January 19, 2016
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The Islamic State has reportedly cut all of its fighters' salaries by 50 percent, CNN reports based on leaked documents obtained by a scholar who tracks the terrorist group.

"On account of the exceptional circumstances the Islamic State is facing, it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahideen [jihadists] by half, and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempted from this decision, whatever his position," read a translated excerpt from the purported ISIS memo posted by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, who researches and writes about ISIS extensively at the Middle East Forum.

How much did the group's soldiers make, anyway? Between $400 and $600, plus extra stipends for fighters with wives and children, according to an April 2015 report from the Congressional Research Service. Julie Kliegman

2:17 a.m. ET

On Wednesday, the House and Senate overwhelmingly voted to override President Obama's veto of a law that will allow the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed reservations about the new law and said they were open to rewriting it to deal with problems that Obama had warned them about, and then Congress adjourned until after the November election.

McConnell blamed Obama for not warning Congress earlier. "I told the president the other day that this is an example of an issue that we should have talked about much earlier," he told reporters on Thursday. "It appears as if there may be some unintended ramifications of that and I do think it's worth further discussing." Obama had called McConnell about the bill on Monday, then sent him and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) a warning letter on Tuesday (Reid was the lone senator to vote against the override).

"Everybody was aware of who the potential beneficiaries were but no one had really focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships. And I think it was just a ball dropped," McConnell said. "I hate to blame everything on him and I don't; it would have been helpful if we had a discussion about this much earlier than the last week."

Senior officials, including CIA director John Brennan, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and Secretary of State John Kerry, had urged Congress not to approve the bill, because, as Obama explained in his Sept. 23 veto statement, it "could encourage foreign governments to act reciprocally and allow their domestic courts to exercise jurisdiction over the United States or U.S. officials — including our men and women in uniform — for allegedly causing injuries overseas via U.S. support to third parties." That was the concern Ryan raised on Thursday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest rolled his eyes at Congress' "case of rapid-onset buyer's remorse," calling it "an abject embarrassment." "It's hard to take at face value the suggestion that they were unaware of the consequences of their vote, but even if they were, what's true in elementary school is true in the United States Congress," he said: "Ignorance is not an excuse." Peter Weber

2:10 a.m. ET

It has been a busy week in politics, between Donald Trump's controversial remarks about a former Miss Universe, Hillary Clinton's difficulty connecting with millennials, and Gary Johnson's inability to name a current foreign leader.

On Thursday's Late Night, Seth Meyers broke it all down, taking a closer look at some of the stranger events that transpired after Monday night's debate, including Howard Dean's observation that a sniffling Trump might be using a certain white substance. "Okay, first of all, Howard Dean, I'm not sure you should be accusing other people of using cocaine, when you're the guy most famous for this," Meyers said, before playing the 2004 clip of a very excited Dean, then running for president, yelling the names of all the states he was going to. "Also, you can't call call Trump a cokehead. If you do, he'll take it one step further. 'Some people are saying Hillary and El Chapo are the same person. I read it on The Google.'"

Meyers also scoffed at Trump's son Eric saying his father showed "courage" by not mentioning Bill Clinton's infidelities during the debate (he waited until after to bring it up during several interview); people expecting Bernie Sanders to secure the millennial vote for Clinton ("What's everyone expecting of Bernie? He'll take out his flute and the millennials will flock to his side?"); and an incredibly weird interview Johnson gave where he bit his tongue through part of it (Meyers gently encouraged him to "maybe next time only eat half the brownie"). He was impressed, though, by Michelle Obama's ability to tell people not to vote for Trump without ever uttering his name. "Is there any better way to get under Trump's skin than refusing to say his name?" Meyers asked. The only thing worse, he concludes, would be buying Trump Tower and renaming it "You Know Who Tower." Watch the video below .Catherine Garcia

1:33 a.m. ET

Emily Post never established the etiquette for what to do when you tase someone, but it stands to reason the proper protocol does not involve sending that person a cake with the icing apology, "Sorry I Tased You."

Florida resident Stephanie Byron has filed a lawsuit against Michael Wohlers, a former Escambia County sheriff's deputy, claiming that in June 2015, he stopped by the apartment complex where she worked, and used his "apparent law enforcement authority to intimidate, harass, and threaten" her. Her attorney says at one point, Wohlers took Byron's sweet tea, and as she went to retrieve it, he fired his stun gun at her, then kneed her in the chest, The Associated Press reports. The lawsuit claims that Wohlers told his superiors that he mistakenly fired the taser into a pillow at his house.

Later, Byron says Wohlers presented her with the homemade cake, featuring stick figures, what appears to be a taser with wires coming out of it, and the sugary expression of regret. A photo of the edible apology was entered into the court file, but as Gizmodo reports, it's not the same photo that is going viral on social media — that image was uploaded to the internet at least a year before Byron's alleged tasing. Her attorney says that "the cake Wohlers baked provides his version of the encounter and clearly shows a person, Wohlers, firing the taser at Ms. Byron," but Wohlers, who resigned from the sheriff's department last year, denies any wrongdoing. Next time, send pie. Catherine Garcia

12:47 a.m. ET

Vice President Joe Biden was on Thursday's Tonight Show, and when Jimmy Kimmel asked him about Monday's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Biden (a Catholic) crossed himself and joked, "Bless me, Father, for I am about to sin." He said he watched the debate by himself, and "I've never quite seen anything like that." When Fallon asked if he'd ever seen so much fact-checking, Biden replied, "Well, I can tell you what, I've never seen anybody who knew as few facts." "It's not a joke," he added, as everybody laughed. "I mean, it's like, whoa."

Then he got serious. "What amazes me about Donald Trump," Biden said, "he's probably a decent guy, but his lack of sensibilities. I mean, the way he talks about, you know, 'Well, you know, I was rooting for the housing market to fail,' and 'because that's business' — that's not business, that's callous." And Trump's claim that paying no taxes makes him "smart"? "What's that make the rest of us, suckers?" Biden asked. "No, I really mean it. Think about it. Can you think of any president — any president you've read about, studied, or knew — who would say anything like that? Name me one president who would do that. It angers me, quite frankly." And no Biden interview would be complete without some wisdom from his parents. "My dad had an expression, for real," Biden said: "When someone would say, 'You know, Joe, I pay too much in taxes,' he said, 'Look, that's a small price to pay to live in this country.' I mean, just pay your fair share, for God's sake." Watch below. Peter Weber

12:20 a.m. ET
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte used a speech on Friday to ratchet up his literal war on drugs. Adolf "Hitler massacred 3 million Jews," Duterte said, undercounting the Holocaust by about 3 million Jews. In the Philippines, he continued, "there's 3 million drug addicts. There are. I'd be happy to slaughter them."

Speaking to reporters after a trip to Vietnam, Duterte said that he has been "portrayed to be some cousin of Hitler," then made that comparison himself. "If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have..." he paused and pointed at himself, Reuters reports. While running for president, Duterte took a strong anti-drug and corruption stance, and since taking office on June 30, more than 3,100 people, primarily drug users and dealers, have been killed by police and in vigilante killings. "You know my victims," Duterte said. "I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition." Catherine Garcia

September 29, 2016

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, first shot himself in the foot when, on MSNBC's Morning Joe, he appeared baffled at mention of Aleppo, a Chicago-sized city under siege in Syria. He just had his second self-described "Aleppo moment" on Wednesday — also, coincidentally, on MSNBC — when he was unable to name a world leader he likes — or, really, any world leader. Matt Negrin at Bloomberg Politics took that low-hanging fruit and made it into a delicious crow pie. Watch below. Peter Weber

September 29, 2016
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As a rebuttal to USA Today's editorial imploring people to vote for anyone but Donald Trump, his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), wrote an op-ed counterpoint calling Trump a "bold leader" not unlike Republican icon Ronald Reagan.

"In a political world often reserved for talkers, Donald Trump is a doer," Pence wrote. Over time, Pence said, he has found Trump to be "thoughtful, compassionate, and steady," and a lot like Reagan, who also "made some Republicans uneasy" when he entered politics. "Along the way, people heard his vision of a renewed America," Pence continued. "Americans from all walks of life flocked to a man who was so clearly unbound by Washington niceties and political correctness. Ronald Reagan spoke the truth in 1980 to the American people, just as Donald Trump has in 2016."

Hillary Clinton, Pence wrote, will bring "more taxes, more spending, more regulation, and more government," while Trump will cut taxes, repeal Obamacare, and "rewrite our trade deals so they help American workers." The choice is clear, Pence says, and only Trump has the "courage to speak his mind and the boldness to make true his vision of a renewed America." Catherine Garcia

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