At his confirmation hearing Wednesday, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson made it clear that addressing "radical Islam" would be a top priority if he is confirmed as secretary of state. "We need to be honest about radical Islam," Tillerson said. "It is with good reason that our fellow citizens have a growing concern about radical Islam and murderous acts committed in its name against Americans and our friends."
He said the key to "thwarting radical Islam," which he noted "poses a grave risk to the stability of nations and the well-being of their citizens," is to defeat the Islamic State. "The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran," Tillerson said.
Alongside his push for addressing "radical Islam" head on, Tillerson vowed to make sure the State Department "does its part in supporting Muslims around the world who reject radical Islam in all its forms." Becca Stanek
The health-care bill drafted by Senate Republicans finally emerged from behind closed doors on Thursday, and with its cuts to Medicaid to fund tax cuts for the rich, the plan is "breathtakingly cruel," Seth Meyers said.
On Thursday's Late Night, Meyers took a closer look at the bill, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to have a vote on as early as next week, despite the fact that it was crafted during secretive meetings that were only open to a select group of Republicans. McConnell was "basically writing it by himself behind closed doors and nobody is ever doing anything good behind closed doors," Meyers said. "If your teenage son was locked in his bedroom this long, you wouldn't say, 'Hey buddy, are you doing extra credit homework in there?'"
Even people who were supposed to be writing the bill with McConnell were left in the dark; Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was a member of the working group that was tasked with putting the plan together, but he said in a video earlier this week that he couldn't answer questions from constituents about it because he hadn't seen the bill yet. "Wait, you're supposed to be writing it and you haven't seen it?" Meyers exclaimed. "That's like your doctor saying, 'I think your liver transplant was successful, but I don't know, I was at the movies.'"
Meyers also noted how interesting it was that back when ObamaCare was coming together, there were more than 100 hearings and months of debates, but McConnell complained every step of the way, saying things were moving too fast and nothing was transparent. He shared a medley of McConnell's greatest hypocritical hits from 2009 and 2010, and it's almost as if McConnell's accusations against the Democrats and ObamaCare were actually predictions of what he would be doing in 2017 — he said, among other things, that "the bill we're being asked to consider was assembled behind closed doors out of sight without input from the public" and "they're doing everything they can to jam this bill through, and they don't even seem to care anymore about how ugly it all looks." Oh, how times have changed. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
Acting as mediator, Kuwait has given Qatar a list of 13 different demands from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries it must comply with in order to restore diplomatic ties, The Associated Press reports.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar, alleging the country funds terrorism. They are giving Qatar 10 days to, among other things, pay an unspecified amount in compensation; stop naturalizing citizens from the four countries and expel those living in Qatar; shut down diplomatic posts in Iran; cut all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah; close down a Turkish military base inside the country; and shutter the broadcaster Al-Jazeera, which Saudi Arabia and the other countries claim supports the Muslim Brotherhood and incites unrest in the Middle East.
Qatar's government has not yet responded to the demands. If they meet them all, the country will be audited once a month for a year, then once per quarter for another year, and then annually for 10 years, AP reports. Catherine Garcia
Just a few days before he was fired after refusing to resign, former US Attorney Preet Bharara wrote a memo sharing his concerns about a phone call he received from the White House, BuzzFeed News reports.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, BuzzFeed was able to get an email on Thursday that Bharara sent on March 9 to then-deputy Attorney Joon Kim and Bharara's chief counsel, Joan Loughnane, in order to "memorialize certain events of the day." Bharara said he received a voicemail from Trump's secretary, Madeline Westerhout, asking him to call her back. He checked with Kim about the "propriety of returning the call," and reviewed copies of memos related to communications with the White House. He also spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, Jody Hunt, to discuss the request. Bharara decided it was inappropriate to speak with Trump and called Westerhout to tell her this. The next day, he was asked to resign, and after refusing, was fired on March 11.
Parts of the email were redacted, specifically the sections that revealed details pertaining to "intra-agency communications," BuzzFeed reports. In an interview on This Week earlier this month, Bharara said it appeared Trump was "trying to cultivate some kind of relationship," and it is a "very weird and peculiar thing for a one-on-one conversation without the attorney general, without warning between the president and me or any United States attorney who has been asked to investigate various things and is in a position hypothetically to investigate business interests and associates of the president." Catherine Garcia
After being told they weren't allowed to wear shorts to school, about 30 teenage boys attending ISCA Academy in Exeter, England, showed up wearing skirts instead.
As part of their dress code, boys have to wear pants and girls can wear either pants or skirts, but when temperatures shot up, the boys asked school officials if they could wear shorts. They were told no, and a teacher sarcastically suggested they wear skirts. That's exactly what the boys did, borrowing regulation skirts from their classmates.
The school's head teacher told the BBC she "recognizes that the last few days have been exceptionally hot," but she didn't want to change the rules without "consulting both students and their families." One parent said she did approach the school to ask about her son wearing shorts, and she was "shot down." The protesting teens are supported by their fellow students, and most of the parents are proud of them for taking a stand. "Good on 'em," one mother told the BBC. Catherine Garcia
An Ohio-based coal company and its CEO are suing Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, HBO, and Time Warner for defamation, claiming on his June 18 show, Oliver executed a "maliciously planned attempt to assassinate the character and reputation" of Robert Murray and Murray Energy.
In a suit filed Wednesday in West Virginia, the company accused Oliver and HBO of a "callous, vicious, and false" attack on the coal industry as part of their "most recent attempt to advance their biases against the coal industry and their disdain for the coal-related policies of the Trump administration." During the segment, Oliver discussed ways "people conflate coal, coal miners, and coal companies and imply that when you help one, you help them all. But they are not all in the same boat." Oliver mentioned Murray and his company fighting against safety regulations in the coal industry, and at one point called Murray a "geriatric Dr. Evil."
The suit says Murray, 77, needs a lung transplant, thinks he won't live long enough to see this case reach a conclusion, and believes the segment incited people to "do harm to Mr. Murray and his companies." He is asking for financial damages and a court order preventing the segment from being aired ever again. During the segment, Oliver noted that when the show contacted Murray Energy for comment, they responded with a letter threatening legal action if Last Week Tonight did not "cease and desist from any effort to defame, harass, or otherwise injure Mr. Murray or Murray Energy." A representative for HBO told USA Today the company has "confidence in the staff of Last Week Tonight" and doesn't believe "anything in the show this week violated Mr. Murray or Murray energy's rights." Watch the segment causing all of this hullabaloo below. Catherine Garcia
The Philadelphia 76ers selected University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz as the first overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. The Sixers traded with the Boston Celtics to get the top spot. UCLA's Lonzo Ball was chosen second by the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Celtics, drafting third, picked Duke's Jayson Tatum. The draft is taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn; follow along live on ESPN. Catherine Garcia
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn't bothered by some members of her party criticizing her, following Jon Ossoff's loss Tuesday in Georgia's 6th Congressional district special election.
His opponent, Karen Handel, ran more of an anti-Ossoff campaign than pro-Handel, and ran ads linking Ossoff to Pelosi, a liberal from California. This isn't a new GOP tactic, Pelosi said during a press conference Thursday, "and usually, they go after the most effective leader." Two-thirds of the caucus backed Pelosi last year when she was challenged by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and she feels "very confident" about the support she has. "I think I'm worth the trouble, quite frankly," she said. "I love the fray." She didn't hesitate to stand up for herself, saying, "You want me to sing my praises? Well, I'm a master legislator. I am a strategic, politically astute leader. My leadership is recognized by many around the country, and that is why I'm able to attract the support that I do."
Pelosi said the party is "paving a way for a new generation of leadership, and I respect any opinion that my my members have," but the "decision about how long I stay is not up to them." Looking ahead to 2018, "history is on our side," she added, as the president typically loses House seats during their first midterm election. Catherine Garcia