July 27, 2014

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Sunday succinctly summed up her view of what the world is like right now: It's a hot mess.

Appearing on Face the Nation, Albright said there were "two huge game-changers" that had shaken the world, one being Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the other being the handful of conflicts in the Middle East, most notably Israel's offensive in Gaza.

"There are an awful lot of things going on that need understanding and explaining," she said. "But to put it mildly, the world is a mess." --Jon Terbush

5:11 p.m. ET

The Pulitzer Prize-winning bipartisan fact-checking group PolitiFact recently blasted Donald Trump's threats of widespread voter fraud as being "pants-on-fire" untrue, and President Obama tried to emphasize as much in Florida with a striking comparison. "You are much likelier to get struck by lightning than to have someone next to you commit voter fraud. You'd win the Powerball," Obama told the rally.

A Loyola Law School study found only 31 instances of voter fraud between 2000 and 2014. But if you still want to buy that Powerball ticket, go right ahead. Jeva Lange

4:43 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Donald Trump's foundation donated $10,000 to filmmaker James O'Keefe and his tax-exempt group, Project Veritas, in 2015, ThinkProgress reports — a donation that might raise eyebrows, especially as O'Keefe just released videos that allegedly show Hillary Clinton supporters bragging about trying to bait Trump supporters into attacks. Trump seized on the footage at the final presidential debate, claiming Clinton and President Obama "hired people" to "be violent, cause fights, [and] do bad things" at his rallies, although there is no evidence of either's involvement.

In fact, if anything it seems as if Trump is the one who comes out looking suspect:

Trump, who claimed in the same debate that Hillary Clinton "shouldn't be allowed to run" for president "based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things," was funding a convicted criminal. O'Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine in 2010 after taking a plea bargain following a botched "sting" attempt at the office of then-Sen. Mary Landrieu.

What's more, there is a great deal of reason to be skeptical of the videos themselves. O'Keefe has a long history of selectively editing videos to present a false impression to the viewer. His most famous video, an attack on the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, supposedly showed employees agreeing to help him smuggle underage prostitutes into the country. It turned out the employees later had called the police and O'Keefe eventually paid $100,000 in a settlement after being sued for surreptitious recording of someone's voice and image. [ThinkProgress]

ThinkProgress goes on to explain why the video Trump touted at the debate is not necessarily reliable — you can read the entire report here. Jeva Lange

3:53 p.m. ET

More than 70 million people tuned in to watch the final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Wednesday evening, leading CNN's Brian Stelter to deem the election the "highest-rated drama on TV." While the ratings didn't quite reach the same heights as they did for the first Clinton-Trump debate — 84 million — they did dwarf the final debates between Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008 (56 million) and Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 (59 million).

"That defies all the trends in TV. We're all watching our own things nowadays, the audience is fracturing into lots of little pieces, but that's not the case with these debates," Stelter said. Jeva Lange

3:40 p.m. ET

If you live anywhere between Atlanta and Los Angeles, you might not need to bother getting out your winter coat. Federal weather forecasters announced Thursday that it's looking like it will be a pretty mild winter in that southwest stretch of the country, thanks to the beginning of La Niña. The La Niña weather pattern, which Time reported is "characterized by below-average temperatures cross the equatorial Pacific," means the American Southwest will largely see "warm and dry weather" this winter; unfortunately, that won't do much to assuage the region's persistent drought, which forecasters now say could spread to the southern plains.

Folks in the northern area of the Midwest and in the Northeast mid-Atlantic won't be quite so lucky with the balmy temperatures: Forecasters said Midwesterners in the northern part of the region should anticipate a "colder and wetter" winter because of La Niña. In the Northeast mid-Atlantic, winter should be business as usual.

With this year's unusually warm weather, Mike Halpert of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center said Americans should expect the unexpected. "[R]egardless of the outlook," Halpert said, "there is always some chance for extreme winter weather." Becca Stanek

2:47 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Hours after a 10th woman leveled allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump, the candidate's campaign released a statement calling "these circus-like antics" the work of Hillary Clinton's team. Trump's deputy communications director Jessica Ditto said in a statement that Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing Trump's alleged victim Karena Virginia, was nothing more than a "discredited political operative" participating in a "coordinated, publicity-seeking attack with the Clinton campaign." "Give me a break," the statement said. "Voters are tired of these circus-like antics and reject these fictional stories and the clear efforts to benefit Hillary Clinton."

At a press conference Thursday, Virginia accused Trump of sexually harassing her and grabbing her breast at the 1998 U.S. Open. Virginia said Trump asked her, "Don't you know who I am?" Trump has repeatedly said he does not know the women who have come forward accusing him of unwanted sexual conduct, but Virginia said that regardless of whether Trump remembers her, she certainly remembers him. Becca Stanek

2:20 p.m. ET

Thanks to Donald Trump, Janet Jackson's 1986 hit "Nasty" is enjoying a resurgence. Spotify reported Thursday that since Trump called Hillary Clinton "such a nasty woman" at the third presidential debate Wednesday night, streams of Jackson's song have increased 250 percent.

In the lyrics, Jackson talks about how "nasty boys" who think "nasty thoughts" and aren't respectful "don't mean a thing" and "don't ever change." "Better be a gentleman, or you turn me off," sings Jackson, who was nominated this week for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

In celebration of the last presidential debate of the 2016 election, give the song a listen, below. Becca Stanek

2:17 p.m. ET

Independent cybersecurity firm SecureWorks has confirmed that Russian hackers broke into Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's Gmail account after he fell for a phishing scam, a report by Motherboard published Thursday revealed. Politico reported Podesta "unwittingly gave hackers access to his account by clicking a Bitly link that redirected him to a fake Google login page, where he entered his credentials."

SecureWorks determined Podesta was likely hacked by the same group, known as Fancy Bear, that is thought to be behind the recent breaches of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Fancy Bear is believed to be connected to Russia's military intelligence agency, and the Bitly account is just the latest piece of evidence linking the hacks to the Kremlin.

The hacks of Podesta's email, former Secretary of State Colin Powell's email, and other groups "were done using the same tool: malicious short URLS hidden in fake Gmail messages. And those URLs ... were created with a Bitly account linked to a domain under the control of Fancy Bear," Motherboard explained. Read their full report here. Becca Stanek

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