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President Trump Returns to Form

Aug 23, 2017

President Trump's 77-minute grievance-fest in Phoenix Tuesday night was an about-face from the sober tone he struck to discuss his Afghanistan strategy the night before. Attacking the press, Arizona's Republican senators, and Democrats, Trump’s stem-winding performance was hardly designed to win over the majority of Americans dissatisfied with his job performance or his incendiary comments on this month’s Charlottesville clashes. With his legislative agenda stalled, the prospect of a government shutdown rising and scandals of his own creation dominating headlines, Trump sought to rally his core base of supporters. Trump's frustration with his critics was obvious, as he accused the media of fomenting the rise of extremist groups in the country. He defended his comments after Charlottesville, which were widely panned by Republicans and led to the dissolution of several councils of CEOs and outside advisors in protest, saying, “The words were perfect.” He also teased a forthcoming pardon for disgraced former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court in a long-running racial profiling case. Taken together, it was peak Donald Trump. Monday night was the exception, Tuesday night was the rule.

A look at Trump's foreign policy doctrine. Tensions between McConnell and Trump rise at a critical moment. And Steve Mnuchin's wife apologizes.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

President Trump Goes on the Attack, Again
Even his only party wasn't safe, as Trump sought to rally his base [TIME]

Trump Sticks It to GOP
At a time of rising tensions with his own party, the president makes it clear in a thundering Phoenix speech that he's not ready to make nice with fellow Republicans [Politico]

McConnell, in Private, Doubts if Trump Can Save Presidency
A political cold war [New York Times]

Military Leaders Consolidate Power in Trump Administration
Generals are the rising stars [Washington Post]

New Afghanistan Plan Could Offer Clues to ‘Trump Doctrine’
Never tip your hand to the enemy [Associated Press]

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Sound Off

“I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy, but Sheriff Joe can feel good.” — President Trump teasing a pardon for disgraced former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

“They’re trying to take our culture. They’re trying to take our history.” — Trump in Phoenix defending monuments of slave-owners

Bits and Bites

Emails: Breitbart editor pledges to do 'dirty work' for Bannon, smears Ivanka [CNN]

The U.S. Imposes Secondary Sanctions on Chinese and Russian Firms Over North Korea [TIME]

McMaster adds muscle to Kushner’s Middle East peace effort [Politico]

Trump, McConnell haven't spoken since angry phone call, sources say [CNN]

President Trump Teases He'll Still Pardon Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio [Associated Press]

‘My Skin Crawled.’ Hillary Clinton Describes Tense Moment During Debate With Donald Trump [TIME]

President Trump Ranted For 77 Minutes in Phoenix. Here’s What He Said [TIME]

Police Fire Pepper Spray as Protests at Trump's Rally in Phoenix Turn Unruly [Associated Press]

Louise Linton Apologizes for 'Inappropriate and Highly Insensitive' Instagram Exchange [TIME]

Secret Service agrees to stop erasing White House visitor log data [Politico]

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