President Donald Trump has said his younger brother and best friend, Robert Trump, died on Saturday night.
Robert died at age 71, three years younger than the president, while in a New York hospital. He had been reportedly hospitalised in the intensive care unit for several days in June, but details of his illness have not been released.
Mr Trump said in an emotional statement: It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight.
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He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.
But while the president grieves, his threats to mail-in ballots and steep cuts to the US Postal Service (USPS) saw protesters gathering outside the agencys chiefs home on Saturday.
Around 100 people marched to the home of the postmaster general Louis DeJoy, a Trump ally and top donor to his campaign.
During Mr DeJoys first weeks as USPS chief, he imposed sweeping cuts to overtime pay and sought the removal of mail-sorting machines even as post offices brace for a surge in election-related mail.
The row over mail-in voting, made worse by the presidents insistence that it will lead to mass voter fraud, continues.
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Telephone service begins between United Arab Emirates and Israel following diplomatic deal
Telephone service between the United Arab Emirates and Israel has started working after both countries made a diplomatic deal, which delivered a key foreign policy victory to Donald Trump.
The connection of phone service represents the first concrete sign of the deal between the Emiratis and Israelis, reported the Associated Press.
On Thursday, both countries announced they were establishing full diplomatic relations in a deal brokered by the US that requires Israel to halt its plan to annex occupied West Bank land sought by Palestinians.
Mr Trump called the deal a historic breakthrough that will advance peace in the Middle East.
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 11:15
Trump considering pardon for Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden speaks via video link during a news conference in New York (Reuters)
Donald Trump said on Saturday he is considering a pardon for Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.His comments followed an interview in the New York Post, in which he said that there are a lot of people that think that [Edward Snowden] is not being treated fairly by US law enforcement.
It marks a sharp U-turn from US authorities position on Mr Snowden, as they have for years wanted the leaker returned to the US to face a criminal trial on espionage charges. Mr Snowden now lives in Russia.
When the leaks first came out, Mr Trump called Mr Snowden a spy who should be executed.
Now, the president told reporters hes going to start looking at a possible pardon, adding that Americans on both the political left and right are divided on Mr Snowden.
Pardoning the former NSA contractor would likely horrify many in the US intelligence community. But Mr Trump has previously launched harsh criticism on past leaders of the US intelligence community and FBI – on Thursday, he took aim at the bureaus current director, Christopher Wray.
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 11:00
Trump gets verified account on TikTok competitor Triller
The president now has a verified account on Triller, a TikTok competitor, a move that puts another nail in the coffin for TikToks future in the US.
Triller is a social network and entertainment app similar to TikTok, developed by US-based company Triller LLC.
The app, along with other TikTok alternatives, has received a surge of downloads since Mr Trump signed an executive order on 6 August prohibiting certain transactions with TikTok unless its owner, ByteDance, divests it within 45 days.
On Friday, Mr Trump ordered ByteDance to divest its US operations of TikTok within 90 days.
The presidents Triller account had more than 3,000 followers on Saturday, and hosts three short videos.
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 10:40
Nancy Pelosi considers recalling Congress over Post Office row
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering recalling lawmakers from a summer recess to address changes at the Postal Service.Ms Pelosi could call back the US House later this month, well ahead of scheduled resumption of votes in mid-September, according to a report on Politico.
Sweeping cuts to the agency and President Donald Trumps insistence on attacking mail-in ballots ahead of the November election have caused alarm about the possible impact on the election.
The President, his cronies and Republicans in Congress continue to wage their all-out assault on the Postal Service and its role in ensuring the integrity of the 2020 election, said Ms Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday.
An aide confirmed the House Speaker held a call with other top Democrats on Saturday to discuss the recall.
This week, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the Democratic chair of a House panel that oversees the postal service, introduced legislation to prohibit any changes from being implemented to the operations or level or service it had in place in January this year until the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 10:32
Trump praises USPS chief, claims Democrats withholding funding from postal service
Amid protests and anger over cuts to the US Postal Service, the president has praised the postmaster general Louis DeJoy, who is one of Donald Trumps allies and a top campaign donor.
At a press conference on Saturday evening, Mr Trump doubled down on his unsubstantiated attacks on mail-in ballots, which he said would be catastrophic for the presidential election in November.
He said Mr DeJoy was a great businessman who wanted to make the Post Office great again, despite protesters calling for the postmaster generals resignation over steep cuts to the agency.
Mr Trump also continued to blame Democratic lawmakers for pushing for funds dedicated to supporting election efforts, reports Alex Woodward.
Read more about Mr Trumps thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic, China, college football and Edward Snowden:
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 10:20
Protesters call for resignation of USPS chief over sweeping cuts
The US Postal Service chief, Louis DeJoy, is facing calls to resign after protesters marched to his home in Washington DC on Saturday following a national outcry over steep cuts to the agency and the presidents threats to mail-in sallows ahead of the elections.
Mr DeJoy is a Trump ally and top donor to his campaign, and was appointed to the role earlier this summer. He quickly imposed sweeping cuts to overtime pay and sought the removal of mail-sorting machines.
It comes as the postal service is bracing for a surge in election-related mail amid the coronavirus pandemic, in anticipation for the November presidential elections.
Alex Woodward has the details on the postal service row:
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 10:10
President’s younger brother dies aged 71US President Donald Trump has confirmed his younger brother, Robert Trump, passed away on Saturday at the age of 71.
Robert had been hospitalised in New York for some time, but details of his illness have not been released.
Mr Trump released an emotional statement calling his late brother his “best friend” and adding he “will be greatly missed, but we will meet again”.
Samuel Lovett reports:
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 09:50
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog following US President Donald Trump.
- Kate Ng
- 16 August 2020 09:46