March 4, 2016

During Thursday's Republican presidential debate on Fox News, Donald Trump assured Americans — and anyone else watching — that he doesn't have a small penis. He was reacting to a crude joke rival Marco Rubio told earlier in the week about how Trump has small hands for a man his size and "you know what they say about a man with small hands." At the debate, Trump tried to laugh it off, saying, "He hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands — I've never heard of this. But look at those hands — are they small hands?" He went on to say of the other body part, "I guarantee you there's no problem."

There was mixed reaction to his quip — at Fox News, analyst Bernard Golberg was horrified, Bill O'Reilly wasn't — but this isn't the first time Trump has protested that, as he told the New York Post in 2011, "my fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well-documented, are various other parts of my body." And despite his assertion at the debate, this is also demonstrably not the first time somebody has "hit" Trump's hands, and those appendages have proven to be a very sensitive topic for him.

In 1988, when Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter was at Spy Magazine, he began referring to Trump in print as a "short-fingered vulgarian" — and, Carter wrote last November, he still gets "the occasional envelope from Trump" with a photo of him where "he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers." A few weeks ago, Vanity Fair followed up with a taunting photographic analysis of Trump's fingers. After Thursday's debate, Trump couldn't let go of the "hands" moment. "I have good-sized hands, and they say, very beautiful," he told a reporter from Extra, after making him compare hand size:

So, we're going to have to rate Trump's claim that he's "never heard of this" hands jibe "pants on fire," and even if it were true, his repeated mentions of his hands Thursday night guarantees that he will be "hit" with this question again. Peter Weber

2:00 a.m. ET
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IKEA is recalling 27 million dressers and chests from its Malm series of products after three children were killed by pieces that tipped over onto them.

Because they "could be a danger," the products are no longer being sold at IKEA stores, IKEA USA President Lars Peterson told NBC News. He also urged people who already own pieces to "please take them out of the room." Last year, the company started a campaign to bring awareness to anchoring furniture, and says it sent out 300,000 anchor kits to customers. Anyone who has purchased a Malm piece is eligible for a free kit, and refunds will also be offered.

The statistics are scary: The Consumer Product Safety Commission says every 24 minutes, a child goes to the emergency room after being hit by a falling piece of furniture or TV, and every two weeks, a child dies. A Malm dresser killed 2-year-old Cullen Collas; his mother, Jackie Collas, found him in his room pinned between the dresser and his bed. The dresser was not anchored to the wall, and Collas told NBC News she "had never heard of that before." Her goal now is to "just spread the word about anchoring anything that could fall." Catherine Garcia

1:22 a.m. ET
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Researchers at Stanford University uncovered some good news deep underneath California: groundwater in aquifers 1,000 to 3,000 feet underground.

With this discovery, the team found that the state has three times more groundwater than earlier estimated, the Los Angeles Times reports. "It's not often that you find a 'water windfall,' but we just did," study co-author Robert Jackson told Stanford News Service.

Because the water source is so much deeper than traditional aquifers, it would likely cost a lot of money to get to it and require special engineering. The researchers also said that the quality of the water is questionable, and desalination might be necessary. The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Catherine Garcia

1:01 a.m. ET
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On Monday, Turkey restored full diplomatic relations with Israel, a former ally estranged for six years, and apologized to Russia for shooting down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November. There are financial reasons for both acts of rapprochement: Restoring ties with Israel cleared the way for natural gas deals that will move gas from Israel to Turkey, and from Turkey to Europe; and Russian President Vladimir Putin had demanded the apology before he would consider lifting sanctions on the import of Turkish goods and exports of Russian tourists to Turkey.

Last Nov. 24, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 in the mountainous Turkish-Syria border area; the pilot was killed, and a Russian marine was shot dead in a helicopter rescue attempt. On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent Putin a letter apologizing for the downing and informing "the family of the deceased Russian pilot that I share their pain and to offer my condolences to them," according to a statement from Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that "the letter states, in particular, that Russia is a friend to Turkey and a strategic partner, with which the Turkish authorities would not wish to spoil relations."

Turkish-Israeli ties were greatly strained after Israel launched a military raid in 2010 on Turkish aid ship the Mavi Marmara, en route to Gaza, killing 10 Turkish activists. Erdogan has since alienated Europe over his hardline on Syrian refugees and increasingly authoritarian policies, the U.S. over Turkey's attacks on Kurdish fighters aiding the U.S. to battle the Islamic State, and Iran by demanding the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"Turkey had been going through a deep sense of isolation for the past few years, having switched from its famous 'zero problems with neighbors' policy to a place where they had no neighbors without problems,” Asli Aydintasbas at the European Council on Foreign Relations tells The New York Times. "This was the loneliest point in the history of the republic — Qatar and Saudi Arabia looking like the government's only real friends." Erdogan is also dealing with a domestic insurgency and economic downturn, she added. "At the core of the decision to mend ties with Israel and Russia is an existential need for survival." Peter Weber

12:29 a.m. ET

Under Virginia state law, party delegates must vote for the candidate who received the most votes in the primary, and that's a problem for Republican Beau Correll, who would rather vote for literally anyone other than Donald Trump.

Correll filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, seeking the freedom to vote for someone besides Trump during next month's Republican National Convention. A Ted Cruz supporter, Correll told CBS News that Virginia's law violates his First Amendment rights. "The government should not compel members of a private association how to vote in that association," he said.

After Cruz dropped out of the race, Correll said he gave Trump a chance, but he's made too many blunders. "Donald Trump does not exhibit the judgment, the competency for the highest office in the land," he said, adding that both his poll and fundraising numbers are "anemic." A former general counsel to the Republican National Committee, David Norcross, doesn't see the lawsuit as changing anything. "There is no other person involved," he told CBS News. "And [there's] the old saying — 'You can't be somebody with nobody.'" Catherine Garcia

June 27, 2016

Key evidence in a Michigan murder trial could come courtesy of the victim's 19-year-old African grey parrot, Bud.

Prosecutor Robert Springstead said he is studying the bird's words to see if they can be admissible in court. "It's an interesting novelty and it's been a great opportunity for me to learn about African parrots," he told the Detroit Free Press. Bud's owner, Martin Duram, was shot and killed in May 2015, and ever since, the parrot has repeated the phrase, "Don't f—ing shoot," The Guardian reports. Duram's ex-wife, Christina Keller, now owns Bud, and she told WOOD TV he is "using Marty's voice. It imprinted in his brain, and he can't let it go." Duram's wife, Glenna, is on trial for the murder, and she survived a self-inflicted gunshot to the head sustained on the day he was killed.

In 1993, the public defender of a man accused of murdering his business associate in Santa Rosa, California, wanted the court to hear that her parrot, Max, was in the house at the time of her murder and had started to repeat the phrase, "No, Richard, no, no, no." The suspect's name was Gary Rasp, and the public defender, Charles Ogulnick, told The Guardian he made the argument that it "wasn't hearsay, it was a recording device." An expert said it's likely the bird would accurately repeat words heard during a stressful situation, but it didn't matter — the judge said no, and Rasp was convicted and is serving a life sentence. Catherine Garcia

June 27, 2016
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A federal judge ruled on Monday that clerks in Mississippi cannot cite their religious beliefs to recuse themselves from giving same-sex couples marriage licenses.

On Friday, the state is scheduled to enact House Bill 1523, a religious objections law filed in response to the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage, but under the ruling, part of it cannot be enforced. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves is extending his previous order that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, The Associated Press reports, and he said all 82 circuit clerks in Mississippi will receive formal notice that they are required to treat all couples equally.

Reeves said the state's elected officials can disagree with the legalization of gay marriage, but "the marriage license issue will not be adjudicated anew after every legislative session." Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R), no relation to the judge, released a statement saying he hopes the state's attorneys will appeal the decision to protect the "deeply held religious beliefs" of Mississippians. "If this opinion by the federal court denies even one Mississippian of their fundamental right to practice their religion, then all Mississippians are denied their 1st Amendment rights," he said. Catherine Garcia

June 27, 2016
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On Monday, House Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee released a 339-page report that they say "debunks many conspiracy theories" about the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

The Democrats, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), say they had to make their own report because the Republicans on the committee refused to incorporate their opinions in a joint report, ABC News reports; the Republicans are expected to release their own report as early as Tuesday. The report reveals 21 findings, including some that have been previously announced, like that the Defense Department couldn't have done anything differently to save lives and that "administration officials did not make intentionally misleading statements about the attacks but instead relied on information they were provided at the time under fast-moving circumstances."

The committee also found no evidence that Hillary Clinton denied any security requests from personnel in Benghazi, the report says. More than 40 pages of the report criticize the Republican management of the committee, saying Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and his GOP colleagues wasted time and resources and excluded Democrats from some interviews and witness meetings. Catherine Garcia

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