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July 21, 2017
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Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump's newly hired communications director, is on the books as having donated a nice chunk of change to former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden in 2008. FEC donor records indicate the Wall Street financier gave $2,300 to Obama for America on May 31, 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times' Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet reported.

Now, Trump himself has also donated to Democrats, including to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, as well as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But on top of Scaramucci's donation, the new communications director has also made some less-than-complimentary comments about his new boss. In an August 2015 appearance on Fox Business, Scaramucci called Trump a "hack politician" and "an inherited money dude from Queens County."

The president's staff wasn't exactly on board with his decision to hire Scaramucci either: Scaramucci's hiring was apparently the impetus for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's resignation Friday. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon also reportedly weren't thrilled. Becca Stanek

7:55 a.m. ET
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Following months of speculation over how Roseanne Barr's character would be written out of the upcoming Roseanne spinoff The Conners, the comedian just casually spoiled it.

During a recent appearance on the YouTube talk show Walk Away, Barr, who was fired from ABC over a racist tweet in May, said that her character dies of an opioid overdose in The Conners, the new series that's almost exactly the same show as Roseanne but without Barr's involvement. Barr added that she's not happy with her character's fate. "It's so cynical and horrible," she said, per Deadline. "She should have died as a hero or not at all."

Some fans had already guessed this was coming, as the last season of Roseanne involved the title character being addicted to painkillers, which she takes to deal with a knee injury. By the end of the season, she is preparing to undergo surgery, so presumably, that surgery, and the subsequent overdose, will happen off-screen between Roseanne and The Conners.

Barr also suggested that killing off her character like this is an "insult" to "the people who loved that family and that show." The Conners will premiere on Oct. 16 on ABC. Brendan Morrow

6:31 a.m. ET

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a three-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, their third meeting since a historic summit in April. After an elaborate welcome ceremony at the airport and a ride through Pyongyang in an open-air limousine, the two leaders began official talks Tuesday afternoon. Kim told Moon he hoped the talks would produce a "bigger outcome at a faster pace" than the previous summits and Moon said it was "time to bear fruit." This is the first visit to Pyongyang for a South Korean president in at least a decade.

The talks are expected to focus on reducing military tensions and increasing economic cooperation on the Korean Peninsula and furthering nuclear diplomacy as denuclearization talks have stalled between North Korea and the U.S. over lack of agreement on details and timing.

"When the two Korean leaders met for the first time back in April, the simple fact that they were meeting was itself a major step," but "this time, Mr. Moon has to make real progress in persuading the North Koreans to make concrete steps to denuclearize," says BBC Seoul correspondent Laura Bicker. "Otherwise, the flurry of inter-Korean summits and the much-hyped Singapore meeting between Mr. Kim and President Trump this year will be seen as glossy photo ops, and the U.S. leader may begin to lose patience."

Top executives from South Korean business conglomerates, or chaebols, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and SK Group traveled to Pyongyang with Moon and they will meet with North Korea's deputy prime minister to focus on economic ties. South Korean officials said they don't expect any economic breakthroughs given the sanctions on North Korean. Peter Weber

5:23 a.m. ET
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Russia said Syrian antiaircraft missiles shot down a Russian Il-20 military reconnaissance plane early Tuesday as it was preparing to land at Khmeimim air base on Syria's Mediterranean coast. Russia blamed Israel for the friendly fire incident, which killed all 15 Russian service members on board, and threatened to retaliate with an "appropriate response."

Israel was conducting airstrikes on Syrian targets, and "the Israeli pilots were using the Russian aircraft as a shield and pushed it into the line of fire of the Syrian defense," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. "We view the actions of the Israeli military as hostile." Konashenkov said a recovery operation is underway in the Mediterranean, where the plane went down.

Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Israel maintain a special hotline to prevent their aircraft from clashing over Syria, but Russia said Israel did not warn it of this attack until one minute before the strike, preventing Russian aircraft from getting out of the way in time. Israel, which typically does not claim responsibility for its strikes on Syria, said it does not respond to "foreign reports." Peter Weber

4:32 a.m. ET

After John Oliver's Last Week Tonight won its third consecutive Emmy for best variety talk series on Monday night, Oliver fielded a few questions from the press. The first question, from an Australian reporter, was about Russell Crowe's Cinderella Man jockstrap, which Oliver paid $7,000 for in a bid to keep a Blockbuster video store in Alaska from going under. "I had a close, personal experience with Russell Crowe's jockstrap, the kind of experience that you don't go into life desiring and you end life regretting," he joked.

The jockstrap and other Crowe memorabilia did not save the Anchorage Blockbuster, Oliver said, and after the store closed, the jockstrap went missing. "The current location of that jockstrap is not clear. I know they sent the rest of that stuff to the Blockbuster in Oregon, but no one knows where the jockstrap is."

One journalist asked Oliver if he was surprised nobody mentioned President Trump during the Emmys. He called it a public service, pointing to "the drinking game" and explaining, "I think we're just trying to keep America sober. Everyone needs their wits about them right now. You can't drink the pain away." When the journalist asked Oliver if he thinks the lack of Trump jokes meant that "we're moving on," Oliver has an animated, NSFW response, and if that doesn't bother you, watch below. Peter Weber

3:35 a.m. ET
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The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has referred an internal investigation into Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long's frequent commutes to North Carolina to federal prosecutors for possible criminal charges, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the investigation. Long and two other FEMA employees may have broken as many as six laws by traveling from Washington, D.C., to Long's home in Hickory, North Carolina, in a caravan of government vehicles.

The aides who traveled the 400 miles with Long for his long weekends at home stayed in hotels, at taxpayer expense, the inspector general's office found. Long has spent about 150 days in North Carolina since becoming FEMA administrator in June 2017, the Journal reports, and he continued his government-subsidized commute after DHS lawyers warned him it was illegal last year, prompting the inspector general's office to put him under surveillance. There are strict federal laws about use of government travel because "it's simply too tempting to use government resources for personal commuting," explains Norm Eisen, ethics lawyer for former President Barack Obama.

Long, who says he is cooperating with he DHS investigation, told CBS News on Sunday that he was authorized to commute home with aides because the FEMA chief has to follow a presidential directive to ensure continuation of federal services at all times, which entails access to secure communications. Former FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate tells the Journal he drove home to Florida in his own car by himself, with planned stops along the route if he needed secure communications.

The White House was prepared to fire Long after getting the inspector general's preliminary report, the Journal reports, but the looming Hurricane Florence helped Long keep his job, for now. He seems prepared for a career shift, the Journal notes, because "the inspector general is also reviewing communications between Mr. Long and a FEMA contractor that appear to include discussions about future employment." Peter Weber

2:16 a.m. ET

These would be fighting words in Texas, if anyone were taking them seriously.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced this silly line of attack against his Democratic rival, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, at a campaign rally on Saturday, responding to PETA handing out barbecued tofu outside. "So I got to say, they summed up the entire election: If Texas elects a Democrat, they’re going to ban barbecue across the state of Texas," he said. "You want to talk about an issue to mobilize the people." The audience laughed.

Cruz didn't explain what tofu has to do with O'Rourke or Democrats, or how a U.S. senator would outlaw barbecue in a state, but in a speech a week earlier, he said liberals wanted to make Texas "just like California, right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair." Cruz spokeswoman Emily Miller, who once called O'Rourke a "triple meat Whataburger liberal," echoed Cruz's barbecue line, just to show he wasn't entirely joking, tweeting: "Texas on the brink of #AbolishBBQ if voters don't #KeepTexasRed."

"Cruz's words may have been in jest — the suggestion that O'Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, is an an enemy of barbecue is clearly a straw man made of tofu — but that doesn't mean they didn't have the serious purpose of further planting an image in voters' minds of O'Rourke as a candidate outside the mainstream of Texas values," explains Jonathan Tilove at the Austin American-Statesman.

O'Rourke hasn't bothered chasing Cruz's barbecue conspiracy, tweeting instead about expanding Medicaid and protecting health care coverage from Republicans — and lemonade, which he clearly doesn't want to ban.

Anyway, watch for some anti-lemonade angle in Cruz's next attack. Peter Weber

2:05 a.m. ET
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Rhami Zeini did the right thing, and he's now $100 richer.

Zeini, a 16-year-old high school junior from Santa Barbara, California, was headed home from school last Wednesday when he saw a black purse in the middle of the street. He picked it up and started digging around, trying to find an ID. Instead, he discovered that the purse was filled with money — $10,000 to be exact. Zeini notified his parents, and they brought it to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

"To me, I figured this is the right thing to do if I take it and find whoever's purse it was because if the roles were reversed and I had lost something with a significant sum of money inside, I know I would want it back for sure," he told KEYT. Deputies were able to track down the purse's owner, and she was so grateful that she gave Zeini $100 as a reward. Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, said the woman likely put her purse on the roof of her car and forgot to grab it before driving off. Catherine Garcia

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