Counselor to the President of the United States, Steve Bannon, left, talks with White House senior advisers Jared Kushner, right, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Here’s one thing to consider as Steve Bannon leaves the White House. There’s hardly anyone in the close Trump orbit who hasn’t been tripped up in some way by the Russia investigation. There’s one big exception: Steve Bannon.
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If you don’t have the twitter or breaking news wires spiked directly into your veins, for the last 10 or 20 minutes there have been a series of reports that Steve Bannon is out at the White House. First the news came from Drudge (who, whatever you think about him, is well-sourced on this front). The Times has now confirmed the story – but with a major caveat.
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Every president has these industry councils like the ones we’ve been talking about in recent days. They range from meaningless to not terribly important. They’re mainly symbolic. With everything that’s happened in recent days, I don’t want to make it out like the decisions of a small number of CEOs is the biggest news. Still, we should recognize that it is entirely unprecedented to have a sitting president become so toxic that corporate America feels unable to publicly associate with him. That is totally, totally new territory.
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Roy Moore–yes, THAT Roy Moore–has a plausible path to the U.S. Senate. Not a lock, but probably a lot more plausible than you realize. It’s going to be a barnburner in Alabama over the next six weeks, and Cam Joseph is on the case.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

One of the many privileges I have as the proprietor of TPM is that can let my writing be driven, at least in part, by impulse. Sometimes it’s like a fever and I have to and do write constantly. Other times, I don’t feel I have anything particular to say. And while I feel some self-imposed pressure, I can, to a degree, wait. In the last six days, we’ve had the horrifying events in Charlottesville followed by a series of self-inflicted injuries by the President, driven by his own rages, damaged psyche, grievance and inner illness. In the last 36 hours, almost everything seems to be falling apart. And yet, despite the fact that these are all issues which have been central to my interests and concerns for years, I’ve found myself with little to say.
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President Donald Trump pauses as he answers questions from members of the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

When Donald Trump won the presidency last November, I believed that he would grow into the presidency. I attributed his incendiary views on Mexicans or his past promotion of birtherism to campaign theatrics. He was looking for applause (votes). When he became president, he would be humbled by his responsibility to govern the entire nation (rather than energizing the faithful) and his role as world leader. He would still press some of his policies on trade, immigration, taxes, and infrastructure, but would do so soberly and with a view toward winning majority support.


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Several members of Trump’s bogus voter fraud commission will be very familiar to longtime TPM readers, but two in particular were major TPM characters during the heady days of Bush DOJ politicization, and on into the early years of the Obama administration, including one who was a driving force behind turning the New Black Panther incident in the 2008 election into a cause célèbre on the right. Tierney Sneed catches us up on what they’ve been up to since then, and what that bodes for where Trump’s new commission is headed. Don’t miss this.

Many of you will have seen this by now, but I didn’t get a chance to watch it in full until last night as we were waiting for Alabama returns to come in. If you missed it, it’s a segment Elle Reeve did for Vice on the horrible weekend in Charlottesville. It’s highly compelling TV and masterfully put together. Give a look:


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President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

For those who’ve recognized what should really be obvious, this is quite a paragraph in the Times’ account of today’s Trump press conference

No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as “unprecedented.” But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.


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It may depend on your definition of fun, but the GOP establishment, led by Donald Trump, trying to keep ex-Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore from winning the GOP primary runoff is going to make for an interesting next six weeks in Alabama. Cameron Joseph has the latest on tonight’s results.

Bob Mueller is reportedly most interested in two Trump mega-developments: Trump Soho in New York City and Trump Tower Toronto. The first has already gotten a fair amount of attention, the latter much less. Here’s our look at Trump Tower Toronto and its links to state-owned Russian bank Vnesheconombank. If Mueller’s interested, shouldn’t you be too? Here’s our report.

I wanted to follow up on yesterday’s post about public memory, the Civil War and Robert E. Lee with some more discussion and documents from the year’s just after the Civil War.

One of the things that all historians do is look for the earliest sources and those closest to events and facts we are seeking to understand. In some ways, this core imperative is more clear in ancient history or any period more than a few hundred years ago because historians of the distant past must cope with what is often the extreme scarcity of sources whereas modern historians often have the opposite problem: the sheer volume of source material that is impossible ever to fully digest and process. But the fundamental task is the same: recapturing the past on its own terms before subsequent events, needs, agendas and memory packaged them for use or simply distorted them for subsequent ages. This isn’t a matter of uncovering lies in most cases. We are constantly in the process of reshaping our history to serve our present needs. Indeed, we are constantly in the process of doing this in our own lives, reshaping our own personal story into a coherent backdrop to the person we are in this moment. 
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Debates over public memory and the valorization of history are frequently complicated and politically vexed. But on the margins, in extreme cases, they are often pretty straightforward. For any subject of controversy, the first question we should ask is: What is the person known for? How did they earn a place in our collective public remembrance?
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Over the last twenty four hours or so we’ve seen reports of numerous white supremacist marchers in Charlottesville who also show up in meet-and-greet type photos with members of Congress and candidates for office. Needless to say, they’re all Republicans. We’re looking into this. But I want to add some context and suggestions about what this means and what it doesn’t. 
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The problem with the continued begging, ‘why won’t he denounce, why won’t he denounce’ is that at some point, maybe later today, President Trump will go before a podium and read off through gritted teeth a pro-forma denunciation of Nazis and it will seem to a lot of people like it means something when it doesn’t. He’s already made crystal clear where he stands here. The question is how we individually and as a country are going to deal with that fact, not how many more mulligans we’re going to give him. His neo-nazi supporters are truly over the moon that he’s steadfastly refusing to criticize them, even in the face of withering criticism and derision. They get the message. They’re ecstatic. Everyone who doesn’t see this, see that it is intentional, is getting played for chumps.

Touching self-invocation of the ‘real’ Peter Cvjetanovic here. Cvjetanovic was one of the frothing racist bros who was photographed at Friday night’s tiki torch rally …

As his photo shot around the world, he told a reporter from a local tv station …

I did not expect the photo to be shared as much as it was. I understand the photo has a very negative connotation. But I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.


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Rescue personnel help injured people after a car ran into a large group of protesters after an Alt Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

As we get underway today, a few thoughts on yesterday. In addition to going out of his way not to denounce the white supremacist and neo-nazi marchers yesterday, for those primed to hear it (which is the point) the President made a point of calling out and valorizing the marchers. In his at length on-camera comments, in addition to bromides and calling for people to love each other, Trump noted that we must “cherish our history.”

Here’s the passage …
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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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