Donald Trump has challenged Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, over why the United States has more coronavirus cases than other countries. Dr Facui said in front of a House subcommittee it was because the US only shut down 50 per cent of its economy, but Mr Trump says it’s due to the country testing more.
Although the president has blamed testing, that doesn’t explain the surge in death toll and hospitalisations. In the month of July, 10 days posted more than 1,000 people dying from the coronavirus in a one day. The month prior only had three days within the month hitting that number.
This comes as the president has said he would ban popular video app TikTok over security concerns.
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Mr Trump said a ban could be implemented on Saturday. On Friday he said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce the action, insisting, “I have that authority” before adding: “It’s going to be signed tomorrow.”
TikTok’s US general manager came back with a video on Saturday to users, saying the app was not going anywhere.
Key impeachment witness Alexander Vindman penned a Washington Post op-ed against the president following his resignation. The lieutenant colonel accused Mr Trump of using “bullying and retaliation” against him after he spoke during the House impeachment trials against the president.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden is nearing the announcement of his vice presidential choice. The top contenders and their advocates are making final appeals. The leading contenders include California Senator Kamala Harris, California Representative Karen Bass and Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
Representative Karen Bass responded to scrutiny on Saturday after a Scientology event she attended 10 years ago resurfaced. Ms Bass defended her attendance by stating she was trying to be accepting of all organisations in her community while acknowledging the recent allegations against Scientology.
Trump’s comments came after published reports that his administration is planning to order China’s ByteDance to sell TikTok. There were also reports on Friday that software giant Microsoft is in talks to buy the app.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters Friday on Air Force One as he returned from Florida.
Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce the action, insisting, “I have that authority.” He added, “It’s going to be signed tomorrow.”
Presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden is getting closer to naming the woman who would serve as his vice president if he wins November’s US election.
His campaign has not set a date for the announcement and there is still time for the contenders and their advocates to make appeals to Mr Biden, who is 77 and would be the oldest person elected president if he wins the race to the Oval Office.
Mr Biden, who himself served as vice president to Barack Obama, had initially indicated in May he would make a decision around August 1 but campaign sources now suggest a decision could come in the week starting on August 10.
That is one week before the party convention formalises Mr Biden’s nomination to challenge President Donald Trump for the keys to the White House.
Running mates are often announced on the eve of a convention.
The leading contenders include California Sen. Kamala Harris, California Rep. Karen Bass and Obama national security adviser Susan Rice
President Donald Trump is eager to extend the benefit, undercutting his GOP allies on Capitol Hill who have spent considerable effort devising an alternative that could unite Republicans.
The unemployment insurance is a principal element as talks continue on a Covid-19 relief bill, which is expected to grow considerably from a $1 trillion-plus GOP draft released this week. Top Democrats announced a meeting with administration representatives for Saturday morning after Thursday night talks at the Capitol failed to produce a breakthrough.
The two sides took their case to the media Friday morning, with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaking to reporters on short notice at the exact moment House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared at her weekly news conference.
Mr Meadows accused Democrats of refusing to negotiate, saying Mr Trump has instructed him to be “aggressive and forward-leaning” in trying to extend the supplemental jobless benefit.
Revenue at President Donald Trump’s Washington DC hotel and several of his biggest clubs and resorts mostly held steady last year before the coronavirus forced many to shut their doors and lay off workers, according to a financial disclosure report released Friday.
Mr Trump’s DC hotel and his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, both took in slightly less revenue in 2019 for the third year in a row. Revenue at the president’s golf club near Miami and at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club inched up.
In sum, the disclosure report released by the Office of Government Ethics appears to provide little evidence that Mr Trump’s role as president has provided a big boost to his business, as his critics had feared.
Intelligence officials confirmed in recent days that foreign actors are actively seeking to compromise the private communications of “US political campaigns, candidates and other political targets” while working to compromise the nation’s election infrastructure. Foreign entities are also aggressively spreading disinformation intended to sow voter confusion heading into the fall.
There is no evidence that foreign actors have yet succeeded in penetrating campaigns or state election systems, but Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign confirmed this week that it has faced multiple related threats.
The former vice president’s team was reluctant to reveal specifics for fear of giving adversaries useful intelligence.
Mr Trump’s team reported no specific foreign threats against the president’s campaign, but campaign general counsel Matthew Morgan highlighted the Republican Party’s effort to install various voter ID requirements across the country — including photo verification, signature matching and witness requirements — as an important tool to block foreign interference.
However, there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in U.S. politics, whether by American voters or foreign nationals.
The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has suggested people use petrol to disinfect their face masks, despite repeated warnings by experts and health officials not to do so.
Mr Duterte made the comment during a national address on Friday as his country reported a new record 4,063 coronavirus infections, making it the worst-affected Southeast Asian nation for the second day running.
It is not the first time that the brash president, a lawyer by profession, has tried to offer his citizens bizarre and frankly hazardous advice about controlling the virus.
Read the full story here.
The top Democrats in Congress are due to meet with two top Trump aides on Saturday to try to reach a deal to pump more money into the US economy to ease the coronavirus’ heavy toll, after an essential lifeline for millions of unemployed Americans expired.
Over recent months, Congress has been unable to reach an accord for a next round of coronavirus relief, in a pandemic that has killed more than 150,000 Americans and brought on the sharpest economic collapse since the Great Depression.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows beginning at about 9 am EDT (1300 GMT) at the Capitol, according to an aide familiar with the planning.
Congress has so far agreed on about $3 trillion in coronavirus relief.
Ms Pelosi said on Friday she had rejected an offer by Donald Trump‘s administration to continue the $600 payments for another week, saying such a move would only make sense “if you are on a path” toward a deal.
“We’re not,” Ms Pelosi told a news conference.
Two major drug companies will supply the US government with 100 million doses of an experimental vaccine, the Trump administration said on Friday, as the nation’s top health agency predicted that fatalities would rise in the coming weeks.
Mexico surpassed Britain as the country with the third-highest coronavirus death toll on Friday, as the pandemic reaches new milestones in Latin America and threatens to disrupt efforts to reopen the region’s economies.
Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez said on Friday that 20 evacuation centers were on standby that could be set up with Covid-19 safety measures.
“We still don’t think there is a need to open shelters for this storm, but they are ready,” he said.
Authorities in North Carolina ordered the evacuation of Ocracoke Island, which was slammed by last year’s Hurricane Dorian, starting Saturday evening. Meanwhile, officials in the Bahamas evacuated people on Abaco island, who have been living in temporary structures since Dorian. People living in the eastern end of Grand Bahama were also being moved.
Isaias had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (135 kph) on Saturday morning and some strengthening was possible later on Saturday, the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said. The storm was centred about 80 miles (125 kilometres) south-southeast of Nassau in the Bahamas and was moving northwest at 12 mph (19 kph). Forecasters said some decrease in its forward motion was expected.
After a difficult week, Trump addressed reporters in Florida, saying he gets along well with Anthony Fauci, the top federal infectious disease official, and he should have better ratings for his administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Read The Independent’s Washington Bureau Chief John T Bennest’s analysis here.
Iran says it has detained a leader of a little-known California-based opposition group for allegedly planning a 2008 attack on a mosque that killed 14 people and wounded over 200 others.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has also alleged Jamshid Sharmahd of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran planned other attacks around the Islamic Republic amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the US over its collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Iranian state television broadcast a report on Sharmahd’s arrest, linking him to the 2008 bombing of the Hosseynieh Seyed al-Shohada Mosque in Shiraz. It also said his group was behind a 2010 bombing at Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum in Tehran that wounded several people.
The United States reached multiple grim milestone in the month of July amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only did the country hit 150,000 deaths from Covid-19, but it has also reported more than 4.5 million cases since the pandemic started.
During the month of July, the country also hit 1,000 daily coronavirus deaths for 10 days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In June, the month only saw three days where it surpassed 1,000 daily deaths for the novel virus, which indicates the country might be moving in the wrong direction.
But July was a better month than May and April. May saw 23 days with coronavirus daily deaths topping 1,000 and April had every day of the month topping 1,000 daily deaths.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman penned an op-ed in The Washington Post on Saturday following the announcement he would be retiring from the Army.
“After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian. I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career,” he wrote.
Mr Vindman experienced attacks from President Trump after he testified before Congress during the president’s impeachment hearings. His testimony became key in the impeachment inquiry, as he expressed alarm over Mr Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the phone call, Mr Trump asked for the country to open an investigation into political rival Joe Biden.
The former lieutenant colonel then experienced what he think was impeachment retaliation following the testimony after his promotion to colonel was delayed this summer.
But in the op-ed, Mr Vindman said he did not regret testifying before Congress.
“At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment,” he wrote. “Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving.”
Mr Vindman added he stood “by his conviction” even though he received retaliation from the president.
The lieutenant colonel submitted his letter of resignation on 8 July.
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