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March 25, 2014

When BuzzFeed's Rosie Gray published a behind-the-scenes look at Russia Today, she probably had no idea the kind of negative pushback it would receive. After all, it's not every day you're accused of being part of a cabal of "Cold War-hungry neocons" who stage managed the resignation of a news anchor.

Until now, Gray has mostly laughed off the criticism, mocking it on Twitter. But today, for the first time, she spoke with me on the record about the accusations, dismissing them as "absurd."

"The idea that this was some kind of 'neocon' conspiracy is just ridiculous," she said. "So no, I mean, there was no conspiracy to get [former RT anchor] Liz Wahl to resign — and then to... plant a story with me..."

You can listen to our full conversation here. Matt K. Lewis

2:16 a.m. ET

After the U.S. Treasury announced it is kicking President Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 bill to make room for Harriet Tubman, former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) penned an op-ed in The Washington Post defending Jackson. The "Confederate Flag fanboy urged Americans to shut up with our 'political correctness' and 'deliberate divisiveness' and celebrate the total awesomeness of Andrew Jackson," Samantha Bee summarized in a Full Frontal video posted Thursday. "We're glad to oblige."

For the next 2 minutes, Bee narrates a pretty NSFW recap of Jackson's career, from his owing slaves to the Native American trail of tears, with a financial crisis thrown in for good measure. At the end, she brought Jackson's legacy back to the present day, linking him with a certain man running for president. "Already wealthy by the time he took office, Jackson nonetheless courted poor, uneducated voters by stoking resentment toward the elite class," she said. "Angry, xenophobic, knee-jerk populism: Old Hickory's giant middle finger still flipping us off, nearly 200 years later." Still, while Bee called Jackson "America's worst president," Old Hickory's takedown was also billed as "Part 1 of a 44-part series." So stay tuned? Peter Weber

2:07 a.m. ET
Rob Carr/Getty Images

An insurance company alleges that late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was told in 1976 about sexual abuse committed by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, according to a court order made public Thursday.

In 2012, Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for abusing 10 boys he met through his youth charity, and the court order is part of a dispute over whether Penn State or its insurance company should pay $60 million in settlements to 26 men who say Sandusky sexually abused them as children, NBC News reports.

The Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association Insurance company claims that a child allegedly told Paterno that he was "sexually molested by Sandusky," and in 1987 and 1988 other assistant coaches witnessed "inappropriate" or "sexual" conduct between Sandusky and children. The abuse was previously thought to have taken place between 1994 and 2008. In a statement, Paterno's family said his "reputation has once again been smeared with an unsubstantiated, 40-year-old allegation." Catherine Garcia

1:35 a.m. ET

"Turning 18 in the United States brings several important milestones, including the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to get a tattoo you will later regret," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night. "Now, if you're a guy, turning 18 also means it's time to register for the draft — of course, there's no active draft right now, but all men between age 18 and 25 have to register for selective service in case we start using one again." Soon, women could have to register, too, thanks to a bill introduced as a joke by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.): the paternalistic-sounding Draft America's Daughters Act.

"Now, Duncan is opposed to letting women serve in combat roles, and he thought that by sarcastically introducing a bill to require them to register for the draft, he would make his point," Meyers said. "But his O. Henry–style strategy backfired," and it turns out a majority of people on his House Armed Services Committee thought it was a great idea to expand the draft to women — much to Hunter's chagrin. "That is the look of a guy who suggested an open marriage to his wife, but now she's the only one getting laid," Meyers said, pointing to a photo of the congressman. "Women have been serving in essential roles in the military all along, but the ban on women serving in combat created the illusion that they were less valuable to the military than men," Meyers concluded. "Including women in the draft is controversial, but it's an important step in dismantling that narrative." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:30 a.m. ET

The 142nd Kentucky Derby is this weekend, and some of the most adorable puppies ever went on The Tonight Show to predict which contender will win the race. This segment is really just about watching these sweet puppies as they make their way to a trough of kibble, but if you're the betting type, put some money down on the predicted winner — if you're right, you can keep the fact that you took gambling advice from a dog to yourself. Catherine Garcia

12:54 a.m. ET

A Russian orchestra held a surprise concert Thursday in the Syrian city of Palmyra, just weeks after the Islamic State's retreat.

The Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra performed in an ancient Roman amphitheater, conducted by Valery Gergiev, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin; another Putin associate, cellist Sergei Roldugin, played in the orchestra. Gergiev told the audience the concert was a protest against ISIS militants who destroyed swaths of the city and used the amphitheater for executions, Reuters reports, and Putin appeared via video. "Today's action involved major inconvenience and dangers for everyone, being in a country at war close to where hostilities are still ongoing," he said. "That has demanded great strength and personal courage from you all. Thank you very much."

Word spread about the concert just a few hours before it began, and the crowd was made up of area residents and Russian and Syrian military members. After Russian airstrikes bombarded the city in March, the Syrian government was able to regain control of Palmyra. When it was secured, Russian engineers visited the city to assess the damage done by ISIS, and the Russian government has already pledged to send experts to help with the restoration process. Catherine Garcia

12:45 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The FBI has quietly interviewed some of Hillary Clinton's top aides over the past few weeks as they pursue their investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, U.S. officials told CNN and several other news outlets on Thursday. Those interviewed reportedly include Huma Abedin, Clinton's longtime adviser, and investigators from the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia hope to interview Clinton herself in coming weeks. The inquiry is focused on the security of Clinton's server and her handling of classified information, and such interviews are reportedly routine in such an investigation.

Federal investigators "have so far found scant evidence that the leading Democratic presidential candidate intended to break classification rules," The Washington Post reports, and "the involvement of the U.S. Attorney's Office is not indicative that charges are imminent or even likely. One official said prosecutors are wrestling with the question of whether Clinton intended to violate the rules, and so far, the evidence seemed to indicate she did not." The investigation is not over, however, and there is no deadline for its completion.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed the leaks. "From the start, Hillary Clinton has offered to answer any questions that would help the Justice Department complete its review, and we hope and expect that anyone else who is asked would do the same," he said in a statement. "We are confident the review will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place." Peter Weber

May 5, 2016
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For the first time since 1980, North Korea is holding a ruling party congress, and leader Kim Jong Un is expected to declare his "Byongjin" policy, a push toward economic and nuclear development.

Thousands of delegates are attending the seventh party congress in Pyongyang, and a new central committee will be elected; experts say Kim loyalists will receive the most high-profile positions. On Friday morning, Kim's personal guard surrounded the hall where the congress is being held, proving that he is inside, the BBC reports. Foreign journalists have been granted permission to cover the event, but they have handlers and are not allowed to speak with citizens. Catherine Garcia

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