March 20, 2014

KPHO-TV anchor Catherine Anaya wasn't living up to her station's slogan of "telling it like it is" when she wrongly said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pre-screens reporters' questions. Anaya made the accusation yesterday during a live report following a behind-the-scenes tour of the West Wing that included a "very long list of items" Carney reviews before each presser. She contended that the "questions that the reporters actually ... are provided to him in advance."

Not surprisingly, that set off a firestorm. However, Carney flatly denied Anaya's claims. "Briefings would be a lot easier if this were true! Rest assured, it is not," he tweeted. The Phoenix reporter backtracked on her accusation late today. In a statement obtained by Talking Points Memo, Anaya said while she had to supply her questions to the president beforehand, she didn't mean to have equated her experience with that of the White House press corps.

"That is my mistake and I own up to it," she said. Jordan Valinsky

4:28 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert began Monday's Late Show by congratulating his American viewers on having a government — at least until Feb. 8. Senate Democrats agreed to re-open the government for three weeks in exchange for a 6-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and a promise from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold a vote to protect DREAMers. That's a bum deal, Colbert said. "Mitch McConnell has proved he will lie to anyone about anything," but "here we are. To avoid another shutdown, all that needs to happen is that Congress has to agree on how to fix our entire immigration system in 17 days — and once they do that, the pigs that fly out of all their butts will solve world hunger."

President Trump isn't helping create the environment for such magic to bloom, Colbert said, recapping his more over-the-top attacks on Democrats over the weekend and his gloating on Monday about how Democrats "caved." "Wait a second, there's a cave?" Colbert asked. "Can we all fit in there? Is there enough food and water for the next three years?"

Trump spent the shutdown weekend tweeting about watching Fox News and "working hard!" — in the same tweet — when he really wanted to be at his anniversary gala at Mar-a-Lago. "Because McConnell couldn't get the votes, Trump had to miss his party — which seems fair," Colbert said. "Republicans ruin Trump's party and Trump is ruining the Republican Party." Since Trump was stuck in D.C. wandering "around the White House like a cranky Roomba," he sent Eric Trump in his place — not a good deal for his $100,000-a-couple ticket holders, Colbert said. The guests had other concerns, though, with one griping about the caviar silverware and accompaniments. "I can't believe I'm saying this," Colbert said, "but Donald Trump might not be the worst person at Mar-a-Lago." Watch below. Peter Weber

3:36 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Before the Senate passed a three-week stopgap measure to fund the government on Monday, the Republican chairman and top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee unsuccessfully tried to remove a measure inserted by House appropriators at the request of the White House. "The language is troublesome for the committee because it would authorize the intelligence community to spend funds notwithstanding the law that requires prior authorization," Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman, said on the Senate floor. "Effectively, the intelligence community could expend funds as it sees fit."

"If this exemption is granted, you could potentially have an administration — any administration — go off and take on covert activities, for example, with no ability for our committee, which spends the time and has oversight, to say 'time out,'" warned Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the ranking Democrat. "We just want to make sure that we don't give a blank check to any administration, particularly this administration. We need to get it fixed."

Burr proposed an amendment that would replace the provision in question — which says funds may be spent "notwithstanding" Section 504 of a 1947 law that prevents intelligence agencies from spending money without congressional authorization — with one that requires such authorization. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, objected, scuttling the amendment. Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the language was narrowly tailored to a Pentagon budget request and isn't a black check for intelligence activities. Burr said he and Warner will work to quash the measure in the next spending bill, by Feb. 8.

President Trump signed the stopgap funding package Monday night, re-opening the federal government. Peter Weber

2:38 a.m. ET
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, just finished switching all customers who used a free online-only checking account to to checking accounts that charge customers a $12 monthly fee if they don't maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500 or a monthly direct deposit of at least $250, The Wall Street Journal reports. The eBanking accounts were popular with freelancers and people with low incomes, and a petition protesting Bank of America's shuttering of the accounts has drawn more than 45,000 signatures at Change.org.

Bank of America introduced the eBanking accounts in 2010 as a way to encourage customers to bank online; account holders were charged $8.95 a month only if they used a live bank teller for a routine transaction. It stopped offering the eBanking option to new customers in 2013 and began switching customers out of the accounts in 2015. "Banks have long grappled with how to charge customers for basic checking services," the Journal notes. "The accounts are costly for banks to maintain, though they do bring in revenue through overdraft and other fees."

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, who has led the bank since late 2009, has reduced the company's consumer options and cut its branch network, pulling out of less-lucrative rural areas to focus on denser urban centers. Bank of America's share price has risen in response. Peter Weber

2:21 a.m. ET

The mourners gathered as close to the scene as possible, their stomachs empty but hearts full, remembering the chalupas and gorditas they once enjoyed inside the burned-down Taco Bell, now just an empty shell.

It started as a joke — holding a candlelight vigil for the Taco Bell on Zelda Road in Montgomery, Alabama, that was destroyed in a fire last Wednesday — but as word spread, the Taco Bell lovers realized that they actually would miss being able to pop over for a Doritos Locos taco whenever a craving hit. No one was hurt in the fire, which officials say started in a room that held electrical equipment, and the owners have already vowed to rebuild, making the candlelight vigil a celebration as well.

About 100 people showed up for the event, which had to take place in the parking lot of the Arby's next door for safety reasons. Fans who couldn't make it to the actual vigil shared their heartfelt memories on Facebook, including Shaw Gibbons, who said the Taco Bell was there when all other fast food restaurants had forsaken him. "When McDonalds failed me, you lifted me up," he wrote. "When Sonic was closed, you filled my cup. When Arby's went dark, you made me smile. Your quesadillas sustained me mile after mile." Catherine Garcia

1:34 a.m. ET

Bo Gray wasn't expected to start talking for a few more years, but his big sister Lydia changed all that.

Bo, 2, has Down syndrome, and his parents, Amanda Bowman Gray and Caleb Gray, were told he likely wouldn't say his first word until well after his third birthday. Bo was born with heart and lung issues, and has had to undergo several procedures. Before heart surgery in 2016, the Grays sang "You Are My Sunshine" to Bo in the hospital, and Lydia, 11, revived the tradition last fall, picking up her guitar and singing the song to Bo multiple times a day.

After three months of what the family calls "music therapy," Bo had a breakthrough. Lydia "screamed that he said his first word, 'happy,'" Bowman Gray told People. Bo repeated the word for his mom, then his dad, then his three other siblings. Since that day, Lydia has taught Bo how to say nearly a dozen more words, surprising his speech therapist, who says it's amazing that Bo can say so much at just 25 months. "He is defying the odds," Bowman Gray said. "He's defied the odds of what was possible with Down syndrome. These kids are often put in this box, but the lid is starting to open. They are capable." Catherine Garcia

1:22 a.m. ET

Trevor Noah recapped the brief government shutdown on Monday's Daily Show, and he was really unimpressed with the whole ordeal. After failed negotiations, "lawmakers left the Capitol unsatisfied, like it was a salad night at Paula Deen's house," he began. "And no one was more upset than the toddler-in-chief, because the shutdown ended up running his 1-year birthday party." But Trump didn't just have to skip his anniversary party at Mar-a-Lago, "he had to work on the weekend — or at least pretend to work." Noah made fun of the White House photo purporting to show Trump "working" by talking on the phone, comparing it to more successful "I'm working" shots by Trump's predecessors.

For whatever reason — the House gym running out of towels "or the threat of voter backlash — Democrats and Republicans reached a deal this afternoon to end the shutdown," at least for a "pathetic" three weeks, Noah said. "American lawmakers are priceless. They want credit for fixing the thing that they broke? And not like really fixing it, like barely fixing it. .... America is the richest country in the world, and the government is out here basically paying rent week to week." This is not normal, Noah added, using his native South Africa as an example. "You don't hear of governments in the rest of the world just shutting down because they refuse to fund themselves. Where I come from, if the government shuts down, it's because the rebels have taken over."

Well, "now that the shutdown is over," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live, the anniversary party is back on, "and I'm told it is lit in Washington, D.C., tonight." He turned to a puppet of Kellyanne Conway swigging Trump vodka in the White House, and things got weirder from there.

At The Opposition, Jordan Klepper "jokes" that "Trump's secret government shutdown is well underway" still, and he has real-life examples. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:53 a.m. ET
Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California and current critic of President Trump, has a message from one Republican former host of The Apprentice to another.

"Don't touch California. If you want to drill, do it off Mar-a-Lago," he tweeted, referring to Trump's resort in Palm Beach, Florida. "Or better yet, look to the future, follow California's lead and go green and we can all breathe easier. The U.S.'s largest economy is nearly 50 percent renewable. #ProtectThePacific." Schwarzenegger wasn't finished. "Our fishing, tourism, and recreation industries employ hundreds of thousands of great people," he said in a follow-up tweet. "Our coasts are an economic gold mine. Do not put them at risk."

The Trump administration announced earlier this month it plans on allowing new offshore oil and gas drilling in almost all U.S. coastal waters. The plan took a turn not long after, when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Florida is "obviously unique" and "off the table." His announcement came just after he spoke with the state's Republican governor, Rick Scott. Catherine Garcia

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