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March 17, 2014

Taking the "I didn't do it" excuse to a new level, the former House stenographer who shouted bizarre, Biblical gibberish during a vote last October is blaming God for her outburst.

In a 38-minute video, the stenographer, Dianne Reidy, and her husband Dan explain that Reidy did not have a "breakdown," as the incident was widely portrayed in the media. Rather, Reidy claims it was an "assignment" from the heavens, and that this was the fourth time in her life she's been "carried along by the Holy Spirit" in this way.

"We believe with all our hearts that what took place that night was God speaking through Diane, bringing forth the word of correction to our government, and hopefully before He brings his judgment on our country," Dan says in the video.

While the House voted in October to end the government shutdown, Reidy rushed to the dais and launched into a tirade that included phrases like "God will not be mocked," and "You cannot serve two masters." Jon Terbush

7:18 p.m. ET
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

At the same time WikiLeaks was publishing thousands of potentially damaging documents from the Democratic National Committee believed to have been stolen by Kremlin-backed hackers, it rejected at least 68 gigabytes of data from inside the Russian Interior Ministry, Foreign Policy reports.

FP spoke with the person who said they provided WikiLeaks with the Russia documents last summer, and was shown chat messages between the person and WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks said at the time that "as far as we recall, these are already public," and told FP when reached via Twitter that it "rejects all submissions that it cannot verify" but "has never rejected a submission due to its country of origin." The Twitter account is believed to be run by Assange, but FP was told by the account it's operated by a staff.

The person who provided the messages to WikiLeaks told FP the documents "would have exposed Russian activities and shown WikiLeaks was not controlled by Russian security services" and because "many WikiLeaks staff and volunteers or their families suffered at the hands of Russian corruption and cruelty, we were sure WikiLeaks would release it. Assange gave excuse after excuse." The cache was published online elsewhere, to little fanfare. Assange, who in 2012 had his own show on the Kremlin-backed RT network, has been accused of being too close to Russia, and came under fire when WikiLeaks failed to publish major documents out of the country, including paperwork showing a transaction worth 2 billion Euros between a government-owned bank and the Syrian regime, FP reports. Catherine Garcia

5:31 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A day after President Trump shuttered two of his business councils, he announced he was giving up on a third. "The President's Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was still being formed, will not move forward," a White House official confirmed Thursday. The council would have offered Trump advice on his visions for improving the nation's roads and bridges.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that he'd decided to disband his American Manufacturing Council and his Strategic and Policy Forum — though their demise may have happened with or without his blessing. Members of the Strategic and Policy Forum had already announced the council was breaking up because of the president's response to the weekend's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump's American Manufacturing Council had been rapidly losing members as well, with seven business leaders quitting the council by Wednesday over Trump's response to the Charlottesville protests. Becca Stanek

5:16 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Dow Jones closed Thursday afternoon down more than 274 points as investors were rattled by the chaos engulfing the Trump White House in addition to a deadly terrorist attack in Barcelona. The 1.2 percent drop in the Dow made for the index's biggest drop in three months and its second-worst day of the entire year. The Nasdaq Composite also posted a 1.9 percent slide, while the S&P 500 plunged 1.5 percent.

The market was particularly spooked by the idea that former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn could resign from President Trump's National Economic Council, Barron's reports, given Cohn is in charge of the administration's tax reform efforts. Cohn was reportedly "disgusted" by Trump's tepid response to the white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, which resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Kimberly Alters

4:56 p.m. ET

A van jumped the curb and plowed into a crowd in the center of Barcelona on Thursday. Thirteen people were killed and at least 100 were injured, Catalonian authorities said. Police have confirmed that the incident was a terrorist attack. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency.

The driver of the van reportedly fled on foot after plowing into pedestrians in the city's historic Las Ramblas district, a popular tourist destination. Two suspects have been arrested. Local authorities in the Catalonian town of Vic — almost due north of Barcelona — have said they identified a second van linked to the attack in Las Ramblas, The Guardian reports.

Police have dismissed earlier reports that two armed men were hiding out in a bar following the attack. Becca Stanek

This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.

4:48 p.m. ET

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) thinks it's about time for President Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon to leave the White House. "I think it's important for the president to fire Steve Bannon. He should go," King, an ardent Trump supporter, said Thursday in an interview with WABC.

The tipping point for King was Bannon's latest interviews, in which he relished in the fact that the left is making the debate over Confederate monuments a discussion about race, contradicted Trump on North Korea, and openly talked about his fights with colleagues. "The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it's all racist. Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can't get enough of it," Bannon told The New York Times in the aftermath of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

For King, a man who once held hugely controversial hearings on the alleged radicalization of American Muslims, Bannon's comments went too far. "I mean, what he said the other day, where he was saying that he hopes the Democrats use race as an issue because that's a win for Republicans, that to me is exploiting a racial issue," King said. "That can't be allowed."

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

4:14 p.m. ET
Facebook/Star Wars

Star Wars Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi could be getting his very own movie. The Hollywood Reporter revealed Thursday that Disney is in the very early stages of developing a standalone film about the man who trained Anakin Skywalker.

There's not yet a script for the project, but Disney is reportedly in talks with Stephen Daldry, the Oscar-nominated director of Billy Elliot and The Hours, to direct. It's not yet clear whether Ewan McGregor, who has played Obi-Wan in the prequel trilogy, would reprise his role.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi movie apparently isn't the only Star Wars spinoff that Disney is considering: Other projects in development include standalone movies centered on Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett. And, of course, there's the next installment in the series, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, due out Dec. 15. Becca Stanek

3:35 p.m. ET

Republican Senate candidate Corey Stewart on Thursday tried to defend President Trump's condemnation of "both sides" for the violence at the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally, only to be promptly shut down by CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Stewart, who is running to challenge Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D), acknowledged that the people at the rally shouting, "Jews will not replace us," should be condemned. But he then argued that those individuals were "not the issue here." "The issue is you've got the violent left," Stewart said.

He questioned the fact that "not even establishment Republicans have come out and condemned the far left group, Antifa, which has been espousing violence and attacking people." "Is it possible that it's because someone died who was counter-protesting?" Bolduan asked, noting that a woman was killed Saturday after a white supremacist demonstrator drove a car into a group of counter-protesters.

Stewart tried to twist that comment around. "You're trying to use this poor women's death to say that Confederate monuments should be taken down," Stewart said. "That's exactly what you're trying to say, Kate."

Bolduan attempted to explain this was actually not at all what she was trying to say, only to be repeatedly interrupted by Stewart. She eventually put her foot down: “Stop talking. Stop talking. Stop talking for a second. You're the guest on my show. I would like to continue the conversation with you, respectfully," she said.

With Stewart finally quiet, Bolduan clarified that she does believe there is "a time and a place to have a debate and a conversation about the appropriate place for Confederate statues." However, Bolduan said, "it stopped being about statues when people showed up with swastikas."

Watch the heated exchange below. Becca Stanek

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