On Monday, somebody shot down a Ukrainian military An-26 transport plane carrying food and water to Ukrainian troops trying to rout the pro-Moscow separatists gathered in their strongholds of Luhansk and Donetsk. The separatists claimed responsibility for the downing of the plane and said they captured four crew members, but Ukraine reportedly says it has "undisputed proof" that Russia was involved.
The airplane was flying at more than 21,000 feet, Ukraine says, putting it out of the reach of the shoulder-fired rockets the separatists have used so far. Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey said that the plane had been "downed by another, more powerful missile that probably was launched from the territory of the Russian Federation," either from a surface-to-air system or a Russian jet. Russia, for its part, is threatening Ukraine with "irreversible consequences" for an artillery round that fell in Russian territory, killing a civilian.
NATO says that Russia has been slowly increasing its troop levels near the Ukraine border, with up to 12,000 troops in the area, from about 1,000 in mid-June. The U.S. is also accusing Russia of sending heavy weapons and military personnel to help lead the separatists in their battle against Kiev. "While Russia says it seeks peace, its actions do not match its rhetoric," the U.S. government said in a statement. Peter Weber
Republicans who implicitly or explicitly support Roy Moore, the Alabama GOP nominee for Senate, despite the credible accusations that he sexually assaulted or harassed teenage girls as young as 14, tend to point to his support for tax cuts or opposition to abortion and transgender rights. Moore is still in a competitive race against Democrat Doug Jones in part because Alabama is about half evangelical Christian, and many evangelical Christians and their leaders either give Moore the benefit of the doubt or, like Gov. Kay Ivey (R) say they believe Moore's accusers but will vote for him anyway.
The Southern Baptist and other evangelical Christian leaders who support Moore are vocal about it, but the ones who don't, for a variety of reasons, are "reticent," says New York Times religion reporter Laurie Goodstein, who spoke to many of them. And of the ones who are vocal about their support, Earl Wise, a pastor from Millbrook, wins the prize for worst defense of Moore, so far.
"I don't know how much these women are getting paid, but I can only believe they're getting a healthy sum," Wise told The Boston Globe, which contacted pastors on a list shared by Moore and his wife. (Ten responded to the Globe, including Wise, whose church and religious affiliation are not noted, though he appears to be a real estate agent and pastor at Hunter Station Baptist Church.) "How these gals came up with this, I don't know. They must have had some sweet dreams somewhere down the line," he said, adding, "Plus, there are some 14-year-olds, who, the way they look, could pass for 20."
CBS This Morning hosts Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King delivered powerful, shaken reactions Tuesday morning to the news that their co-host, veteran journalist Charlie Rose, was suspended following eight women's accusations of sexual harassment. "Let me be very clear," said O'Donnell, looking firmly into the camera. "There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive, and I've been doing a lot of listening."
“This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women. Let me be very clear. There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive and I've been doing a lot of listening." -- @NorahODonnell pic.twitter.com/9P69QN7spu
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) November 21, 2017
King was also deeply affected by the news. "I am really reeling," she said, calling the Washington Post article that first reported the allegations "deeply disturbing, troubling, and painful for me to read."
"Oprah called me and said, are you okay? I am not okay," King said. She explained: "I'm really struggling, because how do you — what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible?"
King added that despite her conflicted feelings, "Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn't get a pass from anyone in this room." Watch her comments below. Jeva Lange
“I really am reeling. I got 1 hour & 42 minutes of sleep last night, both my son and my daughter called me. Oprah called me and said, are you okay? I am not okay. After reading that article in the Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read.” - @GayleKing pic.twitter.com/EQoEBHFkUr
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) November 21, 2017
Stephen Colbert started his interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday's Late Show by commiserating about President Trump, and then he threw her a curveball, noting that Warren and Trump both agree the 2016 Democratic primaries were "rigged." Warren took the opportunity to "clarify" her comments to CNN's Jake Tapper, then more cheerfully turned to the Democratic mini-wave in 2017, and her party's — and her own — chances in 2018, when she's up for re-election. "What about 2020?" Colbert asked, nodding to Warren's possible presidential aspirations.
She didn't bite. Democrats have to fight hard now, this week, Warren said, pointing to the GOP tax plan, which she called "$1.5 trillion in giveaways for giant corporations, for billionaires," paid for by working families. "This is about numbers, but it's about values," she said. "I don't believe one middle class person in America should have her taxes raised in order to do tax giveaways to billionaires and giant corporations."
Colbert played devil's advocate, earning a groan from the crowd and an eye-roll from Warren by bringing up trickle-down economics. "We have the data — trickle-down doesn't work," Warren said. "When you help the rich get richer, the rich get richer, and they keep it." CEOs have been admitting that on earnings calls for months, she added, urging people to call lawmakers, tweet, and take to the streets.
Colbert asked Warren if she thinks Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) should step down. She said she "was just enormously disappointed about this," but Franken will answer his "serious" sexual harassment allegations before the Senate Ethics Committee. "We're going to watch this thing play out with famous men," Warren said, but the big question is if this "moment in America" will be just "a big flash and then nothing really changes." We'll know this change is real, she said, when jerks in the office no longer feel it is safe to sexually harass their female coworkers or employees. Peter Weber
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in Sochi, Russia, on Monday, the Kremlin announced Tuesday. Assad thanked Putin "and all Russian people" for "the efforts that Russia made to save our country," and Putin said Russia's "joint operation to fight terrorists in Syria, this military operation is indeed coming to an end." Putin and Assad use the word "terrorists" to describe both Islamic State militants and Syrians who oppose Assad in the civil war that has roiled Syria since March 2011.
More than 400,000 people have been killed in the war and millions of Syrians fled to Europe and elsewhere, and Russia's use of military force on Assad's behalf starting in 2015 tipped the war decisively in Assad's favor. This was only Assad's second trip out of Syria since his harsh crackdown on protesters led to war, following an October 2015 visit to Russia. On Wednesday, Putin is hosting the leaders of Iran, which also backed Assad, and Turkey, which supported the opposition.
Video and photos released by Russia show Putin and Assad embracing and meeting with Russian generals and other military leaders. "I would like to introduce you to people who played a key role in saving Syria," Putin told Assad.
Stephen Colbert kicked off Monday's Late Show with the news that Monday is hard, as demonstrated in the foiled plans of a Weather Channel cameraman to document the implosion of the Georgia Dome. "Can a bus drive in front of 2017 for a while?" he asked. "Or maybe just park in front of Charlie Rose?" But "Monday also means that it's time to dig through Trump's weekend tweets," he said, and so he did.
Colbert started with President Trump's demand for thanks from the three UCLA basketball players on whose behalf he interceded after they were arrested for shoplifting in China. When one of their fathers shrugged of Trump's role, he hit back, suggesting he should have left the UCLA players in Chinese jail. Colbert raised an eyebrow: "Mr. Trump, I know you're upset, but maybe now's not the time to be implying that someone's kids should go to jail for what their dad did."
Trump also hit back at Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), after Flake was caught on mic saying if the GOP is the party of Trump and Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore, "we are toast." Colbert protested. "Sen. Flake, that is a little too hard on toast," he said, poking at Moore. "May I remind you, sir, toast doesn't cruise the mall looking for dough that hasn't risen yet." He found Trump's counterpunch tweet equally iffy. "Either he misspelled the abbreviation for microphone," he said, "or he's implying that Sen. Flake was caught 'on Mike,' which does not sound like something Vice President Pence would be into, but if so, good for you — live your best life, sir."
Colbert was pleased that Trump will keep a ban on elephant trophies, but also a little confused. "Are we supposed to thank Trump for not doing a terrible thing that nobody was talking about doing until his administration was gonna do it?" he asked. Watch below. Peter Weber
Meet Lawrence of Abdoun, the British Embassy in Amman's new diplocat.
Named after T.E. Lawrence and adopted last month from a Jordan animal shelter, he resides at the embassy in Amman's Abdoun neighborhood. "Apart from his mousing duties, he reaches out to followers on Twitter," Deputy Ambassador Laura Dauban told Reuters. "What's quite interesting is the British public are seeing the U.K. embassy in Jordan in a different light. Through Lawrence's Twitter account, we're trying to show a different side to Jordan, what it is really like, a peaceful, prosperous country that British tourists should come and visit."
He isn't the only cat working for the U.K. government — in fact, he reports directly to Palmerston, the chief mouser at London's Foreign Office. Catherine Garcia
— Lawrence of Abdoun (@LawrenceDipCat) November 9, 2017
Trump adviser equates Roy Moore's alleged child predation with Doug Jones' support for abortion rights
Republicans may be stuck with Roy Moore as their nominee for a Senate seat in Alabama, but many of them are making the best of it. President Trump has decided not to join other GOP leaders in calling for Moore to quit the race amid credible allegations that he fondled or sexually assaulted teenage girls as young as 14 and pursued sexual relationships with others, and his advisers are coming up with reasons Alabamians might want to vote for Moore over Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor. For Kellyanne Conway, that reason was tax cuts; for Trump supporter and former economic adviser Stephen Moore, it was abortion rights.
On CNN Monday night, Moore echoed the White House line that Alabama voters should decide if they want to be represented in the Senate by Roy Moore, who Stephen Moore called "kind of a creep," or Jones, who he said is "no saint, either." Jones, he told CNN's John Berman, "is for partial birth abortion in a state that's highly Christian and Catholic, so there's no moral high ground here between the two candidates." Berman protested, "Except one is an alleged child molester." Moore responded, "Yeah, and the other one is for partial birth abortion, which a lot of people in Alabama think is tantamount to murder."
This guy compared Doug Jones’ position on abortion to Roy Moore molesting children. Yes, you read that correctly. pic.twitter.com/2fbXRIZd1Z
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) November 21, 2017
Alabama is 49 percent evangelical Protestant and 7 percent Catholic, according to Pew, but with Roy Moore's moral stock falling, Republicans are bringing up abortion a lot as a reason not to vote for Jones. Jones told AL.com earlier this month: "I fully support a woman's freedom to choose to what happens to her own body. ... Having said that, the law for decades has been that late-term procedures are generally restricted except in the case of medical necessity. That's what I support." Peter Weber