First Thing: Trump denies police racism is ‘systemic’ on Kenosha visit

US president blamed police discrimination on ‘bad apples’. Plus, US refuses to join coronavirus vaccine cooperation over WHO stance

Donald Trump tours Kenosha, Wisconsin




Donald Trump tours Kenosha, Wisconsin, despite pleas to stay away, amid claims he was stoking unrest.
Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

Good morning. Trump blamed discriminatory policing on “bad apples”, and denied it was “systemic”, as he visited Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kenosha has been the site of daily anti-racism protests since police shot and paralysed Jacob Blake, an African American man, as he was getting into his vehicle with his three children inside.

Speaking on the visit on Tuesday, which local officials had repeatedly asked him to cancel, Trump also claimed that the majority of Kenosha residents were more concerned about “law and order” than racism. “We have to condemn the dangerous anti-police rhetoric”, he said, describing it as “very unfair”. Jacob Blake’s family said they “don’t have any words for the orange man in the White House”, and declined to meet the president, instead hosting a community event.

Trump has rejected global cooperation on a coronavirus vaccine … because it’s led by WHO

One global health expert said the US refusal was a ‘real blow’ to the global effort to secure a vaccine.


One global health expert said the US refusal was a ‘real blow’ to the global effort to secure a vaccine. Photograph: Anton Vaganov/Reuters

The US government has said it will not join a global initiative to develop a vaccine for coronavirus and equitably distribute it to participating countries, because the plan is co-led by the World Health Organization. The WHO announced last month that more than 170 countries were in talks to participate in Covax, which aims to accelerate the development and testing of a vaccine and distribute it equally.

In a statement, a White House spokesperson said the US would “not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China”. August has been the deadliest month so far in the coronavirus pandemic for many states in the US, including Idaho, where the number of deaths nearly doubled last month.

  • Pregnant women hospitalised with coronavirus are less likely to show symptoms but may have a higher risk of being admitted to intensive care, a study of more than 11,000 pregnant women has found.

  • When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready? Check the progress of vaccines in development around the world.

Melania Trump has been accused of using a private email while in the White House

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff told the Washington Post she had communicated with the First Lady multiple times a day on private channels.


Stephanie Winston Wolkoff told the Washington Post she had communicated with the First Lady multiple times a day on private channels. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty

The First Lady used private email and messaging to discuss official business while in the White House, her estranged friend and former senior adviser has alleged. The claims aren’t the first to be levied at members of the Trump family – last year, the House Oversight Committee last year issued subpoenas for personal emails and text messages sent on business matters by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

During the 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted over her use of a private email server, giving rise to the infamous “lock her up” chant.

  • Sarah Sanders: Trump’s former press secretary has revealed the president told her to ‘go to North Korea and take one for the team’ after the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un allegedly winked at her during a summit in Singapore in 2018.

  • A senior justice department official and Trump nominee for a lifetime appointment as a judge was involved in the removal of a prosecutor in Texas who repeatedly raised concerns about the safety of migrant children after being separated from their parents, in 2017.

Facebook says Russia created a fake left-wing news outlet

PeaceData portrayed the US as ‘war-mongering and law-breaking abroad while being racked by racism, Covid-19, and cutthroat capitalism at home’, according to the report by Facebook.


PeaceData portrayed the US as ‘war-mongering and law-breaking abroad while being racked by racism, Covid-19, and cutthroat capitalism at home’, according to the report by Facebook. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

The Russian agency that interfered with the 2016 US election also created a fake left-wing news publication, with hoax editors who had AI-generated photos, Facebook has said.

PeaceData.net, an English and Arabic-language website that claims to be a “global news organization”, had about 14,000 followers. Many of the fake editorial staff had Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. Twitter announced on Tuesday it had suspended five accounts associated with PeaceData for “platform manipulation that we can reliably attribute to Russian state actors”. It also hired unwitting freelance reporters.

In other news…

In an editorial accompanying the republication, Charlie Hebdo’s director, Laurent ‘Riss’ Sourisseau wrote: ‘We will never lie down. We will never give up.’


In an editorial accompanying the republication of the cartoons, Charlie Hebdo’s director, Laurent ‘Riss’ Sourisseau, wrote: ‘We will never lie down. We will never give up.’ Photograph: Mohammed Badra/EPA
  • The satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is set to republish controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad ahead of the start of a trial of suspected accomplices of the terrorist gunmen who killed 12 people in an attack on its offices in 2015.

  • A 105-year-old woman is leading the call for reparations for the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, in which hundreds were killed when white mobs burned down a black neighbourhood. Lessie Benningfield Randle is one of the two known survivors of the massacre still alive, and is the lead plaintiff on a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

  • Trump’s postmaster general ousted his brother to win control of the family firm, court documents allege, shedding new light on how Louis DeJoy came to control the company that made him wealthy and enabled him to become a top Republican donor.

  • Has Oatly gone sour? The popular oat milk brand is facing a backlash from climate and political activists after its connections to a private equity firm headed by the Trump donor Stephen Schwarzman, which has been linked to deforestation in the Amazon, were uncovered.

Great reads

The Amazon suffered colossal damage after last year’s fires.


The Amazon suffered colossal damage after last year’s fires. Photograph: Joedson Alves/EPA

How the Amazon was ‘condemned to destruction’
A year after devastating fires that caused global outrage, the rainforest is again suffering catastrophic blazes, and the total CO2 released from the wildfires has already surpassed last year. Critics blame Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.

The true story of Nxivm
Nxivm made headlines as a cult where sexual abuse, including branding initials on to women’s crotches, was rife. In the run-up a new documentary series on the group, former members speak to the Guardian.

Opinion: ‘Law and order’ has always been politically charged, but will it work in 2020?

As Trump tries desperately to make the 2020 election about unrest on the streets of the US, Geoffrey Kabaservice looks back at how crime rates have impacted politics, from the 1950s to today.


It’s not clear what political benefit or damage from the mayhem in Kenosha and Portland will accrue to Biden or Trump. As it’s occurring on Trump’s watch, one might think that voters would blame him. But Trump apparently is staking the success of his campaign on the claim that the present political violence is only a foretaste of a complete collapse in public order under President Biden.

Last Thing: Pilots reported someone flying a jetpack near LA airport this weekend

Jetpack flyer David Mayman during a demonstration in London in 2016.


Jetpack flyer David Mayman during a demonstration in London in 2016. Photograph: Hannah McKay/PA

It may sound pie in the sky, but both the US Federal Aviation Administration and the FBI are investigating reports made by airline pilots that someone flew a jetpack near Los Angeles international airport this weekend. Two airline crews reported sightings on their final approaches to the airport around 6.35pm (PDT) on Sunday, and said the individual was at a similar altitude as the planes.

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