The chairman of Estée Lauder's famous declaration that women buy more cosmetics during a recession because clothes are too expensive is holding true: Sales of high-end makeup jumped by 9 percent in the last year. And shoppers are finding still more lavish ways to splurge. Case in point: La Prairie Cellular Lip Color ($55), a lipstick infused with a farm-raised-caviar extract. "This luxurious lipstick is for the woman who wants it all," LaPrairie says. Perhaps, says Bee-Shyuan Chang at The New York Times, but the "blini and vodka [are] not included."
Trump's John Bolton hire reportedly surprised the White House and Bolton, upended plans to fire other officials
When President Trump tweeted Thursday evening that he was firing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and replacing him with John Bolton, effective April 9, Bolton told Fox News a few minutes later that he'd been surprised by Trump's offer, though they had apparently discussed the move for weeks. But Trump's decision to fire McMaster so abruptly also "surprised senior White House aides who had been preparing a single statement announcing the departure of multiple top Trump officials," Politico reports, citing two senior administration officials.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who supported ousting McMaster, had been planning to announce the firing of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and maybe several senior White House aides at the same time as they announced McMaster's departure, Politico says. "It's unclear which other West Wing officials were possibly set to depart with McMaster, but the two senior administration officials said they believed it would be easier to manage the optics if multiple firings were made public in a single statement instead of drawn out."
Such an announcement wouldn't have been made for at least another week, until after inspector general reports on Carson and Shulkin were out. "Trump upends whatever he wants to upend," a White House official told Politico. Trump called McMaster Thursday afternoon to thank him and give him a heads-up about his ouster, not wanting to publicly humiliate him as he had outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, The Washington Post reports, but the mounting rumors of McMaster's firing had made it difficult for him to do his job. "Everyone in the White House knew that," a senior official told the Post. "It was the same as Rex. Everyone knew their days were numbered, so people didn't take them seriously." Peter Weber
Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who says he provided WikiLeaks with emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee in 2016, is a Russian intelligence officer, The Daily Beast reports.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Guccifer 2.0, and the FBI agents who determined his identity are on Mueller's team, The Daily Beast says. Guccifer 2.0 made his online debut June 15, 2016, only a few hours after a computer security firm tied the DNC hack to Russia. Claiming to be a lone hacker, Guccifer 2.0 posted and tweeted DNC documents, while "projecting an image as an independent Romanian," The Daily Beast says. He denied that Russia was involved in the attack, and a few days before Trump's inauguration, he stopped posting online.
Not many people believed that Guccifer 2.0 was Romanian, and after he forgot to connect online using an anonymizing service, investigators were able to track his real IP address to Moscow, The Daily Beast reports. From that, they identified Guccifer 2.0 as a specific GRU officer, working out of the military intelligence department's headquarters (his name was not disclosed to The Daily Beast). It has also been determined that one person launched the Guccifer 2.0 persona, then passed it off to someone with a better grasp of the English language. Read more about how leaks from Guccifer 2.0 helped a Florida Republican, and how Trump adviser Roger Stone ties into the story, at The Daily Beast. Catherine Garcia
In an interview Thursday with CNN's Anderson Cooper, former Playboy model Karen McDougal said she "spent a lot of time" with President Trump more than a decade ago, and she found him to be "very sweet" and "liked his charisma," but was "sad" when he offered her money after they had sex for the first time.
McDougal alleges she had an affair with Trump, knowing he was married to his third wife, Melania Trump. She "felt guilty about it," McDougal told Cooper, and is "sorry" for what happened. "I wouldn't want it done to me," she added. McDougal said she was in love with Trump and he "told me all the time he was in love with me," calling her "baby" and "beautiful Karen."
She said that after they had "been intimate" the first time, Trump "tried to pay me, and I actually didn't know how to take that." When he attempted to hand her money, "I don't even know how to describe the look on my face," McDougal said, and she cried the entire way back to her house. McDougal also said she got to know Trump's former bodyguard Keith Schiller well, as he would pick her up for meetings with Trump in Los Angeles and then take her home. She said she and Trump were intimate "many dozens of times," and she "didn't know he was intimate with other ladies. ... I thought I was the only one."
Earlier this week, McDougal filed a lawsuit against American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer. She sold her story about the alleged affair to the publication, but it never appeared in the tabloid. Catherine Garcia
On his last day at the State Department, outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a farewell speech that never mentioned President Trump by name but did include a jab at Washington, D.C.
"This can be a very mean-spirited town," the Texan said Thursday. "But you don't have to participate in that." He asked that "each of you undertake to ensure one act of kindness each day toward another person," and reminded the State Department staffers that their integrity "belongs to you. Only you can relinquish it or allow it to be compromised." Tillerson also said the United States "faces many challenges — in some instances perplexing foreign affairs relationships, and in other instances serious national security threats," and "in these times, your continued diligence and devotion to the State Department's mission has never been more necessary."
After he fired Tillerson earlier this month, Trump named CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement, but he still needs to be confirmed by the Senate. His hearing is scheduled for April 12. Catherine Garcia
President Trump and John Bolton, the incoming national security adviser, have spent the last several weeks trying to figure out how Bolton could replace H.R. McMaster, CNN reports, and during negotiations, the hawkish Fox News analyst made a bold statement.
A person familiar with their talks told CNN's Kaitlan Collins that Bolton, who while part of the George W. Bush administration pushed for the Iraq War and has called for strikes against North Korea and Iran, promised Trump that if he gave him the position, "he wouldn't start any wars." Fingers crossed he keeps his word. Catherine Garcia
Incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton has been vocal about going to war with North Korea and Iran
President Trump's next national security adviser, John Bolton, is best remembered for his role in former President George W. Bush's administration, where he advocated for the Iraq War and became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as a recess appointment, after the Republican-controlled Senate was unable to confirm him.
Trump announced Thursday on Twitter that Bolton is replacing H.R. McMaster, effective April 9. A hawk on North Korea and Iran, Bolton wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal in late February titled, "The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First," and in January he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that "talking to North Koreans is a waste of time." Bolton has been highly critical of former President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, and in 2015 he wrote an op-ed for The New York Times which stated that a U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a good thing. "Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed," he wrote. "Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran's opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran."
Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump said he was against the Iraq War, which Bolton pushed. Under Bush, Bolton was undersecretary of state for arms control, and he argued that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. His staff also wrote a speech claiming that Cuba had an active biological weapons program, and when the State Department's lead bioweapons analyst refused to sign off on this false claim, Bolton screamed at him, Vox reports. That wasn't an isolated incident — several people who worked with Bolton have accused him of yelling at and threatening those who disagreed with him. Catherine Garcia
President Trump tweeted on Thursday evening that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is being replaced by John Bolton, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations and a Fox News analyst.
"I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job and will always remain my friend," Trump said. "There will be an official contact handover on 4/9." Bolton is known for being a hard-line conservative, and has had regular contact with Trump throughout his presidency, discussing foreign policy.
McMaster, an Army lieutenant general, will retire from the military, several officials told The New York Times. He's been planning his departure for weeks now, they said, and Trump made it clear he wanted his new national security team in place ahead of his eventual meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There has always been some amount of tension between Trump and McMaster, White House officials told the Times, especially when McMaster publicly commented on Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election. McMaster was Trump's second national security adviser, following the short tenure of Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty of making a false statement to the FBI and is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Catherine Garcia