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    Lindsey Graham

    "Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world," said Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina on Wednesday.

    That statement says it all — but not in the way Graham intended.

    Many Republicans have a big problem with white supremacists. They are controversial within the party!

    Quite a few Republican officials are very upset about the president's statement that some of the torch-bearing marchers who chanted "Jews will not replace us" last Friday in Charlottesville, Virginia, are "very fine people." They really wish he would stop saying things like that.

    Yes, the party has a pro-Nazi wing, which seems to include the president, and that's distressing, but Graham would like you to also remember there is a large anti-Nazi wing that shares your severe distress about the pro-Nazi wing!

    If Lindsey Graham is so bothered, he should follow the business council CEOs out the door

    I feel Sen. Graham's pain. I used to be a Republican, too. I did not enjoy watching the party become more and more embarrassing, and I did not enjoy watching the officials I liked repeatedly lose intraparty battles.

    I think Graham's reaction is sincere, and his anguish about where Trump has taken his party is real. I swear my point in this column is not to make fun of him.

    But the thing is, Sen. Graham's side lost the intraparty fight over whether white supremacists are OK, it lost for a reason, and it's not going to wrest power back.

    Trump's business executive councils imploded because corporate CEOs realized it was ethically untenable to be associated with the president. Doesn't this apply even more to elected Republican officials, who are now members of a party whose leader wishes to associate them with at least some fraction of white-power marchers?

    Any step Graham takes to solidify the grip of the Republican Party in Washington is now a step to strengthen the pro-white supremacist leadership in the White House.

    If Republicans like Graham hate what Trump has done to the Republican Party, and they want to show they find it untenable to be associated with white supremacists, their only ethical option is to exit the party.

    The Trumpist right will not be going back in its box

    What you hear in Graham's voice is a desire to return to the status quo ante, with white-grievance politics perhaps as a strategic sidebar for the Republican Party but not as its core ideological thrust, and with people like Trump serving as politically useful pot-stirrers rather than powerful officials.

    But why would the Trumpists agree to go back to that world, and what would a post-Trump, post-Bannon GOP even stand for?

    Trump has taught the Republican Party a few unfortunate things. He showed that the penalty for overt racism, not to mention for admissions of habitual sexual assault, is a lot lower among the entire electorate than it is among cultural and business elites. (I say "entire" for a reason: Trump seems to have done no worse among black or Hispanic voters than Romney did.)

    Trump showed the 2013 GOP autopsy report was wrong and that the party did not need to move to the center on immigration and inclusion to win elections. In fact, it could win by shifting in a nativist direction and winning even more support among white voters.

    Trump popularized Steve Bannon's realization that there are a lot of angry men out there, stewing on the internet, often in their parents' basements, angry that women won't have sex with them, and waiting to be organized. Now that they exist as a force within the party, they won't be going away — and they won't be agitating for a Graham or a Romney.

    And Trump showed the crew of Pepe-avatar morons and hang-Hillary hotheads that they could take over the party if they wanted.

    If Graham wants to stay a Republican senator, he's going to have to work with, for, and under these people. And this isn't just something that happened — it's the fault of establishment Republicans like Graham.

    Trump took power partly because a lot of Republican voters wanted someone exactly like him, and partly because the Republican Party's incumbent leadership had no appealing (or even coherent) alternative to offer those voters.

    Let's start by blaming George W. Bush

    If the post-Bush GOP has often seemed to lack real policy ideas, a lot of the blame for that lies with George W. Bush, whose presidency was built on three big policy ideas that blew up in the party's face.

    The first idea was the "ownership society": That the path to middle-class prosperity was a smaller government and more ownership of capital by ordinary people. In theory, Bush wanted people to rely more on private investment accounts for retirement, but the main way the ownership society manifested during his presidency was that people borrowed against home equity values they thought would keep rising rapidly forever.

    This all ended very badly and nobody talks about the "ownership society" anymore.

    The second idea was foreign interventionism and democracy promotion. Unlike the dark and angry militarism of Trump, this was a bright and hopeful militarism that sought to use wars to remake the world in our democratic image. This idea has come into severe disrepute, for obvious reasons.

    The third idea was a social conservatism built around traditional Christian morality, in particular opposition to gay marriage. Gay-marriage ballot measures were an effective strategy for organizing evangelical Christian voters and bringing them to the polls in 2004.

    But public opinion has strongly shifted on this issue, and Republicans barely talk about gay marriage anymore. Trump found a new way to rally white Evangelicals that focuses less on the Evangelical aspect and more on the white aspect.

    The post-Bush Republican Party was ripe for takeover by a demagogue like Trump

    After Bush skulked out of office, there were three kinds of Republicans left. There were Republicans like Sen. Graham with big, unpopular ideas, like waging more Iraq-style wars of intervention. There were Republicans with no real ideas besides opposing Barack Obama.

    And then there was Trump, with novel ideas like turning the party much more explicitly toward a politics of white grievance and openly embracing white nationalists.

    Trump had ideas about how he'd make middle-income people's lives better: trade and immigration restriction to protect them from competing with foreigners; aggressive policing to stop a supposed wave of crime and violence; "huge tax cuts" without cuts to entitlement programs; and a restoration of white people's concerns to the center of American politics.

    Trump's opponents protested these ideas were specious, and offensive, and unconservative to boot. But what did they have to offer? Warmed-over Bushism, minus its most toxic bits; plus opposition to Obama that was slightly less caustic than Trump's; plus a lot fewer appeals to white identity.

    Trump won because the offerings of his opponents were truly pathetic. Today, his intraparty opponents remain pathetic. Where is their alternative vision?

    Say what you want about the tenets of the so-called alt-right. At least it's an ethos.

    All that united the post-Bush GOP was rage at Barack Obama

    The failure of the healthcare-repeal bill is more closely related to the party's newly overt alignment with white nationalists than you might think. The link is this: If not white nationalism, what is there for the Republican Party to stand for?

    The collapse of the healthcare-repeal bill demonstrated the party's lack of any ideological intentions even on the policy issue that dominated its campaigns for the past seven years.

    When Obama was president, they attacked his signature law from the right or the left — whichever was convenient at the time. But when given the power to change the policy, they had no alternative of their own to implement.

    There are Republican officials like Sen. Mike Lee who do have principled ideas about healthcare they would like to implement. But these ideas are very unpopular, and were never what most Republican voters cared about when they railed against "Obamacare."

    Trump understood that rage against Obamacare was principally rage against Obama — not rage against government healthcare spending, which he promised to protect, or rage against the idea of government guarantees of insurance, which he promised to extend to everyone.

    And he understood that this was also true on a variety of other issues. You don't have to be anti-government to win a Republican primary. You just have to promise to refocus the government on the grievances of white people, unlike the bad, black man who was spending all your money on "Obamaphones."

    I'm not saying the torch-bearing white-power marchers from Charlottesville represent the median voter within a Republican party that came to be motivated by these impulses. But it's obvious why such people would align with the party that was governed by these impulses, and why a candidate who sought to harness these ideas (if you can call them ideas) would view them as a key part of his base. Right?

    Republicans indulged Trump's racist campaign against Obama because they thought they could channel it

    In the winter of 2012, months after Donald Trump started his search for President Obama's real birthplace, Mitt Romney went to Trump's Las Vegas hotel to accept his endorsement for president.

    Romney called the endorsement a "delight" and praised Trump for being a more successful businessman than him. If he was bothered at the time by Trump's promotion of racist conspiracy theories about the president, he didn't say so.

    In the past 18 months, Romney has repeatedly criticized Trump in sharp terms. Romney never endorsed Trump for president, and I believe he is sincerely alarmed about what Trump has done to the party and the country.

    But isn't it a little odd that Romney has never apologized for, or even acknowledged, his own role in elevating and validating Trump? Good people make mistakes; an admission by Romney that he had gone astray would make today's criticisms only more powerful.

    I think a reason Romney won't do so is that, for successful Republican politicians, appealing to people with views on race like Trump's is part of the job. You can't win the election without them.

    What horrifies people like Romney is not Trump and the Trumpists being in the party; it's them being in control of the party.

    These Republicans want to revert to a situation where "normal" Republicans are in charge, but Trump and his base still feel included enough in the party to vote Republican. If retaking control of the party entails pushing Trump's people out entirely, the electoral math won't work anymore and Democrats will win.

    So Romney can't apologize for the 2012 endorsement event because that was how things were supposed to work: Trump running his mouth so Romney can run the government.

    There is no going back to the old GOP

    In a way, the Republican Party is getting what it deserved for indulging its racist elements for so long. But there's no way of going back to how things used to be.

    "Normal" Republicans can't displace Trump because they don't have an alternative to white grievance as a core message. And if the party is going to have white grievance as its core message, how can it be expected to gain distance from white supremacists?

    If Graham can't bear to be associated with these people — if he can't be in a party that has its welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world — then he'll have to stop being a Republican.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch the most bizarre moments from Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts of America


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    Richmond Monuments

    • Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has ordered a city commission to consider removing the city's monuments to Confederate leaders — an option for the statues that was previously not being considered.
    • Stoney said he will not allow the city 'to be threatened by white supremacists and neo-Nazi thugs.'
    • Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy and the monuments are massive, and some of the oldest in the country.
    • A rally planned in support of the monuments has already been canceled by organizers after white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Virginia and a woman was killed.

    RICHMOND, VA — Richmond, Virginia is poised to become the next battleground in the contentious debate over Confederate monuments in the US.

    The former capital of the Confederacy, located just 70 miles Southeast of Charlottesville, is home to some of the nation's largest and oldest monuments memorializing Confederate leaders, including Civil War generals Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson; president of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis; and Confederate naval commander Matthew Fontaine Maury.

    The towering bronze-and-stone statues, some of which stand more than 60 feet tall, are all clustered along a 2-mile stretch of Richmond's tree-lined Monument Avenue, a wide four-lane boulevard that cuts through the city's center.

    The National Park Service describes the road as "the nation’s only grand residential boulevard with monuments of its scale surviving almost unaltered to the present day."

    Richmond MonumentsA Richmond city commission has been debating the fate of the statues on Monument Avenue for months. Late Wednesday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the commission to consider removing the statues — an option that was formerly off the table. 

    "Effective immediately, the Monument Avenue Commission will include an examination of the removal and/or relocation of some or all of the confederate statues," Stoney said. "Let me be clear: we will not tolerate allowing these statues and their history to be used as a pretext for hate and violence, or to allow our city to be threatened by white supremacists and neo-Nazi thugs."

    Richmond Levar StoneyAll across the US, cities and town are tearing down statues amid heated and sometimes violent protests against what critics say they celebrate: slavery and Jim Crow-era oppression.

    The deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville over the weekend was organized to protest the city's plan to remove its own Robert E. Lee monument. A group of students in Durham, North Carolina took matters into their own hands on Monday night and knocked a Confederate monument to the ground in front of the Durham County Courthouse where it had stood for more than a century. The following night, the city of Baltimore surreptitiously removed several Confederate monuments to avoid similar protests there.

    But in Richmond, a city that clings tightly to its rich history, government leaders — including Stoney up until Wednesday — have tried to keep the hulking Civil War memorials standing on Monument Avenue.

    Richmond MonumentsTo be sure, Stoney has previously said he doesn't agree with the symbolism behind the monuments.

    He has been an outspoken critic of them, saying they perpetuate a "false narrative" meant "to lionize the architects and defenders of slavery" and "perpetuate the tyranny and terror of Jim Crow and reassert a new era of white supremacy."

    But he has also repeatedly said he wants to find a way to preserve them while adding more "context" to the structures — in other words, make it clear through placards or other signage that the statues are historical artifacts and not meant to be shrines to the Confederate leaders whom they represent.

    Richmond MonumentsIn June, a few months after taking office, Stoney formed the Monument Avenue Commission to discuss the fate of the monuments. The group is led by American Civil War Museum CEO Christy Coleman and Library of Virginia Director of Education and Outreach Gregg Kimball.

    The commission has considered adding signage to existing monuments, as well as building more statues along the boulevard that celebrate a more diverse range of American leaders.

    That was part of the intent behind the 1996 erection of a statue of Arthur Ashe Jr., the first African-American man to win Wimbledon. The statue is the sixth of Monument Avenue's six. The rest are Confederate leaders.

    "I think we should consider what Monument Avenue would look like with a little more diversity," Stoney said during a press conference in June. "Right now, Arthur Ashe stands alone — and he is the only true champion on that street."

    Richmond MonumentsThe commission met several times this summer, and now it's holding public hearings to discuss various ways to add context to the monuments.

    More than 500 people showed up to the first of two hearings last week, and things got heated, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    Many groups, including the Richmond Free Press, the city’s largest black-owned media outlet, are unhappy with proposals to add context to the statues and want the city to tear down the monuments.

    In an editorial, the outlet equated adding context to "putting lipstick on a pig."

    "What context can possibly change the statues’ meaning and message from what was meant when they were erected following a bloody Civil War fought to keep black people in bondage?" the editorial read. "And what can possibly change their present context as tributes glorifying racist, un-American traitors ...?"

    Richmond MonumentsSome Confederate heritage groups and historians are also against the idea of adding context. They say the monuments should be left untouched.

    During last week's hearing, B. Frank Earnest Sr., a representative of the Virginia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said it's clear that the statues memorialize people who sacrificed their lives during a war, "Not some silliness about Jim Crow and trying to bring back slavery or whatever silliness they think it is," the Times-Dispatch reported.

    For now, the fate of the monuments, which were erected between 1890 and 1930, is more uncertain than ever before.

    "While we had hoped to use this process to educate Virginians about the history behind these monuments, the events of the last week may have fundamentally changed our ability to do so by revealing their power to serve as a rallying point for division and intolerance and violence," Stoney said Wednesday.

    Richmond MonumentsThe Monument Avenue statues have been targeted and even defaced by protestors in the past, but they have yet to inspire the kind of violence seen in Charlottesville this past weekend.

    Following the presidential election in November, protesters spray-painted "your vote was a hate crime" across two of the monuments. More recently, on Sunday night, hundreds of people descended on Monument Avenue chanting "tear the racist statues down."

    One man climbed onto the J.E.B. Stuart statue and planted an anti-fascist flag on Stuart's horse.

    It looked like the city might be facing an even bigger rally next month, following reports that a Confederate heritage advocate had filed a request to hold a rally at the Robert E. Lee memorial on September 16, three days after the next public hearing regarding the monuments.

    Richmond MonumentsBut the request was rescinded on Tuesday in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally.

    "Due to the potential for violence after Charlottesville, the rally on September 16 will not be held," Bragdon Bowling, who requested permission for the rally, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "I do not want to be part of an event where people are hurt or killed."

    The next public hearing on the statues is slated for September 13. Until then, the city is holding its collective breath in hopes that nothing like what unfolded in Charlottesville descends on Monument Avenue.

    SEE ALSO: 'It's egoistic delusion': Larry Summers says Walmart chief executive 'is not fit to be the CEO' unless he quits Trump council

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    robert e lee

    The violence that erupted in Charlottesville over the weekend, which left one woman killed and dozens more injured, stemmed from a white nationalist and alt-right protest over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

    Debates about the removal of Confederate statues have been ongoing for many years, and opponents of removing the monuments often decry such attempts as an attempt to erase history

    In light of all this, it's probably best to remember one relevant historical fact: Robert E. Lee was opposed to Confederate monuments.

    “It’s often forgotten that Lee himself, after the Civil War, opposed monuments, specifically Confederate war monuments,” Jonathan Horn, a Lee biographer, told PBS.

    After the Civil War, Lee received a number of letters requesting support for the erection of Confederate memorials, according to Horn. 

    In June 1866, he wrote that he couldn't support a monument of one of his best generals, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, saying it wasn't "feasible at this time."

    "As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated," Lee wrote in December 1866 about another proposed Confederate monument, "my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; [and] of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour."

    Not only was Lee opposed to Confederate memorials, "he favored erasing battlefields from the landscape altogether," Horn wrote.

    He even supported getting rid of the Confederate flag after the Civil War ended, and didn't want them them flying above Washington College, which he was president of after the war. 

    Robert E. Lee Statue Charlottesville

    "Lee did not want such divisive symbols following him to the grave," Horn wrote. "At his funeral in 1870, flags were notably absent from the procession. Former Confederate soldiers marching did not don their old military uniforms, and neither did the body they buried."

    “His Confederate uniform would have been ‘treason’ perhaps!” Lee’s daughter wrote, according to Horn. 

    "Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker,” Horn told PBS. “He was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive."

    SEE ALSO: GETTYSBURG: Here's how the Civil War's most important battle was fought

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Howard Schultz

    Starbucks' former CEO and chairman Howard Schultz spoke out against what he calls the current normalization of racist behavior in a company-wide forum.

    "The moral fiber, the values, and what we as a country have stood for is literally hanging in the abyss," Schultz said, according to a Starbucks press release published on Wednesday. "We are at a critical juncture in American history. That is not an exaggeration." 

    According to the coffee giant, the hour-and-a-half forum held in Seattle was a space for employees to share their thoughts following a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. More than 500 employees attended, with an additional 1,000 people in overflow areas. 

    "I come to you as an American, as a Jew, as a parent, as a grandparent, as an almost 40-year partner of this company," Schultz said to open the event. "I come to you with profound, profound concern about the lack of character, morality, humanity and what this might mean for young children and young generations."

    Partner_Open_Forum_ _No_Hate_(1).JPG

    While Schultz has previously criticized Donald Trump, in this case he said he would allow the president's actions and words to speak for themselves.

    According to Starbucks, Schultz then added: 

    "What we witnessed this past weekend…is against every sense of what is right. My fear is not only that this behavior is being given permission and license, but its conduct is being normalized to the point where people are no longer hiding their face. We’ve all seen pictures of the KKK in the South … they were hiding because they were afraid to be outed. People are no longer afraid."

    Starbucks is known its progressive politics, and has held forums to discuss issues such as race and police brutality in the past. 

    In January, Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 refugees after Trump issued an executive order barring refugees from entering the US, sparking conservative boycott threats. Last year, Schultz endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president.

    SEE ALSO: Leaked video shows Howard Schultz telling Starbucks workers of Trump creating 'chaos' with economic impact

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Jeffree Star Kim Kardashian KKW Beauty

    The INSIDER Summary:

    • Beauty blogger Jeffree Star responded to Kim Kardashian's Snapchat apology videos.
    • In a series of tweets, he urged his followers to move on from the situation.
    • "Every news and media outlet in the world has emailed and called my office all day asking me for a Kim. K quote.. Please f--- off," he wrote on August 15.
    • Star added: "Talking about makeup has turned into a blood bath since yesterday. WAKE UP. THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS 2 WORRY ABOUT."
    • The internet had mixed reactions, with many users disagreeing with his rant.


    Beauty blogger Jeffree Star has spoken out about the growing controversy surrounding him and Kim Kardashian West.

    On August 14, after Star criticized Kardashian's makeup swatching skills, the reality star's fans responded by bringing up racist comments that Star made in videos from 12 years ago. Kardashian then defended the blogger on Snapchat, thanking Star for "being honest" about how she could improve her swatching, while pleading with fans to "get off his a--" about his past comments.

    A day later on August 15, after Kardashian's response prompted outrage on social media, she apologized for defending the blogger over Snapchat and said that she "really didn't know enough about" the situation to comment.

    Later on the same day, Star took to Twitter and addressed the matter from his perspective. In a series of 10 tweets, which we first saw on Cosmopolitan, the blogger urged everyone to focus less on him and more on "how dark and depressing America is right now." 

    "Every news and media outlet in the world has emailed and called my office all day asking me for a Kim. K quote.. Please f--- off," Star wrote in the first tweet. 

    He told his followers, "THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS 2 WORRY ABOUT," and brought up politics.

    Star added that harassing him on social media "doesn't fix anything."

    The internet had mixed reactions to Star's rant.

    Here's Kardashian's two-part apology for defending Star that she posted to Snapchat on August 15:

    And here are the original Snapchat videos she posted defending Star on August 14:

     In June, Star uploaded a 15-minute apology video to YouTube that shed light on his past racist remarks.

    "Those videos were 12 years ago, and I look at them, and I see them resurfaced, and it just makes me sick to my stomach because I don't know who that person was," Star said. "I'm embarrassed as a person because that is not what I've ever stood for."

    Here are Star's tweets from August 15 in full:

    "Every news and media outlet in the world has emailed and called my office all day asking me for a Kim. K quote.. Please f--- off. Talking about makeup has turned into a blood bath since yesterday. WAKE UP. THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS 2 WORRY ABOUT. We have a literal PIECE OF S--- for a 'President' who is embarrassing our entire country and you want worry about Jeffree Star. #cantrelate

    I get that people love drama and feed off of it, but attacking ME with hate and disgusting comments doesn't fix anything. You can't call me something that I'm not. It's getting old... Same bulls--- every time there's online drama. CHILL and worry about YOU.

    Who else is ready for this disgusting vile piece of s--- @POTUS to be #impeached? The media wants to keep us all distracted by news headlines about me and Kim, but let's talk about how sad our country is right now.

    HEY HATERS: Instead of tweeting me and calling me 'f-----' and 'disgusting tranny' all day - try fighting for something important. Because with how dark and depressing America is right now, I don't think I'm important. Stop wasting time on gossip and focus on reality. If you're upset about Jeffree Star and contour swatches and makeup drama, get the f--- out of my mentions. You're wasting your own time."

    INSIDER contacted a representative for Jeffree Star for comment on its earlier coverage of the story, and had not heard back at the time of this post.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: There's a shimmery makeup that you can wear in two different ways


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    Donald Trump

    Republican voters are taking President Donald Trump's side over that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the pair's latest dustup, a Wednesday poll showed, and that could spell trouble for Republicans seeking to distance themselves from the president after his recent remarks on the violent white supremacist incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend.

    The poll, conducted by Morning Consult, found that 52% of Republican voters said Trump is looking out for Republicans' best interests, while just 25% said McConnell was. Asked who is more in touch with Republican voters, 60% said Trump while just 16% said McConnell. In terms of who is more trustful, 57% said Trump and 14% said McConnell.

    Even on policy itself, 41% said Trump, a political neophyte, is more knowledgeable. For McConnell, 34% of respondents said the Kentucky Republican who has served in the Senate for more than three decades is more knowledgeable than Trump on policy.

    Additionally, McConnell saw his own approval rating among Republican voters dip from 39% to 33% in just two weeks. His unfavorable rating rose from 29% to 34%.

    "By targeting Mitch McConnell, President Trump has once again demonstrated how much influence he wields within the Republican base," Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult's co-founder and chief research officer, said.

    Morning Consult asked the questions following a feud last week between Trump and McConnell.

    Last Wednesday, McConnell said Trump has "excessive expectations" as to what the GOP Congress can accomplish. That led to Trump blasting McConnell on Twitter.

    "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so," Trump tweeted last Wednesday. "After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?"

    Trump asked McConnell on Thursday to "get back to work" and pass legislation related to healthcare, tax reform, and infrastructure, adding, "You can do it!"

    "Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done," Trump tweeted. "Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!"

    While GOP voters sided with Trump, as 50% said the Twitter attacks were appropriate while 32% said they were not, they were less sure that the attacks would be beneficial to the GOP agenda passing. On that question, 26% said the attacks will help Republicans pass key legislation on subjects such as healthcare and tax reform while 35% said the attacks will hurt the chances of passing such legislation.

    The poll, which has a margin of error of two percentage points, was conducted from August 10-14, and 1,997 registered voters were surveyed. About half of the interviews Morning Consult conducted happened before the violent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville.

    Violent attacks in the city that is home to the University of Virginia left one counterprotester dead after a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of people, injuring roughly 20 additional people. White nationalists came to Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert. E. Lee.

    After initially blaming the violence on "both sides," Trump condemned the racist movements on Monday. But during a Tuesday press conference at Trump Tower that was supposed to focus on infrastructure, Trump reverted to his earlier position, claiming that the "alt-left" was at least partially responsible for the violence as well and wondering whether the counter-protesters have any "semblance of guilt."

    "You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name," he said of "some" of those who were involved in the white nationalist protest.

    "And you had people — and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay?" he added. "And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly."

    The comments were some of the most widely-panned remarks of his presidency, with members of both parties saying that Trump is wrong to invoke any moral equivalency between white supremacists and those who were in Charlottesville protesting their presence.

    Even though a number of Republican officials specifically criticized Trump's response to the violence, many Republicans did not mention Trump in their comments on the incident.

    In a Wednesday statement, which followed Trump's news conference, McConnell himself refrained from mentioning Trump's remarks, although he did allude to them by saying "there are no good neo-nazis."

    David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and a CNN commentator, said the reason why Republicans have been "cautious" in their responses to Charlottesville is "simple."

    "Why are so many Rs cautious on #Charlotteville?"he tweeted Wednesday. "Pretty simple: Because @POTUS, even now, remains popular w/many of their voters."

    SEE ALSO: McConnell speaks after Trump's wild press conference: 'There are no good neo-Nazis'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Golf legend Greg Norman reveals the truth behind President Bill Clinton's late-night 1997 injury


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    This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Not that long ago, many home-appliance and consumer-electronics makers were gearing up for what they thought would soon be a rapidly growing market for smart home devices.

    The instant popularity of the Nest thermostat, introduced in 2011, seemed to confirm their hopes. But those expectations were dashed in the coming years as the market for connected home devices later stagnated. 

    Even with these challenges, many of the biggest consumer technology companies are now moving into the smart home market. For example, Apple, which recently released its self-installed smart home ecosystem, called the Apple Home, traditionally doesn't move into a market until it's very mature and only when it can release a perfected product. Further, Google this fall launched the Google Home and its companion ecosystem, hoping to jump into the voice-activated smart home speaker market, which Amazon currently dominates with its Echo product line. 

    In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the demographics of the average smart home device owner and discuss why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies. The report also examines the plans of various tech giants in the smart home market and discuss their monetization strategies, and makes suggestions for how these companies can position themselves to make their products and devices more appealing to the mass market.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Tech companies primarily enter the market to enhance a core revenue stream or service, while device makers desire to collect data to improve their products and prevent costly recalls.
    • We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
    • These companies are also seeking to create an early-mover advantage for themselves, where they gain an advantage by this head start on adoption.
    • Major barriers to mass market adoption that still must overcome include technological fragmentation and persistently high device prices.

    In full, the report:

    • Details the market strategy of prominent tech companies and device makers, and analyzes why which ones are best poised to succeed once adoption ticks up.
    • Offers insight into current ownership through an exclusive survey from BI Intelligence and analyzes what demographics will drive adoption moving forward.
    • Explains in detail which companies are poised to succeed in the market in the coming years as adoption increases and mass market consumers begin to purchase smart home devices.

    To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

    1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
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    The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of smart homes.

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    NOW WATCH: Amazon has an oddly efficient way of storing stuff in its warehouses


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    Donald Trump Republican Jewish Coalition

    The Republican Jewish Coalition, a political group that has previously backed President Donald Trump amid controversial issues, said it was not pleased with how Trump handled the fallout from the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, rally last weekend.

    "We join with our political and religious brethren in calling upon President Donald Trump to provide greater moral clarity in rejecting racism, bigotry, and antisemitism,"the coalition said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The statement said, "there are no good Nazis," a reference to Trump's assertion on Tuesday that there were some "fine people on both sides" at the Charlottesville rally originally organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. The event turned violent when white nationalist groups and counterprotesters clashed, ultimately leading to the death of a 32-year-old woman.

    Critics have urged Trump to be more forceful in condemning while nationalist and white supremacist groups, the leaders of which interpreted Trump's remarks on Tuesday as vindication for their activities.

    Though Trump initially blamed "many sides" for the violence that ensued on Saturday, he later clarified his rebukes and specifically called out hate groups on Monday, only to revert back to his original assertion on Tuesday that counterprotesters deserved equal blame for the violence.

    Others have pointed to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who they believe influenced Trump's overall response to Charlottesville. Bannon reportedly spoke to Trump by phone throughout the weekend, but had not "meaningfully advised" the president on his response, according to the news website, Axios.

    For his part, Bannon was reportedly encouraged by the backlash of the last few days, Axios reported Wednesday afternoon: "Bannon saw Trump's now-infamous Tuesday afternoon press conference not as the lowest point in his presidency, but as a 'defining moment,' where Trump decided to fully abandon the 'globalists' and side with 'his people.'"

    SEE ALSO: Trump tweets that he is scrapping his business councils after the massive exodus of executives

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    NOW WATCH: The 9 best memes from Trump's first 200 days in office


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    2 chat app users

    This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    To keep pace with the ongoing shift toward e- and m-commerce, retailers are turning to chat apps, where smartphone users spend considerable time each day.

    One way they’ve been accessing consumers on these platforms is through chatbots, or software programs that use business-to-consumer (B2C) text-based messaging as an interface through which customers can communicate with merchants in a question-and-answer format. 

    For merchants, these offerings are valuable because sales increase as customers communicate with and shop from their brand on more channels. But there’s considerable friction — in chat apps, payments offerings are limited, which means users who might be browsing in a messaging app will still be redirected to another app or the mobile web to complete a purchase. 

    This is creating an opportunity for payments processors and card networks, which are beginning to partner with merchants to capture potential volume from chat apps. And as the hype increases, other payments firms, like remittance providers and banks are also entering the game, in the hopes of increasing user engagement or attracting new types of clients.

    There’s a long road ahead: We’re just at the beginning of what’s likely to be a long adoption cycle, with payments firms only starting to dip their toes into the space. But improvements in the ecosystem, combined with rising consumer appetite for these services and increasing trust, will eventually lead to moderate gains in usage that open up a massive volume opportunity for Western firms.

    BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has put together a detailed report on chatbots' role in the payments ecosystem.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Chat apps are the next frontier for digital commerce, but without payments functionality, the opportunity is extremely limited. Customers can — and do — ask for support, take advantage of deals, and browse many stores within chat apps. But when it comes time to pay, users have to switch to another app or the mobile web — a turnoff that could hinder adoption and lower conversion rates.
    • Most payments firms are teaming up with retailers, often those they already count as clients, to enable customers to make payments using their mobile wallets or processing features within chat apps. That’s allowing retailers to get to the space faster while opening a revenue opportunity for payments players. Others are taking less direct approaches, working to increase consumer engagement in a way that promotes more spending offline.
    • We’re at the beginning of an adoption curve, so digital payments providers shouldn’t expect massive success quickly, but in the long run, it’s likely to be a large market. As firms work to grow consumer awareness and improve the experience, the technology will eventually become mainstream, which makes getting in early and becoming established worthwhile. 

    In full, the report:

    • Explains why the chat app is the next frontier for commerce, and why payments functionality is a linchpin of that success.
    • Details different types of chat app payments and their potential use cases.
    • Evaluates the hurdles that could prevent consumers from using chatbot payments.
    • Suggests ways firms can overcome these hurdles and begin seeing adoption.
    • Sizes the potential long-run market for chatbot payments in the West.

    Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

    1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND more than 250 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> Learn More Now
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    Mark Zuckerberg

    After the horrific events in Charlottesville on Saturday that left three dead, 19 injured and the nation in shock over the violence of racist hate groups, Facebook deleted blog posts from a well-known white supremacist blog.

    On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "we've always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism -- including what happened in Charlottesville. With the potential for more rallies, we're watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm."

    He also expressed his personal frustration. "I know a lot of us have been asking where this hate comes from. As a Jew, it's something I've wondered much of my life. It's a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong -- as if this is somehow not obvious."

    Ever since Donald Trump won the 2016 election last November, people have been questioning Facebook's role in politics, and its role in creating the ideological echo chambers that divide us.

    Zuckerberg seems to be taking that criticism to heart, traveling across the country, meeting with people on all sides of the political spectrum and hiring a whole bunch of political strategists. If he's not running for office (which he says he isn't), then these actions appear to be his way of understanding the echo chamber, even if he hasn't solved it yet

    Here's Zuckerberg's full post.

    We aren't born hating each other. We aren't born with such extreme views. We may not be able to solve every problem, but we all have a responsibility to do what we can. I believe we can do something about the parts of our culture that teach a person to hate someone else.

    It's important that Facebook is a place where people with different views can share their ideas. Debate is part of a healthy society. But when someone tries to silence others or attacks them based on who they are or what they believe, that hurts us all and is unacceptable.

    There is no place for hate in our community. That's why we've always taken down any post that promotes or celebrates hate crimes or acts of terrorism -- including what happened in Charlottesville. With the potential for more rallies, we're watching the situation closely and will take down threats of physical harm. We won't always be perfect, but you have my commitment that we'll keep working to make Facebook a place where everyone can feel safe.

    The last few days have been hard to process. I know a lot of us have been asking where this hate comes from. As a Jew, it's something I've wondered much of my life. It's a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong -- as if this is somehow not obvious. My thoughts are with the victims of hate around the world, and everyone who has the courage to stand up to it every day.

    There may always be some evil in the world, and maybe we can't do anything about that. But there's too much polarization in our culture, and we can do something about that. There's not enough balance, nuance, and depth in our public discourse, and I believe we can do something about that. We need to bring people closer together, and I know we can make progress at that. 

    SEE ALSO: Facebook shut down an anonymous group used by its Trump-supporting employees after people started harassing one another

    SEE ALSO: A male employee claims he was fired after reporting sexual harassment at a $4 billion startup

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We tried Amazon's $50 tablet — here's what it's like


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    steve bannon

    Steve Bannon, the Trump administration's chief strategist, says he has a comprehensive plan to reshape US-China relations. In a wide-ranging interview with the progressive-leaning publication The American Prospect published on Wednesday, Bannon said of China: "We've come to the conclusion that they're in an economic war and they're crushing us."

    "The economic war with China is everything," Bannon told writer Robert Kuttner. He warned that the US would be on the verge of an "inflection point" in which China could overtake the US as the world's No. 1 superpower within a decade.

    Bannon represents the nationalist wing of the White House, a group that ostensibly sees the US' diplomatic clout and financial largesse as being exploited by other nations, including China.

    Along with senior advisers Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller, Bannon has sought to promote President Donald Trump's "America first" agenda which, among other things, broadly calls for the US to rely less on other nations and discontinue policies Trump sees as disadvantageous to Americans.

    Trump took further steps in that direction on Monday when he announced that he intended to sign a measure that would open an investigation into intellectual property violations against American companies by Chinese firms.

    The measure draws upon Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974, which would allow Trump to place a tariff on another country without Congressional approval, Business Insider's Linette Lopez wrote on Monday, adding that such a move would be seen by China as an act of aggression amid lingering uncertainty surrounding Chinese ally North Korea, and its nuclear ambitions.

    Bannon insisted the Trump administration needed to be "maniacally focused" on its economic war with China and claimed the US "may never recover" if it loses.

    Read the full Bannon interview at the American Prospect here»<

    SEE ALSO: Trump plans to make China very angry at the worst possible time

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We went inside the Charlottesville winery Trump bragged about during the press conference


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    People in the Americas and Europe use most of the same services and websites when they go online, with Facebook, Amazon, and Google as mainstays for most internet users. The one place these market leaders have struggled to gain users is China. 

    The Chinese government has strict censorship practices when it comes to the internet and it operates a "Great firewall" that blocks undesirable websites from reaching Chinese users. As we can see in this chart from Statista, the vast majority of people in China flock to domestic sites and services. Facebook was banned in 2009 and Google left in 2010 after getting hit by a cyberattack from within the country. Amazon remains active, but has struggled to pull customers from the Alibaba owned Tmall. 

    COTD_8.16

     

    SEE ALSO: Smart watches and VR headsets are catching on, but they're still not ready to kill the smartphone

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    NOW WATCH: How to use Meitu — the Chinese selfie-enhancing app that the Internet is obsessed with


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    • CloudFlareThe CEO of Cloudflare said he is "deeply uncomfortable" with his own decision to have his company stop protecting The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website.
    • He decided to stop working with The Daily Stormer after its team suggested that Cloudflare sympathized with its Nazi ideology.
    • The Daily Stormer's site was taken down by attackers as soon as Cloudflare stopped protecting it. 

    Until today, Cloudflare had never dropped a customer due to political pressure.

    It's this fact that company CEO Matthew Prince said makes him so "deeply uncomfortable" with his decision early Wednesday to stop providing paid services to The Daily Stormer, including protecting its website from attackers.

    As it turns out, attackers took down the neo-Nazi site as soon as Cloudflare stopped protecting it, Prince told Business Insider. Daily Stormer remained offline on Wednesday evening.

    Daily Stormer drew national scrutiny and condemnation after it published a story that demeaned Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into people counter-protesting against a white-supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

    Prince made clear that he found the website's content "vile." But he regrets that he alone was able to decide its fate.

    "The ability of somebody to single-handedly choose to knock content offline doesn't align with core ideas of due process or justice," Prince told Business Insider on Wednesday. "Whether that's a national government launching attacks or an individual launching attacks."

    How it ended

    While Cloudflare may have been Daily Stormer's last line of defense, Prince's decision didn't actually take the company's site offline by itself. Earlier in the week, GoDaddy and Google both publicly announced they had dropped Daily Stormer as a customer of their domain hosting services.  

    And then there were the attackers.

    The site going offline was an outcome imagined by both friends and foes of the neo-Nazi site. One of the services Cloudflare provides is to provide a sort of buffer between visitors and websites, to protect sites from denial-of-service attacks. It does this in part by obfuscating the identity of the websites' hosts. It was that service that helped protect Daily Stormer. 

    "The size and scale of the attacks that can now easily be launched online make it such that if you don't have a network like Cloudflare in front of your content, and you upset anyone, you will be knocked offline," Prince wrote in a blog post Wednesday. "In fact, in the case of the Daily Stormer, the initial requests we received to terminate their service came from hackers who literally said: 'Get out of the way so we can DDoS this site off the Internet.'"

    Government pressure 

    Cloudflare says it handles 10% of all internet requests. So while this is the first time that Cloudflare has stopped working with a website for political reasons, Prince said his company has faced plenty of external and international government pressure.

    "There are human rights organizations that are criticizing the Chinese government that we continuously get pressured to restrict," he said "There are LGBT organizations in the Middle East. Often times it's things covering abuses by government that governments would rather not have online."

    This is not the first time, though, that Cloudflare has dropped support for a site. It has ended service to other websites in response to illegal activity, such as child pornography. And in 2015, a court ordered Cloudflare to block websites associated with the music streaming service Grooveshark, which was in trouble over copyright violations.

    In this case, though, Cloudflare dropped Daily Stormer because the neo-Nazis claimed the company supported their cause. 

    "The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology," Prince wrote in the blog.

    Prince said that his team is set to have a debate over how to address such issues moving forward.

    SEE ALSO: Cloudflare has stopped protecting a widely-reviled neo-Nazi website from cyber attacks

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    NOW WATCH: Here’s what celebrities would look like with symmetrical faces


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    • Intuit Merline SaintilDespite endless reports of sexual harassmentt and all the drama surrounding the Google memo, Merline Saintil, a powerful engineer at Intuit, says things are actually getting better for women in tech, not worse.
    • Saintil has seen diversity initiatives at Intuit work well, she says.
    • She just landed her first corporate board position — at a bank — and says that as more women join boards, the future will get even brighter.

    To all women who love tech but fear the industry is rife with sexual harassers and misogynists, Merline Saintil has a message of encouragement: Don't listen to the haters.

    Saintil, an engineering exec at Intuit, is having a great career and insists other women can too. In fact, she's working to make it easier for other women to succeed, she told Business Insider this week.

    "I’m hopeful and excited about the progress [of women in tech], even with this madness going on," she said.

    By madness, Saintil was referring to the firestorm created by the memo written by fired Google engineer James Damore that decried the company's efforts to hire more women. In his memo, Damore argued there are biological reasons that make women less interested in engineering then men, a claim that has been widely debunked.

    Damore's memo followed a wave of recent stories in which women in tech have gone public about the sexual harassment they've experienced, be it from co-workers, bosses, or investors. And it came on top of years of criticism directed at the industry for its lack of diversity.

    Despite all the negative sentiment and publicity, women have made some progress, at least at companies that were determined to change, she insists.

    "It's frustrating to hear that a manifesto would even be written. But I also know that what we’re doing is the right thing, and we’ll have history on our side," Saintil said.

    Intuit, for example, has vowed to get to gender parity by 2020, a commitment in line with its support for organizations like Girls Who Code. Currently, women make up about 40% of its workforce, including about 30% of its technical position, 50% of non-technical roles and 33% of leadership roles. It still has a ways to go, but women are more highly represented there than at many other tech companies. 

    Google, for instance, is fairly representative of the rest of the industry. At the search giant, located across the street from Intuit in Mountain View, women make up 31% of the overall workforce. And women represent just 20% of tech workers and only 25% of people in leadership positions. 

    The long view

    She has reason to be hopeful for the future, too, because she's living proof that you can come from nothing and land in the boardroom.

    women coworkers tech laptop computer officeSaintil moved to the US from Haiti when she was five years old, speaking no English. She discovered computer science in college and since the early 2000s has worked at a who's who of big tech companies, including Adobe, PayPal, and Yahoo.

    Today, she's an exec running Intuit's operations, product and technology.

    She's also serves on a corporate board. After taking a "how to be a board member" class at Stanford and getting help from the Athena Alliance, a group that assists women get board positions, she was named a director on the board of Banner Bank earlier this year.

    Saintil has previously served on the boards of non-profits like the Anita Borg Institute. But being in a corporate board room will really give her a chance to pay it forward, she said.

    "It's about sending the elevator back down from the board room" to help the next generation of women, she said. "I am hopeful because we are staring to have this conversation [about women in tech] at the very top of leadership. In the board room."

    And, she emphasizes, for all the ugly stories, there are stories of success, like hers.

    "When I walk in a room and I’m the only woman, or the only person of color, I don’t for a second forget that," Saintil said. "But it's a quick conversation with myself that I belong, and that I’m not giving anyone else the power to tell me where I belong."

    SEE ALSO: A male employee claims he was fired after reporting sexual harassment at a $4 billion startup

    SEE ALSO: How a laid-off woman in her 50s learned to code and launched a whole new career

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: We may have been wrong about ‘good’ cholesterol all this time


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    strategic and policy forum trump

    President Donald Trump's biggest gatherings of business leaders fell apart, and according to reports Trump's own comments are to blame.

    As detailed by reports, the decision to finally disband the council came after Trump's comments over the weekend that did not explicitly denounce neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups at the heart of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    The Strategic and Policy Forum was announced in December 2016 for business leaders to have a direct line to Donald Trump and influence his policies going forward. Critics argued it was a simple way for Trump to display a stable, pro-business face. Steve Schwarzman, the Forum's leader and CEO of private equity giant Blackstone, said at the time that it was an opportunity to help shape the new president's policies.

    "The Forum, which is composed of some of America's most highly respected and successful business leaders, will be called upon to meet with the president frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the president implements his plan to bring back jobs and Make America Great Again," said a release announcing the formation of the council.

    For a full list of members, check out this post »

    There was only one official meeting of the Forum on February 3, at which Trump promised "exciting times ahead" and said his administration was "coming out with a tax bill soon and a healthcare bill even sooner."

    Following the violence in Charlottesville and Trump's initial reaction in which he said "many sides" were to blame for the events. His remarks prompted the demise of the council. Here's a breakdown of how the council fell apart according to reports from CNBC's Patti Domm and Dominic Chu and Bloomberg's Melissa Mittelman, Jennifer Kaplan, Jing Cao, and Zachary Tracer:

    • Sunday night: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi began to ask other members about whether the Forum remained a good idea.
    • Sunday night/Monday morning: General Motors CEO Mary Barra and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty joined Nooyi in calling the other members and gauging the reaction to Trump's comments.
    • Monday morning: Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier quits an unrelated council of manufacturing business leaders, prompting a wave of departures from that group and ramping up public pressure among the other members of Trump's various business groups.
    • Monday afternoon: Trump's statement Monday condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis cooled the nervousness of the Forum's members.
    • Tuesday afternoon: The straw that broke the camel's back. Trump's wild press conference walked back much of his statement from Monday and was seen by many as support for some members of the white nationalist protestors. "They were appalled by what has happened since Charlottesville and yesterday was the tripwire," one Forum member told CNBC.
    • Tuesday evening: Calls began again between members. Barra, Rometty, Nooyi, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink decided they will leave the Forum if it is not dissolved.
    • Wednesday morning, around 3 a.m. ET: Schwarzman requested all Forum members join a conference call in the morning.
    • Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. ET: On the call, the members agreed to end the council. As many as 10 of the 12 members on the council agreed.
    • Wednesday afternoon: Schwarzman got in contact with the administration to inform them of the decision, according to Bloomberg the Blackstone CEO spoke with White House adviser Jared Kushner.
    • Wednesday 1:14 p.m ET: Despite the CEOs coming to the agreement to disband the group themselves, Trump preempts a joint statement announcing the end of the council and tweets that it was his decision to end the Forum and the manufacturing council.

    And so the first so-called CEO president lost the counsel of the leaders of some of the world's most influential companies.

    One member of the forum told Axios' Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei the CEOs "couldn't justify the capital they were spending, hoping that this guy can function in a somewhat mature and statesmanlike way."

    "Everyone knew, going in, that this was the way the guy was,"the executive told Axios. "They were just hoping that if he got the right people and decisionmaking processes in place, he could grow into the job. He proved he has no capability to do that."

    "There was such a firestorm. You don't know what's coming next or what he's going to say or do next,"one Forum member told CNBC. "It's striking when the president loses the confidence of America's CEOs."

    SEE ALSO: Trump tweets that he is scrapping his business councils after the massive exodus of executives

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Venezuela was Latin America’s richest country and now it is in complete crisis — here’s how it fell apart


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    Donald Trump

    • Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos reportedly tried to set up multiple Trump-Russia meetings during the campaign.
    • His efforts and contacts with the Russians highlight a common intelligence-gathering technique used by Moscow.
    • National security experts say this is "definitely not the last we'll hear" of lower-level aides being in contact with Russia.
    • The revelations about Papadopoulos will also likely generate more evidentiary leads for congressional and FBI investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. 

    Revelations on Monday that George Papadopoulos, a short-term foreign-policy adviser on President Donald Trump's campaign, tried to set up multiple meetings between candidate Trump and Russian leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, may shed more light on the extent of Russia's efforts to recruit those within Trump's orbit perceived as sympathetic to Moscow.

    Papadopoulos, a relatively inexperienced adviser who described himself as "a Russian intermediary," sent six emails proposing Trump-Russia meetings between March and September of last year, according to The Washington Post, which first broke the story. Although it appears that Papadopoulos' attempts yielded no results after multiple campaign officials expressed concerns about the legality of such meetings, the requests themselves signify that Russia's efforts to infiltrate the Trump campaign may have extended to more than just high-ranking advisers.

    "You're essentially trying to put out as many feelers as possible and see what you get back," Robert Deitz, a former top lawyer at the National Security Agency and the CIA, said of Russia's efforts. "In any kind of intelligence operation, you'd never invest too much" into connecting with lower-level aides "because the returns could be fairly low, but you may well find somebody who's helpful."

    There is no evidence that Papadopoulos knowingly participated in Russia's campaign. But as former FBI Special Agent Clint Watts told the Senate Intelligence Committee in May, the Trump campaign itself may have been an unwitting agent of Russia.

    “Part of the reason active measures have worked in the US election is because the commander-in-chief has used Russian active measures at times against his opponents,” Watts said, pointing to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's and Trump’s citations of fake-news stories pushed out by Russian-linked entities last year.

    Since the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow, several other prominent members of Trump's inner circle — like son-in-law Jared Kushner, attorney general Jeff Sessions, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn — have attracted scrutiny for communicating with Russian officials in ways that raised red flags with the US intelligence community. 

    Vladimir Putin

    A common intelligence-gathering technique

    While working on Trump's campaign, Papadopolous sent the first email proposing a Trump-Russia meeting to seven campaign advisers in March 2016 with the subject line "Meeting with Russian Leadership - Including Putin." His requests were reportedly met with hesitancy from multiple campaign officials, including retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, who voiced concerns about violating both US sanctions on Russia and the Logan Act, a law forbidding US citizens from negotiating with foreign governments without authorization.

    Papadopoulos persisted in trying to set up the meeting, saying in one email in April 2016 to Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager at the time, that he had gotten "a lot of calls over the past month" about how "Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right," according to The Post.

    Papadopoulos' efforts and seemingly frequent contacts with Russians highlight a common intelligence-gathering technique. 

    "When you're trying to get somebody to do something for you, the person you'd most like is the relatively low-level person who works in the switch room," Deitz said. He noted that Papadopoulos' relative inexperience may have been a positive factor in the Russians' decision to communicate with him. 

    "If you're a younger aide like Papadopoulos, to have somebody come up to you and say, 'Hey, we might be able to help your candidate out,' that's a very enticing experience," he said. 

    What's clear is that the Russians "were casting a wide net," said Glenn Carle, a former CIA operative. 

    "You go at the target in multiple ways, simultaneously," he said. "You exploit any contact you have, at every level, to see what works." 

    Trump Putin

    Indeed, Russia's interference in the election was an elaborate and multi-faceted effort. The Kremlin's tactics to that effect included establishing personal contact with Americans perceived as sympathetic to Moscow; hacking the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign; launching a disinformation campaign aimed at spreading fake news and pro-Trump agitprop; and breaching US voting systems in multiple states to manipulate electoral data. 

    Those revelations, as well as how frequently the Russians were in touch with low-level aides like Papadopoulos, underscore how "shockingly aggressive, brazen, and wide their operations have been," Carle said. "Normally, in intelligence, one seeks far more clandestinity and security. The Russians seemed to have decided that the benefits of disruption and manipulation outweighed the blowback from getting noticed and caught." 

    'This is definitely not the last we'll hear of it'

    The news about Papadopoulos' emails will also likely generate more evidentiary leads as it relates to the congressional intelligence committee and FBI investigations into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia.

    The emails themselves were discovered after the Trump campaign turned 20,000 pages of documents over to Congress this month, according to The Post. 

    "If I'm a prosecutor or congressional investigator, I'm going to go to people like Corey Lewandowski," who was a recipient of Papadopoulos' emails, "and issue a document request, if not a subpoena for all documents related to that chain and any other things related to Papadopoulos' efforts," said Andrew Wright, an associate professor at Savannah Law School and former associate White House counsel in the Obama administration. "There are so many more buckets of information that could come from this that will be of interest to investigators, if they haven't already been," Wright added. 

    Another likely outcome from the latest development in the Trump-Russia controversy is that individuals who were not previously at the center of the story may be of interest, both to special counsel Robert Mueller and to Congress. 

    The Russian connection appears to be filtering down from Trump's closest confidants — like Manafort, Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr. — to lower-level aides like Papadopoulos, said Deitz. "And this is definitely not the last we'll hear of it." 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The White House is undergoing renovations — here's how it changed after a massive facelift in the 1950s


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    Steve BannonPresident Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon indicated he is not optimistic about the stalemate between the US and North Korea over that country's nuclear weapons program.

    "There's no military solution, forget it," Bannon said in an interview with The American Prospect published on Wednesday.

    "Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us," Bannon said.

    Defense analysts have emphasized the threat of North Korea's ability to direct a sustained fire of artillery and rocket barrages, up to 300,000 rounds in an hour, to Seoul, South Korea's capital.

    Bannon did acknowledge he may support an agreement where China would persuade North Korea to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for removing US troops from the peninsula, but he called the deal unlikely, due to China's unwillingness to act. As noted by American Prospect writer Robert Kuttner, the reality of "mutually assured destruction" may be enough of a deterrent.

    "On Korea, [China's] just tapping us along," Bannon said. "It's just a sideshow."

    Instead, Bannon proposed harsh sanctions against China and said he is betting on Trump's plan to sign a measure that would open an investigation into intellectual property violations against American companies by Chinese firms. 

    Bannon claimed that the idea of sanctions against China were put on hold after the heated rhetoric between the US and North Korea escalated in recent weeks, Bannon said he's determined to "run the tables" on China. "We've come to the conclusion that they're in an economic war and they're crushing us."

    "It's in all their literature. They're not shy about saying what they're doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it's gonna be them if we go down this path."

    SEE ALSO: 'We're at economic war with China': Steve Bannon lays out China trade plans in wide-ranging interview

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    healthinsurerswearables

    This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Insurance companies have long based their pricing models and strategies on assumptions about the demographics of their customers. Auto insurers, for example, have traditionally charged higher premiums for parents of teenage drivers based on the assumption that members of this demographic are more likely to get into an accident.

    But those assumptions are inherently flawed, since they often aren't based on the actual behaviors and characteristics of individual customers. As new IoT technologies increasingly move into the mainstream, insurers are able to collect and analyze data to more accurately price premiums, helping them to protect the assets they insure and enabling more efficient assessment of damages to conserve resources.

    A new report from BI Intelligence explains how companies in the auto, health, and home insurance markets are using the data produced by IoT solutions to augment their existing policy pricing models and grow their customer bases. In addition, it examines areas where IoT devices have the potential to open up new insurance segments.

     Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • The world's largest auto insurers now offer usage-based policies, which price premiums based on vehicle usage data collected directly from the car.
    • Large home and commercial property insurers are using drones to inspect damaged properties, which can improve workflow efficiency and reduce their reliance on human labor.
    • Health and life insurance firms are offering customers fitness trackers to encourage healthy behavior, and discounts for meeting certain goals.
    • Home insurers are offering discounts on smart home devices to current customers, and in some cases, free devices to entice new customers.

    In full, the report:

    • Forecasts the number of Americans who will have tried usage-based auto insurance by 2021.
    • Explains why narrowly tailored wearables could be what's next for the health insurance industry.
    • Analyzes the market for potential future insurance products on IoT devices.
    • Discusses and analyzes the barriers to consumers opting in to policies that collect their data.

    To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

    1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
    2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

    The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of insurance and the IoT.

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    Electric Jukebox

    LONDON — Electric Jukebox, the British music hardware startup that makes a television set-top box for music streaming, says it plans to go public in the first half of 2018.

    The company makes a box that plugs into televisions which lets you use your television to navigate a music streaming service.

    The device costs £199 and doesn't require a monthly subscription.

    It has raised $14 million and claims it's going to IPO

    Electric Jukebox said that it has raised $14 million (£10.8 million) in funding from investors including CEO Rob Lewis, 50 high net worth individuals, and previous investor YOLO Leisure & Technology.

    YOLO Leisure & Technology is controlled by entrepreneur Nigel Wray, and a spokesperson for YOLO said the company owns 41% of Electric Jukebox.

    Electric Jukebox said that it intends to IPO in the first half of 2018 and list on AIM in London.

    Stephen Fry with the Electric Jukebox

    One rumour that has been floated before on how Electric Jukebox could go public is through a reverse takeover, which would involve it buying a company that's already public. However, Electric Jukebox denied that it plans to go public through that method and instead said that "the company is now planning an independent IPO in the first half of 2018. It will be an independent IPO not a reverse, despite earlier press coverage to the contrary."

    Electric Jukebox's journey to market was long and confusing

    The product was first announced in a London press conference in October 2015 that featured singer Alesha Dixon and comedian Alexander Armstrong.

    The initial launch date was Christmas 2015, but it was then delayed to Easter 2016. That release date fell through as well, and the product was finally released in November 2016.

    Alesha Dixon at the Electric Jukebox launch

    A US launch was also announced during the Electric Jukebox launch event, but it's only just happening — nearly two years after it was announced. Other changes made by the company include renaming the product to "ROXI" and cutting the pink version of its hardware.

    Celebrities and music industry figures have backed Electric Jukebox

    Robbie Williams with the Electric JukeboxThe company has relied on high-profile backers to raise its profile. Former Take That singer Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow, "Strictly Come Dancing" star Dixon, and Stephen Fry all posed for product photos with the device.

    The launch event was introduced by Armstrong and then-culture secretary John Whittingdale.

    Electric Jukebox said that its celebrity backers all have stakes in the business, along with other music industry and technology names including former U2 manager Paul McGuiness, former Bon Jovi manager David Munns, and TomTom founder Mark Gretton.

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    • Steve BannonWhite House chief strategist Steve Bannon spoke to the progressive-leaning magazine The American Prospect about his plans for US-China trade policy.
    • The call between Bannon and American Prospect writer Robert Kuttner covered a range of topics, including North Korea, Bannon's feuds within the Trump administration, and the fallout from a deadly Charlottesville protest.
    • Bannon has faced renewed calls for his firing this week.

    Steve Bannon shared some candid thoughts on a wide range of subjects with the progressive-leaning publication The American Prospect.

    The story published on Wednesday reveals Bannon's thoughts on President Donald Trump's US-China trade policy, his own views about the president's rancorous feud last week with the leader of North Korea, the deadly Charlottesville rally, and his ongoing feuds inside the Trump administration.

    The White House chief strategist also pitched what American Prospect writer Robert Kuttner described as a plan to "marginalize" his adversaries in the Trump administration.

    Bannon talked of Trump's plans to sign a measure that would open an investigation into intellectual property violations against American companies by Chinese firms. The law under which that measure was drafted, Section 301 of the US Trade Act of 1974, would allow Trump to place a tariff on another country without Congressional approval.

    The plans to reshape US-China trade policies do not end there, Bannon indicated. He talked of shifting people within the Trump administration to achieve expansive goals on that front.

    "I'm changing out people at East Asian Defense; I'm getting hawks in," Bannon said. "I'm getting Susan Thornton [acting head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs] out at State."

    Bannon continued: "That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. "We’re still fighting."

    Kuttner openly questioned why Bannon, a former executive of the far-right news outlet Breitbart, called him — a reporter for a progressive-leaning publication — to sound off about some of his biggest plans for the White House's economic agenda.

    Here's Kuttner:

     

    "Bannon explained that his strategy is to battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right. Hence the phone call to me."

     

    Bannon said later that he was unaware the conversation was on-the-record.

    Steve Bannon

    Working amid calls for his firing

    Bannon's comments came after days of scorching fallout from Trump's response to a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president has been dragged by Republican and Democratic leaders, and abandoned by CEOs of some of the biggest American corporations after Trump wavered in his denunciations of some hate groups involved in the violence.

    "Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element," Bannon said of the groups that organized the Charlottesville rally on Saturday, adding that "the media plays it up too much."

    "These guys are a collection of clowns," Bannon said.

    Some critics have pointed to Bannon, who they accused of influencing Trump's reactions to the violence in Virginia. Although Bannon spoke with Trump several times last weekend, according to the news website Axios, he "has not meaningfully advised" Trump on his response to Charlottesville, the publication said.

    Bannon's immediate future in the White House has also been called into question in the aftermath of Charlottesville, with several lawmakers urging Trump to fire him. Trump said during a fiery news conference on Tuesday: "We'll see about Mr. Bannon."

    SEE ALSO: Steve Bannon says 'there's no military solution' to US stalemate with North Korea

    DON'T MISS: 'We're at economic war with China': Steve Bannon lays out China trade plans in wide-ranging interview

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