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November 20, 2017

Mel Tillis, an eminent country singer-songwriter famous for his song catalog and stuttering when he spoke but not when he sang, died on Sunday in Ocala, Florida, likely of respiratory failure though his publicist said Tillis had "battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered." He was 85. Tillis' long career began in Nashville in 1957, after a stint in the Air Force and trucking and railroad jobs, plus some college.

When he was playing rhythm guitar for Minnie Pearl in the late 1950s, Pearl urged him to use his stutter for comedic effect, and he found that audiences responded to his humor. But he is remembered more for serious songs like "Detroit City" and "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," the latter about a paralyzed Vietnam War vet whose wife is cheating on him. It was a 1969 hit for Kenny Rogers, but here is Tillis singing it on The Porter Wagoner Show in 1967:

Tillis himself scored six No. 1 singles on the country charts, including "Coca-Cola Cowboy," and 35 singles in the Top 10, mostly in the mid-1970s through early 1980s. He was voted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1967, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007, and awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2012. He had mixed feelings about his stutter, saying he always hoped to beat it even as it propelled him to fame — as in the 1972 bit for the The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

Tillis is survived by six children, six grandchildren, one great grandson, his longtime partner, Kathy DeMonaco, and his first wife, Doris Tiliis. Peter Weber

2:05 a.m. ET
Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump was urged by White House officials to be tough with Putin, but he chose to go a different route, several advisers and diplomats told The Washington Post.

Trump received more than 100 pages of briefing materials before the summit, going through a crash course on everything from the Russian annexation of Crimea to meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the Post reports. He was quick to let staffers know that he thought the U.S. "has been foolish" when it comes to Russia, and he spent his prep time "growling" over the indictment last week of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails.

Trump thought the announcement on Friday was intentionally done to hurt him going into the summit, several people told the Post, but one senior official said Trump was actually pleased, because this gave him an opportunity to privately discuss the matter with Putin. Trump had enjoyed his June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because "he thinks he can sit down eye to eye with these guys, flatter them and make a deal," and he was enthusiastic about his meeting with Putin. Behind the scenes, diplomats were racing from one European ally to the next, letting them know they didn't need to worry about Trump making any secret deals with Putin. It wasn't enough to soothe any of them, with one European official telling the Post, "These people don't control the reality." Read more about the days before the summit at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

1:06 a.m. ET

When President Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies, "we hit bottom," CNN's Chris Cuomo said Monday night, but there's actually a "blessing in that, because there can be no more debate on which way is up."

Trump "delivered us here with a display of cowardly self-interest," Cuomo said, but this ended up bringing people together. There is a consensus that "Putin is not right, Trump is wrong, we believe our institutions, we trust in our democracy, Russia did interfere, we will not trade facts for feelings of legitimacy, we will not trade our conscious for conspiracy," Cuomo said, and with so many Americans of all political stripes getting outraged, "Trump's luck ran out."

"Russia attacked our democracy," Cuomo continued, and "we won't stand for it. We won't let the president say otherwise, but we're facing a question: Where do we go from here?" Cuomo said one thing he knows for sure is that "you've got Republicans, you've got Democrats, and right now, they're on the same page, and if they move together, they will wind up in a better place." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

12:16 a.m. ET
David Ryder/Getty Images

When his net worth hit $150 billion on Monday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos became the richest person in modern history.

The 54-year-old is already the richest person in the world, with his net worth increasing by $52 billion this year. Taking into account inflation, his $150 billion fortune is more than the $100 billion Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had in 1999, which would be worth $149 billion today, USA Today reports.

Bezos' staggering amount of wealth puts him well above his peers, including Gates ($93 billion), Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet ($83 billion), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($83 billion), and Inditex founder Amancio Ortega ($75 billion). Amazon stock closed Monday at $1,822.49, after climbing to a record $1,841.95 earlier in the day. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2018

If the New York Daily News doesn't mock one of President Trump's appearances, did it ever really happen?



On the Tuesday front page, Trump's hometown paper targets his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a throwback reference to his campaign comment about being able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still not lose any supporters, Trump is shown on the Manhattan street alongside a shirtless Putin, holding a gun up to Uncle Sam. "OPEN TREASON" the front page screams, with "Trump backs enemy Putin over U.S. intel" below.

The Daily News wasn't quite done poking at the president, tweeting that he "derides reports with which he disagrees as 'fake news,' then buys the Russian narrative hook, line, sinker, pole, and boat." Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2018
Mario Tama/Getty Images

On Monday morning, 23 people were injured after a "lava bomb" hit their tour boat off the Big Island, Hawaiian fire officials said.

An explosion sent molten lava flying through the air, and it burned through the boat's roof and damaged its railing. The boat returned to Wailoa Harbor, with 13 people having to be hospitalized and the rest treated at the scene. One of the victims is a woman in her 20s, who is in serious condition with a fractured femur, fire officials said. Witnesses told CNN they saw passengers getting off the boat with burns and gashes on their legs.

The Kilauea Volcano has been erupting since early May, and has destroyed dozens of homes. The boat was operated by Lava Ocean Tours, Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources said. Passengers pay $220 for tours that show off the lava as it flows into the ocean. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2018

While many other Fox News personalities were critical of President Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Tucker Carlson decided to switch things up by accusing Mexico of sending immigrants to the United States to vote in elections.

"I don't think Russia is our close friend or anything like that," Carlson said during an appearance on The Five. "Of course they're trying to interfere in our affairs; they have for a long time. Many countries do, some more successfully than Russia, like Mexico, which is routinely interfering in our elections by packing our electorate."

Carlson said he "honestly" couldn't understand "why we need to believe that Russia is the primary issue of American political life. That seems kind of nuts to me." It's "totally fine" for people to disagree with Trump, he continued, "but the idea that where you are on Russia is the defining question, that's kind of demented actually, because it's like No. 115 on the list of real concerns, at least in my mind. Maybe I'm the demented one." Yeah, maybe. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2018

On Erin Burnett OutFront Monday night, the CNN host was down a panelist, as Michael Anton, President Trump's former top national security spokesman, bowed out following Trump's much-derided press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Burnett was joined by journalist Julia Ioffe and CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon, but noted there was a person missing. "Michael Anton was going to be here," she said, but "he canceled, and he knows I'm going to tell you this, because he said he could not defend the president on his actions today." Anton, using a pseudonym, was behind the essay "The Flight 93 Election," which tried to convince conservatives wary of Trump to vote for him anyway because "2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die."

During his joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Trump questioned American intelligence agencies and their findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, sharing that Putin "said it's not Russia ... I don't see any reason why it would be."

UPDATE 10:50 p.m. ET: In a statement to The Hill, Anton said he canceled his appearance because CNN's coverage of Trump's press conference with Putin was "atrocious." Anton said he "knew whatever I said, CNN would try to use me as a cudgel with which to bash the president." He also claimed CNN "threatened to cite that withdrawal on air to bash the president, and that's exactly what they did. It's clear I made the right decision." Catherine Garcia

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