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Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek PR

First look at a hot passage from a book out today by Josh Green of Bloomberg Businessweek, "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency":

"[B]oth campaigns battled for a group of voters who would ultimately decide the race. ... Trump's data analysts gave them a nickname: 'double haters.' These were people who disliked both candidates but traditionally showed up at the polls to vote. They were a sizable bloc: 3 to 5 percent of the 15 million voters across seventeen battleground states that Trump's staff believed were persuadable.

"Early on, many indicated support for third‐party candidate Gary Johnson. But after a series of televised flubs, ... they largely abandoned him. ... Many refused to answer pollsters' questions ... These were the voters Clinton had hoped to shear off from Trump with her 'alt-right' speech in August. ... Comey's letter had the effect of convincing the double haters to finally choose."

How the "double haters" voted: The national exit poll found 18% of voters had an unfavorable opinion of both Trump and Clinton. Those voters went 47% for Trump, 30% for Clinton.

Other nuggets from Josh Green's book:

  • Trump thought governing was going to be easy: "I deal with people that are very extraordinarily talented people," he told Green, just after wrapping up nomination. "I deal with Steve Wynn. I deal with Carl Icahn. I deal with killers that blow these [politicians] away. It's not even the same category. This" — he meant politics— "is a category that's like nineteen levels lower. You understand what I'm saying? Brilliant killers."
  • "Bannon was prepared to sic the alt-right on Paul Ryan if he tried to steal the GOP nomination from Trump at a brokered convention: 'Pepe's gonna stomp their ass,' [Bannon] said, referring to the racist frog."
  • Early on, Chuck Schumer was deeply worried that Bannon's nationalism might fracture the Democratic coalition: "I know what you're doing, and I'm not going to let it happen," the Senate Dem leader told Bannon in the early days of the administration.
  • Schumer feared Trump would begin by pursuing a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that would neatly align with Trump's "builder" image, produce tangible benefits, win over union voters Democrats rely on, and stand as a testament to what "America first nationalism" could mean.
  • Trump blew up at Paul Manafort over a N.Y Times story saying the campaign chairman received $12.7 million in cash from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine: "How can anybody allow an article that says your campaign is all fucked up?"

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two with the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two "assault rifles" believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI told news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.