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Trump news: President responds to Iran seizing British ship, as he announces he spoke with Kanye West about A$AP Rocky

Amid increasing backlash over his racist comments about US congresswomen

Trump says he tried to stop 'send her back' chants but video proves he didn't

Donald Trump has responded to the Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard seizing at least one British oil tanker.

After saying he was in talks with the UK, Mr Trump - who pulled America out of the Iran Nuclear Deal last year - said: "This only goes to show what I'm saying about Iran. Trouble. Nothing but trouble."

The events come a day after Donald Trump said the US Navy "destroyed" an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, a claim Iran denied.

In the midst of the international tensions, which have escalated since Iran shot down a US drone in June, the president posted a tweet about his efforts to release imprisoned rapper A$AP Rocky.

The American star is currently in a Swedish prison while police finish their investigation into a fight that took place in downtown Stockholm.

“Just spoke to Kanye West about his friend A$AP Rocky's incarceration”, Mr Trump posted online. “I will be calling the very talented Prime Minister of Sweden to see what we can do about helping A$AP Rocky. So many people would like to see this quickly resolved!”

Earlier in the day, the feud between Donald Trump and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar raged on.

The president has faced increasing criticism over his racist attacks of the Somali-born Democrat.

Despite saying he disapproved of the “send her back” chants at a North Carolina rally, Donald Trump today praised the rally attendees as "incredible patriots," and said Representative Omar is “a disgrace to our country.”

The latest political figure to defend the freshman representative is Angela Merkel.

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The German Chancellor said Mr Trump's racist comments about Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib undermine America's strength" and that she stands in "solidarity" with the congresswomen.

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

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 09:37
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Iran has refuted Donald Trump’s claim that the USS Boxer, a US Navy amphibious assault ship, shot down one of its drones in the Strait of Hormuz, insisting all of its unmanned surveillance craft have returned home safely to their bases.

"All drones belonging to Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz... returned safely to their bases after their mission of identification and control, and there is no report of any operational response by USS Boxer," Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior armed forces spokesman, is quoted as saying by the Tasnim news agency.

Trump said on Thursday that the drone had flown to within "approximately 1,000 yards" of the vessel and had ignored "multiple calls to stand down" before being "destroyed" in the latest episode to stir tensions in the Gulf. 

Relations between Washington and Tehran have deteriorated badly since President Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 nuclear accord last year, with matters coming to a head in June when Iran's Revolutionary Guard shot down a US Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone, prompting Trump to order and then cancel retaliatory airstrikes with just 10 minutes to spare.

Here's Chris Riotta's report on Trump's original announcement.

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 09:45
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The president’s former director of communications, Hope Hicks, has been asked to return to the House Judiciary Committee to answer for inconsistencies between her testimony on the “hush money” payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal and information revealed by the unsealing of court records by federal prosecutors in New York, which indicated Trump had engaged in a flurry of phone calls with aides regarding the matter in 2016.

The records released on Wednesday detail the calls and texts, including some between Hicks and Trump and between Hicks and Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The Judiciary panel says the documents are inconsistent with Hicks' testimony that she had no knowledge of the payments and wasn't "present" for any conversations between Trump and Cohen about Daniels. 

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 10:00
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Trump has meanwhile attempted to distance himself from the "Send her home!" chants made against Somalia-born Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar at his rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday night - the culmination of the racist tweets row that has dominated Washington politics over the last week.

The president said he had attempted to move matters on by "speaking quickly" - which, if he did, was ineffective at best - but the admission at least indicated he appeared to feel his MAGA devotees had gone too far this time.

The chants ringing out provided many observers with an uncomfortable reminder of the "Lock her up!" cries directed against beaten opponent Hillary Clinton that rang out after Trump's election win in November 2016.

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 10:15
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For her part, Omar returned to her constituency in Minnesota to a hero’s welcome on Thursday, retaliatory chants of "Welcome home Ilhan!" greeting her when she landed at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport.

Omar had previously reporters at the Capitol that she believes the president is a "fascist" and cast the confrontation as a fight over "what this country truly should be." 

"We are going to continue to be a nightmare to this president because his policies are a nightmare to us. We are not deterred. We are not frightened," she said, referring to herself and fellow progressive "Squad" members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, whom Trump told to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came", an attempt to capitalise on Democratic infighting that has gone badly wrong.

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 10:30
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More damning video footage has emerged relating to the president's past, this time showing Trump bragging about kissing a married talk show host on the lips while her husband’s back was turned.

The newly unearthed segment from NBC’s A Closer Look reveals why Trump agreed to appear on Faith Daniels’ show and why he allowed her producers to film him partying with accused paedophile Jeffrey Epstein at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The 1992 programme - which features Trump ogling young women with Epstein - resurfaced on Wednesday and shows Daniels interviewing the real estate mogul and discussing the "surprise" kiss at a charity event in New York City.

Here's Adam Forrest's report.

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 10:45
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Trump has announced his preferred replacement for Alexander Acosta as labour secretary after the latter was forced to resign over his part in the cushy Epstein plea deal of 2008.

That man is lawyer Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

"Gene has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected not only as a lawyer, but as a lawyer with great experience" working "with labor and everyone else," Trump wrote of Scalia, who is currently a partner in the Washington office of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher firm. 

If confirmed, it will be a return to the department, where Scalia previously served as solicitor in President George W Bush's administration, overseeing litigation and legal advice on rule-makings and administrative law. He has also worked for the US Department of Justice. 

Trump had previously announced that Acosta would be succeeded in an acting capacity by his deputy, Patrick Pizzella.

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 11:00
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Here's Ilhan Omar's fellow Squad member - Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - with a strong line on the consequences of the president's racist rhetoric and the alarming chanting heard in Greenville. 

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 11:15
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A clip of another person Trump engaged in a drawn out and unseemly feud with - the late Arizona senator and Vietnam war hero John McCain - has gone viral in reaction to the racist tweets furore.

Shot in October 2008 when McCain was the Republican presidential candidate challenging Barack Obama, he is seen graciously putting a racist supporter in her place when she says the Democrat is untrustworthy because he is "an Arab".

Greg Evans has this for Indy100.

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 11:30
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You must know something is wrong with your policy when it necessitates the arrest of protesting nuns, surely?

Joe Sommerlad19 July 2019 11:45

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