Was President Obama a huge TRL fan? All signs point to "yes," after he made an 'N Sync joke on his official Facebook page.
The president (OK, let's be honest, it was a member of the White House's social media team) posted a photo of himself with Justin Timberlake on Wednesday, with the caption "It's gonna be May." Anyone who wore an "I Survived Y2K" shirt to middle school knows that this is a reference to the 'N Sync masterpiece "It's Gonna Be Me." (Oh, and the fact that it really is gonna be May.) For whatever reason, when young Timberlake recorded the song he pronounced "me" like the current month and now, 14 years later, the president is joking about it on Facebook. Not even Joey Fatone saw that one coming. --Catherine Garcia
Stephen Colbert began Thursday night's Late Show monologue with CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference taking place outside Washington. At CPAC on Thursday, White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus put on a buddy-comedy act to show that, "contrary to what we know to be true, Priebus and Bannon get along just fine," Colbert said. Priebus lauded Bannon's collars, and Bannon barely "caught himself before he went full Mussolini there. Now Bannon just has to resist talking about his kampf," Colbert said.
"Donald Trump said last night transgender students can't use the bathrooms they want to use," Colbert continued, noting that Trump's anti-transgender directive is weird because on the campaign trail, people believed that "when it came to stuff like this, Trump seemed to be cool with whatever." In any case, "according to the administration, this wasn't about persecuting any group, it was strictly a legal concern," Colbert said, though he found the administration's "states' rights" argument an unpersuasive cop-out — if, admittedly, a useful one. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly pushed hard for the transgender protection reversal, while Education Secretary Betsy DeVos initially balked because it could lead to violence against kids. "So Betsy DeVos knew it would harm children, and did it anyway to save her job," Colbert said, icily. "How does she sleep at night? I'll let the states decide."
Colbert had some fun with a Politico article in which Trump campaign aides explained how they kept Trump off of Twitter — by soothing him with positive news and praise, essentially, even getting friendly news outlets to write articles just to calm Trump's nerves. "So his staff would use Fox and Breitbart to plant news?" Colbert asked. "That is... fake... Gosh, I wish there was a term for that. Oh, I know what it is, I know what it is: It's prostitution."
"Of course, being in the entertainment business, I have no experience with using flattery to manipulate someone — and my staff says it is one of my best qualities," Colbert said. "I'm going to try to do my part to keep Trump off Twitter right now. So, White House staffers, the next time the president thinks he hasn't been getting enough praise, please show him this news clip." Watch below. Peter Weber
Caitlyn Jenner has a very public heart-to-heart with President Trump over his transgender 'disaster'
There are an estimated 149,750 transgender teenagers in the U.S. — or 1 out of every 137 kids age 13 to 17 — according to a new study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, and Caitlyn Jenner addressed them first in a video she posted online Thursday night. "You're winning," she told them, even though "it doesn't feel like it today, or any day." Next she addressed "the bullies," telling them, "you're sick," and because "you're weak, you pick on kids, you pick on women, or anyone else you think is vulnerable."
In this "bully" category, Jenner put Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who reportedly steamrolled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos into signing off on President Trump's reversal of former President Barack Obama's federal protections for transgender students, advising schools to let kids use the bathroom and locker room that matches their gender identitiy. "Apparently, even becoming the attorney general isn't enough to cure some people of their insecurities," Jenner said. Her final message was to Trump himself, "from one Republican to another. This is a disaster, and you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me."
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) February 24, 2017
Jenner, a former Olympian and Kardashian who is one of the most famous transgender women in the world, supported Trump in the presidential election — and, very publicly, used the women's bathroom in Trump Tower at his invitation — and people were very quick to remind her of that fact on social media. Stephen Colbert, who did not support Trump, had his own short message for Trump on transgender rights on Thursday night. You can watch it below. Peter Weber
On Thursday, prosecutors in Kansas charged Adam Purinton, 51, with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder for the shooting of three people at a crowded bar in Olanthe, just outside Kansas City, on Wednesday night. A bartender at Austins Bar and Grill said Purinton used "racial slurs" before he allegedly shot Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, and Alok Madasani, 32, both aviation engineers at a local Garmin plant and both originally from India. At least one witness told The Kansas City Star that Purinton yelled for them to "get out of my country" before he pulled out a gun and began firing.
Kuchibhotla died in the hospital; Madasani and Ian Grillot, a 24-year-old Austins regular who stepped in to stop Purinton, are in stable condition. Purinton left the bar on foot and was arrested around midnight at an Applebees in Clinton, Missouri, some 70 miles away. He told an Applebees bartender that he needed a place to hide out because he had just killed two Middle Eastern men, The Star reports, and the bartender quietly called police, who arrested Purinton without incident. In court Thursday, he did not contest extradition to Kansas; bond was set at $2 million.
The FBI is working with Olanthe police to determine if this was a hate crime, but Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said investigators have not yet determined a motive for the shooting. "We're less than 24 hours in," he said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "We want to be sure of the facts versus speculation." You can learn more about the victims at The Kansas City Star, and more about the case — which is reportedly being watched very closely in India — in the ABC News report below. Peter Weber
Ashley, a one-year-old pit bull, was found emaciated and living in squalor, but her spirit was never broken.
Erica Mahnken of the No More Pain dog rescue found Ashley in a Staten Island drug den, and asked friends working at a fire station on Manhattan's Lower East Side if they could keep Ashley for a few days while she found her a home. "As soon as we walked her in there everyone loved her," Mahnken told Inside Edition. "She was jumping on everyone and licking everybody."
The firefighters quickly decided they wanted her to stay with them permanently, and now a healthy and happy Ashley spends her days hanging out at the station with her new family. The firefighters document Ashley's life on her own Instagram account, and Mahnken says she is "just thankful they were able to take her, because God knows where she'd be." Catherine Garcia
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday announced he is rescinding a directive from the Obama administration that instructed the Department of Justice to curtail the use of private prisons.
In an order, Sessions wrote that the earlier memo phasing out private prison use "changed long-standing policy and practice" and "impaired" the ability of the Bureau of Prisons "to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system." In recent years, due to changes in sentencing for some lower-level offenders, the federal prison population has been declining. Today, there are about 21,000 inmates being held in for-profit prisons for the Justice Department, down from a peak of 30,000, NPR reports.
Last August, Sally Yates, then the deputy attorney general, said facilities run by outside companies are not as safe, more expensive, and no longer "provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources." Catherine Garcia
Leila de Lima, a senator in the Philippines and one of President Rodrigo Duterte's most vocal critics, was arrested Friday on drug-trafficking charges.
On Thursday, de Lima was indicted over allegations that from 2010 to 2015, during her tenure as justice secretary, she allowed the drug trade to thrive in the national jail, Bloomberg reports. Before surrendering to authorities, de Lima told reporters she is "innocent" and there is "no truth to allegations that I benefited from the illegal drug trade, that I took drug money, that I protected drug convicts — these are all lies." The current justice secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre, denied that de Lima's arrest was politically motivated, saying probable cause had been established.
De Lima has led the opposition to Duterte's war on drugs, which he launched last year after he took office. While Duterte was mayor of Davao, de Lima was in charge of the Commission on Human Rights, which investigated how he was handling drug use and dealing in the city. If convicted, de Lima faces life in prison and a fine. "It is my honor to be jailed for the things I fight for," she said, defiantly adding that she won't stop "fighting for truth and justice against the daily killings and other abuses of the Duterte regime." Catherine Garcia
"Look, it's not easy being a member of Congress these days," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night, "facing down angry voters at rowdy town halls, standing under those hot lights, getting yelled at by your constituents. I'm sure they'd love to get out of there and just relax for a while, like this guy" — that guy being President Trump on his golf course. "While Trump is tweeting and hitting the links, Republican members of Congress are in their home districts dealing with constituents who are angry about Trump's first month in office," Meyers said, plus his tax returns, ties to Russia, and the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Meyers ran though some of the tough questions fielded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), who Meyers said "looks like a kid in a school play whose performance was so bad they called him back out on stage by himself so everyone could boo him." In Utah, Rep. Jason Chaffetz got lustily booed for "just mentioning the name of the vice president," Meyers said, noting, to be fair, that Mike Pence has also been booed recently at a Broadway show and an Indiana minor-league baseball game.
"And by the way, it's not just Republicans who are facing town hall protests," he said. "Moderate Democrats are also preparing for protests at their own town halls from constituents demanding they stand up to Trump," and they are seeking help, reportedly, from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But most of the anger has been toward the GOP. "Trump and Republicans in Congress are facing a massive backlash over their plan to repeal ObamaCare, because they have nothing better to offer," Meyers said, listing three legs of the GOP replacement plan: Tums, Advil, and soup. Watch below. Peter Weber