Donald Trump has lashed out after being roundly mocked once again for posing in the Oval Office with a map of Hurricane Dorian that had been altered to include Alabama in the storm’s path, therein backing up one of the president’s weekend tweets contested by government meteorologists.
Asked who had made the change – it being a federal offence to publicise misleading weather forecasts - Mr Trump told reporters: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” An incriminating black Sharpie pen had been spotted lying on his desk.
The president also suggested the government was powerless to stop mass shootings, mused on killing 10m Afghans and defended vice president Mike Pence staying at one of his own resorts in Ireland as the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Department of Homeland Security over Mr Trump's alleged promise to pardon aides who broke the law in order to get his border wall built.
The committee issued the subpoenas Wednesday, having approved them in July.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the subpoenas are part of the panel's investigation into whether to pursue articles of impeachment against Mr Trump.
The questions focus on acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.
Shortly after Mr McAleenan took over, Mr Trump told him he'd pardon him if he were to find himself in trouble for blocking people legally seeking asylum, according to people familiar with the conversation. The people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private conversation.
Mr McAleenan has said he was not asked, directed or pressured to do anything illegal, but has also said his conversations with the president are privileged information.
The committee said the subpoena requires production of documents related to meetings in March and April between the president and Homeland Security officials in which pardons may have been discussed.
It also requires documents related to possible pardon offers related to the wall being constructed on the southern border.
Nadler said the dangling of pardons "would constitute another reported example of the president's disregard for the rule of law."
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Donald Trump finds himself being roundly mocked once again after posing in the Oval Office with a map of Hurricane Dorian that had been altered to include Alabama in the storm’s path, therein backing up one of the president’s weekend tweets contested by government meteorologists.
Asked who had made the change – it being a federal offence to publicise misleading weather forecasts - Trump told reporters: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
An incriminating black Sharpie pen had been spotted lying on his desk.
Tom Embury-Dennis has the latest on another fine mess.
#Sharpiegate is actually trending on Twitter at the time of writing.
Greg Evans has a comprehensive round-up.
On Twitter last night, Trump again pushed his insistence that Alabama is in danger from Dorian by posting an original projection of the storm's movements, still apparently unable to admit he had made a mistake or let it go.
He also trolled the 2020 candidates appearing on CNN's Democratic Climate Change Town Hall from New York by offering some "facts" of his own.
This tweet also provoked interest, given that the user in question evidentally had their account suspended within hours of being endorsed by the president.
If only Twitter were always that proactive.
Trump also again retweeted a message from Terrence K Williams, the comedian and conspiracy theorist who caused a furore by suggesting the Clintons had been involved in the "murder" of billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in his New York jail cell.
This time Williams was ranting at Will & Grace actress Debra Messing - recently the source of Trump's ire - after she endorsed a tweet depicting a sign outside of a church in Alabama that read: “A black vote for Trump is mental illness".
The sitcom star respond to Williams with an evidentally sincere apology.
Trump's other pronouncements on Tuesday as he held court in the Oval Office saw him back an already embattled Boris Johnson on Brexit, remain optimistic on getting Iran around a negotiating table, thank Mexico for its troop deployments to the border and warn China that the US will no longer do business with its tech giant Huawei.
Later, announcing state grants to address the opioid crisis from the Roosevelt Room, he defended vice president Mike Pence for staying at one of his own golf resorts in Doonbeg, Ireland, despite the massive inconvenience of his doing so and swerved a question on Walmart limiting the sale of guns and ammunition by praising the retailer's latest financial results.
He also expressed pessimisim about the government's powers to address mass shootings, again blaming the phenomenon on mental health rather than easy access to lethal assault weapons, and mused about the prospect of killing 10 million people in Afghanistan (a recurrent and morbid obsession).
The House Judiciary Committee has meanwhile subpoenaed the Department of Homeland Security over Trump's alleged promise to pardon aides who broke the law in order to get his US-Mexico border wall built.
The Washington Post reported last week that the president had told aides to get the wall up in time for 2020 at any cost - by ignoring environmental legislation, fast-tracking construction contracts and seizing land by eminent domain - and reassured them over the inevitable legal consequences: “Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you.”
CNN previously reported that the Trump told then-Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan - now acting Homeland Security secretary - he would grant him a pardon if McAleenan were sent to jail for having border agents block asylum seekers from entering the US. Trump has, of course, hotly denied both reports.
Well, he would, wouldn't he?
Now Democratic chairman Jerrold Nadler - whose panel is investigating obstruction of justice allegations against Trump arising from the Mueller report with a view to recommending his impeachment - is expanding his existing probe still further.
"The framers did not envision the use of the presidential pardon power to encourage criminal acts at the president's direction," Nadler said in a statement.
"As the committee continues its investigation into whether to recommend articles of impeachment, it is imperative that we are able to obtain information about ongoing presidential misconduct and abuses of power."
China’s commerce ministry has said its trade representatives will fly to DC in early October to resume stalled face-to-face trade talks with the US, news that rallied Asia's stock markets overnight.
The Shanghai Composite Index grew as much as 2 per cent, jumping above 3,000 points for the first time in two months, while
Japan's Nikkei climbed 2.3 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi rose 1 per cent, according to CNN Business.
The agreement - intended to restore peace following Trump's escalating tariff war, which is beginning to show signs of damaging US agriculture and manufacturing - was hammered out by the country's vice premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He in conversation with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"They agreed to hold meetings at the ministerial level in Washington in the coming weeks," a Lighthizer spokesperson. "In advance of these discussions, deputy-level meetings will take place in mid-September to lay the ground work for meaningful progress."
"Any sliver of optimism on the trade war front will be viewed in a very positive light," said Stephen Innes, an Asia Pacific market strategist for AxiTrader. "Surely both parties can't be happy to move forward with their scorched earth policy."
Despite Trump's respectful recent remarks about Xi Jinping, both sides still seem a long way from the friendly terms they were on last April, when they were on the verge of agreeing a comprehensive new trade deal.
If no breakthrough is reached in the new negotiations, further escalation of the trade war is already scheduled.
On 1 October, the $250bn (£203bn) of Chinese goods that have already been subject to 25 per cent levies will see those tariffs rise to 30 per cent, further straining both economies. In mid-December, a new batch of Chinese imports, worth $156bn (£127bn), will be hit by 15 per cent tariffs.
Hurricane Dorian is meanwhile continuing to make its way along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
Here's a map you can trust.
Andrew Buncombe has the latest on the recovery operation underway in the Bahamas, where the death toll has risen to 20 after the storm stalled over the Caribbean island earlier this week and pounded it with torrential rain and hammering winds.
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