FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
May 19, 2014
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Appearing on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show today, Jim Webb hinted to guest host Susan Page that he might run for president: "I care a lot about where the country is, and we'll be sorting that out," he said.

In a world where perennial candidates flirt with running as a public relations strategy to stay relevant, we sometimes roll our eyes at such things. But Webb seems different. "If you look at how I ran for the Senate," he said, "I announced nine months to the day before the election — with no money and no campaign staff. It takes me a while to decide things. And I'm not going to say one way or the other."

Aside from being a former Democratic U.S. senator from Virginia, Webb was a highly decorated combat Marine in Vietnam, and later served as Secretary of the Navy.

So could it work? For a nation hungry for real leadership, Webb's image as a competent, no-nonsense leader might resonate. Tthe fact that Webb stepped away from the U.S. Senate on his own terms implies he's not just some politician. And his history of being a Democrat who can work with — and stylistically appeal to — Republicans would potentially be a plus in a general election.

In this regard, Webb would, in a sense, be able to run for Obama's third term while also (symbolically, at least) getting to run against Obama. And aside from Webb's leadership strengths, in a primary election this military tactician could potentially outflank Hillary Clinton from both the left and the right. He could tap into the anti-corporate, populist message that has elevated Elizabeth Warren, while simultaneously appealing to the "good ol' boy" red-state Democrats in places like Iowa.

Who knows if this will happen, but in a world where everyone gets to pretend they're running for president, this is perhaps the most interesting name floated in a long time. Matt K. Lewis

1:15 p.m. ET
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion Saturday saying President Trump's plan to hire his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for a senior advisory role in the White House does not run afoul of federal anti-nepotism law.

"We conclude that [the federal anti-nepotism statute] does not bar this appointment because the President’s special hiring authority ... exempts positions in the White House Office" from the ban, the opinion tells Trump, later noting that in "choosing his personal staff, the President enjoys an unusual degree of freedom, which Congress found suitable to the demands of his office."

The 14-page document was prepared by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Daniel L. Koffsky, who is "a longtime career lawyer at Justice," as Politico reports, and not a Trump appointee. Kushner's appointment could still face an ethics challenge in court, though it is unclear how a plaintiff could demonstrate standing to sue. Bonnie Kristian

12:56 p.m. ET
Ryan Moore/Associated Press

At least four people were killed and more injured after a tornado ripped through southern Mississippi Saturday morning, officials from the city of Hattiesburg reported on Twitter. Two of the deaths occurred in a trailer park, where impermanent structures offered less protection from the extreme weather.

The tornado struck around 4 a.m. "It woke me up and half the roof was gone," said Hattiesburg's Edna Smith, whose home was badly damaged. "I don't know what I'm going to do now. I'm going to try to get some help." Part of Smith's roof landed in her backyard, while the roof of her neighbor's porch shoved her car into a brick wall.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree declared a state of emergency as rescue efforts continue and 13,000 people remain without power. At least one local university has sent students home so destruction on campus can be repaired. Bonnie Kristian

12:29 p.m. ET

Actress Ashley Judd took the stage at the Women's March on Washington following filmmaker Michael Moore on Saturday, and she shared a beat poem by 19-year-old Tennessean Nina Donovan titled "I am a nasty woman." Repeatedly referencing President Trump's insult for then-rival Hillary Clinton during the final presidential debate, the poem's author says she is a nasty woman — but "not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust, a man whose words are a dis to America, Electoral College-sanctioned hate speech."

"I didn't know devils could be resurrected, but I feel Hitler in these streets," Judd continued. "A moustache traded for a toupee, Nazis renamed." Watch her full performance below. Bonnie Kristian

12:17 p.m. ET
Pool/Getty Images

After starting his second day in office with a stop at the interfaith National Prayer Service, President Trump is scheduled to visit the CIA. His nominee for CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), is not expected to be confirmed until Monday at the soonest, but the visit may be designed to smooth relations with the agency after longstanding campaign controversy.

The event "is over capacity at 300+," tweeted Press Secretary Sean Spicer of Trump's visit to the CIA's headquarters at Langley. "Excited to thank the men and women of the intelligence community."

Trump for weeks before taking office rejected the CIA's conclusion that Russia attempted to manipulate U.S. elections on his behalf, dismissing the U.S. intelligence community as "the same people that said Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction." As recently as last week, Trump said in a press conference that it is "disgraceful" American intelligence agencies like the CIA allowed the unverified dossier on his alleged ties to Russia to be released. "That's something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do," he charged. Bonnie Kristian

11:39 a.m. ET

After a busy day of inaugural festivities Friday, President Trump's campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, did not attend the Women's March on Washington on Saturday — but she did tweet her support for the event.

The protest of the new Donald Trump administration on Saturday featured remarks from speakers including America Ferrera, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Scarlett Johansson, Melissa Harris-Perry, and more.

An estimated 500,000 protesters converged on Washington for the Women's March; the crowd at Trump's inauguration the day before was projected to be 800,000 to 900,000 people. Both crowd tallies are remain unofficial appraisals at this stage. Bonnie Kristian

11:20 a.m. ET

"We march today for our families and our neighbors, for our future, for the causes that we claim and the causes that claim us," said actress America Ferrera on Saturday at the Women's March on Washington. "We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war."

"He would like us to forget the words, 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,' and instead take up a credo of hate, fear, and suspicion of one another," she continued, "but we are gathered here and across the country and around the world today to say, 'Mr. Trump, we refuse!'"

Originally expected to be attended by about 200,000 women, Washington officials now say the Women's March organizers estimate their numbers at half a million strong. Watch Ferrera's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian

10:47 a.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

After threat of invasion from neighboring Senegal to enforce election results, former President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia agreed to peacefully relinquish his post. Jammeh lost the contest in December and initially conceded. Then, a week later, he announced he would not leave office but rather would continue his two-decade rule of the tiny West African nation.

Saturday morning, Jammeh gave a televised speech announcing he has "decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians." He insisted the decision "was not dictated by anything else but by the supreme interest of you, the Gambian people and our dear country," ignoring the arrival of Senegalese troops in his nation just 24 hours prior.

Jammeh first took power in 1994 after a military coup and once claimed he would rule Gambia for "a billion years." The new president, Adama Barrow, has been waiting in Senegal and will enter Gambia to take office as soon as a security sweep has been completed. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads