Latest 2020 US election updates as diplomatic staff evacuate Chinese consulate

Latest 2020 US election updates as diplomatic staff evacuate Chinese consulate

Latest 2020 US election updates as diplomatic staff evacuate Chinese consulate

Latest 2020 US election updates as diplomatic staff evacuate Chinese consulate

Latest 2020 US election updates as diplomatic staff evacuate Chinese consulate 1

Asked at a coronavirus briefing about mounting criticism over the federal government’s response to the pandemic and his plunging polls, Donald Trump noted that he created the Space Force, telling a reporter: “What we’ve done has never been done.”

The president also refused to answer whether he addressed the Russian bounty scandal with Vladimir Putin during a short briefing in North Carolina on Monday before returning to the White House, which confirmed in a statement to The Independent that National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for coronavirus. The president claimed he had not recently met with the key official – whose office is positioned close to the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Monday that the Trump administration would send an additional swath of agents comprised by multiple federal agencies to Portland amid a crackdown on protests in the area. The decision to send federal agents to cities across the country has been met with widespread blowback from city and state officials. The president also stirred controversy on Monday when he told reporters he would not join other Washington officials to pay respects to John Lewis, the late civil rights pioneer and congressman who is currently lying in state at the US Capitol building.

Follow The Independent’s latest updates and live coverage below:

Wall of Moms and other protest groups sue Trump administration

Portland protesters are suing Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security over federal officers’ use of force against peaceful demonstration, according to a lawsuit filed by people associated with the Wall of Moms and Black Lives Matter demonstrators that have been tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed during protests in the city.

The lawsuit alleges that DHS officers along with Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Protective Service violated constitutional rights to assembly and speech as well as unreasonable seizures.

It’s the latest lawsuit against the administration and its use of force. The ACLU also has accused federal law enforcement and Portland police for its attacks on street medics, while a federal judge has barred agents from targeting journalists.

The Wall of Moms – and similarly inspired groups of veterans, lawyers (wearing suits) and nurses (in scrubs) – have joined protests to act as both a physical barrier and a sign of solidarity that also reflects the indiscriminate use of force used against demonstrators, the groups say.

Herman Cain remains hospitalised with oxygen treatment three weeks after coronavirus diagnosis

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain attended Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 20 June and was hospitalised for Covid-19 two days after testing positive on 6 July.

In a statement on Twitter on Monday, his staff reported that he is still in the hospital and being treated with oxygen:

“We know it’s been a few days since we last gave you an update on the boss,” the statement said. “But he is still in the hospital being treated with oxygen for his lungs. In the meantime, the doctors say his other organs and systems are strong.”

In continued: “Re-strengthening the lungs is a long and slow process, and the doctors want to be thorough about it. … We’d like him to be able to come home now, which is frustrating, but we’re glad the doctors are being thorough and making sure they do the job right. Thank you for praying, everyone. Please keep doing it. He really is getting better, which means it is working.”

Trump brags about creating Space Force when asked about his plunging support in the polls

The president defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic in a short briefing meant to be about Covid-19 by discussing how he created Space Force. 

“What we’ve done has never been done,” he said.

Mr Trump also discussed oil prices, while noting how many polls showed him losing key states in the 2016 election against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

Trump refuses to discuss what he talked about with Vladimir Putin

“We don’t say what we talked about,” the president said, calling the conversation he had with Putin “productive” when asked by a reporter about whether the two discussed reports that Russia paid the Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers. 

Trump participates in coronavirus briefing

The president is holding a press conference right now while discussing vaccine efforts and a new major study – 

Trump’s ‘culture war’ is wildcard 100 days from election despite plummeting poll numbers

John Bennet writes: Donald Trump has divvied what chips he has left and placed them over just two squares on the roulette board, while Joe Biden casually nurses a drink nearby as his opponent falters with 100 days to go.

The casino metaphor, while cheeky, captures the current state of the 2020 US presidential election – its high stakes and all. But the president has a potential wildcard up his sleeve, and its suit is camouflage.

Poll after poll shows the incumbent struggling to tread water, with a double-digit deficit to make up nationally while losing key battleground states he won just four years ago. Women and senior voters, who joined his 2016 coalition, continue to flee in droves.

There is only one class in Washington less willing to rule out Mr Trump than Republican political operatives: Democratic ones. They routinely stop conversations about his plummeting polls and erratic behaviour by declaring they won’t count him out a second time, no matter what the polls say. But one former adviser to Bill Clinton says Mr Biden’s campaign and Democrats have a few reasons to breathe easier – or at least breathe every now and again.

“This moment is very different. To start, during the summer and fall of 2016, [Hillary] Clinton never had the kind of national poll lead that Biden now has. She led by an average of four points four months before the election, and the same four points just before Election Day,” notes Stanley Greenberg, now a prominent Democratic pollster.

Anti-mask US senator who called coronavirus a hoax tests positive for Covid-19

James Crump writes: An Arkansas senator who shared an article that described the coronavirus pandemic as a “hoax” has contracted Covid-19.

Republican senator Jason Rapert, who unsuccessfully introduced a bill to ban gay marriage in the US in 2017, was hospitalised with coronavirus and pneumonia on 24 July.

Earlier in the year, as many states were beginning to take social distancing measures to attempt to control the spread of the virus, Mr Rapert shared an article on Facebook that called the pandemic the “biggest political hoax in history”.

He has been critical of policies taken to stop the spread of Covid-19 in various social media posts over the last few months and was filmed last week not wearing a face mask at a church service, according to Raw Story.

Although the senator has been pictured wearing a mask previously, he has also been critical of Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson’s executive order that made wearing a face covering mandatory in the state when people are outside and when social distancing is not possible.

Trump sending more troops to Portland

Danielle Zoellner writes: The Trump administration has planned to send more federal officers to Portland as the situation heightened over the weekend between demonstrators and agents.

Federal agents were first placed in and around the city’s federal courthouse in recent weeks to protect it from the nightly protests taking place.

In an effort to strengthen these forces, the US Marshals Service decided to deploy an additional 100 officers starting last Thursday to assist, The Washington Post reported.

Story to come…

Seattle protesters condemn Trump’s dispatch of federal agents to city

The latest from our correspondent in Seattle, Andrew Buncombe: Activists in Seattle have condemned Donald Trump’s decision to send federal agents to the city, after dozens of demonstrators were arrested while protesting the president’s actions.

On Saturday more than 40 people were detained and two dozen police officers reportedly injured, after law enforcement broke up a large and largely peaceful protest in the city’s Capitol Hill neighbourhood. There were a number of clashes. Earlier, some protesters broke through a fence where a child detention centre was being built and set fire to a cabin. Police said they were also investigating “possible explosive” damage to the walls of one of its buildings.

Though the arrests were made by Seattle Police Department (SDP), demonstrators were protesting the dispatch to cities including Chicago, Portland and Seattle, of federal law enforcement officers.

Mr Trump has defended the presence of the federal officers in the largely Democratic-run cities, by claiming there had been a “shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence”.

The move became increasingly controversial after it emerged unidentified federal agents had grabbed and detained protesters in Portland, Oregon, triggering fears about safety and accountability.

Trump sending more federal agents to Portland to protect courthouse 

The latest reports indicate the federal government will send at least 100 additional federal agents amid a crackdown on protests in Portland. 

Trump claims he hasn’t recently met with National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien

The president is telling reporters at the White House right now that he has not recently seen his national security adviser, who tested positive for Covid-19 and has been self-isolating at home while working remotely. 

Story to come…

Lawmakers convene for John Lewis’ funeral processions

Here’s live stream footage of US senators and lawmakers attending a funeral proceeding for John Lewis, the late civil rights pioneer and congressman, who is lying in state at the US Capitol. 

Doctor who created Trump’s cognitive test confirms it did not reveal his intelligence

Straight from the doc’s mouth:

ICYMI: Lincoln Project asks in new attack ad, ‘What does Maxwell have on Trump?’

A prominent group of Republicans opposing Donald Trump have released a new advertisement attacking the US president for his support of Ghislaine Maxwell, after the alleged “madam” for paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested earlier this month.

The Lincoln Project, which was founded by current and former high-profile conservatives such as George Conway, husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, posted the ad to Twitter on Friday with the caption: “What does Ghislaine Maxwell have on @realDonaldTrump?”

It shows Mr Trump berating a number of female journalists – with the ad saying at one point, “This is how Donald Trump speaks to accomplished women” – before flashing to a recent White House press briefing in which the president spoke about his relationship with Ms Maxwell over the years.

“I just wish her well, frankly,” Mr Trump is heard saying in the briefing.

A woman narrating the advertisement then says: “Just what does Maxwell have on Donald Trump? Why does he demean other women but treat the head of an alleged sex slave ring with respect? Does Donald Trump want Maxwell to keep quiet? America needs to know.”

More on O’Brien’s COVID-19 diagnosis

The White House confirmed Mr O’Brien’s diagnosis in a statement to The Independent, saying he has mild symptoms associated with the virus.

“National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien tested positive for COVID-19,” the White House said. “He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating.”

The White House statement also said “there is no risk of exposure to the President or the Vice President” and that “the work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted” as Mr O’Brien works from a “secure” off site location.

Trump campaign announces new lineup for scaled down RNC

It’s the “who’s who” of Trump world: a Zoom convention for the ages –

Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower faces vandalism — again

A Black Lives Matter mural painted outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan that has faced significant vandalism since it was unveiled earlier this month was defaced for the fourth time in weeks, according to police. 

Mark David Hutt was charged with criminal mischief after officials said he threw white paint over a section of the mural on Sunday morning.

The suspect began using his hands to smear the paint across the mural shortly after 10:00am, NYPD detective Carrie Reilly told CNN. 

The Black Lives Matter mural — a project Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered after a similar painting was unveiled on the streets leading up to the White House — has become a controversial flashpoint on the city’s iconic Fifth Avenue. 

While some have celebrated the show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement amid nationwide anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, others — including Black Lives Matter activists — have lambasted the project as performative, instead calling for critical police reform. 

President Donald Trump also described the painting as a “symbol of hate”, drawing significant blowback from his critics.

Story to come…

Melania Trump announces plans to renovate Rose Garden just months before election

Melania Trump has announced plans to redo the White House Rose Garden to make it more in line with the original design implemented during the 1960s Kennedy administration.

The first lady says Monday in a statement that decades of use and changes made to support a modern presidency have taken a toll on the outdoor space just off the Oval Office.

President Donald Trump has been using the Rose Garden a lot more lately to make statements and hold news conferences in the age of the coronavirus. The first lady also hosted a state dinner for Australia in the garden last year.

Plans described by the first lady include returning the Rose Garden to its original 1962 footprint with improved infrastructure and drainage and a better environment for the plants and flowers.

The renovation also includes making the space more accessible for people with disabilities, and improvements for audiovisual and broadcasting needs, she said.

Associated Press

At least 14 baseball players from the Miami Marlins have tested positive for coronavirus, according to US news reports. 

Big questions over whether the MLB season will have to shut down now.

White House continues building 13-foot high ‘anti climb’ wall after protests

The White House is on course to complete a planned multi-million dollar perimeter fence replacement as construction continues.

Pictures shared online showed construction advancing along Pennsylvania Avenue, where views of the White House are expected to be impaired when the new fence is completed next year.

Parts of the street have been blocked off and a temporary wall has been erected, as construction takes place.

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