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Trump news: White House denies intelligence on Russian bounty threat and Reddit bans supporters's forum as Twitch suspends president's account

The Independent logo The Independent 29/06/2020 Joe Sommerlad, Alex Woodward
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Independent

Donald Trump has been made the subject of an arrest warrant by Iran over the US killing of the country’s top general Qassem Soleimani on 3 January, with Tehran appealing to Interpol for help in enforcing it.

The president has meanwhile insisted he was not briefed by intelligence officials over an alleged Russian plot to pay out bounties to Taliban-linked militia in exchange for targeting American and British soldiers in Afghanistan to sow unrest, after the president was accused of sitting on the report by his domestic political rivals.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to say whether the president would respond, telling reporters that "there are some dissenting opinions within the intelligence community" about the veracity of the claims in the reports.

"This was not briefed up to the president because, in fact, it was not verified," she said,

But after GOP allies in the House met with the president's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Congressman Jim Banks – in a Twitter thread shared by the president – suggested that bounty plot was being actively investigated, and that The New York Times report about the intelligence was "the real scandal" – not the president's refusal to act on it. He suggested that "it's impossible to finish the investigation" because of media reports.

"Trump attacked by Pelosi for ignoring briefing on Russia placing bounties on US soldiers"
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"The blood is on their hands," he said.

After an exodus of the president's supporters from the platform, Reddit has banned the popular r/The_Donald forum and Twitch temporarily suspended the president's account over crackdowns on hate speech on the platforms.

YouTube also closed the accounts of several prominent far-right personalities, as conservatives – migrating to platforms like Parler – accuse social media of censoring conservative voices, a conspiracy supported by the president.

As coronavirus cases continue to surge across the US, several states are racing to impose new lockdown restrictions after too-soon reopening efforts and a lack in comprehensive federal efforts to support Americans have caused dangerous spikes.

California joined Texas and Florida in closing bars in seven counties and the latter shut its beaches. “Caution was thrown to the wind and so we are where we are,” Republican governor Ron DeSantis commented.

Arizona also announced that all bars, clubs, movie theatres and gyms would close for at least 30 days after the state saw its largest case spike since the onset of the pandemic.

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