Rep. John Conyers' legacy was upended Monday when a BuzzFeed News report detailed sexual harassment allegations made against the Michigan Democrat. Now, the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press, his slightly left-leaning hometown paper, is calling for him to step down.
The longtime congressman is known as a civil rights icon and a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, facts the Free Press acknowledged in its scathing editorial published Tuesday. But he's also been accused of making sexual advances toward an employee — and having her fired when she refused.
That's enough to spark an inquiry into Conyers, the Free Press said. But his misconduct runs deeper: If the victim dropped her formal complaint against Conyers, his office said it would "re-hire" her and pay her as a temporary employee. The woman eventually agreed to those terms, receiving more than $27,000 over the course of three months. It's similar to a time Conyers kept paying his former chief of staff even after she was fired — payments the Free Press said look like "hush money."
While the editorial board did suggest reforming the Congressional Office of Compliance so these payoffs don't keep happening, that is "not the point with Conyers." "It's a betrayal that breaches the most fundamental trust that exists between a public servant and the people that person represents," the Free Press wrote.
In an interview Thursday with CNN's Anderson Cooper, former Playboy model Karen McDougal said she "spent a lot of time" with President Trump more than a decade ago, and she found him to be "very sweet" and "liked his charisma," but was "sad" when he offered her money after they had sex for the first time.
McDougal alleges she had an affair with Trump, knowing he was married to his third wife, Melania Trump. She "felt guilty about it," McDougal told Cooper, and is "sorry" for what happened. "I wouldn't want it done to me," she added. McDougal said she was in love with Trump and he "told me all the time he was in love with me," calling her "baby" and "beautiful Karen."
She said that after they had "been intimate" the first time, Trump "tried to pay me, and I actually didn't know how to take that." When he attempted to hand her money, "I don't even know how to describe the look on my face," McDougal said, and she cried the entire way back to her house. McDougal also said she got to know Trump's former bodyguard Keith Schiller well, as he would pick her up for meetings with Trump in Los Angeles and then take her home. She said she and Trump were intimate "many dozens of times," and she "didn't know he was intimate with other ladies. ... I thought I was the only one."
Earlier this week, McDougal filed a lawsuit against American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer. She sold her story about the alleged affair to the publication, but it never appeared in the tabloid. Catherine Garcia
On his last day at the State Department, outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a farewell speech that never mentioned President Trump by name but did include a jab at Washington, D.C.
"This can be a very mean-spirited town," the Texan said Thursday. "But you don't have to participate in that." He asked that "each of you undertake to ensure one act of kindness each day toward another person," and reminded the State Department staffers that their integrity "belongs to you. Only you can relinquish it or allow it to be compromised." Tillerson also said the United States "faces many challenges — in some instances perplexing foreign affairs relationships, and in other instances serious national security threats," and "in these times, your continued diligence and devotion to the State Department's mission has never been more necessary."
After he fired Tillerson earlier this month, Trump named CIA Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement, but he still needs to be confirmed by the Senate. His hearing is scheduled for April 12. Catherine Garcia
President Trump and John Bolton, the incoming national security adviser, have spent the last several weeks trying to figure out how Bolton could replace H.R. McMaster, CNN reports, and during negotiations, the hawkish Fox News analyst made a bold statement.
A person familiar with their talks told CNN's Kaitlan Collins that Bolton, who while part of the George W. Bush administration pushed for the Iraq War and has called for strikes against North Korea and Iran, promised Trump that if he gave him the position, "he wouldn't start any wars." Fingers crossed he keeps his word. Catherine Garcia
Incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton has been vocal about going to war with North Korea and Iran
President Trump's next national security adviser, John Bolton, is best remembered for his role in former President George W. Bush's administration, where he advocated for the Iraq War and became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as a recess appointment, after the Republican-controlled Senate was unable to confirm him.
Trump announced Thursday on Twitter that Bolton is replacing H.R. McMaster, effective April 9. A hawk on North Korea and Iran, Bolton wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal in late February titled, "The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First," and in January he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that "talking to North Koreans is a waste of time." Bolton has been highly critical of former President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, and in 2015 he wrote an op-ed for The New York Times which stated that a U.S. or Israeli airstrike on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a good thing. "Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed," he wrote. "Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran's opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran."
Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump said he was against the Iraq War, which Bolton pushed. Under Bush, Bolton was undersecretary of state for arms control, and he argued that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. His staff also wrote a speech claiming that Cuba had an active biological weapons program, and when the State Department's lead bioweapons analyst refused to sign off on this false claim, Bolton screamed at him, Vox reports. That wasn't an isolated incident — several people who worked with Bolton have accused him of yelling at and threatening those who disagreed with him. Catherine Garcia
President Trump tweeted on Thursday evening that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is being replaced by John Bolton, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations and a Fox News analyst.
"I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job and will always remain my friend," Trump said. "There will be an official contact handover on 4/9." Bolton is known for being a hard-line conservative, and has had regular contact with Trump throughout his presidency, discussing foreign policy.
McMaster is an Army lieutenant general, and will retire from the military, several officials told The New York Times. He's been planning his departure for weeks now, they said, and Trump made it clear he wanted his national security team in place ahead of his eventual meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There has always been some amount of tension between Trump and McMaster, White House officials told the Times, especially when McMaster publicly commented on Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election. McMaster was Trump's second national security adviser, following the ouster of Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty of making a false statement to the FBI and is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Catherine Garcia
A mummified skeleton found in Chile nearly two decades ago inspired many a conspiracy theorist to declare that alien life had made its way to Earth. But a buzzkilling new study published Thursday found that the bones simply belonged to a human with a series of bone mutations.
The 6-inch skeleton — dubbed Ata by researchers and alien aficionados — displays an unusual series of DNA mutations, reports The New York Times. The combination of mutations may have caused a hereditary disorder that has never been seen before in humans, the Times explains.
That explains the utterly bizarre appearance of Ata, whose tiny frame has just ten ribs, rather than 12; a pointy, elongated skull; and large, alien-like eye sockets. Researchers don't know exactly when Ata lived, but some scientists now believe that she was a miscarried or aborted female fetus, preserved by dry conditions in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) March 22, 2018
Because the mutations are brand new discoveries, researchers who sequenced the skeleton's genome are hesitant to declare a definitive explanation for Ata's deformities — unlike, say, a 2013 documentary about UFOs that featured the skeleton as evidence of extraterrestrial life. At least some of the mystery of Ata remains, for now.
It's only been a week since Toys 'R' Us announced it would close all of its stores, but heartbreak has hit the shelves again. Toys 'R' Us founder Charles Lazarus died Thursday, the company confirmed. He was 94.
There have been many sad moments for Toys"R"Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today's news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles' family and loved ones.
— ToysRUs (@ToysRUs) March 22, 2018
Former CEO Michael Goldstein took over the company from Lazarus in 1994, but told CNN Money that Lazarus' legacy as "the father of the toy business" lived on.
Lazarus got the idea for Toys 'R' Us as he returned from World War II, per USA Today. His friends were ready to start families, and he soon envisioned superstores stocked to the ceiling with toys. The company's name was a pun on Lazarus' last name, while the iconic backwards "R" mimicked a child's handwriting.
Toys 'R' Us thrived through the baby boom and hit its peak in the 1980s, per CNN Money, but the arrivals of Walmart and online behemoth Amazon eventually took their toll. Liquidation sales were scheduled to begin Thursday. Kathryn Krawczyk