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Both ex-presidents Bush released a joint statement condemning racism and bigotry, a sentiment no doubt shared by John McCain’s ”black love child″ and viewers of the Willie Horton ad. Our hearts go out to the untold number of newsroom employees being told to produce something like Vice’s Charlottesville dispatch, only to later be told to cut it down to 45 seconds, add captioning and set it to public domain music. And President Trump dissolved his business councils “rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople,” though if he’s concerned about putting people in a tight spot, why doesn’t he just go ahead and dissolve the entire executive branch? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, August 16th, 2017:
TRUMP DUMPS GROUP BEFORE GROUP DUMPS HIM - Talk about going concerns. Alexander C. Kaufman: ”The White House’s two advisory councils of top business executives disbanded on Wednesday amid intense public blowback against President Donald Trump’s response to the deadly attack by an accused white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia. The move came two days after executives began resigning from the dwindling American Manufacturing Council and hours after the billionaire financier who headed the separate Strategic and Policy Forum hosted a call with other members of that panel. Trump took credit on Twitter for dissolving the advisory panels in order to alleviate pressure on the executives. ‘Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!’ [Trump tweeted]” [HuffPost]
WHITE HOUSE AIDES VERY DISGUSTED, VERY NOT LEAVING - Sources inside the Temple of Apollo refused to comment on record, but privately say Kushner and Trump opposed Caesar’s Rubicon crossing. Josh Dawsey: ”No aides had yet threatened to resign as of Wednesday morning, according to White House officials and advisers, but a number of White House staffers had private conversations on Tuesday night about how terribly the day went. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who was standing near Trump on Tuesday for what was supposed to be a statement about infrastructure, was particularly displeased, according to people familiar with the matter, as the president launched into a rant about the culpability of the ‘alt-left’ while calling some of the protesters at the white nationalist rally ‘very fine people.’ But there has been no word from Cohn about any plans to step down.” [Politico]
The (former) establishment is not pleased. Former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush released a joint statement Wednesday about Charlottesville. ‘America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights,’ it read. ‘We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.’” [CNN]
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JOHN KELLY MORE OR LESS THE ONLY PERSON ON TRUMP TWEET DUTY NOW - Ms. Hicks is a truly impressive person. Who among us can said to have sold so much of our soul by 28? Ashley Parker: ”Hope Hicks, President Trump’s trusted confidante and adviser, is taking on expanded communications responsibilities while the White House searches for a new communications director to replace Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired from the job after just 10 days, according to a White House official. Hicks will work with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in an interim capacity to fill the role of the communications director while the White House works to find a permanent replacement — a search with which Hicks will assist. Hicks, 28, currently serves as Trump’s director of strategic communications, and is one of the president’s most loyal and trusted aides. She started as Trump’s press secretary during the 2015 campaign and sits right outside the Oval Office. She also has close ties to the president’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser.” [WaPo]
MCCONNELL BRAVELY EQUIVOCATES - “If not me, then who? If now now, when? … Who cares?” Steve Peoples and Jonathan Lemire: ”[L]ike other top GOP officials, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not criticize President Donald Trump, who said a day earlier the white supremacists don’t bear all the blame for last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. ‘We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head,’ McConnell said in a statement, noting that white supremacists are planning a rally in his home state of Kentucky…. [F]ew Republican officeholders defended the president for what some critics described as a defining moment in his young presidency, yet few called him out by name either. One who did, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, said Wednesday that the president ‘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 the people demonstrating against them.” [AP]
COURT DEALS PLANNED PARENTHOOD A SETBACK - Nate Raymond: ”A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday reversed a ruling that prevented Arkansas from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood following the release of controversial videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis reversed a federal judge’s ruling forbidding Arkansas from carrying through with Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson’s directive to suspend Medicaid reimbursements to a Planned Parenthood affiliate. That ruling by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker in Little Rock had come in a lawsuit by three women who claimed Arkansas violated their rights under the federal Medicaid law to choose any qualified provider offering services they were seeking.” [Reuters]
TRUMP WRONG AGAIN, REPORT FINDS - No one show the president this otherwise we’ll have to talk about crowd sizes again. Matt Apuzzo: “As F.B.I. director, James B. Comey had widespread support from his agents, according to internal survey data released Wednesday that contradicts President Trump’s claim that he fired Mr. Comey in part because agents had lost confidence in him.... The F.B.I. released the results of three years of internal questionnaires in response to a public records request by The New York Times. The surveys revealed that agents around the country gave the F.B.I. leadership high marks — 4.01 on a scale of 5 — in this year’s survey. The F.B.I. considers scores over 3.81 an indication of success…. ‘He’s a showboat, he’s a grandstander, the F.B.I. has been in turmoil,’ Mr. Trump said of Mr. Comey in an NBC interview in May. ‘You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the F.B.I. a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn’t recovered from that.’” [NYT]
A New Coke moment for the “alt-right.” “The weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, has left the alt-right with a serious branding problem, and not everyone aligned with the movement seems eager to take on the baggage of being associated with the frenzy of unabashed bigotry that took place at Saturday’s ‘Unite the Right’ rally.” [HuffPost’s Nick Wing]
RUSSIA FINALLY PUTS OPERATION BARBAROSSA BEHIND IT - Ben Collins and Brian Patrick Byrne: “In terms of domain hosting, neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer is having a hard time keeping it up. The neo-Nazi hub, which has been banned by prominent domain hosting companies Google and GoDaddy since Saturday’s terror attack that killed an anti-racism protester, experienced another setback on Wednesday when their new web address, dailystormer.wang, was blocked by another domain provider…. By Wednesday, The Daily Stormer had moved to dailystormer.ru, the suffix for Russian...websites. According to registrar records, dailystormer.ru’s nameserver is Cloudflare, a San Francisco-based company.” [Daily Beast]
Lookie here, another thing the left can fight over! “The Nation is reviewing a controversial article released last week that claimed a Democratic National Committee insider, not a Russian intelligence agency, was behind last summer’s leaks. Technical evidence used in the article to justify its claims was widely disputed by cybersecurity experts. A representative from The Nation confirmed that the review began last week and remains underway.” [The Hill’s Joe Uchill]
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