Senate candidate Scott Brown: 'Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever.'
Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) faces an uphill battle in his quest to return to Congress from neighboring New Hampshire. There's the obvious carpetbagger critique — he only recently moved his primary residence to the Granite State — and the fact that Brown was resoundingly booted by Massachusetts voters just two years ago. But Brown is doing himself no favors in making totally un-self-aware remarks like this one he gave to the Associated Press: "Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state."
In fairness to Brown, he was discussing his residency dilemma. But Democratic operatives are already having a field day with this one:
Scott Brown: Am I going to fight for New Hampshire's middle class? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever. #Bqhatevwr
— Justin Barasky (@JustinBarasky) March 24, 2014
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
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) October 24, 2017
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
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
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
A new Military Times poll finds that nearly one in four U.S. service members say they have witnessed examples of white nationalism in the ranks, and they view this as a greater national security threat than Syria and Iraq.
The poll, released Monday, was conducted about a month after white supremacists held a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. When it comes to national security, 30 percent of respondents said white nationalists pose a significant threat to the U.S., more than Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent), and Iraq (17 percent).
Close to 5 percent commented that they thought the Black Lives Matter movement should have been included among the options for threats to national security, and some were bothered that the poll even mentioned white supremacists. "White nationalism is not a terrorist organization," one anonymous Navy commander wrote, while an anonymous Air Force staff sergeant asked, "You do realize white nationalists and racists are two totally different types of people?"
This voluntary survey was conducted online between Sept. 7 and 25, with 1,131 active-duty service members responding, and it has a margin of error of about ±3 percent. Of the respondents, 86 percent were male, 14 percent were female, 76 percent identified as white, 9 percent as black, 8 percent as Hispanic, 2 percent as Asian, and 5 percent as other ethnicities. Catherine Garcia
After more than 140 legislators, staffers, political consultants, and lobbyists signed an open letter saying there is a "pervasive" culture of sexual harassment and mistreatment in the California state Capitol, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced Monday he has hired two outside firms to investigate the allegations.
The law office of Amy Oppenheimer will conduct an external investigation into the accusations, while the consulting firm CPS HR Consulting will review the Senate's policies on harassment and discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reports. "There's always more employers can do to protect their employees," de León said in a statement. "Everyone deserves a workplace free of fear, harassment, and sexual misbehavior and I applaud the courage of women working in and around the Capitol who are coming forward and making their voices heard."
It's not enough for some of the women who signed the letter. "To find the truth and rebuild trust, we need a truly independent investigation, not a secretly hand-picked self-investigation," Adama Iwu, government affairs director for Visa and the leader of the campaign, told the Times. "We need full transparency. How was this firm selected? Who will they report their findings to? What exactly are they investigating? Is the Assembly involved?" The signers are launching a nonprofit called We Said Enough, which will advocate for victims of harassment and abuse. Catherine Garcia
With government troops closing in, Islamic State militants entered the Syrian town of Qaryatayn in late September, knowing exactly who they wanted to kill, one former resident said Monday.
Syrian forces, which drove the militants out of the city over the weekend, said that over the last three weeks ISIS killed more than 70 civilians, shooting and beheading them and throwing their bodies into ditches. The former resident told The Associated Press that 35 of the 50 militants who took control of the town last month were originally from Qaryatayn, and they came "with a hit list," targeting victims they claimed collaborated with the government.
A senior Syrian official called the massacre "shocking," and said it would take time to identify all of the dead. The former resident told AP one of his relatives had to walk for miles to find cellphone reception, and called him to say his uncle, two cousins, and another family member had been killed. Catherine Garcia