"Are you guys enjoying March Madness?" Stephen Colbert asked on Monday's Late Show. "Speaking of madness, Donald Trump. We're on the brink of another crisis? Because it really feels like Donald Trump is gearing up to fire" Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The first clue was when Trump lawyer John Dowd released a statement calling for Mueller's investigation to be scrapped, writing in purple comic sans font. "Now that sounds inappropriate until you remember that the Declaration of Independence was originally written in wingdings," Colbert joked. But Trump tweet-attacking Comey by name really raised the stakes, prompting even some Republicans to express mild alarm.
Like Sen. Lindsey Grahm (R-S.C.), who said Trump firing Mueller would be "the beginning of the end of his presidency." "Wait, it's not even the beginning of the end of his presidency?" Colbert protested. "I thought we were at least at the middle of the beginning of the end! I should have gone to the bathroom when Reince Priebus left — now I gotta hold it till the midterms." Trump is clearly in a firing mood, he added, pointing to the sacking of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, two days before his retirement, putting his $60,000-a-year pension at risk. "$60,000 — that's, like, half a porn star payment," Colbert said.
Now, McCabe was being investigated by the FBI inspector general, "so to avoid looking like he's trying to shut down the Russia investigation, all Trump had to do was not dance on McCabe's grave," Colbert said, reading the inevitable grave-dancing tweet. "Let that tweet sink in for a second: This is the sitting president of the United States gloating about firing a respected career FBI official and smearing another FBI official whose firing led to the appointment of the special counsel — and none of that shocks me as much as the fact that he spelled 'sanctimonious' correctly." And Trump's Twitter fingers were just getting started. Watch below. Peter Weber
Mondelez Global, the manufacturer of Ritz Crackers products, has announced a voluntary recall of some varieties, due to concerns over salmonella.
Mondelez said the supplier of whey powder for its crackers recalled the ingredient because of the possible presence of the bacteria. The recall affects Ritz Bits Cheese, Ritz Cheese Cracker Sandwiches, Ritz Bacon Cracker Sandwiches with Cheese, Ritz Whole Wheat Cracker Sandwiches with White Cheddar Cheese, Ritz Everything Cracker Sandwiches with Cream Cheese, and Mixed Cookie, with expiration dates from Jan. 14, 2019 to April 13, 2019.
Salmonella can make young children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems seriously ill. Mondelez said that so far, they have not received any complaints from consumers about salmonella, and the recall is out of an abundance of caution. Catherine Garcia
On Sunday, a suicide bombing near Kabul's international airport left at least 14 dead and 40 injured.
Police said the blast happened near an airport entrance where supporters of exiled Afghan Vice President Rashid Dostum were waiting to see him drive by in his motorcade. Dostum was back in Afghanistan after more than a year in Turkey, and was in an armored vehicle when the bombing took place; he was not hurt. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which killed at least one child and several members of Afghan security forces.
Dostum has been accused of human rights abuses stretching back to 2001, and last year, his guards allegedly seized political rival Ahmed Eshchi and tortured him; Dostum denies the allegations. Catherine Garcia
Pro-surveillance GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham suddenly supports surveillance reform following the Carter Page documents
"This morning the president is again accusing the Justice Department and the FBI of misleading courts and illegally surveilling his campaign," CBS host Margaret Brennan said to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Face the Nation Sunday, referring to President Trump's angry response to the Carter Page surveillance documents. "Is he wrong?"
"No," Graham replied, breaking with his Senate GOP colleague, Florida's Marco Rubio. Graham then called for scrutiny of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court, which approved the spying on Page.
"I think that the whole FISA award process needs to be looked at," he said. "The warrant on Carter Page was supported mostly by the dossier that came from [Christopher] Steele, who [was] being paid by the Democratic Party to do opposition research; and the dossier was collected, I think, from Russian intelligence services; and if you ask the FBI today how much of the dossier on Trump has been verified, [it's] almost none of it."
The extent to which the warrants were based on the dossier is subject to debate along predictably partisan lines. Less predictable is Graham's sudden discovery within himself of suspicion of the FISA court: Before Trump took office, the senator was a stalwart opponent of limits on the court's power, repeatedly voting to permit warrantless surveillance and prevent reform. In 2015, he claimed "anybody who neuters" the FISA court's "roving wiretap" program "is going to be partially responsible for the next [terrorist] attack." Bonnie Kristian
President Trump claims the FBI spied on and undermined his presidential campaign in 2016 for partisan purposes. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) does not.
Responding to Saturday's publication of the FBI's application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in connection to Russian election interference, Rubio said on CNN Sunday he "has a different view on it."
The feds "knew who [Page] was even before the campaign," Rubio explained on State of the Union. "I don't believe that them looking into Carter Page means they were spying on the campaign," he continued. "I also don't think it proves anything about collusion. ... I don't think it's part of any broader plot. The only plot here is the plot to interfere in our election by the Russians."
Also contra Trump, Rubio argued the FBI did not do "anything wrong" in its application to spy on Page: "I think they went to the court. They got the judges to approve it. They laid out all the information ― and there was a lot of reasons ... for why they wanted to look at Carter Page."
Rubio also addressed Trump's recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as Trump's plan for a second summit with Putin this fall. Watch the whole interview below. Bonnie Kristian
Authorities are searching for a University of Iowa student named Mollie Tibbetts, 20, who disappeared Wednesday while out for an evening jog. Tibbetts was running in Brooklyn, a small town about halfway between Iowa City and Des Moines. She gave no indication anything was wrong before her jog, her boyfriend said.
URGENT: My wife’s cousin, Mollie Tibbetts, has been missing since Wed., July 18.
She’ll be a sophomore at the @uiowa & is home for summer break in Brooklyn, IA. It is so unlike her to be out of touch
from family and friends.
Please RT so we can spread the word. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/Jjn9v9ZIHk
— Brian Wagner (@BrianRWagner) July 21, 2018
"Everything's on the table, unfortunately," said Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel. "We're hoping that she's somewhere with a friend, and she'll show up Monday or Tuesday, and everything will get back to normal." Bonnie Kristian
"America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday, "and war with Iran is the mother of all wars."
Rouhani issued his warning to the Trump administration at a meeting of Iranian diplomats, arguing that attempts to undermine Tehran among the Iranian public would not be successful. "You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran's security and interests," he said. In 1953, the U.S. helped engineer a coup to overthrow Iran's democratically elected government and support a pro-Western monarchy.
The Iranian president also addressed President Trump's June demand, since softened, that nations including China, India, and Turkey stop purchasing oil from Iran by early November. "Anyone who understands the rudiments of politics doesn't say, 'We will stop Iran's oil exports,'" Rouhani said.
Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year, claiming future negotiations will lead to a better arrangement. That has yet to materialize. Bonnie Kristian
Israeli troops evacuated 422 people from Syria to Jordan overnight Saturday and Sunday at the request of the United States and several European countries. The original plan was to evacuate 800, but complications including gains by the Islamic State hindered the rescue mission.
The evacuees were "White Helmet" volunteers, a civil defense group that conducts search and rescue operations, evacuations, and medical work in rebel-held areas of Syria. The group and their families were located in the Golan Heights area. Syrian government troops are advancing into the region, and the Bashar al-Assad regime considers the White Helmets a terrorist organization though they are credited with saving more than 100,000 lives.
The evacuees will be granted asylum and resettled in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. "Humanity dictates that many of these brave first-aiders should now find protection and refuge, some of them in Germany," said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The Canadian Foreign Ministry likewise expressed a "deep moral responsibility to these brave and selfless people." Bonnie Kristian