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April 13, 2018
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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's profligate spending of taxpayer money isn't new — he reportedly jacked up spending when he was Oklahoma attorney general, too — but EPA officials have justified most of it by citing apparently very overblown concerns about Pruitt's safety. And Pruitt's main enabler, Politico says, is the head of his 19-person 24/7 security detail, Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta.

Perrotta, a former Secret Service agent, encouraged or insisted that Pruitt (and himself) fly first class, upgrade to a specialized SUV, sweep his office for bugs — with a company linked to Perrotta — and install a $43,000 soundproof booth, Politico says, and recently retired EPA multimedia director Ron Slotkin said Perrotta posted a guard to keep employees out of Pruitt's EPA suite of offices. "Mr. Pruitt thinks he's the president of the United States," one former career staffer told Politico. "He's big on image."

He wasn't big on taking out the trash, however, The Daily Beast reports, citing numerous sources familiar with his $50-a-night rental situation last year. The lobbyist owners of the townhouse, Vicki and J. Steven Hart, eventually had to push Pruitt out the door, but The Daily Beast recounts another reason why Pruitt was "the tenant from hell":

According to three people familiar with events, Pruitt would not take out the trash during his time staying at the townhouse, believing that a cleaning service would do it for him. There was no cleaning service that came with the apartment, however. And the garbage bags piled up to the point that Vicki Hart was forced to tell him to put them in the canister and to take that canister out to the street the next time he left the building. [The Daily Beast]

Steve Hart is also facing pressure to retire early as chairman of the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen because of his now-famous ties to Pruitt, The Daily Beast reports. President Trump, meanwhile, says he believes Pruitt is doing a terrific job. Peter Weber

8:40 a.m. ET

President Trump Wednesday morning touted his Monday press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a success, tweeting that "many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki."

During the conference, Trump seemed to go against U.S. intelligence agencies by questioning whether Russia really meddled in the 2016 election, saying he didn't "know any reason why it would be" Russia. Afterwards, the intelligence community appeared in distress. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats quickly followed up with a statement reaffirming Russia's "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy." Likewise, CNN notes, every current U.S. intelligence head who has testified on the issue, and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, have all confirmed Russia's involvement.

Trump's latest tweets come one day after he walked back his claim that Russia didn't meddle, after widespread criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike. Kathryn Krawczyk

8:18 a.m. ET

European Union regulators on Wednesday hit Google with a record €4.3 billion ($5 billion) fine for antitrust violations, BBC reports. The European Commission said Google abused its Android market dominance by inserting its own search engine and Chrome apps into the widely used operating system for smartphones and tablets. The regulators also said Google did other things to block competition, such as paying "certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators" to exclusively bundle its search app on handheld devices.

The fine far surpassed Google's previous $2.7 billion record-breaking fine, The Verge reports, which the EU imposed last year, saying Google had manipulated search results. Google parent Alphabet has 90 days to change its business practices or face further penalties. Harold Maass

5:14 a.m. ET

Tuesday's Late Show came at the end of a tumultuous couple of days for President Trump. Having just returned from a "disastrous" trip around Europe, during which he managed to bash NATO and rub shoulders with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump had some mopping up to do upon his return home.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Trump went into "emergency spin mode," Colbert said, listing his version of various events — including a weird fib about his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II — in an effort to make it into what Colbert calls the "Lying Hall of Fame."

But perhaps the biggest walk-back came after Trump stood next to Putin and told a room full of reporters that, despite conclusions to the contrary from American intelligence agencies, he was confident Russia did not meddle in the 2016 presidential election. "I don't see any reason why it would be [Russia]," Trump said. "That needs no clarification," Colbert assured, and then showed a clip of Trump saying his statement needed some clarification. "Okay, I stand corrected," Colbert said. "Alright Mr. President, I'll bite. Let's see how dumb you think the American people are."

Trump insists he simply misspoke. What he meant to say was, "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia."

"Yes, the sentence should have been that," Colbert said. "It was not that, but then again who among us hasn't said the exact opposite of what he just said in front of cameras on multiple occasions?" He finishes with a sick burn on Trump's "double negative" flub. Watch below. Jessica Hullinger

1:54 a.m. ET
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Researchers say that with temperatures rising in Canada's high Arctic, hundreds of glaciers are shrinking and many could soon vanish.

They used satellite imagery to study 1,773 glaciers on Ellesmere Island, the most northerly island in the Arctic Archipelago, and found that from 1999 to 2015, 1,353 shrank significantly, and a few disappeared completely. "What we found is a loss of three complete ice shelves," Adrienne White, a glaciologist at the University of Ottawa, told The Guardian. "In terms of glaciers that terminate on land, we've lost three small ice caps." From 1948 to 2016, the annual average temperature in northern Ellesmere Island increased by 6.48 degrees Fahrenheit, one of the fastest rates of anywhere on Earth.

White said none of the glaciers are showing any signs of growing, and when they "break away, all of a sudden there's nothing holding back these ecosystems that have been growing and developing for thousands of years. And they're gone before we even have the chance to study them." Catherine Garcia

12:57 a.m. ET

During an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson that aired Tuesday night, President Trump said he's been thinking about the different ways Russia assisted the United States in the past.

During World War II, "Russia lost 50 million people and helped us win the war," he said. "I was just saying to myself the other day, you know, Russia really helped us. I'm not pro-Russia, pro-anybody, I just want to have this country be safe." He doesn't "want nuclear weapons, even people thinking about it," he added. "Russia and the United States control 90 percent of the nuclear weapons in the world, and getting along with Russia, and not only for that reason, is a good thing, not a bad thing."

Carlson asked Trump if Russia is "our chief adversary," and Trump said they have a "strong military" but their economy is "much smaller than China. I don't even want to use the term 'adversary.' We can all work together, we can do great, everybody can do well, and we can live in peace." Watch more of the interview in the video below. Catherine Garcia

12:21 a.m. ET

President Trump came out on Tuesday with what he called a "clarification" of remarks he made in Helsinki on Monday, but CNN's Chris Cuomo and his giant computer screen weren't buying it.

While standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump had an "epic fail in front of the world," Cuomo said, choosing Putin's "lies over his own country's truth." Trump on Tuesday said he misspoke, and meant to say "I don't know why it wouldn't be" Russia that meddled in the election, rather than "would." Cuomo had the portion of his remarks up on the screen, and ripped apart this explanation, going sentence by sentence.

Trump believes when the 2016 election is attacked, it "delegitimizes his win," Cuomo said, and "if it comes down to what is best for Trump or what is best for you, you're going to lose, and the world saw this yesterday and it was shameful." The most authentic proof of this is found in Trump's prepared remarks from Tuesday. They were typed, but Trump wrote in huge letters on top, "There was no colusion [sic]."

"Why?" Cuomo said. "Even though it has nothing to do with saying it is true that Russia attacked us, it is what he cares about, and you know it's authentic because he misspelled collusion and that is something he does, he misspells words." Trump also crossed out a line about bringing those involved "in that meddling to justice," and that's because "he hates the notion that there could be any sense of justice, fairness under law, that involves punishing him or anyone around him," Cuomo said. "The insistence on covering for himself cost our country a lot of legitimacy in Helsinki." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

July 17, 2018
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Rep. Martha Roby was victorious Tuesday night, winning the Republican primary runoff in Alabama's 2nd congressional district.

She defeated Bobby Bright, a former Democratic congressman who became a Republican and vocal supporter of President Trump. After the Access Hollywood tape came out in October 2016 that showed Trump bragging about assaulting women, Roby said she would not vote for him, and that was used against her by Bright and the other Republican candidates during the campaign. In the June primary, Roby was unable to get more than 50 percent of the vote, and had to face Bright in the runoff election.

Since the election, Roby has praised Trump and visited the White House multiple times, and last month, he tweeted his endorsement of her. With nearly half of all precincts reporting, Roby had 67 percent of the vote, compared to Bright with 33 percent. Catherine Garcia

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