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President warns army cadets against 'passion and prejudice', after bowing to pressure over Juneteenth rally

Conrad Duncan,Danielle Zoellner
Saturday 13 June 2020 17:03
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Trump ad trails new rallies despite coronavirus pandemic

Donald Trump attended the US Military Academy's graduation for West Point in New York on Saturday, where he gave a commencement speech warning against "passion and prejudice" during moments of that are "turbulent" and "rough".

The comments came nearly two weeks after the president threatened to deploy the military to cities across the United States to control Black Lives Matter protests, which out of anger towards police brutality displayed against African Americans.

Mr Trump also mentioned the coronavirus during his speech, declaring how the US will "vanquish" the "invisible enemy", just a few days after cases in the country topped 2 million people and the CDC warned the death toll could reach 130,000 by 4 July. Following the graduation ceremony, the president returned to his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey where he is staying for the weekend.

The Trump campaign faced backlash this week for scheduling Mr Trump's first campaign rally since the start of the coronavirus pandemic on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In a move not often seen by the president, he bowed to pressure and moved the date of the rally to prevent further backlash. Now the rally would take place on 20 June.

Conversations surrounding the president's controversial walk from the White House to St John's Episcopal Church last week only continue, as the Secret Service amends its initial statement about the event.

The agency previously said no pepper spray was used on protesters in Lafayette Park as a means to disperse the crowd so Mr Trump could make his walk. But now the agency has said one employee used the pepper spray "in response to an assaultive individual".

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

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 08:50
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Trump says police chokeholds sound ‘so innocent, so perfect’

Donald Trump has claimed police chokeholds sound “so innocent and so perfect” during a Fox News interview but suggested he would generally support calls to end their use.

The president said he did not like the practice of using chokeholds and would “generally speaking” support ending it before adding that there were scenarios where the practice could be necessary.

“I think the concept of chokehold sounds so innocent, so perfect,” Mr Trump told Fox News on Friday night.

“And then you realise, if it’s a one-on-one. Now, if it’s two-on-one, that’s a little bit of a different story.

“Depending on the toughness and strength - you know, we’re talking about toughness and strength. There’s a physical thing here also.”

Some US police forces have already moved to ban the use of chokeholds following the killing of George Floyd and subsequent anti-racism protests across the country.

You can find Mr Trump's comments in full below:

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 09:08
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Dr Fauci raises concerns about Covid-19 risk at Trump rallies

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’ top infectious diseases expert, has warned against holding election rallies during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the risk of people acquiring or spreading the virus at large gatherings.

His warning came ahead of a planned Trump campaign rally in Oklahoma next week and amid concerns that the quick reopening of the US could lead to a second wave of infections.

“I have not specifically spoken to [Trump] about that, but the principles that I have been espousing hold true,” Dr Fauci told CNN.

“The best thing to do is to avoid crowded areas. But if you're not going to do that, please wear a mask.”

The health expert has also said people should avoid Black Lives Matter protests for the same reason, as social distancing is difficult in crowded areas.

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 09:20
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Trump moves rally date for ‘Juneteenth’ holiday

Donald Trump has said he will shift the date of an Oklahoma rally from 19 June, the date of the “Juneteenth” holiday, to 20 June out of respect for a day commemorating the end of US slavery.

The president had faced criticism for scheduling his first campaign rally in months on a day known by African-Americans as Freedom Day.

“Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 09:26
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Senior US and China officials to meet in Hawaii in attempt to ease tensions, reports say

Senior officials from the US and China are planning to meet in Hawaii in an attempt to ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies over various issues, according to media reports.

Politico said Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, was planning the trip “quietly” and arrangements had not yet been finalised.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post cited an unidentified source who said Yang Jiechi, a state council and member of the Communist Party Politburo, would represent China at the meeting.

Relations between the countries have deteriorated in recent months over issues on trade and the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, Mr Pompeo said China could have prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world if it had been more transparent about Covid-19 during the early stages of the outbreak.

The US State Department and the Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 09:40
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Taylor Swift calls for removal of racist monuments in Tennessee

Taylor Swift has called for the removal of monuments which celebrate slave owners and other “racist historical figures” in her home state of Tennessee.

The pop star, who has become an outspoken critic of Mr Trump in recent years, urged lawmakers to take down the statues amid anti-racism protests around the world.

“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” Swift tweeted.

Our music correspondent, Roisin O’Connor, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 09:51
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Trump compares his administration’s work for black community to Lincoln

Donald Trump has repeated his claim that he has done more for the black community than any other president, suggesting only Abraham Lincoln compares to his administration’s achievements.

In a bizarre Fox News interview with Harris Faulkner, who is black, Mr Trump suggested Lincoln’s achievements might have been greater but added that it was “always questionable”.

“I think I've done more for the black community than any other president. And let's take a pass on Abraham Lincoln 'cause he did good, although it's always questionable. You know, in other words, the end result,” the president said, without providing further explanation.

Ms Faulkner then interrupted: “But we are free, Mr President. He did pretty well.”

“We are free. You understand what I mean. I'm going to take a pass on Abe - Honest Abe as we call him,” Mr Trump replied.

You can find the exchange below:

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 10:17
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Andrew Cuomo signs police reform package banning chokeholds in New York

New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a police reform agenda that includes the banning of chokeholds in the state following the killing of George Floyd.

On Friday, Mr Cuomo signed the “Say Their Name” agenda package, which will introduce a series of police reforms such as banning chokeholds by officers and prohibiting false race-based 911 reports.

Our reporter, Louise Hall, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 10:31
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Temporary tear gas bans introduced in Dallas and Seattle

Officials in Dallas and Seattle have ordered temporary bans on the use of tear gas and other chemical agents against peaceful protesters amid anti-racism demonstrations across the country.

US District Judge Sam Lindsay approved a consent decree in Dallas requiring police to agree to not use smoke bombs, flashbangs, pepperballs, Mace and other chemical agents against peaceful demonstrators.

Police also agreed to not fire impact projectiles, such as rubber bullets, bean bags or sponges at protesters.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Seattle ordered a temporary ban on the use of tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang devices for 14 days.

A Black Lives Matter group sued the Seattle Police Department this week to halt the use of violent tactics by police to break up largely peaceful protests.

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 10:43
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Trump administration rolls back healthcare protections for transgender people and abortion access

The Trump administration has rolled back anti-discrimination healthcare protections for women and transgender people by reversing a rule which would prevent some organisations refusing to provide services such as abortion or gender-affirming care.

The rule changes could allow health providers to deny coverage and care to women and transgender people - a pressing concern during the coronavirus pandemic.

Our reporter, Alex Woodward, has the full story below:

Conrad Duncan13 June 2020 11:00

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