As St. Patrick's Day was winding to a close, Jimmy Fallon got his ode to all things Irish in under the wire. He ticks off all the must-haves for the St. Paddy's Day Parade — the green "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-shirt, the green beer — but mostly Fallon reminds us that he has something most of us mortals don't: friends in high places. There's only one song Kermit the Frog could have sung here, and he does.
On the crass business side, Kermit has a movie to promote — we'll find out how well Muppets Most Wanted does in the theaters this weekend. But Fallon's Tonight Show is already dominating its late-night competition. So sláinte, Fallon. May the road rise to meet you and all that. --Peter Weber
Trump tells naval grads that America had 'forgotten' how to respect the military until he came along
President Trump delivered a commencement address at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday. He congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments, and congratulated himself on a job well done as commander in chief, touting renewed respect for the military thanks to his administration's policies.
"We are respected again, I can tell you that," said Trump, hailing the Navy's ability to vanquish all enemies. "In recent years and even decades, too many people have forgotten that truth," Trump said. "In recent years, the problem grew worse. A growing number used their platforms to ... weaken America's pride." But Trump said America has once again decided to speak the truth of our military's strength: "In case you have not noticed, we have become a lot stronger lately. A lot."
Amid full-throated patriotism, Trump squeezed in a few asides about his effort to launch "the great rebuilding" of the military. He applauded his push for the "largest-ever" military budget, which he said would lead to "the strongest military that we have ever had. And when did we need it more than now?" He also patted himself on the back for giving troops pay raises "for the first time in over 10 years," even though the military receives pay raises every year. "I fought for you," said Trump of the raises. "That was the hardest one to get. But you never had a chance of losing. I represented you well. I represented you well."
"The best way to prevent war is to be fully prepared for war," said Trump, hoping that the grads would never have to use their "beautiful, new, powerful equipment." The president promised to shake the hands of every Naval Academy graduate following his speech. "America is back," he said.
Lawmakers are forbidden from using their congressional staff for anything other than official political duties, which means running personal errands is definitely a no-no. That apparently didn't stop Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) and his wife, Flanna, whose former staffers told Politico they had to do everything from unload groceries to fetch Garrett's daughters from Scottsdale, a three-hour drive away.
The congressional staffers were even asked to take care of the Garretts' dog Sophie, a Jack Russell-Pomeranian mix that IJR says "comes to the D.C. office every other day."
Staffers were expected to watch the dog during office hours, and one aide did so over a weekend. Several aides said the couple would sometimes seem to forget the dog was in the office. When that happened, at the end of the day, aides were responsible for transporting it back to Garrett's Washington apartment.
One source said the dog occasionally defecated on the floor and aides had to clean up the mess. [Politico]
The Garretts denied their ex-staffers' claims, telling Politico: "It is easy to spread untruths and even easier to exaggerate and imply wrongdoing when none exists." Jeva Lange
Harvey Weinstein had a book about director Elia Kazan when he turned himself in. This is why that matters.
Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who entered a not guilty plea on Friday to first- and third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sex act, was seen carrying a biography of director Elia Kazan when he surrendered himself to New York police, The Hollywood Reporter tweeted.
Kazan, the director of classic films like On the Waterfront and East of Eden, was famously an informant during the Red Scare, supplying the names of some 11 former colleagues to the blacklist. "Kazan's reputation as a formidable Hollywood artist weathered political and personal scandals," The Guardian writes, although journalist Yashar Ali tweeted that the more threatening symbolism did not go unnoticed:
What a sick man...he knows what he’s doing and the message he’s trying to send. For years when people would discover his history of predation he would threaten them with their own secrets. https://t.co/331SfsOkl1
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) May 25, 2018
Dozens of women have accused Weinstein of inappropriate or criminal behavior, ranging from rape to sexual harassment and coercion. Jeva Lange
Women who have accused former movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse and harassment reacted strongly to his surrender to New York police on Friday. A few of the more than 50 women who have alleged misconduct took to social media to address his arrest.
Rose McGowan, who alleges that Weinstein raped her in 1997, appeared on Megyn Kelly Today and Good Morning America and described how his criminal charges made her feel. "We got you," she said in a message to Weinstein. "I have to admit I didn't think I would see the day that he would have handcuffs on him. I have a visceral need for him to have handcuffs on."
— Megyn Kelly TODAY (@MegynTODAY) May 25, 2018
Asia Argento, an actress who also alleges that Weinstein raped her in 1997, tweeted that Weinstein was taking "his first step on his inevitable descent to hell," additionally asking what took so long. In response to a photo of Weinstein smiling as he walked out of the NYPD station in handcuffs, Argento wrote, "wipe that smile off your face you f--king monster."
Today Harvey Weinstein will take his first step on his inevitable descent to hell. We, the women, finally have real hope for justice. https://t.co/or8qGaNO93
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) May 25, 2018
Mira Sorvino, who alleges that Weinstein sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into sex, had a simple message for the former mogul ahead of his criminal charges: "#Justice" Summer Meza
— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) May 25, 2018
Michael Cohen met with a Kremlin-linked oligarch at Trump Tower about strengthening U.S.-Russia relations
Less than two weeks before the inauguration, President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with a Russian oligarch to discuss strengthening relations between Washington and Moscow, The New York Times reports. Viktor Vekselberg, who has ties to the Kremlin, met with Cohen three separate times, including on the day of the inauguration.
Just days afterwards, the private equity firm of Andrew Intrater, who is Vekselberg's cousin and client, awarded Cohen a $1 million contract. Intrater spoke to the Times, saying he did nothing wrong and made the decision independently.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Cohen was separately paid at least $400,000 to arrange a talk between Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Cohen also received hundreds of thousands of dollars from businesses like AT&T and Novartis to provide access and insight into the Trump administration.
The Times writes that the Vekselberg meeting "sheds additional light on the intersection between Mr. Trump's inner-circle and Russians with ties to the Kremlin." Read more about the meetings at The New York Times. Jeva Lange
President Trump's allies are claiming that the administration's decision to pull out of a historic summit with Kim Jong Un is evidence of his deal-making skills, even as critics are citing the move as proof that Trump was unprepared and in over his head. Following Trump's letter notifying Kim that he was pulling out of talks, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan reemphasized that Pyongyang is willing to meet "at any time."
That was seemingly proof enough for Donald Trump Jr.:
The Art of The Deal baby!!! https://t.co/fCrQVWc4Vy
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 25, 2018
But Junior might have jumped the gun. Notably, nothing has changed: No deal has been made, and Pyongyang has not said anything they haven't said before. Most significantly, North Korea has made no indication that it is now willing to denuclearize, the objection that led to the dissolution of the summit in the first place.
President Trump apparently blindsided U.S. allies when he announced in an open letter Thursday that he would not be attending his scheduled June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," Trump wrote.
Less than 24 hours later, Trump is now saying the June 12 meeting might go forward after all. "We will see what happens," Trump said Friday. "We're talking to them now."
"We're talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out. We'll see what happens," President Trump says of North Korea after cancelling summit. "It could even be the 12th." pic.twitter.com/NQZ7LhiSc7
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 25, 2018
ABC's Jonathan Karl asked Trump if "the North Koreans are playing games with him — skipping planned meetings and then saying they will meet anytime," to which Trump replied, "Jon, everybody plays games." Kim had told Trump that pulling out of the summit wasn't "the world's desire." Jeva Lange