First Read's Morning Clips: The Latest from Charlottesville

Image: A woman places flowers at an informal memorial to 32-year-old Heather Heyer
A woman places flowers on Aug. 13, 2017 at an informal memorial to 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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TRUMP AGENDA: The latest news out of Charlottesville

From the Washington Post: “A man accused of plowing a car into a crowd of activists here — killing one person and injuring 19 — long sympathized with Nazi views and had stood with a group of white supremacists hours before Saturday’s bloody crash. The alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old who traveled to Virginia from Ohio, had espoused extremist ideals at least since high school, according to Derek Weimer, a history teacher.”

The AP sums up criticism of Donald Trump’s response to the deadly violence.

“The development of Trump’s statement Saturday afternoon offered a revealing window into how the White House works in such situations, according to two people familiar with the response,” writes the Washington Post. “They said that when Trump was first briefed on Charlottesville, he was told that various groups had entered the city and were protesting even though the white supremacists and neo-Nazis organized the rally and others were there to protest against them. That context — that many groups were involved in violence and not just white nationalists — quickly colored his thinking and prompted him to comment to others in broad terms about the crisis, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations with White House officials.”

POLITICO notes the number of Republicans who stood up to Trump over his comments about Charlottesville.

Jeff Sessions said on TODAY that Trump “made a very strong statement that directly contradicted the ideology of hatred and violence.” (He also said that the president “has a right to scold his cabinet members if he’s not happy with them.”)

This was remarkable, on Sunday’s Meet the Press: Asked if he can work with Steve Bannon in the White House, H.R. McMaster would only say this: “I am ready to work with anybody who will help advance the president's agenda and advance the security, prosperity of the American people.”

Mike Pence is taking issue with “the fact that many in the media are spending more time criticizing how the president addressed the issue yesterday."

NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor and Daniella Silva look at how Charlottesville is taking stock of itself after the deadly attack.

The New York Times reports that white nationalist groups are claiming victory. “Yet it is by no means clear what the demonstrations mean for the future of this movement and what, if any, lasting effect they will have. Will the overt displays of racism return the extreme right-wing to the margins of politics, or will they serve to normalize the movement, allowing it to weave itself deeper into the national conversation?”

Charlottesville’s mayor is becoming one of Trump’s strongest critics, the Washington Post reports.

POLITICO: “Inside President Donald Trump’s White House, no one seems to be looking forward to September. Senior officials have described the coming month as "brutal," “bad” or “really tough” because of the confluence of complicated issues — but they also say it’s pivotal to getting the presidency back on course.”

The AP notes how critics of Rex Tillerson are questioning whether he has what it takes.

From the New York Times: “North Korea’s success in testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that appears able to reach the United States was made possible by black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines probably from a Ukrainian factory with historical ties to Russia’s missile program, according to an expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.”

And don’t miss this from over the weekend: “In a sign that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election will remain a continuing distraction for the White House, the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is in talks with the West Wing about interviewing current and former senior administration officials, including the recently ousted White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, according to three people briefed on the discussions.”

OFF TO THE RACES: One day until Alabama’s GOP Senate primary

AL-SEN: The Alabama Senate race gets the NYT treatment: “Senator Luther Strange of Alabama wields an endorsement from the president of the United States, is the beneficiary of a multimillion-dollar campaign from allies of Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and has the backing of influential conservative interest groups like the National Rifle Association. But Mr. Strange is wheezing into Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary here. He is grasping to secure a second-place finish and a slot in a September runoff with Roy S. Moore, the twice-deposed former State Supreme Court justice and evangelical-voter favorite who is expected to be the top vote-getter but may fall short of the majority needed to win outright. Mr. Strange is in a political vise, pinched by his links to a pair of Republicans, one local and one national, held in low esteem by many in the party here: the disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley, who appointed Mr. Strange, and Mr. McConnell.”

And in the Washington Post: “For Republicans, the Alabama contest is a snapshot of the party’s churning base at this moment in the Trump presidency. In a deep-red state, the dominant squabbles are not over ideological purity — that GOP test of old — but over loyalty to Trump and over who has the most visceral connection with his core voters.”

Al.com looks at what a Strange loss would mean — and what kind of preview it could offer in advance of the midterms.

James Dobson endorsed Roy Moore.

VA-GOV: Here’s Ed Gillespie’s statement on the events in Charlottesville: “"Having a right to spew vile hate does not make it right. It is painful to see these ugly events in Charlottesville last night and today. These displays have no place in our Commonwealth, and the mentality on display is rejected by the decent, thoughtful and compassionate fellow Virginians I see every day. I know we all appreciate the law enforcement officials maintaining order and protecting public safety there."

And here’s Ralph Northam: “To the white supremacists who terrorized Charlottesville this weekend: Go home and don’t come back.”

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