Trump news live: Latest 2020 election updates as Kamala Harris to deliver counter-speech to president's RNC address

Trump news live: Latest 2020 election updates as Kamala Harris to deliver counter-speech to president’s RNC address

Trump news live: Latest 2020 election updates as Kamala Harris to deliver counter-speech to president’s RNC address

Trump news live: Latest 2020 election updates as Kamala Harris to deliver counter-speech to president’s RNC address

Trump news live: Latest 2020 election updates as Kamala Harris to deliver counter-speech to president's RNC address 1

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Donald Trump has demanded Joe Biden take a drug test before the presidential debates, as the president announced federal law enforcement and National Guard service members will be deployed to Wisconsin ahead of a fourth night of protests in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who has been left paralysed after an officer shot him several times in the back.

NBA and WNBA players are striking in protest on Wednesday, forcing the leagues to cancel games, as law enforcement in Wisconsin confirmed Rusten Sheskey as the officer who fired seven shots at Mr Blake following Sunday’s shooting.

As the Republican National Convention enters its third night, Democrats announced their vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will counter the president’s closing night speech on Thursday.

The White House, meanwhile, said that the president is considering executive action to bail out airlines if Congress doesn’t reach a new coronavirus stimulus package.

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1,000 people in US jails have died from coronavirus, ACLU reports

The death toll from Covid-19 in prisons and jails has reached 1,000, including incarcerated people and jail staff, the ACLU has reported.

At least 10,000 others have been infected.
“This tragic milestone is the culmination of a mass incarceration machine that has ballooned out of control and torn apart communities – disproportionately Black and Brown communities – for decades,” Cynthia Roseberry, deputy director of policy at the ACLU’s Justice Division, said in a statement. “It is now responsible for taking 1,000 lives recklessly and unnecessarily during a pandemic.”

Nearly 180,000 Americans have died from coronavirus-related illness.

The Department of Justice has requested data from Democrat governors who issued orders placing Covid-19 patients into nursing homes 

The governors of New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey were asked on Wednesday to share data on their orders to admit infected Covid-19 patients into nursing home amid the pandemic.

The results will determine if the Justice Department initiates an investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband said in a statement. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”

Biden campaign calls China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims ‘genocide’ and pressures Trump to ‘take action’  

The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is labelling China’s treatment of the Uighurs “genocide” and calling on Donald Trump to “take action.”

The Chinese government long has been criticised by human rights groups and many US lawmakers over its treatment of the Uighur Muslims and other minority groups in its Xinjiang region.

“The unspeakable oppression that Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have suffered at the hands of China’s authoritarian government is genocide and Joe Biden stands against it in the strongest terms,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Axios.

John T Bennett Reports.

This is how Donald Trump leveraged his business empire and political career to make millions of dollars

The Independent’s Griffin Connelly explains how the president’s personal businesses have made $23m from political groups — including his own campaign — since 2015.

Turkey’s Erdogan, Trump discuss Mediterranean tension on phone

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump talked on the phone on Wednesday to discuss bilateral and regional issues, including the Mediterranean, Erdogan’s office said.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece have escalated since Ankara sent its Oruc Reis survey vessel to disputed eastern Mediterranean waters this month, a move Athens called illegal.

Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, vehemently disagree over claims to hydrocarbon resources in the area based on conflicting views on the extent of their continental shelves in waters dotted with mostly Greek islands.

– Reuters

US border officials discussed using ‘heat ray’ on migrants before 2018 midterms


From The Independent’s James Crump.

In 2018, 15 days before the midterm elections, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection considered deploying a “heat ray” on migrants at the US border.

On 22 October 2018 president Donald Trump told his Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that “extreme action” needed to be taken to stop migrants from entering the US, as he used anti-immigration rhetoric as part of the Republican midterm campaign.

Officials discussed deploying a microwave weapon, that was designed by the military to make people’s skin feel like it is burning when in range of its invisible beams, at the border to deter migrants, according to the New York Times.

The device was developed by the US military 20 years prior for use as a crowd dispersal tool, but the Times reported that it had been discarded over concerns about its morality and effectiveness.

Two Homeland Security officials who were at the meeting told the Times that attendees were shocked at the suggestion and that Ms Nielsen ordered staff to not authorise the use of the device and told them to never bring it up in front of her again.

Alexei Woltornist, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, told the Times on Wednesday that use of the device “was never considered.”

Trump calls for drug test ahead of Biden debate

Donald Trump said he would call for a drug test ahead of the presidential debates because someone told him Biden “must be on drugs” to have improved so significantly in his Democratic debates against Bernie Sanders.

In an Oval Office interview on Wednesday, Trump said there was “no way” the improvement in Biden’s performances during the primaries could have been natural, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Frankly, his best performance was against Bernie. We’re going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie. It wasn’t that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn’t, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there’s no way — you can’t do that,” Trump said.

He continued that Biden was “close to incompetent” during the debates but was normal against Sanders.

“He didn’t know where he was. And all of a sudden, he was not good, he was normal, and I don’t understand how. I don’t know if there is or not, but somebody said to me, ‘He must be on drugs.’ I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’m asking for a drug test. Both candidates. Me, too. I take an aspirin a day.”

The Trump campaign was quick to amplify the suggestion, posting a poll on Twitter that currently has 88 per cent of people saying Biden should take a drug test before debating Trump.

Milwaukee Bucks ‘to boycott playoff game’ in protest of Jacob Blake shooting

The Milwaukee Bucks will not play their fifth first-round playoff game against the Orlando Magic, announcing they are boycotting because of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Mr Blake’s family says he is paralysed. His shooting has set off several nights of protests in the Wisconsin town, where video shows he was shot multiple times in the back.

The NBA has yet to announce if the Bucks will forfeit the game, which was scheduled to tip off at 4:10 p.m. in Orlando, Florida. The league has embraced the “Black Lives Matter” movement, even putting those words on its courts inside its Covid-19 “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Bucks players’ decision to protest the game has added meaning because they are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They have a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series over the Orlando Magic, the No. 8 seed.

John T Bennett reports.

OPINION: ‘The Republican Party is failing young conservatives like me by refusing to discuss climate change at its convention’

For Independent Voices, contributor Danielle Butcher, executive vice president at the American Conservation Coalition, writes if the RNC truly believes young people are the future of both the party and the movement, it’s time they act on the question young conservatives have consistently asked: what about climate?

ACLU sues over federal response to Portland, Oregon protests

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging U.S. agents sent by President Donald Trump to protect a federal courthouse targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters illegally used excessive force and illegal detentions to rob protesters of their freedom of speech and assembly.

The lawsuit also alleges that the acting director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, did not have the authority to send more than 100 agents to Portland because he was improperly appointed to the role due to a technicality in succession rules.

“Our clients were protesting in support of Black Lives Matter, but they were met by indiscriminate violence from federal police forces intent on squelching their message and their Constitutional rights,” said Jeremy Sacks, one of the attorneys who filed the case. “We will hold the federal government and the individual agents accountable for their actions.”

DHS did not immediately reply to a request for comment Wednesday. The lawsuit names that agency, as well as Wolf and Trump.

Associated Press

Democrats narrowly beat Republicans in second-night convention TV audience

A total of 18 million people watched the second night of the mostly virtual Republican National Convention, according to early Nielsen Media Research, slightly fewer than the 18.2 million viewers who watched the second night of the Democratic National Convention across the same number of networks.

The 18 million RNC number reflects the audience across six TV networks between 10 p.m EDT and 11 p.m. EDT. It does not include online and streaming viewers. The first night of the RNC attracted 17 million viewers across 11 TV networks, a 26% decline from the same night in 2016.

Fox News had the biggest TV audience for both nights of this week’s convention.
The second night of the RNC featured speeches by anti-abortion advocate Abby Johnson, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, first lady Melania Trump, and two of President Donald Trump’s children, Tiffany and Eric Trump.



CDC rolls out new coronavirus testing guidelines

Under the CDC’s new guidelines, individuals who aren’t showing symptoms may not need to be tested for Covid-19, even if they have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.

The updated guidelines, made to CDC’s site on Monday, say: “If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a Covid-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”

Graig Graziosi has more on this story.

Violent crime now one of most important election issues, closing in on coronavirus

A recent Pew poll showed violent crime has become the fifth top issue for voters in the 2020 election, only slightly behind the coronavirus pandemic.

With 59 per cent of voters in the poll, conducted from 27 July to 2 August, listing violent crime as “very important” to their vote, behind coronavirus at 63 per cent, the RNC and Trump have gone to lengths to highlight crime in Democrat-controlled cities.

This week’s violence in Wisconsin has played into this, with the campaign highlighting CNN’s Don Lemon calling it a “blond spot for Democrats” that is not going to go away. 

“What’s happening in Kenosha is a Rorschach test for the entire country and I think this is a blind spot for Democrats. I think the Democrats are ignoring this problem or are hoping that it will go away,” Lemon said in the clip shared by the Trump campaign.

“But what they can do, and I think may, Joe Biden may be afraid to do it, I’m not sure, maybe he won’t maybe he is, he’s got to address it. He’s got to come out and talk about it.”

Hershel Walker’s son calls Jacob Blake a ‘crazy violent criminal’ as his father appeared at RNC

The son of Herschel Walker called Jacob Blake a “crazy, violent criminal” as the Heisman Trophy winner appeared at the Republican National Convention to support Donald Trump.

In a Twitter video posted on Monday, Christian Walker said the shooting of Mr Blake in Wisconsin was “another incident of a crazy violent criminal refusing to follow directions from police officers and getting consequence for it”.

Mr Blake, 29, was shot and paralyzed on Sunday after he was reportedly involved in a physical altercation with police before walking to his vehicle and reaching in.

“Jacob Blake, oh yeah he was a felon sexual assaulter, he was a domestic abuser and had given cops trouble in the past. There was a warrant out for his arrest,” Mr Walker said in the video.

“Show us the body cam footage, you’re not pulling another George Floyd with us, he should have followed directions and we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

While an arrest warrant was issued for Mr Blake on 6 July for charges of third-degree assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection to an alleged domestic abuse incident, it is unclear if officers were aware of the warrant when responding to a complaint of “family trouble”.

It came on the eve of the Republican National Convention in which the former NFL running back spoke in support of the president and their 37-year friendship.

Following the speech, the racist slur “Uncle Tom” trended as Twitter users attacked Mr Walker for appearing at the RNC, prompting his son to defend his father as “the best speaker of the night”.

Read more.

Comey attacks Trump for using Attorney General as ‘personal defence lawyer’

James Comey on Wednesday used a Washington Post opinion column to endorse Joe Biden for president, saying that Donald Trump and AG William Barr left a “legacy of damage” to the Justice Department. 

“We need a president who will appoint an attorney general not because he needs a personal defence lawyer but because American justice needs a guardian,” Mr Comey wrote.

BREAKING: 17-year-old arrested for murder and fleeing state after Kenosha shootings that left two dead

A 17-year-old Illinois resident has been arrested by police for first-degree murder after allegedly fatally shooting two Wisconsin protesters on Tuesday evening.

Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, was charged in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and labelled as a “fugitive of justice”, according to Lake County, Illinois Clerk of Courts public records first obtained by the Daily Dot.

The Antioch Police Department made the arrest on Wednesday after the suspect allegedly fled Wisconsin for his home state following the shooting.

“(The suspect) fled the state of Wisconsin with the intent to avoid prosecution for that offence,” according to the document.

Rittenhouse has been assigned a public defender and faces charges of “first degree intentional homicide”. He is expected to appear in court on Friday.

Danielle Zoellner is following this story as it unfolds.

BREAKING: Trump to send National Guard to Kenosha today after request from state governor

The National Guard will be deployed to Kenosha after Wisconsin agreed to federal help in quelling three nights of looting, arson and violence, Donald Trump announced on Wednesday.

The president said in a tweet that the federal law enforcement would be sent to the city after Governor Tony Evers requested federal assistance from the White House.

“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets. My team just got off the phone with Governor Evers who agreed to accept federal assistance (Portland should do the same!)…” Mr Trump said.

It comes after Mr Evers previously turned down an offer of federal help the end the outbreak of violence following the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday, according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“We have a National Guard standing by that if the general for the National Guard needs additional help, we’re there to do it… But today, that request was denied by the governor,” Mr Meadows said in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night.

“The governor informed [Mr Trump and Mr Meadows] we’d be increasing Wisconsin National Guard support in Kenosha and therefore would not need federal assistance in response to protests.”

The governor declared a state of emergency and doubled the deployment of the state’s National Guard soldiers to 250 on Tuesday.

The acceptance of the federal National Guard comes after two people were shot dead, and one injured, on the third night of violent riots in Kenosha.

Follow the story as it unfolds.

BREAKING: US troops injured after Russian vehicle rams them in Syria

Four US troops were wounded in northeast Syria this week after a Russian vehicle intentionally rammed the one they were driving.

The four US service members were diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms after the altercation between the two adversaries fighting for a foothold of influence in war-torn Syria, Politico reported, citing a draft of a Pentagon statement.

A series of videos posted to Twitter on Wednesday appears to show several Russian patrol vehicles harassing US vehicles that had attempted to block their path.

One video shows one of the Russian vehicles, identified as a Kamaz Typhoon by the Twitter user, ramming into an American MaxxPro.

Another video shows a Russian helicopter flying low overhead of the skirmish of vehicles. After the collision, the Russian vehicles unsafely pursued the American forces, Politico reported.

Follow the story as it unfolds.

Jerry Falwell Jr to receive $10m payoff after Liberty University resignation

Jerry Falwell Jr could be paid $10.5m in compensation for stepping down from his position as president of Liberty University, according to reports.

Mr Falwell, one of the country’s highest-profile evangelical Christians, announced that he would step down as the president of the university on Monday following a number of personal scandals.

The attorney told CNN on Tuesday that he will receive about $2.5m from the establishment during the next two years and another $8m thereafter in compensation.

Mr Falwell told The Washington Post that the money comes in part because he is departing from the university without being formally accused of or admitting to wrongdoing.

The news comes following a number of conflicting reports surrounding whether the president would resign from his position or not.

Louise Hall reports.

‘An alternate reality’: Biden campaign rips RNC speaker for referring to coronavirus in past tense as thousands die weekly

The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemned the second night of the Republican National Convention for presenting an “alternate reality” to Americans that failed to recognise the ongoing severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director, Kate Bedingfield, issued a long rebuke of the evening’s proceedings, honing in on White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s speech describing the Covid-19 crisis in the past tense despite the fact health officials continue to report tens of thousands of new cases per day and thousands of deaths per week.

“Not only did the American people hear no plan for overcoming the pandemic for the second consecutive night of the RNC — after more than seven months of utter mismanagement — but the president’s chief economic adviser even referred to the coronavirus in the past tense,” Ms Bedingfield said in her statement on Wednesday.

“President Trump’s RNC is an alternate reality. In this delusion, thousands of Americans didn’t die in the last week from Covid-19, nor have millions of Americans been infected or put out of work. Our economy hasn’t ground to a halt and our kids aren’t being kept home from school,” she said.

Griffin Connelly reports.

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