Trump news live: Latest updates as president refuses to wear face mask amid Obamagate row

Trump news live: Latest updates as president pressures California to let Elon Musk reopen Tesla factory

Trump news live: Latest updates as president pressures California to let Elon Musk reopen Tesla factory

Trump news live: Latest updates as president pressures California to let Elon Musk reopen Tesla factory

Trump news live: Latest updates as president pressures California to let Elon Musk reopen Tesla factory 1

Donald Trump has pressured California to allow tech magnate Elon Musk to reopen his local Tesla manufacturing plant in defiance of the coronavirus shutdown, which has seen the blue state suffer almost 68,000 cases and 2,770 deaths.

The president returned to Twitter after storming out of his latest press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Monday afternoon having again taken exception to tough questions from two female journalists, CBS reporter Weijia Jiang and Kaitlin Collins of CNN — his latest meltdown over the crisis — as his top medical official addressing the public health emergency warns the US Senate that the nation’s death toll is muich higher than previously believed.

Mr Trump also declined to answer a query from Philip Rucker of The Washington Post on the “Obamagate” conspiracy theory that the president has been promoting, refusing to articulate precisely what crime he is accusing his predecessor of committing even after claiming that the so-called scandal “makes Watergate look small time!”

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Testing shows ‘private sector succeeded’ despite data showing otherwise 

Asked about reports of inadequate coronavirus testing capacity in the US and in Florida, specifically, and if the president is being “overly optimistic” about the scale of testing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Governor Ron DeSantis is doing “phenomenal job” of testing — despite data saying otherwise.

She said the president is basing his own assessment on data — which has widely reported a lack of testing ability — so it’s unclear why he thinks that’s a good thing.

Ms McEnany said testing availability is “a moment where the American private sector succeeded”.

Dr Fauci’s return to press briefings not known while vice president will continue to distance himself from president ‘for a few days’

Following his appearance in front of a Senate panel about the coronavirus response, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she doesn’t know when Dr Anthony Fauci and other health officials will return to press briefings.

Dr Fauci warned that states that reopen too early could trigger a spike in new cases and setback progress made in keeping the virus at bay.

Ms McEnany said: “We do want to reopen this country because there are consequences that run the other way when we stay closed down.”

Vice President Mike Pence will continue physically distancing himself from the president for “a few days” at least, she said.

Supreme Court grills Trump lawyers over subpoena case

US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that Donald Trump’s attorneys are “asking for broader immunity than anyone else gets” despite precedents set with previous presidencies whose records were under heavy scrutiny during impeachment scandals.

When the president’s legal team pushed back, saying that Mr Trump isn’t an ordinary citizen, Justice Elena Kagan fired back: “The President isn’t above the law.”

The president’s attorneys also suggested that the subpoena cases are a distraction during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the legal challenges preceding the current crisis for several months before the outbreak.

Jay Sekulow argued: “Could you imagine just for a moment … that I’m going to call the President of the United States today and say, ‘I know you’re handling a pandemic right now for the United States, but I need to spend a couple… two, three hours with you, going over a subpoena of documents that are wanted by here the New York County district attorney.”

Romney: ‘I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever’

During Senate testimony, the day after Donald Trump celebrated his claims of the availability and scale of testing across the country, Republican Senator Mitt Romney said “I find our testing record nothing to celebrate whatsoever.”

The president has routinely blamed his predecessor Barack Obama for a lack of testing capacity.

Senator Romney asked Dr Anthony Fauci whether Obama “is responsible for our lack of a vaccine”.

Dr Fauci said: “No, senator, not at all.”

The senator also grilled Admiral Brett Giroir for the White House’s frequent comparison to the scale of testing in South Korea, which has seen a decline in cases.

“Politicians are going to frame data in a way that’s most positive politically. Of course they don’t expect that from admirals,” he said.

Michigan Governor Whitmer faces dozens of death threats, as state commission punts on banning guns at Capitol

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been the target of dozens of death threats posted to Facebook groups with hundreds of thousands of people over the last several weeks, many of whom appear to have attended armed rallies at the state Capitol in Lansing to protest the coronavirus shutdown of the state’s economy.

Meanwhile, Ms Whitmer said she was “very disappointed” on Monday as the state’s Capitol Commission voted to effectively delay many state lawmakers’ request to ban guns from the Capitol complex after previous armed protests on 15 April and 30 April.

Griffin Connolly reports:

Eight Covid-19 vaccines being worked on and could be available by ‘late fall’, Fauci says during testimony

At least eight candidates for a coronavirus vaccine are in the clinical development stage, and some could be ready as early as the “late fall”, Anthony Fauci, the US’ top infectious disease expert, has told senators.

“The [National Institutes of Health] has been collaborating with a number of pharmaceutical companies at various stages of development,” Mr Fauci said, in testimony on Tuesday.

The White House infectious disease guru also suggested that his previous projection that it would take at least a year to 18 months before a vaccine was ready does not appear to be accurate.

Griffin Connolly reports:

Vaccine won’t be enough to end the pandemic, experts say

While Dr Anthony Fauci cautions that several vaccines in development could be ready for trial tests in the coming months, scientists are also warning that if Covid-19 establishes itself as a stubborn, endemic virus akin to influenza, there almost certainly will not be enough vaccine for at least several years, even with the unprecedented effort to manufacture billions of doses.

About 70 per cent of the world’s population – or 5.6 billion people – probably will need to be inoculated to begin to establish herd immunity and slow its spread, scientists say.

Bernie Sanders says he’s ‘very, very unlikely’ to run for president again

Not surprisingly, Bernie Sanders says it’s “very, very unlikely” he will run for president again.

But the Vermont Senator echoes progressive organisers in saying that the movement he helped inspired doesn’t end with him.

James Crump reports:

Joe Biden raised $60.5m in donations in April

Fauci says coronavirus death toll may be even higher than believed, contradicting Trump

He won’t like that one bit.

Here’s Chris Riotta with the latest.

Republicans for the Rule of Law air anti-Trump ad on Fox News

The president lost his mind last week over the Lincoln Project’s “Mourning in America” promo but that was only shared online.

These jokers bought air time bang in the middle of Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity’s primetime shows last night to ensure their criticism was brought to the people who most need to hear it.

Gino Spocchia has more on their efforts.

Dr Fauci tells Senate eight Covid-19 vaccines being worked on

Here’s the man of the hour giving his opening address to Congress from home just now:

You can follow dedicated coverage of his Zoom testimony here but Griffin Connolly has the latest line below.

‘If Obama was president, this would not have happened,’ says Republican political strategist

While you might expect Joe Biden to denounce Trump’s incompetence, it’s a little more shocking when the same critique is made by a member of his own side, fiercely tribal as it is.

Step forward Steve Schmidt, who has worked on campaigns for George W Bush, John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger and told MSNBC’s Ari Melber last night that, had Barack Obama still been in charge, he would have surrounded himself with “competent, professional people” and there would be no trace of the “ineptitude” we’ve seen from the federal government with Trump at the helm.

President pressures California to allow Elon Musk to reopen Tesla plant

Here’s Trump hounding the blue state to allow the eccentric tech magnate and new dad to reopen his local manufacturing plant in defiance of the coronavirus shutdown, which has seen the region suffer almost 68,000 cases and 2,770 deaths.

He’s also been working hard to try and get that rubbish “Transition to greatness” slogan to stick.

Supreme Court to hear arguments for release of Trump’s tax returns

Andrew Naughtie has this introduction to today’s virtual hearing – beginning imminently – as the question of presidential immunity is considered by the highest court in the land and the saga of those long-concealed financial records finally reaches its climax.

Joe Biden lays into ‘incompetent’ Trump on Good Morning America and again denies Tara Reade allegation 

The Democratic challenger-in-waiting was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on the ABC breakfast show today and asked how he would handle the pandemic response differently.

“I’ll tell the governors to listen to Dr Fauci. Listen to the scientists… This is not politics, this is life,” he answered.

On the historic sexual assault allegation raised against him, Biden commented: “I think women should be believed…[But] at the end of the day, the truth is the truth… This never happened.”

He also hit out at the dropping of criminal charges against disgraced general Michael Flynn, telling the host: “It’s not a surprise that, in fact, the Justice Department decided anybody who was an ally of the president didn’t do anything wrong ever anyway.” 

Here’s the interview in full:

Meanwhile, Gino Spocchia has news of a novel and ambitious suggestion from a party strategist on how to boost Biden’s visibility.

Trump airs grievances over pundits ‘telling me how to run for office’

We lost the great comedy actor Jerry Stiller yesterday, whose portrayal of Frank Costanza on Seinfeld belongs to the ages.

The character’s finest hour surely comes in “The Strike” in which he is revealed to be the inventor of Festivus, a secular alternative Christmas celebration that replaces the traditional tree with a bare aluminium pole and introduces such innovations as the Yuletide test of strength and the notorious “airing of the grievances” over the family dinner table.

Donald J Trump, another disgruntled senior from Queens, is at least keeping that last flame burning.

Phew. That was a long walk but just about worth it, I’d say.

‘Coronavirus is ravaging the White House and it’s too late for anyone to learn from it’

For Indy Voices, here’s Hannah Selinger on the absurd and eminently-avoidable problem of the Covid-19 outbreak reaching 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, supposedly one of the most secure facilities in the world.

Jimmy Kimmel derides Trump for Twitter addiction and shares deeply disturbing argumentative toddler meme

The late night host branded by the president a “last placer” and a “wacko” last week has been enjoyng hitting back as he broadcasts from home, mocking the commander-in-chief’s weird Mother’s Day tweet spree and calls for NBC anchor Chuck Todd to be fired over the editing of a clip of attorney general William Barr aired on his show.

Kimmel offered a doctored clip of his own, which – be warned – may stalk your dreams for the foreseeable future once seen.

“This really is the dumbest time to be alive,” the host says and he’s not wrong.

Isobel Lewis has this report.

President branded ‘racist’ and ‘misogynist’ on Twitter for face-off with Asian American reporter

How has Trump’s latest beef with Weijia Jiang been received on the famously-forgiving social media platform?

Not well, you will not be surprised to learn.

Here’s the Indy100 crew to roundup the memes and aggro.

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