FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
July 12, 2014

What do you do in the days leading up to August recess in the Senate?

If you're Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), you apparently decide your time is best spent wandering the hallways, asking fellow senators to pose for selfies. Booker's goal, reports The Washington Post, is to photograph himself with each of his fellow 99 senators (yes, even those across the aisle). He's got 10 so far since he began his quest four weeks ago, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who tweeted the moment, to Booker's approval:

No word on what, exactly, the end game is here (A light-hearted mashup that the crew can use to be more socially savvy? Who knows). But, as Booker posts the selfies on his Instagram page, he's also adding a short blurb about each senator. So if nothing else, you can discover fun facts, such as how Booker considers Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) his "#BreakfastBrother."

The more you know! Sarah Eberspacher

11:56 a.m. ET

Donald Trump blasted President Obama for being the "most ignorant president in our history" in an off-the-rails press conference in Doral, Florida, on Wednesday:

Sure, Trump isn't one to hold back on a good hyperbole, but even this seems a little… much. Jeva Lange

11:30 a.m. ET

Donald Trump rejected claims that he is friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, going so far as to say that the DNC email hack wasn't actually done by the Russians — despite that being the FBI's leading theory. It was "probably China," Trump suggested, "or it could be somebody sitting in his bed."

Trump was met by a number of questions from the press in Florida about his relationship with Putin, who he said last year he "got to know ... very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates." But on Wednesday, Trump said, "I never met Putin. I don't know who Putin is ... I don't know anything about him other than that he'll respect me."

Again pressed about the DNC email hack, Trump said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 [Hillary Clinton] emails that are missing."

"I have nothing to do with Russia!" Trump moaned when someone asked him about it again. Watch the surreal moment, below. Jeva Lange

10:49 a.m. ET
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images

Russia is saying "your loss" to the International Olympic Committee by hosting its own tournament in Moscow for athletes banned from competing in track and field at this summer's Rio Olympics. "About 135 track and field athletes are going to compete. They include Olympic champions and medal-holders as well as less renowned athletes forbidden to compete in Rio," Yuri Borzakovsky, the head coach of the Russian athletics squad, told Russia's TASS news agency.

Athletes will include "Sergei Shubenkov, incumbent world champion in the 110-meter race; high jumpers Maria Kuchina, Olympic Champion Ivan Ukhov, and Daniil Tsyplakov; javelin throwers Dmitry Tarabin and Vera Rebrik; [and] triple jumper Yekaterina Koneva," TASS reported.

Russia's track and field competitors were banned after a state-sponsored doping scandal came to light. Calls for a complete ban on Russian athletes were eventually rejected despite evidence Russian officials tampered with urine samples at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Jeva Lange

9:58 a.m. ET
Mark Makela/Getty Images

Prosecutors have dropped all remaining charges against three police officers over the death of Freddie Gray, bringing an end to the case. No officers were convicted over Gray's death; the three other officers charged were all acquitted earlier this year.

"The facts are the same in all the cases," a defense lawyer following the trials, Warren A. Brown, told The New York Times earlier this year. "If you keep going to the store with 89 cents, and they keep telling you you need a dollar, why are you going to keep going back?"

Gray's death in Baltimore in April 2015 became central to the Black Lives Matter movement after he fell into a coma due to spinal cord injuries he sustained while being transported in a police van. He died just days after his arrest, which concerned possession of a switchblade. Jeva Lange

9:52 a.m. ET
Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden suggested Tuesday night that it would be immoral for fans of Bernie Sanders to vote for anyone other than Hillary Clinton.

"What do you say when one of the Bernie delegates comes to you and says, 'Listen, I'm just not going for Hillary; I'm standing by my principles'?" asked ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. "I say — I look at you and I say — 'I know you're gonna vote for Hillary,'" Biden answered. "'I just know. Because if you're as moral and centered as you say you are, I know you can't vote for Trump. I know.'"

Though Biden cast the 2016 election as a two-horse race, third party candidates Jill Stein (of the Green Party) and Gary Johnson (of the Libertarian Party) are both making a bid for disaffected Sanders voters. Stein is actively campaigning outside the Democratic National Convention in Philly, and a June poll found about two in 10 Bernie fans said they'd vote for Johnson if their candidate lost the nomination. Bonnie Kristian

9:42 a.m. ET
AFP/Getty Images

John Hinckley Jr., who on March 30, 1981, shot and wounded then-President Ronald Reagan, has been granted release from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C., and will be transferred to outpatient care. A federal judge granted Hinckley's request Wednesday on the strict conditions that Hinckley not contact any of the victims in the shooting or their relatives. Hinckley has been in treatment at the hospital since the shooting, for which he was acquitted by reason of insanity after it was found he committed the would-be assassination to impress the actress Jodie Foster, whom he is also banned from contacting.

Hinckley shot four people, including Reagan, outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. Reagan's press secretary James Brady was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in the head by Hinckley; when Brady died in 2014, his death was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner, who said he succumbed to health problems stemming from the 1981 shooting.

CBS News reports that St. Elizabeth's is required by constitutional law to advocate for Hinckley's release because of an "obligation to transition patients to outpatient care when they are ready. This case is not about the merits of whether an individual should be able to shoot four people, including a sitting U.S. president, and then be able to spend the last third of his life as a free man."

Hinckley, now 61, will be sent to live with his 90-year-old mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. He could be released as soon as next week. Kimberly Alters

9:36 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton 56 percent to 25 percent among white men, according to a recent survey — and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) believes she knows why.

"So many times, white — non-college-educated — white males have voted Republican," she said in an interview with PBS on Tuesday. "They voted against their own economic interests because of guns, because of gays, and because of God, the three G's — God being the woman's right to choose."

Pelosi advised Clinton to attract more white male voters to her campaign "with an economic agenda to create jobs" because, for this demographic, "it's about the economy."

A New York Times report last week suggested the Clinton camp is already worried about its deficit with white men and picked Sen. Tim Kaine for the VP slot in an effort to address that problem. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads