'white supremacist' by Democratic candidates

Joe Biden accuses Donald Trump of 'fanning the flames of white supremacy'

Donald Trump has returned to Washington, DC, after an “amazing day” visiting the grieving communities of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, on a mission to heal divisions in the aftermath of the two devastating mass shootings that left 31 people dead over the weekend.

The president was met with boos from protesters upset by his racist rhetoric and undermined his own efforts to bring consolation by angrily tweeting about the “LameStream Media” and his political rivals and enemies in the press from Air Force One, even threatening to release a “racism list” to attack Democrats.

In Iowa, Democratic 2020 challenger Joe Biden accused him of “fanning the flames of white supremacy” - a sentiment later echoed by Elizabeth Warren - prompting Mr Trump to respond on Twitter: “Sooo Boring”.

On Wednesday alone, three White House hopefuls — Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar — offered sweeping proposals that touch on everything from farm subsidies to rural broadband and health care.

The trio of senators are among the parade of candidates who will fan out across Iowa this weekend to participate in the famed state fair and other events.

The focus on rural Iowa is a mainstay of presidential politics, sending candidates on a sometimes-awkward pilgrimage to the far corners of the state that holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

But Democrats say the chase for the heartland is especially urgent this year as the party tries to win back some voters who supported Mr Trump in 2016.

A strong showing in Iowa, they say, could prove a candidate’s ability to make inroads in other rural communities across the country.

The challenge for Democrats is to rebuild the multiracial coalition across urban and rural areas that twice sent Barack Obama to the White House. His victory in the 2008 Iowa caucuses helped build momentum to claim the party’s presidential nomination. He later carried Iowa in the 2008 and 2012 general elections while also winning states with urban centers, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.

In 2016, Mr Trump ate into that path , carrying Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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Some Democratic candidates are working to reverse those gains by offering ambitious changes to rural voters. Ms Warren’s proposal on Wednesday would reshape the current farm subsidy system into a program that would break up big agribusinesses and guarantee farmers certain prices, which she said would raise farmers’ incomes and save taxpayer money.

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

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

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In El Paso, his motorcade passed protesters holding "Racist Go Home" signs. There, 2020 candidate and local boy Beto O'Rourke spoke to several hundred people at a separate gathering. O'Rourke has blistered Trump as a racist instigator, but he also told those in his audience the open way the people of his hometown treat each other could be "the example to the United States of America." 

Emotions are still raw in both cities in the aftermath of the shootings. Critics contend Trump's own words have contributed to a combustible climate that has spawned death and other violence. 

Some 85 per cent of US adults believe the tone and nature of political debate has become more negative under Trump, with a majority saying the president has changed things for the worse, according to recent Pew Research Center polling. And more than three quarters, 78 per cent, say that elected officials who use heated or aggressive language to talk about certain people or groups make violence against those people more likely. 

Earlier in the day, Texas governor Greg Abbott said he was not aware of any "red flags" in the suspected El Paso gunman's past.

Abbott also made no mention of taking major gun control measures in Texas, where three mass shootings since 2017 have killed more than 50 people.

The Republican said racism needs to be confronted and a crackdown initiated on internet sites used by violent extremists after the weekend attack that left 22 people dead in the mostly Latino border city.

Here's Andrew Buncombe and Clark Mindock's report on another extraordinary day.

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As the White House put out images of the president shaking hands and posing for selfies, Trump himself spent his time on Air Force One between cities working hard to undermine his own efforts to bring consolation with angry tweets attacking the “LameStream Media” and his political rivals and enemies in the press, even threatening to release a “racism list” to attack Democrats.

Having been met at the airport by Ohio senator Sherrod Brown and Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, the duo later gave a press conference about their encounter with the president and didn't hold back.

Angered by this, Trump and his social media manager/former caddy Dan Scavino tweeted angrily about their "LYING" and "mischaracterizing" his visit to the Miami Valley Hospital.

The angry tweets continued throughout the day, suggesting his mind was on TV ratings and media coverage rather than the business of supporting the bereaved and serving as national healer.

He attacked the media, the Democrats, Fox anchor Shepherd Smith and writer Tim O'Brien on MSNBC, author of the 2005 book TrumpNation.

O'Brien, incidentally, had this response for the president.

Here's Clark Mindock with Mayor Whaley's response to the accusation from the Trump camp.

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Meanwhile in Iowa, two of the leading Democratic 2020 challengers - Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren - were speaking.

In a coruscating address, Biden told his audience in Burlington that Trump has "fanned the flames of white supremacy" through his use of racist rhetoric.

"How far is it from Trump's saying this 'is an invasion' to the shooter in El Paso declaring 'his attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas?' Not far at all," he asked.

"How far is it from the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville - Trump’s 'very fine people,' chanting 'You will not replace us' - to the shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh saying Jews 'were committing genocide to his people?' Not far at all.

"In both clear language and in code, this president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation."

He wasn't done there.

"We have a president who has aligned himself with the darkest forces in this nation," said Barack Obama's former veep.

"We have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political strategy of hate, racism and division.

"We’re living through a rare moment in this nation’s history. Where our president isn’t up to the moment. Where our president lacks the moral authority to lead. Where our president has more in common with George Wallace than George Washington."

Evidently watching from Air Force One, Trump branded Biden "Sooo Boring" and said "The LameStream Media will die in the rating and clicks with this guy".

The candidate's campaign manager wasted no time in hitting back.

Warren was on scorching form too when it came to the president.

“He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists,” she said. “He’s done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He’s done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country,”

Here's Zamira Rahim on a candidate who continues to soar in the polls.

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Another victim of Trump's broadsides yesterday was Texas congressman Joaquin Castro, the bearded twin brother of 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro, who has been accused of "encouraging violence" after posting the names of 44 Trump donors in his district on Twitter and saying: "Their contributions are fuelling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as invaders."

Already attacked by senior Republicans Kevin McCarthy, Ted Cruz and the president's son Don Jr - who appeared on Fox and Friends on Wednesday to draw an outrageous comparison between his list and the "kill list" once kept by the Ohio shooterConnor Betts - Castro then found himself the target of the president's latest round of childish insults.

Julian Castro struck a defiant note in his response to Trump.

Here's a little extra background to the controversy.

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While it should be said the Trump loyalists were also out in force in Dayton and El Paso yesterday, but the opposition to his visit was both considerable and remarkable given that showing up is in his job description and not doing so would only have provoked more criticism.

The Baby Trump blimp - fast becoming a regular at these gatherings - took to the sky once more and a collection of very fine protest placards were on show. Here are some of the best.

(Mark Ralston/AFP)

(Andres Leighton/AP)

(Mark Ralston/AFP)

(Mark Ralston/AFP)

(Andres Leighton/AP)

(Bryan Woolston/Reuters)

(Scott Olson/Getty)

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A few more choice examples from El Paso.

(Mario Tama/Getty)

(Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

(Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

(Leah Mills/Reuters)

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With all of that going on, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decided it was a good moment for its agents to detain 680 immigrants as a part of the mass deportation raids ordered by President Trump.

The raids were conducted at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi and were announced in a press release by ICE just as Trump was landing in Texas with the eyes of the world's media on him.

Here's Clark Mindock's report.

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Trump has said in private conversations that he is open to endorsing extensive background checks for gun buyers, prompting a warning from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and concerns among White House aides. 

The US president - speaking before he jetted out to Ohio and Texas yesterday - said there “was great appetite for background checks” amid an outcry over government inaction in the face of repeated mass shootings.

Trump’s previous declarations of support for tougher gun controls, including after the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, have foundered without a sustained push from the president and support from the NRA or Republican politicians.

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 The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee has asked a federal court to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify about President Trump's alleged efforts to impede the federal probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In a lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Washington on Wednesday, the committee insisted that McGahn's testimony is needed to decide whether to recommend the impeachment of the Republican president over actions that Democrats view as criminal attempts to obstruct then-special counsel Robert Mueller's 22-month investigation.

"McGahn... is the most important witness, other than the president, to the key events that are the focus of the Judiciary Committee's investigation," the lawsuit said.

The move represented the latest step toward impeachment by Democrats in the House of Representatives, who last week cited their impeachment drive in a court petition seeking access to Mueller's grand jury evidence.

Democrats predicted that the lawsuit, if successful, would dismantle a White House strategy to stonewall congressional probes by directing current and former Trump aides including McGahn not to testify or provide documents to investigators.

But the litigation could take months to resolve, with the lawsuit being filed as the political focus of many House lawmakers pivots toward the 2020 elections. The committee urged quick action by the court, saying that its inquiries will end with the current Congress.

Republicans criticised the lawsuit as a theatrical gesture geared more toward voters than congressional oversight.

"Their insistence on having Don McGahn testify publicly before the cameras further proves they are only interested in the fight and public spectacle of an investigation, but not actually in obtaining any real information," Doug Collins, the panel's top Republican said in a statement.

McGahn emerged as the star witness in the 448-page Mueller report released in April, but he defied a committee subpoena to testify a month later after the White House directed him not to cooperate with the panel.

McGahn told Mueller's investigation team that Trump pressed him repeatedly to have the special counsel removed and then to deny that he had been instructed to do so.

The lawsuit said Trump has denounced the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt" or a "hoax" over 300 times and noted that the president has also repeatedly disputed McGahn's claim about being directed to seek Mueller's removal.

"The fact that the president is trying to block him while simultaneously disputing what he said ... makes it that much clearer that there's no basis to block his testimony," one Democratic committee lawyer said.

Democrats said McGahn could also testify about alleged efforts by Trump to pressure then-attorney general Jeff Sessions to redirect the Russia probe away from his 2016 campaign, as well as White House discussions surrounding the firing of FBI director James Comey.

"The Judiciary Committee is now determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment," the lawsuit said. "But it cannot fulfill this most solemn constitutional responsibility without hearing testimony from a crucial witness to these events: former White House Counsel Donald F McGahn II."

Articles of impeachment represent a formal accusation of misconduct that would require 218 votes to pass the 435-member House. If the House approved an impeachment resolution against Trump, it would be up to the Republican-controlled Senate to hold a trial and possibly remove him from office.

Democrats said McGahn could deliver devastating testimony against Trump, similar to the testimony against former president Richard Nixon by then-White House counsel John Dean during the Watergate era.

"Don McGahn is Donald Trump's John Dean," a second Democratic lawyer for the committee said.

Mueller's investigation found numerous contacts between Moscow and the Trump campaign but did not establish enough evidence to prove that a conspiracy occurred. On obstruction, Mueller did not determine whether Trump committed a crime but also did not exonerate the president. Russia has denied meddling in the election.

Reuters

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