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Trump news: President 'fires pollsters' over results as Fox News survey has him trailing every single major Democratic candidate

Follow the latest updates from Washington, as it happened

Trump tells his coughing chief-of-staff to get out of the Oval Office: 'You just can't cough'

Donald Trump's re-election team have cut ties with several pollsters after survey results were leaked to the press indicating the president would lose to his Democratic rivals in four key battleground states in 2020.

Those leaks have been accompanied by some more worrisome news for the incumbent: a new poll from Fox News finds him 10-points behind Joe Biden, nine behind Bernie Sanders and also forecast to lose in hypothetical match ups with Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg.

Mr Trump spent his weekend attacking the “Corrupt News Media” on Twitter, and accusing The New York Times of “a virtual act of treason”. Meanwhile, he was honoured by Israel, which renamed a settlement in the Golan Heights in his honour.

As those troubling 2020 stats have trained eyes in Washington, the US State Department announced that it would no longer provide aid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatamala until those countries take "concrete actions" to deter migrants from making their way north to the US.

And, comedian Jon Stewart has continued his fight to get funding for 9/11 victims to pass Congress, with his most recent spat coming with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

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

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 09:32

Donald Trump's re-election team have cut ties with several pollsters after survey results were leaked to the press indicating the president would lose to his Democratic rivals in four key battleground states in 2020.

The internal findings for 17 states, recorded in March, revealed Trump would lose to Joe Biden in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida. They painted a bleak picture for the incumbent, with reliable Midwestern states and even the Republican stronghold of Georgia looking shaky for him next year.

Increasingly angered by reporting on the polls, Trump told George Stephanopoulos of ABC last week: "Those polls don’t exist... I just had a meeting with somebody that’s a pollster and I’m winning everywhere, so I don’t know what you’re talking about."

Campaign manager Brad Parscale has now acted - dropping three of the campaign's five pollsters: Adam Geller, Michael Baselice and Brett Lloyd (president and CEO of the Polling Company, once home to embattled Trump counsellor Kellyanne Conway). 

Two other pollsters, Tony Fabrizio and John McLaughlin, will remain with the campaign. Oddly, it was Fabrizio who carried out the offending poll, according to The New York Times.

Before shooting his messengers, Parscale admitted the results were accurate but sought to dismiss their significance, declaring in a statement on Friday: "These leaked numbers are ancient, in campaign terms, from months-old polling that began in March before two major events had occurred: the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the president, and the beginning of the Democrat candidates defining themselves with their far-left policy message."

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 09:47

In worse news for the incumbent, a new poll from highly partisan Fox News finds him 10-points behind Biden, nine behind Bernie Sanders and also projected to lose against Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg at the ballot box.

He won't like this one bit.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 10:00

The president has had a big weekend slamming the media on Twitter.

Having already caused a furore by resuming his attack on mayor of London Sadiq Khan by retweeting hysteria from hateful provocatrix Katie Hopkins on crime statistics in the capital (ignoring Washington's own, higher murder rate)...

...Trump laid into The New York Times, accusing the newspaper of “a virtual act of treason” over a story suggesting the US was involved in cyber-attacks on Russia's power grid.

Here's the story that so angered the president.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 10:10

Also on social media, the president wished his public a Happy Father's Day, saying it was "a FANTASTIC time to be an American!", and celebrated the four-year anniversary of his campaign launch by reposting an old video montage of celebrities saying he couldn't win in 2016 (set, ill-advisedly, to Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King").

He also dug up age old controversies regarding "Crooked Hillary", mocked Democrats over an impeachment rally in New York and congratulated Fox pundit Pete Hegseth on his engagement and Gary Woodland on winning the United States Open Golf Championship.

From anyone else, this might have seemed eccentric. From the Donald, just business as usual.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 10:25

Trump also gloried in Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to rename a settlement in the Golan Heights after him in thanks for the US president's highly controversial decision to acknowledge the region as Israel's territory, in defiance of the international consensus.

Here's more on the grand unveiling from Alessio Perrone.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 10:35

Finally, the president has been trying to control the narrative around his series of White House interviews with George Stephanopulous.

Last week, the series made waves when Trump told the broadcaster he would listen to foreign intelligence on a political rival if he were offered it, saying: “If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ – oh, I think I’d want to hear it... It's not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.”

In the latest slice, Trump explains the reason he didn't fire FBI special counsel Robert Mueller "because I watched Richard Nixon go around firing everybody, and that didn't work out too well," alluding to Nixon's removal of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Saturday Night Massacre of 20 October 1973.

In one extraordinary clip, he comes awfully close to accusing his predecessor, Barack Obama, of conspiring against him by plotting the Russia investigation.

He also speaks warmly of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, saying he hopes Kim isn't building nuclear weapons because "he promised me he wouldn't", dismisses the significance of rising national debt and pledges to introduce his Obamacare alternative within "the next month". Hmmm.

Arguably more noteworthy was his angry response to a coughing fit by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, which interrupted his vague suggestion he "might" release his financial statements if they didn't materialise by themselves. 

Here's more on a highly revealing glimpse behind the mask.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 10:50

Iran's atomic agency has said this morning it will boost uranium enrichment and surpass the level of stockpiles agreed under its current nuclear deal within 10 days as tensions with the US continue to escalate.

"If Iran feels that the sanctions have been reinstated or not lifted, Iran has the right to partly or on the whole suspend its commitments," spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said in Arak.

The Trump administration pulled the US out of the deal agreed between Iran and other world powers in 2015 to rein in the state's nuclear ambitions last year, setting in motion a series of contretemps with Tehran.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Sunday Washington was "considering a full range of options", including military action, in response to an attack on two foreign oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz last week that it says were carried out by the Iranian navy, citing Central Command night-vision footage of sailors removing what he says was an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the stricken vessels. 

"The United States is considering a full range of options. We have briefed the president a couple of times, we'll continue to keep him updated. We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence which is our mission set," Pompeo said on CBS's Face the Nation.

"The president will consider everything we need to do to make sure, right? But what's the president said? We don't want Iran to get a nuclear weapon," Pompeo added. "President Trump has said very clearly, he doesn't want to go to war."

Chiara Giordano has more on Iran's latest chess move.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 11:05

Pompeo was also on Fox News Sunday and gave a testy answer when Chris Wallace asked him about the president's shocking "foreign dirt" remark.

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 11:20

Trump unexpectedly quoted Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the weekend on impeachment.

She replied:

In addition to that initial warning against complacency, AOC had a great deal more to say in conversation with ABC: "I think the evidence continues to come in, and I believe that with the President now saying that he is willing to break the law to win re-election... that transcends partisanship, it transcends party lines and this is now about the rule of law in the United States of America," the congresswoman said.

Asked about the frustration surrounding House speaker Nancy Pelosi's reluctance to press ahead with "divisive" impeachment proceedings, AOC answered: "I think it's quite real."

"I believe that there is a very real animus and desire to make sure that we are holding this president to account," she said.

"I think there is a growing sentiment even among many of these front-liners - as we call them, swing district Democrats - that think we should at least open an inquiry and look into the abundance of evidence.

"Ten counts of obstruction of justice, four with rock solid evidence, we have violations of the emoluments clause. We need to at least open an inquiry so that we can look at what is going on."

Joe Sommerlad17 June 2019 11:35

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