Bank of American has tentatively agreed to the single largest corporate settlement ever with the U.S. government, The New York Times reports, citing "people briefed on the matter." The deal, to settle charges related to the sale of sketchy mortgage-backed securities leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, will reportedly cost BoA about $16 billion, including $9 billion in cash.
The tentative civil agreement follows months of tough negotiating, and BoA finally proposed the $16 billion package after it lost a key case in U.S. District Court in New York City last month, eroding "what was left of the bank's negotiating leverage," say Ben Protess and Michael Corkery at The Times. An ultimatum from Attorney General Eric Holder — raise your offer or the Justice Department will sue — was the final ingredient. Most of the toxic mortgages were acquired when BoA bought Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch. Peter Weber
If you find it nearly impossible to keep up with the news these days, CNN's Brooke Baldwin has a handy summary of President Trump's past four weeks in office. Only, it takes Baldwin nearly three minutes to read through the entire list of bullet points.
"Let's all just take a moment, just remind you what has happened. Incredibly significant events, one after the other," said Baldwin. "In no particular order, President Trump in the last four weeks has: fires his chief strategist; fires his chief of staff; hires a new one; hires a new communications director; fires him — "
That would be enough for an entire summer, but Baldwin is barely getting started. Watch the entire recital below. Jeva Lange
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 18, 2017
There is a secret message waiting for readers of this resignation letter, penned by the members of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities:
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) August 18, 2017
The first letter of each paragraph spells "RESIST," keen-eyed readers on Twitter discovered. Kal Penn, who sat on the committee, confirmed the Easter egg was intentional.
The entirety of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned Friday over Trump's handling of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. "We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisers have, without speaking out against your words and actions," the committee wrote. "Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions. We took a patriotic oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Chief strategist Stephen Bannon is out at the White House, but in the words of The New York Times' Maggie Haberman, "Bannon is much more of a problem for the White House staff from the outside than inside it."
That's putting it mildly, at least if you ask people in the orbit of Bannon and Breitbart, the far-right publication Bannon might soon be returning to lead. In the words of Breitbart editor Joel Pollak, after all, this means #WAR.
Here are six dramatic quotes about the coming storm. Jeva Lange
One source close to Bannon tells me: "Winter is here."
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) August 18, 2017
2. Bannon "has a 'killing machine' in Breitbart News." [Axios]
3. Breitbart and Bannon will go "thermonuclear" against the "globalists." [Axios]
4. "Get ready for Bannon the barbarian." [Axios]
No, silly. We aren't going to #war now. I really wish Trump well for the remainder of his one term ;)
— Brandon Darby (@brandondarby) August 18, 2017
6. "If they get rid of Bannon, you know what's gonna happen? The motherlode. If Bannon is removed, there are gonna be divorces, because I know about the mistresses, the sugar babies, the drugs, the pill popping, the orgies. I know everything. If they go after Bannon, the mother of all stories is gonna drop, and we're just gonna destroy marriages, relationships — it's gonna get personal." [Alt-right leader Mike Cernovich via The Daily Beast]
When President Trump began to build his team back in November, he filled the ranks with loyalists, generals, and CEOs who were going to shake up Washington.
But just seven months in, it's the Trump White House that seems to be suffering the most upheaval.
Take this this photo from Jan. 28, which shows Trump surrounded by five members of his team:
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Less than six months later, just one — Vice President Mike Pence — still has his job, as political writer Yashar Ali pointed out in a tweet.
As for the rest? Well, let's take a spin around the circle, from left to right: Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was ousted on July 28, chief strategist Stephen Bannon is out as of Friday, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on July 21, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned on Feb. 13.
Pence? How you feeling over there, buddy? Lauren Hansen
On Friday, America learned that Stephen Bannon is packing up his conspiracy board and leaving the White House for good. Bannon's ousting has been rumored since the spring, with President Trump finally conceding his aide's future was uncertain earlier this week. Even Bannon admitted he'd didn't think he'd last more than eight months in Washington. (He was sworn in seven months ago next Tuesday.)
The former (and perhaps returning) head of Breitbart, Bannon has been vehemently opposed by the left since he was appointed. "Homophobia, misogyny, anti-Muslim fearmongering, fat jokes — no matter who you are, Bannon probably thinks you're inferior," The Huffington Post wrote last month.
Here are some of his most telling comments since entering the White House. Jeva Lange
On the chaos on Charlottesville, Virginia: "Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can't get enough of it." [The New York Times]
On the far right: "Ethno-nationalism — it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more … These guys are a collection of clowns." [The American Prospect]
(Reportedly) on Jared Kushner: A "cuck" and a "globalist" [The Daily Beast]
On his late-night conversations with former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus:
"We talk a lot, pretty much all day long," Priebus said. "And then we communicate at night —"
"Until we fall asleep," Bannon interjected with a laugh.
Priebus cut in, "Until somebody falls asleep … You fell asleep last night."
"I did," Bannon said.
"I think, like, a quarter to 11," Priebus added.
"I did," Bannon said.
"He became unresponsive," Priebus laughed. [New York]
On why former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stopped doing televised press conferences: "Sean got fatter." [The Atlantic]
On his to-do list: TAXES
On his hit list: "[Bannon] has told the president to keep a s--- list on this," one official said. "He wants a running tally of [the Republicans] who want to sink this … Not sure if I'd call it an 'enemies list,' per se, but I wouldn't want to be on it." [The Daily Beast]
On conflict in the White House: "I love a gunfight." [Axios]
Chief strategist Stephen Bannon was ousted from the White House on Friday, following a series of bizarre interviews this week that raised speculation of his imminent dismissal. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the decision was "mutually agreed" upon by Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly.
New York reporter Gabriel Sherman said Bannon is expected to return to Breitbart, the far-right news website he helmed before joining the White House. Not only that, however, but Sherman also reported that Bannon is "ramping up for war" against President Trump now that he's been fired:
Bannon friend says Breitbart ramping up for war against Trump. "It's now a Democrat White House," source says.
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) August 18, 2017
Meanwhile, Breitbart editor Joel Pollak added fuel to that fire in a tweet, which you can see below. Kimberly Alters
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) August 18, 2017
President Trump has decided to fire his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, two administration officials told The New York Times on Friday. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly "have mutually agreed that today would be Steve's last day."
It was initially unclear whether Bannon resigned his post or whether he was fired, though CNN reported Bannon "was offered" the option to resign, implying that if he had declined, he would have been unilaterally fired. The Times reported that contrary to what Trump has told aides, "a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia." Circa reporter Sara Carter said Friday that Bannon told her he resigned from the White House two weeks ago.
The former Breitbart executive chair "may return" to the website, Drudge Report writes. New York's Gabriel Sherman cited a "source close to Bannon" to confirm that Bannon is "expected" to return to the hard-right outlet.
In a series of interviews earlier this week, Bannon broke with the president to say there is "no military solution" to North Korea and he called the far right, who he helped Trump mobilize to win the election, "a collection of clowns." The Week Staff
This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.