On Feb. 26, coroners accidentally thought Walter Williams had died, so they zipped him into a body bag and took him to a funeral home. Well, it turned out he wasn't dead, because he started kicking the bag mere seconds before they were about to embalm him.
On Jan. 20, 2017, at 12:01 p.m. ET, Donald Trump was sworn into office as America's 45th president. At 5:11 p.m., he filed for re-election.
The president has been open about his intentions to run for a second term in 2020, holding campaign-style rallies and building a re-election team. But Trump's Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill are unsure whether they're willing to back the norm-breaking president for another round, CNN's Manu Raju reported Thursday.
"A wide array of House and Senate Republicans tell me they aren't ready to endorse President Trump's bid for a second term," Raju said on Thursday's New Day, "reflecting the deep uncertainty on the Hill there is over his political standing and the tenuous relationship he has with his party." Raju said he spoke with "more than two dozen lawmakers who represent a cross-section of the GOP," adding that most of the people he spoke with demurred on the subject, saying either that it's too early to decide whether they'd support Trump or claiming that Trump might decide not to even run in 2020 — despite his repeated proclamations that he will.
"I've never heard of the party in power not lining up behind their president," CNN host Chris Cuomo said. Watch Raju's report below, which features on-camera answers from Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), as well as Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.). Kimberly Alters
"A wide array of House and Senate Republicans tell me they aren't ready to endorse President Trump's bid for a second term, reflecting the deep uncertainty on the Hill there is over his political standing," reports @Mkraju https://t.co/amtEj3i4lA pic.twitter.com/F4eiEOZmyr
— New Day (@NewDay) April 19, 2018
CNN's Chris Cuomo is not pleased about Fox News' Sean Hannity failing to disclose to viewers that he was a client of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, but the New Day host went out of his way Thursday to point out that Hannity is not the only TV journalist to have waded into the ethical quagmire.
"How's this different than Morning Joe?" Cuomo asked his colleagues as they discussed the Hannity scandal. "Remember in the days of the glow, when [Joe Scarborough] and Mika [Brzezinski] spoke to Trump all the time, they had him on, discussed what questions to talk about in the break? They were the Trump whisperers." Morning Joe was "applauded for his relevancy" while people now bash Hannity for a similar relationship, Cuomo went on.
Cuomo admitted that Morning Joe, which is on MSNBC, is a direct competitor of New Day, but he explained that was part of why he paid attention to how their hosts interacted with Trump. "I was watching the headlines very closely, because I believed it worked against us here," he said. "Because we didn't have that kind of access — because we weren't mwah mwah mwah mwah with Donald Trump all the time," he added, making kissing sounds.
Media analyst Brian Stelter pushed back, asking: "Isn't the difference that [Trump] is now president and Hannity is providing a shelter from the storm?" Watch the whole conversation below. Jeva Lange
President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped libel lawsuits against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS over last year's publication of a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, Politico reports. Among its other allegations, the dossier claims Cohen "secretly [met] with several Russian Presidential Administration (PA) Legal Department officials" in Prague in August 2016 and that he is "heavily engaged in a cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of Trump's relationship with Russia being exposed."
Cohen has repeatedly denied going to Prague, tweeting in January 2017 after the publication of the dossier that he had never visited the Czech city "in my life." McClatchy wrote a week ago that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has "evidence that … Cohen secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign," adding that if their reporting is true, "it would … be one of the most significant developments thus far in [Mueller's] investigation of whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin worked together to help Trump win the White House." Cohen replied by tweeting again "no matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague."
Cohen is also wrapped up in a suit brought by adult film star Stormy Daniels, and pursuing the libel case "could have [made it] difficult for Cohen to convince that judge to put Daniels' case on hold while Cohen continued to press civil suits in other federal courts," Politico writes.
In a statement, Cohen's attorney David Schwartz said: "We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen's rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits." Jeva Lange
President Trump entered office believing that his legacy-defining deal would be Middle East peace, but he doesn't talk about that anymore — "the peace deal looks dead and cremated," so "there's very little point," says Jonathan Swan at Axios. Instead, Trump now sees the North Korea situation as his "great man" moment, Swan reports, and "sources close to him say he genuinely believes he — and he alone — can overcome the seemingly intractable disaster on the Korean Peninsula."
Trump "definitely thinks it's a duel of personalities," a source familiar with the president's thinking on North Korea tells Axios. Another added, "He thinks, 'Just get me in the room with the guy [Kim Jong Un] and I'll figure it out.'" People close to Trump told Swan that Trump viewed his Twitter brinkmanship with Kim as "pretty intentionally calibrated," though one source said, "I'm not sure people thought it was a coherent strategy, and certainly I don't think the Pentagon signed off on it." And Trump's aides are much more skeptical than the president about the chances of success in the Trump-Kim summit, if it happens.
All "great men" probably faced skeptics, too, and personally tackling the North Korea standoff is a high-risk proposition for Trump that promises high rewards, if successful. If not, North Korea is a burgeoning nuclear power. "If the meeting, when I'm there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting," Trump said at a press conference Wednesday. Peter Weber
President Trump sent off his first tweet mentioning Stormy Daniels on Wednesday morning, commenting on a post by a Scottish Trump super-fan comparing the sketch Daniels released of the man she said threatened her to keep quiet about Trump with a photo of her ex-husband. Jimmy Kimmel had a little background on the Scottish woman who started the meme, suggesting Trump get a restraining order against her, but he found the entire episode "absolutely nuts. Reportedly, his advisers tried to convince him that he would only make things worse if he addressed this on Twitter," Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live, "but you know that's like telling a 4-year-old with a squirt gun not to shoot you with it — you're going to get wet."
"So he tweeted, and he called it 'fake news,' which is his thing," Kimmel said. "President Trump seems to be confused about what is and isn't fake news, so to help out — because we're all about helping out here at this show — we asked a local third grader named Noah to break it down for the president in a very simple way." And Noah, 9, did just that, adorably and concisely. Watch below. Peter Weber
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is taking the state attorney general to court to fight a 2nd felony prosecution
Missouri's embattled Republican governor, Eric Greitens, and its Republican attorney general and likely U.S. Senate nominee, Josh Hawley, are in an increasingly bitter feud over the legality and ethics of Greitens' activities in the run-up to his gubernatorial election. The St. Louis prosecutor has already indicted Greitens on one felony count for alleged invasion of privacy stemming from a messy extramarital affair with his hairdresser, and on Wednesday, Hawley announced he had uncovered "potentially criminal acts" by Greitens related to the use of the donor list for his charity. On Tuesday night, Greitens filed for a restraining order to bar Hawley from investigating him, The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday night.
Greiten's motion says that Hawley compromised any investigation into the governor's conduct when he called on him to resign, after the state House released a brutal report detailing the former mistress' allegations of violent behavior. "Hawley must recuse himself and his entire office from any investigation or prosecution related to Gov. Greitens or the governor's office," the motion reads, arguing that any investigation must be conducted by "a court-appointed special prosecutor independent of the (attorney general's office)."
A spokeswoman for Hawley's office, Mary Compton, called the recusal motion "frivolous" and said "we look forward to arguing this matter in court. ... The attorney general called for the governor's resignation because the House Investigative Committee reported substantial evidence of sexual, violent misconduct by the governor," not because of the charity list issue, she added. "The fact that the governor has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct does not mean he is exempt from investigation into other wrongdoing." Peter Weber
Cynthia Nixon tells Stephen Colbert why she's 100 percent serious about becoming New York's governor
Stephen Colbert began Wednesday's Late Show interview with actress and gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon by warning New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to watch out for his "formidable opponent," because Nixon beat Colbert for a Grammy. He asked why Nixon was running under the banner "Cynthia for New York," not the more alliterative "Nixon for New York"? "My mother used to say that she grew up during World War II with a father named Adolph and then she lived through the 1970s with a husband named Nixon," she replied. "So I am aware of the dubious nature of my last name, but I have to say, if I was given a choice, I'd rather be the good Nixon than the bad Cuomo."
Nixon said she's running for governor "because I'm a lifelong New Yorker, and I love this state, and I just know we could do so much better." Colbert stopped her when she said Cuomo is governing like a Republican, asking for specifics. Nixon replied that New York should fully fund public education and be more like California and Oregon in leading the way on renewable energy, campaign finance reform, voting rights, and criminal justice reform.
Nixon said she's 100 percent serious about becoming governor, and Colbert stepped in to play "the governor's advocate," asking her if "we need another celebrity in office," and "should governor of New York be the first job you have" in politics? Nixon said she's not at all like President Trump, and celebrity is just a platform, and what matters is how you use it. She explained her support for legalizing recreational marijuana as primarily "a racial justice issue," not a drug one. "For all intents and purposes, for white people, marijuana has ... effectively been legal for a long time," she said, "and I just think it's time to make it legal for everybody else." Watch below. Peter Weber