Donald Trump has yet to release his own statement about the death of Congressman John Lewis after the civil rights leader died on Friday from his six-month-battle of pancreatic cancer. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, though, honoured Mr Lewis in a statement by calling him an “icon” of the civil rights movement.

The president has instead issued a series of angry tweets about Joe Biden and his niece Mary Trump, who just released a scathing book about Mr Trump.

An interview with the president and Fox News host Chris Wallace is set to air on Sunday, and a sneak peek of the conversation showed Mr Trump making false claims that Mr Biden was calling to defund the police in a policy pact with Bernie Sanders.


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NYPD union chief appears on Fox News with far-right conspiracy theory QAnon symbol in background

A New York Police Department union chief made an appearance on Fox News with a QAnon mug featured in the background.

Ed Mullins, president of the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association, appeared on Fox News to discuss the increased gun violence in New York City and other parts of the US.

Viewers noticed a mug in the background of Mr Mullins interview with a logo on the front representing QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory whose adherents believe in the existence of a “deep state” within the US government that is controlled by a Satanic cabal of child-abusing elites.

Our report: 


White House lowers flags to half-staff to honour Congressman John Lewis

The White House has lowered the flags to half-staff following the news of Congressman John Lewis’ death on Friday. 

The civil rights leader died after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi also ordered for the flags at the US Capitol Building to be lowered to fly at half-staff. 


Portland leaders demand removal of masked federal agents sent by Trump admin following spate of arbitrary arrests

Elected officials in Portland have called on the Trump administration to remove militarised federal agents from the city following reports of protesters being arbitrarily detained, likening their actions to the “tactics of a government led by a dictator.”

Federal law enforcement officers driving unmarked vehicles and wearing camouflage have been seizing people from the street in recent days in Portland, Oregon, which has seen nightly protests for racial justice since the police killing of George Floyd.

Agents from the US Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service have deployed in the city ostensibly to protect federal property. But video and witness testimony show they have far exceeded that mandate and have detained people without cause far from the buildings they are supposed to be protecting.

Richard Hall reports: 


White House press secretary reacts to news of Congressman John Lewis’ death 

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has reacted to the news of John Lewis’ death on Twitter. 

She called the congressman an “icon” for the civil rights movement, adding his “enduring legacy will never be forgotten”. 

This comes as President Donald Trump has yet to release a statement about the passing of Mr Lewis, who was one of the original Freedom Riders and civil rights leader starting in the 60s before becoming a Democratic congressman for Georgia. But the president has posted a series of tweets last night about Joe Biden and his niece’s recent book about Mr Trump.

Mr Biden released a statement about the passing of Mr Lewis on Saturday morning, calling him a “one-of-a-kind” and a “moral compass” within Congress. |


Safety experts warn that US trade deal must not include dangerous American cars
 

Safety experts have urged the government to exclude US car imports from any post-Brexit trade deal with Donald Trump, warning that they have lower safety standards.

The Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety says imported vehicles should still have to meet British standards for collisions with pedestrians, children, and people on bikes — which many US vehicles do not.

The Council has written to Trade Secretary Liz Truss warning that US safety standards “are much lower than those permitted for vehicles sold in the UK”.

Jon Stone with the report: 
 


Republican senator criticised for suggesting Hispanic people less likely to follow coronavirus guidance

A Republican senator has come under fire for suggesting Hispanic people in his state are less likely to wear masks and follow social distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thom Tillis, the junior senator for North Carolina, said during a virtual town hall on Tuesday that he had concerns about “less consistent adherence” with public health guidelines among the Hispanic population.

“Just wear the mask out of respect,” Mr Tillis said, in an audio clip posted online by Democratic super PAC American Bridge.

Conrad Duncan reports: 


Speaker Nancy Pelosi orders US Capitol flags to fly at half-staff for Congressman John Lewis

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ordered the US Capitol flags to fly at half-staff on Saturday following the death of Congressman John Lewis. 
 

Mr Lewis, a civil rights leader and Democratic congressman for Georgia, died on Friday from his six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old. 

Politicians and other prominent leaders have since honoured Mr Lewis on Twitter and other social media platforms. Donald Trump has not acknowledged the passing of Mr Lewis publicly. 


US army base to require personnel to wear masks

An army base on Fort Campbell, which is located on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, has mandated for all personnel to wear masks while inside its facilities, joining a number of businesses and facilities this week to make similar mandates. 

The move was announced in a tweet by officials. 

Masks have become a political issue across the country, with Democrats pushing for mandates that would require all citizens to wear face shields when in public or near other people. But Republicans, specifically Donald Trump, have pushed against making any mandates. Officials have used the argument of people’s personal freedoms when refusing to create a mask policy. 

But more and more businesses are now requiring the face shield as it has been proven to diminish the spread of the coronavirus. 


Trump has retweeted himself (again) doubling down on his false claims to Fox News that Joe Biden, a historically conservative-minded politician by UK standards, wants to defund the police.

He also retweeted his campaign comms director, who somewhat fleshed out the baseless claims with wild accusations that Mr Biden is “an empty vessel” for the “extreme left”.

He is the latest in a series of Republicans to misrepresent the Democrats’ comments on law enforcement. Mr Biden clarified these in a US Today op-ed, writing: “While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police.

“The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms.”


Trump’s ongoing campaign troubles could see Ohio turn back into a swing state
 

It wasn’t so long ago that Ohio was looking like a lost cause for Democrats, after Donald Trump scored a convincing victory there and humiliated the party that had twice carried the state under Barack Obama, Trip Gabriel reports.

Now, unexpectedly, Ohio looms as a tantalising opportunity for Joe Biden.

Two prominent polls of the state last month showed the presidential race in a statistical tie. Turnout in the Ohio primary elections in April was higher for Democrats than for Republicans for the first time in a dozen years, evidence of enthusiasm in the Democratic base. And the Trump campaign recently booked $18.4m (£14.6m) in autumn TV ads in Ohio, more than in any state besides Florida – a sign that Mr Trump is on the defensive in a state that until recently seemed locked down for Republicans.

With Democratic leaders urging Mr Biden, the presumptive nominee, to expand his ambitions to states previously considered out of reach, Ohio offers Democrats the possibility of seizing on suburban gains they have made in the Trump era while restoring parts of the old Obama coalition.

“The definition of Trump being in trouble is that he’s forced to spend $18m on TV in Ohio and he’s mired in a battle for his life here,” said David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.
 


Trump calls his niece ‘a mess’

The president has falsely claimed that his niece, who has published a tell-all book about their family, unlawfully leaked his tax returns, in the same sentence as claiming that she “knows little about” him.

Donald Trump’s lawyers are considering challenging a subpoena for his tax records by criminal prosecutors, after losing a bid to keep them private in the Supreme Court.


Trump will not order all Americans to wear masks despite pleas from Fauci

Donald Trump has said that he will not order Americans to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus, despite pleas for US residents to do so from the country’s top public health official, Dr Anthony Fauci.

In a segment to be broadcast on Sunday, the president told Fox News: “No, I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don’t believe in that.”

The wearing of face masks as a response to the pandemic has become heavily politicised in the US, largely by Republicans who view calls to do so as an affront to their personal liberty.
 

As the virus surges across the US, which has recorded more than 3.55 million cases and 137,864 deaths, such lines of argument are seeing states craft drastically different rules on face coverings

Amid the confusion, three top officials with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday urged the public to wear masks. 

“We are not defenceless against Covid-19,” CDC Director Dr Robert Redfield wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.”

 


As the Trump administration faces growing anger over the detention of citizens in unmarked vehicles in Portland by militarised federal agents, allegedly without probable cause, The Nation has obtained a memo purporting to show that the agents will be there “indefinitely”.

The officers are part of Donald Trump’s “Protecting American Communities Task Force”, which was formed in response to the targeting of US monuments with ties to racism, including those of Confederate figures erected decades later during the Jim Crow era.


Clintons pay tribute to John Lewis


White House blocks CDC from testifying on reopening schools

The White House has blocked officials at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from testifying to Congress on school safety plans – even as Donald Trump’s administration demands schools reopen within weeks despite surging coronavirus infections across the US, Alex Woodward reports.

The CDC Director Robert Redfield has “has testified on the Hill at least four times over the last three months”, according to a White House statement. “We need our doctors focused on the pandemic response.”

In a statement, House Education and Labour committee chairman Bobby Scott called the move “alarming” and condemned the administrations “strategy of prioritising politics over science” and its “devastating impact on our country throughout this pandemic”.

“It should not make that same mistake when it comes to reopening schools,” he said.
 


Portland mayor demands Trump remove militarised federal agents from city after people bundled into unmarked cars

“Keep your troops in your own buildings, or have them leave our city,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said at a news conference.”This is part of the core media strategy out of Trump’s White House: to use federal troops to bolster his sagging polling data … And it is an absolute abuse of federal law enforcement officials.”
 

Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the anti-racism protests, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Thursday. Some have been detained by the federal courthouse, which has been the scene of protests. But others were grabbed blocks away.

One video showed two people in helmets and green camouflage with “police” patches grabbing a person on the sidewalk, handcuffing them and taking them into an unmarked vehicle. “Who are you?” someone asks the pair, who do not respond. At least some of the federal officers belong to the Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic governor Kate Brown accused Trump of looking for a confrontation with the aim of winning political points. It also serves as a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen record levels of daily cases this week, surpassing 75,000 on Thursday.

Her spokesperson, Charles Boyle, said that arresting people without probable cause is “extraordinarily concerning and a violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights”.

Oregon attorney general Ellen Rosenblum has said she will launch federal legal action against the US Department of Homeland Security, the Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection and Federal Protection Service, alleging they have violated the civil rights of Oregonians by detaining them without probable cause. She will also seek a temporary restraining order against them.

The ACLU of Oregon said the federal agents appear to be violating people’s rights, which “should concern everyone in the United States”, adding: “Usually when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it kidnapping.”


John Lewis: Civil rights icon and ‘conscience of Congress’ dies

John Lewis, the civil rights icon and longtime Georgia congressman, has died of cancer. He was 80-years-old, reports Richard Hall.

Congressman Lewis was a towering figure of the civil rights movement, and later became known as the “conscience of Congress” for his decades of service in the House of Representatives.

He one of the Big Six civil rights activists led by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, and was front and centre for the movement’s most pivotal moments.

Mr Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders. He spoke to the massed crowds at the 1963 March on Washington, just before King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, during which he promised to “splinter the segregated South into a thousand pieces.”

In 1965, he led some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where was brutally assaulted by police and left with a fractured skull. Images of the violent encounter drew national attention and led to more marches across the state. The Voting Rights Act was passed into law later that year
 


Here’s the clip of Donald Trump’s interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, which grows heated after the interviewer calls him out on his false claim that Joe Biden calls for defunding the police in his new policy document with Bernie Sanders


Trump accused of calling South Koreans ‘terrible people’ in front of GOP governor’s South Korean-born wife

Republican governor Larry Hogan of Maryland claimed Donald Trump disparaged the people of South Korea in front of his wife, who is South Korean Graig Graziosi reports.

Mr Hogan made the claims in a Washington Post editorial savaging Mr Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Mr Hogan, the remarks were made during a private dinner hosted by the Republican Governors Association. The governor recalls Mr Trump talking about how much he respected Chinese President Ji Xinping, how much he enjoyed playing golf with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and how well he’d gotten along with Kim Jong-Un, the dictator of North Korea.

“Then, the jarring part: Trump said he really didn’t like dealing with President Moon from South Korea. The South Koreans were ‘terrible people,’ he said, and he didn’t know why the United States had been protecting them all these years,” Mr Hogan wrote. “‘They don’t pay us, Trump complained.'”

Mr Hogan recalled watching his wife’s reaction to the president insulting her home country. “Yumi was sitting there as the president hurled insults at her birthplace. I could tell she was hurt and upset. I know she wanted to walk out. But she sat there politely and silently,” he wrote.
 


Trump accused of ‘furthering racial entrenchment’

Donald Trump’s pledge to roll back an Obama-era regulation designed to eliminate racial disparities in the suburbs has drawn criticism from fair housing advocates, who label it a blatant attempt to play racist politics and appeal to white voters in the final weeks before the election.

Mr Trump has repeatedly threatened to repeal a 2015 initiative that requires local governments to address historic patterns of racial segregation. On Thursday, he said the regulation “will totally destroy the beautiful suburbs” and demolish property values by forcing low-income housing construction in suburban areas.

“Your home will go down in value and crime rates will rapidly rise,” he said. “People have worked all their lives to get into a community, and now they’re going to watch it go to hell. Not going to happen, not while I’m here.”

Housing advocates have suggested such rhetoric is both historically familiar and particularly incendiary as America grapples with a national reckoning over entrenched racial iniquities.

“He’s flatly saying that property values will go down and crime will increase if black people move into your neighbourhoods,” said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. “It’s especially abhorrent for Trump to be furthering racial entrenchment of segregated communities at this moment in our history.”

AP