The official POTUS Twitter account was firing off tweets about Comey while he was testifying about Russia
President Trump's official @POTUS Twitter account was active Monday while FBI Director James Comey was testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. Though the account did not highlight Comey's announcement of an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia or note Comey's admission that neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice had "information to support" Trump's wiretapping claims, it did seek to note Comey's refusal to comment when asked whether he'd briefed former President Barack Obama on any calls involving ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn:
FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia. pic.twitter.com/cUZ5KgBSYP
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 20, 2017
In his introductory statement, Comey made clear that he may not be able to discuss certain topics because of ongoing investigations and other restrictions. "Please don't draw any conclusions from the fact that I may not be able to comment on certain topics," Comey said.
Less than 10 minutes later, @POTUS tweeted again:
The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process. pic.twitter.com/d9HqkxYBt5
— President Trump (@POTUS) March 20, 2017
Though neither Comey nor NSA chief Adm. Mike Rogers had evidence to back up that "any votes were changed" in particular states, the intelligence community has concluded Russia launched an "influence campaign" to interfere in last year's election. "They'll be back," Comey warned of Russia. "They'll be back in 2020 and they may be back in 2018."
So what was the point of these tweets highlighting very specific moments from the wide-ranging hearing? Senior New Republic editor Brian Beutler has a theory. Becca Stanek
That Obama was behind Flynn leaks, and Comey, as part of Obama's deep state, is not to be trusted. https://t.co/xaE35HZCLE
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) March 20, 2017
A day after the White House doctor revealed the results of President Trump's physical, "the nation is still reeling from the shocking news that our president is perfectly healthy," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "Good news, 7th graders! Instead of 25 pushups and a mile run, from now on the presidential physical fitness test is going to be 25 Filet-O-Fishes and 3 hours of Fox & Friends."
According to the presidential physician, Trump is 6-foot-3 and 139 pounds, "but some people don't believe that — for instance, people," Colbert said. "Many of these people have started the 'girther' movement." Now, listen, he said. "I don't say this often, but we're being unfair to Donald Trump. I mean, no one looks good pictured next to one of the world's greatest athletes. For instance, I'm 5' 11" and 185 pounds, and I'm going to show you a picture of me next to an NFL player of that same height and weight — in hell. You're never going to see it."
The doctor also said Trump is mentally fit, but The Daily Show's Trevor Noah had some doubts about the cognition test Trump aced. "I can't believe part of the test for your president's mental health is to see if he can identify animals," he said. "Really, you're going to give him a rhino test? That sounds like a joke about African presidents. 'This is a lion, this is a rhino, and this is a camel.' 'Congratulations, sir, you're now the president of Uganda!'"
Tonight at 11/10c, Trump aces a cognitive exam that asks him to identify pictures of animals and name words that start with the letter “F.” pic.twitter.com/YgCgSqhHl4
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) January 18, 2018
At The Opposition, Jordan Klepper and Tim Baltz were totally convinced of Trump's excellent health, and Baltz said he knew Trump's secret to staying fit without exercise or a healthy diet. "The truth is, bazillions of Americans like the president and me get their workouts from raging out while hate-watching mainstream cable news," he said. You can learn about his regimen below. Peter Weber
"Yes, the inevitable backlash to the #MeToo movement has arrived — or as I look to call it, the #YouTooLoud movement," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. Her examples were heavy on the Fox News but broader than that, and she focused on the reaction to the "Shitty Media Men" list for a bit. "Here's the number of people who were putting rape and sexual harassment and bad dates into one bucket," she said. "Liberally nobody is saying they're the same. What many fail to understand is that it doesn't have to be rape to ruin your life, and it doesn't have to ruin your life to be worth speaking out about. Any type of sexual harassment or coercion is unacceptable."
"What men literally cannot understand is this isn't about them," Bee said. "Unfortunately, though, not all the backlash is from willfully blind men; some of it is from women who have seen way too much, especially in the wake of an article about Aziz Ansari and the horrible night an anonymous woman said she had with him. The conversation about this article has been tentative and difficult, largely because a lot of women disagree about it," including Ashleigh Banfield. "It's not just Ashleigh," she added. "A lot of people are worried about Aziz's career — which no one is trying to end, because again, we know the difference between a rapist, a workplace harasser, and an Aziz Ansari. That doesn't mean we have to be happy about any of them."
The last part is pretty NSFW, with Bee explaining her views on a higher standard for sex and advising men to find other outlets if they can't be bothered to respect their partners — especially men who call themselves feminist and sport "Times Up" insignia. "And if you don't want to do that," she said, "take off you f---ing pin, because we are not your accessories." Watch below. Peter Weber
President Trump's "America First" presidency has pulled the image of American leadership to new lows, according to the new Gallup World Poll report released Thursday. America's median leadership approval rating across 134 countries in 2017 was 30 percent, 4 points below the previous low of 34 percent in 2008 and significantly lower than the 48 percent approval in 2016, the last year of Barack Obama's presidency. Disapproval of U.S. leadership also hit a new high, 43 percent, greater than the disapproval number for any global power over the past decade, Gallup said.
— OpinionToday.com (@OpinionToday) January 18, 2018
Views of American leadership actually rose by more than 10 percentage points in four countries — Liberia, Macedonia, Israel, and Belarus — Gallup found, but fell by more than 10 points in 65 nations, including drops of more than 40 points in Portugal, Belgium, Canada, and, ironically, Norway. The 25 percent U.S. approval number in Europe isn't a record low — it was lower during the final two years of the George W. Bush presidency — but Trump's America tied the previous nadir in Asia (30 percent) and hit a new low in the Americas (24 percent). Africa remains a bright spot at 51 percent. Among world powers, Germany is now on top, at 41 percent, while Russia lags at 27 percent and China just beats out the U.S. at 31 percent.
Gallup finds approval of US leadership internationally has fallen to a record low under Trump
.... 4 points below Bush post-Iraq/financial crash
— Will Jordan (@williamjordann) January 18, 2018
"It is too early in Trump's presidency to deem his 'America First' foreign policy a success or failure," writes Gallup's Julie Ray. "However, it is clear that based on the trajectory of what the world thinks of the U.S., many of the U.S. alliances and partnerships that the Trump administration considers a 'great strength' are potentially at risk." Read more at Gallup. Peter Weber
Before she was assassinated in 2016, British lawmaker Jo Cox established a commission on loneliness and pushed the government to appoint a minister to tackle the problem affecting an estimated 9 million Britons, from the very young to the elderly.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Tracey Couch is the new Minister for Loneliness, serving as an advocate for those who "have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with." Many people in the U.K. are distressed by "the sad reality of modern life," May said, and government research has found that about 200,000 elderly people haven't spoken with a friend or relative in more than a month, Time reports.
Researchers say isolation can lead to a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as mental and emotional issues. You don't have to be the Minister of Loneliness to do your part — pick up the phone and offer to drive an elderly relative or friend to an appointment or lunch, drop by with a hot meal, or ask if they'd like to join you in a group activity. Catherine Garcia
President Trump changes his mind constantly — he's ready to sign a bipartisan immigration bill he doesn't agree with one minute, then decrying it the next — so much so that Seth Meyers can't help but see similarities between Trump and fictional teens on television dramas who will do anything to fit in. Hear him out.
On Wednesday's Late Night, Meyers noted that while Republicans control all three branches of government, there's still the possibility of a government shutdown as the two parties try to carve out a DACA deal before Friday. Trump's "shithole" comments definitely complicated things, Meyers said, as well as his inability to stick to one plan. Last week, Trump suggested he'd go along with a bipartisan immigration bill, even if he didn't love it, but hardliners like Stephen Miller got to him, and he decided he was not interested in the bipartisan deal after all. "Trump's position is literally, 'I'll think whatever you want me to think,'" Meyers said. "He's like the bad boy from every teen drama."
The easiest way to sway Trump is by showering him with gifts, specifically candy, Meyers said. He related a story Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shared about discovering Trump loves red and pink Starbursts, and then ensuring he gave him a giant jar (clearly marked as a gift from McCarthy) filled with only those two flavors. "I'll bet Putin is so pissed," Meyers said. "He spent millions of dollars and years of effort hacking into our election when he could have just stopped off at CVS and won Trump over for $2.99. Seriously, you can get Trump to do anything as long as you offer him candy. People think Robert Mueller is going to be the end of Trump, but it might just as likely be a weirdo in a van." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
Stephen Colbert read the Stormy Daniels account of her alleged tryst with Trump, so you don't have to
After The Wall Street Journal reported last week that a few weeks before the 2016 election, President Trump's personal lawyer paid adult film actress Stephanie "Stormy Daniels" Clifford $130,000 to stay quiet about an alleged 2006 extramarital affair with Trump — which Clifford now denies — In Touch magazine published a 2011 interview with her Wednesday evening in which she detailed her sexual encounter with the man who is now president of the United States.
"Trump can't stop this story because the interview was from 2011, before she signed her nondisclosure, and the magazine also verified Daniels' account with two sources at the time and had the actress take a polygraph," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "Wow, maybe In Touch magazine should lead the Russia investigation." The alleged affair took place four months after Trump's wife, Melania, gave birth to Barron. "That's a classic pickup line," Colbert said: "Hey baby — is what my wife just gave birth to. You want to go to dinner?" Dinner was reportedly in Trump's hotel room, and the dress was casual, he recounted. "Sweatpants, eating in the bedroom — even back then he was preparing for the presidency."
Colbert walked through other details of Clifford's account, some of them kind of disturbing. "Brace yourself, folks, because Stormy also says Trump paid her his highest compliment for a lover: 'He told me ... I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart just like his daughter,'" Colbert said, breathing and heaving into a paper bag. "Quick question: Can child protective services take custody of an adult woman?" You can watch more below. Peter Weber
Congress is two days away from a government shutdown, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) doesn't have enough Republican votes for a fourth straight short-term spending package, facing discontent from GOP defense hawks and the far-right Freedom Caucus. Democrats say they will vote against it, despite a tacked-on 6-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), because Republicans won't agree to a deal to protect DREAMers. The White House and House GOP leaders are leaning on GOP holdouts while preemptively blaming Democrats if the government shuts down, arguing that Democrats are voting against CHIP.
When a Politico writer said it would be interesting to see how many Democrats "vote against a 6-yr CHIP extension," Ryan press secretary Doug Andres retweeted, roping in late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, a vocal proponent of funding children's health care. Kimmel wrote back.
Shame on you for making CHIP a bargaining chip, shame on you for tying our children's lives to immigration and shame on you and @SpeakerRyan for doing ANYTHING other than funding CHIP cleanly and IMMEDIATELY.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 17, 2018
The argument continued:
Republicans are the ones funding CHIP completely and immediately. Democrats are the ones voting no. https://t.co/vLBOncsdIE
— Doug Andres (@DougAndres) January 17, 2018
As you know, tying CHIP to spending bill is not a clean CHIP vote. It’s a transparent bid to lure Dems away from DACA. The majority, including Republicans, support a path to citizenship and full CHIP funding. Using kids’ lives as bargaining chips is disgusting. So stop it. https://t.co/aAXorJZZS6
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 18, 2018
It was actually a pretty good summation of the political fight. Andres appeared to have a hard time believing this was his life.
Really enjoying this reality where a late-night comedian tweets at me multiple times a day because he believes Republicans, not Democrats, are the ones voting against CHIP funding. https://t.co/w6xKMZsmzo
— Doug Andres (@DougAndres) January 18, 2018