September 21, 2011

A record 28 million viewers may have tuned in to see Ashton Kutcher's debut as Charlie Sheen's replacement on Two and a Half Men, but some argue that it's Sheen who's still "duh, winning." Many critics attributed the ratings spike to curiosity over how the show would handle Sheen's departure, and found the all-too-frequently naked Kutcher less than hilarious. Perhaps the series' new star could cover up with this referential t-shirt ($27). The Week Staff

3:23 a.m. ET

On Tuesday, police in Iowa arrested Cristhian Rivera, 24, charging him with first-degree murder for the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts. Tibbetts, 20, disappeared while jogging on the evening of July 16, sparking a search involving the FBI and state and local investigators. Rivera led police to a body in a cornfield on Tuesday morning, according to court documents, and police believe the body is Tibbetts'. Rivera's motive is unclear, Rick Rahn, special agent in charge at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said at a news conference, but the suspect says he got mad and blacked out when Tibbetts threatened to call the police as he was following her on her run. Rivera is an undocumented Mexican national who has lived in Iowa for at least four years. Tibbetts would have been a sophomore this fall. You can learn more below. Peter Weber

2:38 a.m. ET

The National Weather Service announced Tuesday night that Hurricane Lane, an erratic storm currently about 500 miles southeast of Honolulu, had strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour. Hawaii's Big Island is under a hurricane warning and most of the other Hawaiian islands are under hurricane watch. "On the forecast track, the center of Lane will move very close to or over the main Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday," potentially bringing devastating winds and life-threatening flash floods, the weather service said, but "it is much too early to confidently determine which, if any, of the main Hawaiian islands will be directly impacted by Lane."

Even if Hurricane Lane doesn't make landfall, its rain and wind could cause significant damage to Hawaii. Schools will be closed on the Big Island and in Maui County starting Wednesday, and Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) said all nonessential state employees on Maui and Hawaii islands can take administrative leave Wednesday through Friday. Hawaii hasn't seen a Category 5 hurricane since 1994, NWS says. Peter Weber

2:03 a.m. ET
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) had two very different meetings with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday.

Collins shared with reporters that Kavanaugh told her he believes Roe v. Wade is settled law. Schumer said when he asked Kavanaugh if he agreed that the case was "correctly decided," the conservative judge "would not say yes. That should send shivers down the spine of any American who believes in reproductive freedom for women." When it comes to the landmark abortion case, Kavanaugh has a "special obligation to make his views on this topic clear," he added, since President Trump said he would "only nominate someone who overturns Roe v. Wade." Conservative justices, Schumer continued, "have a habit of saying something is settled law during their confirmation and then overturning the minute they get on the bench."

Kavanaugh spent his Tuesday afternoon meeting privately with Schumer and four other Democratic senators, and Schumer said in addition to not commenting on Roe v. Wade, he wouldn't say if the Affordable Care Act is constitutional or whether a sitting president must comply with a subpoena. Catherine Garcia

1:48 a.m. ET
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At a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night, President Trump told his supporters, "I don't want to brag about it, but man do I have a good record of endorsements." The crowd responded with changes of "USA!” Across the country, Republican in Wyoming picked state Treasurer Mark Gordon as their gubernatorial nominee over Trump-backed businessman and GOP mega-donor Foster Friess. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Gordon had 33 percent of the vote to Friess' 26 percent. Trump, who endorsed Friess earlier Tuesday, won Wyoming in 2016 by 46 percentage points. This is Trump's first primary endorsee to lose since Luther Strange in Alabama.

Gov. Matt Mead (R) is term-limited. Gordon will face Democratic state Rep. Mary Throne in the general election. Sen. John Barrosso (R-Wy.) easily fended off a challenge from businessman Dave Dodson, who spent $1 million of his own money in the race, and he is favored to win a third term against Democrat Gary Trauner in November. The state's lone House representative, Liz Cheney (R), won re-nomination. Peter Weber

12:50 a.m. ET
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"For a witch hunt," The New York Times said in a Tuesday night editorial, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's "investigation has already bagged a remarkable number of witches. Only the best witches, you might say." On Tuesday, Mueller's team secured guilty verdicts for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to, among other crimes, trying to sway the 2016 election by paying off two purported Trump mistresses "at the direction of" Trump.

"Let that sink in: Mr. Trump's own lawyer has now accused him, under oath, of committing a felony," the Times editorialists wrote. "Only a complete fantasist — that is, only President Trump and his cult — could continue to claim that this investigation of foreign subversion of an American election ... is a 'hoax' or 'scam' or 'rigged witch hunt.'" And Cohen may not be done talking.

The Manafort and Cohen cases "are a damaging commentary on the shady operators Donald Trump associated with," The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial, but "the evidence in both cases is unrelated to the Russian collusion claims that set these prosecutions in motion." Mueller won't indict Trump, the Journal predicted, and "voters may want to see more than evidence about payments to a porn star to overturn the results of a presidential election."

The president was just "credibly accused in federal court of directing one of his subordinates to commit a federal crime," The Washington Post said in a editorial, and "Trump cannot pretend these crimes did not occur or that they have nothing to do with him. Neither can Congress." The Constitution largely leaves Trump's fate up to Congress, "and powerful Republican lawmakers have seemed more interested in covering for Mr. Trump than investigating him," the Post said. This "partisan abdication of public duty" must end, and "Congress must open investigations into Mr. Trump's role in the crime Mr. Cohen has admitted to. ... Legislators cannot in good conscience ignore an alleged co-conspirator in the White House." Peter Weber

12:43 a.m. ET
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To indict, or not to indict: that is the question.

Not long after Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight counts of financial crimes, his attorney, Lanny Davis, posed a question to his Twitter audience: If Cohen broke election laws by secretly paying off two purported Trump paramours "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" with the "purpose of influencing the election," then "why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?"

Cornell professor Jens David Ohlin told Vox that Trump is "clearly guilty of violating campaign finance laws and also guilty of federal conspiracy as well. ... Normally, he would be indicted right away. But that won't happen only because he's the president." He's not the only one who said this on Tuesday; Fox News' John Roberts tweeted that people close to Trump told him, "Remember, the president cannot be indicted."

In 2000, the Office of Legal Counsel released a memo saying it agreed with a conclusion reached by the Justice Department in 1973, that the "indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting president would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions." Neal Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, told CBS News in May "the basic point is that prosecutors should not be able to tie up the work of a president."

That's not to say that a president, after leaving office, couldn't be charged with wrongdoing, or that Congress couldn't revive the independent counsel statute and have that person file charges. Scott L. Frederickson, a former federal prosecutor, told CBS News that "a fundamental tenet of our political and criminal justice system is that no man is above the law," and because of that, "there is a very persuasive argument that can be made that you can indict a sitting president." Catherine Garcia

August 21, 2018

Speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Tuesday night, Michael Cohen's lawyer said his client has "knowledge on certain subjects" that should be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and he's "more than happy" to share "all that he knows."

Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight charges of bank and tax fraud and campaign finance law violations, and said he made hush payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump "at the direction of a candidate for federal office." Davis told Maddow that Cohen now feels "liberated to tell the truth, everything about Donald Trump that he knows."

Davis said one thing Cohen is open to talking about is a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, attended by Donald Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his former campaign chairman and recently convicted felon Paul Manafort. They met with several Russians connected to the Kremlin, who promised compromising information on Hillary Clinton, and there is the "obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system," Davis said.

The lawyer also appeared on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time, where he told host Chris Cuomo he believes Cohen "has information about Mr. Trump that would be of interest in Washington as well as New York State." Watch the Cuomo interview below. Catherine Garcia

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