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April 13, 2017

Stephen Bannon, President Trump's chief strategist, apparently had a rough day at the office on Wednesday. The night before, Trump had told the New York Post, "I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late," and before that, "I didn't know Steve." (They met in 2011.) "I'm my own strategist," he added, a phrase he repeated to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, when he also called Bannon "a guy who works for me." Some of Bannon's associates characterized Trump's public dressing-down as a paternal "love tap," The Washington Post reports, while others fear it was "an indirect firing."

Bannon "is a marked man — diminished by weeks of battles with the bloc of centrists led by Trump's daughter and son-in-law and cut down by the president himself," The Washington Post said, basing its assessment on "interviews Wednesday with 21 of Trump's aides, confidants, and allies." One Bannon friend likened him to "a terminally ill family member who had been moved into hospice care," the Post said, while others suggested Bannon might survive for a little longer.

"Bannon is a brilliant pirate who has had a huge impact," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "But White Houses, in the end, are like the U.S. Navy — corporate structures and very hard on pirates." A "person with firsthand knowledge of internal White House dynamics" told The New York Times that while no change is imminent, Trump's comments and Bannon's recent demotions have made it very hard for the chief strategist to keep his job and his stature.

Not every Trump insider is numbering Bannon's days. Thomas Barrack Jr., a close Trump friend and business associate, spent Tuesday and Wednesday meeting with Trump and his senior team in Washington. He told CNN's Erin Burnett Wednesday night that things have never been better at the Trump White House and Bannon isn't going anywhere.

Still, Bannon's supporters are watching the situation warily, including his main political patron, Rebekah Mercer, who views Bannon as her main conduit to Trump. Mercer is reportedly already looking for opportunities for Bannon should he leave the White House early, but her family's ties to Bannon are one of the things that might keep him employed at the White House. "While the president has grown weary of directives from donors like the Mercers," The New York Times reports, "he is mindful that they are among his major financial backers, and he is said to be conscious of the need to keep it that way." Peter Weber

September 23, 2017

The Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James hit back at President Trump on Twitter Saturday morning in response to Trump's tweeted announcement that the Golden State Warriors will not be invited to the White House to celebrate their NBA championship after point guard Stephen Curry criticized Trump's policies and rhetoric. As James sees it, Curry's Friday statement that he does not want to meet Trump means the president had no invitation to rescind:

James, who is vice president of the NBA Players Association, was not the only pro athlete to take issue with Trump's weekend critiques of Curry and Colin Kaepernick, the latter of whom Trump referred to as a "son of a bitch" for his habit of declining to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, also pushed back on Trump's remarks, calling Trump's comments "divisive" and demonstrative of "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL." Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017
Alfredo Estrella/Getty Images

Mexico was struck by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake Saturday morning, sparking alarm and suspending ongoing rescue efforts in response to two other recent quakes.

The new tremor follows Tuesday's 7.1-magnitude earthquake, as well as an 8.1-magnitude quake that struck off the coast of Mexico earlier this month. The combined death toll from the earlier quakes has nearly reached 400 people.

Saturday's tremor, believed to be an aftershock of the 8.1 quake, collapsed a bridge in the town of Juchitan and toppled some previously damaged buildings. "Homes that were still standing just fell down," said Bettina Cruz, who lives in Juchitan. "It's hard. We are all in the streets." Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017
Amin Khosroshahi/The Associated Press

Iran has successfully tested a new ballistic missile, state-run media reported Saturday, one day after displaying the weapon at a military parade.

The Khorramshahr missile has a range of 1,200 miles, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani labels it "a deterrent" to guard Iranian security against attack. President Trump has accused Tehran of violating "the spirit" of the 2015 nuclear deal with this sort of test, but Rouhani maintains Iran is committed to upholding the agreement.

The new missile could reach Iranian rivals like Saudi Arabia or Israel and can carry multiple warheads. Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017
Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday notified 21 states they were targeted for hacking by the Russian government in advance of the 2016 election.

In most cases, this targeting amounted only to research and preparation, and no voting machines were compromised in any state. "What this boils down to is that someone tried the door knob and it was locked," explained Reid Magney of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

DHS announced the 21-state figure several months ago but had not previously communicated to the states in question. Friday's notification is intended to give the targeted states, a complete list of which has not been released, time to beef up security before 2018. "We heard feedback from the secretaries of state that this was an important piece of information," said Bob Kolasky, acting deputy undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS. "We agreed that this information would help election officials make security decisions."

In his Friday night speech in Alabama, President Trump again denied election collusion with Moscow. "No, Russia did not help me, that I can tell you, OK?" he said, calling this "hoax" Democrats' greatest achievement of 2016. Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017

President Trump announced on Twitter Saturday morning that he is no longer willing to host the Golden State Warriors at the White House, a traditional way to honor their NBA championship victory, because of comments from point guard Stephen Curry:

Trump's tweet comes hours after Curry on Friday told reporters he did not wish to meet the president, alluding to Trump's much-criticized responses to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"You can talk about all the different personalities that have said things and done things — from [Colin] Kaepernick to what happened with [Michael] Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change," Curry said. "We're all trying to do what we can using our platforms, using our opportunities, to shed light on that. That's kind of where I stand on that. I don't think us going to the White House will miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that."

This is Trump's second clash with professional athletes this weekend. On Friday night, he told a campaign rally crowd that NFL players like Kaepernick, who has knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, should be fired. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?" Trump said. Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017
STR/Getty Images

As-yet unidentified tremors were detected in North Korea early Saturday near the site of previous nuclear weapons tests. While China labeled the 3.4-magnitude quake a "suspected explosion" that could be Pyongyang's second nuclear test in a matter of weeks, an official from South Korea's meteorological agency said initial assessments indicate it was more likely a natural earthquake. North Korea has not commented either way.

On Friday, North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said his government might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. "This could probably mean the strongest hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean," Ri announced. "Regarding which measures to take, I don't really know since it is what Kim Jong Un does."

Also Friday, President Trump once again called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man," the latest in a series of insults the two men have traded this week. Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017

President Trump issued a profane call to NFL team owners to fire players who engage in peaceful political protest on the field while speaking Friday night at an Alabama rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R). "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?'" Trump asked his audience. "Out. He's fired. He's fired." The rally crowd responded with cheers.

"You know what's hurting the game?" the president continued. "When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they're playing our great national anthem." Trump encouraged his supporters to walk out of the stadium in counter-protest should they ever observe an NFL player's protest in person.

Trump was referring to football players like Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, who has silently declined to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Trump's comments were widely decried, including by other NFL players, with many noting his words for Kaepernick were harsher than his responses to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The NFL Players Association issued a statement Saturday vowing to "never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety."

Watch an excerpt of Trump's comments below, or see the entire speech here. Bonnie Kristian

Editor's note: This article originally incorrectly identified Kaepernick's former team. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.

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