April 11, 2014

Stephen Colbert has been in his Stephen Colbert character for so long — keeping up the conservative-pundit shtick even while roasting President George W. Bush, hosting a rally on the National Mall, and testifying before Congress — that when CBS announced Thursday that he is taking over The Late Show from David Letterman at the end of the year, a lot of people were curious about what a late-night Colbert talk would will be like without Colbert's Colbert Report alter ego.

In 2012, Colbert (the person) sat down with David Gregory on Meet The Press, and talked about what it's like to be "Stephen Colbert" (the character), his views on satire and politics, how he differs from Jon Stewart, and why he does almost everything in character. "I've got no business doing something like" testifying before Congress or running for president, Colbert said, "but my character thinks he does, and through him I can say things that are hopefully in a more palatable way than I could ever."

If you can sit through some talk about the 2012 election, you get a sense of what an out-of-character Stephen Colbert might be like on The Late Show. --Peter Weber

1:54 a.m. ET

Trevor Noah may have no idea what it means to call someone an "empty barrel," but he's sure of one thing: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly needs to apologize to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) after he "successfully maligned" the congresswoman last week.

When Kelly replaced Reince Priebus over the summer, it was an appointment widely praised, with pundits calling him "a force for good." This sounded extreme — "It's not the Death Star, everyone in there is supposed to be a force for good," Noah said on Monday's Daily Show — but the retired four-star general was well-respected and seemed likely to be able to control President Trump. That's why it came as a surprise when he "put his credibility on the line" last week and defended Trump after Wilson said she heard Trump's "insensitive" remarks to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed earlier this month in Niger.

"He didn't just step into the fight, he started throwing punches," Noah said. Kelly ridiculed Wilson for listening to Trump's phone call, even though he also heard the conversation since he was next to Trump, and then attacked Wilson's character, calling her an "empty barrel." "Where I come from, you don't call someone an empty barrel, because no one knows what that means," Noah joked. Kelly also claimed Wilson bragged about securing funding for an FBI building in Florida, but video later released by a local newspaper showed she spent her time saluting law enforcement. People believed him, though, because "John Kelly would never say anything that wasn't true — or so we thought," Noah said. Now, it's time for him to make things right with Wilson, a former educator and founder of the 5,000 Role Models of Excellence Project. "She's not an empty barrel," Noah said. "She's someone who deserves an apology." Catherine Garcia

1:14 a.m. ET
Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

The Environmental Protection Agency is hiring 12 new security agents to add to Administrator Scott Pruitt's already unprecedented around-the-clock security detail, CNN reported Monday night, citing "sources with knowledge of the situation" and help-wanted ads. The new agents will cost the agency at least $2 million a year in salaries, plus training, equipment, vehicles, travel, and other expenses. CNN said it has withheld details about the size of Pruitt's security detail, but Talking Points Memo says the dozen additional agents will bring his guard count to 30 agents.

No previous EPA chief has requested or received 24/7 protection, EPA assistant inspector general Patrick Sullivan told CNN, but "the EPA is a lightening rod," and Pruitt has received "four to five times the number of threats" as his predecessor, Gina McCarthy. "We get threats from both sides of the spectrum," he added. McCarthy had a total of five guards, mostly for travel outside Washington.

Pruitt is also much more secretive than former EPA chiefs, installing a sound-proof phone booth ($25,000) in his office and security access card systems in and around his office ($15,780), and keeping cleaning crews out of his office during non-working hours. "It's unclear if Pruitt and his staff are guarding against outside threats, internal leakers, or both," CNN says. "EPA sources have described Pruitt as distrustful of career staffers at the agency."

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) have asked the EPA inspector general if "taxpayer funds are being misused," noting that Pruitt's security bill "during his first quarter as EPA administrator is nearly double what the two previous administrators spent on security over that same timeframe," and that's before the new agents. Pruitt has also notched at least $58,000 in chartered and government flights, all while planning to cut the agency budget by 30 percent. Peter Weber

12:50 a.m. ET

Two times a day, Harvey Djerf, 95, sets off for a walk around his Plymouth, Minnesota, neighborhood, covering almost a mile. If he gets tired, it's not a problem — his neighbors have put chairs on their lawns so he always has a place to rest.

The World War II veteran and retired biology teacher has been walking in this neighborhood for 64 years, and he said his fellow residents have noticed that as he gets older he has to stop more to catch his breath. "It's a wonderful experience and it's a social experience, and I get to know the neighbors and they get to know me," he told CBS News.

Djerf said his wife of 69 years, who had a stroke and is in an assisted living facility, always told him he was "antsy," and he admits he "can't sit still," which is why he never misses a walk. He's hoping that by watching him stroll by, his neighbors will be motivated to put their walking shoes on, too. Catherine Garcia

12:01 a.m. ET

At one point during a benefit show for hurricane victims in College Station, Texas, on Saturday, former President George W. Bush leaned over to his successor, Barack Obama, and cracked a joke while his predecessor, Bill Clinton, was talking about the ongoing struggle in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That "one really light-hearted moment" went "around the internet," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show, but "we don't have the audio — Bush's mic isn't on — so we don't know what he said. But we can speculate ... or just make it up."

So Colbert dusted off his Dubya voice and tried out a few wisecracks. Some were pretty funny — "$20 if you pants Clinton right now" probably got the biggest laugh — but it turns out that the moment was so good, just about anything worked. Watch below. Peter Weber

October 23, 2017
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Three Environmental Protection Agency scientists scheduled to speak at an event Monday regarding climate change's affect on New England's largest estuary were instructed by the agency not to talk, just a few days before they were set to present their findings from a new report.

The report, published by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, goes into detail on how climate change is affecting everything from precipitation to air and water temperatures, and how that impacts the health of the bay. The EPA would not say why the scientists, including one who was supposed to give the keynote speech, were told not to speak, instead saying in a statement the agency gives the program a $600,000 grant every year.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said he does not believe climate change is real, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) suggested Monday that "because this was going to be about climate change ... they simply don't want to allow those words to be said, and they don't want people from their agency to be caught saying them. It's just been a constant effort at trying to silence conversation about climate change." The estuary program's director, Thomas Borden, told The Associated Press he was notified on Friday by the director of the EPA's Atlantic Ecology Division that two staffers had been advised not to attend, and he understood the directive came from EPA headquarters. Borden said he then learned that the third scientist, an EPA consultant who wrote much of the report, had been told not to participate, either, though she did attend. Catherine Garcia

October 23, 2017

Taoufik Moalla has never tried to fool himself into thinking he's a fantastic singer, but the Montreal resident never thought his spirited rendition of C+C Music Factory's 1990 hit "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" would net him a $149 fine.

Moalla was driving to the store on Sept. 27 when the classic '90s jam came on, and he started to sing along. Moalla told CTV he heard a police siren behind him and thought the car wanted to go by, but instead the officer announced over the loudspeaker he needed to pull over. He did as he was told, and four police officers approached his car and checked out the inside. "They asked me if I screamed," Moalla said. "I said, 'No, I was just singing.'"

In Montreal, a person who causes "disorder by screaming" violates "peace and tranquility," CTV reports, and they can be fined up to $1,000. Moalla was written up for screaming in public and handed a $149 ticket. "I don't know if my voice was very bad and that's why I got the ticket, but I was very shocked," he said. Moalla didn't think he was being that loud, "just if you are happy and you like this song," but he wasn't mad at the officers, because "they were just doing their job." He has contested the ticket, and is waiting now for a court date. In the meantime, Moalla has received zero sympathy from his wife: "She told me, if it was for singing, I'd have given you a ticket for $300." Catherine Garcia

October 23, 2017
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

This week, Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer and public advocate, will meet behind closed doors with the House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, several people familiar with the matter told CNN on Monday.

On Tuesday, Cohen will meet privately with members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and on Wednesday, he will speak with Senate Intelligence Committee staff investigators, CNN reports. Cohen had originally been slated to have a private interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee last month, but it was canceled after he gave his opening statement to the media, saying he never colluded with the Russians to get Trump elected or to "hack anyone or any organization." He is expected to still participate in a public hearing sometime in the future.

Cohen was named in the infamous dossier on Trump compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele; the dossier says he traveled to Prague to meet with Russians, a claim Cohen denies. Catherine Garcia

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