July 3, 2015

A new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that fully one third of likely voters say states should be able to ignore federal court decisions. A bare majority — 52 percent — disagrees, with 15 percent undecided. As recently as February, fewer than a quarter of likely voters said states should be able to disregard federal courts.

Not surprisingly — given conservative uproar over the recent Supreme Court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage and the president's health care program — Republicans were significantly more likely than average to endorse state overrides, offering 50 percent support. However, defiance of Washington rose among Democrats and independents as well in recent months. Bonnie Kristian


The long train of migrants marching through Central America has continued to grow as it approaches the U.S. — a local government estimated that more than 7,000 migrants are now in the group, reports The New York Times. Many have been walking for days on end to escape violence and poverty, pregnant women and young children included. The hot temperatures and exhausting journey make for what CNBC has labeled a "humanitarian crisis."

Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off aid to Honduras, where most of the migrants are from, as well as Guatemala and El Salvador, which many migrants passed through. He's also baselessly claimed there are "unknown Middle Easterners" traveling among the throngs hoping to gain asylum in the United States. Here's a glance at what the group actually looks like. Kathryn Krawczyk

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In the days since Saudi Arabia offered an explanation for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump's reaction has completely shifted.

The president on Monday told reporters he is "not satisfied" with what he has heard from Saudi Arabia about the death of the Washington Post columnist who went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month, reports Talking Points Memo. After first claiming they had no knowledge of the situation, Saudi Arabian officials claimed last week that Khashoggi was killed as part of a rogue operation carried out by one of the advisers to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They also claimed that Khashoggi was only supposed to be interrogated and was killed after a fistfight broke out, but on Monday, CNN reported that surveillance footage showed a man suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's death leaving the consulate in his clothing. Turkey suggested that he traveled to Istanbul specifically to serve as a body double.

On Friday, Trump said that he found Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death to be credible. On Saturday, though, he suggested the Saudi government had lied in some way, saying, "their stories are all over the place," reports The Washington Post. However, he also said he wasn't convinced the crown prince was involved.

Trump's statement Monday came after he said he had spoken directly with the crown prince. He also told reporters that he wouldn't wait one month for Saudi Arabia to complete its investigation into Khashoggi's death. "That's a long time," he said, per CNN's Kaitlan Collins, adding that "there's no reason" for it to take a full month. "We're going to get to the bottom of it," he pledged. Brendan Morrow


For Wonder Woman fans, the wait for the second outing will now be even more excruciating than expected.

Star Gal Gadot revealed on Twitter Monday afternoon that Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to the hit 2017 superhero film, will now be released on June 5, 2020, after previously being scheduled for Nov. 1, 2019. Though this seven-month delay might be disappointing, Gadot presented it as a good thing, calling the June release date the movie's "rightful home." The first Wonder Woman also came out in June and became the highest-grossing film of summer 2017.

Gadot didn't give any particular reason for the delay, but mentioned that it was being moved "thanks to the changing landscape." She could possibly be referring to the fact that a November slot would force Wonder Woman 1984 to compete with the studio's October 2019 release of Joker, the standalone film about the Batman villain.

Marvel also recently removed an untitled film originally planned for July 2020 from its schedule, possibly giving Warner Bros. room to shift Wonder Woman into that new "home" date. It remains to be seen whether there are any other reasons for the delay, but some box office pundits view it as a wise move.

Wonder Woman 1984, as the title suggests, will see Diana Prince returning decades after the events of the first film amid the Cold War. Despite the fact that his character died in the first film, Chris Pine will somehow be returning. Nobody knows for sure how that's happening, but now, we'll have another seven months to speculate wildly. Brendan Morrow


Unpaid taxes and lawsuits may squash Michael Avenatti's presidential campaign before it's even started.

A California judge on Monday ordered Avenatti, the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels, to pay $4.85 million he owes to an ex-colleague, reports The Associated Press. The ruling came just hours after The Daily Beast reported that Avenatti owes millions in back taxes.

Monday's suit came from Jason Frank, who was an attorney at Avenatti's former law firm. Frank alleged the firm "misstated its profits" and owed him far more than he was paid, AP writes. After denying Avenatti's request to bring the case to federal court, the judge ruled in Frank's favor. Neither Avenatti not a representative were at Monday's hearing, and did not argue in the case, but Avenatti did tell AP on Monday that Frank owed him $12 million "for his fraud," without explaining further.

Avenatti rocketed to fame after representing Daniels in a lawsuit against President Trump earlier this year. He's since used that platform to campaign for Democrats and float a 2020 presidential run, and often urges Trump to release his tax returns. But Avenatti's first 2020 mention was met with criticism over his finances, particularly reports of $2.4 million in then-unpaid taxes owed by his old law firm. The Daily Beast also reports Avenatti personally owes another $1.2 million to the IRS, though Avenatti says those debts are "fully paid."

Monday's ruling adds to the $10 million Avenatti's former firm was already ordered to pay Frank in May. Read more about Avenatti's reported financial straits at The Daily Beast. Kathryn Krawczyk


Americans will head to the polls this November with a much different view on the nation's biggest problems than in 2016.

A new survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that more U.S. adults view drug addiction, college affordability, sexism, and racism as "very big" problems than did two years ago.

Just before the 2016 presidential election, 56 percent of Americans already viewed drug addiction as being a "very big" problem, but now, that number has risen to 68 percent. Meanwhile, 63 percent now say college affordability is a very big problem, compared to 52 percent in 2016. Today, 34 percent say sexism is a very big problem, compared to 23 percent in 2016; and 46 percent say racism is a very big problem, compared to 39 percent in 2016.

Some of these answers are split among party lines. For instance, while 48 percent of Democrats see sexism as a very big problem, only 17 percent of Republicans do. But a few issues, including drug addiction and ethics in government, earned bipartisan concern.

Then there are issues that have become less troublesome. Two years ago, 47 percent of those surveyed said job opportunities for Americans was a very big problem, but now, that number has shrunk to just 25 percent. In fact, of the 18 issues presented, job opportunities ranked lowest as the least of Americans' worries. Additionally, just 35 percent now say that terrorism is a very big problem, compared to 53 percent in 2016.

The poll surveyed 10,683 U.S. adults online from Sept. 24 through Oct. 7. The margin of error is 1.5 percentage points. See more results at Pew Research Center. Brendan Morrow


The stars have aligned for physics fans hoping to get their hands on a Stephen Hawking relic.

Wheelchairs, scientific papers, and even a script from The Simpsons once belonging to the late physicist will be auctioned off starting Oct. 31, The Associated Press reports. Proceeds from the online sale will benefit Hawking's foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Hawking was given just a few months to live when he was diagnosed with ALS at age 22, but famously produced cosmological theories from a wheelchair until he died at 76 in March. His oldest chair will be up for auction, as well as a newer motorized model expected to fetch up to $19,500, per AP.

The auction's premier item is expected to be a signed copy of Hawking's doctoral thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes." It's estimated to fetch up to $195,000, AP says. Lower-budget items include a bomber jacket, a copy of A Brief History of Time signed with Hawking's thumbprint, and a script from one of Hawking's several Simpsons appearances. The rest of Hawking's scientific archive will be preserved by the British government.

Papers by Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and other science legends will all be up for grabs at the same auction, CNBC says. If old-school physics is more your thing, drop a bid on a script explaining Isaac Newton's love of alchemy that's expected to go for at least $100,000. Kathryn Krawczyk


White House senior adviser Jared Kushner may be the Trump administration's closest link to Saudi Arabia. So when CNN host Van Jones sat down with Kushner on Monday, he just had to ask: How did Kushner get "the dopest job in the world?"

Kushner's interview with Jones at CNN's Citizen political forum was his first public interview since December 2017, Politico's Annie Karni pointed out. It seemingly would've been a good time to ask about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey's Saudi consulate, considering Kushner's reportedly friendly relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Instead, Jones spent much of the interview discussing whether President Trump is a good grandfather, calling Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump "extraordinary," and asking if Kushner is "having fun" in the White House.

Jones did eventually ask whether Kushner "trust[ed] the Saudis to investigate themselves," seeing as bin Salman is both the "prime suspect" and the "prime investigator" in Khashoggi's death. Kushner simply urged bin Salman to "be fully transparent" as the investigation continues, then pivoted back to talking about the Middle East in general.

Kushner and Jones originally planned to discuss prison reform during the interview, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman acknowledged. But, as Karni put it, the conversation's lack of Khashoggi questions made for one big "elephant in the room."

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