Donald Trump has commuted Roger Stone's prison sentence, days before he was expected to report to jail following a host of charges related to Robert Mueller's 2016 investigation into foreign interference in US elections.
The president blamed Democrats for perpetuating a "Russia hoax" and "overzealous prosecutors" who sought several counts, all of which a jury found him guilty.
Before touring Florida on Friday, the president postponed its New Hampshire rally scheduled for Saturday as a storm threatens the East Coast and as a growing number of Americans are concerned about coronavirus infections, which have surged across the US in recent weeks.
The president used an interview with Fox News ally Sean Hannity to attempt to pin the blame for a spike in cases on Anthony Fauci, whom the president called “a nice man" but said that "he’s made a lot of mistakes” – despite the president's disregard for medical advice to push for states to reopen.
State health officials reported more than 55,000 new cases of Covid-19 for the third day in a row on Thursday, with California, Florida and Texas recording new daily death rates highs of 149, 120 and 105, respectively, as Kentucky became the latest state to order its residents to wear face coverings in public.
Officials at the World Health Organisation warned on Friday that it's "very unlikely" that the world, as is, can eradicate the virus and should consider retreating to lockdown measures.
Mr Trump has meanwhile lashed out at the US Supreme Court over its ruling on Thursday that a New York state prosecutor can see his tax returns and that he is therefore not above the law, with the president also branding his old home town a “hellhole”.
He also threatened the tax-exempt status of universities he claimed promote "far-left indoctrination" while his administration is pulling work visas for journalists at his Voice of America, which the president is threatening to turn into his own propaganda outlet as he grows tired of sycophantic Fox News and the under-performing One America News.
In another shadowy late Friday move, the president's attorney general William Barr announced a close ally as the next acting US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which is currently reviewing financial records from Trump allies over his inauguration committee.
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