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February 16, 2016

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson suggested in a Tuesday interview with Breitbart News Daily that American Muslims who abide by Sharia law cannot also value American democracy.

"Only if they're schizophrenic," the retired neurosurgeon said, laughing. "I don't see how they can do it otherwise, because you have two different philosophies."

If he insists on stigmatizing mental illness while bashing an entire religious group, Carson may want a refresher on what schizophrenia means, as opposed to multiple personality disorder.

Carson has previously said Muslim people should not be president. Listen to his interview below. Julie Kliegman

8:12 p.m. ET
Vittorio Zumino Celotto/Getty Images/

In addition to white people, Richard Spencer also loves the band Depeche Mode. Unfortunately for Spencer, the feelings are not mutual.

Spencer, the white nationalist and alt-right poster boy who became infamous during the presidential campaign as a supporter of Donald Trump, told a reporter at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday that Depeche Mode "is the official band of the alt-right." Later, Spencer told Rolling Stone he is a "lifelong Depeche Mode fan," and his "tongue was firmly in cheek" when he made his earlier statement. "They aren't a typical rock band, in terms of lyrics and much else," he said. "Depeche Mode is a band of existential angst, pain, sadism, horror, darkness, and much more." The group doesn't do "bubblegum pop," Spencer continued, and he claimed their album Music for the Masses has a "bit of a fascist element."

Considering one of Depeche Mode's most notable songs, "People Are People," includes the lyrics, "I can't understand/What makes a man/Hate another man/Help me understand," it was no surprise a representative for the band quickly told Rolling Stone Depeche Mode "has no ties to Richard Spencer or the alt-right and does not support the alt-right movement." Catherine Garcia

6:59 p.m. ET
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After several media outlets reported on Donald Trump's advisers being in constant contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign, the White House requested the FBI publicly denounce the stories, several U.S. officials told CNN Thursday.

The White House wanted the FBI and other agencies investigating the matter to say the Feb. 14 reports from The New York Times and CNN were false and the two sides never communicated, the officials said, but FBI Director James Comey rejected the request, made by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, because of the ongoing investigation of ties between Trump associates and Russians known to U.S. intelligence. The White House is not supposed to directly communicate with the FBI, and such a request violates procedures that limit contact with the FBI over pending investigations. Catherine Garcia

4:49 p.m. ET

Beyoncé will forgo her planned performance at the 2017 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, event organizers announced Thursday. The pop star, who announced last month she is expecting twins with husband Jay Z, cited doctors' advice to "keep a less rigorous schedule in coming months" as the basis for the decision.

In lieu of leading the Coachella 2017 lineup, Beyoncé will headline the 2018 festival. Her replacement for this year has yet to be announced.

Beyoncé has not revealed her due date, but as she was already showing at her performance at the Grammys on Feb. 12, many predicted she might drop out of Coachella. She was slated to headline on both April 15 and April 22 of the two-weekend-long affair in Indio, California.

If you need to see it to believe it, read Coachella's announcement in full below. Becca Stanek

4:46 p.m. ET
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During this week's congressional recess, some lawmakers returned to their home districts to meet with constituents for the first time since President Trump took office last month. Many Republicans found themselves facing angry crowds during subsequent town halls, including Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa), Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), while House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), and others have been criticized for failing to make themselves available to their constituencies at all.

All the hubbub has some GOP representatives declining full-stop to hold town halls. In attempting to defend those evasive lawmakers, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Tuesday cited the case of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head at a constituent meeting in January 2011. After Giffords was shot — she survived the incident and returned to the House floor just seven months later, but resigned from Congress in 2012 — Gohmert says the House Sergeant at Arms "advised us ... that civilian attendees at congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed," arguing the meetings are a threat to public safety. Gohmert also cited the dangers of possible paid protesters from the "more violent strains of the leftist ideology ... who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc."

One person who's not buying Gohmert's reasoning? Giffords, who on Thursday responded to his comments with a statement declaring town halls are "what the people deserve in a representative." She noted she "was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning, my offices were open to the public." "To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this," she wrote. "Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls." Kimberly Alters

2:34 p.m. ET

Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon continued their campaign to prove that they definitely don't hate each other and absolutely are best friends during a strange little interview at CPAC on Thursday that ABC News' Ali Rogin dubbed a "buddy comedy."

At one point, the pair were asked to name something that they like about the other. Preibus, apparently joking, offered up Bannon's "collars." "I love how many collars he wears," Preibus said. "It's an interesting look."

For his part, Bannon said: "I can run a little hot on occasions … the only way this works is Reince is always steady … but his job is by far one of the toughest I've ever seen in my life. To make it run every day, to make the trains — and you only see the surface."

Put the odd reference to Benito Mussolini aside and it's actually pretty sweet. Watch the rest below. Jeva Lange

1:53 p.m. ET
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The race to become the Democratic National Committee chairman narrowed on Thursday when South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Harrison dropped out, endorsing frontrunner Tom Perez in the process. Perez served as labor secretary under former President Barack Obama and holds about 205 of the 447 total DNC member votes. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the party's more progressive wing, trails Perez with around 153 votes.

"With so much at stake, our next chair will lead the fight of a generation," Harrison said in an email to NBC. "I'm standing by Tom Perez's side, and I hope you will join me in doing the same."

If Perez picks up at least 20 of Harrison's 27 votes, he will likely have a majority heading into the first round of voting Saturday. The winner needs only to win a simple majority of 224 votes or more; if no candidate achieves a majority Saturday, DNC members will cast votes in progressive rounds, eliminating the lowest vote-receiving candidates until a candidate emerges with the majority.

On Wednesday night, all of the DNC candidates went head-to-head in a CNN debate. You can watch a 90 second recap of what unfolded here. Jeva Lange

12:10 p.m. ET

Ted Cruz used some colorful — or rather, vespertilionine — language to describe the Democratic base during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

"From the left, their base … There's a technical term for their base, " Cruz began.

"Moscow," his interviewer answered.

Cruz nodded, but added: "I was going a different direction, which was 'bat-crap crazy.'" Watch the exchange below. Jeva Lange

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