Breitbart reporter doubts assault of colleague by Trump campaign manager, gets indefinitely suspended
On Friday, Breitbart News said it stood by the account of reporter Michelle Fields, who said she was roughed up while trying to ask Donald Trump a question at his victory rally on Tuesday, with a Washington Post reporter identifying her assailant as Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (pictured). Fields has also filed a formal report with the police. On Thursday, Trump had said he believed Fields "made the story up," despite there being audio of the encounter, an eyewitness (and on-the-record) account, and bruises on Fields' arm.
But Trump and his campaign aren't the only skeptics — Breitbart reporter Patrick Howley tweeted (then deleted) his own doubts about Fields' assault, echoing the Trump line that if there isn't video, it didn't happen. On Thursday afternoon, Breitbart said Howley's "comments were inappropriate" and senior management "has decided to suspend him indefinitely effective immediately." Lewandowski, Breitbart News CEO Larry Solov said, "must accept responsibility for his actions and apologize."
Washington Post media critic Ben Wemple said the Trump campaign's refusal to acknowledge the incident is "hardly surprising," given that "for nine months or so, the Trump campaign has been bullying the media, trashing the media, and threatening to make it easier to sue the media." He added that Howley, while working for The Daily Caller, has "distinguished himself with some choice misogynistic commentary," much of which "isn’t even repeatable on the website of a family newspaper without editing." Breitbart has been generally supportive of Trump.
On Friday, Lewandowski did not address the allegations from Fields, but he did address the rowdiness (and sometimes outright violence) of Trump supporters. "I think Mr. Trump's people are very, very passionate and they're angry because of the way that this country has been taken advantage of from so many other countries," he said. "What we want is to have the opportunity to bring Mr. Trump's message to everyone in a respectful manner." Peter Weber
Roger Stone might be in big trouble. The former Trump adviser told the House Intelligence Committee last September that when he reached out to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential campaign, he "merely wanted confirmation" that Assange had information on Hillary Clinton, but emails published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday cast this claim into serious doubt.
The emails reveal that Stone contacted an acquaintance of Assange for "information he considered damaging" to the Democratic presidential candidate, The Wall Street Journal reports. On Sep. 8, 2016, Stone reportedly asked Randy Credico, a radio host who had interviewed Assange, to approach the WikiLeaks founder for specific emails from "State or HRC" that were dated "from August 10 to August 30 — particularly on August 20, 2011." Credico allegedly replied that "I can’t ask them favors every other day," adding that Stone should "relax." Credico maintains that he never contacted Assange or his staff, but told Stone that he had to get him to stop "bothering" him, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said he was not aware of the email exchange, but that “If there is such a document, then it would mean that [Stone's] testimony was either deliberately incomplete or deliberately false." Stone, for his part, stated that his testimony before the committee was "complete and accurate," and that he never actually got access to any of Clinton's emails.
Trump reportedly dictated his letter to Kim Jong Un and then immediately released it without warning our allies
There's a reason President Trump's letter to North Korea's Kim Jong Un sounded suspiciously like campaign-trail Trump — the president reportedly dictated it to White House aides.
Trump released a letter Thursday announcing that he would not travel to Singapore next month for a historic summit with Kim. While it was plenty cordial, noting Kim's "effort with respect to our recent negotiations," it also struck a few distinctly Trumpian notes, boasting of the U.S. nuclear stockpile ("so massive") and blaming Kim's behavior for the cancellation ("tremendous anger").
White House sources told The Wall Street Journal that Trump dictated the letter and then ordered staffers to release it immediately, without notifying global allies. That would explain why the South Korean government appeared so blindsided by the news, with President Moon Jae-In saying he was "very perplexed" by Trump's decision. Trump didn't tell South Korea or Japan ahead of time in an attempt to avoid the news from leaking, the Journal reports. Summer Meza
Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein will surrender to authorities and face charges of sexual abuse on Friday, NBC News reports.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are in the final stages of an investigation into allegations of sexual assault from actresses Paz de la Huerta and Lucia Evans. Weinstein has been accused of wide-ranging abuse by more than 50 women.
Weinstein has denied ever engaging in nonconsensual sex acts, but the New York Daily News reports that he will turn himself in to New York City police. The charges are expected to be brought in state court in Manhattan. A lawyer for Weinstein declined to comment. Summer Meza
Senate Majority Leader Mitch "Cocaine" McConnell (R-Ky.) "enjoyed" his re-election campaign's taunt of Senate candidate Don Blankenship after the former coal executive and ex-convict lost the West Virginia Republican primary to the state's attorney general earlier this month. Team Mitch's taunt had raised some eyebrows at the time for apparently relishing Blankenship's nickname for McConnell, "Cocaine Mitch," as well as for featuring McConnell in Pablo Escobar Narcos-inspired attire:
— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) May 9, 2018
President Trump announced on Thursday that he would posthumously pardon Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion.
Johnson was arrested in 1912 for driving his white girlfriend over state lines. Prosecutors said it violated the Mann Act, which prohibited crossing state borders with a woman for "immoral purposes." Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to a year in prison. He then fled the country for several years before eventually coming back to serve his time. The case is now often seen as emblematic of racism entrenched in the U.S. justice system.
Johnson died in 1946. His pardoning marks the third-ever posthumous pardon in U.S. history, reports USA Today. The Obama administration opted not to pardon Johnson in part because of allegations of domestic violence against women, The New York Times reports.
Other boxing champions were invited to the pardoning ceremony, the Times reports. Sylvester Stallone was also at the White House on Thursday — his conversation with Trump in April is reportedly what inspired the president to revisit Johnson's case. Summer Meza
As the world reels from the news that President Trump will not meet with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in June as was expected, the commander in chief is hanging out in the Oval Office with … Rambo.
Sylvester Stallone was at the White House for the pardoning of black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who was convicted in 1913 of transporting his white girlfriend across state lines, The New York Times reports. Trump was convinced to pardon Jackson after talking to Stallone following the funeral of Barbara Bush in April.
As it turns out, Trump isn't the only one to unwind with Stallone in Washington lately. Jeva Lange
Very cool. After spending all day in the Senate Armed Services Committee, I went to dinner & suddenly, in to the restaurant walked...@TheSlyStallone From Rocky to Rambo to a ton of other movies that I’ve watched over and over, really enjoyed the chance to meet him! pic.twitter.com/20s66XeGQP
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 24, 2018
Names are important — sometimes all it takes is a great name to realize someone is a winner. But even President Trump, who made his riches off of the association of his surname with all things gold and luxurious, gets name envy sometimes.
"I think you have the greatest name in politics," Trump raved to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) on Thursday. "If I had that name I would have been president 10 years sooner."
Trump praises Rep. Patrick McHenry for his name: "I think you have the greatest name in politics. If I had that name I would have been president 10 years sooner." pic.twitter.com/iOZWlT4tFj
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 24, 2018
You've gotta admit — McHenry University, McHenry Steaks, McHenry Vodka. It's kind of got a ring. Jeva Lange