Trump news: President defends gun rights and ICE raids, amid controversy over thumbs-up photo with El Paso baby

Joe Sommerlad, Chris Riotta

Donald Trump is facing criticism after new video footage emerged of him bragging about the size of the crowd at his El Paso rally earlier this year as he visited people recovering in hospital having been injured in last Saturday’s Walmart mass shooting, in which 22 people died.

The president is seen comparing his audience favourably to that summoned by “crazy” Beto O’Rourke, the local politician and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who has led the community – and the condemnation of President Trump – since the tragedy.

Mr Trump heads off on his summer golfing holiday on Friday with new gun control legislation no closer to realisation, his trade war with China still raging and the opposition-led House Judiciary Committee plotting an impeachment inquiry.

Speaking with reporters before departing the White House for the weekend, Mr Trump said that he received a “beautiful” three-page letter from Kim Jong Un and predicted that the two leaders would have more talks to try resolving the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Mr Trump has said he’s not bothered by the flurry of missiles that Mr Kim has launched in recent days, rattling US allies in the region.

The president said they were all short-range missiles and reiterated that North Korea has never broken its pledge to pause nuclear tests.

Mr Trump said Mr Kim told him in the letter that he was upset about recent US-South Korea military exercises, which North Korea sees as a threat.

The two leaders have met three times — in Singapore, Hanoi and the Korean Demilitarized Zone late last month — but no new talks have been scheduled.

At their second meeting in Vietnam in February, Mr Trump rejected Mr Kim’s demand for widespread sanctions relief in return for dismantling the North’s main nuclear complex, a partial disarmament step.

Mr Trump said he’d received the letter on Thursday. “It was hand-delivered. It wasn’t touched by anybody,” Mr Trump told reporters on Friday at the White House.

“It was a very positive letter. I think we’ll have another meeting. He really wrote a beautiful, three-page letter ... a really beautiful letter," he said.

Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load