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July 14, 2014

House Republicans' forthcoming lawsuit against President Obama is such a load of nonsense that it wouldn't fly in a reality TV courtroom, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Reid said Republicans were so "desperate" for a spectacle to embarrass the president that they'd concocted a scheme "worthy of daytime television." Yet their lawsuit, he added, was even too farfetched for that venue.

"They should go talk to Judge Judy," Reid said. "She would throw this case out in half a second." Jon Terbush

3:05 p.m. ET
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

London is poised to welcome its first-ever Muslim mayor to office Friday. While the votes are still being counted from England's "Super Thursday" races, Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan is currently projected to win the contest. Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver and seamstress, has 44 percent of the vote, while the Conservative Party's Zac Goldsmith has 35 percent.

Khan's win would offer a powerful voice to Britain's Pakistani community, as well as a larger challenge to the increasingly prevalent anti-Muslim rhetoric in the West. Final results are expected to be announced later Friday. Becca Stanek

2:38 p.m. ET
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday, Donald Trump said that as president, he might seek to reduce the national debt by convincing creditors to accept less than a full payment. "I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal," Trump said, in comments that the The New York Times claimed "have no modern precedent" coming from the mouth of a major presidential candidate. "If the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can't lose," Trump continued.

Experts have dismissed the idea that creditors would accept anything less than 100 cents on the dollar, no matter how good a businessman Trump might be. In fact, it might be because he's a businessman that Trump thinks the scheme could actually work:

Repurchasing debt is a fairly common tactic in the corporate world, but it only works if the debt is trading at a discount. If creditors think they are going to get 80 cents for every dollar they are owed, they may be overjoyed to get 90 cents. Mr. Trump's companies had sometimes been able to retire debt at a discount because creditors feared they might default.

But Mr. Trump's statement might show the limits of translating his business acumen into the world of government finance. The United States simply cannot pursue a similar strategy. The government runs an annual deficit, so it must borrow to retire existing debt. Any measures that would reduce the value of the existing debt, making it cheaper to repurchase, would increase the cost of issuing new debt. Such a threat also could undermine the stability of global financial markets. [The New York Times]

What's more, history shows that spooking investors away from taking a chance on relatively safe Treasury securities ends up costing taxpayers an arm and a leg. Read more about Trump's unprecedented plan — and what economists have said against it — in The New York Times. Jeva Lange

2:36 p.m. ET
John Sommers II/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) penned a letter to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Friday, accusing her of tipping the convention in Hillary Clinton's favor. Sanders says that out of the 45 names he submitted to serve on Democratic National Convention committees, Wasserman Schultz only appointed three, and filled the committees mostly with Clinton supporters:

I believe the composition of the standing committees must reflect the relative support that has been received by both campaigns. That was why I was so disappointed to learn that of the over 40 people our campaign submitted at your request, you chose to select only three of my recommendations for the three standing committees. Moreover, you did not assign even one of the people submitted by our campaign to the very important Rules Committee of the Democratic National Convention. [Bernie Sanders]

Sanders also wrote that if the issue was not resolved, he would have his delegates move to change the party platform and the convention rules. The DNC quickly responded, assuring Sanders that both candidates would be fairly represented at the July convention. "Because the Party’s platform is a statement of our values, the DNC is committed to an open, inclusive, and representative process," the DNC said in a statement. "Both of our campaigns will be represented on the Drafting Committee, and just as we did in 2008 and 2012, the public will have opportunities to participate." Becca Stanek

1:39 p.m. ET
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Many Latinos are offended by what they believe were Hillary Clinton's unsubtle attempts to win them over in East Los Angeles on Thursday, when the former secretary of state visited the historically Mexican-American neighborhood to host a Cinco de Mayo rally — and brought an eight-piece mariachi band with her.

Clinton's 13-minute speech on immigration was interrupted by six different protesters inside the building, Fusion reports; outside, more than 1,000 protesters tensely eyed dozens of police in riot gear and on horses. "We only matter when it's Cinco de Mayo," one protester's sign read.

Herbert Siguenza said he was at the protest because he "couldn't believe Clinton was in East L.A. on Cinco de Mayo. The Hispanic pandering is obvious." Another protester started yelling during Clinton's speech, holding up a sign with a quote from 2014, when Clinton said unaccompanied minors should not be allowed to stay in the States. Clinton has since reversed her stance to say minors would need legal representation to stay in the country.

"I was nervous, but then I saw the mariachis and it made me angrier. She was pandering," the protester, Jasmin Pacheco, told Fusion. Jeva Lange

12:40 p.m. ET
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Following the weakest job report in seven months, President Obama spoke to the press Friday about the economy and publicly called for Congress to raise the minimum wage.

"To reward some of the hardest working people in America, Congress should raise the minimum wage," Obama said, pointing out that by raising paychecks, people would also spend more and boost business.

Obama further asked Congress to "pass smart new trade agreements" to crack down on foreign competition as well as reform the tax code by closing wasteful loopholes. In addition for his call for action, Obama also explained the positives to the job report, which you can watch below. Jeva Lange

11:28 a.m. ET
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Justin Timberlake dropped his first single since 2013 at midnight Friday. Already an early contender for song of the summer, the pop star's aptly titled "Can't Stop the Feeling" is irresistibly upbeat. It was released with a first-look video, featuring stars Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick, and James Corden. Have a listen:

The stars and the song are set to appear in the upcoming DreamWorks animated feature Trolls, which hits theaters Nov. 4. Becca Stanek

11:22 a.m. ET
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Britain's Natural Environmental Research Council made a fateful mistake by allowing the internet to vote on a name for its new $287 million research vessel. On Friday, the Ministry officially vetoed the wishes of the 124,000 people who voted for the winning name, "Boaty McBoatface," and instead choose a more "suitable" name: "David Attenborough," a much duller option in honor of the famous naturalist.

But in an attempt to soften the blow, the Research Council announced they weren't scrapping the winning name entirely, The New York Times reports. "We're ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew," Science Minister Jo Johnson said.

There is one glaring problem with that plan, however:

Bon voyage, Boaty. Jeva Lange

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