FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
March 14, 2016
KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

As Apple continues its fight for encryption with the FBI, other tech giants are ramping up their own privacy protections.

Google, Facebook, and messaging apps Snapchat and WhatsApp are all working to add extra security measures to their users' communications. These encryption projects began before the Apple controversy became public and will build on varying privacy features the services already maintain.

For WhatsApp in particular, however, federal attention may be on its way. The New York Times reported Saturday that unnamed Justice Department officials expect WhatsApp's strong encryption could well be the next target of a case like the one Apple is fighting now.

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, who hails from Soviet-era Ukraine, has made clear that his encryption will not easily collapse under government pressure. "Our freedom and our liberty are at stake," he said in response to the FBI's attack on Apple. Bonnie Kristian

4:32 a.m. ET

On Monday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert said his goodbyes to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer — "He wanted to spend more time not answering his family's questions," he joked — and hello to the man who drove Spicer to resign, new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, whom he introduced with a little Bohemian Rhapsody riff. "I think this is not a good sign for the Trump administration, when six months in, they're already running out of story lines so they started adding crazy new characters," Colbert said. "Scaramucci's like adding Scrappy-Doo, or Chachi to Happy Days. He even has an adorable nickname."

Still, "The Mooch" hit the ground running, Colbert said, giving a classy sendoff to Spicer and offering some unsolicited hair and makeup advice to Spicer's replacement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "He's gonna fit into the Trump administration just fine," Colbert said. He trotted out his Scaramucci impersonation, which looked like something out of a bad Goodfellas remake, and played some of the highlights of Scaramucci's inaugural TV interviews as Trump's communications chief. One in particular, with CNN's Jake Tapper, was particularly puzzling, Colbert said, recapping: "So the president is the one who told you that the president's not in trouble, and you're not going to tell us because it's an anonymous source but then we ask and you tell us anyway? Why are we wasting this guy on communications? He should be the head of national security."

Later in the show, Colbert pointed out the obvious hole in Jared Kushner's new explanation for his meeting with a Kremlin-tied Russian lawyer peddling dirt on Hillary Clinton, then deconstructed Trump's tweet seemingly acknowledging his discussions about pardoning his aides and maybe even himself. "Reminds of the passage in the New Testament when the apostle Judas said, 'Surely, I will not betray you, my Lord, but if I did you'd have to forgive me, right? That's like your whole deal. Also, are you a cop? You have to tell me if you're a cop.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

3:14 a.m. ET

President Trump's speech to the quadrennial Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia on Monday was not traditional Boy Scouts fare. Amid recounting his electoral victory, calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, criticizing former President Barack Obama, predicting that the "fake media" will under-count the size of his "incredible, massive crowd, record-setting," and suggesting the gathered teenage boys do what they love, Trump told the more than 30,000 Boy Scouts about an encounter he had with famous home-builder William Levitt in the 1980s.

"I'll tell you a story that's very interesting for me," Trump began — and if you read about Levitt, it is hard to miss the similarities. Levitt and his brother, Arthur, revolutionized mass-production housing, helping create the modern suburban development and becoming very wealthy in the process. (He also famously refused to sell to black buyers.) In the 1960s, Levitt sold his company for about $90 million, and with his foreign third wife, "he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life," Trump recounted. "I won't go any more than that, because you're Boy Scouts so I'm not going to tell you what he did. Should I tell you? Should I tell you? You're Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life."

So Trump told about the time he met an old and bankrupt Levitt:

I saw him at a cocktail party. And it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party. It was the party of Steve Ross — Steve Ross, who was one of the great people. ... He had a lot of successful people at the party. And I was doing well, so I got invited to the party. I was very young. And I go in, but I'm in the real estate business, and I see a hundred people, some of whom I recognize, and they're big in the entertainment business. And I see sitting in the corner was a little old man who was all by himself. Nobody was talking to him. I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt, of Levittown. [Trump, Boy Scout Jamboree]

The moral of the five-minute story, which you can read for yourself, was the power of "momentum." Peter Weber

2:06 a.m. ET

This weekend in Salt Lake City, some of the world's youngest bike riders faced off during the 2017 Strider Cup World Championship.

100 2-year olds are underway!! @danonewave @intermountain @competitivecyclist @chickfila @thecolorrun

A post shared by Strider Bikes (@striderbikes) on

Toddler balance bike racing is "the country's cutest sport," Strider Bikes said, and nearly 400 racers, from 18 months to five years old, participated in the championship. They came from all over the United States, plus 14 countries, including Japan, Australia, Thailand, Tahiti, and Sweden, taking on a 750-foot course filled with obstacles, water features, and ramps. This year, each division was won by a Japanese racer — Kaisei Nishimura won the 2-and-under class; Raito Kaneko finished first in the 3-year-old class; Taiga Kuwahara was on top for the 4-year-old class, and Waku Kunitate won the 5-year-old class.

There were also Special Needs Races, open to racers of all ages and abilities, with several Special Olympics teams involved. Mom Melissa Clark, whose 9-year-old twins Sara and Emma participated, said riding balance bikes helps them with their "balance, coordination, and confidence. They loved the race. It was so exciting and fun for them to do something like this." Catherine Garcia

1:41 a.m. ET

Early Monday morning, White House senior adviser and President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, released an 11-page statement on his at least four known meetings with Russian officials last year, including a meeting he and Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were invited to by Donald Trump Jr. with a Kremlin-linked lawyer offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton. In Kushner's letter and a subsequent statement he read outside the White House after testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, he denied any collusion with Russia and said he did not know of any collusion in the Trump campaign.

Specifically, Kushner said he had not known the reason for the meeting with the Russian lawyer, because he had been too busy with the campaign to read Don Jr.'s entire email — what NBC News' Kasie Hunt called "the chaos and sloppiness defense." On Fox News Monday afternoon, anchor Shep Smith did not seem convinced by that version of events.

"Okay, hang on," Smith told Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire. "There's an email, and at the top of that email, there's a subject line. ... Here it is, this is an email from Donald Trump Jr., sent on Wednesday, June 8, at noon or so. The subject line: 'Russia - Clinton - private and confidential.'" Kushner claims he did not read deep into the email, Smith said, "and we're to believe he didn't read the subject line." "That is the version he is saying," Lemire said. "Frankly, Paul Manafort has made a similar case."

"Everybody's sort of pointing at Don Jr., it seems like, all of a sudden," Smith noted. Lemire said that's "hitting on something very interesting," the idea that "there may be a moment, and it may be sooner than later, where the legal fortunes of Don. Jr. and Jared Kushner may be in conflict. It will be very interesting to see how they reconcile that." Kushner's statements concluded with the hope that he can now put this matter behind him, at least after he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. "I think that is unlikely, to say the least," Lemire said. "Yeah, that's not happening," Smith said, then moved on to the iffy future for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Watch. Peter Weber

1:25 a.m. ET
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, has been given a major task by President Trump — find the leakers inside the administration, and oust them — and he's working in overdrive, officials told The Washington Post Monday.

Scaramucci is meeting with all of the aides in the press department, learning about their roles and getting rid of those who aren't working hard enough to defend Trump, people with knowledge of the situation told the Post. A list has been circulating among Scaramucci's allies with the names of people who used to work for Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, and Sean Spicer, his former press secretary, at the Republican National Committee, and they are in danger of being fired, the officials said. Scaramucci doesn't report to the chief of staff, as is tradition, but rather directly to Trump, the Post reports, and he has also made it known that he thinks some staffers are more concerned with their relationships with Priebus, rather than worried about defending Trump and his agenda.

Already, Trump thinks Scaramucci is doing a bang-up job compared with Spicer — in one of the most biting parts of the Post report, Scaramucci is described as being "almost family" to Trump, while Spicer was most definitely considered the help. Several aides told the Post they welcomed Scaramucci and were glad to see Spicer gone, as he was a bad manager, but others had sympathy, saying Spicer had an extremely difficult job trying to explain Trump to the outside world.

Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist, told the Post that until Trump and communications staffers are on the same page, there will be problems. "Unlike every other staffer, maybe Anthony Scaramucci will be able to persuade the president to stay on message, but I'll believe it when I see it." Catherine Garcia

12:21 a.m. ET

President Trump's new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, grew up not too far from the Queens of Trump's childhood, which may explain a certain similarity in their hand gestures. Or, as The Daily Show suggested on Monday, Scaramucci may have studied up for his new job.

The identical gesticulation isn't Scaramucci's only qualification, Noah noted on Monday's Daily Show. He also declared his love and loyalty for Trump, trying to prove Trump's competitive bona fides by saying he has seen the president do a couple of dubious, sadly solitary athletic achievements. "Throwing a football at a tire isn't impressive — it's something that they literally show impotent men doing in Levitra commercials," Noah noted, with video evidence. Since Scaramucci will "be around for at least a month," he added wryly, we might as well get to know him.

Noah ran through Scaramucci's résumé — blue-collar Long Island upbringing, Harvard Law, Goldman Sachs, his own hedge fund — nicknamed his favorite Scaramucci gesture to the press (the "Mooch smooch"), ran through Scaramucci's previous criticisms of Trump, and questioned his definition of "full transparency," which includes telling everyone he is deleting his old tweets critical of Trump. "Now, some people may think it's odd for a man who believes in climate change, gun control, and abortion rights to go work for Donald Trump, but in a way, if you think about it, he's the perfect man for the job," Noah said. "Who could represent Donald Trump better than a guy willing to abandon all of his previous positions if it gets him into the White House?" (There's one mildly NSFW moment.) Watch below. Peter Weber

July 24, 2017
Pool/Getty Images

During a late night Twitter session on Monday, President Trump appeared to confirm a Washington Post report that his administration ended a covert CIA program that armed moderate anti-government rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad...." Trump tweeted, referring to a story published by the Post last week about his decision to stop the program, handing a big win to Russia and Assad.

While he did not elaborate on how the Post allegedly "fabricated the facts," he did go on to share his conspiracy theory that the newspaper's owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is using the Post to bully politicians into not taxing the online retailer. "So many stories about me in the @washingtonpost are Fake News," he tweeted. "They are as bad as ratings challenged @CNN. Lobbyist for Amazon and taxes?" A few minutes later, he added, "Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?"

Trump never said what triggered the tweets, but as Politico's Hadas Gold pointed out, if Trump turned on Fox News Monday night and caught Tucker Carlson's show, he would have heard the host discussing the Post report. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads