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On the roster: Trump’s take two on Charlottesville attack - Efforts to remove McMaster heat up - Strange struggles entering Alabama primary run off - Team Trump dreads September deadlines - ‘Crazier than a road lizard’
TRUMP’S TAKE TWO ON CHARLOTTESVILLE ATTACK
Fox News: “President Trump on Monday specifically called out ‘white supremacists’ and ‘neo-Nazis’ in the wake of deadly weekend clashes in Charlottesville, vowing ‘justice will be delivered’ to the perpetrators. The president, after meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray in Washington, said his Justice Department has opened a civil rights probe into the deadly car attack on Saturday. ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America,’ Trump said. He added, ‘Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.’ The statement comes after Trump has faced bipartisan criticism for not speaking out specifically or forcefully enough at first against the white supremacist and other hate groups involved in clashes that left one dead on Saturday in Virginia.”
Congress steps in - Fox News: “Capitol Hill Democrats and Republicans are calling for Congress to hold hearings and work with federal law enforcement in investigating the weekend violence in Virginia, calling Saturday’s fatal attack terrorism and demanding more information about the white supremacists involved. ‘Yesterdays horrific acts against innocent Americans were clear acts of terrorism,’ Rep. Lou Correa said Sunday. … Correa, a California Democrat, is calling on the House Homeland Security Committee to conduct the hearings and investigate ‘white supremacy domestic terrorism in America.’ South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham also suggested Sunday that Congress should assume a more aggressive role in investigating the incidents…”
THE RULEBOOK: TIMING IS EVERYTHING
“It is not to be wondered at, that a government instituted in times so inauspicious, should on experiment be found greatly deficient and inadequate to the purpose it was intended to answer.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 2
TIME OUT: THE MOVIE THAT CHANGED THE MOVIES
New Yorker: “‘Bonnie and Clyde’ is fifty years old. It is one of the oldest American movies you can watch today without feeling like you’re watching an old movie. … The screenwriters, Robert Benton and David Newman, were not Hollywood people—they had been magazine editors, at Esquire—and the director, Arthur Penn, the brother of the photographer Irving Penn, was an alumnus of Black Mountain College and a follower of the French New Wave. It was an unusual group of talent. … It wasn’t a movie that sold itself with stars; it was made by people who knew something about the history of the medium … and were not trying to make filmed theatre; it had an ‘auteurist’ feel to it. At the same time, it wasn’t an art film, like Jean-Luc Godard’s ‘Breathless,’ which had been a big influence on Benton and Newman. It was entertainment, just entertainment for grownups.”
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Trump net job-approval rating: -24.4 points
Change from one week ago: down 5.8 points
[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]
EFFORTS TO REMOVE MCMASTER HEAT UP
Axios: “The bare-knuckle campaign to remove National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster from the White House is about to get much uglier. Outside forces opposed to McMaster are going to allege he has a drinking problem, according to sources outside the Trump administration familiar with the anti-McMaster campaign. … Anti-McMaster forces believe this attack will harm his standing with the president, who is a teetotaler. … [Jonathan Swan has] never heard anything to support the allegation from anyone inside the Trump administration… A White House official told [Swan] ‘McMaster has been made aware that the attack is likely coming, and prefers to focus on his work.’ …the majority of senior staff ‘have rallied around McMaster and believe that all of the attacks against him are divorced from reality.’ Chief of Staff John Kelly finds the attacks dishonorable and disgusting, according to a source close to Kelly. President Trump is also off-put by the campaign against McMaster…”
Trump faces new pressures to fire Bannon - HuffPost: “A weekend of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia caused by white nationalists is leading to pressure on President Donald Trump to fire the man in his White House who is most closely linked to the movement. Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center called chief strategist Steve Bannon ‘the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.’ Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) last year blasted Trump’s decision to bring Bannon into the White House… Likewise, a spokesman for then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said Bannon’s presence in the administration ‘signals that white supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump’s White House.’”
And he already thinks Bannon is responsible for leaks - Axios: “President Trump has told close associates that he believes Steve Bannon is behind damaging leaks about White House colleagues, putting the chief strategist's job in fresh jeopardy, sources close to the president tell me. Trump has told associates he's fed up with what he sees as self-promotion by Bannon, who did not join the core team this week at the president's golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Bannon’s time with Trump has diminished since the new chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, took over and imposed discipline on the circus around the Oval Office. Bannon declined to comment.”
STRANGE STRUGGLES ENTERING ALABAMA PRIMARY RUN OFF
NYT: “Senator Luther Strange of Alabama wields an endorsement from the president of the United States, is the beneficiary of a multimillion-dollar campaign from allies of Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and has the backing of influential conservative interest groups like the National Rifle Association. … He is grasping to secure a second-place finish and a slot in a September runoff with Roy S. Moore, the twice-deposed former State Supreme Court justice and evangelical-voter favorite who is expected to be the top vote-getter but may fall short of the majority needed to win outright. The senator’s difficulties owe chiefly to how he found his way to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a story rooted in the sex scandal of Mr. Bentley. Yet Mr. Strange… is also bumping into the enduring contempt grass-roots conservatives harbor toward the party establishment, an animus now principally directed toward Mr. McConnell.”
Moore is stepping up to the plate - WaPo: “Strange’s Republican challengers include former state Supreme Court justice Roy Moore, who has a passionate following among religious voters, and Rep. Mo Brooks, a prominent conservative in the U.S. House. Christian Coalition leader Randy Brinson and state Sen. Trip Pittman have also drawn support. State law would require a primary runoff election Sept. 26 unless a candidate wins 50 percent of the vote Tuesday. The final round of voting is scheduled for Dec. 12, when the Republican nominee will face the Democratic nominee. Strange, Moore, and Brooks are widely seen as the leading GOP candidates. Moore has jumped ahead in the latest polls with about 30 percent support, with Strange close behind and Brooks just trailing him.”
Outside money creates close race for Utah House seat - Roll Call: “The Republican primary to fill former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s seat has tightened in the final days before the Tuesday election, thanks to buckets of outside money being poured into the race. … It’s the Beehive State’s first special election for a House seat in nearly 90 years, and the winner could hang onto the 3rd District seat for a while. The three Republican contenders battling it out are Provo Mayor John Curtis, former state Rep. Chris Herrod, and businessman Tanner Ainge. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican, so whoever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday would be in a strong position heading into the Nov. 7 general election against Democrat Kathie Allen, a local physician.”
TEAM TRUMP DREADS SEPTEMBER DEADLINES
Politico: “Inside President Donald Trump’s White House, no one seems to be looking forward to September. Senior officials have described the coming month as ‘brutal,’ ‘bad’ or ‘really tough’ because of the confluence of complicated issues — but they also say it’s pivotal to getting the presidency back on course. Aides hope to have a better blueprint for how the president wants to proceed on a series of thorny issues — the nation’s debt ceiling, the 2018 federal budget, tax reform, infrastructure spending and perhaps another stab at repealing Obamacare — after a series of meetings in New York this week. Their goal is to partially temper Trump’s expectations, hammer out some compromises and get a competing band of aides on the same page. The month has taken on outsize importance among some top aides and outside advisers, who view it as key to getting the presidency on a better track.”
Health insurance companies get extension for rate calculations - NYT: “The Trump administration is giving health insurance companies more time to calculate price increases for 2018 because of uncertainty caused by the president’s threat to cut off crucial subsidies paid to insurers on behalf of millions of low-income people. Federal health officials said the deadline for insurers to file their rate requests would be extended by nearly three weeks, to Sept. 5. The extension was announced in a memorandum that insurers received on Friday from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal insurance marketplace and regulates insurers under the Affordable Care Act. It was the clearest evidence to date that the politics of health care in Washington could disrupt planning for 2018.”
Economists expect Trump to get his tax cuts - Bloomberg: “The pros who make their living forecasting the economy overwhelmingly expect President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans to push through tax cuts in time for next year’s congressional elections. They just don’t think that the reductions will do all that much to help the economy in 2018. That’s the message from the latest Bloomberg monthly poll of economists, taken Aug. 4 to Aug. 9. Of 38 respondents, 29 expect Congress to pass tax-cut legislation by November 2018. The policy changes though are only expected to add 0.2 percentage point to the pace of gross domestic product expansion in 2018, according to the median figure from analysts penciling in an impact.”
Trump considering a pardon for former Arizona sheriff - Fox News
Rubio receives death order for his criticisms of Venezuela government - Miami Herald
China to halt North Korean imports - US News
Merck CEO resigns from presidential council over Trump remarks - The Hill
De Blasio eyeing 2020 election - NY Post
AUDIBLE: YAY BIPARTISANSHIP…?
“The Republicans in Congress only seem to be efficient at one thing: coordinating hearings on Russia with the Democrats.” – Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide, said to Politico.
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[Ed. note: Chris Stirewalt is away. He and FROM THE BLEACHERS will return on Aug. 23.]
‘CRAZIER THAN A ROAD LIZARD’
UPI: “The South Carolina Emergency Management Division is urging ‘vigilant’ residents to be on the lookout for legendary ‘Lizardmen’ during the solar eclipse. The SCEMD tweeted a map showing the locations of reported sightings of the mythical ‘Lizard Man’ -- or perhaps multiple ‘Lizardmen’ -- during the past few decades. ‘This historical map is in response to recent media reports about possible paranormal activity associated with the upcoming total solar eclipse,’ a note at the bottom of the map reads. ‘SCEMD does not know if Lizardmen become more active during a solar eclipse,’ the note reads. ‘But we advise that residents of Lee and Sumter counties should remain vigilant.’ ‘As always, if you see something, say something,’ the SCEMD tweeted. … The SCEMD cautioned, however, that it ‘will neither confirm nor deny’ the existence of Lizardmen.”
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.