×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
May 4, 2017

They can take our privacy, but they'll never take our Post-Its. Since the creation of the Transportation Security Administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Americans have endured much in the name of security. We've been through the nude scanners, the aggressive pat-downs even for children and people with disabilities, the endemic incompetence at detecting actual security threats, and so much more.

But being asked to remove all our paper products from our bags at the checkpoint — an actual new rule the TSA tested in Kansas City, Missouri, this week — is a bridge too far.

After initially defending the policy, the TSA backtracked on Wednesday, announcing it shut down the extra paper screenings the day before. As you rejoice in this small victory for common sense, check out The Week's "Confessions of a former TSA officer" for the appalling inside scoop on all the stuff the TSA hasn't rescinded. Bonnie Kristian

9:22 a.m. ET
STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

WWE is not altering its plans to hold an event in Saudi Arabia amid mounting criticism from fans and reportedly even its own employees.

Some wrestlers on WWE's roster are uncomfortable performing at Crown Jewel, a wrestling pay-per-view event scheduled for next month in Saudi Arabia, reports Sports Illustrated. This follows the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after arriving at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. The Saudi government is reportedly preparing to report he was killed during a botched interrogation after weeks of claiming no knowledge. Turkey says it has evidence Khashoggi's body was dismembered.

Khashoggi's disappearance has prompted various forms of corporate protest — JP Morgan Chase pulled out of an upcoming business conference in Saudi Arabia, and a Hollywood talent firm has threatened to return a $400 million Saudi investment. WWE fans are watching closely, but the wrestling company simply said in a vague statement to The New York Post that it continues to "maintain an open line of communication" with its wrestlers and will "monitor the situation."

WWE first held an event in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, and was criticized for painting an image of a progressive nation. The broadcast showed images of women driving, but no female WWE wrestlers were allowed to perform. "Given the nation's poor record with human rights," wrote Sports Illustrated, citing current performers' concerns, WWE should "indefinitely suspend all shows in Saudi Arabia." Brendan Morrow

8:33 a.m. ET
Emmanuel Dunand / Getty Images

Secretary of Defense James Mattis isn't going anywhere just yet.

Mattis told reporters on Monday that Trump has assured him he is "100 percent" behind him, per CBS News. This came after Trump told 60 Minutes on Sunday that it "could be" that his secretary of defense will leave the administration because "I think he's sort of a Democrat."

In response, the retired four-star Marine Corps general told reporters that he has actually never registered for a political party, and his "portfolio is bipartisan." He also said he and the president have "never talked" about the possibility of him leaving the administration.

60 Minutes' question for Trump came following reports that Trump and Mattis' relationship had grown strained; The New York Times reported in September that the president has "soured on his defense secretary" and is "increasingly concerned that he is a Democrat at heart." With such a high turnover rate in the Trump administration, this has naturally raised the question of whether Mattis is on his way out, but for now, he says he's "on [Trump's] team." Brendan Morrow

8:00 a.m. ET
Fox News

If President Trump ever gets tired of referring to Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas, Tucker Carlson just offered him a bunch of offensive new nicknames.

The Fox News host during a segment on Monday night referred to Warren using a whole slate of Native American-themed insults, including "Lie-awatha," "Fake-agawea," and "Fraud-azuma," per Mediaite. This was in response to Warren saying she took a DNA test showing "strong evidence" of a distant Native American ancestor, after President Trump repeatedly referred to her as Pocahontas and suggested she had lied about having Native American ancestry.

Carlson wasn't impressed with Warren's DNA test, though, saying the results only show that she might be "about roughly as American Indian as every white person you've ever met, which is to say not American Indian at all." The Fox News host then said that Warren had appointed herself the "head of the #MeSioux movement" with these claims, having "leveraged" Native Americans' suffering to "climb the greasy pole of our fake meritocracy."

Later in the show, Carlson also floated the idea that Warren may have paid The Boston Globe, which found "ethnicity was not a factor in her rise in law," for their coverage of her DNA test. He asked, "Are they taking payment directly from her or is it just a kind of moral payment?” Brendan Morrow

7:20 a.m. ET

The high-profile Senate race in Texas is gathering steam with a Tuesday night debate in San Antonio between Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and President Trump set the date Monday for his promised rally with Cruz in Houston — Oct. 22 in the 10,000-seat NRG Arena. And also Monday, the independent Fire Ted Cruz PAC released a new ad from Austin director Richard Linklater, once more featuring actor Sonny Carl Davis. Only this time, he was talking about hamburgers.

Davis started with the Cruz campaign's odd attack on O'Rourke as a "Triple Meat Whataburger liberal." "What does that even mean, Ted?" he asked. "I mean, everybody I know in Texas likes Whataburger." But that was nothing compared with Davis looking pained at Canadian-born Ted Cruz professing his love for White Castle burgers: "There's not a White Castle within 900 miles of Texas, Ted. Maybe up in Canada, huh? But not in Texas."

Fire Ted Cruz is not affiliated with the O'Rourke campaign. This ad, like Linklater's last Sonny Carl Davis spot, is not exactly what you'd call issues-oriented, but it's arguably slightly less ridiculous than some of the attacks on O'Rourke from Cruz and his campaign. Early voting in Texas starts Monday. Peter Weber

6:21 a.m. ET

Turkish crime scene investigators spent nine hours searching the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on Monday night and Tuesday morning, gathering evidence in the disappearance of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A team of about 10 Turkish investigators left the consulate at 5 a.m., followed 90 minutes later by a Turkish prosecutor and, a little later, a Saudi team, Reuters reports. The Turkish investigators carted away soil samples, a metal door from the garden, and other forensic evidence.

Turkish officials, who say they have proof that a Saudi team murdered and dismembered Khashoggi when he visited the consulate for marriage-related paperwork on Oct. 2, acknowledged the difficulty of finding useful evidence 13 days after the alleged crime.

The Saudis agreed to let Turkey inspect the consulate only after Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Sunday. Still, "hours before the Turkish forensic team arrived, journalists photographed a cleaning crew entering the consulate, hauling buckets, mops, and what appeared to be bottles of cleaning solution," The Washington Post reports. "When the Turkish investigators entered the consulate, some wearing white protective gear, they 'smelled chemicals had been used,' according to two officials in contact with the investigators."

Also Tuesday morning, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh for meetings with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the behest of President Trump. The Saudis, who have denied involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, are now planning to claim he was accidentally killed during a botched interrogation by a Saudi intelligence operative dispatched by the crown prince to question the mildly critical journalist or spirit him to Saudi Arabia, according to reports in The New York Times and CNN. Some U.S. officials fear the Turks will play along in exchange for Saudi loans. Peter Weber

5:14 a.m. ET

On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a DNA test showing she almost certainly has some distant Native America ancestry, as her family has long recounted in lore. "Now, some people don't believe that, and his name is Donald Trump." Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. He played some of President Trump's "Pocahontas" taunts, including the time he said he used the slur with affection. "See, it may be racist, but it's affectionate, because Trump has great affection for racism," Colbert joked.

Warren is pushing back with her "fact squad," and Colbert laughed. "You know you're a Democratic Harvard professor when that's the toughest name you could think of. Was 'dork brigade' taken?" Anyway, on Monday, the "fact squad" released the DNA test and accompanying video tackling the Native American ancestry question head-on. "You heard them right: This test accurately reveals, with a high confidence, that Elizabeth Warren is running for president," Colbert deadpanned. Trump shrugged off the results, asking, "Who cares?" "You care!" Colbert said. "You're literally the only person who cares."

Trump cares so much he once offered $1 million to Warren's favorite charity if she proved she was part Native American, predicting she'd refuse the offer. "Well, Mr. President, she didn't say no, she said yes — but rumor has it you don't know the difference," Colbert said. In any case, when reporters confronted Trump with his $1 million pledge, he first denied it, then "chickened out."

Trump also denied on 60 Minutes on Sunday night that he's a denier — of climate change, of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's brutality, of being a baby. Colbert puckishly found that last denial plausible: "Yes, he's not a baby, because a baby wets his own bed."

Colbert had his own questions for Trump, so he stepped into the 60 Minutes interview and got the answers he wanted — and gave not-baby Trump the pink baby blanket he apparently needed. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:00 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If campaign money is speech, as Republicans have argued, Democrats simply have more to say leading up to the 2018 midterms.

At least 60 House Democratic candidates raised more than $1 million in the third quarter, from July to Sept. 30, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Monday night, ahead of a midnight Federal Election Commission filing deadline. Eight of those Democrats raised more than $3 million apiece, a huge number for a midterm election. "Democrats outraised their Republican opponents in 32 of the closest 45 House races by a total margin of $154 million to $108 million since November 2016," The New York Times reports. Overall, House Democratic candidates have raised $252 million this election versus $172 million by House Republican candidates.

Democratic Senate candidates in the nine most competitive races have raised $212 million, versus $164 million by their Republican rivals, The Washington Post reports, and the Democrat has outraised the Republican in each of those nine races — including vulnerable Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.). In Texas, Rep. Beto O'Rourke raised a record $38.1 million in the third quarter, trouncing incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's $11.6 million.

The Democrats' fundraising is being driven by donations of $200 or less — ActBlue, which steers online donations to Democratic candidates, says it raised $385 million in the third quarter, with an average contribution of $49. Republican super PACs are making up some of the GOP shortfall — casino magnate Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave at least $32 million to Republican committees and PACs in September alone, raising their total this cycle to $87 million, with more coming — and President Trump has been a fundraising powerhouse for GOP candidates.

"You don't buy your way into office, but this kind of money makes victory possible in scenarios where it otherwise might not have been," campaign finance expert Bob Biersack tells The New York Times. And this quarter "is probably going to be the largest quarter in the history of midterms," thanks to small-dollar donations to Democrats. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads