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March 20, 2014

Ever wonder what happens on those awkward phone calls where President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin discuss Russia's occupation of Crimea? You needn't: The White House publicly releases a synopsis of the conversations. But it's more fun to watch Jimmy Fallon's version, played out on Wednesday night's Tonight Show. In this alternate reality, Obama has traded in his BlackBerry for an iPhone, the two leaders have an easy (and musical) rapport, and Putin gets in a great slam about ObamaCare. In both realities, these phone calls accomplish little. Still, I suspect Fallon's version would be more enjoyable for everyone involved. --Peter Weber

1:50 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has removed President Trump's travel ban case from its schedule after the administration announced a new approach over the weekend. Sunday's presidential proclamation places indefinite travel restrictions on visitors from eight nations: Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, and Somalia. Sudan was dropped from Trump's original travel bans, the latter of which expired Sunday, while Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela were added.

Oral arguments for the original ban had been scheduled to begin Oct. 10. The New York Times observed last week that the changes could "[complicate] the review by the justices and potentially [make] parts of the case moot even before" arguments began. Jeva Lange

1:30 p.m. ET

Cardi B overtook Taylor Swift on Monday to become the first female rapper since 1998 to top the Billboard Hot 100 without "the assistance of any other credited artists," Billboard reports. Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)" beat out Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" and earned a distinction that has been otherwise unmatched by a solo female rapper since Lauryn Hill's "Doo-Wop (That Thing)" 19 years ago. Cardi B is also the first female soloist to top the chart in an unaccompanied debut since Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" crested in 2014.

Billboard adds that "Cardi B is only the fifth female rapper ever to lead the Hot 100 at all. After Hill, Lil' Kim ruled for five weeks in 2001 with Christina Aguilera, Mya, and P!nk on 'Lady Marmalade'; Shawnna reigned as featured on Ludacris' 'Stand Up,' which topped the Dec. 6, 2003, chart; and Iggy Azalea's introductory Hot 100 hit, 'Fancy,' featuring Charli XCX, led for seven weeks in 2014."

Cardi B's accomplishment is "a specific victory for women in hip-hop, but it also obliquely carries a win for hip-hop overall," BuzzFeed News writes. "This past July, according to Nielsen Music, hip-hop/R&B dethroned rock as the most popular genre when it comes to overall music consumption in the United States. Hip-hop's recent coronation comes as a result of the increasing popularity of streaming and, unsurprisingly, so does 'Bodak Yellow''s success."

Listen to the track below. Jeva Lange

12:36 p.m. ET

Former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison Monday after pleading guilty to a sexting scandal involving a 15-year-old girl. The emotional moments afterward were captured on paper by the courtroom sketch artist:

Weiner had reportedly sought probation on the grounds that he needs therapy, calling himself "a very sick man for a very long time." After the sentencing he "remained behind, crying and talking with lawyers," the New York Daily News writes. "He appeared crushed." Jeva Lange

12:18 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Chelsea Manning tweeted Monday that she has been "permanently banned" from Canada due to violations of the Espionage Act stemming from her leak of thousands of classified and unclassified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. "[Canadian immigration] denied entry [because] of convictions similar to 'treason' offense," Manning wrote.

The letter indicates that Manning was rejected "on grounds of serious criminality" that "if committed in Canada ... would equate to an indictable offense, namely Treason." Manning had her sentence commuted by President Obama in 2016 and she was released earlier this year.

Manning said she would challenge Canada's denial of entry at a future date:

Earlier this month, Harvard's Kennedy School announced that it had rescinded its invitation to Manning to be a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics after CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled his appearance at the school, citing Manning as being a "traitor to the United States of America." Jeva Lange

11:59 a.m. ET

While serving as editor of Breitbart in 2016, Stephen Bannon reportedly plotted to infiltrate Facebook to learn if there was a liberal bias in its hiring process, BuzzFeed News reports. Bannon expressed interest in an emailed proposal sent to him from Chris Gacek, a former congressional staffer, who included links to openings at the tech company that could serve as possible inroads for the investigation:

"There is one for a DC-based 'Public Policy Manager' at Facebook's What's APP [sic] division," Gacek, the Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs at the group, wrote on August 1, 2016. "LinkedIn sent me a notice about some job openings."

"This seems perfect for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates of all stripe who will report back to you / Milo with INTEL about the job application process over at FB," he continued.

"Milo" is former Breitbart News Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos, to whom Bannon forwarded Gacek's email the same day.

"Can u get on this," Bannon instructed his staffer. [BuzzFeed News]

There is no evidence that Breitbart's efforts advanced much past the email conversation (the job discussed by Bannon and Gacek ultimately went to Christine Turner, a National Security Council staffer under President Obama, BuzzFeed News reports), but the report of an attempted infiltration arises amid separate concerns of the use of the social media website as a pro-Trump political manipulation tool. Read the full report at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange

11:20 a.m. ET

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Monday that President Trump's recent threats and provocations are "clearly a declaration of war." Speaking from the United Nations in New York City, Ri added that North Korea has the right to shoot down American bombers even if they are not in North Korea's airspace.

Last week, Trump vowed to "totally destroy" North Korea if it continues to menace the U.S. and its allies. He has also threatened the country on Twitter:

On Saturday, a group of U.S. bombers and fighter escorts flew well north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, staying over international waters but making a clear show of force toward Pyongyang. The Pentagon characterized the flight as a demonstration "that the president has many military options to defeat any threat." Jeva Lange

10:54 a.m. ET
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a sexting scandal involving a 15-year-old girl, Newsday reports. "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," he told the court in tears this spring.

Weiner, 53, is in the process of getting divorced from top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who did not appear in court for the sentencing. After The Daily Mail published the news last year that Weiner exchanged sexually explicit messages with a high school sophomore whom he knew was underage, the FBI got involved, seizing Weiner's laptop. That resulted in the discovery of emails on the laptop from Hillary Clinton to Abedin, a top aide to Clinton, reopening the (ultimately unchanged) FBI investigation into Clinton's handling of classified emails — which Clinton has blamed in part for her election loss.

Weiner had reportedly sought probation on the grounds that he needs therapy, calling himself "a very sick man for a very long time," NBC New York reports. Prosecutors argued Weiner's actions "[suggest] a dangerous level of denial and lack of self-control." Jeva Lange

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