Trump Without Bannon: The Emptiness at the Center–Amy Wilentz on What Jared Wants

Jon Wiener: We heard for months about the hostility between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. Now Jared has won the battle. But why was this battle being fought, in the first place?
Amy Wilentz: There’s an emptiness at the center of Donald Trump.  He doesn’t like policy, doesn’t want to read about policy, doesn’t want to think about policy. What he does is take advice. If you have then two warring factions who disagree on policy and also disagree on final goals, you’re going to have huge problems.
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It Was 50 Years Ago Today: Abbie Hoffman Threw Money at the New York Stock Exchange

On August 24, 1967, fifty years ago today, Abbie Hoffman and a group of friends invaded the heart of American capitalism, the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. They threw money from the visitors’ gallery onto the floor, and the brokers and traders there leapt into the air to grab the dollar bills floating down. Trading was interrupted, briefly. News coverage was massive. . . .
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Why Steve Bannon Calls White Supremacists ‘Clowns’ and ‘Losers’

In Steve Bannon’s now-famous call to Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect the day before he was fired, Bannon described the white supremacists who had marched in Charlottesville as “losers” and “a collection of clowns.” Of course, those are the same sorts of people Bannon mobilized to vote for Trump, the most loyal part of his base. I asked Joshua Green about that . . .
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White Nationalists, Neo-Confederates, and Donald Trump: Q&A with Eric Foner

JW: The Confederate statue that was ostensibly the focus of the events in Charlottesville was of Robert E. Lee, who surrendered at Appomattox in 1865. What can you tell us about this statue?
Eric Foner: The key thing to remember about this statue, and most of these statues, is that they have very little to do with the Civil War. This statute was erected in 1924, almost 70 years after the end of the Civil War. It was erected at height of Jim Crow, the height of the era of segregation, disenfranchisement, and lynching.
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Frank Rich: Wallowing in Watergate–Will the Trump Presidency End Like Nixon’s?

“Wallowing in Watergate” is a phrase that Nixon used after two months of brutal Senate Watergate hearings in July, 1973—the “what did he know and when did he know it” part of Watergate. With his typical faux-piety, Nixon said, “Let others wallow in Watergate, we are going to do our job.” That’s the sort of thing we’ve heard other presidents say when they’re under attack for scandal, including the current one.
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 Al Franken: Is Jeff Sessions a Lying Little Weasel?

Questions for Al Franken, and answers, about Trump voters, Bernie voters, and Russians.  Our Q&A for “Start Making Sense,” The Nation’s weekly podcast, edited and condensed for print.  His new book is Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.
(His answer to the question, “Is Jeff Sessions a Lying Little Weasel?”: “That’s not how I would characterize the attorney general of the United States.”

Amy Wilentz: Does Jared Kushner Know Anything About the Countries He’s Supposed to Be Doing Diplomacy With?

Q.  Jared Kushner, the most trusted man in the Trump White House, has been on page one of the Los Angeles Times recently. One story was headlined, “Nations feel cut off from the Trump White House.” What was that about?
Amy Wilentz: Trump has a problem, especially at the State Department: He has not made appointments or filled ambassadorships throughout the world. So foreign ministries don’t know how to communicate. They’re used to dealing with the desk and the ambassador from the United States, who know about their area or their specific country, and that doesn’t exist right now. So they’re calling Jared. It’s kind of frightening, because he doesn’t really know anything about these places.
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