As it happenedended1598052918

Trump news: Under-fire postmaster general says he has 'no intention' of returning mail sorting machines

Senate committee interrogates US Postal Service chief as GOP prepares for 2020 convention

Barack Obama gives unprecedented speech attacking Trump at DNC 2020

Donald Trump said he would send law enforcement officers to polling locations for this November's presidential election in comments branded "an attack on America" by a former White House ethics chief.

“We're going to have sheriffs, and we're going to have law enforcement, and we're going to have hopefully US attorneys, and we're going to have everybody and attorney generals (sic),” Mr Trump told Fox News after host Sean Hannity asked if he would have "poll watchers".

Meanwhile, his Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said on Friday there was “no intention” to return mail sorting machines that were removed in recent weeks, after it was reported that at least 671 machines were removed in critical voting states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Georgia, among others.

The postmaster general said those machines were “not needed”, while adding that he supports vote-by-mail efforts amid the pandemic.

Mr DeJoy, who has overseen sweeping cuts at the agency following his appointment by the president in June, told a US Senate committee he would be voting by mail in fall elections and insisted that the "American people should feel comfortable that the Postal Service will deliver on this election" despite the president's constant threats to undermine the agency.

On Friday, the president and his family held a funeral service for his brother Robert Trump, who died on 16 August. He was 71. The president held a service in the East Room of the White House.

A group of anti-Trump Republicans have meanwhile seized on the arrest of former Trump campaign chief and senior White House adviser Steve Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to fraud in an an alleged US-Mexico border wall crowdfunding scheme. He is the subject of an advert targeting Fox News views during next week's 2020 Republican National Convention.

GOP officials and the president are preparing for the event following Joe Biden's official nomination as the Democrats' nominee after his party's week-long convention, during which Democrats and several Republicans condemned the current administration and the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of US politics.

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 08:10
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Trump willing to help QAnon conspiracy theorists ‘save the world’

Donald Trump gave new hope to QAnon conspiracy theorists who believe he is waging a secret war against a deep state of paedophile cannibals by saying that he would be willing to help them “save the world”.

Asked at his daily press conference what he thinks about the QAnon movement, the president said he didn’t know much about it other than they “like him very much, which I appreciate”.

At the crux of the theory is a belief that the president is secretly working to save the world from a satanic cult of paedophiles and cannibals. When asked if that was something he was behind, Trump said he was willing to put himself “out there” to help.

“Well I haven’t heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? You know, if I can help save the world from some problems, I’m willing to do it, I’m willing to put myself out there,” Trump said.

The Biden campaign said Trump’s response to QAnon was another example of the president “giving voice to violence”.

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 08:12
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Obama attacks Trump’s ‘reality show’ presidency

Barack Obama used his DNC speech described Joe Biden as his “brother” and warned that American democracy could falter if Donald Trump is re-elected in the autumn.

The former president offered a stunning rebuke of his successor and pleaded with voters to “embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure”.

He warned: “Because that’s what is at stake right now. Our democracy.”

Obama said Trump would “tear our democracy down” in order to win re-election, and accused the president of dealing in “crazy conspiracy theories”.

He also said: “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job, because he can’t. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously.”

He added that Trump has “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show”.

 

Barack Obama (Reuters)

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 08:20
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Kamala Harris accuses Trump of ‘failure of leadership’

Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday night, imploring Americans to elect Joe Biden in November and accusing Donald Trump of a “failure of leadership” that had “cost lives and livelihoods” during a pandemic.

Making history as the first Black woman and Asian-American on a major US presidential ticket, Harris said Trump’s divisive leadership had brought the country to an “inflection point” and made a direct appeal to the party’s diverse electorate.

“The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone,” the California senator and former prosecutor said.

“We must elect a president... who will bring all of us together – Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous – to achieve the future we collectively want. We must elect Joe Biden.”

 

Kamala Harris (AFP)

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 08:23
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Trump administration to call for resumption of Iran sanctions

The Trump administration is expected to demand the restoration of all international sanctions on Iran in a move that is set to further isolate the US at the United Nations.

At Donald Trump’s direction, secretary of state Mike Pompeo will travel to New York on Thursday to notify the world body that the US is invoking the “snapback” mechanism in the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“The United States intends to restore virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran,” Trump said on Wednesday. “It’s a snapback.”

As set out by the resolution enshrining the 2015 deal, snapback would re-impose UN sanctions that were eased in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. But the US move faces steep opposition and could prompt a revolt from the council’s other members.

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 08:31
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Trump fires back at Obama

Donald Trump clearly did not enjoy his predecessor Barack Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention last night.

The president responded in two all-caps tweets, accusing Obama of having “SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN” – also asking why Obama had refused to “ENDORSE SLOW JOE UNTIL IT WAS ALL OVER.”

He also added: “Welcome, Barack and Crooked Hillary. See you on the field of battle!”

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 08:42
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Clinton says Harris can take GOP’s ‘slings and arrows’

Hillary Clinton urged voters who regret putting Trump in the White House over her four years ago not to make the same mistake in 2020, and to back Biden.

“I wish Donald Trump knew how to be a president, because America needs a president right now,” she the former Democratic candidate.

Clinton added that she empathised with the “slings and arrows” Harris will face from the Republican party in the campaign. “But believe me, this former district attorney and attorney general can handle them all.”

The former US secretary of state said: “For four years, people have said to me: ‘I didn’t realise how dangerous he was. I wish I could go back and do it over.’ Or worst: ‘I should have voted.’

“Well, this can't be another woulda coulda shoulda election. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line – because they are.”

Ironically, the person who may miss Clinton as much as anyone is Trump. He has had a difficult time demonising Biden the way he did with “crooked Hillary” – taking advantage of the antipathy some swing voters held toward her.

 

Hillary Clinton (EPA)

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 09:08
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Trump standing in way of progress, says Pelosi

Speaker Nancy Pelsoi told the DNC she had experienced first-hand Trump’s “disrespect for facts, for working families and for women”.

Pelosi advocated the HEROES Act, the Democrats’ $3.4 trillion emergency plan to deal with coronavirus impacts which has been rejected by the White House Republicans in the Senate, in her convention speech.

Pelosi said the legislation was “essential to safeguard lives, livelihood and the life of our democracy”.

“And who is standing in the way? Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.”

Nancy Pelosi addresses DNC (AP)

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 09:20
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‘Biden has some really good plans,’ says Warren

Leading progressive Elizabeth Warren – known for saying “I’ve got a plan for that” during her own campaign – hailed Joe Biden’s policy platform.

“I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has some really good plans — plans to bring back union jobs in manufacturing and create new union jobs in clean energy,” the Massachusetts senator told the DNC.

“Plans to increase Social Security benefits, cancel billions in student loan debt and make our bankruptcy laws work for families instead of the creditors who cheat them.”

Warren also said that Trump’s “ignorance and incompetence have been a threat to our country”.

Elizabeth Warren addresses DNC (AP)

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 09:44
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Trump administration statements on Iran ‘absurd’, says Russia

Russia described statements by the United States on re-imposing UN sanctions against Iran as absurd, adding that it has no legal or political grounds to do so, the RIA news agency cited deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Thursday.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo warned Russia and China not to disregard the reimposition of all UN sanctions on Iran, which Donald Trump has directed him to trigger at the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday.

Ryabkov added that such a step would result in crisis at the UN security council, the Interfax news agency cited him as saying.

Adam Forrest20 August 2020 09:54

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