CNN's Anderson Cooper swats down the 'sick' Parkland conspiracy theories, aided by student David Hogg
There were four more funerals Tuesday for students slain last week in Parkland, Florida. But "as these kids buried their friends, some sick conspiracy theories have been cropping up," Anderson Cooper said on CNN Tuesday night. One claims the student survivors demanding new gun laws are "crisis actors" and another insists student David Hogg is a gun-grabbing "pawn" of the FBI.
"While we'd normally be reluctant to even give these conspiracy theories any oxygen at all," Donald Trump Jr. rewteeted the FBI one, making it "newsworthy," Cooper said. "We'd love to talk to Don Jr. about why he did that, why he is, by extension, attacking these kids who just buried their friends, but it turns out he's in India promoting his father's real estate empire." Instead, he had on Hogg and his father, former FBI employee Kevin Hogg. David Hogg called the conspiracy theories "unbelievable," said Don Jr.'s retweet was "disgusting to me," and judged it "hilarious" that anybody would think his dog-cuddling dad is pulling his strings.
In Cooper's panel discussion, Jack Kingston insisted he "would never say" that the kids are crisis actors, but he did repeat his more respectable conspiracy theory about George Soros controlling the Parkland students. "It would shock me if they did a nationwide rally and the pro–gun control left took their hands off it," he said.
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 21, 2018
"When you say something like that, it's so bad, and I'm going to tell you why it's bad," Van Jones told Kingston. But Parkland student Sarah Chadwick had already beaten him to the punch. Peter Weber
Hey Jack! Just wanted to let you know that, yes! Us 17yrs really are planning a nationwide rally! It’s crazy what determination, and a strong work ethic can lead to! But I mean you have neither of those things so I wouldn’t expect you to understand. https://t.co/SM6BThmIqv
— Sarah Chadwick// #NEVERAGAIN (@sarahchad_) February 20, 2018
North Korean leaders think they have done enough to uphold their end of the denuclearization bargain, and want President Trump to take the next "bold move."
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants a permanent peace plan from the U.S. before he is willing to move forward in denuclearization talks, an official told CNN on Monday. Until Trump replaces the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War, Kim doesn't want to continue negotiating the denuclearization process that began when he met with Trump in Singapore last month.
The official said that North Korea thinks it has already done "so much," like halting nuclear missile testing and destroying one nuclear testing site. Before moving on to any further steps, Kim wants to ensure that his regime will stay in place. Any peace treaty would require a two-thirds approving vote from the Senate, reports CNN.
Kim additionally wants Trump to lift economic sanctions, but Trump has said that he is in no rush to appease North Korea. "We have no time limit. We have no speed limit," he said last week. "We're just going through the process. But the relationships are very good." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also said that he doesn't want to give in to North Korea's demands, but has insisted that the vague agreement that Kim and Trump signed in Singapore will lead to denuclearization in North Korea. Trump on Monday pushed back against claims that he is frustrated with the speed of negotiations with Kim, tweeting that "all of Asia is happy" and that he specifically is "very happy!" Read more at CNN. Summer Meza
Cuba's communist government has long kept a tight grip on its citizens' limited web access, but now — 22 years after mobile internet became commercially available and 11 years after the first iPhone was released — some Cubans are being allowed to have the internet on their phones.
Select users are already connected, Reuters reports, and Havana aims to roll out nationwide mobile internet by 2019. Among those permitted early access are reporters at state-run media outlets who can use the connectivity for work purposes. "It's been a radical change," said one such journalist, Yuris Norido. "I can now update on the news from wherever I am, including where the news is taking place."
Unfortunately, even once mobile internet access is more widely available, it will remain unaffordable for most. Hotspot use costs $1 per hour, a hefty price in a nation with an average state monthly wage of $30.
Cuba's new President Miguel Diaz-Canel has endorsed expanding internet access as a means of spreading his regime's ideology abroad. "We need to be able to put the content of the revolution online," he said last year as vice president, arguing that Cubans, once online, will "counter the avalanche of pseudo-cultural, banal, and vulgar content" from which the internet now suffers. Bonnie Kristian
Fox & Friends First thought it had booked a rare guest: Ann Kirkpatrick, a pro-ICE Democrat running for Congress in Arizona. It could not have been more wrong.
On Monday's show, Fox & Friends First host Jillian Mele introduced "the only Democrat on stage to support ICE, Ann Kirkpatrick," and asked her to "tell us why you do support ICE." The so-called Kirkpatrick then declared she was on the show to "speak directly to Donald Trump" — who's known to watch the Fox morning show — because she's "a mother of four" and believe(s) that separating kids from their parents is illegal and inhumane."
A strong statement against Trump's family separation policy isn't what you'd expect from a Democrat who was booed Thursday for backing ICE. But then the guest dropped a bombshell: She was actually Barbara L'Italien, a Massachusetts state senator who's running for U.S. Congress. She "represent[s] a large immigrant community" and implored Trump to "stop abducting children and ripping them from their parents' arms."
Host Rob Schmitt stepped in, but still didn't quite understand what was happening. "That practice has stopped at this point, Ms. Kirkpatrick, right?" Schmitt asked. L'Italien calmly confirmed her identity and continued her statement, but Schmitt still asked "Who is this?" again before L'Italien's video feed was cut off.
In the words of Schmitt: "That didn't go as planned." Kathryn Krawczyk
Trump-advising pastor says backing the president is okay because Reagan was a 'known womanizer,' too
Quiz: If you're doing something hypocritical, does it make things any better to note you've been a hypocrite for a long time? I would say no, but Pastor Robert Jeffress, an adviser to President Trump and one of his most rhetorically gymnastic supporters, says yes.
"Nobody has sold his soul to support President Trump," Jeffress said in a new Fox News interview when presented with the contrast between Trump's behavior and the evangelical ethics Jeffress touts. "Back in 1980, evangelicals chose to support a twice-married Hollywood actor who was a known womanizer in Hollywood," he said. "His name was Ronald Reagan. They chose to support him over Jimmy Carter, a born-again Baptist Sunday school teacher who had been married faithfully to one woman."
"The reason we supported President Reagan was not because we supported womanizing or divorce," he continued. "We supported his policies, and that's true" with Trump, too.
Read more on whether character matters to conservatives in the age of Trump here at The Week, and see Jeffress' comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian
"I think it's an overstatement to say we're at the brink of war," Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) said Monday on CNN's New Day of President Trump's late-night Twitter threat against Iran. But, Himes added, there is real cause for concern.
"If you look back at a bunch of Trump's tweets before he was president," the representative said, "he criticized several times Barack Obama and said, 'You just wait, he's going to start a war with Iran if it feels like he's on the political ropes.' And so that's in his head; that's what worries me."
After reviewing a few of the Trump tweets in question, Himes argued that we "need to be sensitive to the fact that this president, who doesn't have a very sophisticated sense of international relations, regards a war as a way to solve political problems — and that's a scary thought." Watch Himes' comments and see the tweets for yourself below. Bonnie Kristian
"I think it's an overstatement to say we're at the brink of war," says Rep. @JAHimes in response to President Trump tweeting an explosive threat to Iran. "I think that's probably not true." https://t.co/wUA3om4Wll pic.twitter.com/JdiJ5uwJax
— New Day (@NewDay) July 23, 2018
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Trump emerged from a week of bipartisan criticism unscathed. In fact, his voter approval got a small boost.
Trump racked up a 45 percent approval rating, up one point from June, the poll found. That's mostly thanks to Republicans, 88 percent of whom approved of Trump's performance — the highest Republican percentage of his presidency so far.
Overall, 29 percent of voters strongly approved of Trump's performance, the highest percentage of the last year. Just 9 percent of Democrats strongly or somewhat approved of Trump, and 44 percent of all voters strongly disapproved of how he's doing.
These numbers were gathered between July 15-18, which was a tumultuous time for the president. On July 16, Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and questioned Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He reversed course the next day, but not before Democrats and Republicans slammed his performance. Trump also faced intense scrutiny over his family separation policy in the time between June's survey and the new poll. A majority of Americans did disapprove of how Trump handled family separation and U.S.-Russia relations, the new poll found.
As for the November midterm elections, respondents listed the economy and health care as top issues, with Democrats indicating stronger interest in those races than Republicans.
The poll surveyed 900 registered voters over the phone, and has a 3.3 percent margin of error. Kathryn Krawczyk
The first trial in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference begins this week, as President Trump faces ongoing scrutiny of his cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has already pleaded not guilty to money laundering, bank fraud, conspiracy against the U.S., failure to register as a foreign agent, and lying to the FBI. Manafort is being tried in Virginia starting Wednesday, when jury selection begins, reports Bloomberg. His attorneys have argued that his charges have nothing to do with campaign work, and Trump has distanced himself from Manafort, saying he only worked with him for a "very short period of time."
Earlier this month, Mueller indicted 12 Russian nationals and charged them with hacking Democratic Party computers to influence the 2016 election. Other people indicted by the Mueller investigation, like former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and are cooperating with Mueller's team.
Trump on Monday called for an end to the probe, claiming it was "discredited" due to campaign surveillance by the FBI, though The Washington Post reports that the counterintelligence investigation began months before the 2016 surveillance application. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza