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As it happenedended1558376547

Trump news: President threatens to 'end' Iran and blasts Republican congressman who accused him of 'impeachable conduct'

Follow the latest updates from Washington as it happened

Clark Mindock
New York
,Joe Sommerlad
Monday 20 May 2019 11:39 BST
Joe Biden takes aim at Donald Trump's 'alternative facts' during campaign rally

Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to threaten Iran and harangue Republican congressman Justin Amash for suggesting he had engaged in “impeachable conduct” while also criticising Fox News for “wasting airtime” by covering his 2020 Democratic challengers.

“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” the president wrote in response to heated rhetoric from Tehran and the firing of a rocket close to the US embassy in Iraq as tensions over sanctions and the US military presence in the Gulf continue.

Mr Trump was annoyed by a Twitter thread written by Representative Amash in response to his reading of the Mueller report and Fox for broadcasting a town hall event with Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, rare examples of him turning on his allies.

Mr Buttigieg has mounted a surprisingly strong candidacy, but would still need to beat Joe Biden if he hopes to take Mr Trump on during the 2020 election.

Meanwhile in the 2020 election, Mr Biden saw some troubling polls in Iowa, where Bernie Sanders tied up with him in the state.

Elizabeth Warren followed behind those two men, but posted the best favourability ratings in the poll that was released.

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

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 08:59

Donald Trump has warned Iran it faces being destroyed in a war with the US, amid escalating tensions between the two countries.

Trump spoke out shortly after it was reported that a rocket had landed less than a mile from the US embassy in Iraq. The Katyusha missile crashed into Baghdad’s Green Zone without causing any casualties.

Relations between the US and Iran have deteriorated rapidly since Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran almost a year ago.

Here's Peter Stubley with more.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 09:27

The president had another busy weekend on Twitter, also taking to task Republican congressman Justin Amash after the Michigan representative became the first member of the GOP to accuse Trump of engaging in "impeachable conduct".

Amash, branded a "total lightweight" and a "loser" by the commander-in-chief, had made the comment in a long Twitter thread on Saturday.

Speaking on CNN's State of the Union yesterday, former Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said Amash had made a "courageous statement" but declined to back him up.

Here's Adam Forrest on Amash.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 09:45

Trump also attacked his allies at Fox News over their decision to host a town hall event with 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg in Claremont, New Hampshire.

The president appeared to be dictating what the powerful right-wing network should and should not broadcast, accusing them of "wasting airtime" and repeating his insulting comparison of Mayor Pete to Mad magazine mascot Alfred E Neuman, albeit misspelling the name in his tweet.

Buttigieg's performance on the show, in which he daringly criticised Fox hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, saw him receive a standing ovation.

Trump wasn't done there, also accusing Fox of "false reporting" on the immigration crisis.

He didn't seem to mind when they demonised the migrant caravan during the 2018 midterms.

Here's Victoria Gagliardo-Silver on Mayor Pete.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 10:05

The timing of this vitriol was odd given the president had just given an exclusive interview to the channel with Steve Hilton, former adviser to our own dear prime minister David Cameron pre-Brexit.

Trump boasted about his capacity for "changing laws" and his Twitter following, was vague about his overhaul of immigration and rowed back on the support for universal healthcare he espoused in 2016.

He also said his tariffs on Chinese goods are causing companies to move production out of China to Vietnam and other countries in Asia, and added that any agreement with China cannot be a "50-50" deal. No further trade talks between top Chinese and US trade negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended on 10 May - the same day Trump raised the tariff rate on $200bn (£157bn) worth of Chinese products from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 10:25

Here's a recap of the president's weekend on Twitter from Clark Mindock.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 10:45

The New York Times reports today that anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank once recommended transactions involving entities controlled by President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, should be investigated by the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Executives at Deutsche Bank rejected the advice of their specialists, according to The Times, which came between 2016 and 2017.

The nature of the suspect transactions "was not clear," said the newspaper, although it added that at least some of them involved "money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious".

Deutsche became one of the few big lenders willing to hand money to the Trump Organization in recent years. Trump businesses borrowed more than $300m (£235m) from the bank to finance a golf course in Florida and hotels in Chicago and Washington, according to financial disclosures and public filings from 2012 to 2015.

Here's Ben Chapman's report.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 11:05

Elizabeth Warren - who last week refused to follow Mayor Pete onto Fox - has impressed many with her clear-eyed focus on policy since declaring her 2020 candidacy, particularly with regard to education.

Depressingly, her performance has done little to sway the opinion polls in her favour so far.

Here she is doing well on Twitter.

Clark Mindock has this special report on her campaign.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 11:20

Saudi Arabia has joined in with President Trump's chastisement of Iran, warning its near-neighbour it will fight with "all force and determination" and "defend itself, its citizens and its interests".

Here's some background from CNN's New Day.

And here's Jane Dalton's report on the reaction from Riyadh.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 11:35

Trump has come out against Alabama’s abortion ban, suggesting the issue risked dividing Republicans ahead of the 2020 election. 

The southern state’s Republican government last week passed America’s most restrictive abortion law, banning procedures in all instances other than when the mother’s health is at risk.

The bill, which does not include exceptions in cases of rape and incest, passed 26-6 in the senate and was later signed into law by governor Kay Ivey. 

Tom Embury-Dennis has more.

Joe Sommerlad20 May 2019 11:50

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