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January 26, 2016

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was on The Late Show Monday night, and Stephen Colbert was very careful with his questions. Rumsfeld was on to promote his new solitaire app, but all anyone ever wants to talk to Rumsfeld about is the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and Colbert was no exception. He started out by asking if the current situation in Iraq and Syria, including the rise of the Islamic State, was "a worst-case scenario, or a beyond-worse-case scenario" when the George W. Bush administration was planning the Iraq War. "I think the disorder in the entire region, and the conflict between the Sunnis and the Shia, is something that, generally, people had not anticipated," Rumsfeld said.

Then Colbert got a little more direct. "The top two Republicans and the top two Democrats, none of them thinks going into Iraq was the right choice to make," he said. "Do you still think it was the right thing to do, 12 years later?" Rumsfeld said that when Bush made the decision, Iraq had disregarded several U.N. resolutions, had used chemical weapons on his citizens and Iran, and "it seems to me the president, given the facts he had from the intelligence community, made the right decision. In retrospect, they didn't find large caches of chemical or biological weapons."

Colbert turned to Rumsfeld's "known unknowns" formulation and introduced a fourth option, "unknown knowns," gently suggesting that the Bush administration misled the American people by asserting that Iraq was a threat to the U.S. when the intelligence was too murky to back that up. "The president had available to him intelligence from all elements of the government," Rumsfeld said. "And the National Security Council members had that information; it was all shared, it was all supplied. And it's never certain. If it were a fact, it wouldn't be called intelligence." Colbert looked taken aback. "Wow. I think you answered my question." You can watch the strange, nearly 10-minute conversation below. Peter Weber

1:14 p.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's need to disagree with his advisers may be borderline pathological.

Some aides have gone so far as to diagnose the president with "defiance disorder," The Washington Post reports, citing revelations from a forthcoming book written by the former Fox News host and Post reporter Howard Kurtz. Kurtz's book, Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press, And The War Over The Truth, explains that some of the president's top staffers "privately coined" the term for Trump's "seeming compulsion to do whatever it is his advisers are most strongly urging against," the Post reports.

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman pointed out on Twitter that "defiance disorder" is in fact a valid malady, listed in formal psychiatry diagnostic texts, and not just a catchphrase for people in the White House to describe their boss' quirks. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says that ODD is marked by "defiance, spitefulness, negativity, hostility, and verbal aggression," while the Mayo Clinic recommends managing ODD by giving "unconditional love" and "recognizing and praising ... good behaviors."

Read more about Kurtz's book, which will be released Jan. 29, at The Washington Post. Kelly O'Meara Morales

1:11 p.m. ET
Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

Rumors have been swirling about President Trump and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's tense relationship practically since the former Marine Corps general was promoted to the role last July, but Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman writes that things have now reached a point where Ivanka Trump is "trying to figure out who replaces Kelly," one person familiar with the situation said.

Causing particular fiction is the Mexico border wall, which Trump and Kelly have publicly disagreed over. Kelly told House Democrats last week that some of Trump's ideas were "uninformed" and have since "evolved," prompting Trump to respond that "the wall is the wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it."

Privately, Trump hasn't appreciated the narrative of Kelly trying to smooth things over on his behalf. "I've got another nut job here who thinks he's running things," Trump allegedly complained to one friend, while another insider said Trump vented on the phone that Kelly "thinks he's running the show."

"The more Kelly plays up that he's being the adult in the room — that it's basically combat duty and he's serving the country — that kind of thing drives Trump nuts," one Republican insider said.

Even so, it might not take Trump pushing Kelly out for him to leave. The former general has "threatened to quit numerous times," Vanity Fair writes. Read the whole scoop here. Jeva Lange

12:39 p.m. ET

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that Democrats will support a stopgap budget measure lasting until Feb. 8 on the condition that if an agreement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals isn't reached, then "the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA." The deal, which is expected to pass shortly and reopen the government, gives Republicans "17 days to prevent the DREAMers from being deported," Schumer said.

Schumer reserved particularly heated criticism for the "deal-making president" who "sat on the sidelines" during negotiations. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) praised bipartisan efforts in the Senate as "encouraging."

Not everyone was pleased. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Sunday that it would be "ridiculous to commit" to a Feb. 8 DACA vote. Additionally, the deal is a bit of a "risky bet" for Democrats, Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti said. "Implicit in Dem leaders' bet: that short-term fury/disappointment from activists doesn't translate into long-term voter disengagement," he tweeted. "So ... gonna be a nervy few weeks, to say the least." Jeva Lange

11:06 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration on Monday put into practice new screening requirements for cargo loaded from five majority-Muslim nations: Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to regular security screening, airlines will now be asked to provide information like the origin, contents, and recipient of each item.

"These countries were chosen because of a demonstrated intent by terrorist groups to attack aviation from them," an unnamed TSA official told CBS. "This is all intel driven." The officials who spoke with CBS did not cite any specific intel that occasioned the change, with one commenting that the agency has not "necessarily seen anything 'brand new' in terms of a new threat." Rather, the official said, the TSA is "seeing things and want to stay ahead of the threat that we've seen over the past nine months or so."

The targeted nations are not the same as those listed in the latest iteration of President Trump's travel ban, though six of those eight countries are also majority-Muslim. They are, however, on the list of nations where passengers departing for nonstop flights to the United States were banned from bringing laptops and similar electronic devices into the cabin last year. Bonnie Kristian

11:02 a.m. ET

It has been just over a week since President Trump dismissively referred to certain African nations as "shithole countries," and he is already on track to offend an additional 1.3 billion people in India, The Washington Post reports:

If the reports are true, it is not the first time Trump has used a fake Indian accent. During an April 2016 rally, Trump told a story about asking a call center employee "where are you from?" and then assumed a fake accent to impersonate the employee, replying: "We are from India."

Although Trump decries political correctness, his imitations of other people are often criticized as being mean-spirited, such as when he mocked a disabled journalist at a campaign rally. Watch Trump attempt to speak actual Hindi below. Jeva Lange

10:46 a.m. ET

After President Trump declared himself "like, really smart" and "a very stable genius," the enterprising pollsters at ABC News and The Washington Post took it upon themselves to ask voters if they agree. The results are unlikely to please the president: Three in four respondents said they do not consider Trump a genius, and about half do not believe him to be mentally stable.


(ABC News)

Only Republicans specifically are confident in Trump's stability — just 14 percent say he is not mentally stable — but they are less convinced of his genius, as only 50 percent of GOP voters agree with that claim.

The same survey found white women, whose votes were key in securing Trump's victory in 2016, now favor Democrats by a large margin when presented with a generic ballot. Read The Week's breakdown of that part of the poll, including what it means for Democrats' chance to retake Congress this year, here. Bonnie Kristian

10:21 a.m. ET
Screenshot/CBS News

"Everyone admits and acknowledges the president did not want this shutdown, actively worked to prevent this shutdown," said Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in a Monday appearance on CBS This Morning.

His assessment of Senate Democrats was rather less positive. Mulvaney argued immigration policy should be settled separately from spending, and that Democrats' insistence on addressing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program before backing a funding bill puts them in the strange position of opposing a bill whose provisions they support.

"This is something the likes of which Washington has never seen before. This is a bill that Democrats support. Yet they are still not voting for it. They oppose the bill but they don't really oppose the parts of it," Mulvaney said. "Maybe it speaks to how bad the dysfunction is within the Senate Democrats." Watch his comments in context here. Bonnie Kristian

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