May 20, 2014

If the Cleveland Cavaliers haven't won an NBA title since, well, ever, it's not because they aren't lucky. On Tuesday night, the Cavs won the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft for the second straight year and the third time in four years. They had a 1.7 percent chance of pulling off this feat, and "it seems surreal," says Cavs vice chairman Jeff Cohen. It's expected they'll chose either Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins, Kansas center Joel Embiid, or Duke forward Jabari Parker on June 26.

Cleveland's 33-49 record isn't great, but it beats No. 2 draft pickers the Milwaukee Bucks (15-67) and the third-pick Philadelphia 76ers (19-63). But who needs numbers when you have fortune smiling on you (at least in the draft lottery). It is luck, right? --Peter Weber

10:59 a.m. ET

On his show Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused Bill Nye the Science Guy of "doing a grave disservice to science" by shutting down skepticism over climate change, thus restricting debate. Nye, who recently got his own Netflix show, suggested during a Facebook live event Monday that climate change skeptics "suffer from the psychological delusion of cognitive dissonance" because they refuse to accept the evidence.

Carlson argued the "essence of science is extreme skepticism," and he claimed the degree to which human activity has contributed to climate change remains "an open question." Nye tried to explain it was actually a settled matter, only for Carlson to continuously cut in. "This is how long it takes you to interrupt me," Nye said, holding up his phone. "It takes you quite a bit less than six seconds."

Finally, Nye managed to tell Carlson the climate would be "like it was in 1750" were it not for human activity. Nye noted if humans had not accelerated the rate of climate change, "you could not grow wine-worthy grapes in Britain as you can today" and the "use of pesticides in the Midwest would not be increasing."

“So much of this you don't know. You pretend that you know, but you don’t know, and you bully people who ask question ... I'm open-minded, you are not," Carlson said, declaring the interview over.

Watch the heated exchange below. Becca Stanek

10:11 a.m. ET

The outrage over President Trump's immigration executive order went exactly according to chief strategist Stephen Bannon's plan. While the pushback from the courts on Trump's ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the U.S. might have been unexpected, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the massive protests were not:

In fact, it was no accident that the order was sprung without warning on a Friday afternoon. Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon arranged the timing in the expectation that opponents, freed from work on the weekend, would stage huge protests — drawing maximum attention and galvanizing Trump supporters as the president followed through on a controversial campaign promise, says a senior administration official. [Bloomberg]

That's far from the only plan Bannon and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller have cooked up. Both Trump advisers are pushing the president to "undertake a radical recasting of U.S. policies, from immigration to trade to taxation, that would invert this frame by making the interests of U.S. citizens (or what Miller and Bannon perceive to be their interests) predominant, almost to the point of exclusivity." Bloomberg noted Miller and Bannon apparently have no qualms making tough choices about refugees, so long as Americans can hang onto American jobs.

Read more on Miller and Bannon's plans for Trump at Bloomberg. Becca Stanek

9:10 a.m. ET

Former President George W. Bush appears to be having a harder time biting his tongue about President Trump than he did former President Barack Obama. Though Bush has made a point not to critique his successors, in an interview with People published late Monday, Bush opened up about his issues with Trump's America. "I don't like the racism and I don't like the name-calling and I don't like the people feeling alienated," Bush said. "Nobody likes that."

Though Bush admitted Trump's Washington is "pretty ugly," he said he's still "optimistic about where we'll end up." "We've been through these periods before and we've always had a way to come out of it," Bush said. "I'm more optimistic than some."

That's the second time this week Bush has talked about Trump. In an interview Monday morning on NBC's Today, Bush defended the media against Trump's label of "enemy of the American people," insisting the media is necessary to hold "people like me to account" because "power can be very addictive."

To find out what action Bush plans to take under Trump, head over to People. Becca Stanek

8:24 a.m. ET

President Trump hosted the Fox & Friends gang at the White House on Monday, in an interview that aired Tuesday morning, and Brian Kilmeade noted that Trump has said he thinks his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, actually likes him, despite their political differences and the hard-fought presidential campaign. Kilmeade alleged that the Obama-linked Organizing for America group is organizing a lot of the protests that are spooking Republicans, then asked, "Do you think President Obama is behind it, and if he is, is that a violation of the so-called unsaid president's code?"

"I think he is behind it. I also think it's politics — that's the way it is," Trump said. "I think that President Obama's behind it, because his people are certainly behind it. And some of the leaks possibly come from that group, you know — some of the leaks, which are really very serious leaks, because they're bad in terms of national security. But I also understand that's politics, and in terms of him being behind things, that's politics, and it will probably continue."

Anderson Cooper played that clip on CNN Monday night, and senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson said this blaming of Obama "in some ways borders on paranoia." Peter Weber

8:22 a.m. ET

A poll released on the morning of President Trump's highly anticipated first address to Congress on Tuesday night revealed a majority of Americans think he's stayed true to his campaign promises so far, including border security, jobs, and an ObamaCare repeal. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found 56 percent said Trump is "staying true to his 2016 campaign message," and 66 percent said he's "accomplished what was expected of him — or more," Politico reported. "While Americans are divided on President Trump's policy agenda, most say he is making headway on it," said Morning Consult's co-founder and chief research officer Kyle Dropp. "An overwhelming majority of Trump's supporters, and even many of his critics, see a president who is delivering on his promises."

Trump agrees. When asked to grade himself during an interview aired Tuesday on Fox & Friends, Trump gave himself an A+ for effort, an A for achievement, and a C or C+ on messaging. "Because I've done great things, but I don't think ... we've explained it well enough to the American public," Trump said.

The poll was conducted among 2,000 registered voters between Feb. 24-46, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Trump's margin of error is TBD. Becca Stanek

7:49 a.m. ET
Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images

A day after reportedly proposing massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, the White House is expected to move forward Tuesday with an executive order undoing the Obama-era rule Waters of the United States. Though Trump's order rolling back the rule protecting America's major waterways would have "almost no immediate legal effect," The New York Times noted it will "essentially give Mr. Trump a megaphone to direct his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, to begin the process of rewriting" the 2015 regulation.

On Monday, the White House sent another message to Pruitt with a proposal that reportedly suggested cutting a quarter of the EPA's budget and "eventually eliminating 1 in 5 of the agency's workers," Politico reported. The proposed cuts, which one person told Politico were "far more severe than anyone imagined," would lower the EPA's budget to its lowest level since 1991, and leave the EPA the most sparsely staffed it's been since the mid-1980s. The White House did not confirm the figures.

Next up, the White House is reportedly expected to sign an executive order to begin undoing former President Barack Obama's climate-change regulation curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Becca Stanek

7:48 a.m. ET

On Monday night, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued a statement celebrating historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), as some 90 of their leaders are in Washington to meet with congressional Republicans and President Trump. DeVos started off by lauding HBCUs for helping "students to reach their full potential" ever since their founding. "They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education," she said. "They saw that the system wasn't working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution."

Then DeVos really doubled down on the self-serving euphemisms. "HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice," she said. "They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish." DeVos is a big proponent of "school choice," but of course HBCUs were founded because black students did not have any choices. The "system" she said "wasn't working" was segregation. As President George H.W. Bush said in 1991, in a quote you can find on the website of the Education Department, "At a time when many schools barred their doors to black Americans, these colleges offered the best, and often the only, opportunity for a higher education."

Many of the nation's more than 100 HBCUs, all founded before 1964, are success stories, but it doesn't honor them to downplay their origins or the structural and financial disadvantages they had to overcome. Especially when, according to an article linked to from Trump's official POTUS Twitter account, "Trump seeks to outdo Obama in backing black colleges." Peter Weber

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