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May 7, 2014
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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

9:15 p.m. ET
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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 Times reports the email was written by Jerome Almon, a man who runs websites featuring government conspiracy theories and believes Islamic terrorists have infiltrated the FBI. Almon is black, and 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

7:40 p.m. ET
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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

6:47 p.m. ET
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Confederate statues aren't just in the south, and a monument to Confederate veterans in the heart of Hollywood was quietly removed Wednesday morning.

At 3 a.m., workers at Hollywood Forever cemetery took out a 6-foot granite memorial, erected more than 90 years ago, which stood near about 30 graves of Confederate veterans and their families. Following the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the cemetery received hundreds of calls and letters from activists calling for the monument's removal, as well as threats from others who said they would vandalize it, the cemetery's chief financial officer told the Los Angeles Times. "We felt we could no longer keep it safe here," Yogu Kanthiah said.

The monument is owned by the Long Beach chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which decided to take it down after being contacted by Hollywood Forever, and the memorial will sit in storage for now. Most people didn't know about the Confederate section of the cemetery before the Times published an op-ed by history professor Kevin Waite on August 4, which went into detail about the history of Confederate sympathizers and veterans that lived in California; they felt so comfortable in the state that the only Confederate veterans rest home outside of the south was in San Gabriel, and when the residents died, they were buried at Hollywood Forever. Catherine Garcia

5:42 p.m. ET

Fox News anchor Shep Smith admitted Wednesday that the network "reached out to Republicans of all stripes across the country" to find someone willing to come on air to defend President Trump's remarks about the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but they came up empty-handed.

"Let's be honest, Republicans don't often really mind coming on Fox News Channel. We couldn't get anyone to come and defend him here because we thought, in balance, someone should do that," Smith said. "We worked very hard at it throughout the day, and we were unsuccessful."

In this way, Smith pointed out in his show-opening monologue, Trump has "brought together some Americans." "Many Republicans and Democrats are now uniting in criticism of the president of the United States, after his reprehensible comments about Charlottesville," Smith said, referring to Trump's remarks Tuesday blaming "both sides" for the violence at the white nationalist rally and suggesting that there were "some fine people" marching alongside neo-Nazis and white supremacists. "Now some of the president's own party are lining up to pin blame where they say it actually belongs: on the white supremacists and on the neo-Nazis." Becca Stanek

5:13 p.m. ET
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MoviePass, an app that lets subscribers see up to a movie a day in theaters for a flat monthly fee, has angered the largest theater chain in the U.S. AMC Theaters is considering legal action against the app after it dropped its monthly subscription rate Tuesday from $50 per month to just $9.95 per month.

In 2016, movie tickets across the U.S. cost $8.86 on average, meaning that with MoviePass' new discount deal, avid moviegoers could potentially see 30 movies for the price of one. Theaters themselves would not see a direct loss in revenue if the app fails, because MoviePass buys its tickets from theaters at full price. Even so, AMC Theaters issued a statement Tuesday calling the price drop "unsustainable" and warned that it "sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road, if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled."

MoviePass will likely rely on advertising to sustain its low subscription cost. The app's website was unprepared for the flood of new subscribers it received after announcing the price drop, and had trouble loading or failed to load altogether after its traffic jumped from 10,000 unique views per day to over 500,000 unique views. Elianna Spitzer

5:02 p.m. ET

Media Matters' quick compare-and-contrast of President Trump's combative press conference Tuesday alongside previous Fox News segments revealed the president borrowed heavily from the conservative news network for his talking points.

That line Trump used about waiting to get all "the facts" before he made a statement condemning the violence of white nationalists at the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia? Fox said it first. Trump's claim that there was violence on "both sides"? Fox said that too. His mentions of the alt-left? Fox News' Sean Hannity loves to talk about that. His insistence that there were some "very fine people" marching alongside white supremacists and neo-Nazis? Yep, that's a Fox favorite. Even Trump's hypothetical question about whether monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should also be taken down because, as he pointed out, they were slave owners, was first asked on Fox.

It seems Trump's claim that he has "very little time for watching TV" may be a bit outdated. Watch the president parrot Fox News below, in a video spliced together by Media Matters. Becca Stanek

3:48 p.m. ET
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Citizens of U.S. allies — including Japan, South Korea, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Hungary, France, Spain, Italy, and Sweden — trust Russian President Vladimir Putin more than President Trump, a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday revealed. Although citizens of these countries are leery of Putin, they have greater trust in him than in Trump to "do the right thing regarding world affairs," Pew found.

Of 36 countries surveyed, 22 reported trusting Putin more. In Greece and Lebanon, for instance, citizens trust Putin more than Trump by a margin of 31 percentage points. Putin is more trusted by a margin of 21 points in Vietnam; 14 points in Germany, Tunisia, and Mexico; and 10 points in South Korea.

In numerous countries, Trump does beat out Putin in trustworthiness — which is comforting considering a global average of just 26 percent of people say they have confidence in the Russian president. Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and South Africa were all among the countries that said they trusted Trump more than Putin. However, Trump just narrowly edges out Putin in several of those countries, with Australia trusting Trump more by a margin of only 2 points; Canada and the U.K. by 3 points; and the Netherlands by 5 points.

The results, which are part of Pew's Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey, have a margin of error ranging from plus or minus 3 percentage points to plus or minus 5.7 percentage points. Between 852 to 2,464 people were surveyed in each country from Feb. 16 to May 8. Becca Stanek

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