May 7, 2014

Isn't it interesting that — almost apropos of nothing Monica Lewinsky suddenly reemerged with a piece in Vanity Fair this week? The development was surprising enough that it prompted blogger and law professor Ann Althouse to wonder, "Who lured Monica Lewinsky out of her 10-year silence?"

Althouse posits five theories, including the possibility that Vanity Fair simply thought it would sell copies. But if the answer comes down to cui bono — who benefits? — then, as Dave Weigel notes, "The Lewinsky scandal was fantastic for [Hillary] Clinton. You can see in the Gallup poll's comprehensive chart that opinions of the first lady surged through 1998 and peaked after Bill Clinton was impeached."

But, putting aside the question of why Lewinsky is suddenly talking, there's another angle worth exploring, and that is the surfeit of speculation about how Republicans might now react.

It's kind of folks to worry about Republicans, but — as MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and CNN's Ashleigh Banfield both noted today — so far, at least, the criticism has mostly come from female columnists, not from Republican politicians.

This may be a sign the GOP has learned its lesson. No matter what the explanation is for Lewinsky's return, Republicans would be well served to take the advice of Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and not take the bait this time. Matt K. Lewis

5:03 a.m. ET

The world is probably divided into two groups: people who would love sitting through a traffic jam with Lady Gaga riding shotgun and those who would find it even more torturous than the traffic itself. The latter group probably won't enjoy James Corden's latest "carpool karaoke," on Tuesday's Late Last Show, but Gaga fans have a lot to look forward to.

There is, obviously, a lot of singing, and whether or not you like her music, Lady Gaga can sing. Corden asked about the beginning of "Bad Romance," and learned what Gaga is actually singing. "This why these carpools are good for me, just to get this sort of lyrical insight," he said. Gaga just got her driver's license a few months ago, and so she took the wheel for a brief, terrifying few minutes. In the video you also get to hear her vocal warmup routine, watch her and Corden re-enact the call where she was asked to play the Super Bowl, learn she owns some 400 items of Michael Jackson's wardrobe, and that she often writes songs in 10 minutes; it becomes clear, too, that she looks much better in her famously outrageous outfits than Corden does. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:19 a.m. ET

The race for Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes is so intense that a group backing Donald Trump is trying to court the Amish vote, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and he thought it was a good move. "This is the perfect demographic for Trump," he said. "They're the only voters left who haven't googled him." The pitch to the Amish includes that Trump is a builder, like them, and "the Amish like the fact that Trump has a family-owned business — whereas Hillary Clinton has a business-owned family," Colbert joked.

To seal the deal, the Trump PAC put up a billboard in Amish country declaring: "Vote Trump: Hard Working, Pro-Life, Family Dedicated... Just Like You." Yes, Colbert said, "in fact, Trump is so dedicated to family, he can't stop starting them." To find out if this courtship is working, he interviewed "Zachariah Miller," an Amish Trump backer played by Will Forte, and he does in fact like that Trump is a builder.

"What about Hillary Clinton? Do the Amish like her?" Colbert asked. "Oh no, we hate her." Miller said. "Why?" Colbert asked. "The emails!" Forte's Miller replied. "Wait, you're mad she deleted them?" Colbert asked. "Oh no, we're mad she uses emails at all," he said. "They're the Devil's thank you notes. Plus she wears no bonnet, the temptress, unlike Mr. Trump, who humbly covers his head with plenty of hay for his horses." If you're wondering at this point why an Amish farmer could even appear on TV, Forte had an answer: Rumspringa. And that also explains the increasingly bizarre turn the interview takes, and its twist ending. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:47 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's campaign launched a new nightly program on Facebook Monday called Trump Tower Live, Jimmy Kimmel noted on Tuesday's Kimmel Live, and some people think this is the precursor to a new Trump-branded media empire, Trump TV, "which is great news — finally we get a chance to see Donald Trump on TV," Kimmel joked. "But if you're wondering what Trump TV might possibly look like, they are already pushing their first scripted series, based on a popular conspiracy theory." He showed a preview, and it combines The Walking Dead and Hillary Clinton supporters. "I think it's going to be a hit," Kimmel said. And were it real, he could be right. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:14 a.m. ET

On Tuesday's Kelly File, Megyn Kelly had former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on to make the case for Donald Trump, and retired Marine Gen. John Allen — former head of U.S. Central Command — on to discuss why he's supporting Hillary Clinton. If you get to choose between the two as your public advocate, go with Allen.

"I want to ask you, because it is extraordinary to see a general like you come out and get political, what made you do it?" Kelly asked, after playing part of a new Clinton campaign ad starring Allen. The four-star general said he felt it necessary to express his "very clear support for the person I believe utterly should be the next commander in chief." Let's talk about that, Kelly said. Clinton "does have a foreign policy record — unlike Trump," she added, "and it's not... it's far from perfect, let's put it that way."

Clinton supported the Libya intervention, the Iran nuclear deal, "and certainly she underestimated the security threat in Benghazi," Kelly said. "So how can you, as a general serving in the positions you have, support her for commander in chief?" Allen said Clinton "has responded to many of those concerns, particularly Benghazi," and from his many interactions with her in Afghanistan and the Situation Room, "she's calm, she understands international relations, she understands that the influence of America is best exerted through our relationships overseas and through our alliances and parterships."

"But what about Trump and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin?" Kelly asked. "You know, he says he understands that too." Putin is watching this election "very, very closely, Megyn," Allen said, "and when one of the two principal candidates for the president of the United States in fact cheerleads the dissolution of the EU or would talk about not being willing to honor Article 5 of the NATO charter, we've got some real reason for Putin to want to see a particular individual in the Oval Office."

Kelly asked if Putin, a "former KGB guy" is studying Clinton and Trump, and Allen said "there's no question about that. They've got the voice prints, they can tell when someone is agitated, they can tell when someone is angry, they can tell when someone is telling the truth or not telling the truth, and all of this is to ensure that in a crisis, they can push the buttons they think they need to for that crisis to go their way." Peter Weber

2:09 a.m. ET
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who has garnered national attention for his hardline approach to dealing with undocumented immigrants, was officially charged on Tuesday with criminal contempt of court.

The Justice Department said two weeks ago that Arpaio, 84, would be charged, but the misdemeanor count was not officially filed until Tuesday. Arpaio is serving his fifth term as sheriff, and is up for re-election in two weeks; if convicted, he could face up to six months in jail. In December 2011, a judge issued a court order that banned Arpaio's deputies from detaining people based only on the suspicion they were an undocumented immigrant and without cause to believe they committed a crime, The Arizona Republic reports. The judge determined two years later that Arpaio's office had racially profiled Latinos, with officers continuing to detain undocumented immigrants for more than a year after the original court order. Arpaio has said he unintentionally defied the order. The trial is set to begin on Dec. 6.

Arpaio's opponent in the sheriff's race, Paul Penzone, called the charge "another example of the sheriff putting his own personal objectives ahead of the best interest of the community at our expense." Arpaio's lawyer, Mel McDonald, said his client will plead not guilty, and they "believe that when the final chapter is written, he will be vindicated." Arpaio has been investigated before, including four years ago when it was alleged he retaliated against two police officers and a judge by accusing them of corruption. So far, Maricopa County taxpayers have had to pay $48 million to defend Arpaio in the racial profiling case, and that number is expected to balloon up to $72 million by next summer, The Associated Press reports. Catherine Garcia

1:44 a.m. ET

Phil Collins officially un-retired last year, and proved it with a return to the stage in August, with a two-song set to kick off the U.S. Open. He is promoting a new memoir, Not Dead Yet, going on tour next summer, and on Tuesday's Tonight Show, he played one of his darkest and arguably his best song, "In the Air Tonight," from his 1981 album, Face Value. Due to nerve damage, Collins can't play the drums himself anymore — his son Nicholas will play on tour — but Jimmy Fallon's house band The Roots backed Collins on Tuesday's show. Collins and his voice have both aged a bit in the 35 years since he first released the song, but the drum fill at the 3:25 mark — Questlove's dramatic entry in the song — is as good as ever, and there are a few tasteful new additions to the instrumentation. Peter Weber

1:17 a.m. ET
AFP/Getty Images

Following South Africa and Burundi, Gambia said Tuesday it will leave the International Criminal Court.

When announcing its exit, the Gambian government called the ICC the "international Caucasian court" and said it is just targeting countries in Africa. The primary mission of the ICC is "to help put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes." It is based in The Hague, and the chief prosecutor is Gambian Fatou Bensouda.

Of the six ICC cases that are underway or close to starting, only Africans have been charged, but there are preliminary ICC investigations opened in other areas of the world, The Associated Press reports. Under the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa supported the ICC, but the country recently told the U.N. secretary-general it is leaving the court. Burundi did the same last week, when the president signed legislation to exit from the ICC. Catherine Garcia

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