×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
November 14, 2017
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Late Monday, Facebook pushed back against rumors that its platform was exploited by Russian operatives trying to influence last year's Brexit vote. The company told BuzzFeed News in a delicate statement that it had not seen "significant coordination" between Russia-linked accounts, whether with "ad buys or political misinformation targeting Brexit voters." The denial came just hours before British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of meddling in elections and "planting fake stories."

Damian Collins, the head of the U.K. House of Commons' digital media and culture committee, has written to Facebook, Twitter, and Google asking for information in regards to Russian-linked accounts that may have spread misinformation or propaganda about Brexit. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has yet to respond to Collins' inquiry, and the company offered only Monday's statement.

Days after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Zuckerberg said the idea that fake news on Facebook affected the election was "pretty crazy," adding that it was not empathetic to assume "that the only reason someone could have voted the way they did is because they saw fake news." Zuckerberg has since had to walk back that statement, after it came out last month that 126 million users — about 40 percent of the U.S. population — were exposed to fake news on Facebook during the 2016 election.

Additionally, Twitter has faced its own Russia allegations: Last Friday, Wired published "a small snapshot" of cached Twitter posts from 29 different Russian-linked accounts in 2016 that spread provocative pro- and anti-Brexit propaganda to more than 260,000 people. Kelly O'Meara Morales

11:26 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration will soon debut its Israel-Palestine peace plan, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview published Sunday by Al-Quds, an Arabic language newspaper.

The proposal will be released with or without feedback from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he announced. Abbas has refused to meet with Kushner during his trip to the Middle East this past week. "If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage," Kushner said. "If he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly."

The Al-Quds article offered some hints as to what the plan might entail. Kushner "mentioned nothing about a sovereign Palestinian state or of Palestinian refugees," The New York Times reports, and "also did not mention Israeli settlements on the West Bank or using the 1967 lines as a starting point to draw borders; and nothing about East Jerusalem serving as the Palestinian capital." Bonnie Kristian

11:14 a.m. ET
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Turkey votes in a presidential and parliamentary election Sunday, a snap election in which President Recep Tayip Erdogan is expected to face his most serious challenge in a decade and a half.

Erdogan called the election in April, planning to consolidate his party's parliamentary majority. Instead, opposition parties have displayed unusual unity, galvanized by the campaign performance of Muharrem Ince, the presidential nominee of the Republican People's Party (CHP).

Erdogan has claimed new powers and kept Turkey in a state of emergency since an attempted coup two years ago. If he wins another term, "Turkey enters a new era in which Erdogan will become the most powerful Turkish leader ever elected," said Soner Cagaptay of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. Cagaptay and fellow critics of Erdogan's government argue he is undermining democratic institutions to expand his own authority.

Results are anticipated Sunday evening local time. Bonnie Kristian

10:35 a.m. ET

Saudi Arabian women can legally drive for the first time in decades as of Sunday, when the cancellation of the national ban on women drivers officially went into effect. Riyadh announced its plan to lift the ban last year, and since then, women have obtained driver's licenses but were not yet able to use them.

"I feel like I'm surprised — am I really driving in my own country?" said Mona Al-Fares, a doctor. "I feel happy, relieved. I feel like I'm free."

Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world to prohibit female drivers. Most Saudi women have yet to obtain licenses, and wait lists for gender-segregated driving classes are long. Watch a few delighted early adopters take their first legal drives below. Bonnie Kristian

8:46 a.m. ET

President Trump spoke at a campaign rally for Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) in Las Vegas Saturday evening, urging his audience to vote against Heller's opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), whom Trump called "Wacky Jacky." A "vote for her is a vote for increased taxes," Trump claimed. "Weak borders. It is really a vote for crime."

The president also weighed in on key current issues for his administration, positing that trade relations will "work out" somehow. "The trade stuff is coming along, just starting, but it's going to happen because, you know, we're the piggy bank that everybody likes to rob from," he said.

On immigration, Trump argued the U.S. has "to be very strong," adding that his administration is doing "a very good job." Of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he said, "We have a good chemistry together. We get along great. He's a smart, tough guy. He's a great negotiator."

Trump also took the opportunity to slam Sen. John McCain (R) of nearby Arizona. Though he did not mention McCain by name, Trump critiqued the senator for his crucial "no" vote on the GOP health-care bill last year. The two men have a history of poor relations: Trump has belittled McCain's history as a prisoner of war, saying he prefers "people who weren't captured;" and McCain, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer, has said Trump lacks "principles and beliefs."

Watch Trump's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian

8:24 a.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

The Trump administration released a plan Saturday night to reunite migrant families who were separated before President Trump signed his executive order reversing his own policy of splitting up children and parents at the border.

The plan ties reunification to deportation proceedings: Parents will have to request their children share the result of their deportation hearings. Once the process is complete, the children will either be deported with their parents or, if the family is permitted to stay in the U.S., parents can apply to sponsor their children upon release.

Some parents may not elect to use this process to protect their children from violence in their home countries. It is unclear how many parents of separated children may have already been deported before this plan was implemented and how long this plan will take. Children awaiting the results of their parents' proceedings will remain in detention at least for several weeks.

Administration officials said 2,053 separated children remain in detention and their locations around the country are documented. Reunification will primarily happen at the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Brownsville, Texas. Parents trying to determine if a child is held by the Department of Health and Human Services have been directed to contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center at 1-800-203-7001 or information@ORRNCC.com. Bonnie Kristian

June 23, 2018

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday became the third member of the Trump administration to have trouble dining out this week.

Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was heckled while eating at a Mexican restaurant. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen left a different Mexican establishment after about a dozen protesters surrounded her table yelling "shame." And Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by its owner.

The incident was first noted online by a social media user claiming to have been her server and later confirmed by Sanders herself:

Since the story broke, The Red Hen's Facebook and Yelp pages have been flooded with predictably political reviews both for and against the owner's decision. "I live in the Midwest and have already heard what you did to Mrs. Sanders and her party," wrote one reviewer. "What a total disgrace you are! Talk about Nazis!!"

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone," snarked another. "No shirt, no truth, no service..." Bonnie Kristian

June 23, 2018

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee posted a tweet Saturday morning in which he suggested House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is in league with the MS-13 gang, a favorite subject of President Trump and his allies when talking immigration policy:

Huckabee's comment appears to come in response to Pelosi's pushback on Trump's repeated use of the word "animals" to describe gang members: Pelosi said she believes the label is inappropriate because it ignores the basic human dignity and "spark of divinity" in every person. Trump has said this means she "loves MS-13."

The tweet promptly came under fire on Saturday:

As The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is actually responsible for electing Democrats to the House, and its "chairman (Ben Ray Lujan) and executive director (Dan Sena) are both Hispanic." The president will be a guest on Huckabee's TV show Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads