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November 1, 2017
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As White House staffers start to seriously contemplate the possibility of impeachment after the first round of indictments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, the president has begun to blame his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, for his unenviable position.

Vanity Fair reports that the president, during a Tuesday phone call with former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, blamed Kushner for Mueller's advancing investigation because he had advocated the firings of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey. Bannon — who once referred to Kushner as a "cuck" — is to said want former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to testify to Mueller that Kushner pushed the president to fire Comey.

Meanwhile, in a recent call with close friend Roger Stone, Trump agreed with Stone's assessment that Kushner had given the president bad political advice, Vanity Fair reports. The White House did not respond to a request from Vanity Fair for comment.

Earlier this year, Kushner led a delegation to the Middle East on Trump's behalf to discuss the possibility of brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. Kushner's vast portfolio also includes "fighting the opioid crisis" and "reforming care for veterans." Read more about Trump's son-in-law in the hot seat — as well as the rising anxiety in the White House after Mueller's first indictments — at Vanity Fair. Kelly O'Meara Morales

9:05 p.m. ET
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President Trump is spending Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, his gilded private club in Palm Beach, Florida, and the members who pay $15,000 a year in dues have to start following special rules that go into effect when Trump's on the premises.

A notice was sent out Monday reminding members that they'll have to go through Secret Service checkpoints, which will likely take 10 to 20 minutes to go through, Politico reports. "Pocket knives, laser pointers, pepper spray, and any other items deemed to be a safety hazard are not permitted on property," the memo said. "Any items surrendered will not be returned." Members are also only allowed to bring two guests at a time to the club, and all of the rules are enough to keep some people away. "We plan not to be there when he's there," one longtime member told Politico. "When he's there, it's a mess."

Trump has dubbed Mar-a-Lago the "Winter White House," and Chief of Staff John Kelly is reportedly trying to figure out a way to keep Trump from hobnobbing with the members in the club's main dining room, but friend and Mar-a-Lago member Chris Ruddy said he doubts he'll be able to keep him away. "The president thrives on the interactions he has with guests, friends, and members, and I'd be surprised if that didn't continue in some way," he told Politico. Catherine Garcia

7:39 p.m. ET
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In October 2016, hackers stole the personal data of 57 million Uber customers and drivers, the company announced Tuesday.

Uber paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data, which included names, email addresses, phone numbers, and in the case of some U.S. drivers, driver's license numbers. The company told Bloomberg they do not believe the information was ever used, and its chief security officer and deputy were let go this week for not going public with the hack.

"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. "We are changing the way we do business." A spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he has launched an investigation into the hack. Catherine Garcia

6:56 p.m. ET
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Once tasked with everything from brokering peace in the Middle East to ending the opioid crisis in America, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has seen his responsibilities slowly fade away over the last few months, several White House officials told Vanity Fair.

It started when Chief of Staff John Kelly arrived over the summer. "Kelly has clipped his wings," one Republican close to the White House told Gabriel Sherman. He's made it so Kushner, who worked in real estate and once ran a newspaper, mostly focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was angry when Kushner made an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia right before the Crown Price arrested 11 of his fellow Saudi royals, Vanity Fair reports. Many believe the timing proves Kushner had something to do with planning the purge, and that's what ticked off Kelly. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders found this notion hilarious, telling Vanity Fair, "Chief Kelly and Jared had a good laugh about this inquiry as nothing in it is true."

Kelly's not the only person in the White House finding fault with Kushner — several Republicans told Sherman Trump is not pleased with the political advice he's received from his son-in-law, including to back Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican Senate primary. Strange ended up losing to Roy Moore, who now stands accused of sexual misconduct by several women. Three Republicans told Sherman that if Trump had his way, Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, would return to New York City with their family, where the president thinks they would escape negative press. Catherine Garcia

4:50 p.m. ET

On Tuesday, President Trump told White House reporters that "we do not need a liberal person" to win the open Senate seat in Alabama. "You have to listen to" Roy Moore's denials of the allegations of his sexual misconduct with minors, Trump told reporters, referring to the multiple women who have accused the Republican candidate of inappropriate conduct. Trump said that Moore's Democratic opponent Doug Jones — who convicted two KKK members for bombing a church in Alabama — was "terrible on crime" and "terrible on the border" before adding that allegations against Moore occurred over 40 years ago, "so, you know."

Although the Republican Party has largely distanced itself or withdrawn support entirely from Moore, the White House had been reluctant to give a firm opinion on Moore's candidacy. Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the president believed "the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their senator should be." On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway gave a slightly less limp endorsement of Moore, saying on Fox & Friends that Moore's victory would help the Republicans pass tax reform — comments the Moore campaign latched onto as implicit proof of a White House endorsement.

Before Trump made his way to Mar-a-Lago for his Thanksgiving vacation, he was also asked about the recent wave of sexual assault allegations. His answer was noteworthy, given he has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by many women. Kelly O'Meara Morales

3:53 p.m. ET
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Disney Animation head and Toy Story director John Lasseter announced he is taking a six-month leave of absence from Pixar, which is owned by Disney, after "painful" conversations, The Hollywood Reporter writes. "It's never easy to face your missteps," he wrote in a memo to employees, adding: "It's been brought to my attention that I have made some of you feel disrespected or uncomfortable. That was never my intent."

The Hollywood Reporter writes that it is "hard to overstate Lasseter's value to Disney. He is known as the genius behind Pixar films from Toy Story to the upcoming Coco. He took charge of Walt Disney Animation in 2006 and led a revival that included such gigantic hits as Frozen and Inside Out."

One Pixar employee revealed Lasseter was known by entertainment industry insiders for "grabbing, kissing, [and] making comments about physical attributes." Another employee recalled walking into a meeting where a woman was sitting beside Lasseter with her hand over her thigh and his hand on her knee. Afterwards the woman told the employee that "it was unfortunate for her to wear a skirt that day and if she didn't have her hand on her own right leg, his hand would have travelled." Read more of the allegations at The Hollywood Reporter. Jeva Lange

3:34 p.m. ET
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A Quinnipiac University poll published Tuesday found that 62 percent of American voters would not vote for a candidate accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, but that Republican voters were far more willing to vote for accused sexual harassers. Across every demographic category of age, gender, race, and education level, a majority of voters said that they would "definitely not vote" for the hypothetically accused candidate. It was only when Quinnipiac sorted voters by partisan affiliation that they found a single group where a relative majority was willing to vote for an accused sexual harasser: Republicans.

While every single demographic and partisan category — including 82 percent of Republicans — strongly believed that sexual harassment of women is a serious problem, 43 percent of Republican voters said they still would vote for a candidate accused multiple times of such conduct. Only 41 percent said they would not vote for the candidate. By comparison, 81 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of independents, 53 percent of men, and 70 percent of women said they would not vote for that candidate.

Similarly, 49 percent of Republican voters contacted by Quinnipiac said that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with minors, should not be expelled by the Senate if he is elected. In every other demographic category, save for white men, a majority of voters believed that Moore should be expelled if he wins the seat.

Republican voters were also the only group in the poll to believe (by a 66 percent to 27 percent margin) that President Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault by many women, "respects women just as much as he respects men." Kelly O'Meara Morales

3:05 p.m. ET
Brian Ach/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Retired chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, whose men's world championship victory at the age of 22 made him the pride of the Soviet Union, claimed anyone looking to write a metaphor about President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin ought to avoid the game of chess altogether.

"When I hear phrases like 'Putin plays chess, Obama plays checkers,' or moreover, 'Trump plays chess,' I feel I have my duty to defend the game that I have been playing for decades," Kasparov said on Politico's Office Message podcast. "The game of chess is a game of strategy; of course, you have many opportunities to show your tactical skills, but foremost, it's about strategy. And also, it's a transparent game. It's 100 percent transparency."

Kasparov added that he isn't even sure Trump knows he's playing a game, much less winning at it. "You can lose the war even if you have [an] overwhelming advantage — militarily, economically, technologically — if you don't recognize you are at war," cautioned Kasparov.

The theory that Trump is outmaneuvering world leaders in a game of "3D" (and sometime "4D") chess originated with Dilbert comic artist Scott Adams' post, "2D Chess Players Take on a 3D Chess Master," Know Your Meme writes. But a pessimistic Kasparov warned that if Trump is attempting to play chess with Putin, he's doomed to lose.

"Both of them despise playing by the rules, so it's who will cheat first," said Kasparov. "But in any game of wits, I would bet on Putin, unfortunately." Listen to the podcast at Politico here. Jeva Lange

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