As it happenedended1551946117

Trump news – President ‘very disappointed’ in reports North Korea rebuilding missile site as Democrats threaten impeachment

Read along for coverage of Washington politics, as it happend

Donald Trump calls effort to get Jared Kushner files 'a disgrace'

Donald Trump has said he is "very, very disappointed" to hear that North Korea is rebuilding a missile site that Pyongyang has said will be closed amid ongoing denuclearisation negotiations.

Earlier, the president lashed out at a number of old enemies on Twitter, including Hillary Clinton, showing his growing frustration with House Democrats and the investigations surrounding him.

In those tweets, the president accused the Democrats of “playing games” by instigating “McCarthyite” congressional investigations against him rather than getting on with the business of government, refusing to hand over files related to his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance to the House Oversight Committee and indicating he might not co-operate with the House Judiciary Committee’s abuse of power investigation into his inner circle.

As the investigations into Mr Trump have swirled, a damning new poll has emerged suggesting two-thirds of American voters believe he committed a crime before his election.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump also walked back his decision to pull all US troops out of Syria, saying he now agreed “100 per cent” with keeping a military presence there.

Meanwhile, the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, will return to Capitol Hill for a fourth day of testimony.

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

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 10:44
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President Trump laid into his Democratic rivals on Twitter last night, mocking both 2016 rival Hillary Clinton and billionaire party donor Tom Steyer for their decisions not to run against him in 2020.

"Aw-shucks, does that mean I won’t get to run against her again? She will be sorely missed!" he sneered at Ms Clinton before applying one of his signature nicknames to the hedge fund philanthropist, branding him "Weirdo Tom Steyer" and saying he lacked the "guts" to run.

He also retweeted attacks on the House Democrats' "fishing expeditions" into his affairs from his press secretary Sarah Sanders and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, as well as another plug for Fox News, broadcasting an interview with Republican congressman Jim Jordan on the opposition's "colossally stupid decision to overreach with overbroad subpoenas".

In another tweet, he quoted Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer who was appointed to the president’s ill-fated commission on election integrity, to support his contention Democrats are “copying Joseph McCarthy” and “don’t have any evidence of wrongdoing.”

Here's Tom Embury-Dennis on the president's latest fever dream.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 11:02
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The president appears to be digging in his heels on the investigations, the White House refusing to turn over information on his son-in-law Jared Kushner's security clearance, granted in spite of concerns raised by intelligence officials.

Mr Trump branded the decision "a disgrace" before addressing a gathering of military veterans on suicide among former members of the armed forces from the Roosevelt Room.

House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings said he is considering his "next steps".

Here's Clark Mindock.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 11:08
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Here's a little more on that, with CNN reporting the president also pressured former chief-of-staff John Kelly and ex-White House counsel to grant the same access to his daughter Ivanka.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 11:21
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The president's new line of attack is to accuse House Democrats of wasting the government's time with "hoax" investigations.

“Essentially what they are saying is the campaign begins,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “Instead of doing infrastructure, instead of doing healthcare, instead of doing so many things they should be doing, they want to play games.”

He also hinted he might not necessarily co-operate with Jerrold Nadler's House Judiciary Committee.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 11:35
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Meanwhile, a damaging poll from Quinnipac University has found that a staggering 45 percent of American voters surveyed believe President Trump committed a crime before he was elected.

Here's Chris Baynes.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 11:51
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This was the response from "Crooked Hillary" to the president's taunting tweet by the way.

Absolutely textbook use of a Mean Girls GIF.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 12:10
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Michael Cohen is due back before the House Intelligence Committee today for another private hearing after three days of headline-grabbing testimony on Capitol Hill last week.

The question of whether he discussed presidential pardons with White House attorneys after the FBI raided his home and business premises last April is thought to be on the bill for the latest behind-closed-doors session.

No pardon was ever given and Cohen ultimately wound up pleading guilty and cooperating against the president in separate investigations by the special counsel and by federal prosecutors in New York. He begins a three-year jail sentence in May.

While there is nothing inherently improper about a subject in a criminal investigation seeking a pardon from a president given the president's wide latitude in granting them, representatives have requested information about talks on possible pardons for Cohen and other defendants close to the president who have become entangled in Mueller's investigation. 

The House Intelligence Committee's chairman Adam Schiff said after last week's private meeting with Cohen that the committee had "additional document requests" that they were discussing with him. Mr Schiff would not comment on the substance of the interview, but said it helped "to shed light on a lot of issues that are very core to our investigation". 

The intelligence panel is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Mr Trump's campaign coordinated with the Russians in any way. They are also looking into Trump's foreign financial dealings and whether there was obstruction of justice.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 12:25
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In his dramatic appearance before the House Oversight Committee last week, one of Cohen's revelations was that the president asked him to threaten his old schools in order to ensure they would not release his exam grades to the media.

Here's more on how Mr Trump sought to bury the past.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 12:40
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This should not be overlooked.

Just two months after President Trump announced all American troops would be leaving Syria, the commander-in-chief has backpedalled on his decision in a letter to Congress, stating he now agrees “100 per cent” with keeping a military presence in the conflict-struck country.

Here's Sarah Harvard.

Joe Sommerlad6 March 2019 12:55

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