Donald Trump's Campaign Energized Anti-Muslim Hate Groups, SPLC Says

UNITY

The number of hate groups in the United States rose for the second straight year in 2016, with a sharp spike in those spreading anti-Muslim messages, according to a civil rights group.

In its annual census of hate groups and extremist organizations, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said the overall number of hate groups grew from 892 in 2015 to 917 in 2016.

But the number of anti-Muslim groups nearly tripled — from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year.

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Trump Dissolves Business Advisory Councils as CEOs Quit

WINNING

President Donald Trump dissolved two of his business advisory councils Wednesday after a rash of CEOs resigned in the wake of his response to a white nationalist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, that occurred Saturday.

"Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both," Trump tweeted. "Thank you all!

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Trump Unwinds Regulations, but Overshadows Efforts With Controversy

INFRASTRUCTURE

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday designed to speed up construction of infrastructure projects by eliminating portions of the federal permitting process, like an Obama-era mandate aimed at protecting future infrastructure from rising seawaters, and streamlining others.

Holding up a flow chart that he said showed a lengthy highway approval process — which could take 20 years — the president said his order would bring the process down to less than two years.

“This is going to happen quickly. That’s what I’m signing today,” he said, according to a White House transcript.

The news of the executive order was buried quickly when the president provoked widespread controversy with remarks about the violence in Charlottesville that were condemned by lawmakers across the political spectrum and praised by white nationalists.

Fact Checking Trump's Latest Boasts About Jobs, U.S. Economy

WINNING

After President Donald Trump repeated claims of remarkable economic growth at an early August event announcing a new immigration policy, MSNBC's Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle fact checked — and brought some necessary context — to the conversation.

Second-Quarter Economic Growth Now Seen Doubling Pace of First Quarter

WINNING

Economic growth is expected to be double the first quarter's pace when second-quarter GDP data is released Friday morning.

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House GOP Approves $1.6 Billion for Trump’s Wall

IMMIGRATION

The House passed a $788 billion spending bill Thursday that combines a $1.6 billion down payment for President Donald Trump's controversial border wall with Mexico with a whopping budget increase for the Pentagon.

The 235-192 vote both eases a large backlog of unfinished spending bills and gives Trump and his House GOP allies political wins heading into the August recess. Challenging hurdles remain in front of the measure, however, which will meet with more powerful Democratic opposition in the Senate.

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Fmr Ethics Director: Trump Setting Wrong Tone

HONESTY

DHS Chief: U.S. Tested Prototype Bombs Before Implementing New Airplane Electronics Rules

TERRORISM

ASPEN, Colo. — The U.S. government tested two prototype bombs, based on new terrorist technology, to determine that they could take down a passenger jet before implementing new cabin rules on electronic devices, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told NBC News’ Pete Williams Wednesday night

“We tested it on a real airplane on the ground, pressurized, and to say the least, it destroyed the airplane,” Kelly said during the opening session of the Aspen Security Forum.

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Supreme Court Allows Broader Family Exceptions to Trump Travel Ban

IMMIGRATION

The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday cleared the way for a broader list of family exceptions to President Trump's ban on issuing visas to people in six Muslim-majority countries.

The justices declined to put a halt to a ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii who said grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and siblings-in-law must be added to the list of close family members who can still get visas to travel to the U.S. during the 90 days while Trump's executive order is in force.

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Trump Urges Senate to Keep Working on Health Care Bill to Replace Obamacare

HEALTH CARE

SAUL LOEB / AFP - Getty Images

Republican Senators filed onto a bus Wednesday for a short trip to the White House for lunch where they heard President Donald Trump urge them to keep working to both repeal and replace Obamacare after their health care bill collapsed earlier this week.

"I'm ready to act," Trump said at the outset of the lunch, noting that he has his "pen in hand" to sign legislation. "For seven years you promised the American people that you would repeal Obamacare. People are hurting. Inaction is not an option and, frankly, I don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care."

After he spent late Monday night and Tuesday endorsing a plan to just repeal Obamacare and then a plan to just let it fail on its own, Trump emphasized that he is supporting both a repeal and a replacement in the same bill.

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Insurers Fear Latest Chaos Over Health Care

HEALTH CARE

Health insurers expressed concern Tuesday over the uncertainty surrounding Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trump's most recent call to let Obamacare "fail."

"With open enrollment for 2018 only three months away, our members and all Americans need the certainty and security of knowing coverage will be available and affordable for them," said Justine Handelman, senior vice president for policy at Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the nation’s largest insurers.

Insurers’ most immediate worry is the federal cost-sharing subsidies they’ve relied on to help make plans in the ACA’s exchanges more affordable. Trump has dubbed those funds "ransom money" and threatened to withhold them to hasten the collapse of Obamacare.

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NBC News/WSJ Poll: Just 12% in Key Trump Counties Back GOP Health Care Effort

HEALTH CARE

Just 12 percent of Americans living in the counties that fueled Donald Trump's win in the 2016 presidential election support the Republican Party's efforts on health care, according to results from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of these "Trump counties."

Asked their views on the health care legislation passed by the House of Representatives in May and backed by President Trump, 12 percent of the respondents in these counties — consisting of Republicans, Democrats and independents — called the bill a good idea, while 41 percent said it was a bad idea. Forty-seven percent had no opinion or say they’re not sure.

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