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May 21, 2014
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) easy win over Tea Party–backed challenger Matt Bevin is only the most prominent of Tuesday night's victories of the Republican establishment over less-mainstream candidates.

In Oregon, pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby defeated more conservative state Sen. Jason Conger for the right to face Sen. Jeff Merkley (D). In Georgia's GOP primary for an open U.S. Senate seat, the two establishment-backed candidates — Rep. Jack Kingston and former Dollar General CEO David Perdue — advanced to a runoff election, eliminating a slate of hardline conservative candidates. And in Idaho, Rep. Mike Simpson (R) soundly fended off a challenge from Tea Party-financed trial lawyer Bryan Smith.

There are lots of ways to look at these results: It was a good night for incumbents and well-financed candidates (isn't it always?), and probably a bad night for Democrats' hopes to pick off a Republican-held Senate seat. But if you score Tuesday night as a fight between the GOP establishment versus the Tea Party, the final tally is 4 to 0.

"Republican primary voters are speaking out and making clear that they don't want professional Tea Party groups hijacking primaries and picking their candidates," GOP operative Brian Walsh tells The Wall Street Journal. "Those days are over." That seems to have been the case on Tuesday, at least. Peter Weber

11:41 a.m. ET
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Eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment, reports CNN.

People who worked with Freeman on film sets or during press tours said that the actor would ogle women, try and lift their skirts, engage in inappropriate touching, and make suggestive comments. Freeman did not comment on the allegations. Former employees and coworkers told CNN that Freeman acted like a "creepy uncle" who would make "vulgar" comments about women, often remarking on their bodies and the way they dressed.

"He would be verbally inappropriate and it was just shocking," one former employee of Freeman's production company told CNN. Freeman would allegedly make approving comments when women wore revealing clothing, and one former production assistant said that he repeatedly tried to lift her skirt, asking whether she was wearing underwear.

Eight women said they had been harassed, and eight other people said they had witnessed Freeman's alleged misconduct. The women say they didn't report Freeman's behavior out of fear that it would negatively affect their careers. Some women said they would dress differently when they knew Freeman would be on set, in an attempt to avoid unwanted comments or touching. Read more at CNN. Summer Meza

11:08 a.m. ET
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After 65 years on the green, Ben Bender has retired from golf on a high — quitting the game just minutes after hitting his first-ever hole in one. The 93-year-old Ohioan bought his first set of clubs for $50 at age 28 and has been playing ever since, getting as low as a 3-handicap. The former insurance salesman, who suffers from hip bursitis, was on the third hole when he made his long-sought ace last month. "I played a few more holes, my hips were hurting, and I had to stop," Bender says. "It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round, so he gave me a hole in one." Christina Colizza

10:37 a.m. ET

On Thursday, President Trump announced that he was pulling out of a scheduled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by … writing a civil, calm, professionally regretful letter? Still, despite the generally cordial tone, this is distinctly a work from the Trump canon.

The first clue comes in the second sentence: "We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant." Then why bring it up? While the next sentence, "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," might be translated as "I really want the Nobel Prize," the subsequent sentence uses Trump's favorite word ("sad!") and displays his usual love of hyperbolic adjectives: "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

The letter even sneaks in a Trumpian boast at the bottom of the first paragraph: "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."

While admittedly the letter isn't littered with ellipsis, threats, typos, oddly Capitalized letters, or addressed to Mr. Rocket Man, Trump's own staff have reportedly learned to mimic his rambling, colorful messages in order to ghostwrite them more effectively. Apparently that goes to open letters to foreign heads of state, too. Jeva Lange

10:25 a.m. ET

The summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be canceled, but the commemorative coins will live on forever.

Trump on Thursday pulled out of the summit that was scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, writing to Kim that "it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting" due to increasing tensions. But the souvenir coins that the White House Communications Agency minted earlier this week are still for sale through the White House gift shop.

(The White House Gift Shop)

The coin celebrated the "PEACE TALKS" of 2018, depicting Trump and Kim facing off with both national flags. Patriotic collectors can still visit the White House gift shop online and pre-order a coin for just $24.95, though it's a different version that includes South Korean President Moon Jae-In. It even comes in a black velvet coin case!

If coins aren't your thing but you still want to remember the almost-talks, don't worry — the White House is still taking orders for the official Nuclear Deproliferation Summit Ornament. The shop says it's the most sophisticated ornament design yet, made to complement the summit coin.

So buy your souvenirs now: if not to commemorate a successful summit, then to wistfully sigh and remember what could have been. Summer Meza

10:04 a.m. ET

President Trump and his allies have been attacking former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper over the past few days, part of his attempt to make "Spygate" happen. Clapper is on a media tour to promote his new book, Facts and Fears, and along with explaining how Trump is distorting his words and the FBI's attempt to investigate Russia, Clapper has been explaining his contention in the book that the Russians, to their surprise, "swung the election to a Trump win."

"Since I left the government," Clapper told PBS NewsHour on Wednesday, "it's what I call my informed opinion that given the massive effort the Russians made, the number of citizens that they touched, and the variety and the multidimensional aspects of what they did to influence opinion and affect the election, and given the fact that it turned on less than 80,000 votes in three states, to me it just exceeds logic and credulity that they didn't affect the election, and it's my belief they actually turned it."

On CNN Thursday night, Clapper swatted down more Trump team attacks and reiterated his "informed opinion" about Russia handing the election to Trump, though, he told Jake Tapper, "I don't have the empirical evidence to go with it."

But there is some empirical evidence, if not conclusive, in a new working paper at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Automated Twitter bots — a key tool that Russians used in the election — may have added 3.23 percentage points to Trump's vote in 2016, as well as 1.76 percentage points to the "leave" vote in Britain's Brexit campaign, the researchers found. "Our results suggest that, given narrow margins of victories in each vote, bots' effect was likely marginal but possibly large enough to affect the outcomes," write authors Yuriy Gorodnichenko from U.C. Berkeley and Tho Pham and Oleksandr Talavera from Britain's Swansea University. You can read more about the study at Bloomberg News. Peter Weber

9:51 a.m. ET

President Trump has pulled out of a historic summit in Singapore with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, which had been scheduled for June 12, calling it "a truly sad moment in history."

In an open letter, Trump told Kim "we greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations" and that "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," but that "it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting" due to increasing tensions between the parties. A North Korean vice minister of foreign affairs called Vice President Mike Pence "ignorant" and "stupid" on Thursday for comparing North Korea to Libya, and warned Kim would cancel the summit if the U.S. didn't stop its threats.

Read the letter in full below. Jeva Lange

9:44 a.m. ET
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Tensions between two of the Trump administration's economic advisers has surpassed the usual co-worker drama.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and top trade adviser Peter Navarro have not resolved their differences when it comes to economic policy opinions, The Daily Beast reported Thursday, and sources say Navarro has taken to calling Mnuchin "Neville Chamberlain."

That former U.K. prime minister famously capitulated to Nazi Germany and fascist dictator Adolf Hitler during the late 1930s. Navarro reportedly sees China as such a serious economic threat that he thinks Mnuchin's international policy principles make him just as bad as a Nazi appeaser.

Navarro takes an "America First" stance when it comes to trade policies, The Daily Beast reports, and is very frustrated that other advisers like Mnuchin don't want to be as tough on China as he'd like. One official said that the battle between the two advisers is like a "cold war that became hot," also referring to a shouting match between Mnuchin and Navarro while in China earlier this month. Read more at The Daily Beast. Summer Meza

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