July 30, 2014

From Politico:

Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner refers to some Republicans as "a--holes" and "crazies" in an exchange from 2012, according to emails released by House Republicans on Wednesday.

"Maybe we are through if there are that many a--holes," the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division wrote in an exchange with an unnamed non-IRS official, dated Nov. 9, 2012. Later she added: "We don't need to worry about alien terrorists. It's our own crazies that will take us down." [Politico]

Lerner at the time was at the center of a controversy in which Republicans had accused the IRS of targeting Tea Party groups for scrutiny. Ryu Spaeth

12:31 p.m. ET

Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber issued powerful impact statements in court on Friday at the sentencing of former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In total, Nassar, 54, is also accused of having sexually abused more than 130 of his patients during medical exams between 1998 and 2015; he was sentenced in December to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes, one of his three criminal cases.

Wieber, 22, had not previously revealed her abuse, and alleged Nassar began touching her inappropriately at the age of 14. "This was when he started performing the procedure that we are all now familiar with," Wieber said, adding: "Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of."

Raisman, 23, addressed Nassar directly: "Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice," she said. "Well you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice and I am only beginning to just use them."

Raisman also issued a scathing criticism of the institution that allowed Nassar to abuse her and her teammates. "Your abuse started 30 years ago," she said. "But that's just the first reported incident we know of. If over these many years just one adult listened and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided."

For his sexual conduct charges, Nassar has agreed to a minimum of 25 and 40 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life. On Thursday, it was reported that more than a dozen Michigan State University employees knew of their colleague's serial sexual abuse. Watch Raisman's powerful full testimony below. Jeva Lange

12:31 p.m. ET
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Forget surreptitious jaunts to Manhattan's Trump Tower — if you want to meet Donald Trump Jr., consider investing in Indian real estate.

The Guardian reported Friday that the first 100 buyers of luxury apartments in a new Trump building in Gurgaon, India, will be flown to the U.S. to hang out with President Trump's eldest son. The Guardian reports that the project's developers, Tribeca Developers and M3M, are not being subtle about their offer either, having adopted the phrase: "Buy a flat, meet Trump Jr."

The pitch has apparently worked, as the director for India-based M3M revealed in a statement last week that 20 apartments in the building had been sold — worth roughly $15 million in total. The Trump Towers in Gurgaon — which is about 20 miles south of Delhi — is the fifth Trump-branded property in India, The Guardian notes.

The Indian website for the project boasts that Trump-branded buildings have "become the most prestigious address that the most deserving people can get." But that's exactly the problem, former White House ethics chief Norm Eisen said. "Making Donald Jr. available to those who can afford it in a foreign land based on purchasing a property is an ethics atrocity," Eisen told The Guardian.

For those who can afford it, the apartments at the Trump Towers in Gurgaon are reported to cost between $500,000 and $1 million. Read more at The Guardian. Kelly O'Meara Morales

11:02 a.m. ET

Concerns over an injury to Tom Brady's throwing hand are apparently very, very real. After the New England Patriots quarterback missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, the betting line for Sunday's AFC championship game against the underdog Jacksonville Jaguars dropped from favoring the defending Super Bowl champs by as much as 10 points against the Jags to about 7.5, Covers writes.

Lines don't swing that much and that swiftly by accident. Some oddsmakers and sharps were clearly worried that Brady might actually miss the game.

The line's move worried sportsbook Bookmaker.eu enough "to take the game off the board entirely, meaning they weren't accepting wagers on this matchup until receiving more clarity regarding the severity of Brady's injury," The Action Network writes. Super Bowl futures bets were also yanked.

Reactions from fans ranged from panic to yawns. After all, this isn't exactly the first time Brady's health has been in apparent jeopardy before an important game. "Remember Brady's 'flu-like' symptoms before the 2014 AFC championship game in Denver?" Sports Illustrated writes. "Or the boot he was spotted in before Super Bowl XLII? In January 2005, he had a 103-degree fever the night before the AFC title game."

By 10:15 a.m. ET, the Patriots-Jags game was back on the board at Bookmaker at -7 with an over/under of 46, The Action Network reports, although the Super Bowl futures "remain off the board." Brady is scheduled to speak to the media later Friday. Jeva Lange

9:46 a.m. ET

Former Apprentice villain Omarosa Manigault Newman is rumored to have a penchant for recording confidential discussions and may be a person of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as a result, the New York Daily News reports.

Manigault Newman's last day as the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison is Saturday. While she claims to be leaving to "pursue other opportunities," the decision to bring "members of her 39-person bridal party to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for an extended wedding photo shoot" might be the most memorable moment in her short tenure, Politico writes.

Recently, though, Manigault Newman has allegedly been checking out high-profile attorneys, including Harvey Weinstein's former lawyer Lisa Bloom and Bill Cosby's former lawyer Monique Pressley, a person familiar with the meetings told the Daily News. "The 43-year-old apparently believes she may become a fixture in Mueller's investigation," the Daily News writes.

The person close to Manigault Newman said "everyone knows Omarosa loves to record people and meetings using the voice notes app on her iPhone. Don't be surprised if she has secret audio files on everyone in that White House, past and present staffers included."

Manigault Newman told Good Morning America in an interview in December that "when I have a chance to tell my story to tell — quite a story — as the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people, and when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear." Read more about what she might have caught on tape at the New York Daily News. Jeva Lange

9:43 a.m. ET

Don't expect President Trump to take a swim in the ocean anytime soon.

In an exclusive interview, InTouch Weekly met with adult film star Stormy Daniels to discuss her alleged affair with Trump in 2006. The Wall Street Journal reported that Daniels was paid by Trump's lawyer to keep quiet about the encounter during the 2016 campaign — but what she did reveal to InTouch Weekly is that that the president really, really does not like sharks. "He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks," she said.

Trump divulged his shark fixation to Daniels in a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where she said she met the mogul shortly after their initial tryst in Lake Tahoe, California. Daniels said that when she came into the room, she could see Trump was watching Discovery Channel's Shark Week. She added that Trump told her that while he donates to several charities, he would "never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope they all die."

Sharks have long been a concern for Trump. Politico's Josh Dawsey did some sleuthing and discovered that the president once prophesied a dark future in which sharks outlive humans:

The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold also pointed out that the Trump Organization hasn't given money to organizations that support Trump's least favorite sea creature. Kelly O'Meara Morales

9:12 a.m. ET

Almost a year to the day after the inaugural Women's March protest, Democratic women are on pace to make record-breaking contributions to midterm races, Bloomberg Politics reports. Democratic female candidates are especially benefiting from the surge, receiving 44.2 percent of their contributions from other women on average in the first three quarters of 2017, the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington found, while a record-breaking 266 Democratic women so far have said they have raised money for House races in 2018.

"Anyone who was committed to Hillary [Clinton] is committed to the bigger picture," explained one major Democratic donor, Susie Tompkins Buell. "These deep dark days have really brought the best out of women."

Trump is thought to have earned 41 percent of the women's vote in 2016, although Quinnipiac found this week that his disapproval rating among women is 63 percent, compared to 57 percent with Americans overall. Emily's List, a national organization committed to electing women, said some 26,000 people have been in touch about getting involved politically in 2018. In 2016, that number was just 920.

With the second annual Women's March set to take place this weekend, philanthropist and Clinton donor Barbara Lee told Bloomberg that 2018 "has the potential to be the year that women turn the tide and transform our country." Jeva Lange

8:13 a.m. ET

Canadian immigrant Mark Steyn expressed concern over the future of American society while defending white supremacists during a bizarre and alarming segment on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show Thursday night.

Steyn set out by mocking CNN's Chris Cuomo for claiming that "the real problem" in America is white supremacy, not undocumented immigrants. The white supremacists are "the real monsters," Steyn quoted Cuomo as saying, "not these hardworking illegal immigrants." Steyn added: "For the purposes of argument, let's just say [Cuomo is] right."

You might wonder where, exactly, Steyn could go from there. The answer is that he ruled that it is "irrelevant" if white supremacists are "monsters" because "the white supremacists are Americans. The illegal immigrants are people who shouldn't be here." Steyn then attempted to argue that "the organizing principle of nation states is that they're organized on the behalf of citizens, whether their citizens are cheerleaders or white supremacists or whatever. You're stuck with them."

Steyn additionally could not get over the fact that "the majority of grade school students in Arizona are Hispanic," deducing from this that "the border has moved north" while ignoring the fact that some 56.6 million people prove you can actually be both American and Hispanic at the same time, as ThinkProgress points out. Watch the full interview below. Jeva Lange

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