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January 3, 2018

It might be a rough day for President Trump and Stephen Bannon, but somewhere Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is … smiling.

Chaos erupted earlier Wednesday after The Guardian published quotes from a new tell-all book about the Trump White House, which cited Bannon, the president's former chief strategist, as he blasted Trump's top campaign aides over a highly-scrutinized meeting with a Russian lawyer (among other things). Trump quickly fired back at his one-time campaign CEO, issuing an official statement that claimed that "when [Bannon] was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

McConnell, of course, is no fan of Bannon, nor Bannon of McConnell. The Senate map is serving as something of a proxy war for the pair, with McConnell pushing mainstream Republican candidates while Bannon "is recruiting a small army of 'populist nationalist' congressional candidates," NBC News writes.

Needless to say, the official account for McConnell's re-election campaign didn't need to add any comment to the tweet it fired off Wednesday afternoon:

Cold. Jeva Lange

1:47 p.m. ET
Stephen Salpukas/Courtesy William & Mary

James Comey has a new job.

CNN reported Friday that the former FBI director has accepted a professorial gig at William & Mary College, where he will teach a class on ethical leadership. The class starts this fall and will also be offered in the spring and summer semesters of 2019.

Comey was abruptly fired by President Trump last May while overseeing the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In a statement about the upcoming class directed at no one in particular, he explained that "ethical leaders lead by seeing above the short term, above the urgent or partisan, and with a loyalty to lasting values, most importantly the truth." Kelly O'Meara Morales

1:47 p.m. ET

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcomed their third child earlier this week, and on Friday the baby girl's name was at last officially made public:

Kanye West grew up in a suburb of the city of Chicago, which features prominently in his work, so presumably his daughter's name was inspired by the city and not the 2002 musical. "Chi," as Kardashian indicates Chicago will be called, joins her siblings North and Saint in a household full of unusual names. Jeva Lange

12:31 p.m. ET
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Forget surreptitious jaunts to Manhattan's Trump Tower — if you want to meet Donald Trump Jr., consider investing in Indian real estate.

The Guardian reported Friday that the first 100 buyers of luxury apartments in a new Trump building in Gurgaon, India, will be flown to the U.S. to hang out with President Trump's eldest son. The Guardian reports that the project's developers, Tribeca Developers and M3M, are not being subtle about their offer either, having adopted the phrase: "Buy a flat, meet Trump Jr."

The pitch has apparently worked, as the director for India-based M3M revealed in a statement last week that 20 apartments in the building had been sold — worth roughly $15 million in total. The Trump Towers in Gurgaon — which is about 20 miles south of Delhi — is the fifth Trump-branded property in India, The Guardian notes.

The Indian website for the project boasts that Trump-branded buildings have "become the most prestigious address that the most deserving people can get." But that's exactly the problem, former White House ethics chief Norm Eisen said. "Making Donald Jr. available to those who can afford it in a foreign land based on purchasing a property is an ethics atrocity," Eisen told The Guardian.

For those who can afford it, the apartments at the Trump Towers in Gurgaon are reported to cost between $500,000 and $1 million. Read more at The Guardian. Kelly O'Meara Morales

12:31 p.m. ET

Olympic gold medalists and former teammates Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber issued powerful impact statements in court Friday at the sentencing of former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In total, Nassar, 54, is accused of having sexually abused more than 130 of his patients during medical exams between 1998 and 2015. He was sentenced in December to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes, one of his three criminal cases.

Wieber, 22, had not previously revealed her abuse, saying for the first time Friday that Nassar began touching her inappropriately at the age of 14. "This was when he started performing the procedure that we are all now familiar with," Wieber said, adding: "Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of."

Raisman, 23, addressed Nassar directly: "Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice," she said. "Well you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I am only beginning to just use them."

Raisman also issued a scathing criticism of the institution that allowed Nassar to abuse her and her teammates. "Your abuse started 30 years ago," she said. "But that's just the first reported incident we know of. If over these many years just one adult listened and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided."

For his sexual conduct charges, Nassar has agreed to a minimum of 25 to 40 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life. On Thursday, it was reported that more than a dozen Michigan State University employees knew of their colleague's serial sexual abuse. Watch Raisman's powerful testimony in full below. Jeva Lange

11:02 a.m. ET

Concerns over an injury to Tom Brady's throwing hand are apparently very, very real. After the New England Patriots quarterback missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, the betting line for Sunday's AFC championship game against the underdog Jacksonville Jaguars dropped from favoring the defending Super Bowl champs by as much as 10 points against the Jags to about 7.5, Covers writes.

Lines don't swing that much and that swiftly by accident. Some oddsmakers and sharps were clearly worried that Brady might actually miss the game.

The line's move worried sportsbook Bookmaker.eu enough "to take the game off the board entirely, meaning they weren't accepting wagers on this matchup until receiving more clarity regarding the severity of Brady's injury," The Action Network writes. Super Bowl futures bets were also yanked.

Reactions from fans ranged from panic to yawns. After all, this isn't exactly the first time Brady's health has been in apparent jeopardy before an important game. "Remember Brady's 'flu-like' symptoms before the 2014 AFC championship game in Denver?" Sports Illustrated writes. "Or the boot he was spotted in before Super Bowl XLII? In January 2005, he had a 103-degree fever the night before the AFC title game."

By 10:15 a.m. ET, the Patriots-Jags game was back on the board at Bookmaker at -7 with an over/under of 46, The Action Network reports, although the Super Bowl futures "remain off the board." Brady is scheduled to speak to the media later Friday. Jeva Lange

9:46 a.m. ET
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Former Apprentice villain Omarosa Manigault Newman is rumored to have a penchant for recording confidential discussions and may be a person of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as a result, the New York Daily News reports.

Manigault Newman's last day as the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison is Saturday. While she claims to be leaving to "pursue other opportunities," the decision to bring "members of her 39-person bridal party to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for an extended wedding photo shoot" might be the most memorable moment in her short tenure, Politico writes.

Recently, though, Manigault Newman has allegedly been checking out high-profile attorneys, including Harvey Weinstein's former lawyer Lisa Bloom and Bill Cosby's former lawyer Monique Pressley, a person familiar with the meetings told the Daily News. "The 43-year-old apparently believes she may become a fixture in Mueller's investigation," the Daily News writes.

The person close to Manigault Newman said "everyone knows Omarosa loves to record people and meetings using the voice notes app on her iPhone. Don't be surprised if she has secret audio files on everyone in that White House, past and present staffers included."

Manigault Newman told Good Morning America in an interview in December that "when I have a chance to tell my story to tell — quite a story — as the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people, and when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear." Read more about what she might have caught on tape at the New York Daily News. Jeva Lange

9:43 a.m. ET

Don't expect President Trump to take a swim in the ocean anytime soon.

In an exclusive interview, InTouch Weekly met with adult film star Stormy Daniels to discuss her alleged affair with Trump in 2006. The Wall Street Journal reported that Daniels was paid by Trump's lawyer to keep quiet about the encounter during the 2016 campaign — but what she did reveal to InTouch Weekly is that that the president really, really does not like sharks. "He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks," she said.

Trump divulged his shark fixation to Daniels in a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where she said she met the mogul shortly after their initial tryst in Lake Tahoe, California. Daniels said that when she came into the room, she could see Trump was watching Discovery Channel's Shark Week. She added that Trump told her that while he donates to several charities, he would "never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope they all die."

Sharks have long been a concern for Trump. Politico's Josh Dawsey did some sleuthing and discovered that the president once prophesied a dark future in which sharks outlive humans:

The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold also pointed out that the Trump Organization hasn't given money to organizations that support Trump's least favorite sea creature. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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