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Donald Trump has again teased supporters about the prospect of another run for the US presidency, just days after some backers pushed a theory that he could be back in the White House by August.

He also used a speech at a convention to support candidates loyal to him ahead of next year’s mid-term elections to denounce China, attack infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, and describe investigations into his finances as a “witch-hunt”.

Mr Trump again continued to peddle false claims that his defeat in the election in 2020 was ‘the crime of the century”. He won 75 million votes but lost the election to President Joe Biden by 7 million.

Trump supporters holding placards saying he won elections
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Trump supporters are still convinced he should have won the election

Rally organisers in Greenville, North Carolina, estimated around 1,200 supporters attended – in contrast to packed-out stadiums when he was president.

He told them: “The survival of America depends on our ability to elect Republicans at every level starting with the mid-terms next year.”

Mr Trump went on to describe Mr Fauci as “not a great doctor”, and said the country’s top coronavirus adviser has been “wrong on every issue”.

He has led Republicans in criticising Mr Fauci for asking Americans to wear masks and for being sceptical about allegations China covered up the escape of the virus from a lab in Wuhan.

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He also demanded China pay $10 trillion dollars to the US and the world for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

And referring to a criminal investigation launched by the New York attorney general’s office into his finances as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax”, the former president said: “They’ll never stop until November 2024.”

Donald Trump and Lara Trump at North Carolina GOP rally
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Mr Trump with Lara Trump at the North Carolina GOP rally

Since his defeat, Mr Trump has consistently teased supporters about running again without explicitly saying he would.

And there have been reports in the US media of his fans suggesting he could somehow be reinstated as president as soon as this August – something his daughter-in-law Lara Trump has denied having any knowledge of.

Mr Trump also used his speech to take aim at Mr Biden, who he accused of leading “the most radical left-wing administration in history”.

He said: “As we gather tonight our country is being destroyed before our very eyes.”

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In a statement released ahead of the speech, Democratic National Committee spokesman Ammar Moussa attacked mr Trump’s “recklessly dangerous rhetoric” – and Republicans who are reluctant to break with a “loser president”.

Some Republican leaders are also concerned that the rise of Trump-supporting candidates will jeopardise their chances of winning back control of Congress from the Democrats in 2022.

Mr Trump’s appearance at the rally comes days after Facebook suspended his account for another two years.

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Donald Trump raised £44m more than Joe Biden’s campaign in May – and he’s now turning to crypto

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Donald Trump raised £44m more than Joe Biden's campaign in May - and he's now turning to crypto

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign raised substantially more money than Joe Biden’s last month, new figures show.

The Republican candidate received £111m in contributions during May – with tens of millions sent after he was convicted of falsifying business records.

A New York jury found Trump guilty of covering up a “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels – with one billionaire donating £39.5m after the verdict was reached.

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Trump slams ‘rigged’ trial and ‘devil’ judge

Trump’s campaign has refused to confirm how much cash it has in the bank, prompting critics to suggest the embattled politician is spending heavily on legal fees.

By contrast, Mr Biden raised £67m in May – about 40% less – with official records showing the Democrats have £167m on hand for the election battle.

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, who manages the Biden campaign, said: “The money we continue to raise matters, and it’s helping the campaign build out an operation that invests in reaching and winning the voters who will decide this election – a stark contrast to Trump’s PR stunts and photo ops that he’s pretending is a campaign.”

The latest figures show how the rules of US politics are changing. While a presidential candidate would have once had to bow out of the race after being convicted of felonies, Trump’s verdict led to a surge in financial support.

He will now likely use this cash to ramp up advertising and attempt to appeal to voters in swing states as November’s ballot draws closer.

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Fundraising data for June is yet to emerge – with a glitzy fundraiser attended by film stars and former president Barack Obama netting over £23m for the Democrats last weekend.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has also donated £15m to pro-Biden groups, and formally endorsed the sitting president on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Trump has been increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies as he attempts to fill his campaign war chest.

He once described Bitcoin as a “scam” with value based on thin air – but in a sharp U-turn, has now declared he wants to be the “crypto president” and support the industry.

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Trump is the first major candidate in a US election to accept crypto donations – and earlier this week, there were unsubstantiated rumours he had launched his own digital asset, causing demand for “TrumpCoin” to surge.

On Thursday, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – crypto billionaires best known for accusing Mark Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for Facebook from them – donated £1.6m in Bitcoin to Trump, describing him as “pro-Bitcoin, pro-crypto and pro-business”.

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Donald Sutherland, Hunger Games and Kelly’s Heroes actor, dies

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Donald Sutherland, Hunger Games and Kelly's Heroes actor, dies

Donald Sutherland, who appeared in films including The Hunger Games and Kelly’s Heroes, has died at the age of 88.

His agency, CAA, said he died in Miami “after a long illness”.

The Canadian actor won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance in the mini-series Citizen X.

In 2017, he received an honorary Oscar.

His son, fellow actor Kiefer Sutherland, said “with a heavy heart” that his father had “passed away”.

“I personally think [he was] one of the most important actors in the history of film,” Kiefer Sutherland posted on X, adding that he was “never daunted by a role – good, bad or ugly”.

“He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived.”

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Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters
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Sutherland with his son Kiefer. Pic: Reuters

In the Hunger Games franchise, Donald Sutherland played President Snow alongside Jennifer Lawrence.

In Kelly’s Heroes he starred alongside Telly Savalas and Clint Eastwood as Sergeant Oddball – on a mission to steal gold from the Nazis.

“I love to work – I passionately love to work,” Sutherland told US talk show host Charlie Rose in 1998.

“I love to feel my hand fit into the glove of some other character. I feel a huge freedom – time stops for me. I’m not as crazy as I used to be, but I’m still a little crazy.”

Sutherland with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence in 2015. Pic: AP
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Sutherland with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence in 2015. Pic: AP

His “breakthrough performances” were in 1967 movie The Dirty Dozen and MASH, CAA said.

He also took parts in Robert Redford’s Ordinary People and Oliver Stone’s JFK.

He is survived by his wife Francine Racette, sons Roeg, Rossif, Angus, and Kiefer, daughter Rachel, and four grandchildren.

“A private celebration of his life will be held by the family,” CAA said.

Born in St John, New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada in July 1935, he was the son of a salesman and a mathematics teacher.

He started university in Toronto as an engineering student but switched to English and started acting in college productions.

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Travis Scott arrested for ‘causing a disturbance while drunk and trespassing’

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Travis Scott arrested for 'causing a disturbance while drunk and trespassing'

Rapper Travis Scott has been arrested for “disorderly intoxication and trespassing”, police in the US have said.

Scott, who has two children with Kylie Jenner, was arrested for causing a “disturbance” on a charter boat at the Miami Beach Marina, where he “was drunk, and asked to leave multiple times”, the Miami Beach Police Department said.

Officers were called to the marina at 12.44 am on Thursday morning to reports of a disturbance, according to official records.

The 10-time Grammy Award nominee was reportedly getting off a charter boat when the owner of the boat asked him to leave, 7News Miami said on its website.

The force said officers found Scott, arguably one of the biggest hip-hop acts in the world, “standing by the dock yelling at the vessel occupants”, and while he complied with their instructions to begin with, he then ignored them, NBC, Sky’s US partner, said.

Officers could sense “a strong smell of alcohol coming from the defendant’s breath”, records showed.

Though he agreed to leave the dock after being threatened with arrest, he did not go quietly.

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As he walked to the boardwalk, Scott “walked backwards yelling obscenities to the occupants of the vessel”, police said.

He left the marina, but returned five minutes later and was seen by officers walking back toward the vessel.

Scott spoke to a sergeant he had spoken to earlier and began yelling once again – “becoming erratic” and “disturbing the peace of the occupants of the marina and nearby residential buildings causing a public disturbance”, court documents said.

The 33-year-old musician was arrested at 1.17am and booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center at 4.35 am on a charge of alleged disorderly intoxication as well as trespassing property after warning.

He submitted a $650 (£512) bond – $500 (£394) for the trespass charge and $150 (£118) for disorderly intoxication, the Daily Mail said.

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Scott, real name Jacques Bermon Webster II, has achieved four number-one hits on the US charts and is known for his energetic live shows and successful albums, including Astroworld.

He has two children with the socialite and media personality, Kylie Jenner, but the pair are no longer together.

His European tour, titled Circus Maximus, is due to start in The Netherlands next Friday and he is scheduled to play Manchester’s Co-Op Live venue on 13 July.

In 2021, 10 fans died in a crowd surge at his Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas, where he was born.

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He did not face criminal charges over their deaths but remains involved in civil cases alleging that organisers were at fault.

Last year he scored his first UK number one album with Utopia, which has been streamed more than 50 billion times globally, NME said.

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