Trump Response Shocks His Allies

Thursday, August 17, 2017Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 9.18.45 AM

Good Thursday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • In the wake of his defense of white supremacists, President Trump was abandoned by executives, contradicted by military leaders and shunned by Republicans. According to close aides, the president said he felt liberated by his news conference and viewed it as his latest retort to a political establishment trying to tame his impulses.

  • American presidents, going back to George Washington, have all tried, with varying success, to summon the nation to a higher moral purpose, but Mr. Trump has stepped back.

  • Mr. Trump’s main council of top corporate leaders disbanded after he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.

  • The president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., has drawn starkly different reactions from his core supporters and Republican Party leaders who fear political oblivion.

  • An email forwarded to journalists by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer cites “no difference” between Robert E. Lee and George Washington. It claims Black Lives Matter is infiltrated by terrorists.

  • For the first time, an actual witness, a Ukrainian malware expert, has emerged in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and he has been interviewed by the F.B.I.

  • A new group started by Trump loyalists aims to get out the vote — and to monitor polling stations and invalidate “fraudulent” votes.
— The First Draft Team
The Upshot

Political Migration: A New Business of Moving Out to Fit In

By EMILY BADGER
Paul and Brenda Chabot with their four children as they walked their dog around their new neighborhood in McKinney, Tex.

Paul and Brenda Chabot with their four children as they walked their dog around their new neighborhood in McKinney, Tex. Cooper Neill for The New York Times

Paul Chabot, a Republican, ran in the fall for Congress from a part of California’s Inland Empire that was once reliably Republican. That was the best way, he figured, to revive a community he remembered from his childhood as being safer, more prosperous, with better public schools and less liberal politics. It was his final effort trying to make things work in California.
Mr. Chabot lost by 12 points. By Thanksgiving, he, his wife, Brenda, and their four children were touring North Texas in a rented S.U.V. looking for a new home.
In the language of political science, they were sorting. The Chabots left a part of the country where they believed they no longer fit in as conservatives for a new community where they felt sure they would.
Read more »
Donald J. Trump in New York in 1991.

Trump on Taxes

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

In 1991, when Donald Trump was merely a real estate developer, he gave Congress some advice about tax reform. It’s worth hearing again.

President Barack Obama’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend broke a Twitter record.

Obama’s Charlottesville Response Becomes Most-Liked Tweet Ever

By JONAH ENGEL BROMWICH

The tweet paired a quote from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography with a picture of former President Barack Obama smiling up at a diverse group of children.

Hope Hicks, center, will serve as interim director of communications at the White House, according to an administration official.

Hope Hicks Will Be Trump’s Interim Communications Director

By EILEEN SULLIVAN AND MAGGIE HABERMAN

The longtime aide will temporarily fill the spot left by Anthony Scaramucci and help the president find a replacement, an administration official said.

Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain at the naval base in Portsmouth, England, on Wednesday.

Theresa May Sharpens Her Response to Trump’s Charlottesville Remarks

By PATRICK KINGSLEY

Britain’s prime minister has appeared reluctant to criticize the American president and seemed to tread carefully again after the violence in Virginia.

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June.

F.B.I. Agents Supported Comey, Surveys Show, Weakening Trump’s Claim of Turmoil

By MATT APUZZO

The president had said he fired the F.B.I. director in part because agents had lost confidence in him, but agents gave him high marks for leadership.

Robert Lighthizer, center, the United States trade representative, at the initial round of Nafta talks in Washington on Wednesday, said that the pact had “fundamentally failed many, many Americans.”

U.S. Begins Nafta Negotiations With Harsh Words

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

The Trump administration opened talks with Canada and Mexico on the North American Free Trade Agreement by asserting that the current deal had failed.

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and his wife, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, are both Jewish.

Jewish Staff Is Silent After the President’s Remarks

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR

Gary D. Cohn, Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner have not commented publicly, though Mr. Cohn was described by those close to him as disgusted with the remarks.

Workers unpacking boxes shipped from affiliates at an Amazon fulfillment center in Tennessee. As unemployment has remained low, Amazon has turned to job fairs to fill thousands of positions.

Fed Officials Confront New Reality: Low Inflation and Low Unemployment

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM

A growing number of officials see a need to adjust the central bank’s assumptions on the economy, according to an account of the latest policy meeting.

Hard Truths or Easy Targets? Confronting the Summer of Trump Onstage

By BEN BRANTLEY, JESSE GREEN AND ALEXIS SOLOSKI

Theater has quickly taken on the Trump presidency. Whether what’s onstage can change minds or spark action is open to debate.

S&P Global Market Intelligence found that Amazon paid an average tax rate covering federal, state, local and foreign taxes of 13 percent from 2007 to 2015.
FACT CHECK

Does Amazon Pay Taxes? Contrary to Trump Tweet, Yes

By LINDA QIU

President Trump wrongly suggested, again, that Amazon does not pay taxes. The company paid $412 million last year and collects sales taxes in all states that levy them.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke about sanctuary cities in Miami on Wednesday.

Sessions Lauds Miami and Rebukes Chicago in Escalating Fight With Sanctuary Cities

By REBECCA R. RUIZ

Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised Miami-Dade County for falling into line, but said Chicago’s leaders had made sanctuary cities a political issue.

Ahmed Abu Khattala, suspected of being a ringleader of the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Benghazi Suspect’s Statements in Ship Brig Will Be Allowed in Court

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

A federal judge rejected defense arguments that the government had violated Ahmed Abu Khattala’s right against self-incrimination during interrogation.

Members of the Texas House in discussion on Tuesday evening, when the special session was abruptly ended.

Texas Bathroom Bill Dies Again, but a Revival Is Inevitable

By DAVID MONTGOMERY AND MANNY FERNANDEZ

A bill to restrict transgender bathroom use failed for a second time, but the state’s lieutenant governor said it would return “because the people will demand it.”

Eboni K. Williams, a host of Fox News’s “The Specialists.”

A Fox News Host Attacks Trump, and Some Viewers Bristle

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM

Eboni K. Williams, a Fox host, strongly criticized the president’s remarks. She said the network expressed no concern.

President Trump’s business councils have disbanded over his remarks on white supremacists.
COMMON SENSE

C.E.O.s Long Avoided Politics. Trump Is Changing the Calculus.

By JAMES B. STEWART

Corporate leaders often avoid taking political stands, especially on the president. But remarks from the White House on white supremacists appear to have changed that.

Walmart’s chief executive forcefully criticized President Trump’s response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Walmart’s C.E.O. Had Plenty to Say About Trump. So Did His Customers.

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Doug McMillon, Walmart’s chief executive, rebuked President Trump over his response to the Charlottesville violence. Walmart shoppers were split over whether that was right.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Erick Erickson in The Resurgent:
“It seems one of the biggest problems with having Donald Trump as the messenger is that he is so flawed he allows the press and others, even people like Mitt Romney, to give antifa and violent left-wing activists a pass they should not get.”
Mr. Erickson writes that saying there were “good people on both sides” of the protests in Charlottesville, Va., was “the stupidest thing of all stupid things the man has said.” But what is true, in his opinion, is that the counterprotesters showed up “looking for a fight.” “Antifa is on the opposite side of the white supremacists on the same coin,” he writes. Read more »
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From the Left
• Stanislav Vysotsky in In These Times:
“Antifascists often serve as the first line of defense when police and civil society fail to protect marginalized groups from fascist threat. Their actions must be understood in that context.”
Mr. Vysotsky researches hate groups and violence in his work as a professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He also identifies himself as “old punk/antifa” on Twitter. Here, he argues that there is a false equivalence drawn between the antifa and white supremacist groups. “It would be a mischaracterization to claim that antifa oppose nonviolence,” he writes. Instead, the group “often justifiably” understands “nonviolence as ineffective against a movement that is violent at its core.” Read more »
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