As it happenedended1594769618

Trump news: White House rescinds policy banning international students from online courses amid mounting criticism and lawsuits

President delivers campaign-style remarks at White House attacking Democratic rival

Kayleigh McEnany denies Trump undermining Dr Fauci despite sending 'opposition research' to reporters

After cancelling a campaign rally that was scheduled for New Hampshire on 11 July, Donald Trump made up for lost time by launching a nearly one-hour attack against Joe Biden from the White House Rose Garden as the president went down a literal list of grievances and the Democratic presidential candidate's platform pitches, which the president had grossly mischaracterised.

Moments earlier, the administration rescinded controversial new measures that would have effectively banned any international students from living in the United States during the fall months amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the news being announced after a court hearing that lasted just minutes.

A federal judge announced that the administration had reached a settlement with universities who had sued over the measures.

Mr Trump has continued to insist US schools must reopen this autumn despite the raging coronavirus, declaring at the White House on Monday that “schools should be opened. Kids want to go to schools. You’re losing a lot of lives by keeping things closed.”

Asked by CBS News on Tuesday what he would tell parents and teachers worried about sending their children to school, he said: "I would tell parents and teachers that you should find yourself a new person whoever is in charge of that decision, because it's a terrible decision."

Hillary Clinton has meanwhile warned Americans must “be ready” for Trump not to “go quietly” if he loses his re-election bid.

The former vice president recently unveiled a sweeping $2tn environmental plan on Tuesday seeking to achieve carbon-free power by 2035.

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

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Trump attacked as school reopening row deepens

Donald Trump has continued to insist US schools must reopen this autumn despite the raging coronavirus, declaring at the White House on Monday: “Schools should be opened. Kids want to go to schools. You’re losing a lot of lives by keeping things closed.”

The president was speaking at a pro-police event intended to highlight positive experiences members of the public have had with law enforcement in response to the backlash following the killing of George Floyd by officers in Minneapolis on 25 May.

Trump’s remarks came in response to a question about the death of Arizona teacher Kimberley Byrd, who died of Covid-19 after taking summer school, a tragedy he ignored. 

Instead, the president used the event to repeat his threat to send the military into Democratic-run cities with high crime rates (“We're supposed to wait for them to call, but they don't call”) and to make the absurd claim that he “created” Texas’s historic oil industry.

His comments were answered by former education secretary Arne Duncan, who served under Barack Obama and told MSNBC: “The real travesty here is that there is no body count high enough for the president to actually pay attention to science. We could lose another 10,000. We could lose another 50,000. We could lose another 100,000. Nothing would compel him to listen to Dr Fauci and others who are actually fighting to try and save lives… [He] doesn’t care whether you live or die.”

Interviewed on the same network, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “very afraid of where we are now, because of the ignorance in the administration”.

Also attacking Trump was Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who took to Twitter to accuse him of "trying to bury" CDC guidelines on reopening educational institutions.

Here’s more on that from Justin Vallejo.

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California imposes further lockdown restrictions as Covid crisis rages and Miami named 'new epicentre'

With the US currently on 3.43m cases of Covid-19 and as many as 138,000 deaths, California has been forced to impose further lockdown restrictions, Arizona is seeing all-time highs in intensive care bed and ventilator use and a top Florida doctor has declared Miami “the new epicentre of the pandemic.”

In California, Democratic governor Gavin Newsom has extended the closure of bars and indoor dining statewide and ordered gyms, churches and hair salons closed in most places as coronavirus cases keep rising in the nation's most populated state.

Newsom extended that order statewide on Monday after initially ordering 19 counties with a surging number of confirmed infections to close bars and indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, zoos and family entertainment centres on 1 July.

He also imposed additional restrictions on the 30 counties now with rising numbers, including the most populated of Los Angeles and San Diego, by ordering worship services to stop and gyms, hair salons, indoor malls and offices for noncritical industries to shut down.

He didn't include schools, which are scheduled to resume in a few weeks in much of the state. But on Monday, the state's two largest school districts, San Diego and Los Angeles, announced their students would start the school year with online learning only.

 

Arizona’s Department of Health Services has meanwhile said 671 Covid-19 patients were on ventilators and 936 were in intensive care as of Sunday. Hospitals were hovering around 90 per cent capacity as the state ranks first in the US for new per capita cases over the past two weeks.

The state became one of the nation's coronavirus hot spots in May after Republican governor Doug Ducey relaxed stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. Last week, he closed gyms and bars and capped restaurants at half of their capacity but declined to shut down indoor dining entirely or issue a statewide mandate on masks.

Ducey said the state will increase testing, with a focus on low-income areas of Phoenix as many people report difficulty finding tests.

The state also is paying for a private lab to greatly increase its daily capacity as people have experienced waits of up to a week or more for test results.

 

But it’s Florida that appears to be in the worst state.

Governor Ron DeSantis, another Republican, yesterday acknowledged that the disease is spreading after the state set a national record with more than 15,000 confirmed coronavirus cases reported on Sunday, but maintained the spike was because of the expansion of testing.

"We have to address the virus with steady resolve. We can't get swept away in fear. We have to understand what is going on, understand that we have a long road ahead but we also have to understand that within the context of the moment," he said.

DeSantis highlighted the positivity rate for tests over the last two days has been just over 11 per cent. That is four times the 2.3 per cent rate the state had in late May, but a drop from the near 20 per cent of last week. Officials have said they want to get the rate below 5 per cent, which is when they believe spread is less likely and measures are taking hold. DeSantis said it isn't clear whether the downward positivity rate of the weekend will continue.

Less optimistic was Florida International University epidemiologist Dr Aileen Marty, who called the state of play in South Florida "extremely grave" on Monday. She said the public is not taking the virus seriously enough, ignoring rules on large gatherings, social distancing and wearing masks in public places.

  Dr Lilian Abbo, chief of infection prevention at Jackson Health System, painted an even darker picture, describing nurses and doctors working around the clock and some of them getting sick themselves.

"Miami is now the epicentre of the pandemic. What we were seeing in Wuhan six months ago, now we are there, she said."

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White House denies undermining Fauci despite 'fact sheet' given to press laying out his alleged failings

Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany yesterday denied sending campaign-style opposition research to reporters to discredit Dr Anthony Fauci, the federal government's top infectious disease expert, who has at times contradicted the president on the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is no opposition research being dumped to reporters," Kayleigh McEnany told reporters, insisting the emails in question - detailing instances in which Dr Fauci had been “wrong” during the crisis - were sent from White House press aides to The Washington Post in response to a "straightforward question".

Pressed by CNN’s Jim Acosta about the matter - which has seen Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro and other officials attempt to smear the popular Dr Fauci by casting doubt on his judgement - McEnany insisted the Trump administration was merely seeking to highlight the expert’s “mistakes”. 

Wasn’t telling the public to inject themselves with disinfectants on a whim also a “mistake”?, Acosta asked, getting no real answer.

Judging by this Facebook post by Trump’s director of social media, Dan Scavino, the smears aren’t going away, even as the administration insists they aren’t happening. 

Which all rather calls to mind its attitude to the coronavirus!

McEnany also spent her Q&A session yesterday ducking a chance to explicitly condemn the Kremlin for placing a bounty on American soldiers’ heads with the Taliban (“Every country is put on notice” when they are naughty, she said) and to declare - utterly laughably - that Trump believes Native Americans will be offended by the Washington Redskins changing their name to a less racist alternative.

Here’s John T Bennett’s report.

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Judge clears Mary Trump’s tell-all book for publication

The president’s niece can talk freely about the highly critical book she has written about him over the objections of his brother Robert Trump, a judge ruled on Monday as he lifted an order that had blocked her from publicising or distributing her work.

State Supreme Court judge Hal B Greenwald of Poughkeepsie, New York, rejected the argument that Mary Trump is blocked from talking about family members publicly by an agreement relatives signed to settle the estate of her father, Fred Trump Jr, after his death.

The judge said the confidentiality clauses in the 2001 agreement, "viewed in the context of the current Trump family circumstances in 2020, would 'offend public policy as a prior restraint on protected speech.'"

"Notwithstanding that the book has been published and distributed in great quantities, to enjoin Mary L Trump at this juncture would be incorrect and serve no purpose. It would be moot," the judge wrote.

Greenwald said the confidentiality agreement that settled multiple lawsuits mainly concerned the financial aspect of the deal, which isn't as interesting now as it might have been two decades ago.

"On the other hand the non-confidential part of the agreement, the Trump family relationships may be more interesting now in 2020 with a presidential election on the horizon," the judge said.

He also wrote that Robert Trump had not shown any damages that the book's publication would cause himself or the public.

 

Robert Trump is not frequently mentioned in the book that seeks to trace how family members were affected by the president's father, a successful real estate owner, and how the president may have developed some of the traits that have been most apparent at the White House.

Mary Trump, a trained psychologist and Donald Trump's only niece, wrote in the book that she had "no problem calling Donald a narcissist - he meets all nine criteria as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

The judge reversed orders he had issued temporarily blocking Mary Trump and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, from publishing or distributing a tell-all book about the president. An appeals judge had already lifted the order blocking Simon & Schuster.

The book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, was originally to be published at the end of July. The publisher announced last week it would be published on Tuesday.

Mary Trump's lawyer, Theodore Boutrous Jr, said the judge "got it right in rejecting the Trump family's effort to squelch Mary Trump's core political speech on important issues of public concern."

"The First Amendment forbids prior restraints because they are intolerable infringements on the right to participate in democracy. Tomorrow, the American public will be able to read Mary's important words for themselves," he said in a statement.

Simon & Schuster said it was "delighted that the court has denied the plaintiff's request for preliminary injunction, and vacated the Temporary Restraining Order against our author, Mary L Trump."

"The unfettered right to publish is a sacred American freedom and a founding principle of our republic, and we applaud the Court for affirming well-established precedents against prior restraint and pre-publication injunctions," it added. "Too Much and Never Enough is a work of great significance, with very real implications for our national discourse, and we look forward to bringing it to a public that is clearly eager to read it."

On the eve of its publication, Mary Trump's book was ranked number one on Amazon’s list of best-selling books.

Here's Andrew Naughtie's report.

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Trump has made 20,000 misleading or false statements in office

However you slice it, that is an incredible statistic - and a tribute to the diligence and hard work of the American media this president works so hard to undermine and discredit that it was recorded and documented so methodically.

As Mary Trump states in her forthcoming book, Trump regards cheating "as a way of life" and 20,000 lies, falsehoods and untruths in his three and a half years in the Oval Office is a staggering total to back up her contention.

Here’s John T Bennett to break it down.

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5.4m Americans lost health insurance during coronavirus pandemic

From one alarming total to another, here's Alex Woodward on the brutal financial impact of the outbreak for millions of US citizens.

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Rudy Giuliani contradicts Trump's excuse for not releasing tax returns

The president's private attorney continues to prove himself a total liability in interviews, I see.

Justin Vallejo has this on his latest potentially-damaging gaffe.

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'My world came crashing down': Trump administration ruling puts foreign students from nations in crisis at risk of being deported

"You don’t want the threat of terrorism when you’re trying to do your next economics assignment,” says Abdulrahman, a rising junior at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, originally from Kurdistan, putting the plight of overseas scholars in the US in terms as stark as they come.

Germania Rodriguez Poleo has been speaking to students at risk of deportation to unstable home countries thanks to the Trump administration's latest opportunistic anti-immigration moves.

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Tucker Carlson sort-of apologises for white supremacist writer as Laura Ingraham demands 'no more lockdowns'

The under fire Fox host conceded on air last night that the racist and sexist opinions espoused anonymously on the AutoAdmit message board by ex-writer Blake Neff are abhorrent and claimed they have nothing to do with his inflammatory show, then took the opportunity to berate the "ghouls now beating their chests in triumph in the destruction of a young man" before announcing he’s off on a trout fishing holiday.

Meanwhile, stablemate Laura Ingraham has begun banging the drum for "no more lockdowns" despite the raging disaster that is the US leg of the global coronavirus pandemic. 

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