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August 5, 2014
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The New York Times reports that a U.S. Army major general was shot dead by an Afghan soldier on Tuesday in Kabul, citing Afghan media reports and an unnamed official with the U.S.-led coalition. "The officer was the highest-ranking member of the American military to die in hostilities in the Afghanistan war," according to The Times.

Others were also reportedly shot at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, including foreign and Afghan soldiers. Agence France-Presse reports that 15 people were wounded overall. The major general's name was not released.

These so-called green-on-blue shootings — carried out either by Taliban infiltrators or Afghan army recruits who have grown disillusioned with the coalition effort — have been a common feature of the war in Afghanistan, undermining coalition efforts to train and equip the Afghan army.

The shooting comes against a backdrop of deep political instability in Afghanistan, with the two candidates in the country's June presidential runoff vote accusing each other of rigging the results.

UPDATE: The New York Times has identified the slain officer as U.S. Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, a 55-year-old logistics expert. Greene is the highest-ranking U.S. officer killed by hostile action abroad since the Vietnam War, The Times adds. Later on Tuesday, an Afghan police officer fired on a group of U.S. soldiers in eastern Paktia Province, but none of the Americans were wounded before the shooter was killed. Ryu Spaeth

7:02 a.m. ET

When Forbes launched the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans in 1982, Donald Trump made the cut at $100 million. He and his lawyer Roy Cohn complained to Forbes that $100 million was too small, Jonathan Greenberg, an investigative journalist who interviewed Trump for the issue, recounts in The Washington Post, but decades later, he learned that "Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million" and "should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all." In 1984, when Trump was pushing to be labeled a billionaire, Greenberg got a call from "John Barron," who assured Greenberg that Trump owned virtually all of his father Fred's real estate assets.

We now know that "John Barron" was Trump's alter-ego — and that Trump is still obsessed with his Forbes ranking — and Greenberg writes that when he recently rediscovered the tapes, "I was amazed that I didn't see through the ruse." In fact, according to Fred Trump's will, he retained 100 percent ownership of his residential empire until his death in 1999. And instead of the 25,000 residential units Donald Trump claimed his family owned, valued at $20,000-$40,000 each, there were 8,000 to 10,000 units, each worth about $9,000, Greenberg said. He added that this deceit mattered:

I was a determined 25-year-old reporter, and I thought that, by reeling Trump back from some of his more outrageous claims, I'd done a public service and exposed the truth. But his confident deceptions were so big that they had an unexpected effect: Instead of believing that they were outright fabrications, my Forbes colleagues and I saw them simply as vain embellishments on the truth. We were so wrong. This was a model Trump would use for the rest of his career, telling a lie so cosmic that people believed that some kernel of it had to be real. The tactic landed him a place on the Forbes list he hadn't earned — and led to future accolades, press coverage, and deals. It eventually paved a path toward the presidency. [The Washington Post]

Greenberg has additional audio recordings and some more outrageous Trump financial details, and you can find them at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

5:27 a.m. ET

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal is now free to tell the world more about her purported 10-month extramarital affair with President Trump, and Stephen Colbert took a soft pass on Thursday's Late Show. But he had some thoughts on the debacle involving a Starbucks manager and Philadelphia police arresting two black men who had not purchased anything. The encounter, captured on cellphone video, prompted an apology from the CEO and chairman of Starbucks, and the Philadelphia police.

"That is a grievous racial injustice, and if you witness anything like this, for the love of God, don't film it in portrait mode!" Colbert aid. "Film it in landscape." Police released the 911 call, and it turns out the manager called in th complaint only 2 minutes after the men walked into the Rittenhouse Square Starbucks. "That's only 2 minutes later. 'Hello, 911, I'd like to report 120 seconds of sitting while being black,'" He said. "It's astounding that Starbucks employees would be so racially insensitive — after all, I'm pretty sure their logo is Beyoncé."

But Starbucks is dealing with the issue, closing 8,000 stores for an afternoon in May to instruct employees in "racial-bias education." "8,000 stores! That's almost all the locations on this block," Colbert joked. "I just wonder what this training session is going to be like for black Starbucks employees. 'Okay, guys, let's all settle down and listen while this nice white lady from HR tells us what racism is.'"

The Late Show also imagined a scenario in which not all black Starbucks customers would be thrilled with the training session, for a pretty obvious reason. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:41 a.m. ET
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

On Friday, South Korea announced that it had set up and successfully tested a hotline that connects President Moon Jae-in with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "The historic direct telephone line between the leaders of the South and North has been connected a short while ago," said South Korean presidential official Youn Kun Young. "The test call went on for 4 minutes and 19 seconds starting at 3:41 p.m. with (officials from) both sides speaking to each other. ... The connection was smooth and the voice quality was very good. It was like calling the next door."

Moon and Kim did not participate in the test call, but they are expected to use it to converse sometime before their historic summit next week. The leaders of North and South Korea have met only twice before since the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim is also in talks to hold a summit with President Trump in early summer, and South Korean officials say Kim has shown genuine willingness to negotiate away his nuclear weapons program. Still, "North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of 'denuclearization' that bears no resemblance to the American definition," The Associated Press notes, and it is not yet known what Kim is willing to put on the table. Peter Weber

4:26 a.m. ET

Everybody is talking about President Trump's peace efforts with North Korea, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "The president is busy preparing for the possible summit by not preparing," he said. "He's gonna wing it with a nuclear madman. That's like your surgeon going, 'We're just going to open you up and improvise.'" But if things don't go well with Kim Jong Un, Trump has an exit strategy. "What does he mean, he'll leave if the meeting is 'not fruitful'?" Colbert asked. "I mean, do either of these guys look like they know what a fruit is?"

Still, Trump may not have any plan when it comes to personal lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, Colbert said. "Apparently, Trump and his advisers are increasingly worried that Cohen might be susceptible to cooperating with federal prosecutors. The obvious answers: Michael Cohen just pays himself $130,000 to shut up."

One of Trump's legal advisers wondered how many years in prison Cohen would have to face to flip, and Colbert found the upper range a little implausible: "Fifteen-years loyal? Michael Cohen disclosed Sean Hannity's name in court after being asked twice. He's not 5-minutes loyal. And let's just pause a moment to notice that they have jumped immediately to whether Michael Cohen will turn state's evidence against the president of the United States to avoid jail time — which everybody believes is coming for at least one of these guys. The word 'innocent' is nowhere in this conversation. Even Justice is like, 'I'm blind, but I can smell fear.'" He had some advice for Cohen, too, and it involved not fishing on Lake Tahoe. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:54 a.m. ET

"Well, a coordinated smear campaign is underway against both Robert Mueller and James Comey, a joint effort by the president's supporters and Fox News, two groups which are increasingly indistinguishable from one another," Anderson Cooper said on CNN Thursday night. "The smear campaign includes a number of claims that are just plain false — the whole thing's frankly kind of weird, so stay with me here."

Cooper began with the quickly debunked claim by President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski that Comey had been in charge of the FBI during the Boston Marathon bombing — a story that, when confronted, he changed to something about Boston mobster Whitey Bulger. Lewandoski was just trying to "grasp at another straw in this bale of B.S.," Cooper said, and he traced the Bulger thread back to Alan Dershowitz, who was talking about Mueller. Dershowitz walked back his Mueller claim, but "of course, by then, the genie was out of the bottle, and the president's supporters, hellbent on smearing the Russian investigation, have taken said genie and run with it," he added. "And you know what that means — enter Sean Hannity." You can watch Cooper walk through and pull down these two allegations below. Peter Weber

3:13 a.m. ET

One of the more bizarre and eye-catching parts of the newly released memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote after his conversations with President Trump is a comment Trump reportedly made at a Feb. 8, 2017, meeting in the Oval Office.

"The president brought up the 'Golden Showers thing' and said it really bothered him if wife had any doubt about it," Comey recalled. "He then explained, as he did at our dinner, that he hadn't stayed overnight in Russia during the Miss Universe trip. ... The president said 'the hookers thing' is nonsense but that Putin had told him 'we have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.' He did not say when Putin had told him this."

That is a strange thing to say to an FBI director on your third-ever meeting — in their first, Comey had briefed Trump on the Russia dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, which included the unsubstantiated "golden showers thing" — but it is also odd because officially, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken only once, on a Jan. 28 phone call. Trump claimed to have met Putin several times between 2013 and 2016 — as CNN meticulously documents — including during a 2015 debate, though his story changed in 2016.

On Jan. 17, 2017, however, Putin said on TV: "I don't know Mr. Trump. ... I have never met him and I don't know what he will do on the international arena." And in that same speech, he made light of the Trump-prostitute allegation, saying Trump had met the most beautiful women in the world and so had no need for Moscow prostitutes, adding that "they are also the best in the world."

So, maybe Putin told Trump the same thing right after his inauguration, in their first conversation, or perhaps Trump saw the quip on TV and thought it was directed at him, or Comey might have misunderstood Trump's comment. The possibilities aren't quite endless, but they are curious. Peter Weber

2:01 a.m. ET

There was no hesitation — when Charlie Ball heard that his old high school classmate Kenneth Walker needed a kidney, he volunteered to donate if a match.

Ball and Walker both graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C., in 1969, and while they weren't friends, Ball recognized Walker's name when he saw an email from him in his inbox. Walker, a journalist, learned when he returned to the United States from South Africa 18 months ago that he needed a kidney transplant, and tried everything to find a match. A high school friend suggested he send an email to their old classmates, and Walker figured it was worth a shot; in his email, he wrote that he completely understood if no one felt comfortable being a donor, and he was happy to at least spread awareness regarding organ donation.

Ball responded within 15 minutes with his offer. Doctors told him they usually don't accept donors over 60, but because he's in good shape, it wouldn't be an issue, and after a battery of tests, it was determined he was a match. This week, Ball and Walker underwent surgery at George Washington University Hospital, with Walker — who called this an "example of humanity" — eternally grateful for the gift of life. "I'm giving him a piece of my body," Ball told WJLA. "It's simple enough. God gave me two, I don't have to wonder why." Catherine Garcia

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