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February 29, 2016
MICHAEL B. THOMAS/AFP/Getty Images

Presidential candidates are traditionally given the opportunity to make their case before The New York Times' editorial board while seeking the paper's coveted endorsement. Donald Trump stopped in to speak to the paper on Jan. 5 and in the days since, his recording has taken on a "near-mythical" status with the staff, BuzzFeed reports. Not for what was said on record, though — but for a rumored bombshell in the off-the-record part of the talk.

Speculation grew on Saturday when columnist Gail Collins wrote, "The most optimistic analysis of Trump as a presidential candidate is that he just doesn't believe in positions, except the ones you adopt for strategic purposes when you're making a deal. So you obviously can't explain how you're going to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, because it's going to be the first bid in some future monster negotiation session." As Collins was privy to the private and unreleased conversation, BuzzFeed questions if her words are truly speculative:

So what exactly did Trump say about immigration, about deportations, about the wall? Did he abandon a core promise of his campaign in a private conversation with liberal power brokers in New York?

I wasn't able to obtain the recording, or the transcript, and don't know exactly what Trump said. Neither [editor-in-chief Dean] Baquet, Collins, nor various editorial board members I reached would comment on an off-the-record conversation, which the Times essentially said they cannot release without approval from Trump, given the nature of the the off-the-record agreement. [BuzzFeed]

And as Trump has a hard enough time releasing his tax returns, it might mean the off-the-record recording will forever remain a Holy Grail of journalistic intrigue. Jeva Lange

2:07 p.m. ET

When news broke that French President Emmanuel Macron was coming to visit President Trump at the White House, there was really only one question on everybody's minds:

Macron and Trump have a history of weirdly aggressive handshakes. Sure enough, this trip hasn't disappointed:

Enjoy a visual history of Trump's most awkward handshakes here. Jeva Lange

1:41 p.m. ET
PURPLE MARBLES/Alamy Stock Photo

If the idea of Amazon opening your front door to deliver a package is a little uncomfortable, just let them pop your car trunk instead.

The company is launching a new version of its Amazon Key, which gives Amazon delivery drivers a special internet-connected key to open customers' front doors, Reuters reported Tuesday. Now, with an app on compatible cars, deliverers can unlock trunks and leave packages there.

Customers in 37 U.S. cities will soon get to try the new Key, per Reuters. It can hook up to GM's OnStar and other car services, and it's free for Prime customers — unlike the $220 version for in-home deliveries.

Porch thieves, your days are numbered. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:17 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not recuse himself from the ongoing investigation into President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, Bloomberg reports. Last year, Sessions announced he would recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and while the Cohen probe was sparked by a tip from Mueller's team, it is being carried out by the Southern District of New York.

Sessions will consider recusal specifically on a "matter-by-matter basis as may be needed," the Justice Department said. "To the extent a matter comes to the attention of his office that may warrant consideration of recusal, the attorney general would review the issue and consult with the appropriate Department ethics experts." Otherwise, Sessions is "entitled to briefings on the status of the investigation," Bloomberg writes, which "could put [him] in the position of being asked by Trump … to divulge information about the Cohen investigation."

FBI agents raided Cohen's office earlier this month, reportedly looking for evidence of possible bank and wire fraud and campaign finance violations, as well as documents related to the $130,000 payment Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 presidential election. Trump called the raid a "whole new level of unfairness." Jeva Lange

1:03 p.m. ET

A few months ago, Kim Jong Un was "little rocket man" and a "sick puppy" to President Trump.

Now, he's "very honorable."

Trump discussed his impending meeting with the leader of North Korea amid Tuesday's White House visit with French President Emmanuel Macron. There's no set date for the summit yet, but Trump said he and Kim agreed to meet "as soon as possible."

Kim has been "very open" and the two men have had "very good discussions" prior to the meeting, Trump effused, though he did clarify that he's still not sure if the meeting will be "wonderful" and is prepared to walk out if it's not. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:33 p.m. ET
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

The next census is getting another update.

Aside from the addition of a controversial citizenship question, the 2020 census will also count same-sex couples for the first time in U.S. history, the Census Bureau recently announced.

Previously, the census gathered data about coupled households with two options: "husband or wife" or "unmarried partner." Now, people will able to check "opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse," "same-sex husband/wife/spouse," "opposite-sex unmarried partner," or "same-sex unmarried partner."

The Census Bureau told NBC News that the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage on a federal level made the change necessary. The number of same-sex couples has previously been estimated by cross-checking spouses' answers to the form's gender question.

Census data, collected once a decade, helps determine how to allocate federal funding to state and local governments, as well as assists in assigning the number of seats in the House of Representatives for each state. Many advocacy groups have pushed for the census to include a question about same-sex couples, NBC News reports. Summer Meza

11:12 a.m. ET

Friends don't let friends get up in front of the world with a bit of dandruff on their shoulder, but friends also do not announce the dandruff situation to the multinational press, either. President Trump apparently only got the first part of the memo Tuesday when he praised his "very special relationship" with French President Emmanuel Macron before declaring, "I'll get that little piece of dandruff off [you]." The president of the United States then proceeded to brush the president of France's shoulder to remedy the problem.

As if to explain himself, Trump then said, "We have to make him perfect, he is perfect," while Macron laughed like an extremely good sport. Still — next time, a pointed look or a wordless brush disguised as a pat on the shoulder will do! Watch the awkward moment below. Jeva Lange

10:58 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former FBI Director James Comey's book is hot off the presses and hot on the bestseller list.

Comey's memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, has sold more than 600,000 copies in just its first week, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

It has already outsold many other polarizing, political books — including Hillary Clinton's post-election memoir, What Happened, and Michael Wolff's tell-all about President Trump's first months in office, Fire and Fury. Clinton's book sold around 300,000 copies in all formats in its first week, while Wolff's sold about 200,000 hardcover copies in its first week, the Times reports.

Comey's book recounts his experience as FBI director during the 2016 presidential election and under the Trump administration, detailing his decision to publicly announce an investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server and recalling conversations with Trump that eventually led to Comey's firing last year. The former FBI official has been on a major media blitz in recent weeks, drawing Twitter ire from the president and garnering countless headlines about the contents of the book.

The Times reports that Comey's publisher has had to order multiple reprints of his book to keep up with the booming sales, and has more than a million copies in print. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

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