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July 16, 2014

The American League beat the National League in the 85th annual midsummer MLB All-Star game on Tuesday night, a 5-3 victory that will mostly be remembered as a big stop on Derek Jeter's farewell tour. Jeter, the career New York Yankee shortstop, and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, are both stepping down at the end of this season.

Jeter went 2-for-2 before leaving the game in the fourth inning, prompting a 3-minute ovation from the sellout crowd at Target Field in Minneapolis. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout won the game's Most Valuable Player award, after hitting a double and a triple, and swatting in two of the AL's five runs. Jeter got the big applause, but Trout — 22 and about to start a six-year contract worth $144.5 milliongot a new Corvette convertible. You can watch Jeter's ovation below. --Peter Weber

9:00 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped libel lawsuits against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS over last year's publication of a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, Politico reports. Among its other allegations, the dossier claims Cohen "secretly [met] with several Russian Presidential Administration (PA) Legal Department officials" in Prague in August 2016 and that he is "heavily engaged in a cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of Trump's relationship with Russia being exposed."

Cohen has repeatedly denied going to Prague, tweeting in January 2017 after the publication of the dossier that he had never visited the Czech city "in my life." McClatchy wrote a week ago that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has "evidence that … Cohen secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign," adding that if their reporting is true, "it would … be one of the most significant developments thus far in [Mueller's] investigation of whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin worked together to help Trump win the White House." Cohen replied by tweeting again "no matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague."

Cohen is also wrapped up in a suit brought by adult film star Stormy Daniels, and pursuing the libel case "could have [made it] difficult for Cohen to convince that judge to put Daniels' case on hold while Cohen continued to press civil suits in other federal courts," Politico writes.

In a statement, Cohen's attorney David Schwartz said: "We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen's rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits." Jeva Lange

8:26 a.m. ET
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President Trump entered office believing that his legacy-defining deal would be Middle East peace, but he doesn't talk about that anymore — "the peace deal looks dead and cremated," so "there's very little point," says Jonathan Swan at Axios. Instead, Trump now sees the North Korea situation as his "great man" moment, Swan reports, and "sources close to him say he genuinely believes he — and he alone — can overcome the seemingly intractable disaster on the Korean Peninsula."

Trump "definitely thinks it's a duel of personalities," a source familiar with the president's thinking on North Korea tells Axios. Another added, "He thinks, 'Just get me in the room with the guy [Kim Jong Un] and I'll figure it out.'" People close to Trump told Swan that Trump viewed his Twitter brinkmanship with Kim as "pretty intentionally calibrated," though one source said, "I'm not sure people thought it was a coherent strategy, and certainly I don't think the Pentagon signed off on it." And Trump's aides are much more skeptical than the president about the chances of success in the Trump-Kim summit, if it happens.

All "great men" probably faced skeptics, too, and personally tackling the North Korea standoff is a high-risk proposition for Trump that promises high rewards, if successful. If not, North Korea is a burgeoning nuclear power. "If the meeting, when I'm there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting," Trump said at a press conference Wednesday. Peter Weber

7:09 a.m. ET

President Trump sent off his first tweet mentioning Stormy Daniels on Wednesday morning, commenting on a post by a Scottish Trump super-fan comparing the sketch Daniels released of the man she said threatened her to keep quiet about Trump with a photo of her ex-husband. Jimmy Kimmel had a little background on the Scottish woman who started the meme, suggesting Trump get a restraining order against her, but he found the entire episode "absolutely nuts. Reportedly, his advisers tried to convince him that he would only make things worse if he addressed this on Twitter," Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live, "but you know that's like telling a 4-year-old with a squirt gun not to shoot you with it — you're going to get wet."

"So he tweeted, and he called it 'fake news,' which is his thing," Kimmel said. "President Trump seems to be confused about what is and isn't fake news, so to help out — because we're all about helping out here at this show — we asked a local third grader named Noah to break it down for the president in a very simple way." And Noah, 9, did just that, adorably and concisely. Watch below. Peter Weber

6:43 a.m. ET
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Missouri's embattled Republican governor, Eric Greitens, and its Republican attorney general and likely U.S. Senate nominee, Josh Hawley, are in an increasingly bitter feud over the legality and ethics of Greitens' activities in the run-up to his gubernatorial election. The St. Louis prosecutor has already indicted Greitens on one felony count for alleged invasion of privacy stemming from a messy extramarital affair with his hairdresser, and on Wednesday, Hawley announced he had uncovered "potentially criminal acts" by Greitens related to the use of the donor list for his charity. On Tuesday night, Greitens filed for a restraining order to bar Hawley from investigating him, The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday night.

Greiten's motion says that Hawley compromised any investigation into the governor's conduct when he called on him to resign, after the state House released a brutal report detailing the former mistress' allegations of violent behavior. "Hawley must recuse himself and his entire office from any investigation or prosecution related to Gov. Greitens or the governor's office," the motion reads, arguing that any investigation must be conducted by "a court-appointed special prosecutor independent of the (attorney general's office)."

A spokeswoman for Hawley's office, Mary Compton, called the recusal motion "frivolous" and said "we look forward to arguing this matter in court. ... The attorney general called for the governor's resignation because the House Investigative Committee reported substantial evidence of sexual, violent misconduct by the governor," not because of the charity list issue, she added. "The fact that the governor has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct does not mean he is exempt from investigation into other wrongdoing." Peter Weber

5:30 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert began Wednesday's Late Show interview with actress and gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon by warning New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to watch out for his "formidable opponent," because Nixon beat Colbert for a Grammy. He asked why Nixon was running under the banner "Cynthia for New York," not the more alliterative "Nixon for New York"? "My mother used to say that she grew up during World War II with a father named Adolph and then she lived through the 1970s with a husband named Nixon," she replied. "So I am aware of the dubious nature of my last name, but I have to say, if I was given a choice, I'd rather be the good Nixon than the bad Cuomo."

Nixon said she's running for governor "because I'm a lifelong New Yorker, and I love this state, and I just know we could do so much better." Colbert stopped her when she said Cuomo is governing like a Republican, asking for specifics. Nixon replied that New York should fully fund public education and be more like California and Oregon in leading the way on renewable energy, campaign finance reform, voting rights, and criminal justice reform.

Nixon said she's 100 percent serious about becoming governor, and Colbert stepped in to play "the governor's advocate," asking her if "we need another celebrity in office," and "should governor of New York be the first job you have" in politics? Nixon said she's not at all like President Trump, and celebrity is just a platform, and what matters is how you use it. She explained her support for legalizing recreational marijuana as primarily "a racial justice issue," not a drug one. "For all intents and purposes, for white people, marijuana has ... effectively been legal for a long time," she said, "and I just think it's time to make it legal for everybody else." Watch below. Peter Weber

4:46 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert kicked off Wednesday's Late Show by declaring he's "still riding high" from Tuesday night's interview with former FBI Director James Comey. "I'm not sure if the president saw the interview — I hear he doesn't watch TV hosts who don't share his lawyer," he joked, but one "seemingly out-of-nowhere" tweet suggests he might have. Either way, the interview "is already healing a nation," he said, because "James Comey is now friends with the Wu-Tang Clan." (Unlike Jeff Sessions.)

"Speaking of unlikely duos," Colbert said, CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea — and he's not even secretary of state yet. "Apparently now, just anyone can have face-to-face talks with the leader of North Korea." He said he hopes the denuclearization talks are successful, and he couldn't believe "Trump kept something this big secret. How did he do it? I mean, the only possible explanation is that Michael Cohen paid him $130,000 to stay quiet about it."

The Late Show also imagined Kim's reaction to Pompeo's visit, and yes, it includes a Dennis Rodman reference.

Russian sanctions are dividing the White House, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announcing new sanctions Sunday — before Trump then scrapped the idea over the objections of his advisers. "We tried to get a follow-up from Nikki Haley, but it's so hard to reach her under that bus," Colbert said. Trump reportedly got so angry watching Haley announce the sanctions on TV, he shouted "Who wrote that for her?" at the screen. "Fun fact, Mr. President," Colbert said: "Not all women are under legally binding agreements about what they can say."

"Trump may be angry because he accidentally appointed someone competent," but Republicans are reportedly suspicious that Haley and Vice President Mike Pence are conspiring to run together in 2020, Colbert said. "That is absurd. Mike Pence can't be on a ticket with a woman who's not his wife." Peter Weber

4:01 a.m. ET
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

On Wednesday, South Korea confirmed that it has been in talks with the U.S. and North Korea about negotiating a treaty to formally end the Korean War, which stopped in 1953 with an armistice signed by America, China, and North Korea. South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said that he, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, and other Trump administration officials "held in-depth discussions" last week in Washington "on various ways of how to end hostilities and eventually establish a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are meeting in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on April 29, and President Trump confirmed Wednesday that he sent CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with Kim earlier this month to help lay the groundwork for a Trump-Kim summit in late May or June. On Tuesday, Trump said Kim and Moon "have my blessing to discuss the end of the war."

Negotiating a formal peace treaty would require the participation of China and the U.S. as well as the Koreas. A spokeswoman for China's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that "China's attitude is open and supportive to any peaceful means to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue through consultations," but Cheng Xiaohe, a North Korea expert at Beijing's Renmin University, told The New York Times that Trump's hard line on trade "is complicating and undermining cooperation." If the U.S. wants to sign a treaty with Pyongyang, "it has to talk to China, and the United States has to recognize North Korea diplomatically," Cheng added. "A treaty is not a memorandum or a communiqué."

It's an open question what Pyongyang would give up or demand in the treaty — a withdrawal of America's 28,500 troops from South Korea would probably be a nonstarter, for example, but a reduction might align with Trump's goals and China's. You can read more about the sticking points at The New York Times. Peter Weber

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