Stef W. Kight
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Today's Trump Top 5: Bannon's war after the White House

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, brought to you by Axios for Apple News. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. He's out

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

President Trump decided to push out Bannon. Top sources tell Axios that Bannon is telling people he resigned on August 7th to be effective on August 14th, his 1-year anniversary with Trump. (He joined the campaign in August of 2016). (Statement from the White House, here. )

What to watch: Bob Mercer and Steve Bannon had a five hour meeting Wednesday to plot out next step, and together they will be a well-funded force on the outside. Bannon has felt liberated since it became clear he was being pushed out, according to friends. He's told associates he has a "killing machine" in Breitbart News, and it's possible he returns to lead their editorial operation.
More details on Bannon's plans here and here.

2. Timeline: Bannon's life in the White House

One of the few Trump officials to make more headlines than the Donald himself has been kicked out. Former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon has had a long, controversial run with Donald Trump. See the full timeline of the highlights and lowlights, here.

3. Stocks respond...

After Axios' Jonathan Swan first reported Bannon was probably a goner, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 60 points over 20 minutes. The momentum then kept going, with another mini-spike after a the NY Times' Maggie Haberman tweeted that a decision had been made.

The response, here.

4. Transgender troops ban condemned

Evan Vucci / AP

The U.S. Commission of Civil Rights voted to condemn the ban on transgender troops, which President Trump announced on Twitter last month. The commission has urged Trump to reverse his position. There has not been any formal implementation of the ban since the president's announcement.

Key quote, here.

5. Friess vs. Romney

Keith Srakocic, Evan Vucci / AP

  • Foster Friess, investment manager and GOP megadonor, told CNBC's Squawk Box today that President Trump's decision to blame both white nationalist groups and their counter-protesters for last weekend's violence in Charlottesville was correct and the resulting uproar was "politically inspired."
  • Mitt Romney urged in a Facebook post that Trump should take "remedial action in the extreme" and "[s]tate forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. (More highlights, here.)

Thanks for reading! For more, check out Axios.com.

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A timeline of Steve Bannon's life in the White House

One of the few Trump officials to make more headlines than The Donald himself has resigned after learning he'd be asked to leave the White House. Here's a timeline with some of the highlights from Steve Bannon's long and controversial run with Trump.

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Today's Trump Top 5: Inside the self-destruction

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, brought to you by Axios for Apple News. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. 2 self-destructing people

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

1. Chief strategist Steve Bannon saw Trump's now-infamous press conference not as the lowest point in his presidency, but as a "defining moment." And last night, the liberal American Prospect posted an interview with Bannon that he clearly didn't think was an interview. Bannon's enemies have been saying he's a leaker, a self-promoter, 'President Bannon,' etc. This interview plays right into their hands.

More on Bannon's rough interview and self-destruction, here.

2. President Donald Trump with at least two years of full Republican control of government at the national and state levels, has systematically damaged or destroyed his relationship with — well, almost every group or individual essential to success. There was a mass exodus of CEOs yesterday and CNN reported that Shep Smith said he couldn't get a single Republican to go on Fox News last night.

A list of who's happy with Trump and who's not, here.

2. Oops, dad did it again!

Evan Vucci / AP

A clear pattern has emerged when President Trump does something highly controversial or deeply offensive to large chunks of America. Within 24 hours, a story is leaked about how Ivanka and Jared are disappointed or tried to stop it.

  • This happened with the latest Charlottesville press conference, after the tweet banning LGBTQ people from the military, and several other controversies.
  • Why it matters: Jared and Ivanka provided some hope for some on the left who hoped the duo would have power to dissuade President Trump from some of his most extreme promises. But the truth is, they only have so much influence.
  • The ways Jared and Ivanka's influence has failed, here.

3. All Trump's tweets

Greg Ruben / Axios

Congress may be out, but the President is still tweeting. Today he:

  1. Criticized Lindsey Graham, calling his statement on Trump's response to the Charlottesville violence a "disgusting lie." Graham tweeted back telling Trump that he needs to "fix this" because "history is watching us all."
  2. Called out GOP Senator Jeff Flake for being "WEAK."
  3. Doubled down on his controversial rhetoric from his Tuesday press conference, calling the removal of Confederate statues a contributing factor to "the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart."

4. ISIS claims Barcelona attack

Oriol Duran / AP

In what Spanish police have branded an act of terror, a van slammed into a crowd in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district this afternoon, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 50, according to a Catalan official.

Trump tweeted: "The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!" Followed by, "Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!"

What we know so far, here.

5. POLL: Trump and Charlottesville

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

A majority of Americans (52%) believe that President Trump's response to last weekend's violence in Charlottesville following a white nationalist rally was not strong enough, per an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. (More stats, here.)

What Trump country thinks of the President after Charlottesville, here.

Thanks for reading! For more, check out Axios.com.

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Oops, dad did it again!

Evan Vucci / AP

A clear pattern has emerged when President Trump does something highly controversial or deeply offensive to large chunks of America. Within 24 hours, a story is leaked about how Ivanka and Jared are disappointed or tried to stop it.

Why it matters: Jared and Ivanka provided some hope for some on the left who hoped the duo would have power to dissuade President Trump from some of his most extreme promises. But the truth is, they only have so much influence. Roll the tape:

Charlottesville: While on vacation, Ivanka and Jared tried and failed to temper Trump's final response to the Charlottesville rally, according to the New York Times.

Paris Agreement: After organizing weeks of meetings with climate and energy leaders and pushing for her father to keep the U.S. in the Paris Accord, President Trump left the agreement anyway.

Transgender military ban: Ivanka and Jared were "shocked" by the President's tweets a couple of weeks ago banning transgender individuals from serving in the military, according to the Daily Beast. The couple had previously managed to stop a draft of an executive order overturning policies protecting LGBTQ rights in the workplace.

Mexico meeting: In February, after Jared Kushner successfully arranged a meeting between Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump tweeted, "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting." Sources told Vanity Fair that Kushner was "f***ing furious."

Muslim ban: Soon after being elected, President Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from 7 majority-Muslim countries — while Jared and Ivanka were away from work and technology, observing Shabbat. Sources told Vanity Fair that Ivanka felt terrible about posting a photo of herself and Jared and sporting fancy evening wear during the wide-spread travel ban protests that weekend. While Ivanka never decried the ban, she has expressed sympathy for Syrian refugees, calling the issue a "global humanitarian crisis" needing to be resolved.

Apologizing: Even before he was elected, Ivanka begged her father to make a "full-throated" apology in the wake of the Access Hollywood tapes scandal, but her father did not want to listen, according to NYT.

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Today's Trump Top 5: Shades of Bannon

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, brought to you by Axios for Apple News. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. What Bannon thought of Trump's Charlottesville moment

Andrew Harnik / AP

On Tuesday night, while Gary Cohn was fuming about President Trump's latest comments, Steve Bannon was excitedly telling friends and associates that the "globalists" were in mass freakout mode.

  • Today, Bannon reveled in the disbanding of the president's business council, seeing this as yet more evidence that the Trump administration is at odds with the "Davos crowd," as Bannon often calls these corporate elites, in a voice dripping with contempt.
  • Bannon saw Trump's now-infamous Tuesday afternoon press conference not as the lowest point in his presidency, but as a "defining moment," where Trump decided to fully abandon the "globalists" and side with "his people."
  • Per a source with knowledge: "Steve was proud of how [Trump] stood up to the braying mob of reporters" in the Tuesday press conference.

Read it all here.

2. CEOs flee Trump

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Rejected by a broad swath of top CEOs over his incendiary comments on race, President Trump abruptly shut down his two key groups of outside business advisers today.

  • Timing: This came after news broke that one of the groups was disbanding, 3M CEO Inge Thulin announced he was leaving the Strategic and Policy Council and Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison said he would no longer participate on the Manufacturing Council.
  • Why it matters: Trump's "both sides" response to the violence has made CEOs even more wary of interacting with the White House, with many of them facing pressure from employees and shareholders to distance themselves. We are witnessing the swiftest, biggest big business rebuke/revolt of the Trump presidency.
  • See Trump's two contradicting tweets about the CEOs only 24 hours apart, here.

3. A Hopeful Hicks

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Hope Hicks is expected to take over the duties of the White House communications director on an interim basis, per a source familiar with the arrangements.

The big picture: A lot of people think she is the only one who can do the job, and it shouldn't be ruled out that Hicks, who didn't actively seek the job, could last in the position on a more permanent basis. (Read more, here.)

4. In memory of Heather

Julia Rendleman / AP

Hundreds of people came together today to honor Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed Saturday when a man rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors at the rally in Charlottesville. Her mother, Susan Bro, made a powerful statement:

"They tried to kill my child to shut her up. But guess what? You just magnified her."

Trump tweeted today: "Memorial service today for beautiful and incredible Heather Heyer, a truly special young woman. She will be long remembered by all!"

More quotes from the service, here.

5. A bad habit...

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Some of the most controversial moments of Trump's presidency happened because he went off script, most recently when delivering remarks after Charlottesville and blaming the violence on "many sides."

See how off-script Trump was in his speeches with the Boy Scouts, about the North Korea threat, the violence in Venezuela and his confidence in Jeff Sessions, here.

Thanks for reading! For more, check out Axios.com.

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How partisan news covered Trump's latest Charlottesville remarks

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Left-leaning news sites are still hammering on Trump and his administration's response to Charlottesville, while right-wing sites focus on the destruction coming from the "alt-left" and other stories. President Trump might have promised to bring healing and unity, but his off-the-cuff speech about Charlottesville yesterday only seems to have driven division.

Left-Leaning:

  1. Daily Beast: "'Clean up on aisle Trump': Aides Shocked by Latest Presser"
  2. HuffPost: "All the President's Men" featuring a photo of protestors bearing torches on Friday night
  3. ThinkProgress: "Fox News website features story glorifying running over liberal protestors with cars"
  4. Salon: "GOP Zealot Blames 'Hard Left'"
  5. MSNBC: "Maddow: Racism 'a persistent infection' in white American culture'"
Right Leaning:
  1. Daily Caller: "Sin of O-mission. EXCLUSIVE: Obama Never Told 21 States Russians Were Hacking Their Voting Systems"
  2. Breitbart: "Next on Liberals' List For Destruction: Confederate Carvings at Stone Mountain Memorial"
  3. The Washington Times: "Trump says 'alt-left' also to blame for Charlottesville violence, warns against eradicating statues"
  4. The Blaze: "Black Lives Matter: All Confederate symbols should be banned"
  5. Fox News: "'Entirely Correct' WH stands by Trump in blaming both sides for Charlottesville violence"
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See how partisan news sites framed Trump's Charlottesville remarks

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Here's what left-leaning and right-leaning news sites are featuring on their home pages this morning after Trump's controversial, off-script speech addressing the Charlottesville protests yesterday.

Why it matters: Left-leaning news sites are still hammering on Trump and his administration's response to Charlottesville, while right-wing sites focus on the destruction coming from the "alt-left" and other stories. President Trump might have promised to bring healing and unity, but his off-the-cuff speech about Charlottesville yesterday only seems to have driven division.

Left-Leaning:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Right-Leaning:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

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Today's Trump Top 5: Back to "both sides"

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, brought to you by Axios for Apple News. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. Back to "both sides"

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Trump went off-topic during a press conference on infrastructure today, doubling-down on his "on many sides" comment after the violence in Charlottesville last weekend. "I think there is blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either."

Other key quotes:

  • "You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent."
  • "Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists."
  • Race relations "have been frayed for a long time. And you can ask Pres. Obama about that, because he made speeches about it."
  • "This week it's Robert E. Lee...is it George Washington next week?"
Read more about his presser, here.

Read how Trump went off-script with his statement on Saturday, here.

2. The far-right groups you might not know

David J. Phillip, Steve Helber, Joshua Replogle, Steve Helber @itspepe / AP, Twitter

A collection of alt-right and right-wing extremist groups dubbed "Unite the Right" clashed with anti-racists and anti-fascists in Charlottesville on Saturday. While the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis are more recognizable, there are many less notorious groups and subgroups on the far-right.

Kekistani are "civilians" of a fictitious, white nationalist nation (Kekistan), which only exists online and was created by the far-right, 4chan, World of Warcraft community. Kekistanis claim the Egyptian god Kek, who has the head of a frog, as their god — which eventually led to the adoption of the Pepe the frog meme by the group.

Read more about White Nationalists, Neo-Confederates, Identitarians and the Alt-Right, here.

3. DOJ getting info on Trump protestors

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The Department of Justice is working to get information about everyone who visited a website that was used to organize protests during Trump's inauguration earlier this year, the NYT reports. Last month a judge issued a search warrant to the host company, Dreamhost, demanding it turn over information about what each visitor viewed or uploaded to the site.

The pushback: Dreamhost argued the demand violated the Fourth Amendment and could make innocent people afraid to view websites containing political content, violating the First Amendment. The government claims Dreamhost "has no legal basis" for failing to the produce the information. More, here.

4. The Bannon dilemma

Andrew Harnik / AP

"Bannon in Limbo as President Is Urged to Oust Lightning Rod," was the headline for the NYT article, which included scoops like: "Rupert Murdoch has repeatedly urged President Trump to fire him."

Sound smart: Trump is rightly worried Bannon would instantly start the kind of alt-right media machine the president himself dreamed of building if he had lost. Bannon + media empire could = trouble for Trump White House and GOP.

More details, here.

5. Bad Twitter day

First, President Trump retweeted someone who called him a fascist. Then, he retweeted a meme of a train crashing into a human embodiment of CNN with the words "FAKE NEWS CAN'T STOP THE TRUMP TRAIN" above it. Both tweets were later deleted.

Thanks for reading! For more, check out Axios.com.

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The many groups making noise on the far-right

David J. Phillip, Steve Helber, Joshua Replogle, Steve Helber @itspepe / AP, Twitter

A collection of alt-right and right-wing extremist groups dubbed "Unite the Right" clashed with anti-racists and anti-fascists in Charlottesville last weekend, where they'd gathered to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue at the University of Virginia.

While the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis are more recognizable, here are some other less notorious groups and subgroups on the far-right:

The leaders and speakers, according to Newsweek:

  • Jason Kessler, a right-wing blogger who organized the "Unite the Right" rally
  • Richard Spencer, a white nationalist leader and president of National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank
  • Matthew Heimbach, founder of the Youth for Western Culture and the White Student Union at Towson University and leader of the Traditional Workers Party.
  • Mike "Enoch" Peinovich, an alt-right, anti-Semitic blogger and podcaster
  • Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet, a social media troll who toured with the incendiary, alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos last year

The main groups of the far-right:

The "alt-right"

  • Coined by Richard Spencer in 2008; defined by AP as "an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism."
  • "Alt-right" followers are often anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, anti-globalism, anti-feminism and opposed to what they deem "political correctness."
  • The movement also includes some anti-Semitic members.
  • The "alt-right" became a more familiar term due to the community's outspoken support for Trump during the election, and is often considered affiliated with Breitbart News, whose former CEO Steve Bannon was appointed Trump's chief strategist.

The "alt-lite"

  • This is a subgroup of the "alt-right" in that it rejects white supremacist thinking.
  • They reject "feminists and immigrants, among others. Many within the alt lite sphere are virulently anti-Muslim; the group abhors everyone on "the left" and traffics in conspiracy theories," according to the anti-defamation league.
  • One example is the Proud Boys, an all-men group started by VICE co-founder Gavin McInnes, who said of the group: "Our motto is that, we're Western Chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world."
  • The Proud Boys do not exclude homosexuals or people of color.
  • Although Jason Kessler is a new Proud Boys member, the group did not participate in the rally, according to their Twitter and magazine.
  • This subgroup is sometimes referred to as the "new right," following figures like Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec.

Identitarian

  • They consider Islam the greatest danger to society, pointing to the terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists.
  • The movement originated in France and has spread to other countries, including Germany and the U.S.
  • Identitarians are anti-immigration, especially from Muslim countries.
  • They are also anti-multiculturalism, claiming that citizens should take pride in their own traditions and cultures without being called racist.
  • A popular figure in this movement is the Canadian Youtube host Lauren Southern.

Kekistani

  • "Civilians" of a fictitious, white nationalist nation (Kekistan), which only exists online and was created by the far-right, 4chan, World of Warcraft community.
  • Kekistanis claim the Egyptian god Kek, who has the head of a frog, as their god — which eventually led to the adoption of the Pepe the frog meme by the group.
  • This group is used primarily to troll those on the left, but has its own theology, "meme magick" flag (which resembles a German nazi flag), pseudo-news Twitter channels, and a common prayer, which all reflect alt-right ideology.
  • Read a more detailed account of the how the "nation" came to be on SPLC.

White Nationalists

  • Believe that pro-diversity efforts — including policies that benefit minorities in university admission processes and hiring — are "exploiting" white people, and that they need their own nation to protect themselves from people of color.
  • They believe that there should be total segregation, and fight to keep whites as the racial majority in the U.S.
  • Some white nationalists claim to oppose the view that whites are a superior race, but others have adopted the name to avoid the connotations of "white supremacist," which views Caucasians as the superior race and considers minorities a threat to their "rightful" position of power.

Neo-Confederates

  • Also known as "Southern Nationalists" — they aim to restore a pro-Confederate sentiment.
  • They admire "Old South" virtues and think that the southern states should secede.
  • The most popular group within this ideology is Alabama's League of the South. Neo-confederates also tend toward segregation and white supremacist thought.
  • They support traditional gender roles and oppose homosexuality, according to SPLC.

Anti-Communist Action

  • Also known as "Anticom".
  • They are an anti-communist group that claims to physically fight for American liberties in the face of what they see as violent communists.
  • They describe themselves as anti-AntiFa, the far-left movement dedicated to fighting fascism, per their Facebook page.
  • The group includes people of all races and color, according to their about page, which explains, "We have not forgotten the uncounted millions of lives sacrificed to Communist utopian insanity and we will not stand by and watch as our peaceful events are invaded, our compatriots are harassed and assaulted, and our culture is contaminated with the destructive, divisive ideology of cultural marxism."
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Today's Trump Top 5: Naming "evil"

Welcome to today's Trump Top 5, brought to you by Axios for Apple News. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

1. Finally called out

Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump delivered unscheduled remarks at the White House today, where he condemned individuals who committed acts of violence on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. He specifically singled out acts of racism as "evil."

Key quote: "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 that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."

More highlights from Trump's speech, here.

2. An early warning about white supremacists

Steve Helber / AP

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned months agothat white supremacists "were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement," per Foreign Policy. That outnumber Islamist incidents by about 2 to 1.

Why it matters: Candidate Trump ran on the idea that "anyone who cannot name our enemy is not fit to lead this country," as he told a rally in Ohio, but critics point out it took him until Monday to specifically condemn white supremacy.

3. The CEOs ditching Donald

Evan Vucci / AP

Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck and an African-American, left President Trump's Manufacturing Council today, strongly hinting that his decision was prompted by Trump's tepid condemnation of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Nothing new: Others who have stepped down from Trump's advisory councils after disagreements include Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Read more about why they left and who's still in, here.

4. The President vs. CNN: A dialogue

Susan Walsh / AP

During this afternoon's press conference, CNN's Jim Acosta asked why the president didn't initially condemn hate groups.

Trump responded, "they have been condemned."

Acosta then pressed Trump on why he wasn't taking more questions.

Trump pointed at Acosta and said, "I like real news, not fake news. You're fake news," before leaving the room.

Acosta shouted after him: "Haven't you spread a lot of fake news yourself, sir?"

Watch the video, here.

5. POLL: A record low

Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump's job approval rating has hit its lowest number ever in a Gallup Daily tracking poll.

  • 34% approve of his performance.
  • 61% disapprove — a record high for Gallup poll.

Keep in mind: The Gallup poll is the average over a three day period from Friday through Sunday, which means that some responses came before the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday.

Thanks for reading! For more, visit Axios.com.