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May 12, 2014
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Wait two weeks then blame the "girl" might have been a great PR strategy at some point in U.S. history, but it's probably not a good fit for the internet age. On Sunday night, CNN teased an interview with L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling in which he apologizes for his on-tape racist comments, but adds that he was "baited" into making them by girlfriend V. Stiviano.

"When I listen to that tape, I don't even know how I can say words like that," Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I don't know why the girl had me say those things." He did explain that it took him this long to talk publicly about his comments because he was "emotionally distraught" and didn't know how to "correct" the problem he'd caused. And he made the obligatory "I'm not a racist" speech (verbatim). Here's the meat of his apology:

I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I've hurt.... Am I entitled to one mistake, am I after 35 years [with the NBA]?... It's a terrible mistake, and I'll never do it again. [CNN]

Sterling also said he's talked twice with Magic Johnson, the topic of one of his recorded rants; he tells Cooper that Magic is "great," but then adds: "Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don't think so.... I don't think he's a good example for the children of Los Angeles."

Sterling's wife, Shelly Sterling, also met the press on Sunday, telling ABC News' Barbara Walters that she wants to keep a large stake in the Clippers, regardless of whether her husband has to sell. She also implied she's still married to him for the money. Here's what Shelly Sterling told Walters, with a laugh:

For the last 20 years, I've been seeing attorneys for a divorce.... In fact, I have here — I just filed — I was going to file the petition. I signed the petition for a divorce. And it came to almost being filed. And then, my financial advisor and my attorney said to me, "Not now."... Eventually, I'm going to. [ABC News]

So. Peter Weber

12:21 a.m. ET

President Trump's new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, grew up not too far from the Queens of Trump's childhood, which may explain a certain similarity in their hand gestures. Or, as The Daily Show suggested on Monday, Scaramucci may have studied up for his new job.

The identical gesticulation isn't Scaramucci's only qualification, Noah noted on Monday's Daily Show. He also declared his love and loyalty for Trump, trying to prove Trump's competitive bona fides by saying he has seen the president do a couple of dubious, sadly solitary athletic achievements. "Throwing a football at a tire isn't impressive — it's something that they literally show impotent men doing in Levitra commercials," Noah noted, with video evidence. Since Scaramucci will "be around for at least a month," he added wryly, we might as well get to know him.

Noah ran through Scaramucci's résumé — blue-collar Long Island upbringing, Harvard Law, Goldman Sachs, his own hedge fund — nicknamed his favorite Scaramucci gesture to the press (the "Mooch smooch"), ran through Scaramucci's previous criticisms of Trump, and questioned his definition of "full transparency," which includes telling everyone he is deleting his old tweets critical of Trump. "Now, some people may think it's odd for a man who believes in climate change, gun control, and abortion rights to go work for Donald Trump, but in a way, if you think about it, he's the perfect man for the job," Noah said. "Who could represent Donald Trump better than a guy willing to abandon all of his previous positions if it gets him into the White House?" (There's one mildly NSFW moment.) Watch below. Peter Weber

July 24, 2017
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During a late night Twitter session on Monday, President Trump appeared to confirm a Washington Post report that his administration ended a covert CIA program that armed moderate anti-government rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad...." Trump tweeted, referring to a story published by the Post last week about his decision to stop the program, handing a big win to Russia and Assad.

While he did not elaborate on how the Post allegedly "fabricated the facts," he did go on to share his conspiracy theory that the newspaper's owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is using the Post to bully politicians into not taxing the online retailer. "So many stories about me in the @washingtonpost are Fake News," he tweeted. "They are as bad as ratings challenged @CNN. Lobbyist for Amazon and taxes?" A few minutes later, he added, "Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?"

Trump never said what triggered the tweets, but as Politico's Hadas Gold pointed out, if Trump turned on Fox News Monday night and caught Tucker Carlson's show, he would have heard the host discussing the Post report. Catherine Garcia

July 24, 2017

Pete Souza earned his badge in trolling on Monday night after he posted on his Instagram account a photo and caption squarely aimed at President Trump and the speech he gave at the Boy Scout Jamboree, touting his victory last November.

Souza was the chief official White House photographer for Presidents Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, and has spent much of 2017 watching what Trump does, then posting a picture to his Instagram showing Obama doing the same thing, but, in Souza's opinion, better. On Monday night, after Trump got the crowd to boo Obama for not speaking in person at the Jamboree while he was president (he sent a video address in 2010), Souza quickly posted a picture of Obama meeting an adorable Cub Scout. "I can assure you, POTUS was not telling this Cub Scout and the Boy Scouts who followed about his electoral college victory," Souza captioned the photo.

Oof. Catherine Garcia

July 24, 2017
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will be back in the Senate on Tuesday, his office announced Monday.

McCain shared last week that he has been diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain cancer, and was at home in Arizona, recovering from surgery. In a statement, his office said McCain "looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health-care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea."

McCain had surgery on July 14 to remove a blood clot above his left eye, and "subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot," the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix said in a statement last week. The hospital said McCain and his family were discussing additional treatment options. Catherine Garcia

July 24, 2017
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For anyone at the 2017 Boy Scout Jamboree who managed to miss the 2016 presidential election, they heard all about it on Monday, when President Trump shared his version of events to the crowd of more than 35,000 tweens, teens, and their parents.

He psyched them out, sarcastically starting off his speech by asking, "Who the hell wants to talk about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?" He answered his own question by immediately bringing up "that famous night on television," the electoral college votes he won, his decision to visit Maine as a candidate, what the mood was in Wisconsin, and so on and so forth. He did briefly stray at one point, declaring that "under the Trump administration, you'll be saying 'Merry Christmas' again when you go shopping."

Trump, who was never a Boy Scout, managed to get the crowd to boo former President Barack Obama, who was a Boy Scout, by saying Obama never visited the Jamboree when he was president (The Hill reports he recorded a video for the event in 2010), and appeared to — jokingly? — threaten Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price's job, telling him onstage that if he couldn't get enough votes to pass the Senate's bill to repeal ObamaCare, he would fire him, Time reports. Catherine Garcia

July 24, 2017
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President Trump has publicly rebuked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and privately, he's been talking with advisers about the possibility of replacing him, people familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post Monday.

They are contemplating several different scenarios, including what to do if he were to resign or be fired, the Post reports. Trump has been very vocal about his frustration with Sessions, telling The New York Times that had he known that Sessions was going to recuse himself in March from the investigation into the Trump campaign possibly working with Russian officials before the 2016 presidential election, he never would have picked him as his attorney general.

Some Trump associates say he is gunning to replace Sessions so he can fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who took over the Russia probe after Sessions recused himself and he was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He could either order Rosenstein, and then Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, to fire Mueller, or he could select an attorney general during August recess, University of Texas School of Law Prof. Steve Vladeck told the Post. That person would serve until early January, the end of the next Senate session, Vladeck said, and would have the same authority as a person confirmed by the Senate. Two names that have come up during discussions on replacing Sessions are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who on Monday scoffed at the idea.

In happier times, Trump and Sessions wore matching "Make America Great Again" hats and bonded over their hardline immigration stances, but now, their fellow Republicans are recommending they go to couples therapy — new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN Monday Trump and Sessions need to "sit down face-to-face and have a reconciliation and a discussion of the future." Catherine Garcia

July 24, 2017
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet voted on Monday to remove metal detectors installed at the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, but Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, the mosque's director, said that's not enough to please Muslim worshippers who also want security cameras to come down, Al Jazeera reports.

The metal detectors were installed at entry points to the mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site, after two police officers were shot and killed there on July 14. The new security measures sparked protests and clashes between Palestinians and security forces, with at least five Palestinians killed and hundreds more injured. Catherine Garcia

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