James M. Lindsay is senior vice president, director of studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg chair at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he oversees the work of the more than six dozen fellows in the David Rockefeller Studies Program. He is a leading authority on the American foreign policymaking process and the domestic politics of American foreign policy.

James will be joining us in The Hive to chat about foreign policy and the U.S. Submit your questions at any time or join us on Thursday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.

Virginia authorities charge 20 year old James Alex Fields, Jr on multiple counts related to the car attack on counter-protestors in Charlottesville.

The President has made a few more comments today. They follow the standard pattern: Make the absolute minimum criticism of white supremacists, neo-nazis and right wing extremists. From a few moments ago: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.” He explicitly equates the white supremacist/nazi marchers and the counter-protestors.

2:26 PM: This is from the AP wire at 2:00 PM, eyewitness reports from credentialed journalists on social media suggest substantially more people injured than in this copy …

Authorities are on the scene after a vehicle plowed into a group of people marching peacefully through downtown Charlottesville.

An Associated Press reporter saw at least one person on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately afterward the incident, which occurred approximately two hours after violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them.

Here’s video of one angle of the incident …

Here is a ‘better’ view of the incident. As you can see, two cars are moving very slowly through a crowd of counter-demonstrators when another cars comes at high speed behind them, hitting demonstrators and then plowing into the back of one of those two cars. That appears to have caused a chain reaction throwing the other two cars into other people on foot.

White supremacists and Neo-Nazis are the President’s domestic Putins. We’re not supposed to say in polite company that he’s on their side. But he has to be dragged kicking and screaming to criticize them. And he usually refuses to do so altogether. Today’s tweet in response to the incidents in Charlottesville is just the latest example.

Earlier this month, The Atlantic reported on a memo written by a since-fired NSC staffer named Rich Higgins. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster fired Higgins in July over the memo. But Higgins’ dismissal was part of McMaster’s broader effort to assert control over an NSC which still has or had numerous staffers brought in by Mike Flynn. Yesterday Foreign Policy published the memo in its entirety along with new reporting about the context of the memo, its discovery and Higgins’ dismissal.
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Let me note something about this afternoon’s news that Paul Manafort is switching out his legal team. Pay attention to some key parts of the rather brief announcement. The statement by spokesman Paul Maloni says that Manafort is “in the process of retaining his former counsel, Miller & Chevalier, to represent him in the office of special counsel investigation” and that “as of today, WilmerHale no longer represents Mr. Manafort.”
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Picking up on my earlier post about why Trump’s lawyer appears to be signaling that he fears materials seized from Paul Manafort’s home may incriminate the President, let me say this. It’s quite possible that John Dowd is just being stupid. Or, more specifically, it’s possible Dowd is just sounding up for the benefit of Trump’s political supporters and doesn’t care if his comments make sense in other contexts or might even appear incriminating. Unlike the now semi-canned Marc Kasowitz, he’s a real DC lawyer. He’s also got a reputation as a hothead.  But I want to zoom in on the issue of Paul Manafort.
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President Trump’s lawyer John Dowd allegedly sent an email to The Wall Street Journal in which he said, among other things, that the raid on Paul Manafort’s home was a gross abuse of power. The FBI definitely used aggressive tactics. I said as much yesterday. But the part that jumps out to me is that Dowd is threatening to make a motion to have the fruits of the search suppressed.
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The deliberate wrecking of Obamacare, which President Trump has declared as his political strategy, is going to come in many forms. Both acts of commission and omission. As Alice Ollstein reports today, Trump’s HHS, under the guiding hand of anti-Obamacare jihadist Tom Price, has abandoned the outreach programs that did so much to boost the ranks of covered Latinos.

It’s an important story, but it’s just one window into Trump’s planned demolishing of Obamacare. We need your help in tracking the myriad ways the administration is tearing down Obamacare so that it can declare it broken and revive repeal efforts. (That’s been the GOP MO on Obamacare for years, but Trump strips the pretense away and just says as much.)

If you’re in HHS, used to be in HHS, work with HHS or have in the past, or otherwise have information about the undoing of Obamacare by executive fiat, email us. That includes you, insurance industry folks, state regulators, and trade groups. As always, talk at talking points memo dot com is the best way to reach us. Put “Attn: Alice Ollstein” in the subject line and she’ll be sure to see it.

In almost every discussion of the North Korea situation, I try to remind everyone that North Korea made its nuclear break out under George W. Bush – not under Bill Clinton and not under Barack Obama. A key part of that backstory is that over the course of the late 90s the US negotiated a series of agreements called the Agreed Framework which shuttered the North Koreans nuclear weapons program in exchange for a combination of commitments and aid. The Bush team argued that the agreement was ‘appeasement’ and that the US had caught the North Koreans cheating on the agreement during Bush’s first term. The cheating argument has always struck me as questionable – quite possibly true but questionable. But the bigger issue is this: Does any of this really matter today as more than affixing blame for a situation we have to grapple with today whoever is at fault? I would argue that it very much does. Here’s why.
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That Robert Mueller’s probe is beginning to examine to Trump finances is neither surprising nor out of the ordinary, as Tierney Sneed reports. But one point I hadn’t seen made before comes from a former federal prosecutor who handled national security cases:


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TPM Reader ML thinks I’m mistaken to believe Trump’s bellicosity has played a role in the recent escalation between the US and North Korea …

I am a big fan of your work. TPM is absolute “must-read” for me every morning (right after the Red Sox box score). But, I have a bit of of a dissent to offer related to something you said in your Korea piece. It will seem like a minor point on the surface, but there is a larger issue at stake that troubles me.


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In response to a new round of threats from North Korea, themselves spurred by new US sanctions led by the US, President Trump has now, rather casually, threatened North Korea with a nuclear holocaust. At a meeting on the opioid crisis a short time ago Trump just said: “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said. “He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
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I mentioned earlier that a number of publications, including TPM, have now spoken to the young New Jersey woman who is somehow involved in the “ProTrump45” Trump merchandise scam and was the basis of the “Nicole Mincey” persona. Her story keeps changing, with references to other fictive personalities, contradictory claims about money that was involved, how she became involved and so forth. She has insisted through multiple interviews that she only got involved because of her support for Trump and never received any money. In the latest interview, which I discuss below, she claims she left the scam group in June because, “the store was getting disorganized. They weren’t keeping up with the orders. I wasn’t getting paid.”   The evolving story has all the hallmarks of a band of grifters, of uncertain size and collective intelligence, scrambling for cover stories.
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Buzzfeed has now published an article on the “Nicole Mincey” story. It addresses a few of the points we’ve been discussing. One key point is that it suggests that what got Twitter to act was the unauthorized use of photos reported by the company behind the Placeit Mockup Tool, something we discussed here. But the really interesting part is the new explanation by the woman in New Jersey who originally claimed her identity had been stolen for the effort.

Here’s the new story she told Buzzfeed ..
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This morning I said our team was digging into the “Nicole Mincey” story. Here’s Matt Shuham’s first look at information available as of earlier today. (For a brief background on this story, see my overview from this morning.) The Post just moved a story suggesting that “Nicole Mincey” may actually be a Russian bot. At least that’s what the headline suggests. But there doesn’t seem to be anything in the article that really backs up that suggestion.
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We’re working on more reporting on this as we speak. But I wanted to introduce the topic here in the Editors’ Blog to get us started. You may have heard of this, probably not. Over the weekend, President Trump RT’d a shout-out of praise from a woman on Twitter named Nicole Mincey.
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Dale Ho is the Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project and supervises the ACLU’s voting rights litigation and advocacy work nationwide. Dale has active cases in over a dozen states throughout the country. He is a frequent commentator on voting rights issues, and is widely published on redistricting and voting rights in law reviews.

Dale will be joining us in The Hive on Wednesday, August 9th at 1 PM EST to discuss voting rights and Republican-led efforts to chip away at them via voter ID laws and shady “elections integrity” panels. Submit your questions at any time or join us on Wednesday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.

FILE - In this April 30, 2015, file photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook responds to a question during a news conference at IBM Watson headquarters, in New York. Apple has confirmed that it’s expecting an uncharacteristic decline in sales in the spring of 2016, amid signs of global economic weakness and overall slowing demand for new smartphones. So anticipation is building around Apple’s next iPhones, as investors and tech enthusiasts speculate over what might get the iconic Silicon Valley company back on the path to growth. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Over the last six months or year I’ve had a handful of conversations with people who have iPhone 7s like i do. As I’ve been, they’re fascinated by Apple’s claim that the current iPhone is water resistant. Not waterproof but water resistant. The idea is that you’re not supposed to take it in the pool with you or scuba dive with it. But if you dropped it in the water and fished it out a minute or two later, it should be fine. Not surprisingly, no one is willing to test this out to see if it’s really true.

If this is you, you’re in luck. Because this afternoon I conducted an unscheduled test. And I’m now going to share the results with you. 
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A couple days ago, before yesterday’s grand jury revelations, I got an email from TPM Reader RV flagging a story on Paul Manafort in a Kentucky alt-weekly by Kurt X. Metzmeier, a law librarian at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. The article is builds off Metzmeier’s earlier life as a graduate student and researcher interested in the late 20th century superpower confrontation in Africa and some of the unlovelier dimensions of US foreign policy.
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You probably saw the news this week that the Trump Justice Department is launching a highly dubious new project targeting discrimination against white students in university admissions policies. A pretty straight-up attack on affirmative action in admissions. But what you may not have seen was the troubling way DOJ was going about staffing the project, which is sounding the alarm bells for a new round of politicization of the Civil Rights Division, a disturbing echo of the department’s low point in the George W. Bush years. Allegra Kirkland has the story.

Mueller impanels a federal grand jury in DC and reportedly issues subpoenas about the June 16 meeting among Kushner, Manafort and Trump Jr., and that Russian lawyer. At the same time, Mueller probe is reportedly pushing deeper into President Trump’s business dealings.

 

President Donald Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

I guess we can say that the lesson of the day is that when private conversations are released willy nilly to the public it can be damaging to the parties involved. 
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With the big news this evening that Gen. H.R. McMaster was finally allowed to fire Flynn protege Ezra Cohen-Watnick, let me refer you back to what I explained back in April: Cohen-Watnick likely had dirty hands in the Russia cover-up. Specifically, his ‘review’ of intelligence which led to the ‘un-masking’ charade was likely an effort to monitor and perhaps interfere with the on-going Russia probe.
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