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February 14, 2018
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The scandal around Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin's European travel is growing, with The Washington Post reporting the VA chief of staff "doctored an email and made false statements" in order to use taxpayer money to cover the overseas expenses of Shulkin's wife.

On Tuesday, USA Today reported that the VA inspector general was investigating Shulkin's trip to Denmark and London last July, which appeared to be unnecessarily long, at 10 days, and used taxpayer money to pay for Merle Bari to travel with her husband. Additionally, the couple reportedly spent half the trip sightseeing, ventures Shulkin allegedly improperly directed his staff to arrange.

The inspector general found that the VA chief of staff, Vivieca Wright Simpson, changed the language in an email "to make it appear that Shulkin was receiving an award from the Danish government — then used the award to justify paying for his wife's travel," The Washington Post reports. Bari's airfare ran more than $4,300 and the inspector general's office claimed that the three and a half days of meetings in Copenhagen and London totaled at least $122,334.

Bari herself reportedly made requests directly to a VA aide, including emails like: "Is there earlier flight from Copenhagen? Wimbledon tickets? High tea? Roman baths in [B]ath. Would want to do baths not just tour."

Shulkin is an Obama administration holdover, having formerly served as the undersecretary for health at the VA. Shulkin has also been accused of improperly accepting tickets for him and his wife to attend Wimbledon on the same trip, although he falsely claimed he bought them himself during a Washington Post Live event last year.

Shulkin dismissed the allegations against him in a statement: "It is outrageous that you would portray my wife and me as attempting to take advantage of the government," he said. Read more of the details about the trip at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

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
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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
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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

July 16, 2018

In an interview Monday with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it is "ridiculous" to believe Russia could influence Americans from so far away.

"Interference with the domestic affairs of the United States — do you really believe that someone acting from the Russian territory could have influenced the United States and influenced the choice of millions of Americans?" he said. Russia has "never interfered with the internal affairs of the United States, let alone its elections," he added. On Friday, the Department of Justice announced indictments of 12 Russian intelligence operatives accused of hacking emails from Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign employees, and when Wallace tried to hand Putin a copy of the indictment, he refused to take it.

Putin also denied being "this kind of a strongman that I'm being portrayed," and told Wallace that no one in Russia gave any thought to President Trump before the election. "I don't want to insult President Trump when I say this — and I may come as rude — but before he announced he will run for presidency, he was of no interest for us," Putin said. Watch the interview — which gets testy at times — below. Catherine Garcia

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