August 15, 2017

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s position in the West Wing is more precarious than it’s ever been, with few allies remaining and a growing roster of attackers. But that doesn’t mean the keeper of Trump’s populist flame will be out of a job. Bannon, the former Breitbart CEO whose economic nationalist ideology helped underpin Trump’s campaign, has clashed with many inside the building who view his politics as too extreme, including Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster. With his own team of populists across the government running outside the traditional chain of command, he has also drawn the focus of new chief of staff John Kelly, who is trying to bring order to a chaotic administration. Yet Trump, who is conflict averse and still likes Bannon, might not be ready to pull the trigger anytime soon. White House officials say it’s more likely that Kelly will try to circumscribe Bannon’s role, which in the past has spanned politics, domestic policy and national security, to a more focused portfolio.

The fallout from Trump’s delayed condemnation of extremism continues, as at least four members of Trump’s manufacturing jobs council have called it quits in recent days. Trump lashed out at the CEOs and the media for noting what most in his own party had stated publicly—that it took him too long to speak out against the KKK, neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups who violently protested in Charlottesville last weekend. In other news, the tweeter-in-chief retweeted an alt-right blogger Tuesday morning, and retweeted and deleted a message calling Trump a “fascist” and another featuring a cartoon of a CNN reporter being run-over by a train.

Trump’s NAFTA problem. White House targets environmental reviews. And Mattis warns North Korea.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

‘Racism Is Evil.’ Trump Condemns White Supremacists Two Days After Charlottesville Violence
Comments followed bipartisan criticism [TIME]

Bannon in Limbo as Trump Faces Growing Calls for the Strategist’s Ouster
Trump’s chief strategist is running out of allies [New York Times]

Trump May Not Get the ‘Win’ He Seeks in NAFTA Talks
He will find out how hard it is to get an agreement that satisfies all sides [Politico]

Three More CEOs Turn Backs on Trump as Merck, Intel Quit Council
Others under fire [Bloomberg]

Trump Campaign Emails Show Aide’s Repeated Efforts to Set Up Russia Meetings
But junior advisor’s efforts were rebuffed [Washington Post]

Executive Order Looms on Curbing Environmental Reviews
Goal is to speed up construction of highways, bridges, pipelines and other infrastructure projects [Wall Street Journal]

Sound Off

“For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” — President Trump in a Tuesday tweet as more members of the council quit

“Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!” — Trump in a Monday tweet.

Bits and Bites

CEOs on Trump’s Council Speak Out. Others Stay Silent on Charlottesville [Fortune]

Trump’s Approval Rating Just Hit a New Low. See How He Stacks Up Against Past Presidents [TIME]

Prosecutors Are Demanding Information On People Who Visited An Inauguration Protest Website [BuzzFeed]

Defense Secretary James Mattis Says North Korean Attack on U.S. Could ‘Escalate Into War’ Quickly [TIME]

Iran could quit nuclear deal in ‘hours’ if new U.S. sanctions imposed: Rouhani [Reuters]

China says US trade probe would violate international rules [Associated Press]

Read President Trump’s Remarks Condemning White Supremacists [TIME]

Furor Over Charlottesville Follows President Trump Home to Trump Tower [Associated Press]

President Trump Just Retweeted a Critic Who Called Him a ‘Facist.’ He Quickly Deleted It [Associated Press]

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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