On Tuesday, African-American voters bailed out two long-term incumbents, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and, more surprisingly, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Jon Stewart said on Wednesday night's Daily Show. How long-term? There are "160 years of life between them, 86 of those years in elected office," Stewart said, adding: "Aaaaaaaaaugh!"
Then he got out his calculator and actuarial tables: If Rangel and Cochran "were one man, they would have been born in 1854, elected to Congress in 1928, they would have died in 1944, and still held office for 70 more years." Stewart shook his head over Rangel's 22-term incumbency, then trotted out a more-than-serviceable Charlie Rangel impersonation.
But he also cast a jaundiced eye at Cochran's defeat of Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel. The black Democrats don't like Cochran much, but they fear/despise McDaniel, he said. But there's a larger reason for Stewart's discontent over this unorthodox win for relative moderation: "And so it is that the nation's African-Americans have returned Tharley Cochangel to Congress — for years 87 through 94." Hey, it's a living. --Peter Weber
DHS chief Kirstjen Nielsen tried to plead ignorance of Trump's infamous immigration comments at a Senate hearing. It did not go well.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and faced some tough questions about President Trump's recent disparaging remarks about Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, which he reportedly called "shithole countries."
In his round of questioning, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Nielsen what the president meant when he expressed a desire for the U.S. to take in more Norwegian immigrants. Nielsen replied that Trump was discussing immigration "from a merit-based perspective" and that he wanted immigrants "with skills who can assimilate and contribute to the United States, moving away from country quotas and to an individual merit system."
DHS Sec. Nielsen says Pres. Trump's Norway remark was referring to Norwegian prime minister "telling him the people of Norway work very hard. What he was referencing is, from a merit-based perspective, we'd like to have those with skills" who can contribute to U.S. pic.twitter.com/mnwytgkM1K
— ABC News (@ABC) January 16, 2018
A little later, Leahy asked Nielsen, "Norway is a predominantly white country, isn't it?" After stuttering, she replied, "I actually do not know that sir, but I imagine that is the case."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 16, 2018
Nielsen's interrogation, however, was far from over. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — who was in the room with Nielsen when Trump reportedly made the comments during a meeting on immigration — wasted little time in asking, "How did [Trump] characterize those countries in Africa?" Nielsen claimed to not remember exactly what the president said because of "cross conversations" and "rough talk by a lot of people in the room."
Questioned by Sen. Dick Durbin, DHS Sec. Nielsen says Pres. Trump used "strong language" in immigration meeting, but "I don't remember a specific word." She added that did not "specifically remember" a categorization of African countries. pic.twitter.com/iy9g6Ej4wY
— ABC News (@ABC) January 16, 2018
Durbin pressed on: "Do you remember the president saying expressly, 'I want more Europeans, why can't we have more immigrants from Norway?'" Nielsen said that she remembered Trump asking about "the concept of 'underrepresented countries'" but her memory failed her in regards to the president's alleged profanity. Durbin did get Nielsen to admit that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) used "tough language" as he quoted the president, but Nielsen did not explicitly confirm the use of the word "shithole." She would only say, "I remember specific cuss words being used by a variety members." Kelly O'Meara Morales
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcomed their third child, a daughter, early Monday morning, Kardashian announced on her website Tuesday. The daughter, whose name has not yet been announced, was born via a surrogate due to a life-threatening health condition Kardashian experienced during her first two pregnancies, placenta accreta. A surgery to allow her to safely have a third child had been unsuccessful, the New York Daily News reports.
She's here. https://t.co/oVg6se6VeQ
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 16, 2018
"Kanye and I are happy to announce the arrival of our healthy, beautiful baby girl," Kardashian wrote. "We are incredibly grateful to our surrogate who made our dreams come true with the greatest gift one could give and to our wonderful doctors and nurses for their special care. North and Saint are especially thrilled to welcome their baby sister." Jeva Lange
President Trump's former chief strategist and campaign CEO Stephen Bannon was reportedly subpoenaed last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury, a person familiar with the decision told The New York Times. This is the first known instance of a grand jury subpoena being used on someone in Trump's inner circle, and "could be a negotiating tactic," the Times writes, noting that Mueller "is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel's offices in Washington."
But as Solomon L. Wisenberg, who served as a prosecutor for the independent counsel that investigated former President Bill Clinton, observed: "By forcing someone to testify through a subpoena, you are providing the witness with cover because they can say, 'I had no choice — I had to go in and testify about everything I knew.'"
Bannon testified behind closed doors Tuesday in front of the House Intelligence Committee which, like Mueller, is looking for evidence of Russian interference in the election. Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News that he has questions for Bannon about Trump-related money laundering, among other inquiries. Jeva Lange
Americans are predictably polarized on whether President Trump aced or failed his first year, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll published Tuesday reveals.
While 34 percent say he should get an A or B for the last 12 months, slightly more — 35 percent — give Trump an F. Middle ground is sparse, with 11 percent scoring Trump's year with a D and 14 percent a C average. At the individual issue level, Trump scored best on the economy, jobs, and fighting terrorism and worst on draining the swamp.
Broken down by demographic markers, the poll results stayed consistent with past survey trends. Men remain more positive about Trump than women, as do Republicans compared to both Democrats and independents. Trump's grades have gotten worse overall since his 100-day mark, when Politico/Morning Consult conducted the same grading poll, but Republicans are actually happier with him now than they were then. Bonnie Kristian
On Tuesday, Japan's state broadcasting organization, NHK, sent out a terrifying mobile notification which read: "NHK news alert. North Korea likely to have launched missile. The government J alert: evacuate inside the building or underground." Japanese residents only had a very brief time to contend with existential questions about how to spend their final moments; the apocalyptic warning was retracted minutes later, CNN reports.
Japan's false alarm occurred just three days after a similar alert was sent by mistake to residents in Hawaii on Saturday, sparking widespread panic before it was rescinded. NBC News notes that Tuesday's alert was only sent to people who had NHK's app installed on their phones, and while NHK published the alert on its website, it did not air on TV. "Due to the quick response from [NHK]," NBC News explains, "there was limited social media commentary regarding the incident in Japan." By comparison, Hawaii's weekend nuclear scare — complete with blaring sirens — went out to basically everyone with a cell phone, and continued for an exhausting 38 minutes before it was deemed a false alarm caused by human error.
Exactly how Japan's false alarm occurred isn't yet clear. Kelly O'Meara Morales
Negotiations concerning Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which indefinitely defers deportation for immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children, have stalled, but Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday participants shouldn't be too worried.
Deporting DACA registrants, who are also called DREAMers, is "not gonna be a priority of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize their removal. I've said that before. That's not the policy of DHS," Nielsen said on CBS. She added that as long as DACA recipients are properly registered and do not commit any crimes, they will remain low priority for deportation "in perpetuity."
Nielsen did not say whether she has issued formal guidance to that effect, something critics say is necessary for her promise to be meaningful. At present, DREAMers are protected by a judge's order directing DHS to continue processing DACA renewal applications for prior registrants, a reversal of the Trump administration's September decision to rescind DACA, which included a six-month deadline for Congress to save the program.
Watch an excerpt of Nielsen's comments below. Bonnie Kristian
.@SecNielsen on #DACA deportations: "It's not going to be a priority of @ICEgov to prioritize their removal. I've said that before. That's not the policy of DHS." https://t.co/PM1g9bB6jj pic.twitter.com/g91D33pne6
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 16, 2018
HLN anchor Ashleigh Banfield came to the defense of Aziz Ansari on her show, Crime & Justice, after a pseudonymous woman, "Grace," accused the actor of sexual assault in an article published over the weekend. "Grace" claimed her date with Ansari was "the worst experience with a man I've ever had" and that the actor repeatedly pressured her to have sex despite her objections.
Addressing Grace directly, Banfield said: "I'm sorry you had a bad date. I've had a few myself. They stink. I'm sure it must be really weighing on you." Banfield clarified, though, that "after protesting [Ansari's] moves, you did not get up and leave right away. You continued to engage in a sexual encounter. By your own clear description, this was not a rape, nor was it a sexual assault." Banfield added that if Grace was indeed sexually assaulted, "you should go to the police right now."
Otherwise, seeing that the encounter did not "affect your workplace or your ability to get a job," Banfield inquired: "What exactly was your beef — that you had a bad date with Aziz Ansari?" She concluded: "What you have done, in my opinion, is appalling. You went to the press with the story of a bad date. And you have potentially destroyed this man's career over it, right after he received an award for which he was worthy."
Watch the segment below, and read why Damon Linker says the Ansari takedown is a setback for the #MeToo movement here at The Week. Jeva Lange
— Crime & Justice (@CrimeJusticeHLN) January 16, 2018