The Supreme Court is deciding whether or not craft emporium Hobby Lobby and other private companies founded on religious principles can be compelled to offer their employees health care plans that cover contraception. After oral arguments this week, it appears a narrow majority of the court may well side with Hobby Lobby — and Jon Stewart has some questions.
The main one he asked on Wednesday night's Daily Show is why a for-profit corporation should be allowed to claim the religious rights of an individual, espeically based on scientifically faulty views about contraception and abortion. "Let me get this straight," he said. "Corporations aren't just people, they're ill-informed people whose factually incorrect beliefs must be upheld because they sincerely believe them anyway?"
The answer, as always, lies in the hands of Justice Anthony Kennedy. But in this case, the asking is all that matters — Stewart doesn't get a vote at the high court, and neither do you — and The Daily Show does a fine job of finding a lighter side to a thorny question. Certainly watch the part with Senior Legal Analyst Jordan Klepper; there's a nice little borrow from Annie Hall. --Peter Weber
During a phone call in late April, President Trump congratulated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on doing an "unbelievable job" in his bloody war on drugs, a leaked transcript of the conversation obtained by The Intercept and Rappler shows.
The White House described the April 29 call as a "very friendly conversation," with the leaders discussing the threat posed by North Korea and drugs in the Philippines. The transcript — produced by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and later authenticated by top officials in the agency — begins with pleasantries, then Trump launches into his praise of Duterte. "Many countries have the problem" of drugs, he said. "We have a problem, but what a great job you are doing." Duterte thanked him, adding, "This is the scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation." Trump said that unlike a "previous president," he understood.
Police in the Philippines have killed more than 7,000 suspected drug dealers and users and vigilante squads have added to the death toll, while Duterte himself has said he'd "be happy to slaughter" his country's drug users. "To endorse Duterte is to endorse a man who advocates mass murder and who has admitted to killing people himself," John Sifton, Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, told The Intercept. "Endorsing his methods is a celebration of the death of the poor and vulnerable."
Trump and Duterte also discussed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with Duterte calling him "not stable" and "a madman." Trump said he hopes "China solves the problem" of North Korea, but if they don't, "we will do it." The call ended with Trump urging Duterte to visit him in the Oval Office "anytime you want to come," and a final word of encouragement: "Keep up [the] good work, you are doing an amazing job." Read the entire transcript, which has several typographical errors, here. Catherine Garcia
Senate Intelligence Committee leaders are responding to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's refusal to hand over documents related to its Russia probe by issuing subpoenas to two of his businesses.
Rather than comply with the subpoena from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Flynn on Monday invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. "While we disagree with Gen. Flynn's lawyers' interpretation of taking the Fifth…it's even more clear that a business does not have a right to take the Fifth," Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the panel's vice chairman, told reporters Tuesday.
Flynn, a foreign policy adviser to Trump during the campaign, was only national security adviser for a short amount of time, forced to resign just weeks after the inauguration when it came to light that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Catherine Garcia
President Trump is expected to retain Marc Kasowitz as his personal attorney to represent him in the investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, people close to Trump and Kasowitz told ABC News Tuesday.
Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP has represented Trump in the restructuring of his business debt and defamation cases, and the firm's website says Kasowitz has worked with Trump "on a wide range of litigation matters for over 15 years." The White House has not responded to ABC News' request for comment. Catherine Garcia
His network has retracted a story about the 2016 death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, and Rich's parents have written an appeal for people to "stop politicizing" their son's murder, but Fox News host Sean Hannity is refusing to back down.
"I am not Fox.com or FoxNews.com," he snapped on his radio show Tuesday. "I retracted nothing." The Hannity host made his comments after Fox News retracted its story from May 16, which alleged that Rich had been in contact with WikiLeaks before he was shot and killed; police say he was likely murdered during a botched robbery. There is no evidence that shows Rich's death was related to WikiLeaks releasing hacked DNC material, and following outrage from the public and Rich's family, Fox News said the story "was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed."
Hannity, whose executive producer received a letter from the Rich family asking that the show stop peddling a false narrative, said he has an "agenda to get to the truth. I'm not saying I have answers yet, but I'm digging deep, and I have a lot more information than all of you do at this point." He also said that people who are "accusing me of pushing a conspiracy theory, you are the biggest hypocrites in the entire world."
Not long after Hannity's outburst, The Washington Post published an op-ed written by Mary and Joel Rich under the headline, "We're Seth Rich's parents. Stop politicizing our son's murder." The conspiracy theories being pushed regarding their son's death are "baseless" and "unspeakably cruel," they wrote, and "the amount of pain and anguish this has caused us is unbearable. With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth's murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth's memory is torn away from us." Catherine Garcia
The U.K. has increased its terrorist threat level to the highest possible "critical" for the first time in a decade, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Tuesday. The designation means a terror attack is considered "imminent" and allows for military personnel to be deployed instead of police officers at public events.
The decision comes after a lone male suicide bomber detonated an explosive Monday night near the Manchester Arena in England, where the singer Ariana Grande was performing. At least 22 people were killed and 59 injured in the blast. "The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack," May said.
Police identified 22-year-old Salman Abedi as the bomber, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack over social media. Police on Tuesday also arrested a 23-year-old man in Manchester in connection with the attack. Becca Stanek
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Arizona's Maricopa County, has had a lot more time on his hands since he lost re-election in November. While catching up with The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday, Arpaio — who once called himself "America's toughest sheriff" — said he now likes to spend his time driving his red Cadillac or googling himself. "I average six Googles a day," Arpaio said, noting the number of new mentions that pop up each time he enters his name in Google.
Arpaio enjoyed a stint in the national spotlight last year for his tough views on immigration and his strong support of now-President Trump. That all came to a screeching halt when his bid for a seventh consecutive term was unsuccessful, ending his 24-year career and leaving his once 14-hour workdays empty.
But Arpaio still has his mentions: The New York Times reported that, "by his own tally, which he was typewritten on loose sheets of paper, he has been profiled in more than 4,000 national and foreign newspapers, magazines, and TV programs."
It only comes once a year, but World Turtle Day has brought out the testudinate-loving members of Congress — and their adorable photos.
Here is Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) helping a turtle cross a street:
— Rep. Ted Deutch (@RepTedDeutch) May 23, 2017
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in typical fashion, used the opportunity to call for action:
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 23, 2017
And last but not least, tender-hearted Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) recalled a visit to the Turtle Hospital with his family, proving that #WorldTurtleDay can bring together both sides of the aisle and perhaps achieve world peace:
— Rep. Carlos Curbelo (@RepCurbelo) May 23, 2017
While he remained conspicuously silent on what surely must be his favorite day of the year, it would be negligent not to add former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's own throwback to the mix. Jeva Lange
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 11, 2015