March 13, 2017
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After declaring that "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has faced an outpouring of criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. Now even one of King's colleagues in the House has taken to calling King a "stark, raving racist."

California Rep. Ted Lieu (D) was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and is an American citizen. On Monday, he addressed King's anti-immigrant sentiment directly in a scathing tweet:

Earlier Monday, Jeb Bush skewered King as well: "America is a nation of immigrants," he tweeted. "The sentiment expressed by Steve King doesn't reflect our shared history or values." Jeva Lange

10:08 a.m. ET

President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 255 days ago, but he clearly still has his opponent on the mind. The Washington Post on Friday released an analysis of Trump's 19 interviews so far as president, and it turns out he can't talk for long without bringing her up:

In 17 of 19 of his interviews, Clinton came up, on average about 36 percent of the way in. That's more frequently and earlier than his mentions of Obama, who made it into only 16 interviews, about 43 percent of the way in.

The two interviews in which Trump didn't mention Hillary came, interestingly, at the beginning of his time in office. The second was his Super Bowl interview with Bill O'Reilly. His introduction of the subject in that Times interview released this week was the earliest she'd come up. [The Washington Post]

Trump was just 20 words into his latest interview with The New York Times when he mentioned Clinton.

Even Trump's well-worn lines about the media, the election, and the vote don't get nearly as much airtime as his one-time Democratic opponent. Trump has only mentioned the "Fake News" media in 14 of his 17 interviews, and he's usually able to make it halfway through before it comes up.

Check out the full analysis of Trump's favorite interview topics at The Washington Post. Becca Stanek

10:08 a.m. ET
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As anyone with a brother or sister knows, it's always great when your parents are mad at your sibling because then your own shenanigans go unnoticed. It just so happens it works that way in politics, too.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson admitted to The Washington Examiner that he has found the silver lining to the Trump administration's ongoing scandals: "Let me put it this way," Carson said. "I'm glad that Trump is drawing all the fire so I can get stuff done."

Carson knows something about drawing unwanted attention — he has been accused of elaborate exaggerations and brow-raising claims. But in this case, you've got to admire the man for his honesty. Jeva Lange

10:03 a.m. ET

The Kremlin-linked lawyer Donald Trump Jr. met with during his controversial Trump Tower rendezvous in June 2016 counts Russia's spy agency, FSB, among her past clients, Reuters reports.

Natalia Veselnitskaya represented the successor to the KGB in a Moscow property case between 2005 and 2013, documents show. Veselnitskaya has denied her connection to the Kremlin and there is no proof she was working for the government when she met with Trump Jr., although her past connection will likely raise questions.

Veselnitskaya has said she would be willing to testify before the Senate: "If the Senate wishes to hear the real story, I will be happy to speak up and share everything I wanted to tell Mr. Trump," she told RT. Jeva Lange

9:45 a.m. ET

In a Friday appearance on Fox & Friends, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway argued that the people "should know" that lawyers on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team made donations to Democrats. "These weren't minor donations. ... These were significant donations by members of that team. They clearly wanted the other person to win," Conway said. "Now, whether that prejudices them one way or the other in the investigation remains to be seen. But it is relevant information for people to have."

Conway explained this push for "transparency" fits in with President Trump's larger promise to "drain the swamp." "Donald Trump went to Washington to disrupt and expose the system. Just to blow that secret door off of its hinges and have more accountability and transparency in a system that thrives on the opposite," Conway said. "So the same applies here."

As she boasted about Trump's embrace of accountability, Conway reiterated the president's claim that the whole investigation into his team's potential ties to Russia and its meddling in the U.S. presidential election is a "witchhunt." "It's such a sideshow compared to what he's doing in the White House. Even this week alone was such an incredible week with health-care reform, with Made in America week," Conway said, looking back on the week during which Senate Republicans' plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare failed because not enough Republicans supported it.

Catch Conway's interview below. Becca Stanek

8:54 a.m. ET

Remember Stephen Bannon? Once hailed as the architect of President Trump's ascent to power, the controversial populist adviser has vanished from the spotlight in recent weeks "for the sake of self-preservation," Politico reports.

Bannon reportedly inadvertently raised the ire of Trump after being portrayed as the puppetmaster behind the president on SNL and getting his own Time magazine cover under the moniker "the Great Manipulator." He has notably been excluded from Trump's recent trips to Europe and has removed himself from his former frequent spot in the Oval Office, relocating to a conference table in White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus' office.

Senior administration officials have taken note of his sudden absence, deeming Bannon "AWOL" and "invisible."

[Bannon] now plays a surprisingly minor role in key administration policy debates. White House aides speculate about whether Bannon is trying to protect his job amidst long-running talk of a White House staff purge. Several West Wing advisers said they expect Trump to decide once and for all on a White House shakeup during his planned vacation next month, when he is expected to consult with friends beyond the Beltway. "If there is a big staff shakeup, it will be in August," said a senior White House aide. "My guess is that Bannon probably sees that and doesn't want to be in the press." [Politico]

Read more about Bannon's strategic retreat at Politico. Jeva Lange

8:22 a.m. ET

On July 9, three teenage boys watched a disabled man drown in a pond in Cocoa, Florida, east of Orlando, and they filmed the man's death on a cellphone and taunted him for the duration of the 2-minute video, which they then posted to social media, police say. The teens, age 14 to 16, did not call for help or tell authorities about the death of Jamel Dunn, 32; his fiancée reported him missing on July 12 and his body was recovered from the pond on July 14. A woman who says she is Dunn's sister, Simone Scott, came across the video and posted it on Facebook last weekend, and police identified the boys and questioned them. At least one of them showed no remorse, Cocoa Police Department spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said.

Near the beginning of the video, the audio of which was posted by Florida Today, one boy is heard shouting at Dunn, "Get out the water, you're gonna die." The kids laughed. "He keeps putting his head under," another boy said. "Wow." "Bro, you scared to see a dead person?" one of the boys asked another. Finally, one of the teens said, "Oh, he just died," and they laughed some more.

Police are not going to file any charges against the teens, at the recommendation of state prosecutors, because they did not violate any Florida laws. Floridians are not legally obliged to assist people in distress or call for help. "If there was (a law like that) we would charge them," Martinez tells CNN. "The family is frustrated," she said, and "the detectives are frustrated, that we cannot hold anyone accountable for this." In a statement, the state attorney's office said that while no laws were broken, "we can find no moral justification for either the behavior of persons heard on the recording or the deliberate decision not to render aid to Mr. Dunn."

Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe was more direct. "As chief of police, there are times when I wish I could do more, but I'm a firm believer in that good will always win over evil," he said. "It may not come in our lifetime, but there will be justice." Peter Weber

8:21 a.m. ET
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met "more than just three times" at the G-20 summit earlier this month, but he downplayed the interactions, likening the world leaders to children in kindergarten, NBC News reports.

"When you are brought by your parents to a kindergarten do you mix with the people who are waiting in the same room to start going to a classroom?" Lavrov asked by way of illustration. "I remember when I was in that position I did spend five or 10 minutes in the kindergarten before they brought us to the classroom."

Recent news of a previously unreported G-20 meeting between Trump and Putin was blasted by Trump as "sick" and "fake news." Jeva Lange

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