In an exclusive interview the Guardian, Taylor Swift said Donald Trump thinks he the US is an autocracy and is operating the country in that way. The Pennsylvania-born musician described the atmosphere in her home country as “gaslighting the American public into being like, ‘If you hate the president, you hate America.’”
In a string of Donald Trump Tweets that included a possible order for US companies to withdraw from China (more on that at our business live blog, here) , the president said he would order US mail carriers to “search for and refuse” fentanyl deliveries from China and other countries.
This is easier said, then done. A key reason fentanyl use has proliferated in the US is because it is incredibly powerful in small doses and easy to produce. Drug traffickers aren’t labeling packages as containing fentanyl, and it’s easy to mask it as other products. Mail carriers know this and have tried to boost their screening procedures with limited funds.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to stop the flow of fentanyl from China simply by screening mail – something the president does not yet appear to have grasped.
In August 2017, a top UN drug official explained how fentanyl was getting from China to the US and that to curb it, the US would also need to respond to the demand for fentanyl and other opiates.
Donald Trump was unusually focused on getting the rapper A$AP Rocky out of Swedish jail, even bringing in one of the state department’s top hostage negotiators to help with the case.
Yahoo News outlined how this all played out, quoting sources involved with the discussions, who were disappointed Rocky didn’t thank Donald Trump, publicly or in private.
Rocky was released on 2 August, when the trial concluded. He was found guilty of assault, but spared prison.
At his first performance following his release, in Anaheim, California, the rapper thanked fans and called the experience in Sweden scary and humbling.
Donald Trump attacks Federal Reserve chairman
Trump has questioned whether Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell or the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, is “a bigger enemy” on Twitter.
Trump has been pressuring the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates. Ahead of a crucial speech by Powell in Jackson Hole today, the president on Wednesday compared the Fed chairman to a golfer who was unable to putt and said he had let the country down.
A city council candidate in Michigan said she wants to keep her community white “as much as possible” at a public forum on Thursday.
The candidate, Jean Cramer, made the comment in response to a question about diversity in Marysville, which is 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Detroit and more than 90% of its 9,700-person population is white.
The Port Huron Times Herald reports that a moderator asked candidates if Marysville should do more to attract foreign-born residents, and Cramer responded: “Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible.”
When the newspaper later asked Cramer if she wanted to clarify her racist remarks, Cramer said: “Husband and wife need to be the same race. Same thing with kids. That’s how it’s been from the beginning of, how can I say, when God created the heaven and the earth. He created Adam and Eve at the same time. But as far as me being against blacks, no I’m not.”
Local leaders were critical of Cramer’s comments. Mayor Dan Damman said they were “vile” and “jaw-dropping.”
Donald Trump, who tapped into the angst and anger in the rust belt in 2016, has failed to return jobs to Lordstown, Ohio, where a GM plant closed down last year.
The Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt visited the town where, he writes, the presence of the factory and its well-paid manufacturing jobs was particularly important:
Then, late last year, GM abruptly shut the plant. The company had already scaled back workers at the Lordstown plant, and this closure saw 1,500 workers, the last of the once huge workforce, out of their jobs.
“I think it’s devastating,” said Mark Sweetwood, the managing editor of the Vindicator newspaper, which serves the Mahoning valley.
“I think it was the last holdout of our industrial age.”
Democrats have been dropping out of the 2020 race this week, thinning one of the most crowded campaign fields in history.
Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts congressman and decorated Marine Corp veteran, plans to drop out today.
Moulton told the New York Times: “I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders, and really it’s a debate about how far left the party should go.”
CNN obtained a copy of a speech Moulton is set to deliver today at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting in San Francisco:
“Today, I want to use this opportunity, with all of you here, to announce that I am ending my campaign for president. Though this campaign is not ending the way we hoped, I am leaving this race knowing that we raised issues that are vitally important to the American people and our future.”
Republican mega donor David Koch dies, aged 79
David Koch, billionaire industrialist and Republican mega donor, has died, aged 79.
Koch was one half of the double act of the billionaire Koch brothers who used their vast wealth as energy tycoons to transform rightwing politics in America
Koch’s death was confirmed in a statement that said he had died from prostate cancer which he had been diagnosed with 27 years ago yet had remarkably kept at bay until now.
A primer on the Koch brothers:
A group of Columbia and Harvard-based researchers explain, in fascinating detail, “how the Koch brothers built the most powerful rightwing group you’ve never heard of.” In summary:
In America, wealthy people have always thrown their weight around to influence elections and policy. But what is newer and more portentous in the early 21st century, especially at the state level, is the rise of organized big donor collectives through which hundreds of billionaires and millionaires invest in organization-building to remake the very terrain on which US elections and government activities play out.
This October 2018 guide outlines how supporting liberal causes helped line the pockets of the Koch brothers.
A review of Jane Mayer’s stunning book, Dark Money, an extensive investigation of the world created by David and Charles Koch. Reviewer Charles Kaiser writes:
Lots of American industrialists have skeletons in the family closet. Charles and David Koch, however, are in a league of their own.
And welcome to today’s US politics live blog.
Donald Trump jets off to Europe today for the G7 summit in France amid growing concerns about the US economy, which analysts say is about to slow markedly.
Trump is responding publicly to negative economic forecasts by telling the American people that the economy is “phenomenal” and his advisers are struggling to determine what the president wants to do to avoid an economic crisis.
The Washington Post, citing 25 people in or tied to the adminstration, said: “Administration officials have scrambled this week to assemble a menu of actions Trump could take to avert an economic downturn. Few aides have a firm sense of what steps he would seriously consider, in part because he keeps changing his mind.”
Speaking of “the rest of the world,” after a lunchtime meeting with secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, the president and first lady will travel to the G7 summit in France. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has called for emergency talks there on the deliberate burning of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.