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April 22, 2014

On Monday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart made a pretty persuasive case that Sean Hannity would be using his Fox News show to eviscerate fee-dodging Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy if... well, Stewart isn't quite sure why Hannity is defending Bundy. Federal laws are against Bundy, the courts have ruled against him, and even the Nevada constitution — which he recognizes as legitimate, a courtesy he denies the federal government — makes Bundy a scofflaw.

These are all points also made by Glenn Beck and Tucker Carlson, among other conservatives — a rare place for Stewart to be, as he acknowledged Monday night: "Sean Hannity has now made Glenn Beck the voice of reason." At the same time, Hannity isn't alone — Sen. Dean Heller (R) considers Bundy and his armed defenders "patriots." So does Bundy. But when the rancher compared himself to the Founding Fathers, Stewart had enough: "Dude, you're a welfare rancher trying to pull off the world's largest cattle dine-and-dash." --Peter Weber

10:49 a.m. ET

The program that made your elementary school computer lab works of art possible is getting the axe. Microsoft Paint has been relegated to "'features that are removed or deprecated'" in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, meaning that the image-editing application is no longer "'in active development and might be removed in future releases,'" The Guardian reported.

Microsoft Paint has been around since Windows 1.0, which was released in 1985. The new frontier of Microsoft art is Paint 3D, which was introduced in April. Wired noted that while the apps have a name in common, "the new 3D version works in a very different way and doesn't resemble the original in pretty much any way."

It's been fun, Paint. Becca Stanek

10:45 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Americans are evenly divided over whether President Trump should be impeached, USA Today/iMediaEthics poll results released Monday reveal. While 42 percent believe impeachment is appropriate, exactly 42 percent say it isn't. In another even split, the same survey found 34 percent of Americans would be upset about such an impeachment, and another 34 percent would not.

Though impeachment does not necessarily entail removal from office, as in the case of former President Bill Clinton, more than a third of those surveyed — 36 percent — said they think it likely or certain Trump will not complete his first term. There, as with the impeachment questions, partisanship is amply evident: Just 1 in 10 Republicans doubt Trump will finish out the first four years.

At present, no impeachment efforts have credible momentum in Congress. Bonnie Kristian

10:22 a.m. ET

Among President Trump's most dramatic campaign promises was his pledge to "drain the swamp," to clear out unethical arrangements and backroom deals of all sorts in Washington, a feat made possible by Trump's outsider status.

Six months into the Trump presidency, Walter Shaub, who this month resigned as director of the United States Office of Government Ethics citing "the current situation," isn't quite sure Trump understands how "drain the swamp" works. He took to Twitter on Monday to offer an explanation:

Trump himself also had "drain the swamp" on his mind while tweeting Monday morning, suggesting that "drain the sewer" might be a more apt phrase:

To spare Shaub some time, let me go ahead and clarify that sewers already have drains — in fact, as this diagram helpfully shows, sewers are a systems of drains — while swamps are natural ecosystems known for their stagnant or slow-moving water. Bonnie Kristian

10:08 a.m. ET
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

While heaping praise on Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), White House counselor Kellyanne Conway unveiled the Trump administration's special name for those who stood by then-candidate Donald Trump in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape's release on Oct. 7. In the tape, Trump can be overheard bragging about grabbing women by their genitals. "We will always remember how tenacious and loyal Mark and Debbie Meadows were, especially after Oct. 7. They're definitely members of what we call the 'October 8th coalition,'" Conway said in an interview with the Washington Examiner published Monday.

After the tape was released, Debbie Meadows "boarded a 'Women for Trump' bus with 10 other wives of congressmen, and defended the candidate," the Washington Examiner recalled. That sort of loyalty — perhaps alongside the fact that Debbie sends Conway cookies — has given the head of House Freedom Caucus and his wife a certain power under the Trump administration. "In the final month, beginning with her boarding that bus ... in the face of a great deal of pressure to do otherwise — tells you something about their tenacity and loyalty," Conway added.

Read more on Meadows, an increasingly influential player in Trump's Washington, at The Washington Examiner. Becca Stanek

10:03 a.m. ET
Steffen Kugler /BPA via Getty Images

A New York Times story published Monday on the Russian sanctions deal made in Congress over the weekend — and President Trump's response to it — relays an anecdote from an unnamed White House aide which sees Trump accepting an argument from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow could not be responsible for 2016 election meddling because Russian hackers are too competent to have their work discovered.

When "Mr. Trump met Mr. Putin in Hamburg, Germany, two weeks ago," the Times reports, Trump "emerged to tell his aides that the Russian president had offered a compelling rejoinder: Moscow's cyberoperators are so good at covert computer-network operations that if they had dipped into the Democratic National Committee's systems, they would not have been caught."

Trump seems to have believed this rationale, as new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci made the same case in his appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. Had the Kremlin hacked the DNC, "you would have never seen it," he said. "You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they're super-confident in their deception skills and hacking." When CNN's Jake Tapper asked Scaramucci for his source on that claim, Scaramucci cited Trump. Bonnie Kristian

9:37 a.m. ET

President Trump kicked off his week by tweeting about Russia. On Monday morning, Trump took a quote from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticizing Hillary Clinton for blaming her loss on outside factors as a suggestion that it's time to move on from the Russia investigation since "after one year of investigation" there's been "zero evidence" found.

Trump conveniently cropped out the portion of Schumer's quote about Clinton losing "to somebody with 40 percent popularity":

Trump then questioned why investigators and "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions aren't "looking into Crooked Hillary's crimes":

Joshua Green, author of Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, pointed out the reason Sessions is so "beleaguered" is because he "put his career on the line to endorse Trump — who has now turned on him."

Trump also took a swing at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Trump's potential ties to Russia:

Before diving into his Russia tweetstorm, Trump tweeted out a proposed change to his signature campaign phrase: "Drain the Swamp should be changed to Drain the Sewer — it's actually much worse than anyone ever thought, and it begins with the Fake News!" Becca Stanek

8:34 a.m. ET

On Monday, a panel on Morning Joe raced to react to President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's recently released 11-page statement denying Russian collusion. In his statement to the House and Senate intelligence committees, Kushner maintained that nothing "improper" happened during his four meetings with Russians during the presidential campaign.

NBC News' Kasie Hunt interpreted Kushner's lines as "the chaos and sloppiness defense." "Essentially Jared Kushner is explaining away, point by point, all of the concerning things and offering his version of events that essentially make things that may seem to be problematic, simply the result of somebody overlooking something, of the chaos of the campaign," Hunt said, referring to Kushner's claim that he did not fully read the email inviting him to a meeting at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who claimed to have compromising information on Hillary Clinton. He also claimed he asked his assistant to call him about 10 minutes into the meeting as an "excuse to get out."

"This is to a certain extent, I think, the opening that Republicans who want find a reason to defend the president are looking to give them," Hunt said. "They're essentially saying, 'Look, there couldn't be any collusion here because nobody was in any position to collude. Everybody was drinking out of a fire hose.'"

Watch the panel's discussion below. Becca Stanek

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