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July 14, 2014
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The salvage operation for the cruise liner Costa Concordia has reached its final — and most dangerous — stage. The refloat operation for the ship was started at Giglio harbor at Giglio Island on Monday.

The refloat operation, during which crews will use special flotation devices called "sponsors," is a record attempt in heavy lifting — the capsized Costa Concordia weighs 114,500 tons. If the operation is successful, the ship will be towed to Genoa, Italy, where it will be broken down. If the ship is ruptured, however, its toxic chemicals could be spewed into the ocean.

The Costa Concordia veered off course in January 2012, running aground of Giglio Island and killing 32 people. Francesco Schettino, the former captain of the Costa Concordia, is on trial for manslaughter. Russel Rebello, an Indian waiter, is the only victim whose body has not been recovered, and the operation will include surveying the wreckage for Rebello's remains.

In September 2013, the ship was turned upright after a 19-hour operation and was secured on an artificial platform. The refloat operation is expected to take between five and seven days, plus another four to five days to tow the ship to safety. Meghan DeMaria

1:15 p.m. ET
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Late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Academy Awards, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. It will be Kimmel's first time hosting the awards show, although he has hosted the Emmys twice. The Emmys suffered their lowest ratings ever after the Jimmy Kimmel Live! star hosted this past September.

Late night comedians have swept this season's award show positions, with James Corden tapped to host the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards and Jimmy Fallon to host the Golden Globes.

The Oscars will air on ABC on Feb. 26, 2017. Jeva Lange

12:31 p.m. ET
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Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, plan to follow President-elect Donald Trump from New York City to Washington, D.C., CNN reports. The couple is reportedly looking for houses in the area, where they plan to take up residence with their three children.

Kushner is poised to be a top adviser to Trump and has already played a significant role in Trump's presidential campaign. Kushner leaves behind business interests in New York, including real estate and the New York Observer, of which he is the publisher. Ivanka is also expected to assume an advisory role in the incoming administration, although Trump has claimed his children will run his business while he is in the White House.

Unlike his daughter and his son-in-law, Trump's wife Melania and their young son, Barron, plan to continue living in Trump Tower in New York City through at least the spring, until Barron finishes his school year. Jeva Lange

12:29 p.m. ET

North Carolina's Republican Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the gubernatorial race to his Democratic challenger, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, ending weeks of contention after the close election. "Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper," McCrory said in a video statement.

It has been 27 days since the North Carolina election. Jeva Lange

11:37 a.m. ET

On Monday, Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough tore into Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for national security adviser, for propagating fake news stories on his Twitter account. The conversation was prompted by an incident Sunday afternoon at a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor, in which a man fired a shot after arriving to "self-investigate" Pizza Gate, a fake news story that alleged the pizza shop was the center of a child sex slave ring organized by Hillary Clinton. Though Flynn never tweeted about the pizza conspiracy, he did mention Clinton's "sex crimes [with] children" in a tweet; Flynn's son, however, did specifically refer to the fake story in tweets.

"He needs to apologize to Americans," Scarborough said, arguing that Flynn "has left a trail of crap behind him with retweets." "He is in one of the most important positions in the White House. On Jan. 20, he needs to apologize for what he has done, unrelated to this fake news story, but with the other fake news stories, the retweets about Jews, the retweets about Muslims."

Watch Scarborough make his case for why Flynn needs to apologize below. Becca Stanek

11:02 a.m. ET
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Senate Democrats are in no mood to cooperate with President-elect Donald Trump over his Cabinet picks, and many are planning to make the confirmation process as difficult as they can, Politico reports.

For some, it is a case of giving Senate Republicans a taste of their own medicine: "They've been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We're going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?" Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told Politico, referencing Republicans' refusal to confirm President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. "It's not obstruction, it's not partisan, it's just a duty to find out what they'd do in these jobs," Brown added.

While some of Trump's picks will likely be quickly confirmed, others, like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary, could present a drawn-out fight that might steal the thunder from Trump's first 100 days in office:

Senate Democrats can't block Trump's appointments, which in all but one case need only 51 votes for confirmation. But they can turn the confirmation process into a slog.

Any individual senator can force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold procedural votes on nominees. Senior Democrats said a series of such votes are likely for many of Trump's picks.

Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year. The minority could also stymie lower-level nominees and potentially keep the Senate focused on executive confirmations for weeks as Trump assumes the presidency and congressional Republicans try to capitalize on their political momentum. [Politico]

"I don't want to needlessly prevent President Trump from being successful but accelerating the confirmation of unacceptable candidates who have views that are outside the mainstream is not constructive," Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) explained to Politico. Jeva Lange

10:31 a.m. ET

Instead of admitting President-elect Donald Trump's claim of voter fraud in the "millions" might not be evidence-based, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ran with it as an opportunity to angle for further voter restrictions. During a Monday morning interview on CNN's New Day, Issa argued that America does have "huge problems in getting elections accurate and quickly, and getting them believed by the American people."

"We need to get a system that the American people believe in," Issa said. Refusing to agree with host Chris Cuomo's assertion that "several studies" have indicated Trump's figures to be a "gross exaggeration," Issa insisted Trump is simply "fighting" for an "absolute form of confidence." "That's all Donald Trump is getting American people thinking about," Issa said.

But, Cuomo countered, if gaining voter "confidence" is the concern, then pushing baseless claims about "millions" of people voting "illegally" might not be the best approach. "That doesn't bring confidence back, does it?" Cuomo said. Watch the exchange below. Becca Stanek

10:09 a.m. ET
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Sunday that it would not grant an easement permitting the construction of the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline under North Dakota's Lake Oahe, the Missouri River reservoir. The pending construction had sparked months of protests organized by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The denial is news that might not sit so well with President-elect Donald Trump, though, as he owns stock in the company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners.

Trump and many other Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have supported finishing the pipeline, which is nearly completed. While the denied easement will allow for the exploration of alternative routes away from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, Trump's administration could allow for the pipeline to be built along the original route, The New York Times reports.

Trump has claimed that his support for the Dakota Access Pipeline is not tied to his stake in Energy Transfer Partners. Nevertheless, supporters of the pipeline are hopeful about President Barack Obama's impending exit from the White House. "With President-elect Trump set to take office in 47 days, we are hopeful that this is not the final word on the Dakota Access Pipeline," Craig Stevens, a spokesman for the pro-infrastructure group MAIN Coalition, told The New York Times. Jeva Lange

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