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October 13, 2017

The flag flies triumphantly above the building, gently fluttering in the wind, alerting people far and wide that a person of great honor and distinction is inside. No, it's not the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace — it's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has a staffer climb up to the roof of his department's Washington headquarters and hoist up a special secretarial flag to signal that he's shown up to work for the day.

When Zinke leaves the office or travels, another employee makes the trek up to the roof to take down the flag, which features the agency's bison seal. If Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt is in while Zinke is gone, he has his own special banner that goes up. Asked by The Washington Post what the point was of all this exactly, spokeswoman Heather Swift said it was "a major sign of transparency," adding that Zinke is "restoring honor and tradition to the department, whether it's flying the flag when he is in garrison or restoring traditional access to public lands."

While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has a personal flag flying next to the U.S. flag at State Department headquarters at all times, following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Zinke is the first interior secretary to do it, the Post reports, and not even the White House flies the presidential flag when President Trump is inside. Zinke might be a trailblazer, and others in the administration could soon emulate him — be on the lookout for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's banner, emblazoned with smoke stacks and oil-covered birds. Catherine Garcia

10:53a.m.

We regret to inform you that Anthony Scaramucci is at it again. And this time, he's dancing.

More than a year after being hired and quickly fired as White House communications director, Scaramucci has re-enacted his 11 days in office through interpretive dance in a video for the New York Post. Scaramucci refers to these dances as "Mooch moves," but they're more like a one-sided game of charades.

For example, take day one. Scaramucci devoted it to "cleaning house," he explains, and subsequently interprets cleaning like this.

(Screenshot/New York Post)

Scaramucci says he spent his second day "taking an axe to the tree of leaking" — a move that could also be called "the mixed metaphor." Day three involves some jazz hands that somehow evoke TV interviews, and day four is when Scaramucci misses the birth of his son. It's a "big bummer," Scaramucci laments, as you can see by the single tear he mimes below.

(Screenshot/New York Post)

The remaining days include acting out radio interviews with giant headphones, another hunt for leaks with an imaginary magnifying glass, and a mimed hanging to signify his firing. And once Scaramucci has left the White House? This is what he calls the "thank you God that it's over."

(Screenshot/New York Post)

Luckily, Scaramucci's limited tenure means you only have to experience 11 dance-like moves. Watch it all below. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:33a.m.

In a fresh sign of progress for inter-Korean relations, North and South Korea have agreed to remove all firearms from a Joint Security Area at Panmunjom, a former village in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) now used for diplomatic meetings. Both sides committed Monday to ceasing "all hostile acts" in the DMZ.

Guard postings will also be reduced in Panmunjom; land mines are already being removed from the area; and the two governments will share information on their surveillance equipment in the DMZ. "We discussed the timeline of the pullout of firearms and guard posts, as well as ways to adjust the number of guard personnel and conduct joint inspections," South Korea's defense ministry said in a statement Monday.

This is but the latest in a series of steps toward normalizing relations between North and South. Last week, the two Koreas agreed to reconnect some roads and railways separated by the DMZ, and on Friday the U.S. and South Korea canceled plans for a joint military exercise to ease diplomacy with North Korea. Bonnie Kristian

10:31a.m.

Fox News' narrative about the Central American migrant caravan doesn't seem to be resonating with independent voters.

At least, that's what a Fox & Friends discussion with four independents seemed to discover on Monday. Host Steve Doocy, along with his co-hosts and guests, have recently been promoting the idea that the approaching caravan of migrants from Central America is dangerous, with host Brian Kilmeade warning of "security issues" and nodding along as a guest described the caravan as "an act of war," and host Pete Hegseth calling for a military deployment to stop the migrants.

But when Doocy talked to a panel of voters about the caravan, the very first panelist didn't seem to agree with any of this. "This is the mightiest country on the planet," one voter said, per Mediaite. "I think we can handle a caravan of people, unarmed, coming to this country." The very next panelist decried the fact that immigration has been used as a "partisan football," and another pointed to the "humanitarian crisis taking place in Central America."

Finally, the last independent voter on the panel said that the caravan should not be treated as "an invasion," adding, "these are human beings coming here." This segment came during the very same show in which a Fox & Friends guest speculated without evidence that ISIS terrorists could be infiltrating the caravan, a theory that seemed to inspire a particularly inflammatory presidential tweet this morning. Watch a clip from the Fox & Friends panel below. Brendan Morrow

10:08a.m.

Whether journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in a gruesome assassination or, as Saudi Arabia has claimed to much skepticism, a brutal fist fight gone wrong, it may seem obvious he — and not, say, President Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and other enthusiasts of the U.S.-Saudi alliance — is the victim here.

Rubio suggested otherwise in a Monday morning tweet:

The Florida senator did concede Khashoggi's violent death and dismemberment was "immoral" in its own right. But by word count, anyway, the great bulk of his concern was for himself, Trump, and others now suffering political opposition over their affection for a dictatorial monarchy. Bonnie Kristian

9:57a.m.

You probably haven't heard about one of the worst American oil spills ever. That's because the company responsible has reportedly kept the ongoing spill secret for years, and has no apparent plans to stop it.

After a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan sunk one of Taylor Energy's oil platforms in 2004, anywhere from 300 to 700 barrels of oil have poured into the Gulf of Mexico every day, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Millions of gallons and 14 years later, and the leak looks like it'll surpass BP's Deepwater Horizon spill to become the largest in American history.

This ongoing spill likely would have flown under the radar if it weren't for Deepwater Horizon — the 2010 environmental disaster that happened just a few miles from this one. Taylor Energy reportedly hid the spill for six years until a watchdog group investigating BP's spill found it. And even after a Justice Department analysis revealed the spill was bigger than initial Coast Guard estimates, Taylor Energy has maintained that there is "no evidence to prove any of the wells are leaking," the Post writes.

Taylor Energy's leak makes up just a slice of the 330,000 gallons that gush into Louisiana's waters every year, according to the state's oil spill coordinator's office. Yet even as Gulf leaks continue, the Trump administration has approved further offshore drilling with little federal regulation, the Post says. Many of the proposed rigs are in the Atlantic, where hurricanes are far more frequent, especially as climate change warms ocean waters.

Taylor Energy has declined to comment on the apparent spill, which you can read about more at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:48a.m.

President Trump is taking his wild claims about the Central American migrant caravan to the next level.

The president on Monday morning claimed, without citing any evidence, that "unknown Middle Easterners" are "mixed in" with the caravan of migrants currently making its way toward the United States. These migrants are from Central America, primarily Honduras, and many are coming to the U.S. in hopes of escaping violence and poverty in their home countries, CBS reports.

The president had previously been claiming, again without citing evidence, that the caravan is full of "hardened criminals" and that "these aren't little angels coming into our country," reports BuzzFeed News. When a reporter asked Trump what evidence he had to support this statement, he responded, "Oh, please. Please. Don't be a baby."

As is often the case, Trump's source this morning may very well be Fox & Friends. Media Matters' Matthew Gertz pointed out that during a Monday discussion of the migrant caravan on Trump's favorite morning show, a guest speculated that ISIS terrorists could be infiltrating the caravan, offering no proof other than the fact that the president of Guatemala recently said that 100 suspected terrorists had been apprehended by his administration. This original report, however, had nothing to do with the caravan at all. Brendan Morrow

9:42a.m.

Berlin announced Monday that Germany will not make any additional arms sales agreements with Saudi Arabia in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The government is in agreement that we will not approve further arms exports for the moment because we want to know what happened," said Economy Minister Peter Altmaier. Germany may also renege on past weapons deals still in progress, he said, indicating a decision would be announced "very soon." Berlin previously approved arms sales valued around $462 million to Saudi Arabia in 2018.

Altmaier urged the rest of the European Union to follow suit. "For me it would be important that we come to a joint European stance," he said, "because only if all European countries are in agreement, it will make an impression on the government in Riyadh. It will not have any positive consequences if we halt arms exports but other countries at the same time fill the gap."

President Trump has insisted the United States will not stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, relying on an argument about U.S. jobs that has been found seriously wanting. Bonnie Kristian

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