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April 24, 2014
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Cliven Bundy's 15 minutes may be up. The man who became a hero to some on the right for staring down the government and refusing to pay grazing fees is using his newfound celebrity to preach his political philosophy. And turns out when given a soapbox, Bundy's preaching quickly veers from libertarian angst to clueless racism.

"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," Bundy said during a news conference Saturday, according to The New York Times. You can imagine where this is going:

Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, "and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for their young girls to do.

And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?" he asked. "They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn't get no more freedom. They got less freedom." [The New York Times]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who praised Bundy for standing up to the feds, quickly yanked his support, saying Bundy's "remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree."

Conservatives rallied around Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson when he made controversial remarks about gays and African-Americans. But Bundy's remarks were far more racially insensitive, so it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, comes to his defense. Jon Terbush

4:03 a.m. ET

Under a new Trump administration proposal, hunters will once again be able to shoot bear and wolf cubs in their dens. "And I say it's about time," Jimmy Kimmel deadpanned on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. "I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of not being able to shoot bear cubs in their dens. I mean, what are you supposed to do, wait for them to waddle out adorably and start rolling around? That's not American!" He also mentioned Trump's easing of a ban on importing African elephant trophies, despite saying he wouldn't, "which is disgusting," Kimmel said, "but not only isn't the president backing down, he's going all in on this." That cued up a fake Trump TV ad, and it gets pretty dark. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. make a cameo at the end. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:08 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Only two members of Congress — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif) and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — will be at a noon Justice Department briefing on Thursday about an FBI informant who contacted members of President Trump's campaign in 2016. But after protests from Democrats and some Republicans that only two House Republicans and no Democrats were invited, there will now be a second briefing at 2 p.m. with the Gang of 8 — the top Senate and House leaders and intelligence committee members from both parties — plus Gowdy. Despite a previous assurance from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that "no member of the White House staff" would be at the top secret briefing, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will attend both briefings.

Representing U.S. intelligence and law enforcement at the briefing will be Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Director of Intelligence Dan Coats. The Justice Department hasn't said what information will be shared with lawmakers and Kelly about the informant.

The invitees to the second meeting are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Ryan will not attend, due to a "longstanding schedule commitment," according to spokeswoman AshLee Strong, and three Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans — Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Cornyn (Texas), and Lindsay Graham (S.C.) — have also asked to attend.

Kelly brokered the meetings at Trump's insistence, amid unsubstantiated claims by Trump that the FBI "spied" on his campaign for political, not counterintelligence, reasons. His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani says Trump should get access to the information, too, even though he's a subject of the investigation. Peter Weber

1:57 a.m. ET
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

On Wednesday, wildlife officials in Wyoming approved plans for the state's first season of grizzly bear hunting in 43 years, scheduled to begin on Sept. 1.

Hunters will be able to kill as many as 22 grizzlies during the season, Reuters reports. There are now fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears in the 48 contiguous United States. There were once more than 100,000, by 1975, after decades of shooting, trapping, and poisoning, there were only a few hundred bears left, and they were placed under federal protection.

Last June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced there were now enough grizzly bears in the region that the species no longer needed to be listed as threatened; conservationists disagree, arguing that the grizzly bear population is vulnerable to climate change and that poaching remains an issue. Native Americans are also outraged. Brian Jackson of the Blackfoot Confederacy told Reuters the grizzly bear is "a sacred being that is central to our religious and life ways. This is not a hunting issue; this is a killing issue."

Earlier this month, Idaho approved a plan that allows for just one grizzly to be hunted when the season opens Sept. 1, while Montana has decided against permitting grizzly hunting, because the state is still concerned about the long-term recovery of the population. Catherine Garcia

1:53 a.m. ET
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President Trump is "a little rusty, but he's on offense" in the federal Russian collusion and obstruction of justice investigation, longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone told Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman. "And it's always better to be on offense than defense." His offense involves calling reports about an FBI informant feeling out a few of his campaign advisers in 2016 evidence that a "spy" infiltrated his campaign, and on Wednesday, Trump debuted his newest brand: "Spygate."

There is no publicly available evidence that there was any politically motivated "spying" on his campaign, and plenty of common-sense reasons to doubt the idea, but "the president himself is convinced that the secret FBI informant who reportedly met with several Trump campaign advisers in 2016 was not merely an informant, but an Obama political operative," Sherman reports. The Associated Press corroborated that narrative on Wednesday, but added in the suggestion from an ally of the president's that Trump's cynical showmanship came into play, too:

Trump has told confidants in recent days that the revelation of an informant was potential evidence that the upper echelon of federal law enforcement has conspired against him, according to three people familiar with his recent conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly. Trump told one ally this week that he wanted "to brand" the informant a "spy," believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public. [The Associated Press]

Think about all the coverage Trump's unsubstantiated "spying" accusations and new nickname have been getting, and he may have a point. Peter Weber

1:10 a.m. ET
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Members of the Culinary Union in Las Vegas are prepared to go on strike if the casinos don't approve a proposed five-year contract by the time the current contract expires on May 31.

The union says that of the 25,000 members who voted this week, 99 percent were in favor of a strike. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay resort that left 58 people dead, the union is asking for more sexual harassment and safety protections, as well as a larger share of casino profits and more training in the latest technology.

Bethany Kahn, a spokeswoman for the organization, told the Los Angeles Times that the union has heard about "instances of verbal and physical abuse by guests and high rollers against cocktail servers and bartenders. We want language in the new contract regarding guests and high rollers that show zero tolerance for harassment so workers can do their work in dignity." The new contract would cover 50,000 workers at 34 casinos, including MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment resorts.

Last year, 42.2 million people visited Las Vegas, the city's Visitors and Convention Authority said, and Ruben Garcia, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told the Times a strike could be "crippling because it's summer and there will be a lot of big events, including the NHL playoffs." The last citywide labor strike, in 1984, lasted 67 days. MGM and Caesars have both said they expect to come up with an agreement soon. Catherine Garcia

12:42 a.m. ET

President Trump was in New York City on Wednesday, having dinner with supporters — "well, it's New York, so 'supporter,'" Stephen Colbert joked on The Late Show. "Bon appétit, Sean Hannity." But the big story is that "Trump is calling the one informant that the FBI used to find out if the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russian government 'a nest of spies,'" he added. "The reviews are in on his new thriller," and they are not glowing. "But today, Trump gave his conspiracy a nickname," Colbert said, and he wasn't unimpressed.

Spygate? "A, a criminal investigation is not 'spying' — it should be 'Investigate-gate,'" Colbert said. "And B, 'Spygate' has already been used, twice — once to describe the public identification of Valerie Plame as a CIA officer, and for the New England Patriots videotaping of New York Jets coaches' signals. Well, as long as we're just stealing other scandals' names, from now on Watergate is the fact that Trump can't drink one-handed." Trump tweeted about his "made-up spy thing," too, Colbert said, and he read some of the nuttier tweets.

"Yes, follow Trump down the rabbit hole here," Colbert said. "They embedded a spy early on and paid him massive sums of money to sabotage the Trump campaign with false claims of Russian collusion in the press to help Hillary Clinton win, and then — and here's the insidious part — they didn't tell the press and Hillary Clinton lost, so when Trump revealed this plot he would seem like a desperate criminal spinning conspiracy theories to stop the walls from closing in! Nice try, Deep State!" He ended with a few caustic thoughts on Trump's call for nonpartisan transparency, ending with this zinger: "I give him this — we are getting transparency, because it is easy to see through that bulls--t." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 23, 2018
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You say "eee-ther," I say "eye-ther"; you say "Witch Hunt!" I say, "ongoing criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry."

In a court filing Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller urged a U.S. District Court in Washington to deny a request from a group of five major news organizations to gain access to sealed documents, including search warrants and court transcripts, from its investigation into Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election and the activities of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman.

Mueller quietly reminded everyone that of all the leaking going on in Washington and New York, none of it is coming from his team — and his team knows things you don't:

The special counsel's investigation is not a closed matter, but an ongoing criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry. No right of public access exists to search warrant materials in an ongoing investigation. ... Search warrant materials regularly remain sealed while investigations are ongoing. And a right of public access risks jeopardizing open investigations. That remains true even though some aspects of the investigation have resulted in charges; the overall investigation is not complete, and the search warrant materials relate to that ongoing investigation. [Court filing, Robert Mueller]

"As of this date, the government has brought criminal charges against 22 individuals and entities arising from the investigation," Mueller added, listing the charges in an appendix, in case anyone in the White House forgot that his office has already turned up considerably more than nothing. The five news organizations — The Associated Press, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico — will likely have to look elsewhere for their information. They could always try Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Peter Weber

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