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August 12, 2017

A car reportedly plowed through peaceful protesters marching against an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. At least one person was reportedly killed and an unknown number of people injured. "A car appeared to deliberately mow down pedestrians," said an eyewitness.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer tweeted an announcement of the death and encouraged demonstrators to disperse:

Earlier on Saturday, city and county officials declared a state of emergency after violence broke out between white nationalist marchers and anti-racist counter-protesters; and Friday night, a smaller group of marchers assembled with torches on the University of Virginia campus chanting Nazi slogans in what Charlottesville's mayor called "a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance." Bonnie Kristian

11:10 a.m. ET
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President Trump and the GOP have been riding an approval rating wave ever since they passed their tax overhaul legislation in December, but a new poll released Wednesday appears to indicate that it won't be smooth sailing from here on out. Just 25 percent of voters say they have seen an increase in their paychecks since the legislation passed, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll found, while 51 percent say they've noticed nothing.

Even Republican voters aren't reporting a noticeable increase in their paychecks, with 43 percent saying any potential change has gone unobserved. Republicans do note changes more than the voter pool overall, though, at 32 percent.

"Our polling shows high-income earners are more likely to have noticed an increase in their paychecks as a result of the tax bill," said Morning Consult's chief research officer, Kyle Dropp. "For example, 40 percent of voters who earn more than $100,000 said they have noticed a pay increase in the past several weeks. In contrast, 33 percent of voters who earn between $50,000 and $100,000 and 16 percent of voters who earn under $50,000 said the same."

Overall, 45 percent of voters approve of the tax plan while 35 percent oppose it. The poll reached 1,989 registered voters between Feb. 15 and 19, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 points. Read the full results here. Jeva Lange

10:09 a.m. ET
DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images

CNN is hosting a town hall Wednesday with survivors of last week's mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. The National Rifle Association will be there too.

The NRA accepted CNN's invitation to partake in the town hall and will be represented by spokesperson Dana Loesch, CNN reports. Loesch will join Florida lawmakers Rep. Ted Deutch (D) and Sens. Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R), as well as the students and family of those who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed by a teenager armed with a semiautomatic rifle.

In the wake of the shooting, the teenaged survivors from the school have become vocal advocates for gun control, taking to various TV networks to make impassioned pleas for lawmakers to defend children against gun violence. They have also slammed politicians for taking money from the NRA, as the organization has historically been opposed to assault weapons bans and other reforms suggested by the Parkland survivors.

The students have additionally encouraged voters to vote politicians who take money from the NRA out of office. CNN notes that Rubio is one such politician, as he received nearly $10,000 from the NRA's Political Victory Fund in the 2016 election. While the NRA and Rubio accepted the invite to join the town hall and face the Parkland survivors, CNN says two other notable figures did not: President Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

The town hall is titled Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action and will be hosted by Jake Tapper. It airs at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday. Kelly O'Meara Morales

9:37 a.m. ET

Jeff Sessions is back in the doghouse. On Wednesday, President Trump took to publicly bashing his attorney general by slamming the Justice Department for its failure to investigate the Obama administration over Russian meddling:

While the misspelled name is an especially brutal touch, it is not Trump's first time airing his grievances about Sessions. In November, Trump refused to answer whether or not he was considering firing Sessions, adding: "A lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me." At the time, Trump was primarily concerned with the fact that the department wasn't investigating Hillary Clinton's former campaign chairman John Podesta "and all of that dishonesty."

Trump has reportedly privately ripped Sessions too, expressing fury over the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller last May. "Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions that choosing him to be attorney general was one of the worst decisions he had made, called him an 'idiot,' and said that he should resign," The New York Times reports. Jeva Lange

8:41 a.m. ET
David McNew/Getty Images

Rev. Billy Graham, a Christian evangelist known as "America's Pastor," has died at the age of 99, NBC News reports.

Over the course of his more than 70-year career, Graham preached to an estimated 200 million people across 185 countries, and was granted personal audiences with several U.S. presidents and world leaders. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. credited Graham's influence, saying: "Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been."

Long a presence on television and radio, Graham retired in 2005, citing his health. Graham was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 25 years ago. Jeva Lange

8:38 a.m. ET
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump is quietly considering imposing federal age restrictions on the purchase of weapons like the AR-15, which was used in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting last week, Axios reports. "Nothing has been decided, or is close to decided, on the age question," Axios adds, based on a conversation with a person close to the president, although Trump has reportedly told people in his orbit that he does not believe high schoolers should be able to buy guns.

As the laws stand now, federally licensed dealers cannot sell weapons like a rifle or shotgun to a person under 18, or a handgun to someone under 21. Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, bought two of at least 10 of his firearms following "normal protocol for Florida" at Gun World of South Florida in Deerfield Beach, CNN reports.

Trump announced Tuesday that he is directing the Justice Department to propose a ban for bump stock firearm modifications. Separately, Florida lawmakers denied a motion to bring an assault weapons ban to a vote Tuesday night.

Trump meets Wednesday for a listening session with high school students and teachers at the White House. Teens have widely pushed for gun reform after the Parkland shooting, with 17-year-old survivor David Hogg insisting: "Without action, ideas stay ideas and children die." Jeva Lange

8:03 a.m. ET

The normally staid New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared "code red" in a recent column, warning that when it comes to Russia, President "Trump's behavior amounts to a refusal to carry out his oath of office — to protect and defend the Constitution" and "must not be tolerated." The "biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office," he said. The column went viral, and Chris Cuomo had Friedman on CNN's New Day on Wednesday to discuss his concerns.

"Our country is at stake," Friedman said. "Our president is a disturbed person. And he's behaving in ways that are simply inexplicable, that tell you that he is either compromised because the Russians have been funding his companies in ways that he would find embarrassing if publicly disclosed — that's why he hasn't shown us his tax returns — or he's compromised because of maybe behavior he engaged in while in Moscow, or he is simply a towering fool who is ignoring the advice of his intelligence chiefs being made in public."

Trump's dismissal of Russian interference in America's democracy is "deeply disturbing behavior," Friedman said. "If America doesn't lead, I promise you, your kids ... will grow up in a world where nobody will lead," he warned. "Our president is a disturbed person," and "what magnifies it is that his party is complicit. ... You know that if Hillary Clinton had done one of the things that Donald Trump has done, let alone the whole totality of them, we would be in impeachment hearings right now." "There is a toxic partisanship at play, there's no doubt about that," Cuomo agreed. Watch below. Peter Weber

8:00 a.m. ET

The White House has repeatedly insisted that just because Special Counsel Robert Mueller reached the conclusion that Russian agents "conspired to obstruct the lawful functions of the United States government through fraud and deceit," it does not mean that foreign actors actually had a tangible impact on the 2016 election. "The results of the election were not impacted," President Trump insisted last week. "The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!"

Fox News' Shep Smith thinks such claims are hogwash. Speaking Tuesday after Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "we know from the Russia indictment that there was no collusion," Smith put the breaks on the administration's attempts to brush Mueller's report aside. "That is not true," Smith said, adding that Fox News reports the probe into possible collusion is "a separate investigation" altogether.

Smith additionally had no patience for the administration's spin on the integrity of the 2016 election. "The White House is trying to say it's incontrovertible the Russian meddling had no impact on the election," he said. "That is not true, it's an open matter." Watch Smith break it down below. Jeva Lange

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