The U.S. economy's growth stalled in the fourth quarter of 2015, inching ahead at a significantly slower rate of just 0.7 percent from September to December, the Commerce Department said Friday. The newly released data shows a slight divergence from the 0.8 annualized rate economists were expecting and a step back from the third quarter's 2 percent pace.
The news of the lackluster fourth quarter comes as global markets remain tumultuous, with China's stocks continuing to flounder and the price of oil remaining low. The fourth quarter's growth rate will likely further lower expectations for the coming quarters.
After Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday in an interview with NPR that Bernie Sanders was "going to endorse" Hillary Clinton, it seemed like — at long last — the time had finally come. But not so fast, Sanders said in an interview later Thursday on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes. While Sanders acknowledged that he had indeed talked to Biden about "three weeks ago," he said that he is still "trying to work with Secretary Clinton's campaign on areas that we can agree on" before making the big endorsement.
"We are working with the Clinton campaign, trying to be able to come forward and say to my supporters out there, 'You know what? Here's the progress that we have made,'" Sanders said. "I hope that we can reach that goal. We are not there at this moment."
Watch Sanders' comments about the long road towards endorsing Clinton below. Becca Stanek
Donald Trump has drawn frequent criticism over apparently being far less generous than he claims to be, but perhaps this story takes the cake: He once used charity money to buy himself a signed Tim Tebow helmet and jersey.
This all went down during a live auction at a charity fundraiser in Palm Beach four years ago. Trump got into a bidding war over the Tim Tebow helmet, eventually agreeing to pay $12,000 for it, according to The Washington Post.
But Trump didn't actually pay with his own money.
Instead, the Susan G. Komen organization — the breast-cancer nonprofit that hosted the party — got a $12,000 payment from another nonprofit, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
Trump himself sent no money (In fact, a Komen spokesperson said, Trump has never given a personal gift of cash to the Komen organization). He paid the bill with money from a charity he founded in 1987, but which is largely stocked with other people's money. Trump is the foundation's president. But, at the time of the auction, Trump had given none of his own money to the foundation for three years running. [The Washington Post]
Experts say that depending on what came of the helmet, Trump could have even violated the IRS's rules. But perhaps the most depressing part of this whole story is what that same helmet and jersey are valued at now — read it all over at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange
Donald Trump said he's deflecting pleas to make the upcoming Republican National Convention all about him. "What they've asked me to do is speak all three nights. I turned it down," Trump told The New York Times. Though "everybody wants that," he said he wants to make sure no one gets the wrong idea. "I don't want people to think I'm grandstanding — which I'm not," Trump said. "But it would get high ratings."
Instead, he's planning to get celebrities to fetch those "high ratings" for him. Though Trump is still trying to nail down exactly who will be speaking, he is "thinking about asking Serena Williams, Don King, and Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship," The New York Times reports. His wife, Melania, is also "writing some things up right now," Trump said.
With many details still up in the air, there is one thing Trump is certain about: His convention won't be "boring."
Attorney General Loretta Lynch will announce on Friday that she will not override a decision made by prosecutors and the FBI director about whether or not to bring charges over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, sources told The New York Times. Prior to the announcement, Lynch, a political appointee, could have overruled the investigators' decision.
Investigators so far have determined that Clinton indeed used the server to send classified information; the Justice Department must now decide "whether the conduct met the legal standard for the crime of mishandling classified information," The New York Times reports.
Lynch and the Justice Department had reportedly considered relinquishing Lynch's ability to override, but were backed into the decision after she drew heavy criticism following a private meeting with Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton. "In light of the apparent conflicts of interest, I have called repeatedly on Attorney General Lynch to appoint a special counsel to ensure the investigation is as far from politics as possible," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) demanded on Thursday.
While Clinton has yet to be interviewed, the FBI is expected to make its recommendation in the coming weeks. Jeva Lange
The three suicide bombers who detonated in Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Tuesday, killing 44, had aimed to take dozens hostage, according to Turkey's Sabah paper.
"The coats they were wearing to disguise their suicide vests, despite the hot weather, drew the attention of citizens and a police officer," Sabah wrote. As a result of attracting unwanted attention, the bombers abandoned their plan to take hostages and began the devastating attack.
A one-armed militant, Akhmet Chatayev, has been named as the mastermind behind the attacks; several Turkish papers identified him as being the leader of the Islamic State's cell in Istanbul. The three airport bombers were identified as a Russian, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz national, although it is unclear if Chatayev was involved in the bombing or is currently on the run. Jeva Lange
On Friday, Austria's Constitutional Court annulled the results of May's presidential runoff election, in which independent Green Party–backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated far-right nationalist Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer by less than 1 percentage point. The ruling, which cited allegedly improper handling of the mail-in ballots that tipped the election to Van der Bellen, ordered a new election, giving Hofer another shot to become the European Union's first far-right head of state. Hofer and his Freedom Party campaigned against immigration and economic hardship of the working classes.
Until the next election, probably in September or October, BBC News reports, President Heinz Fischer will be replaced by a triumvirate made up of Hofer and two other parliamentary officials. Peter Weber
"Every day I check the news, but every day our two presidential candidates are still Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. Not everyone is excited about those choices, Colbert said, highlighting a poll from Public Policy Polling that found Clinton leading with 43 percent, Trump coming in second with 38 percent, and polling at 13 percent, "Giant Meteor hitting the earth." Colbert did the math: "38 percent for Trump, 13 percent for meteor — that adds up to 51 percent of the people okay with the world coming to an end. Yes, two giant destructive orange balls." You can watch his shrugging acceptance of global annihilation, and his bullish response to Chris Christie's possible selection as Trump's running mate, below. Peter Weber