"Our main story tonight — and I can't even believe I'm saying this — is Donald Trump," said John Oliver on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. Oliver said he has avoided covering Trump as much as possible, but with his string of victories and likely nomination, "at this point, Donald Trump is America's back mole — it may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now that it has gotten frighteningly bigger, it is no longer wise to ignore it." Still, Oliver noted, Trump is genuinely funny and entertaining. "There is a part of me that even likes this guy," he said. "It's a part I hate, but it is a part of me."
But Trump's appeal doesn't last if you dig a little deeper. For the next 15 minutes, Oliver looked at Trump's favorable attributes, as named by supporters, and shredded each one. Truth-teller? Independent and self-financing? Tough? Oliver even took on Trump's biggest selling point, and biggest potential liability — his business success and wealth. "Trump's lack of sound financial instincts is perhaps best exemplified by the business he put his name on back in 2006, just before the entire housing market collapsed," Oliver said of the short-lived Trump Mortgage. "In fact, starting a mortgage company in 2006 was one of the worst decisions you could possibly make."
But Trump seems magic, even charmed. "Even when you can demonstrably prove Trump to be wrong, it somehow never seems to matter," Oliver said "You can hold his feet to the fire, but he'll just stand there on the stumps, bragging about his fireproof foot skin." It has to do with Trump's years of brand-building, using himself as his mascot. To separate the man from the success-dripping legend, Oliver traced Trump's family name back to Drumpf. And he ran with it, big time.
"So if you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to make America great again, stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you just met a guy named Donald Drumpf, a litigious serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can't decide whether or not to condemn," Oliver said. "Would you think he would make a great president, or is the spell somewhat broken?" He wasn't done. You can now click on the hashtag #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain, or download a Chrome extension and buy a hat at DonaldJDrumpf.com. Oliver even ended with a new Donald Drumpf campaign anthem — and a nod to Trump's coming lawsuit. Watch below. Peter Weber
Fox News on Wednesday released its latest poll, showing Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by three points, within the margin of error of the poll of likely voters.
Clinton leads Trump 44 to 41 percent, down from last week when she was up six points. In a four-way race between Clinton, Trump, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and the Green Party's Jill Stein, Trump's biggest supporters are white evangelical Christians (+56) and whites without a college degree (+28), while Clinton's are blacks (+77), unmarried women (+27), voters under 30 (+18) and women (+10). Clinton is seen as being better to handle foreign policy (+15 points), immigration (+3), and terrorism (+3), with the economy viewed as Trump's strength (+4). Less than half of likely voters see Trump as being qualified to be president (46 percent) and more than half don't trust his judgment in a crisis (56 percent). Catherine Garcia
Two earthquakes shook central Italy on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey has confirmed. The first quake measured at a 5.4 magnitude and was followed up just a few hours later with a stronger, 6.0-magnitude earthquake. Though the quakes' epicenters were near the cities of Visso and Perugia, buildings and windows in Rome — nearly 100 miles to the south — were reportedly rattled by the shaking.
The central Italian regions hit by the quake are reportedly suffering from power outages and structural damage, but there are not yet any known injuries or casualties. The tremors hit the same area of Italy that was shaken in August by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, which ravaged towns and killed nearly 300 people. Becca Stanek
Former Republican congressman promises to lead an armed revolution — with muskets — should Donald Trump lose
Muskets went out of fashion in the mid-19th century, when the smoothbore weapons gave way to the muzzle-loading rifle. But former Rep. Joe Walsh, who represented Illinois' 8th district as a Republican congressman from 2011 to 2013, plans to arm himself with the erstwhile firearm for the inevitable insurrection, should Donald Trump lose to Hillary Clinton in November:
On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump.
On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 26, 2016
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo started his interview with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday's episode of New Day by him telling he "looked like Grumpy Cat" at the Alfred E. Smith charity dinner last week — and things just got more tense from there. Giuliani, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, promptly responded to Cuomo's observations that he looked upset about the jokes Hillary Clinton was making about him at the Al Smith dinner by saying that, as a former prosecutor, he was just unhappy because the "crimes she committed are so many."
But for each claim Giuliani made about the crimes Clinton had allegedly committed, Cuomo came back with a fact that disputed it. "You certainly can have your own opinion, but you seems like you are feeding the Trump argument that [the FBI investigation into Clinton's private email server] was fixed, that it was rigged," Cuomo said.
When Giuliani was eventually cornered into admitting he has "no facts to prove" Trump's claims that the investigation of Clinton's email usage was rigged, he accused Team Clinton of bribery instead — at which point Cuomo couldn't hide his disbelief. "I mean, Rudy! I have looked up to you my entire life because you're so accurate," Cuomo said. "And all of a sudden you're in Trumpland, and the facts are all over the place."
Eventually, Cuomo tells Giuliani, "You're not even close to connecting anything right now." Watch the entirety of the contentious interview in the two videos, below. Becca Stanek
The Chicago Cubs lost in a brutal 6-0 game against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series. But if you're a glass-half-full kind of person, you might point out that a Cubs-in-five World Series is now a little bit closer to actually happening. If it were indeed to happen — be it in five or six or seven games — then the Cubs would have their first World Series win since a goat allegedly cursed them in 1945.
Incidentally, another "goat" has used a Cubs World Series win as an example of the impossible since he wrote the song "Cubs in Five" in 1995. Enter Mountain Goat's singer (and novelist) John Darnielle, who explained how he came to write the song, and what it means to him now, over at Slate:
[1995 is] a good time for baseball — there's a whole lot of characters and great stories, and the arrival of the superstations to the Southern California cable market means I can watch all the Cubs games I want. They're not good yet, but they have character. I'm at my mom's house watching a game while she's at work. Specifically, I'm on the couch strumming my cheap Korean nylon-strung 3/4–size guitar, and at some point, I reflect idly on an on-again, off-again relationship I've been having for the last several years that's given me a great deal of pleasure and at least as much pain. […]
"Why don't you love me like you used to do?" ran a song on the outgoing answering machine of the person to whom the song was anonymously directed, at whom I was very angry on that day (for reasons lost to history), but with whom I could never stay angry for long, because that's how it is when you're a fan: You keep cheering, even when the circumstances might tell a less devoted partisan to seek out fairer pastures. You play nine innings. You keep hoping. [Slate]
Coming off a crushing 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs are hoping to make up their deficit at Progressive Field in Ohio in Game 2 of the best-of-seven championship.
The Indians have flip-flopped their odds of winning the trophy, now up 55 percent to the Cubs' 45 percent. according to FiveThirtyEight, and will put Trevor Bauer back on the mound in the hopes of keeping their advantage. It will be Bauer's first appearance since a one-inning start against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, which ended bloodily when stitches on his pinkie finger came loose.
The Cubs will be starting 2015 National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, who is looking to pull out of a slump by capitalizing on his cutter/slider hybrid. First pitch is at 7 p.m. ET — moved up from 8 p.m. due to incoming rain — on Fox, or you can stream the action on Fox Sport Go and MLB.tv. Jeva Lange
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that he has ordered the Pentagon to "suspend all efforts" to recollect bonus payments given to California National Guard members. Recently, thousands of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were informed they would have to repay their reenlistment bonuses — some of which totaled $15,000 — because the money had been given to them in error.
Though the recollection of the money — which was requested after audits revealed recruiters "improperly offered bonuses" — is legal, the process of getting back the cash payments has proved messy and sparked widespread criticism, The Associated Press reported. "While some soldiers knew or should have known they were ineligible for benefits they were claiming, many others did not," Carter said in a statement.
Carter noted there is already a process in place that can help service members "seek relief" from repaying their bonuses, but the process "has simply moved too slowly and in some cases imposed unreasonable burdens on service members." Carter has proposed a new, "streamlined" system be put in place by Jan. 1, 2017, so that soldiers will bear "as little burden as possible" while ensuring the Defense Department's "obligation to the taxpayer" will be respected. He also insisted the suspension on recollection will remain in place until he is "satisfied that our process is working effectively."
The announcement came a day after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urged the Pentagon to stop taking back the bonuses. Ryan argued that when the service members enlisted, "they earned more from us than bureaucratic bungling and false promises." Becca Stanek