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Trump news: Impeachment case 'to be made by Mueller this week', as president attempts to defend his racism in press conference

Jerry Nadler says Mueller report presents 'very substantial evidence' Donald Trump guilty of 'high crimes and misdemeanors'

Donald Trump's “high crimes and misdemeanours” will be made public when Robert Mueller gives testimony before Congress later this week, says House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Mr Nadler said the former FBI special counsel has “substantial evidence” that the president violated the law “six ways from Sunday”, which will be made clear to the American people when Mr Mueller discusses the evidence contained in his 448-page report into the administration before his panel and the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

In a new embarrassment for the administration, US Customs and Border Protection has been forced to admit that no new stretches of Mr Trump's much-promised border wall have actually been built since he took office in January 2017 - all the work ongoing so far has been to repair pre-existing barriers.

Donald Trump said officials in Iran “lie a lot” while refuting Tehran’s insinuations the US did not take down one of its unmanned drones.

“We took down one of their drones. Instead of saying 'yeah that happened,' they lied. They say it didn't happen,” he said. “So there's a lot of proof. It's called, take a look at it on the ocean floor."

Mr Trump meanwhile said on Monday he could win the war in Afghanistan in a week, but that he doesn’t want to kill millions of people and wipe Afghanistan “off the face of the earth.”

The president met with the prime minister of Pakistan at the White House to start the week, while trying to persuade Pakistan to help get a deal with the Taliban that would end America’s longest war.

“I could win that war in a week” but “I don’t want to kill millions of people,” he said.

Afghanistan is high on Mr Trump’s agenda as he meets with Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan. Their testy relationship may be improving. Mr Trump says Pakistan can use its influence with the Taliban to help the US “extricate” from Afghanistan.

Pakistan, which is suffering economically, wants to reset relations with the US in hopes of securing more investment, trade and possibly a restoration of American aid that Mr Trump cut.

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Mr Khan said he’s never believed that there was a military solution to the war. He said he thinks the US and the Taliban are closer to a peace deal than ever before.

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.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 10:03
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Donald Trump's “high crimes and misdemeanours” will be made public when Robert Mueller gives testimony before Congress later this week, says House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Nadler said the former FBI special counsel has “substantial evidence” that the president violated the law “six ways from Sunday”, which will be made clear to the American people when Mueller discusses the evidence contained in his 448-page report into the administration before his panel and the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in back-to-back hearings.

"We have to present - or let Mueller present - those facts to the American people ... because the administration must be held accountable and no president can be above the law," Nadler said. 

While the report, released in April, did not find sufficient evidence to establish charges of criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to swing the election, it said Trump could not be cleared of trying to obstruct the investigation. But Mueller believed Trump couldn't be indicted in part because of a Justice Department opinion against prosecuting a sitting president. 

Mueller has said he doesn't intend to speak beyond the findings of the report in congressional hearings. 

Still, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee plan to focus on a narrow set of episodes laid out in the report to direct Americans' attention to what they see as the most egregious examples of Trump's conduct, which point to obstruction of justice. 

The examples include Trump's directions to then-White House counsel Don McGahn to have Mueller removed and, later, orders from Trump to McGahn to deny that happened. Democrats also will focus questioning on a series of meetings Trump had with former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in which the Republican president directed Lewandowski to persuade then-attorney general Jeff Sessions to limit Mueller's investigation. 

Georgia congressman Doug Collins, the top Republican on Nadler's committee, argued that "any thought of impeachment is waning" and that the American public has moved on. He said Republicans will be focused in their questioning on making clear that the Mueller report represents a "final episode" in the Russia probe, which he described as flawed. 

"Remember, the Mueller report is a one-sided report. It has not been questioned from the other side. This is our chance to do that," Collins said. 

Here's Colin Drury's report.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 10:08
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Mueller's appearance comes more than two years since the start of the Russia investigation, an extraordinary moment in Trump's presidency when, after Trump had fired FBI director James Comey, his Justice Department appointed Mueller to take over the inquiry into election interference and the potential role that Trump and his winning 2016 campaign may have played. 

While Mueller's testimony was once envisioned as a crystalising event, a Watergate-style moment to uncover truths, public attention has drifted in the months since the report was released. 

"We want Bob Mueller to bring it to life, to talk about what's in that report," said Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "It's a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race welcoming help from a hostile foreign power, not reporting it but eagerly embracing it, building it into their campaign strategy, lying about it to cover up, then obstructing an investigation into foreign interference again to try to cover up." 

Intelligence committee aides have said they believe the public has received a slanted view of what Mueller found on the question of criminal conspiracy because of Trump's repeated claims of "no collusion," and that the details of Russia's interference in the election - and the outreach to the Trump campaign - haven't gotten enough attention. 

"Who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself?" Schiff asked. 

Nadler said he's not worried that Republicans might seek to attack the credibility of the Russia investigation and says he hopes to take cues from the public after the hearing about "where we go from here." 

"We hope it won't end up being a dud," he said. 

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 10:25
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Over the weekend, President Trump was in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he crashed a couple’s wedding at one of his golf resorts as the MAGA-supporting guests broke out in chants of "USA! USA!"

Groom PJ Mongelli later told CNN that Trump showing up at the wedding “was a complete and utter surprise”.

He reportedly arrived during the cocktail hour to meet the bride, Nicole Marie, before making a second appearance at the reception at the request of the newlyweds.

The occasion included MAGA-themed apparel and Trump flags.

Here's Chiara Giordano's report.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 10:40
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If you thought, the racist tweets row had blown over: think again.

Veep Mike Pence, senior adviser Stephen Miller and Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney were all doing the rounds of the Sunday talk shows yesterday and all failed spectacularly in their attempts to defend the president.

But Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson might just have topped them all with this effort.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 10:55
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One man who has had a lot to say about Trump's latest pivot to racism is House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings.

After delivering one of the great rebukes of our time to acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan on the detention of migrant children at the border last week...

...Cummings told ABC's This Week's yesterday that the president's "go back" tweets are unquestionably racist and triggered traumatic memories of his being attacked as a young man in 1962 while trying to integrate a swimming pool in Baltimore, Maryland.

“I heard the same kind of chants, ‘Go home, you don’t belong here,’” Cummings told George Stephanopoulos. “I’m not the only person of colour who has had those kind of experiences.”

Here's Chris Riotta on Cummings saying that his constituents have told him they are "scared" of the president's latest maneuverings.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 11:10
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Speaking of the immigration crisis, the US Customs and Border Protection agency has confirmed that no new stretches of Trump's much-promised wall have actually been built since he took office in January 2017 - a major embarrassment for the "master builder" president.

The 51 miles of fencing that have been completed has simply replaced existing barriers.

Here's Colin Drury.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 11:25
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White House security officials have been gossiping to Axios about the president's love of goading his hawkish national security adviser John Bolton over his lust for military action.

As Iran claims to have captured spies working for the US and accuses Bolton of trying to start “the war of the century”, new details have emerged of Trump’s fondness for baiting his adviser in the company of top officials - including foreign dignitaries.

During a White House Situation Room meeting last year, Trump reportedly said: “OK, John, let me guess, you want to nuke them all?”

At another Oval Office gathering to discuss the imminent arrival of Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, Trump joked: “John, is Ireland one of those countries you want to invade?”

Adam Forrest has this report.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 11:40
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Trump's latest tweets see him pledging to meet with senior Democrat and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer on the border, retweeting Judge Jeanine Pirro and former Tory adviser Steve Hilton from Fox and calling on "The Squad" to apologise to Israel over comments Congresswoman Ilhan Omar once made about the disproportionate influence of its lobbyists in DC.

Here's more from Chris Riotta.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 11:55
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Trump is meeting with Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan at the White House today and matters got off to a bad start when no US delegation was present to roll out the red carpet for Khan when his plane arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, meaning he was left to catch the terminal bus like every other punter.

The pair have a history. Trump tweeted this on New Year's Day 2018, bringing an end to US aid to the country:

That was followed in November with another tweet, this time accusing Islamabad of sheltering al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden

The duo are now looking to reset relations but it will not be easy, with members of Congress writing to Trump to express concern about forced conversion in the country and the president only last week hosting an Ahmadiyya Muslim who said he suffered persecution in Pakistan.

Joe Sommerlad22 July 2019 12:10

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