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- 08/13/17--14:34: _U.S. sees 300 viole...
- 08/13/17--14:36: _Local gives history...
- 08/13/17--14:37: _White nationalism i...
- 08/13/17--14:57: _Charlottesville may...
- 08/13/17--15:09: _Post-election spike...
- 08/14/17--06:23: _Pressure mounts on ...
- 08/14/17--06:46: _Trump to seek trade...
- 08/14/17--06:59: _Merck CEO steps dow...
- 08/14/17--15:20: _Archeologists dig u...
- 08/14/17--15:25: _What Trump didn’t s...
- 08/14/17--15:30: _Report claims North...
- 08/14/17--15:35: _The shifting histor...
- 08/14/17--15:40: _How should U.S. add...
- 08/14/17--15:42: _Amazon recalls pote...
- 08/14/17--15:45: _News Wrap: North Ko...
- 08/14/17--15:50: _White nationalists ...
- 08/14/17--16:02: _Critics say Trump p...
- 08/14/17--18:00: _WATCH: Protesters p...
- 08/14/17--19:46: _Merck, Under Armour...
- 08/15/17--06:12: _Furor over Charlott...
- 08/13/17--14:34: U.S. sees 300 violent attacks inspired by far right every year
- 08/13/17--14:36: Local gives history of civil rights in Charlottesville
- 08/13/17--14:37: White nationalism is ‘ugly continuation of a brutal tradition’
- 08/13/17--14:57: Charlottesville mayor blames Trump for violent weekend
- 08/13/17--15:09: Post-election spike in hate crimes persists in 2017
- 08/14/17--06:46: Trump to seek trade investigation of China amid North Korea tensions
- 08/14/17--06:59: Merck CEO steps down from presidential council after Charlottesville
- 08/14/17--15:25: What Trump didn’t say in his response to Charlottesville
- 08/14/17--15:35: The shifting history of Confederate monuments
- 08/14/17--15:40: How should U.S. address white supremacist extremism?
- 08/14/17--15:42: Amazon recalls potentially hazardous solar eclipse glasses
- 08/14/17--16:02: Critics say Trump pardon of Arpaio would endorse racism
- 08/14/17--18:00: WATCH: Protesters pull down Confederate statue in North Carolina
- 08/14/17--19:46: Merck, Under Armour, Intel CEOs step down from Trump business panel
- 08/15/17--06:12: Furor over Charlottesville follows Trump home to Manhattan
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Despite the nation’s intense national focus on Islamic terrorism since 9/11, homegrown, right wing extremists have also killed dozens of Americans. The groups include white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups and anti-federalists militias. Since 2001, the number of violent attacks on U.S. soil inspired by far-right ideology has spiked to an average of more than 300 a year, according to a study by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
A 2015 survey of U.S. law enforcement groups found they consider anti-government violent extremists to be a more severe threat than radicalized Muslims. And while jihadist terrorists have killed 95 people in the U.S. since 9/11, far-right extremists have killed 68 during the same time, including the car attack in Charlottesville. That’s according to data collected by our next guest, Peter Bergen, the director of the national security studies program for New America and a terrorism analyst for CNN.
Peter, I know you focus a lot of jihadists, you know, Islamic terror happening in the United States and happening overseas. But you have also been studying and looking closely at kind of home grown terror, domestic terror threats. When you saw what happened yesterday, what went through your mind?
PETER BERGEN, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES PROGRAM, NEW AMERICA: Well, clearly, it was an act of domestic terrorism and seems to be an act of extreme right wing terrorism. And it’s one of multiple incidents that we’ve seen in this country, unfortunately. And in fact also, we’re seeing an interesting spike in black nationalist terrorism, there have been eight deaths since 2016 caused by black nationalists and we also, you may recall, of course, the attack on the Republican baseball game by a sort of an extreme anti-Trump person.
So, we’re seeing, you know, political violence comes in all shapes and forms. And I think when we hear word terrorism, a lot of Americans kind of think jihadi terrorism because of the 9/11 attacks but the fact is, is that we have continue to see extreme right wing terrorism, and we have seen a slight uptick in kind of leftist terrorism in the last couple of years.
SREENIVASAN: What are the different causes?
BERGEN: Well, I mean, I mean they scan the political spectrum because you have, you know, black nationalist terrorism which has been spiking. You have a certain amount of anti-Trump terrorism which has sort of had an uptick. You have this extreme right neo-Nazi antigovernment terrorism which has been pretty constant, after all, it was the most lethal attack on American soil before 9/11 was the Oklahoma City bombing which killed 168 people carried out by two right wing — extreme right wing militants.
So, yes, this has been around for a while, this kind of strain of terrorism that we saw in Charlottesville is not new. They don’t tends to kill a large numbers like Islamist terrorist attacks which tend to have a much higher death toll, but it is kind of a constant that’s out there.
SREENIVASAN: When you saw the method of destruction yesterday, the car attack, something we’ve basically been seeing repeatedly overseas in the past year.
BERGEN: Yes. I mean, this is usually the purview of jihadi terrorist tacks. We’ve seen two in London in recent months that killed 13 people. We saw the attack in Nice killed 84 people. We saw the attack in Berlin that killed 12 people, all of those were jihadi terror attacks.
Now, we are seeing this tactic being adopted by people with other ideologies. For instance, in Charlottesville, we saw this, and we also saw an attack like this in London outside a mosque relatively recently in which one person was killed. So, unfortunately, using vehicles as a deadly weapon is a tactic that is kind of been adopted by violent terrorists of all ideological stripes.
SREENIVASAN: How much does the labeling of it matter, calling it terrorism, calling domestic terrorism from the media on to the politicians?
BERGEN: I think it’s important to call things what they are. And, you know, one of the reasons that these domestic terrorist incidents don’t get called terrorism often is because there isn’t a link to an international terrorist organization. So, as a formal matter if you are charging terrorism as a crime, if there is some link to ISIS or al Qaeda, it’s very easy to charge terrorism.
Because of the First Amendment issues in this country, it’s not illegal in this country to be a neo-Nazi. It is illegal to be a neo-Nazi who carries out a violent attack. But when a neo Nazi carries out a violent attack, it’s usually simply treated as murder or sometimes as a hate crime, but not usually as terrorism from a legal point of view because there isn’t an association with an international terrorist organization such as ISIS, such as al Qaeda.
SREENIVASAN: Peter Bergen of New America and analyst for CNN, thanks so much for joining us.
BERGEN: Thank you.
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The post Local gives history of civil rights in Charlottesville appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: For more perspective on the events in Charlottesville, we’re joined via Skype by Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown. His latest book is called “Tears Cannot Stop: A sermon to White America.”
Thanks for joining us.
Before we get to the events of yesterday, I want to ask you about the events of two nights ago. When you say young men carrying torches on the UVA campus, what went through your head?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN: It was extraordinarily dispiriting. Many people have said this is not America, this is not us. Yes, it is. This is an ugly continuation of a brutal tradition of white supremacy in this nation. The torches signifying those night riders who used to stalk black people with fury and vengeance, who refused to acknowledge our humanity, who ripped us from hour homes, who stole Emmett Till from his resting place in Money, Mississippi, and then tossed him into the Tallahassee River.
The reality is that those torches signify the worst emblem of American bigotry that this nation has confronted and the domestic terrorism that we refuse to confront threatens the very fabric of this nation. So, seeing those torches being carried on that proud college community, that university founded by Thomas Jefferson, there at the University of Virginia and then more broadly, a state that has ostensibly committed to the liberal values of one of our Founding Fathers, was especially troubling in our own day and age.
SREENIVASAN: There was a tweet by Congressman Seth Moulton. He said, the only difference between the KKK marches of 50 years ago and Charlottesville today is that now, they don’t even have to wear hoods. Scary.
DYSON: It is extremely scary. There’s no pretense of coverage. There’s no pretense of hiding themselves from the vitriol and bigotry that they intend to impose.
SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the things that you — you wrote a column today for “The New York Times,” “Charlottesville and Bigotocracy”, and you say, one of the things you point out is that the revisionist history overlooks some basic facts.
DYSON: That’s exactly right. The reality is, is that this country is still prosecuting a war that at its heart included African-American destiny. Many people in the South joining a faded southern aristocracy believe that they are still superior, that the war should be refought, that they won, that the real true justice that should have prevailed must now prevail.
So, the Confederacy is an emblem of a lost opportunity that should be reclaimed by especially working class and middle class white people who feel that they were denied a legitimate, if you will, inheritance of superiority in this country. This is nothing new. The alt-right is a revision and a revival of a much more ancient and hoary tradition where we see black people at odds because of their humanity, their very existence to a Southern aristocracy that believes that there ought to be a hierarchy, white over black, those who are white should be treated with equanimity and purposeful humanity, and those who are black should be seconded class citizens.
And the division they want to bring to this country, the secession from this country that they attempted and failed to do. Now, they have internal secessionism where they want to create radical divisions and separations between the races.
Again, this is nothing new. This is not the quaint folklorish notion of bigotry that is polite. This is the ugly, vile, protestation against the very humanity and unity that this country is built on. E pluribus unum, out of many one. And yet, we see everything but that in these protests.
SREENIVASAN: Michael Eric Dyson, joining via Skype tonight, thanks so much.
DYSON: Thank you, sir, for having me.
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P.J. TOBIA: Leaving services at Charlottesville’s African Methodist Episcopal Church this morning, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had a clear message for the white nationalist protesters.
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE: Tell white supremacists, tell the neo-Nazis, tell the KKK, tell ‘em all, “We’ve had enough of it.” Get out of our country. You are not wanted here. You are dividing us.
P.J. TOBIA: Congregants at Mount Zion Baptist Church decried the protesters who descended on the city, carrying Confederate flags and displaying swastikas.
JAMES JACKSON, DEACON, MOUNT ZION BAPTIST CHURCH: It’s a shame that in this day and time that children and people still teach racial hatred so that it’s passed on. It won’t stop living in the United States of America or in this country until people come to grips with it.
Today, Charlottesville’s Democratic mayor, Michael Signer, wasted no words in calling out President Trump for what he says is his culpability in yesterday’s violence.
MAYOR MICHAEL SIGNER: I think that responsibility for this coarsening of our dialogue and for the invitation of open bigotry and open incitement and the prejudices, goes right to the doorstep of the president and the people around him who chose to dance with the devil in their presidential campaign.
P.J. TOBIA: Signer says that despite criticism that Charlottesville police did not do enough to stop fights from breaking out, the city moved quickly to break up the event.
MAYOR MICHAEL SIGNER: It was declared an unlawful assembly because of violent, not peaceable speech, not peaceable assembly before the event even got going. It was supposed to start at noon and unlawful assembly was declared before that because of the violence of the initial participants in the initial event.
P.J. TOBIA: Mayor Signer calls the protesters “damaged.” But Matthew Heimbach, head of the white nationalist group, the Traditionalist Workers Party, who attended yesterday’s protest, says radical leftists are truly to blame for yesterday’s unrest.
We spoke at a park that the city originally wanted his group to demonstrate in.
MATTHEW HEIMBACH: These people were yelling, “Kill, kill, kill all the Nazis.” They were using any weapon they could to try and kill the men and women that were marching with me, that were standing for General Lee, that were standing for our heritage, and just bringing our nationalist movement together.
P.J. TOBIA: He was unwilling to denounce the automobile attack that left one person dead and several injured.
MATTHEW HEIMBACH: We don’t exactly know what happened, but what I do know is if you’re in the car, you’re surrounded by people that are flat-out chanting that they want to kill you, because their definition of a Nazi is anyone they politically disagree with, that is a terrifying situation to be in, especially by yourself.
P.J. TOBIA: All sides, left and right, who participated in yesterday’s rally say that Charlottesville is a turning point in their conflict.
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BEDMINSTER, N.J. — As President Donald Trump remained out of sight and silent, pressure mounted from both sides of the aisle for him to explicitly condemn white supremacists and hate groups involved in deadly, race-fueled clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump, who has been at his New Jersey golf club on a working vacation, was set to make a one-day return to Washington on Monday to sign an executive action on China’s trade practices. But he will likely be unable to escape questions and criticism for his initial response to the Saturday’s violence, for which he blamed bigotry on “many sides.”
His attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said Monday the incident in which a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters, killing one person, “does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute.”
He told ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is an unequivocally unacceptable and evil attack that cannot be accepted in America.”
Sessions said he expects to hear more from Trump on the matter after meeting with him Monday, as well as officials from the FBI.
“We will not allow these extremist groups to obtain credibility,” Sessions told “CBS This Morning.”
In the hours after the incident, Trump addressed the violence in broad strokes, saying that he condemns “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
Speaking slowly from his New Jersey golf club while on a 17-day working vacation, Trump added: “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”
As locals grappled with the aftermath of a white nationalist rally that left three people dead on Saturday, Mayor Michael Signer wasted no words on denouncing President Donald Trump for what he says is his culpability in the violence. But a white nationalist leader told The NewsHour’s P.J. Tobia that the radical left is at fault.
The White House statement Sunday went further. “The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.” It added: “He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”
The White House did not attach a name to the statement. Usually, a statement would be signed by the press secretary or another staffer; not putting a name to one eliminates an individual’s responsibility for its truthfulness and often undercuts its significance.
Trump’s top advisers later struggled to explain Trump’s position, offering different responses.
Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said Sunday that he considered the attack to be terrorism. On Saturday, Trump had not responded to reporters’ shouted questions about terrorism.
“I certainly think anytime that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism,” McMaster told ABC’s “This Week.” ”It meets the definition of terrorism. But what this is, what you see here, is you see someone who is a criminal, who is committing a criminal act against fellow Americans.”
The president’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, defended the president’s initial statement by suggesting that some of the counter-protesters were violent, too. When pressed during a contentious interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” he specifically condemned the racist groups.
The president’s daughter and White House aide, Ivanka Trump, tweeted Sunday morning: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said he spoke to Trump in the hours after the clashes and that he twice told the president “we have to stop this hateful speech, this rhetoric.” He said he urged Trump “to come out stronger” against the actions of white supremacists.
Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing the president for not specifically calling out white nationalists. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. said on NBC Sunday that “This isn’t a time for innuendo or to allow room to be read between the lines. This is a time to lay blame.”
White nationalists had assembled in Charlottesville to vent their frustration against the city’s plans to take down a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee. Counter-protesters massed in opposition.
Alt-right leader Richard Spencer and former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke attended the demonstrations. Duke told reporters that the white nationalists were working to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”
Trump’s initial comments drew praise from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which wrote: “Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. … No condemnation at all.” The website had been promoting the Charlottesville demonstration as part of its “Summer of Hate” edition.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, a Democrat, slammed Trump’s stance toward hate groups, saying on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he hopes Trump “looks himself in the mirror and thinks very deeply about who he consorted with.”
“Old saying: when you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change, the devil changes you,” Signer said.
Trump, as a presidential candidate, frequently came under scrutiny for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists. His strongest denunciation of the movement has not come voluntarily, only when asked, and he occasionally trafficked in retweets of racist social media posts during his campaign. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once declared that his former news site, Breitbart, was “the platform for the alt-right.”
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BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Even as he seeks Beijing’s help on North Korea, President Donald Trump is poised to seek a trade investigation of China for the alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property.
Trump is expected to sign an executive order Monday asking his trade office to consider the probe. In the midst of a 17-day vacation, Trump plans to leave his New Jersey golf club and return to Washington to sign the order.
There is no deadline for deciding if any investigation is necessary. Such an investigation easily could last a year.
In a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent U.N. vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. But Trump also told Xi about the move toward a possible inquiry into China’s trade practices, according to two U.S. officials familiar with that conversation. They were not authorized to publicly discuss the private call and spoke on condition of anonymity.
China announced Monday it will cut off imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ore and other goods in three weeks under U.N. sanctions imposed against Pyongyang.
Trump wants government officials to look at Chinese practices that force American companies to share their intellectual property in order to gain access to the world’s second-largest economy. Many U.S. businesses must create joint ventures with Chinese companies and turn over valuable technology assets, a practice that Washington says stifles U.S. economic growth.
Trump’s action amounts to a request that his trade representative determine whether an investigation is needed under the Trade Act of 1974. If an investigation begins, the U.S. government could seek remedies either through or outside of the World Trade Organization.
While Beijing has promised to open more industries to foreign companies, it also has issued new rules on electric car manufacturing, data security, internet censorship and other fields.
An administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order before Trump’s formal announcement.
As the crisis involving North Korea has unfolded, Trump has alternated praising China for its help and chiding it for not ratcheting up pressure on its Asian neighbor.
“I think China can do a lot more,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “And I think China will do a lot more.”
China, the isolated North’s main trading partner, has been reluctant to push leader Kim Jong Un’s regime too hard for fear it might collapse. But Beijing is increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang and supported a U.N. Security Council ban on Aug. 5 on coal and other key goods.
The Chinese customs agency said Monday that it will stop processing imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ores and fish at midnight on Sept. 5.
“After that, entry of these goods will be prohibited,” said an agency statement.
Trump has escalated his harsh criticism of North Korea for days, tweeting Friday that the U.S. had military options “locked and loaded.” Xi, in his phone conversation with Trump, urged calm, the officials said.
Trump, in the past, has tied trade policy to national security, leading to speculation that raising the possibility of a probe — without committing to one — could be a negotiating tactic to get China to step up its assistance with North Korea.
The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the U.S. business community, with reports suggesting that losses stemming from it could total hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the U.S. economy millions of jobs.
Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven’t been delivered on deadline. Trump made addressing the U.S. trade deficit with China a centerpiece of his campaign last year and has suggested raising tariffs on goods from China.
Boak reported from Baltimore. Associated Press writer Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.
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WASHINGTON — The CEO of the nation’s third largest pharmaceutical company is resigning from the President’s American Manufacturing Council citing “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
President Donald Trump lashed out almost immediately Monday at Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier on Twitter, saying Frazier “will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
Frazier’s resignation comes shortly after a violent confrontation between white supremacists and protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead and 19 injured. He said in a tweet on Monday that the country’s leaders must “honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.”
Trump responded to Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville by blaming bigotry on “many sides.” He has not explicitly condemned the white supremacists.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Archaeologists are racing against time to save artifacts from what is being described as the most significant find of Roman ruins in the past half-century.
They’re located in Eastern France, and the discovery is being hailed as a mini Pompeii, the Roman town near Naples in Italy that was destroyed in 79 A.D. by the volcano, Mount Vesuvius.
As part of our ongoing coverage of Culture at Risk, special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Two thousand years ago, this corner of what is now Eastern France was on the fringes of the Roman Empire.
The only constants over two millennia are the moon and the River Rhone with its transport links, which drew the Romans here.
In the village of Sainte-Colombe, right next to the Rhone, archaeologist Catherine Du Pinet is working to extract rusting iron armor belonging to what’s believed to have been a retired Roman officer.
CATHERINE DU PINET, Archaeologist (through interpreter): It’s really difficult because it’s located in the remains of a shop. It’s surrounded by a layer of soil, tile and brick that was burned and is really hard. This is very fragile and it’s complicated to get it out.
MALCOLM BRABANT: This has been a very productive day for archaeologist Benjamin Clement, who’s leading this dig.
BENJAMIN CLEMENT, Archaeologist: So, here we just found all the pieces of a huge armor of the 1st century A.D. Here, we have a little part of a belt. And this kind of decoration comes from a little belt on the front of the armor.
Here, you have all the parts of the armor, all the little pieces who come from it. We just find 10 minutes ago a little weapon, a little sword. I will just show you. If you come to see here, we have all the protections for the shoulder.
MALCOLM BRABANT: This site is being described as perhaps the most important discovery of Roman remains in the past 50 years.
Some of the artifacts apparently match the beauty of those found in Pompeii, especially the mosaic floors of houses belonging to the Roman upper classes. But the most precious ones are no longer visible. They were removed by the archaeologists before they went public about the site, because, as Culture Ministry official Marie-Agnes Gaidon-Bunuel explains, they were worried about theft.
MARIE-AGNES GAIDON-BUNUEL, Culture Ministry (through interpreter): There has been an increase in clandestine treasure hunting in France these last few years, with objects being reclaimed from archaeological sites, which we are not happy about at all.
The Minister for Culture is trying to fight against the practice, because the removal of these artifacts from their archaeological setting prevents us from dating the site, and they are being actively marketed outside of France.
MALCOLM BRABANT: But some of the more visually mundane antiquities like clay pots remain. This cluster was found in the Roman equivalent of a delicatessen.
BENJAMIN CLEMENT: Mosaics is really interesting because it’s part of art. It’s like a statue. But for the understanding of the way of living of Roman people, mostly for the middle-class and lower-class population, to find this structure is more interesting, because it’s a chance to understand how they live and how they do for cooking, eating.
MALCOLM BRABANT: That these treasures were found at all is due to a French law that requires developers to excavate areas where the authorities are confident that antiquities may be buried just beneath the surface.
The town of Vienne and its surroundings are prime historical real estate. One of the best preserved Roman temples is situated in the heart of Vienne, and in the summer months, its citizens, many of them no doubt descendants of the Romans, dance and indulge in the age-old habit of worshipping Bacchus, the Roman God of wine and drink.
Like Pompeii, the Roman enclave at Sainte-Colombe had its own disasters, not a volcano, but a couple of infernos. Unlike Pompeii, the inhabitants here managed to escape, and as Benjamin Clement explains, fire has similar preservative qualities to volcanic ash.
BENJAMIN CLEMENT: The comparison with Pompeii comes from the fact we have two big fires which destroy all the neighborhood, the first one in the beginning of the 2nd century A.D., and the second one in the middle of the 3rd century A.D.
These huge fires preserved, froze all the structures, all the furniture, the artifacts in the houses, in the shops, in the public space. And it’s exactly the same thing as in Pompeii.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Now, this site may be as significant as Pompeii, but you are not going to be able to come and see it any time soon. Within months, it’s going to be covered in concrete and turned into apartment buildings and a car park.
But Roman antiquities specialist Elsa Dias from Portugal is saddened that soon this treasure will disappear from view.
ELSA DIAS, Roman Antiquities Specialist (through interpreter): It’s a one-time-in-your-life opportunity to dig a place like this.
You have to be passionate to be an archaeologist. When you see the work we do, you have to be passionate. It’s really physical. And we dig when it rains, when it pours. And the site, it’s an exceptional site, because, in France, there is nothing like this.
Personally, I would preserve everything, but we know that in the world that we live in, it’s not possible. So people have to live somewhere. Someone else is going to live here after the Romans.
MALCOLM BRABANT: That’s history.
ELSA DIAS: Yes.
MALCOLM BRABANT: At the end of the working day, as his colleagues dust down the shoulder armor, Benjamin Clement brings out the short sword that may have killed British tribesmen as the Emperor Claudius expanded the Roman Empire.
BENJAMIN CLEMENT: It’s always a race against time when you are — when you make archaeological declaration before building construction, because you have to deal with other priority and not scientific or archaeological priority, and it’s really hard. But it’s a part of our work, and it’s a part really interesting of our work.
MALCOLM BRABANT: The armor and all the other artifacts recovered from this dig will probably be displayed in a museum nearby, enriching the cultural value of Vienne.
Amongst its more unusual treasures, a pyramid that some claim was prepared as a mausoleum for Pontius Pilate, who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. But, according to the team here, that is fake ancient news, a real Roman myth.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Malcolm Brabant in Vienne.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: But, first, we turn back to Charlottesville and the political response to the weekend violence.
John Yang has that.
JOHN YANG: And we do have more on President Trump’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville and the race to fill Attorney General Sessions’ Senate seat in Alabama.
It’s time for Politics Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of USA Today.
Susan, Amy, thanks for joining us.
As we were sitting down, we thought the president was done talking about Charlottesville. He just tweeted and said: “Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realized once again that the fake news media will never be satisfied. Truly bad people.”
Susan, he’s clearly frustrated to the reaction to even this new statement. What do you make of all of this?
SUSAN PAGE, USA Today: I think it’s important the president made the statement he made this morning where he singled out white supremacists and the KKK and neo-Nazi groups for the violence in Charlottesville. That’s an important point, as he’s speaking for the nation at that point.
But as my mom used to say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. He made that first impression on Saturday, when he seemed very reluctant to single out these groups for criticism and instead talked about violence from many sides.
And this tweet now continues to reinforce the sense that he is at least reluctant to do that.
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: And this was his chance to really lance this boil. Right? It had been building up all weekend.
It wasn’t just frustration by folks on the left that he wasn’t saying something. Within his own party, you had members of the Senate and leadership saying, you need to come out and say something. He makes a statement. But, once again, he turns to his ally, which is the media, his ally, his sparring partner.
This is a president that is defined as much by his enemies as by his allies. And when the media comes and gives criticism — I think he was responding specifically to a CNN reporter who said to him, why did you not do this earlier?
He responded back, because you’re the fake news, and then there was a sort of back and forth between the two of them.
So, I think it was in direct response to that. But, again, in the whole, it is the president at his most comfortable when he’s sparring with the media, even at a time when the focus should be on what happened in Charlottesville.
JOHN YANG: This is not the — the people who organized this, this protest, or the rally in Charlottesville talked about the — named Donald Trump as part of the reason they were doing this.
Susan, this isn’t over. There are a lot of the Confederate statues around the country. Has he put this to rest at all, whether or not he is sort of encouraging or the people are taking encouragement from him?
SUSAN PAGE: Yes, a lot of them were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. They talked about feeling emboldened by his candidacy and the fact that he won election to the White House as a new day in their efforts and in their — to their point of view.
And there are more than 700 Confederate statues in 31 states, not just in the South, across this country. There are going to be protests. We saw protests today in Tennessee and elsewhere. There is likely to be the kind of confrontations that we saw so tragically in Charlottesville.
How will the president respond next time? And also what will the president do in terms of policies of his administration? The fact is, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was out there much farther, leaning much more forward than the president was in talking about this as being an outrage that his Civil Rights Division would investigate.
And the attorney general, unlike the president, called it an act of domestic terrorism.
JOHN YANG: The president — there is so much about this presidency that’s unprecedented. He was the first one to declare for reelection on Inauguration Day. And this weekend, he put out a campaign ad for the 2020 election.
Let’s take a look at a little bit of it.
NARRATOR: Democrats obstructing, the media attacking our president, career politicians standing in the way of success, but President Trump’s plan is working, one million jobs created, more Americans working than ever before. The president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed, but Americans are saying, let President Trump do his job.
JOHN YANG: Amy, every campaign tries to create a narrative. What are they trying to tell us here?
AMY WALTER: The same narrative we had throughout the 2016 campaign. Right? I’m the outsider. I’m going to come shake things up, make sure that the economy is going to get back in shape.
Here’s the thing. The economy is actually doing quite well. People feel good about the economy. The stock market is doing well. Unemployment is low. And yet the president’s approval rating now in the latest Gallup poll is at its lowest ever it’s ever been. He’s down to 34 percent in their latest poll, somewhere around in the mid to upper 30s in other polls.
So, a strong economy hasn’t translated into support for this president. He needs to get the focus back on those things. The problem, of course, is that he takes himself off-message every day, whether it’s the tweets, whether it’s the controversies.
And he’s also, in this ad, this isn’t about 2020. This is about trying to get his approval ratings up. They have been slipping with his partisan, with his supporters, Republicans. You have seen a little dip in support there. Independents, the bottom has dropped out among those voters.
So trying to remind people, OK, remember, you voted for me because I was going to come here and shake things up and things are going to be better for you. Let’s focus on that.
SUSAN PAGE: This is a real sign of weakness on the part of president that he feels the need to start airing 30-second ads six months into his first term.
And the president has always had a solidify-the-base theory of life. He’s never tried to reach out to the voters who didn’t support him. But he has seen some erosion in his base. He got 46 percent of the vote. He’s down to 34 percent in the Gallup poll.
We have a panel of Trump voters we have gone back to four times this year, most recently just in the last few days. For the first time in this latest round of interviews, we found Trump voters saying, I still approve of him, but — I still approve of him, but I’m concerned about this. I still approve of him, but why did lose on health care?
For the first time, we’re seeing the beginning of concerns and caveats on the part of these solid Trump voters from before. And I think that’s why they felt they needed to run that ad.
JOHN YANG: Tomorrow, we have got a special election in Alabama to fill the Senate seat that Jeff Sessions left.
It’s a crowded Republican primary. Both Mitch McConnell and President Trump have endorsed one of the candidates. And you would think that would be the end of it. But that candidate, Luther Strange, the senator who was appointed to fill the seat, is having trouble just staying in second place to making it into a runoff.
What is going on here, Amy?
AMY WALTER: Yes.
Well, this is a contest right now in Alabama between who can love Donald Trump the most and hate Mitch McConnell the most and hate leadership and the establishment the most?
So, Luther Strange has that strange combination — no pun intended — of being supported by both the insider and the outsider, but even that’s not enough. Trump’s endorsement was pretty recent.
What his opponents in this primary are doing is attacking Luther Strange and Republicans writ large, the Republicans in Washington being part of the swamp, right?
Look, this isn’t new, attacking the establishment inside a Republican primary. This has been going on since the Tea Party. What’s different, of course, is that they now have a Republican president.
And I think many Republicans thought that having a Republican president would kind of quell all of the factions within the Republican Party, they were no longer going to be fighting amongst themselves. Obviously hasn’t done that.
SUSAN PAGE: Voters are clearly ready to continue to be disruptive.
AMY WALTER: Yes.
SUSAN PAGE: The idea that Roy Moore is clearly — we think he’s probably going to win this primary, but maybe not. The hope is only to hold him below 50 percent so he doesn’t get the nomination without a runoff.
That is a sign that voters continue to be willing to say, we’re not going to pay any attention to the advice of people in charge. We still want to shake things up.
JOHN YANG: Susan Page, Amy Walter, Politics Monday, thank you very much.
SUSAN PAGE: Thank you.
AMY WALTER: You’re welcome.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: We return to the North Korea story.
Moments ago, the regime’s news agency said its leader, Kim Jong-un, has been briefed on plans for a missile test that would splash down near the U.S. territory of Guam.
And, as we reported earlier, Defense Secretary Mattis vowed today to shoot down any missile fired.
But where the regime is getting the engines for its new missiles is the subject of provocative new report. Its author says a factory in Ukraine is the source.
We go to special correspondent Nick Schifrin for more.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Joining me now is Michael Elleman. He’s a senior fellow for missile defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a former consultant to the Pentagon. And Melissa Hanham is a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute.
And thank you both for being here.
Mike, let’s start with you, because you wrote the paper.
You come out with a notion that North Korea has advanced from middle-range missiles to ICBMs fast than any country has. And your notion is they got technology, they stole the technology, specifically from Eastern Ukraine. What’s the evidence?
MICHAEL ELLEMAN, International Institute for Strategic Studies: The engines they are using for the longer-range missiles has an appearance that’s very similar to a well-known engine family that originates in Russia and Ukraine.
And I have talked with sources that are — that have been to some facilities in Ukraine in the recent time, and they have seen the modifications that would have to be made from this existing engine of Russian-Ukrainian heritage to the one we see in the North Korean missiles.
And that happened rather recently, and one even bragged about having made the transformation or the remodeling of the pumping system. And then you look at the performance characteristics of the engine in the North Korean missiles, you get almost a precise match of capability.
And when you combine all those, it leads me to believe that sources in either Ukraine or Russia allowed these engines to make their way to North Korea.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Now, Melissa, I want to turn to you.
This paper is not without its critics. And you and I have discussed whether the paper actually underestimates whether North Korea itself can have built this engine, rather than have stolen it.
MELISSA HANHAM, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey: It’s more likely that they are perhaps borrowing some design influence, but not actually importing engines at all.
I think it’s really common to believe that North Korea is backwards, that, you know, one of the common memes we see is that its lights are off at night. Really, what’s happened in North Korea is that they have marshaled their resources, limited though they are, towards their military program.
And the new engines that we are seeing now have marked differences from others, and, in many cases, I think it is safe to say that they are largely indigenous, though that there are commonalities between all engines.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And, Mike, what’s wrong with that? Is North Korea not capable of building these kinds of engine, or perhaps there are Ukrainian-Russian workers inside of North Korea?
MICHAEL ELLEMAN: Well, we haven’t seen an indigenously developed engine before this.
Most countries start with smaller engines and slowly build up to much larger ones. The one we’re talking about here that’s powering their long-range missiles generates the equivalent of 40 tons of thrust, which is an enormous amount of energy.
One would expect them to start off with smaller engines in an indigenous design. So, when I look at those things, it’s just hard for me to believe that suddenly the first engine North Korea has ever made produces this much thrust and it’s successful, by the way, in each one of these tests.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Mike, I have talked to members of the intelligence community today. They actually echo Melissa’s argument that North Korea has more capacity than you give them credit for.
And the Ukrainian government, as you know, has come out against your report today. Alexander Turchinov, he’s the secretary of National Security and Defense Council. He said: “Ukraine has never supplied rocket engines and any missile technology to North Korea. We believe that this anti-Ukrainian campaign” — that’s a reference to you — “was triggered by Russian secret services to cover their participation in the North Korean nuclear and missile programs.”
Is Ukraine wrong, or it possible the Ukrainian government doesn’t know?
MICHAEL ELLEMAN: Well, I would argue that they don’t know.
In my article, I specifically say that it’s very unlikely that the government itself was involved. I would be very surprised if even executives from the Yuzhmash factory were involved.
I think this is more likely to be rogue actors. There are a number of elicit arms traders throughout the former Soviet Union, including Russia, including Ukraine. Let’s not forget that the location of the Yuzhmash factories is only a couple hundred kilometers from where there is an active battle going between Ukraine and the separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
And this often gives rise to a lot of illicit markets. So, I’m not surprised the Ukrainian government is upset about the reporting, but I’m just trying to report on the facts as I know them. And I can assure you I’m not working for the Russian government.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Melissa, wrap this up for us quickly.
Is there any fear, from your perspective, that the longer we assume the North Koreans are backwards or not capable, the quicker we run out of time?
MELISSA HANHAM: The Chamjin missile factory is famous for production of missile parts. And their procurement activities over the last few years have definitely shown that they have imported the machine tools that they need in order to produce these types of engines and other parts of missiles that are needed.
I don’t know where you would get a Nodong engine if they were not produced locally in North Korea, for example. Many of the photographs of Kim Jong-un visiting the facilities are underground. And I think that’s why there isn’t a lot of talk about them, but they do exist.
And I think, as you mentioned earlier, the longer we wait in order to engage North Korea in negotiation, the more likely their technical capabilities and the sheer numbers of these missiles and trucks will go up.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Melissa Hanham, Mike Elleman, thank you very much.
MICHAEL ELLEMAN: Thank you.
MELISSA HANHAM: Thank you.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Now for some historical context on the South and its Civil War heritage that sparked this weekend’s clash.
William Brangham has that.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As we reported before, Saturday’s violence started originally as a protest by white nationalists over plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from downtown Charlottesville.
For more on how we continue to struggle with the legacy of the Civil War, we turn to historian and author Edward Ayers. He’s written a number of books on the Civil War and the South and spent many years on the faculty at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He was also president of the University of Richmond from 2007 to 2015.
He joins us from the site of this weekend’s violence, where a memorial to victim Heather Heyer has spontaneously appeared.
Welcome, Mr. Ayers, to the NewsHour.
I wonder — before we get to the past, I wonder if you could just give me your reaction to this weekend’s events.
EDWARD AYERS, University of Richmond: Well, for somebody who lived here for 27 years and raised their children here and enjoyed this beautiful small city, it’s both heartbreaking and hard to believe.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Obviously, as we have mentioned before, Saturday’s protest began by these white nationalists who were protesting the removal, the plans to remove the Robert E. Lee statue.
And I wonder if you could just give us a sense, why where these statues — there’s hundreds of them all over the country. Why were they first erected, and who put them up?
EDWARD AYERS: Well, as you say, they are all over the country.
There are — obviously, the Confederate statues are concentrated in the former states of the Confederacy. Some memorials to fallen Confederate soldiers began immediately after the Civil War, but what we think of as these Confederate statues are really much more a product of the 1890s to World War I period.
And so decades go by after the end of the Civil War before this widespread effort to memorialize the Confederacy appears. And you might say, well, why the lag? Well, it’s, in part, because that’s when Confederate veterans were dying.
And their daughters, United Daughters of the Confederacy, took main responsibility for making sure that they were not forgotten. And so they raised money in small towns and large cities all across the South to put up these memorials to the Confederate soldiers.
Sometimes, they were grand, such as the one that was put up in Richmond in 1890 that required 10,000 people to pull it by rope up on the James River as it arrived from Europe, all the way to the little solitary soldiers that stand in front of isolated courthouses all across the South.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, how do you suggest that we are to reconcile with this past? Because, to many people, they look at the statues like this one in Charlottesville of Robert E. Lee, and hundreds others, and they see a monument to men who not only owned slaves, but fought tooth and nail to protect the institution of slavery.
What are we to do with that past?
EDWARD AYERS: Well, for most of the past that we have had since then, white Southerners had told themselves a story in which slavery didn’t play a leading role in this, as unlikely as that seems to us now.
The story was men that like Robert E. Lee had risen up to fight against a tyrannical federal government that was trying to take away its rights of the states and had fought a valiant cause against much larger forces, and had lost, and when they did, laid down their arms in a gentlemanly way.
So, slavery basically was written out of the story until relatively recently. Looking back on it now — and I think this is not uncorrelated to the controversies over the Confederate Flags and the Dylann Roof killings that unleashed a kind of reaction against that — people have been growing to understand, well, of course, even if these individual soldiers were not slaveholders, they were fighting to defend a nation that was based on slavery.
And one thing to think about is, forget about for a moment whatever might have motivated these men to have fought. The fact is, had they won, you would have had an independent nation overseeing the largest and most powerful system of slavery in the modern world.
So, that’s one way to think about it. But I think what these statues tell us is that people remember what they want to remember, and then they see what they want to see.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you think that there is a way that we can keep any of these monuments, but wrap them in enough context so that a modern audience can appreciate what they stand for? Because there are so many people around the country who now argue, take them all down.
EDWARD AYERS: Yes, I think that both of those are legitimate arguments in different times and places.
It is a fact that, if people understood why these monuments were put up when they were and who put them up, for what rationale, it could play an instructive role. If people understood there is not such a thing called history, and it never changes, and then we just honor it or not, but recognize that every generation is going to see these events of 150 years ago through different eyes.
And, you know, through the generations since the civil rights movement, it’s harder and harder for the older story of the Confederacy as merely a defense of states’ rights against the federal government to stand. But, as we have seen, some people want to hold on to that story for their own purposes today.
So, can the monuments speak to us? Yes, they can. But you have to be very careful about recognizing the story that they tell.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Edward Ayers, thank you very much.
EDWARD AYERS: Thank you.
HARI SREENIVASAN: We return now to the events in Charlottesville over the weekend.
Joining me now is Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration. She’s now the president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a nonprofit legislative advocacy organization. And George Selim, he was the first director of the Office of Community Partnerships in the Department of Homeland Security and the interagency Countering Violent Extremism task force. He left the department just 10 days ago.
Vanita, it’s 2017. Last year, you helped run the Civil Rights Division under the first black president. What goes through your mind when you see Friday night young men holding torches, having a march, and obviously the events of yesterday as well?
VANITA GUPTA, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: Well, I think what was so stark about the march on Friday night and then on Saturday was that these folks felt so emboldened, that they weren’t even wearing their masks and hoods that they had been in prior times.
And then, of course, hearing the president of the United States make the statement that he did Saturday, without specifically condemning the white supremacists who were marching in his name, with David Duke specifically saying they were carrying out the promise of Donald Trump, followed then by another anonymous statement from the White House on Sunday, it is deeply troubling that we are in a time in 2017, where today the national news is covering the news that the president of the United States has actually finally condemned white supremacy.
I mean, it’s shocking. None of this is normal. None of this should be normal. But we also knows it’s an administration that right sits — steps outside of the Oval Office, Steve Bannon is a strategic adviser, Sebastian Gorka and others. They have been pursuing a policy agenda which reflects some of what we are seeing played out right now in very visceral terms for the rest of the country.
HARI SREENIVASAN: George Selim, is this activity that we’re seeing, are the sizes of the groups, the number of people doing this, is that increasing, or are we just seeing it because it’s more visible thanks to social media and other?
GEORGE SELIM, Former Department of Homeland Security Official: Well, it’s both, to be honest with you.
And I’m sure Vanita can expand on this, but last year, the ADL, the Anti-Defamation League, published a report which tracks a lot of domestic hate groups and extremist movements of all fronts, both those of terrorist nature stemming from the Middle East and domestic ones like we saw this past weekend as well.
And what They tracked was that 2016 had the highest recorded number of hate-reported incidents and deaths since history that they were tracking these incidents.
I think that’s coupled with the fact that, you know, the spread of this hateful ideology on social media and online and various other means has really accelerated the rate and pace which this type of kind of venomous ideology continues to be spread.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Vanita Gupta, you have heard the president’s words today. What are the policies that need to back that up?
VANITA GUPTA: Well, as long as he has people like Steve Bannon as a strategic adviser — I think he needs to remove Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka and anyone else who identifies or has been identified with the alt-right from his immediate environment and from the White House.
But, look, that’s not going to be enough. He has been pursuing a policy agenda on voting rights, on LGBT rights, on the Muslim ban, on an anti-immigrant, even curbing legal immigration, that has sought to exclude vast swathes of the American population from economic opportunity, educational opportunity.
There has to be policy to follow up the words which we finally got today in some measure. And so I think that that’s got to be underscored here. This isn’t just about what’s happened in Charlottesville. The is about a broader policy agenda which I think is deeply troubling and is really dividing and polarizing the nation like never before.
HARI SREENIVASAN: George Selim, you just left the Department of Homeland Security recently. And there is some concern that the efforts inside, especially the Countering Violent Extremism task force, could be shifted to focusing on sources of terror from the Islamic State and elsewhere, and less on the domestic terror that we’re talking about post-Charlottesville.
GEORGE SELIM: There is no question that the supposed Islamic State or so-called Islamic State and other terrorist groups that have stemmed from the Middle East or elsewhere abroad pose a significant threat to the homeland, to public safety of Americans both at home and abroad. There’s no question about that.
One of the positions that I advocated for very vigorously, both in my time at DHS and elsewhere, is to ensure that there’s level of protection, an added number of steps to both prevent and intervene in the process of radicalization, irrespective of what the ideology is that stems from it, whether that’s a domestic hate group or an international designated foreign terrorist organization.
HARI SREENIVASAN: And, George, do you feel that the administration is still committed to that idea of trying to root out extremism and radicalization wherever it happens and for whatever the cause?
GEORGE SELIM: So, that’s what the lip service has been so far. I think we need to separate the rhetoric from the reality.
I think if you look at some of the statements that have come out today, I fully endorse the statement that Attorney General Sessions made on saying that some of the actions by the accused driver of the incident in Charlottesville is an act of domestic terrorism.
But I think, while some of that rhetoric is great, we need to look at the reality of the budget, where the priorities of both people and funding has gone for the next fiscal year and for the fiscal years to come. And I think we need to track that very, very closely.
And one of the things I look forward to doing outside of government now is advocating for a significant increase of resources, both from the federal government and from non-governmental organizations from civil society and from the private sector to do this work at the state, local and specifically the community-based level.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Vanita Gupta, one of the things that was interesting is that the delineation or calling this an act of domestic terror, there are certain legal consequences to this. Is there almost a new category that we need in differentiating what is a crime vs. what is an act of domestic terror, because it seems easy for us to categorize what is a terrorist act when someone looks a different way?
VANITA GUPTA: No, that’s right.
It’s interesting that the attorney general, and it’s heartening that he used that term today. It took a little while for the words domestic terrorism to be uttered. Domestic terrorism, the effect of that, of calling it that is that it’s going to allocate certain resources within the Justice Department.
Right now, there is not a separate substantive charge of domestic terrorism that the federal government has to pursue, unless it involves a weapon of mass destruction. And so it may be time to actually look at not only — I think George Selim is right — to investigate and make sure that violent extremism is investigated, not just with regards to ISIS, but also including white supremacists, neo-Nazi groups and the like that are really growing right now and that we need to be deeply concerned about, but also to consider whether there needs to be an additional charge of domestic terrorism.
I think still, though, it is deeply important for public officials to recognize these things as domestic terrorist acts or investigations when they’re engaged in them, because those words do carry resource allocation consequences for the way that the federal government will now investigate the case.
HARI SREENIVASAN: George Selim, what are the gaps in resources that you saw and what still need to be filled?
GEORGE SELIM: And so this is really a critical question which boils down to, what is the role of the federal government here? Where does the responsibility of states, localities, municipality, and civil society really begin, and where does the role of the federal government stop?
I think, in the past decade-plus that I have been in public service working on these initiatives, I continued to see an increased both evolution in the programs and policy and increase in the dollars and programs that have gone into domestic efforts to prevent violent extremism of all forms.
Coming into the next fiscal year, we have seen a leveling out, if not a decrease of some of those resources. But on the other hand, we have seen an increase in civil society and in the private sector.
One of the things I would advocate for very vigorously moving forward is, I saw some of the great statements by the mayor of Charlottesville and a number of other mayors and municipal officials across the country who have been very vocal on these issues about the need to protect their communities and enhance and increase the level of community resilience in municipalities around the country.
And that type of work really needs to increase. And it needs to do so on a size and scale that’s 10-fold where it is today.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, George Selim, Vanita Gupta, thank you both.
VANITA GUPTA: Thank you.
The post How should U.S. address white supremacist extremism? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
As customers prepare for next week’s total solar eclipse, Amazon has issued a recall for some of the eclipse glasses sold on its internet marketplace, saying it was unable to confirm whether the protective ware was made by a recommended manufacturer.
Eclipse glasses made under these standards block 100,000 times more light than ordinary sunglasses. Even brief, unprotected glimpses of the sun can cause blurry vision or blindness. The American Astronomical Society has spotted counterfeit eclipse glasses on Amazon in the past.
Amazon began emailing customers about the safety recall on Saturday. The internet retailer decided to double-check the suppliers “out of an abundance of caution,” an Amazon spokesperson wrote in a statement to NewsHour. The company has not released the scale of the recall or a public list of offending vendors, but says it has offered refunds to customers who purchased the affected glasses.
“Viewing the sun or an eclipse using any other glasses or filters could result in loss of vision or permanent blindness,” Amazon wrote in its email to impacted customers. “Amazon has not received confirmation from the supplier of your order that they sourced the item from a recommended manufacturer. We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse.”
Yet the company’s spokesperson told NewsHour they weren’t listing specific brands or products “because there may be legitimate versions under the same name.”
Customers with concerns should keep a close watch on their inboxes, as Amazon only sent emails to people who bought unvalidated glasses. Those who did not receive an email should be safe and clear to use their glasses, the company said.
But Amazon’s sudden decision pull these eclipse glasses has left some suppliers in the dark. Manish Panjwani, who runs the astronomy product supplier AgenaAstro, told KGW that Amazon pulled his eclipse glasses even though he provided documentation confirming the authenticity of their manufacturers. Panjwani worries his customers may now look elsewhere and potentially fall prey to scams.
“People have some of the best glasses in the world in their hands right now and they don’t believe in that product,” he told KGW. “They’re out there looking for something inferior.”
The post Amazon recalls potentially hazardous solar eclipse glasses appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: The U.S. has issued a new warning amid the rising tensions with North Korea. Secretary of Defense James Mattis says the U.S. will — quote — “take out” any missile the North fires towards the U.S. territory of Guam. And Mattis said a North Korean strike on U.S. could lead to war, that as the top American military officer was in South Korea.
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford said diplomacy remains the priority.
GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff : It would be a horrible thing were war to be conducted here on the peninsula, and that is why we are so focused on coming up with a peaceful way ahead that denuclearizes the peninsula.
Nobody is looking for war. Our job is to make sure that our leadership, both the South Korean leadership and the U.S. leadership, have viable military options in the event that deterrence fails, and that is what we are going to deliver.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, China’s Commerce Ministry has ordered a ban on imports of coal, iron ore, lead and seafood from North Korea. It’s part of the implementation of new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang.
We will have more on the North Korea situation later in the program.
President Trump has asked his trade office to look into China’s alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property. It comes as the U.S. seeks Beijing’s help on North Korea. But an administration official said the move was unrelated. Mr. Trump signed an executive action on a possible probe. During a White House ceremony, he said the it was just the beginning.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It’s my duty and responsibility to protect the American workers, technology and industry from unfair and abusive actions. We will stand up to any country that unlawfully forces American companies to transfer their valuable technology as a condition of market access.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called on the U.S. to avoid sparking a trade war, which she said would have — quote — “no winners.”
At least 250 people are dead after a massive mudslide in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Heavy rains sparked the deadly torrent, which swept through the outskirts of the capital, Freetown. Amateur video captured the surging waters as they rushed through city streets. Officials warn the death toll will likely rise as the flooding recedes.
In Burkina Faso, suspected Islamist militants killed at least 18 people in an attack on a restaurant. It happened in the country’s capital and officials said several foreigners were among the dead. Cell phone video showed an exchange of heavy gunfire between the security forces and the two attackers, who were killed.
Vice President Mike Pence address the crisis in Venezuela, just days after President Trump said military action there is an option. Pence was visiting Colombia, whose leader said yesterday military intervention shouldn’t even be considered. In Cartagena, Pence met with people who’ve fled the Venezuela unrest. He said the U.S. would use all its economic and diplomatic power to restore democracy.
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: We will not stand by while Venezuela collapses into dictatorship. We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles. But it’s important to note, as the president said, that a failed state in Venezuela threatens the security and prosperity of our entire hemisphere and the people of the United States of America.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Venezuela, thousands of government supporters took to the streets of Caracas to denounce President Trump’s talk of a military option. Embattled President Nicolas Maduro joined the crowd and called Mr. Trump an emperor.
Back in this country, California is suing the federal government over a threat to withhold public safety money from so-called sanctuary cities. California is the first state to enter the legal fray over the policy, joining at least seven cities and counties.
In San Francisco, the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said the government is unfairly targeting local law enforcement.
XAVIER BECERRA, California Attorney General: It is hard to believe now that the federal government would try to jeopardize those crime-fighting funds simply because it wishes to pressure local governments to do their bidding on federal immigration law.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Becerra said California’s lawsuit will be coordinated with the suit filed last week by the city of San Francisco.
On Wall Street today, technology companies and banks helped stocks regain some of the ground they lost last week. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 135 points to close at 21993. The Nasdaq rose 83 points. And the S&P 500 added 24.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: We begin tonight with continuing coverage of the attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
On Saturday, President Trump drew criticism from the left and right alike when he didn’t name neo-Nazi groups for inciting the attacks. He instead denounced violence — quote — “on many sides.”
Today, he was more specific.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: 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.
We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal.
Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The fallout from the weekend’s violence continued to reverberate around the country today. In Charlottesville, the driver of the suspected vehicle that rammed into a crowd of people appeared in court via video link.
And Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this morning the vehicle attack meets the legal definition of domestic terrorism.
NewsHour producer P.J. Tobia was in Charlottesville over the weekend, and begins our coverage tonight.
P.J. TOBIA: Protests continued across the country today in Tennessee in response to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the weekend, and in solidarity with those killed and injured.
MAN: We are here today to send a message to our white brothers and sisters that white supremacy hurts you too.
P.J. TOBIA: Back in Charlottesville, fallout from the rally continued. In the district court there, a judge ordered 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. held without bond on second-degree murder charges. He’s accused of ramming his car into a crowd of demonstrators who came out against the white nationalist rally to denounce a Charlottesville city decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The rally included members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and others. Those who knew him in high school say he professed enthusiasm for Nazi ideology.
Thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer of Charlottesville was killed in the attack. Nineteen others were injured.
Her mother spoke outside her home today.
SUSAN BRO, Mother of Victim: I am extremely proud of my daughter. I am extremely proud that she stood for what she believed in, that she not only gave mouth to it, but she gave heart to it, she gave her soul to it, and now she’s given her life to it.
P.J. TOBIA: Separately, two Virginia state police officers were also killed, when their helicopter, which had been monitoring the protests, crashed.
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE, D-Va.: Those state troopers were with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Berke Bates was part of our family. And it was tough yesterday, after I left here to drive to the Bates home and to see a man in those two beautiful children whose dad is not coming home ever again.
P.J. TOBIA: Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer called out the rally’s organizers.
MAYOR MICHAEL SIGNER, Charlottesville, Virginia: There’s a lot of bluster in the alt-right. There’s a lot violence in the alt-right. There’s a lot of hate.
P.J. TOBIA: Signer rejected criticism that the police response was inadequate.
MAYOR MICHAEL SIGNER: There were almost 1,000 law enforcement officers on the ground for an operation in a city of 50,000 people. We had descended upon us thousands of people for the initial event. Thank God it wasn’t worse. No shots were fired. No other lives were lost. No property was damaged.
P.J. TOBIA: White nationalist Matthew Heimbach, who leads a small group based in Indiana, helped organize the protest and showed up at the Charlottesville courthouse today. When we spoke yesterday, he called the rally a success and says the white nationalist movement is stronger than ever.
MATTHEW HEIMBACH, Nationalist Front: If the nationalist community can come together, stand together and fight together, that we are going to be unstoppable, that our rise, even just going back since I have been involved in this movement, it used to be a rally of 50 guys was very successful. Now we’re rallying 1,000, 1, 500 people in the streets. Our movement is growing.
P.J. TOBIA: Heimbach took zero responsibility for an event that led to death and injury.
Someone died yesterday because of your rally. In the rally you helped organize, someone’s dead because of that. How do you feel about that? And do you feel at all responsible?
MATTHEW HEIMBACH: Not at all. There would have been no violence whatsoever yesterday if the police had simply done their job and given the leftist protesters their own space to protest, which is their right, and we’d been allowed to hold our rally. The left are the ones that were attacking us.
P.J. TOBIA: Another group that drew people from around the country for the weekend’s rally, armed right-wing militias known as the Oath Keepers and 3 Percenters.
They don’t share all the beliefs of white nationalist groups calling for racial separations, but do hold some extremist views. The group’s leadership said they were there to protect everyone’s First Amendment rights. At least one militia group ended up needing protection themselves.
Earlier this year, NewsHour went inside one of these groups, the Georgia Security Force, a local 3 Percent militia.
Chris Hill is their leader.
CHRIS “BLOOD ANGEL” HILL, Georgia Security Force: I think what the government gives, the government can take away. If they’re providing the security for us, they can take it away.
P.J. TOBIA: After this weekend, at least one militia group said it would no longer encourage participants to show up at white nationalist rallies.
This morning, the FBI announced that it had arrested an Oklahoma man in a sting operation on charges that he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb in Oklahoma City on Saturday; 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell told an undercover agent he believed in the 3 Percent militia ideology, and was inspired by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Meanwhile, other cities around the country are considering removing their Confederate statues, and white nationalists say they will continue to stage large protests to prevent their removal — Hari.
HARI SREENIVASAN: P.J., you and our producer Mark Scialla were both there over the weekend. Both sides, the left and the right that were there, say that this is a turning point. So, how is that the case?
P.J. TOBIA: Well, the right-wing right nationalists say it’s a turning point because they managed to pull off what was in their view a successful rally, even though the planned speeches that they had and the actual event formally really never took place.
They were able to create all of this chaos in Charlottesville. They were able to get their agenda pushed to the front page of newspapers, and television news programs. They were enter the city, protest, march around with their signs and wave their shields and get a lot of coverage for their message.
And they weren’t — none of them were injured. None of them were really hurt in any way. They feel like they got their message out and it was a success.
So, it was a turning point for them, in that they feel like they really know how to do this now. They can organize, get into a city, and get out and get headlines.
For the left, they feel like they’re the ones who actually won the day because the white nationalists weren’t able to carry out their formal program. They got pushed out of Lee Park, as Mark and I saw. They were rallied sort of from the area of battle, if you will, and then they were having a victory march when that terrible, tragic murder by automobile took place.
And so both sides feel they can claim victory and both sides will almost certainly become more calcified in their beliefs and a little more outrageous in their rhetoric.
HARI SREENIVASAN: How are these people different than the racists that used to march on cities years ago?
P.J. TOBIA: In many ways, they’re not.
They’re young men, many more affluent than in previous generations, but real — the real difference now is that they have harnessed the power of social media, so that they’re able to organize much more quickly, put together sort of lightning strikes of grouping to get together in a place.
They can also get their message out to a much broader audience, people who would never have engaged with white nationalists. Previously, if you wanted to hear these kind of messages, you had to go to some sort of weird bookstore downtown where they sold foreign magazines, whereas now, on Twitter, bots can be used to flood any Twitter stream with their messages of hate.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Well, Mark, let’s a little bit talk about the presence of the Antifa, the sort of increased presence of folks who are more aggressive in wanting to push back here than the predominantly peaceful counterprotesters that were there.
MARK SCIALLA: Sure.
So, Hari, Antifa has been around at least since the ’80s. Antifa is short for anti-fascists. And they have really got — they have come to prominence recently in the national conversation because they have been the ones who have been at the forefront of these alt-right rallies.
And their message is basically that toy way to confront these groups is by getting in their faces, is by showing up in force and not allowing them to have or hold public space, because if you really carry out the rhetoric of white supremacist logic to its end, it’s genocide. And they don’t think that it’s acceptable to allow them to organize.
HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, Mark Scialla, P.J. Tobia, thanks for your reporting this weekend.
MARK SCIALLA: Thanks, Hari.
HARI SREENIVASAN: We will take a closer look at the issues coming out of Charlottesville, including the connection between Civil War statues and the current protest movements, and we will discuss the swell of reaction to President Trump in our Politics Monday segment later in the program.
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PHOENIX — President Donald Trump says he may grant a pardon to former Sheriff Joe Arpaio following his recent conviction in federal court, prompting outrage among critics who say the move would amount to an endorsement of racism.
The report was welcome news for the former Phoenix-area sheriff, who lost a re-election bid in November and who was convicted of misdemeanor contempt of court on July 31. But it angered immigrant rights activists and others who say it amounts to support for racism on the same day that Trump disavowed white nationalists whose rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent this weekend, leaving one woman dead.
A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Arpaio’s officers racially profiled Latinos. But the sheriff refused to stop his immigration patrols, eventually leading to the criminal contempt of court case that he’s embroiled in. it also contributed to his failed re-election bid last year.
Arpaio said Monday that he learned of the president’s comments in the morning and was glad he stood by him.
“I didn’t ask for it, but if he’s going to offer, I will accept, because I’m not guilty. So appreciate his interest in my matter here in Phoenix,” Arpaio said.
Mark Goldman, his attorney, said he was filing two motions on Monday afternoon for a judgment of acquittal and to vacate the verdict for a new trial. The motions are not appeals.
“We’re filing these motions because there was absolutely no evidence in support of the judge’s verdict, the verdict was contrary to the evidence provided in court, and the verdict is a gross miscarriage of justice,” Goldman said.
Trump on Sunday called Arpaio “a great American patriot” and said he hates to see what has happened to him, according to the Fox News report.
On Monday, the president condemned hate groups and said racism is evil in a statement that was much more forceful than he’d made earlier after the weekend clashes in Virginia that left one woman dead after a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters who opposed a rally by white nationalists. The white nationalists were protesting a plan to remove a statute of Confederate Gen Robert E. Lee from a Charlottesville park.
“Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America,” he said.
Cecillia Wang, deputy legal director for the ACLU, criticized the idea that Trump could pardon Arpaio, saying the former sheriff had violated court orders that prohibited illegal detention of Latinos.
“Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism,” Wang said.
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— Derrick Lewis (@DerrickQLewis) August 14, 2017
A group of protesters in Durham, North Carolina, toppled a Confederate monument Monday night.
The Confederate Soldiers Monument, a granite and bronze statue dedicated in 1924, was pulled off its stone pedestal during a protest near the city courthouse Monday, a response to a weekend car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, that followed a white nationalist rally protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a local park. That attack killed one woman and injured 19 others.
Before and after pictures of the confederate monument outside the old Durham County courthouse. pic.twitter.com/6fZdBShCnr
— Derrick Lewis (@DerrickQLewis) August 15, 2017
According to WRAL: “A man used a ladder to reach the top of statue, which had been sprayed with cooking spray by authorities to make it more difficult to climb, and it was pulled down with a rope.”
The inscription on the statue said it was erected “In Memory Of The Boys Who Wore The Gray.”
Footage of the incident showed protesters spitting and kicking at the statue after it fell. Shouts of “No KKK! No fascists! USA” are heard in videos posted to Twitter. Protesters then marched to the police department nearby, WRAL reported.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper responded to the incident on Twitter: “The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments.”
The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments #durham – RC
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) August 15, 2017
In 2016, a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center documented more than 700 Confederate statues and monuments across the country. North Carolina has 90 of those monuments. In all, the analysis said, North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia have more than a third of the remaining Confederate symbols in the nation.
These statues are found primarily in the former states of the Confederacy, but historian and author Edward Ayers told the NewsHour that there wasn’t a widespread effort to memorialize Confederate soldiers until decades after the Civil War. This is partly because the period between the 1890s and World War I was when Confederate veterans were dying.
“And their daughters, United Daughters of the Confederacy, took main responsibility for making sure that they were not forgotten,” Ayers said. “They raised money in small towns and large cities all across the South to put up these memorials to the Confederate soldiers.”
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TRENTON, N.J. — The CEOs of athletic wear manufacturer Under Armour and pharmaceutical company Merck resigned Monday from the White House’s American Manufacturing Council — with the Merck withdrawal drawing a quick and angry Twitter outburst from President Donald Trump.
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier cited the president’s failure to explicitly rebuke the white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. He wrote on Twitter Monday that “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which runs counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”
Frazier is one of the few African-Americans to head a Fortune 500 company.
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank resigned from the panel later Monday, saying his company “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.” Plank did not specifically mention Trump or Charlottesville, but said his company will focus on promoting “unity, diversity and inclusion” through sports.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich also announced his resignation in a blog post.
“I have already made clear my abhorrence at the recent hate-spawned violence in Charlottesville, and earlier today I called on all leaders to condemn the white supremacists and their ilk who marched and committed violence,” he wrote. “I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them. We should honor – not attack – those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does.”
Trump was under increasing pressure to call out the white supremacist groups involved in the Charlottesville demonstration. He lashed out almost immediately at Frazier, saying on Twitter that he will now “have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
The president followed up later in the day, tweeting that Merck “is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”
Drugmakers have come under withering criticism for soaring prices in the U.S., including by Trump, though he has yet to act on a promise to contain them.
With the barbs, Trump appeared to attack an industry executive who has tried to make drug pricing somewhat more transparent by revealing his company’s overall drug price changes.
In January, Merck reported that its average net prices — the amount the company receives after discounts and other rebates — increased in the years since 2010 in a range between 3.4 percent and 6.2 percent per year. That’s about half as large as the increase in its retail prices. Much of the furor over drug prices recently has been over increases that have been far bigger and come one after another for drugs that have been on the market for years.
The exchange lit up social media early Monday, with many people lauding Frazier and blasting the president. Trump eventually made a statement condemning bigotry Monday afternoon at a press conference.
Meanwhile, other executives stated their support for Frazier.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman wrote on Twitter, “Thanks @Merck Ken Frazier for strong leadership to stand up for the moral values that made this country what it is.”
Frazier, who grew up in a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia, resigned from the manufacturing advisory council days after one person was killed and others wounded in violent clashes between white supremacists and protesters.
Frazier and his siblings were raised by their janitor father after their mother died when they were very young. He has earned a reputation as a risk taker in the drug industry, pouring money into daunting research areas, particularly trying to develop a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Frazier is not the first executive to resign from advisory councils serving Trump.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the manufacturing council in June, and two other advisory groups to the president, after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and CEO Bob Iger resigned for the same reason from the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, which Trump established to advise him on how government policy impacts economic growth and job creation.
The manufacturing jobs council had 28 members initially, but it has shrunk since it was formed earlier this year as executives retire, are replaced, or, as with Frazier and Musk, resign.
William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said he couldn’t “think of a parallel example” of any president responding as viciously as Trump to a CEO departing an advisory council.
“Usually, certain niceties are observed to smooth over a rupture,” said Galston, who served as a domestic policy aide in the Clinton administration.
“We’ve learned that as president, Mr. Trump is behaving exactly as he did as a candidate,” Galston said. “He knows only one mode: When attacked, hit back harder.”
AP Economics Writer Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this story.
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NEW YORK — President Donald Trump is back in the New York skyscraper that bears his name as the furor over his reaction to race-fueled clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend shows few signs of dying down.
Protesters on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue tried to spoil Trump’s homecoming Monday night with signs bearing messages like “stop the hate, stop the lies” and chanting “shame, shame, shame” and “not my president!”
After two days of public equivocation and internal White House debate, the president condemned white supremacist groups by name on Monday, declaring “racism is evil”.
In a hastily arranged statement at the White House, Trump branded members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who take part in violence as “criminals and thugs.”
The groups are “repugnant to everything that we hold dear as Americans,” he said.
The move didn’t quiet the uproar, however. The leaders of four minority House caucus groups wrote a letter to Trump calling for the removal of White House staff aides Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.
The heads of the black, Hispanic, Asian and progressive caucuses are calling in the letter for the firings of the Trump administration officials in the wake of a violent, racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The letter asserts their continuing presence in the White House is emboldening a resurgent white supremacist movement in America.
This came a day after Anthony Scaramucci, who was fired as White House communications director after a less than two-week stay, called for Bannon’s ouster.
In his initial remarks on the violence Saturday, Trump did not single out the groups and instead bemoaned violence on “many sides.” Those remarks prompted stern criticism from fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, who urged him to seize the moral authority of his office to condemn hate groups.
Trump’s softer statement Saturday had come as graphic images of a car plowing into a crowd in Charlottesville were playing continually on television. White nationalists had assembled in the city to protest plans to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and counter-protesters gathered in opposition. Fights broke out, and then a man drove into the opponents of the white supremacists. One woman was killed and many more badly hurt. Twenty-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio is charged with second-degree murder and other counts.
Loath to appear to be admitting a mistake, Trump was reluctant to adjust his remarks.
The president had indicated to advisers before his initial statement Saturday that he wanted to stress a need for law and order, which he did. He later expressed anger to those close to him about what he perceived as the media’s unfair assessment of his remarks, believing he had effectively denounced all forms of bigotry, according to outside advisers and White House officials.
Several of Trump’s senior advisers, including new chief of staff John Kelly, had urged him to make a more specific condemnation, warning that the negative story would not go away and that the rising tide of criticism from fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill could endanger his legislative agenda, according to two White House officials.
The outside advisers and officials demanded anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Aides were dispatched to Sunday talk shows but struggled to explain the president’s position. A stronger statement was released — but attributed only to an unnamed spokesperson.
Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Susan Page of USA Today join John Yang to discuss the week’s news, including President Trump’s reluctant response to the deadly incident white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, plus a new campaign ad for the president and how his base of support is faring and more.
Tougher condemnations began Sunday night with Vice President Mike Pence, traveling in South America, declaring that “these dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life.”
On Monday, Trump had planned to interrupt his 17-day working vacation at his New Jersey golf club to travel to Washington for an announcement he hoped would showcase some tough talk on China’s trade practices.
But by the time he arrived at midmorning, it was clear all other messages would be drowned out until he said more about Charlottesville.
Trump returned to a White House undergoing a major renovation. With the Oval Office unavailable, he worked from the Treaty Room as aides drafted his remarks.
Reading from a teleprompter, he made a point of beginning with an unrelated plug for the strength of the economy under his leadership. Then, taking pains to insist “as I said on Saturday,” Trump denounced the hate groups and called for unity.
“We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence,” he said.
Trump for the first time mentioned Heather Heyer by name as he paid tribute to the woman killed by the car.
At the trade event later in the day, he was asked why it took two days for him to offer an explicit denunciation of the hate groups.
“They have been condemned,” Trump responded before offering a fresh criticism of some media as “fake news.”
He followed with a tweet declaring “the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied.”
Associated Press writers Julie Bykowicz and Jay Reeves contributed reporting.
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