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May 20, 2014

Iran is not a very "Happy" place, AFP reports, with the news that police have arrested six people for posting a video to YouTube in which they danced to the hit song by Pharrell Williams.

The video, titled "Happy We are from Tehran," featured three young men and three young women all dancing together.

"After a vulgar clip which hurt public chastity was released in cyberspace, police decided to identify those involved in making that clip," Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia was quoted telling the country's ISNA news agency. "Following a series of intelligence and police operations and after coordinating with the judiciary, all the suspects were identified and arrested." Sajedinia added that those arrested have all "confessed to their criminal acts." Eric Kleefeld

1:16 a.m. ET

It wasn't something you hear on Fox News every day: A host on the conservative-leaning network making comments critical of President Trump.

Following his jaw-dropping press conference Tuesday where he blamed "both sides" for violence at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, which ended in the death of counterprotester Heather Hayer, Kat Timpf, a co-host of The Fox News Specialists, said she was "disgusted" by the whole spectacle. It didn't take long for viewers to react, with many tweeting that Timpf, as well as co-host Eboni K. Williams, needed to be fired. In one case, Timpf told The Associated Press Wednesday, she was told she's a "disgrace to the white race."

Timpf said she's had to stop checking her email, and while the threats are hitting her hard, she won't be silenced by those who object to her opinions. "It doesn't seem like it's too difficult to do the right thing and respond by saying, 'Nazis are bad,'" she said. "I can't believe that my stance is a controversial stance, or something you need to even take a stand on at all these days. It's really upsetting." If she ends up losing the support of some viewers, Timpf told AP, that's fine, because "there's nothing in my head that has me even considering approaching things in any other way than I have approached it." Catherine Garcia

1:02 a.m. ET

After President Trump's initial response to the white nationalist "Unite the Right" march in Charlottesville, where he condemned the violence "from many sides," the top uniformed U.S. Navy officer, Adm. John Richardson, decided it was a good time to issue a statement affirming that the U.S. Navy "forever stands against intolerance & hatred."

After Trump dug in on Tuesday, insisting that "both sides" were to blame for the Charlottesville melee, and said there are some "very fine people" among the torch-wielding alt-right marchers as well as the people protesting against them, the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, tweeted that there is "no place for racial hatred or extremism" in the Marines.

He was soon joined in what might be viewed as subtweeting the president, or perhaps just a restatement of military values, by Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. Army chief of staff, and then by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein.

Several prominent Republicans — including the last two GOP presidents — have stepped up to denounce racism and white supremacy after Trump's comments, and the business leaders on two of Trump's advisory committees jumped ship, "but it was the statements from the country's top uniformed military leaders that broke most dramatically from the president," the Los Angeles Times argues.

None of the uniformed military leaders mentioned Trump by name, but Trump's Veterans Affairs secretary, David Shulkin, did on Wednesday, when he said that Trump speaks for himself but as far as Shulkin is concerned, "it is a dishonor to our country's veterans to allow the Nazis and the white supremacists to go unchallenged." Peter Weber

August 16, 2017
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The rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump's conversion to Judaism sent a letter to members of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan, condemning the comments made by President Trump in the aftermath of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

The letter, sent Wednesday evening, was signed by Rabbi Emeritus Haskel Lookstein, as well as his successors, Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz and Rabbi Elie Weinstock, New York reports. The rabbis said they were "appalled by this resurgence of bigotry and antisemitism, and the renewed vigor of the neo-Nazis, KKK, and alt-right. While we avoid politics, we are deeply troubled by the moral equivalency and equivocation President Trump has offered in his response to this act of violence."

Because of his close ties to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, Lookstein was invited to speak last year at the Republican National Convention; he was going to give the invocation but changed his mind after backlash from the modern Orthodox community, New York reports. While President Trump on Tuesday blamed the violence on "both sides," his eldest daughter tweeted on Sunday that there should be "no place in society for racism, white supremacy, and neo-Nazis. We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED." Catherine Garcia

August 16, 2017
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The latest Stephen Bannon interview comes from a surprising source: The American Prospect, a progressive publication.

Bannon associates told CNN and Axios that the White House chief strategist did not know his conversation with magazine co-founder Robert Kuttner would be turned into an article, published Wednesday, and that he had called to chat with Kuttner because he liked his stance on China in a recent story. Kuttner said media-savvy Bannon — who was a topic of conversation during former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci's phone call with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, which led to his firing — never asked for the conversation to be off the record.

Bannon told Kuttner there is "no military solution" to North Korea and its nuclear threats; said the "economic war with China is everything" and the U.S. must be "maniacally focused on that"; and called white nationalists "losers," "a fringe element," and "a collection of clowns." He also made it sound like he has final say in staffing ("I'm changing out people at East Asian Defense; I'm getting hawks in") and discussed his fights with colleagues ("There's Treasury and [National Economic Council Chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying").

Axios' Jonathan Swan spoke with some of Bannon's associates, including one described as being "not an enemy of his," who all saw this as a terrible move by Bannon. That person told Swan, after reading the article, "Since Steve apparently enjoys casually undermining U.S. national security, I'll put this in terms he'll understand: This is DEFCON 1-level bad." You can read more about Kuttner's conversation with Bannon at The American Prospect. Catherine Garcia

August 16, 2017
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A White House spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the Trump administration will make this month's payment to insurers for ObamaCare subsidies for low-income customers.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis released Tuesday estimated that if the payments were stopped, the most popular ObamaCare plans' premiums would probably go up 20 percent in 2018. President Trump has threatened to cut off the subsidies — worth about $7 billion this year — and insurers would likely hike up premiums or leave ObamaCare markets altogether if they are eliminated, Politico reports. Insurers rely on those subsidies to keep costs down for millions of lower-income ObamaCare customers, and even if the payments stop, they will still have to provide discounted rates.

Some Republicans, like Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, criticized Trump's decision to continue the payments, but Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, appreciated it, and pushed for Congress in the future to appropriate money for the program. "These two actions will help make insurance policies available at affordable policies," he said in a statement. "Congress owes struggling Americans who buy their insurance in the individual market a breakthrough in the health-care stalemate." Catherine Garcia

August 16, 2017
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That uncle that always sends FWD: fwd: fwd: emails is now representing the president of the United States of America.

On Wednesday, the head of President Trump's personal legal team, John Dowd, forwarded to more than two dozen conservative journalists and government officials an email with the subject line: "The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville," The New York Times reports. The email stated that "you cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there is literally no difference between the two men," since "both rebelled against the ruling government" and "both saved America," and said the Black Lives Matter movement "has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups."

Dowd received the email on Tuesday night, not long after Trump said during a press conference that he blamed "both sides" for the violence Saturday at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He sent it to The Wall Street Journal editorial page, journalists at Fox News and The Washington Times, and a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, and one of the recipients provided a copy to the Times. When reached by the Times, Dowd said, before hanging up: "You're sticking your nose in my personal email? People send me things. I forward them."

The email was written by Jerome Almon, a man who runs websites featuring government conspiracy theories and believes Islamic terrorists have infiltrated the FBI, the Times says. Almon, who is black, once sued the State Department, unsuccessfully, for $900 million, claiming he had been discriminated against. Almon told the Times he was hoping his email "would get in the hands of President Trump — I quite frankly hope he would review it right now because his presidency is on the line." Read more about Almon and how his email echoes secessionist Civil War propaganda at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

August 16, 2017
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A participant in the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville over the weekend was fired by his employer after they discovered his involvement.

Ryan Roy, 28, of Burlington, Vermont, was a cook at Uno Pizzeria and Grill in South Burlington, but was terminated after he appeared in a Vice News documentary from the rally. Roy is heard yelling, "Whose streets? Our streets!" and seen carrying a torch. He was identified by people online, and doesn't apologize for his views; he told the Burlington Free Press he believes races should be separated, supports President Trump, and is the singer in a band called Hate Speech. "The left in this country is trying to destroy white culture and white heritage and American heritage, because history doesn't fit their politically correct scenario," he said.

Roy, who became a father last year, said he went down the white nationalist path after doing research on the internet, and became a libertarian before settling on being a conservative. This iteration of Roy is much different than the person former friend Sam Wormer knew in high school. Wormer told the Free Press he was "completely shocked" by Roy's new views, because in high school, he was liberal and stuck up for people being bullied. He also disagreed with the push to get Roy fired from his job. "Taking away somebody's job and livelihood — I mean, that's just adding fuel to the fire," he said. "I don't think any good is going to come of this on anybody's side." Catherine Garcia

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