Donald Trump received loud cheers from guests at one of his golf clubs after saying they did not need to wear masks because they were at a “political event”.

The comment, which he made during a press conference on Friday, came as the US recorded 160,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a top counterintelligence official warned that foreign states are trying to influence the election in November, with China and Iran hoping to damage Mr Trump’s chances, while Russia attempts to undermine Joe Biden.

Foreign states to interfere in US election, intelligence official says 

A top US counterintelligence official has released a public statement warning about foreign state interference in the US election in November, writes Oliver O’Connell. 

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Centre, cited China, Iran and Russia as examples of countries that would try to influence the result. 

Mr Evanina added that while China and Iran would attempt to undermine Donald Trump, Russia would target Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. 

However, he said that it would be difficult for other countries to manipulate voting at scale.

Trumps gets cheered at press conference for comments on masks 

Donald Trump was cheered by golf club guests in New Jersey on Friday after telling a journalist that they did not have to wear masks because they were at a “political event”.

After a reporter reminded the president at a press conference that 6,000 Americans had died from coronavirus this week, he asked why members of the audience were not following the state’s law which required face coverings to be worn.

“Because it’s a political activity – they have exceptions for political activity. And it’s also a peaceful protest,” Mr Trump replied.

Members of the audience booed the question from the journalist and then cheered at the president’s response.

Mr Trump’s comments came as the Covid-19 death toll in the US passed 160,000, with the spread of the disease showing no sign of slowing down. 

The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe has more on the story here: