Week in Review
- President Donald Trump damaged relationships with influential members of the business community, the national security apparatus and the congressional GOP by defending white nationalists involved in the Charlottesville, Va., confrontation which left one woman dead. Republican activists defended the president and attacked lawmakers who spoke out against his remarks.
- Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, departed the White House for good Friday days after undermining the administration’s position on North Korea and disclosing a long-running internal feud with national security and trade officials in an interview with The American Prospect.
- The administration confirmed it would make its August payments to Obamacare insurers, something Trump has repeatedly threatened to withhold in hopes of leveraging Democrats to the negotiating table on a health care overhaul.
- Trump responded to the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, by resurfacing a debunked story about a general dipping bullets in pig blood before executing Muslims during the Phillippine-American War.
- Defense Secretary James Mattis said U.S. officials were moving closer to a decision on future plans for Afghanistan. He also suggested to reporters that the Pentagon may not follow the president’s directive regarding transgender members of the military.
- Trump waded into Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s primary race, praising his opponent, Kelli Ward, and spooking some of his own advisers have been strategizing about how to best impact the race and endanger Flake, a vocal critic of the president.
- Trump’s criticism of another senator, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was largely backed by Republican voters, a new Morning Consult/POLITICO survey showed.
- A Trump campaign staffer sent at least a half-dozen emails attempting to set up meetings with Trump or Trump campaign officials and Russian officials, according to emails.
- Hope Hicks, a longtime aide to President Donald Trump, was named the White House’s interim communications director. A Morning Consult/POLITICO survey showed she is the most unknown high-level staffer at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
- Senior Republicans in Congress are growing increasingly concerned that Trump’s constant controversies – particularly his equivocation over the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va. – will do real damage to the party’s efforts to enact its agenda.
- Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore will face Sen. Luther Strange in a September runoff for the Republican nomination for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat. Moore led Strange 39 percent to 33 percent in Tuesday’s primary.
- Provo Mayor John Curtis secured the Republican nomination in former Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s old House seat. He beat two other Republicans for the nod in the safe Republican district.
- House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated his goal of securing permanent cuts through the GOP’s effort to overhaul the tax code on a party-line vote.
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of Confederate statues from the Capitol, while Ryan said the decision should be left up to the states.