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April 11, 2014

Batman turns 75 this year, and to celebrate, Bruce Timm — co-creator of Batman: The Animated Series — is celebrating with an animated short. "Batman: Strange Days" is more impressive for its noir-tinged style than plot — how much complexity can you really fit in a two-minute film? The story revolves round an abduction near the lair of evil Dr. Hugo Strange, and Timm decided on black-and-white and period stylings in homage to Batman's start, in 1939, at the hands of creator Bob Kane:

You can watch Timm talk about the episode, and Batman's 75th, below, to DC All Access. --Peter Weber

10:19 a.m. ET
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

The brutality of prison camps in North Korea is on par with that of Nazi concentration camps, says Thomas Buergenthal, a former judge on the International Court of Justice who is now serving on a panel of human rights investigators probing whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should be tried for crimes against humanity. Buergenthal is also a survivor of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps as well as a Polish ghetto.

"I believe that the conditions in the [North] Korean prison camps are as terrible, or even worse, than those I saw and experienced in my youth in these Nazi camps and in my long professional career in the human rights field," Buergenthal said after the panel completed its review.

"There is not a comparable situation anywhere in the world, past or present," said another panelist, Navi Pillay, a South African judge who served as the United Nations' high commissioner for human rights. "This is really an atrocity at the maximum level," Pillay added, "where the whole population is subject to intimidation."

The panel's investigation was initiated by the International Bar Association and examined testimony from experts as well as North Korean defectors, including camp prisoners and guards. A full report of the probe's findings will be published Tuesday. Bonnie Kristian

10:03 a.m. ET
JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images

When President Trump posts a tweet, it is shared with and analyzed for Russian President Vladimir Putin as any official statement by the president of the United States would be, Moscow indicated Tuesday.

"In any case, everything which is published from [Trump's authorized] Twitter account is perceived by Moscow as his official statement," said Putin representative Dmitry Peskov, Reuters reported. "Naturally, it is reported to Putin along with other information about official statements by politicians."

Trump averages about seven tweets per day. Since becoming president, he has used his Twitter account for everything from major policy announcements to petty feuds and name-calling. The implications of Russia's assumption may be most troubling in regards to North Korea, as it transforms into official American policy Trump's tweets declaring it is a waste of time for the U.S. to negotiate with "short and fat" Little Rocket Man. Bonnie Kristian

9:53 a.m. ET

President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to attack Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), suggesting she had a history of trading favors for campaign donations.

A number of Twitter users were quick to point out that the president's tweet was loaded with unsavory implications.

Gillibrand, who on Monday called for Trump to resign over the numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment made against him, did indeed take some money from Trump before he ran for office. In 2010, Gillibrand's campaign raised more than $13 million, and Politico's Kyle Cheney points out that Trump donated $4,800. In 2014, his daughter Ivanka Trump donated $2,000.

Gillibrand was apparently in the middle of a "bipartisan bible study group" when she heard about Trump's tweet. Fifty minutes later, she fired back. Kelly O'Meara Morales

9:45 a.m. ET

Republican pollster Frank Luntz admitted Monday night that for the first time in his career, he can't call an election. Looking at Tuesday's Alabama Senate race between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones, Luntz said he's told people to ignore all the polls "because you really don't know what's going to happen."

Luntz explained to Fox News that he hasn't seen much enthusiasm among African American voters, who are expected to heavily favor Jones at the ballot box, but that he has seen many conservatives eager to vote for Moore as a message to Washington. "That said, I can't call it," Luntz confessed, "and I've never been afraid to call an election up until this point. Because I don't know the makeup of that actual electorate tomorrow."

Luntz additionally noted that whatever happens Tuesday night, there is "anger against both sides." He added: "I gotta wonder how long it is going to take the state to heal itself after this election, because it really has torn itself apart." Watch Luntz break down why it is so difficult to call the race below, and read more about why the polls are showing "a massive spread" at FiveThirtyEight. Jeva Lange

9:06 a.m. ET
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Who investigates the investigators? President Trump's legal team, frustrated by the ongoing probe into their client's potential ties with Russia, is now proposing naming a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Axios reports.

The idea of naming an additional special counsel beyond Robert Mueller stems from a Fox News article that found a "senior Justice Department official" had been demoted after "concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump 'dossier' had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed." The wife of the demoted official reportedly worked at Fusion GPS during the presidential campaign.

The article spurred Trump attorney Jay Sekulow to tell Axios that "the Department of Justice and FBI cannot ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interests. These new revelations require the appointment of a special counsel to investigate."

If everyone got their way, there could be four different special counsels running about Washington. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) has demanded support for "a special counsel to investigate ALL THINGS 2016" and Sessions himself "is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns," The Washington Post reports. Read more at Axios. Jeva Lange

9:06 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) is not stepping down despite an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement he reached with his former press secretary, Lauren Greene, a new House Ethics Committee investigation of that settlement, and five Republican challengers in his safe GOP district. "It's lonelier than it's been in past times, but he's not alone," Farenthold's chief of staff, Bob Haueter, told The Texas Tribune on Monday evening.

Also on Monday evening, The New York Times took "a peek into the inner workings" of Farenthold's Capitol Hill office, revealing a "hostile work environment, rife with sexual innuendo" and fueled by alcohol, where "sexually explicit conversations are routine, pickup lines are part of daily life, hiring can be based on looks, tolerance is expected, and intolerance of such behavior is career-ending." The Times based its report on House aides, former Farenthold staffers, and legal documents. Some of the details make Farenthold's office sound like the fraternity in Animal House, the Times reports:

The refrigerator in the "bullpen" — the open area where aides worked — was filled with beer, and sometimes happy hour would begin at 4:30 p.m., which his aides called "beer-thirty." [Former Press Secretary Elizabeth] Peace said women would discuss which male lobbyists had texted them pictures of their genitals, and both men and women would talk about strip clubs and whether certain Fox News anchors had breast implants. [The New York Times]

Greene's complaint alleged that Farenthold liked redheads especially, "regularly drank to excess, and because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on 'redhead patrol' to keep him out of trouble." Farenthold's lawyers denied that there client's attraction to redheads "was a source for, or cause of, concern for any staffer." You can read more at The New York Times. Peter Weber

8:28 a.m. ET
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In a year bookended by worldwide Women's Marches and the #MeToo movement, it is perhaps no surprise to hear that "feminism" is the 2017 Merriam-Webster dictionary word of the year. "No one word can ever encapsulate all the news, events, or stories of a given year," said the editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, Peter Sokolowski, in a statement. "But when we look back at the past 12 months and combine an analysis of words that have been looked up much more frequently than during the previous year along with instances of intense spikes of interest because of news events, we see that one word stands out in both categories."

Last year, the Merriam-Webster word of the year was "surreal," with searches of the word spiking on Nov. 9, the day after Donald Trump won the presidential election. The Trump administration similarly shaped the linguistic landscape in 2017, with searches of "feminism" spiking after Kellyanne Conway said she did not consider herself to be "classic" feminist.

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" and "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests." Dictionary.com picked "complicit" as its 2017 word of the year. Jeva Lange

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