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March 24, 2016
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On Wednesday night, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a bill that prohibits transgender people in the state from using a restroom or locker room that doesn't match the gender on their birth certificate, bars local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination laws, and bans municipalities from raising the minimum wage above the state level. The Republican-controlled state legislature had called an emergency session on Tuesday to pass the bill, at a cost of $42,000, in order to quash an anti-discrimination ordinance set to take effect in Charlotte on April 1.

The hastily crafted law — which puts in place a statewide nondiscrimination measure that doesn't mention gay or transgender people — passed in the state House, 82-26, and unanimously in the Senate after every Democrat walked out in protest. "We choose not to participate in this farce," explained Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue (D). Republicans argued that the bill was necessary to ensure public safety and preserve the primacy of state law over local measures. "It's common sense — biological men should not me be in women's showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms," said Rep. Dean Arp (R) before the measure passed.

Similar measures prohibiting gender-identity bathroom use recently failed in Tennessee and in South Dakota, where the Republican governor vetoed it. "North Carolina has gone against the trend," said North Carolina ACLU head Sarah Preston. "And they crafted a bill that was more extreme than others. They specifically left gays, lesbians, and the transgender community out of the anti-discrimination policy. They want to make it plain that they think that kind of discrimination is okay."

The three hours of General Assembly debate on Wednesday included public testimony. People supporting the bill focused on the idea that predatory males could go into female bathrooms and sexually abuse people. Those opposed to the measure called that idea nonsense and argued that it can be dangerous and awkward for a transgender person to use a bathroom for his or her birth gender. "I can't use the men's room," said Madeleine Gause, a transgender woman who said she was bullied as a boy in Hickory. "It is unsafe for me.... And it freaks people out when I go to the men's room. Would you want to go to the men's room with me?" Besides, when transgender people go into a restroom, "people aren't getting raped and murdered," she added. "They are just going to the bathroom." Peter Weber

4:00 a.m. ET

"It is a busy time for diplomacy in the Trump White House, what with them planning the North Korea summit, weighing what to do about Syria, and a state visit with [French President Emmanuel] Macron next week," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. And on top of that, Trump faces a massive decision on whether to re-certify the Iran nuclear deal — and there's a growing sense that this time, Trump will actually kill the agreement on May 12.

Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the agreement, signed by former President Barack Obama, Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France, and the European Union, but its demise "could have huge, lasting consequences," Oliver said. "So tonight, let's look at the Iran deal: What it is, why Trump hates is so much, and what's likely to happen if he kills it." Oliver ran through Trump's objections, explaining that each was based on false information. Iran can't keep sanctions relief and still make a nuclear bomb, for example, Oliver said. "What Iran could do, in theory, is wait for part of the deal to expire in 10 years, then it could ramp up its nuclear program, getting it closer to a bomb. But here's the thing: If the deal blows up, Iran could start doing that right now, in zero years. And 0 is less than 10 — trust us, we ran the numbers on this ourselves."

"You can't just be against something without having any plan for what comes next," Oliver said, and like "a cat on an airplane trying to escape from its carrier," Trump has only unrealistic demands. Also, his top advisers — John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Sean Hannity — hate the deal, too. To try to insert a moderating voice, Oliver said he'll run a catheter cowboy ad during Hannity this week. You can get a preview, and learn more about the Iran deal, below. (There's NSFW language.) Peter Weber

2:56 a.m. ET
REUTERS/Mike Segar

Fox News host Sean Hannity has said he only asked legal advice from Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer and fixer, regarding real estate, and he would have a lot to ask about, according to a report in The Guardian. "I've said many times on my radio show: I hate the stock market, I prefer real estate," Hannity said on TV after he was revealed in court to be one of Cohen's three listed clients. "Michael knows real estate." And thousands of pages of public records show that over the past decade, more than 20 shell companies linked to Hannity bought at least 877 properties for just under $89 million, The Guardian said Sunday evening.

The properties are in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Vermont, and New York. Hannity's massive real estate portfolio includes multimillion-dollar mansions used by Hannity, single-family units in modest suburbs, and apartments in low-income areas, The Guardian reports. Dozens of the properties were scooped up at discount in 2013 from banks that had foreclosed on the owners during the financial crisis, and at least two large apartment complexes in Georgia were purchased with assistance from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Hannity bought the apartments in 2014 for $22.7 million, using $17.9 million in mortgages obtained via HUD, then exchanged last year for $22.9 in loans from HUD and a new bank, The Guardian says.

Hannity has taken public stances against HUD financing going toward rental properties, criticized the mass foreclosures before Trump took office, and featured HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Bill Lako — who took over nominal control of Henssler Financial LLC from Hannity in 2016 — on his radio and TV shows, The Guardian says. Christopher Reeves, Hannity's real estate attorney, told The Guardian they'd "struggle to find any relevance" in Hannity's confidential property holdings. "I doubt you would find it very surprising that most people prefer to keep their legal and personal financial issues private. ... Mr. Hannity is no different." Read more at The Guardian. Peter Weber

1:40 a.m. ET

James Shaw Jr., 29, acknowledges that if he hadn't disarmed the gunman who murdered four people at a Waffle House in Nashville early Sunday, more people would have died, but he said in a news conference on Sunday that he isn't comfortable with the "hero" label. "On my Instagram and Facebook, everybody's calling me a hero, but I want people to know that I did that completely out of a selfish act, I was completely doing it just to save myself," Shaw said. "Now, me doing that, I did save other people, but I don't want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that. ... I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it."

Shaw explained that when he realized somebody was shooting, he ran behind an unlockable swinging door. "He shot through that door; I'm pretty sure he grazed my arm," Shaw said, and "at that time I made up my mind ... that he was going to have to work to kill me. When the gun jammed or whatever happened, I hit him with the swivel door." The gunman, identified by police as Travis Reinking, 29, had the gun pointed down, and Shaw said he grabbed the hot barrel of the AR-15. "When I finally got the gun he was cussing like I was in the wrong," he said. "I grabbed it from him and threw it over the countertop and I just took him with me out the entrance."

Waffle House CEO Walter Ehmer disregarded Shaw's request. "You don't get to meet too many heroes in life," he said, nodding to Shaw. "We are forever in your debt." Shaw's father, James Shaw Sr., had mixed feelings. "I take no pride in him charging a loaded gun," he told The Associated Press. "I do take pride in him helping save the lives of other people." Peter Weber

12:49 a.m. ET

Last July, the U.S. Secret Service arrested Travis Reinking, the 29-year-old suspect in Sunday's murder of four people at a Waffle House in Nashville, for being in a restricted area near the White House and refusing to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Trump. In the fall, state police in Illinois revoked Reinking's firearm license at the request of the FBI, and police took away four of his guns, including the AR-15 used in the Nashville shooting, authorities said.

Deputies returned the weapons to Reinking's father, Jeffrey Reinking, on the promise that he would "keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis," Tazewell County, Illinois, Sheriff Robert Huston said Sunday, adding that based on past encounters with the younger Reinking, "there's certainly evidence that there's some sort of mental health issues involved." Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said that Jeffrey Reinking "has now acknowledged giving them back to his son."

Reinking, who witnesses say fled the scene of the crime naked, is still on the run, and he is believed to have at least one of the remaining two guns police seized from him last fall. The four people killed in the shooting have been identified as Taurean C. Sanderlin, a 29-year-old cook at the restaurant, and patrons Joe R. Perez, 20, Akilah Dasilva, 23, and DeEbony Groves, 21. James Shaw Jr., 29, is credited with saving several lives by tackling and disarming the gunman. Peter Weber

April 22, 2018

A British expat urged President Trump to fire EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and slammed other Trump administration officials on American cable TV Sunday night, and it was not John Oliver at HBO's Last Week Tonight. On Fox News, Steve Hilton — a former adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron whose L.A.-based Fox News show focuses on populism — took aim at corruption in the Trump administration, though he did not blame Trump personally.

"Remember, President Trump's historic election win was driven in part by a drain-the-swamp agenda, an agenda we strongly support here on The Next Revolution," Hilton said, arguing that "in many ways, the president has delivered," by ordering an end to the lobbying revolving door and cutting regulations, "which means less bureaucracy, and that means less opportunity for lobbying and corruption." But Trump appointees have fallen short, he said, citing a Public Citizen study he said uncovered "a shocking number of former lobbyists now working in this administration and regulating the same interests they used to lobby for."

Hilton listed some upper-management Trump appointees whose conflicts of interest "are undermining their boss' drain-the-swamp agenda," then noted that "a number of higher-level officials have abused their power in far more public ways." He pointed to ousted Cabinet officials David Shulkin and Tom Price, but also Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who "has reportedly not flown on a single commercial flight for business-related travel since taking office."

"But none of President Trump's appointees have been under more scrutiny for swampy behavior than EPA chief Scott Pruitt," Hilton said, running through some egregious examples. The White House has ordered an investigation into Pruitt's "exorbitant spending," he said, "but the last thing we need in Washington is another investigation. What we need is for President Trump to take the lead, fire Scott Pruitt, and throw out the lobbyists from his administration." Watch below — and remember, this is Fox News. Peter Weber

April 22, 2018
Fox News/Screenshot

French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Washington beginning Monday to speak before Congress and meet with President Trump, and in a Fox News Sunday appearance he said he will use this time to promote a long-term U.S. occupation of Syria, including nation-building programs.

"We will have to build the new Syria after [the Islamic State is defeated], and that's why I think the U.S. hold is very important," Macron said. "Why? I will be very blunt. The day we will finish this war against ISIS, if we leave, definitely and totally, even from a political point of view, we will leave the floor to the Iranian regime, Bashar al-Assad and his guys, and they will prepare the new war. They will fuel the new terrorists."

"So, my point is to say, even after the end of the war against ISIS," he continued, "the U.S., France, our allies, all the countries of the region, even Russia and Turkey, will have a very important role to play in order to create this new Syria and ensure Syrian people to decide for the future."

Watch the full interview below, and read The Washington Post's preview of Macron's trip, which is expected to focus significantly on persuading Trump to keep the United States in the Iran nuclear deal. Bonnie Kristian

April 22, 2018

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway, does not seem to share his wife's boundless enthusiasm for defending President Trump. He has repeatedly tweeted critiques of the president, going after Trump's Twitter habits, his staff turnover, and, most recently, his understanding of the law.

When Conway appeared on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, this was not a topic she wanted to discuss. "It's fascinating to me that CNN would go there, but it's very good for the whole world to have just witnessed ... that it's now fair game how people's spouses and significant others may differ with them," Conway told host Dana Bash.

Bash protested the question was not intended to be critical and had nothing to do with Conway's gender, only her husband's high profile as a conservative lawyer. "Oh, of course it was [critical]," Conway replied. "It was meant to harass and embarrass," she continued, labeling the exchange a "cross the Rubicon moment."

Watch a clip of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian

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