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February 20, 2016
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It's no secret that Donald Trump, despite growing evidence to the contrary, believes torture is an effective tool. At a South Carolina rally Friday evening, the Republican presidential hopeful told an old story about U.S. Gen. John J. Pershing in the Philippine-American War:

They were having terrorism problems, just like we do. And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs' blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs' blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn't a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn't a problem. [The Washington Post]

Variations of that story, which hinge on an implication that the terrorists are Muslims who believe pigs are impure, have been circulating for ages. Snopes has found little evidence to support Pershing's involvement in such an act, suggesting it never occurred, was simply a threat, or another person was responsible for the attack. Julie Kliegman

2:52 p.m. ET

Intense, sometimes violent protests erupted in Washington, D.C., on Friday, the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration. Protesters lined the streets before, during, and after the ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, sometimes clashing with police officers, who at times used tear gas and non-explosive pressure grenades to disperse the crowds:

Protesters were also seen destroying property and smashing windows of local businesses:

Particularly fervent demonstrations broke out outside the offices of The Washington Post, where protesters lit trash and newspaper boxes on fire and clashed with police:

A heavy police presence remains on the city streets, where President Trump is scheduled to make his way alongside Vice President Mike Pence from the Capitol to the White House later Friday. Kimberly Alters

2:46 p.m. ET

While President Donald Trump was being sworn in as leader of the free world on Friday morning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was gazing at artwork at the opening of the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, Germany. Merkel, it seems, opted for the soothing colors of Claude Monet's paintings over Trump's inaugural address, which discussed "American carnage" and "radical Islamic terrorism."

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said her government would "study with interest" Trump's speech. Becca Stanek

2:24 p.m. ET
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Whoever wrote President Trump's official bio for the White House website certainly didn't shy away from piling on the accolades. The first sentence introduces the 45th president as "the very definition of the American success story." "Throughout his life he has continually set the standards of business and entrepreneurial excellence, especially with his interests in real estate, sports, and entertainment," the page at WhiteHouse.gov reads. "Likewise, his entry into politics and public service resulted in the presidential victory in, miraculously, his first-ever run for office."

After a brief paragraph on his business background and success as an "accomplished author," his bio goes on to detail the ins and outs of his presidential campaign. It's noted that Trump won the presidential election "in the largest Electoral College landslide for a Republican in 30 years," and the bio also claims he won the "highest all-time" number of popular votes for a Republican nominee. "It is clear that President Trump's win is one that brought Americans of all backgrounds together," the bio reads, "and he is ready to deliver results for the nation on day one and every day of his tenure."

To learn more flattering facts about America's new president, head over to WhiteHouse.gov. Becca Stanek

2:23 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump took over the nation's highest office from Barack Obama only two hours ago, but his administration is already working to undo some of his predecessor's actions. The first agenda item to grace Trump's new White House website Friday was an outline of his climate agenda, which promises to eliminate "harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan":

Established by Obama in 2013, the Climate Action Plan "proposed cuts to U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, in part by preserving forests and encouraging increased use of cleaner renewable fuels," Reuters reports. Trump's agenda also promises to eliminate the Waters of the U.S. rule, announced by the Obama administration in 2015, which protects American bodies of water.

Also Friday, the Trump administration canceled a program by the Department of Housing and Urban Development designed to make home-buying more accessible to first-time buyers and low-income borrowers. HUD announced in a statement that it would cancel a planned cut to the Federal Housing Administration's annual fee for most borrowers by 0.25 percentage points, Bloomberg reports; the reduction was set to take effect Jan. 27 after being ordered by Obama last week. Canceling the mortgage-fee reduction will make loans more expensive and difficult to obtain for some buyers, though Republicans have argued in the past that such fee cuts "put taxpayers at risk by lowering the funds the FHA has to deal with mortgage defaults," Bloomberg notes. Kimberly Alters

2:11 p.m. ET

Donald Trump may be the first president to have been married three times or appeared on WrestleMania, but he also has some other claims to history, not the least of which is being the first president to use "sad" in an inaugural address:

President Trump has long been a fan of the word "sad," having used it in 210 of his tweets and retweets (typically accompanied by an exclamation point). Trump notably used a lot of unusually violent words for the first time in his speech, too, including "bleed," "carnage," "depletion," "ripped," "tombstones," and "unstoppable." Jeva Lange

1:57 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump apparently took a moment to thank Hillary Clinton for coming to his inauguration Friday, just before the inaugural luncheon:

Trump had seemingly ignored Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, just before he took the oath of office. "Has there even been acknowledgment by Trump toward the Clintons?" The New York Times' Carl Hulse wondered after the inauguration speech.

Watch the greeting, and test your lip-reading skills, below. Jeva Lange

1:55 p.m. ET

Before jetting off to Palm Springs, California, former President Barack Obama said a quick goodbye to his staff and supporters at Joint Base Andrews. "Michelle and I have really been milking this goodbye thing," Obama joked, before offering some parting thoughts on the progress he saw during his presidency and what the future may hold.

"Our democracy is not the buildings, it's not the monuments. It's you, being willing to work," Obama said, recalling how his supporters "came together, from small towns and big cities" and "decided to believe." He urged his supporters to keep doing this, and promised he'd be right there with them. "This is just a little pit stop," Obama said, just an hour after President Donald Trump was sworn into office. "This is not a period, this is a comma in the continuing story of building America."

Catch a snippet of Obama's final goodbye below. Becca Stanek

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