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August 7, 2017

President Trump has made securing the U.S. border with Mexico a key priority of his administration, John Oliver noted on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "And while that wall idea has received a lot of coverage, it is by no means Trump's only border plan. One of his more benign-sounding but potentially no-less-dangerous ideas concerns the Border Patrol." The Border Patrol isn't ICE — the agents doing the raids — or the customs officers at airports, he explained. They're the 20,000 agents who literally patrol the border, often alone, and Trump wants to add at least 5,000 more.

The work they do is part drug interdiction and part humanitarian work, but mostly boring, and not everyone can do the job, Oliver said. "And that is what makes Trump's plan expand the Border Patrol by 25 percent so concerning, because if you hire agents quickly and badly, it can actually leave us much less safe and have devastating consequences." We know this, because we've done this before, Oliver said. "So tonight, I would like to talk to you about the last Border Patrol hiring surge," in the late-2000s.

To double the Border Patrol, the George W. Bush administration did things like produce slick recruitment ads and sponsor a NASCAR car, but it also lowered standards, cut back training, and instituted a polygraph test only after some shady people made it through, Oliver explained. This led to a string of questionable shootings, very iffy agent activity, and at least 77 officers fired for corruption, often with Mexican drug cartels. "Look, whatever your feelings about the laws the Border Patrol have been given to enforce — and I have plenty of feelings on that — you do want the best possible people enforcing them," he said. "Because if you don't, as we have seen, bad things happen."

"If we are going to hire all these people, the very least we can do is be more careful this time around," Oliver argued. "And one tiny step would be to have recruitment ads that show potential agents what the job is really like." The ad, like the rest of the segment, is peppered with NSFW language and irreverent jokes. Watch below. Peter Weber

10:26 a.m. ET
Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday began soliciting public input on restoring work requirements for food stamp recipients in high-unemployment areas where rules were waived in recent years.

"Long-term dependency has never been part of the American dream," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "USDA's goal is to move individuals and families [using food stamps] back to the workforce as the best long-term solution to poverty."

Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) are eligible for only three months of food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) unless they spend at least 80 hours per month working or at a qualified training. In five states — Alaska, California, Louisiana, Nevada, and New Mexico — and economically struggling localities in 28 other states, that rule is currently suspended.

No changes have been formally proposed at this time, but the USDA estimates about 2.9 million ABAWDs are currently unemployed and would therefore be affected if the waiver were rescinded. They make up about 7 percent of the 43.6 million people who used food stamps in 2017. Bonnie Kristian

10:17 a.m. ET

Heavy rains over the weekend are expected to exacerbate deadly flooding in the Midwest and southern Plains regions. Hundreds of people have evacuated their homes in affected areas from eastern Texas through southern Indiana, and at least three people, including one child, have been killed in connection to the floods.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) has declared a 30-day state of emergency, and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) has issued a disaster proclamation for three counties. The National Weather Service advises caution of flash floods and tornadoes throughout the weekend. Bonnie Kristian

8:33 a.m. ET

The United States men's curling team took its first-ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Saturday. After nearly being eliminated from the competition, the team made a comeback win, besting both the Canadian team — prior to this victory, no American team in men's or women's curling has ever beaten Canada at the Olympics — and the Swedish team, which was ranked first in the world.

"During the entire end we could kind of feel it building," said team leader John Shuster of the gold-medal victory over Sweden. "Their margin for error got really small."

Also Saturday, Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic became the first woman to take gold in two separate events at the Winter Games. Last Saturday, she was the surprise victor in Alpine skiing, and this week, Ledecka triumphed in her primary event, women's parallel giant slalom snowboarding. Bonnie Kristian

8:07 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Chief of Staff John Kelly will make the decision about whether to revoke access to classified information for Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, the president said Friday. Trump expressed confidence in Kelly's judgment and praised his son-in-law as "a high-quality person" who "has been treated unfairly."

Kushner "works for nothing," Trump added. "Nobody ever reports that. He gets zero. He doesn't get a salary." Many media outlets reported White House staff salaries, including Kushner's $0 rate, when they were published last summer.

Kushner is among more than 100 White House staff of varying levels of seniority who still lacked security clearance as of November, and he has so far resisted Kelly's move to limit his information access before clearance is granted.

Friday evening, The Washington Post reported Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the White House two weeks ago Kushner's background check had uncovered information requiring additional investigation and thus further delaying his clearance process. Rosenstein reportedly did not tell the White House what his department has learned. Bonnie Kristian

February 23, 2018

Often called the Rolls-Royce of alpine sports, Foil has outdone itself with its limited-edition Oro-Amaranto Jackie Chan skis ($42,000). Tuned to the specifications of the veteran action star, who is both a fine skier and a collector of rare woods, these outrageously luxurious foot-extenders have 14-karat-gold-plated bindings and are made from purpleheart, a hardwood prized for its density, water resistance, and beautiful color. Foil also makes skis from Bog Oak — culled from trees buried in peat bogs and thus preserved for up to 8,000 years. The company is working now to develop a high-performance ski made of solid gold. The Week Staff

February 23, 2018

Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin forced a Los Angeles-area high school to close Friday after making a cryptic post on Instagram, the New York Post reports.

Martin was viciously harassed by a number of his Dolphins teammates, including Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey, starting in his rookie year in 2012, an NFL report released in 2014 found. The report concluded that the harassment eventually led "to Martin's decision to leave the team, as well [as] contribute[d] to his mental health and suicidal thoughts," SB Nation reports.

Martin used his private Instagram account to post a photo of a shotgun and bullets, as well as the names of former teammates, including Incognito and Pouncey. He also included the name of the high school he attended, Harvard-Westlake, and the text: "When you're a bully victim and a coward, your options are suicide or revenge."

In the 2014 NFL report, Martin had also expressed distress over being "a pushover, a people-pleaser," texting friends and family to say: "I mostly blame the soft schools I went to, which fostered within me a feeling that I'm a huge p--sy, as I never got into fights. I used to get verbally bullied every day in middle school and high school, by kids that are half my size."

In a statement, the school said: "Last evening, we learned of an internet post that mentions Harvard-Westlake by name. Out of an abundance of caution, and because the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority, we made the decision to close school today. We are working closely with law enforcement and will share more information when we are able." Jeva Lange

February 23, 2018
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rick Gates, a former adviser to President Trump's 2016 campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of conspiracy and another of lying to the FBI, charges brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sentencing guidelines put Gates in the range of a prison term of 57 to 71 months, Reuters reports, although those numbers could be brought down based on cooperation in the investigation.

"Gates could provide the special counsel with valuable information about the inner workings of Trump's operation: He served as a senior figure in the campaign and had access to the White House as an outside adviser in the early months of the administration," The Washington Post writes.

Mueller's office had filed 32 additional charges against Gates and Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on Thursday. The pair had additionally been indicted on 12 counts of financial crimes last October. Gates had reportedly been working to finalize a plea deal with Mueller last week, making him potentially the third person known to be cooperating with the special counsel's investigation, after Trump's former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Jeva Lange

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