President Trump on Tuesday fired FBI Director James Comey, becoming only the second president in history to dismiss the leader of the FBI. The decision came at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who cited Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server as reason for the termination.
In his letter to Comey informing the FBI director he'd been terminated, Trump wrote, "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau." Under Comey, the FBI was conducting an investigation into Russia's interference in last year's election, including whether Trump or his associates knowingly colluded with the Russians.
FBI Director Comey has been "terminated and removed from office." pic.twitter.com/z2or0M6oJB
— Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) May 9, 2017
For the first time on TV, Dylan Farrow has spoken out about abuse allegations she made against her adoptive father, Woody Allen.
Farrow appeared Thursday on CBS This Morning in her first on-air interview about her allegation that Allen molested her when she was a child. Farrow first revealed the abuse in The New York Times in 2014 after it had been rumored for years. "I want to show my face and tell my story. I want to speak out literally," she told CBS's Gayle King.
Farrow told King that when she was 7 years old, Allen molested her while her mother, Mia Farrow, was out shopping. She described the incident in graphic detail: "He instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother's toy train that was set up. And he sat behind me in the doorway and as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted." Farrow added, "As a 7-year-old, I would have said he touched my 'private parts,' which I did say. As a 32-year-old: He touched my labia and my vulva with his finger."
King pointed out that Allen has long maintained that Farrow's mother Mia manipulated her into making a false allegation. Farrow shot down the idea, saying, "What I don't understand is how is this crazy story of me being brainwashed and coached more believable than what I'm saying about being sexually assaulted by my father."
Allen has consistently denied Farrow's allegation. He wrote to CBS that the Farrows were "cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time's Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation." Watch the full interview below. Kelly O'Meara Morales
Amazon on Thursday released the list of 20 finalists in its headquarters contest, dubbed HQ2. Last September, the tech giant invited cities across North America to explain why they were the best location for its second headquarters, following its main hub in Seattle.
Among the 20 contenders still vying for Amazon's heart are a few major destinations, like Los Angeles and New York City, as well as an international option in Toronto. But the company is also considering some smaller-market areas, like Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville, Tennessee.
Those cities are joined by: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Miami; Montgomery County, Maryland; Newark, New Jersey; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and Washington, D.C.
Whichever city is the lucky winner will likely receive a dramatic economic boost due to Amazon's presence, as the company has said it expects to create roughly 50,000 jobs with its headquarters expansion as well as invest $5 billion in the winning city. Still, seven states didn't submit proposals to Amazon at all, Business Insider notes, due to concerns that either they could not meet the behemoth company's needs or that being home to an Amazon headquarters would create monstrous — and expensive — demands for housing and other goods.
Competition was fierce, as Amazon received 238 proposals from cities across the U.S, Mexico, and Canada. The company has said it will pick the winning city this year. Kimberly Alters
On Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told House Democrats that some of President Trump's hardline immigration policies on the campaign were "uninformed" or "not fully informed" and that Trump had especially "evolved" in his understanding of what kind of Mexico border wall was plausible, according to Democrats in the meeting. Kelly added that the White House was seeking $20 billion for 700 miles of "physical barrier," a "50-foot wall from sea to shining sea isn't what we're going to build," attendees said, and the Mexican government won't pay for it.
"He has evolved in the way he looks at things," Kelly told Fox News on Wednesday night. "Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president has been very flexible in terms of what's in the realm of the possible." On Thursday morning, Trump disputed a number of Kelly's characterizations.
The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water.....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
....The Wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico, which has a ridiculous $71 billion dollar trade surplus with the U.S. The $20 billion dollar Wall is “peanuts” compared to what Mexico makes from the U.S. NAFTA is a bad joke!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
During the campaign, Trump had promised a "big, beautiful wall" along the 2,100-mile U.S.-Mexico border, most of it defined by the Rio Grande River, and vowed that Mexico would pay for it. On Thursday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo and Spectrum News anchor Errol Louis noted that Trump's tweets certainly sound like an "evolved" version of Trump's original wall plan. Watch below. Peter Weber
President Trump tweeted "the wall is the wall" this morning. How does that stack up with what he and his administration have said about a southern border wall in the past? https://t.co/6a3v13e4mQ
— New Day (@NewDay) January 18, 2018
Republicans won three out of four special elections on Tuesday in strongly Republican areas, but in each case the Democrat outperformed President Trump's 2016 numbers by at least a dozen percentage points and in one — a state Senate seat in western Wisconsin that Republicans have held for 17 years — Democrat Patty Schachtner won by 11 points, a 28-point swing from Trump's 2016 numbers. "This special election hit the Wisconsin GOP like an electric shock," said former conservative radio host Charlie Sykes. On Thursday, President Trump is heading to Pennsylvania to head off another upset in a U.S. House district Republicans have easily held for 16 years.
Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, 59, and Democrat Conor Lamb, 33, are facing each other in a March 13 election to fill the seat former Rep. Tim Murphy (R) vacated amid a sex and abortion scandal. The gerrymandered district in western Pennsylvania voted for Trump by 19 percentage points, but "internal polls from both parties now reveal a single-digit race," The New York Times reports. Saccone has proved to be a lackluster campaigner and poor fundraiser, and so Trump is visiting Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning with Saccone Feb. 2, and both men could return if needed, GOP officials tell the Times.
House Republicans in Washington have already contributed about half of Saccone's $200,000 war chest, and they have more fundraisers scheduled for him in Washington. Two conservative organizations have already spent $700,000 to broadcast ads against Lamb, a former prosecutor and Marine, and the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC is going to jump in with attack ads next week. Lamb, meanwhile, has said he wants to keep the race local; the House Democratic campaign arm is unlikely to put much money in the race, and other than Vice President Joe Biden, the Times says, "few high-profile Democrats would help Mr. Lamb by dipping into the district." Lamb has raised more than $550,000. Peter Weber
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 239 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 like 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 "Sh--ty 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. "Literally 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 "Time's Up" insignia. "And if you don't want to do that," she said, "take off your 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