Shane Savitsky
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GOP megadonor: Trump is gaining support after "being bullied"

Keith Srakocic / AP

Investment manager and GOP megadonor Foster Friess told CNBC's Squawk Box on Friday 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."

The key quote: "I love Donald Trump. He's become a victim. And he's being bullied. And that's why Americans are flocking to him, because they hate [seeing] people…bullied."

Friess' influence: A supporter of conservative Christian political causes, he helped finance Rick Santorum's presidential run in 2012. He's been active in media as well, investing millions into The Daily Caller.

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Study finds probiotics can boost health for babies in developing world

Allison Joyce / AP

A new study found targeted probiotics — strains of beneficial bacteria — can reduce sepsis and other potentially life-threatening conditions in newborns, per The Atlantic.

  • The study: In the largest trial of its kind, 4,557 Indian newborns were treated for just one week with a specially-developed "synbiotic," a probiotic strain boosted with a sugar, designed to take root in the infant gut.
  • By the numbers: The researchers calculated that their probiotic strain should reduce the risk of sepsis, which kills hundreds of thousands of newborns each year, by 25-50%. The study also saw significant and "completely unexpected" reductions in bacterial infections and pneumonia in treated newborns.
  • Why it matters: The treatment is a cheap, easily replicated way to ensure the health of newborns and reduce the usage of antibiotics in the developing world. Indeed, the trial was so successful that it was stopped early because it was considered unethical to prevent children from receiving the treatment.
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ISIS claims responsibility for Barcelona van attack

Oriol Duran / AP

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the van attack in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district this afternoon that killed 14 people and injured more than 100, per the AP.

What we know:

  • Catalonia's president also confirmed that two men had been arrested in connection with the attack.
  • Also from the AP: A car ran through a police blockade in Barcelona later in the day, hitting two officers. The driver was shot and killed, but it's unknown if the two incidents are linked.
  • It continues a trend of using vehicles in extremist terrorist attacks across the West with notable recent instances in London, Nice, Berlin, and Stockholm.
President 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!"
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Trump publicly defends “beautiful” Confederate statues

In a series of three tweets over 14 minutes this morning, President Trump 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."

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Lindsey Graham to Trump on white nationalist support: "fix this"

In a string of tweets, Sen. Lindsey Graham told President Trump that he needs to "fix this" because "history is watching us all" after Trump accused him this morning of putting forth a "disgusting lie" regarding Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville.

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Most Americans think Trump wasn't strong enough on 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.

  • The timing: 80% of the poll was completed after Tuesday's explosive press conference where Trump doubled down on his earlier assertion that "both sides" were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville.
  • Bipartisan consensus: While most questions in the poll predictably broke down along partisan lines, a majority of Democrats and Republicans — even those who identify specifically as Trump voters — branded the car attack that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer an act of domestic terrorism.
  • Another stat: A majority of Americans believe that Confederate statues should remain as a historical symbol, an opinion supported by an overwhelming majority of Republicans (86%-6%) and even a significant minority of Democrats (44%-47%).
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Graham to Trump: "Your words are dividing Americans"

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

In a statement, Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized President Trump's press conference on Charlottesville, urging Trump to bring the country together and telling him that his "words are dividing Americans."

On Charlottesville: Graham rejected Trump's "moral equivalency" between white nationalist groups and protesters like Heather Heyer, saying that he is committed to fighting back against the notion that the GOP "has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world."

At the same time: Trump tweeted about Heyer's memorial service, calling her "a truly special young woman" who will be "long remembered by all."

Graham's full statement:

"Mr. President, I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horrific event in Charlottesville. Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them.
***********
Through his statements yesterday, President Trump took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer. I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency.
Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world.
***********
Finally, my thoughts and prayers will be the family and friends of Ms. Heyer as they remember and honor her today. [sic]"
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Pence cutting short international trip

Natacha Pisarenko / AP

Vice President Mike Pence announced that he will cut short his trip to Central and South America — originally scheduled to run through Friday — and head back to Washington tomorrow for a national security meeting.

What he's missing: Nothing seemed amiss as Pence tweeted a photo of the Andes from Air Force Two earlier this morning on his way to meet with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, but it looks like he'll be cutting short the Panama portion of his trip.

The reason: It's not Charlottesville. On that front, Pence told reporters in Chile today that he "[stands] with the president." Instead, Trump and Pence are holding a meeting with their national security team at Camp David on Friday "to discuss the South Asia strategy."

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McConnell: "there are no good neo-Nazis"

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement this morning condemning white nationalist groups after news of a planned far-right rally in his home state of Kentucky, saying that their ideologies "should not be welcome anywhere in America."

Trump's muted criticism of the far-right's violence in Charlottesville and his declaration that there were "very fine people on both sides" seemed to influence McConnell's statement as he declared "there are no good neo-Nazis."

More context: Just before the statement was issued, CNN reported that McConnell was "upset" with Trump.

McConnell's full statement:

"The white supremacist, KKK, and neo-Nazi groups who brought hatred and violence to Charlottesville are now planning a rally in Lexington. Their messages of hate and bigotry are not welcome in Kentucky and should not be welcome anywhere in America.
We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-Nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head."
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Here's a roadmap for Trump's morning tweets

President Trump had a busy morning on Twitter, focusing his attention on diverse topics ranging from Charlottesville to this weekend's Fox News' ratings. This week has seen him further diversify his retweet choices, granting a platform to a variety of different voices. A quick roundup of the eight missives he shared with the world:

The context: On its face, this is Trump pitting his working-class base against Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of both Amazon and The Washington Post — though, according to the FT, Trump's claim that Amazon is a job destroyer might be wrong.

The context: Moore and Strange — the latter was backed by both Trump and the Republican establishment — advanced to a runoff after last night's Alabama GOP Senate primary.

The context: Hill is a political commentator and cable news mainstay who also sits on the advisory board of Trump's re-election campaign. Consider this the Twitter version of Trump's daily folder.

The context: Trump can often be expected to retweet Fox & Friends, a staple of his morning media diet. Interestingly, Curtis, a former Democrat, was by far the most moderate — he was hammered by outside right-wing PACs for his political stances — of the candidates in the race to replace departed Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

The context: This appears to be Trump's way of congratulating one of his favorite media personalities from Fox News, retweeting The Five co-host's own retweet of a compliment.

The context: Trump's statement yesterday afternoon in the Trump Tower lobby was ostensibly focused on infrastructure. This retweet from Fox News would have you believe that was the case — though things quickly went off the rails.

The context: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un backed down on a threat to launch missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam earlier this week.

The context: None needed here. This is a Trump classic.

The context: Though he still came in second to Roy Moore, Strange was recently polling in the mid-to-high 20s, according to 538, and ended up finishing with 32.8% of the vote — but it's unclear if that's due to Trump's support.

The context: Trump faced criticism yesterday for seemingly establishing a moral equivalence between white nationalists and those who protested them, like Heyer, in Charlottesville. That's led to attacks from prominent Republicans like Sens. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham.