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August 13, 2017

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday what President Trump so far has not: that the lethal vehicle attack on a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday was domestic terrorism.

"I certainly think any time that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism," McMaster told ABC host George Stephanopoulos. "It meets the definition of terrorism."

"But what this is, what you see here," he continued, "is you see someone who is a criminal who is committing a criminal act against fellow Americans — a criminal act that may have been motivated, and we'll see what's turned up in this investigation, by this hatred and bigotry which I mentioned we have to extinguish in our nation."

Watch a clip of McMaster making similar remarks on NBC News below. Bonnie Kristian

August 13, 2017

Charlottesville, Virginia, Mayor Mike Signer linked President Trump's campaign rhetoric to the white nationalist violence his city experienced Saturday while speaking in two interviews Sunday.

"I don't want to make this too much about Donald Trump," Signer said in an appearance on CBS, "but he should look in the mirror. I mean, he made a choice in his presidential campaign, the folks around with him, to, you know, go right to the gutter, to play on our worst prejudices. And I think you are seeing a direct line from what happened here this weekend to those choices."

In a conversation with CNN's Jake Tapper, Signer made a similar argument. "Look at the campaign he ran. Look at the intentional courting," Signer told Tapper, "on the one hand, all of these white supremacist, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up and condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed, all of those different efforts just like we saw yesterday, and this is not hard."

Still, Signer went on to say, "this is not about Donald Trump" but about a potentially hopeful future of American democracy. Watch part of Signer's CNN appearance below. Bonnie Kristian

August 13, 2017

"The president is not a representative of the political establishment class, so for whatever reason the people have made a decision that they want to eject him," fired White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview Sunday.

"I think there are elements inside of Washington, also inclusive in the White House, that are not necessarily abetting the president's interests or his agenda," Scaramucci claimed. When Stephanopoulos pressed him to "name names," Scaramucci referred back to his colorful public critiques of ousted White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Scaramucci also weighed in on President Trump's response to this weekend's violence in Charlottesville, which critics have charged did not adequately label and condemn the ideology, associations, and tactics of the white nationalist demonstrators. "I wouldn't have recommended that statement," Scaramucci said of Trump's remarks. "I think he would have needed to have been much harsher," he continued. "With the moral authority of the presidency, you have to call that stuff out."

Watch excerpts of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian

August 6, 2017

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in an interview on Fox News Sunday that he is ready to "devote whatever resources are necessary" and prosecute "anybody who breaks the law" to get executive branch leaks under control.

"What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leak? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is who is the leaker," he said. Still, Rosenstein cointinued, "if we identify somebody — no matter what their position is — if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we'll prosecute it."

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday suggested he might target members of the media who report based on leaks, Rosenstein claimed Sunday the "attorney general has been very clear that we're after the leakers, not the journalists," adding, "We don't prosecute journalists for doing their jobs." Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

August 6, 2017

The punitive sanctions levied against North Korea by the United Nations Security Council on Saturday show the United States is "not playing anymore," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a Fox News appearance Sunday. "A third of their trade exports have been hit, and we basically gave them a kick in the gut with a billion dollars of sanctions that they are going to begin to feel right away," Haley argued, describing the measure as "a really strong message."

Pressed as to whether she would consider a military option like "troops on the ground" in North Korea to deal with Pyongyang, Haley's response was a cautious non-denial. "We hope that we don't have to do anything," she concluded, "but all options have always been on the table and will continue to be on the table."

Read The Week's Harry J. Kazianis on how a pre-emptive U.S. strike on North Korea would be disastrous, and watch Haley's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

August 6, 2017

President Trump was merely acting as a good father when he responded to news that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer during the 2016 election, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway argued Sunday in an interview with ABC host George Stephanopoulos. "The president weighed in as a father. He did not dictate the statement," she claimed.

On Monday, The Washington Post reported the president did in fact dictate the misleading statement, contrary to his lawyer's initial claim of Trump's total uninvolvement. "Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had 'primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children' when they met in June 2016," the Post story said, citing "multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations."

Stephanopoulos continued to press the question of why the Trump team's narratives varied, but Conway responded by turning to topics including ObamaCare, Benghazi, and campaigning in Michigan. "There's nothing. There's nonsense. It was a ridiculous meeting," she said. "It was nothing. People want to offer their services and have meetings all of the time, believe me. I know you know this. But let's look at the consequence: no follow-up. No results."

Watch an excerpt of the conversation below. Bonnie Kristian

July 30, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made it clear he wants to "move on" from health care after the GOP's latest plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare stalled out — but President Trump "seems pretty stuck on the issue," said CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday in an interview with White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.

Mulvaney confirmed continued priority for health care is the Trump administration's official stance, telling Tapper Trump does want to see another vote on the issue before Congress votes on anything else. "In the White House's view, they can't move on in the Senate," he said. "You can't promise folks you're going to do something for seven years, and then not do it."

Mulvaney cast this dogged focus as "the president simply reflecting the mood of the people," a point on which Tapper was not quite persuaded, noting that polling indicates rising support for ObamaCare in light of the Republican alternatives. Watch Mulvaney's comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

July 30, 2017

A "Medicare for all" bill is forthcoming, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

"It seems like we're through" the Republican health-care debate, said host Jake Tapper, so "are you going to introduce single-payer?" "Absolutely, of course we are," Sanders replied. "You know, we're tweaking the final points of the bill, and we're figuring out how we can mount a national campaign to bring people together." Sanders decried the United States' unique situation as a major country without state-guaranteed health care, labeling congressional Republicans' stalled plan "crazy."

Tapper also brought up Sanders' 2020 ambitions, asking the senator if he intends to mount a second campaign for president. "I know, hard to believe!" Sanders joked, though he did not deny the possibility. However, he added, his current focus is on Senate business, not endless campaigning.

Watch two clips from the conversation below. Bonnie Kristian

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