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Daily Reads: Heavily Armed White Supremacists Came to Charlottesville Looking for a Fight

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

White Supremacists Came to Charlottesville Looking for a Fight

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Kicking and screaming –> After two days of intense criticism over his refusal to call out white supremacists in Charlottesville, Donald Trump did so, but only after spending a few minutes claiming huge progress on the economy. Olivia Beavers has more at The Hill.

In a story about rumors of White House adviser Steve Bannon’s imminent ouster, Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush report for The New York Times that “Bannon consulted with the president repeatedly over the weekend…. In general, Mr. Bannon has cautioned the president not to criticize far-right activists too severely for fear of antagonizing a small but energetic part of his base.”

While Trump helped fuel a debate over whether “all sides” were responsible for the violence, Buzzfeed’s Blake Montgomery says that on the ground it was fairly clear: “The right-wingers were more prepared for violence,” he writes, arriving “armed like a paramilitary force — carrying shields, protective gear, rods, and yes, lots of guns, utilizing Virginia’s loose firearm laws.”

Ian Millhiser writes at ThinkProgress about how the NRA’s racially tinged rhetoric helped create a situation where police felt they were potentially outgunned by far-right protesters, 80 percent of whom were armed, according to one estimate.

Jana Winter reports for Foreign Policy that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned of the growing threat from white supremacists months ago.

According to the Associated Press, James Fields, the suspect in Saturday’s terror attack, “was previously accused of beating his mother and threatening her with a knife.”

The father of a young man who apparently attended this weekend’s hatefest has publicly disavowed his son’s views, writing at Inforum — the website of The Fargo Forum — that “my son… is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast.”

A half-dozen cities are responding to last weekend’s mayhem by removing Confederate memorials, according to Chris Kenning at Reuters.

Some aren’t waiting for action by city officials. CBS correspondent Derrick Lewis aired this video of demonstrators pulling down a statue in Durham, North Carolina yesterday afternoon.

And while the far-right “free speech rally” scheduled for Saturday in Boston that we mentioned yesterday appears to have been cancelled, Jay Reeves reports for the AP that, “emboldened and proclaiming victory after a bloody weekend in Virginia, white nationalists are planning more demonstrations to promote their agenda.”

Related –> Federal prosecutors charged a 23-year-old Oklahoma man who idolized Timothy McVeigh for plotting to detonate a bomb at a bank in Oklahoma City. More from Crystal Price at local KOCO News.

Under any other president… –> Donald Trump said on Friday that he might use American military might to intervene in Venezuela, which should have been a huge scandal but received only passing coverage. But it was a very big deal in Latin America, reports Nicholas Casey for The New York Times. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “had become a pariah among fellow Latin American leaders,” writes Casey, but Trump’s threat “has united those leaders in a different direction: demanding that the United States keep out of the region’s affairs.”

And at The Week, Gracy Olmstead argues that while Trump’s style of foreign policy rhetoric is unique, the substance of it is really just “Republican orthodoxy.”

A great American patriot –> According to Paige Lavender at HuffPost, Trump is “seriously considering” a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt of court by a federal judge last month.

Steadily expanding the reach of right-wing media –> At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum looks at how the “coziness between Sinclair Media and President Trump’s new head of the FCC” may help the conservative media giant penetrate deeper into the American TV market.

About those economic wins –> Gordon Chang reports for The Daily Beast that on Monday, Trump appeared to “cave” to China on trade with the hope that the Chinese might offer the regime more help dealing with the North Koreans. Chang has more details on what he calls “another White House mistake in its already long history of troubled dealings with Beijing about Pyongyang.”

Speaking of China –> China’s misleadingly nicknamed “Super Vulgar Butcher,” who has been an ardent supporter of human rights and a huge pain in the neck of the Chinese government, went on trial in Tianjin City this week after two years in detention. John Sudworth has more on that for the BBC.

China’s not alone –> We’ve mentioned the group of Inauguration Day protesters who have been charged with felony riot and may face decades in prison. Ken White reports for the conservative site Popelaw that Washington, DC prosecutors are now trying to get a web hosting company to turn over a broad array of data on up to 1.3 million users who visited a site used to organize some of the protest actions.

My name is Kiiiid… –> Kid Rock may challenge Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, but it’s not clear that he can do so as Kid Rock given that Michigan law bars the use of nicknames or pseudonyms in political campaigns. Nathan Gonzalez has that story at Roll Call.

Rare beauty –> According to the BBC, it’s estimated that there are only 100 white moose in Sweden, and this gorgeous creature was caught on tape.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email.