×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 16, 2018
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

R. Lee Ermey, famous for playing Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, died Sunday from complications of pneumonia. He was 74.

A U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant, drill instructor, and honorary gunnery sergeant, he spent 11 years in the military, including 14 months in Vietnam. When he retired, Ermey decided to take acting classes, and ended up working as a technical adviser on Apocalypse Now, in addition to playing a helicopter pilot. His Full Metal Jacket performance earned Ermey a Golden Globe nomination, and in addition to acting in films, he also had several voiceover roles, including as the lead green plastic soldier in the Toy Story movies. Catherine Garcia

2:03 a.m. ET
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) had two very different meetings with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday.

Collins shared with reporters that Kavanaugh told her he believes Roe v. Wade is settled law. Schumer said when he asked Kavanaugh if he agreed that the case was "correctly decided," the conservative judge "would not say yes. That should send shivers down the spine of any American who believes in reproductive freedom for women." When it comes to the landmark abortion case, Kavanaugh has a "special obligation to make his views on this topic clear," he added, since President Trump said he would "only nominate someone who overturns Roe v. Wade." Conservative justices, Schumer continued, "have a habit of saying something is settled law during their confirmation and then overturning the minute they get on the bench."

Kavanaugh spent his Tuesday afternoon meeting privately with Schumer and four other Democratic senators, and Schumer said in addition to not commenting on Roe v. Wade, he wouldn't say if the Affordable Care Act is constitutional or whether a sitting president must comply with a subpoena. Catherine Garcia

1:48 a.m. ET
Justin Merriman/Getty Images

At a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night, President Trump told his supporters, "I don't want to brag about it, but man do I have a good record of endorsements." The crowd responded with changes of "USA!” Across the country, Republican in Wyoming picked state Treasurer Mark Gordon as their gubernatorial nominee over Trump-backed businessman and GOP mega-donor Foster Friess. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Gordon had 33 percent of the vote to Friess' 26 percent. Trump, who endorsed Friess earlier Tuesday, won Wyoming in 2016 by 46 percentage points. This is Trump's first primary endorsee to lose since Luther Strange in Alabama.

Gov. Matt Mead (R) is term-limited. Gordon will face Democratic state Rep. Mary Throne in the general election. Sen. John Barrosso (R-Wy.) easily fended off a challenge from businessman Dave Dodson, who spent $1 million of his own money in the race, and he is favored to win a third term against Democrat Gary Trauner in November. The state's lone House representative, Liz Cheney (R), won re-nomination. Peter Weber

12:50 a.m. ET
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

"For a witch hunt," The New York Times said in a Tuesday night editorial, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's "investigation has already bagged a remarkable number of witches. Only the best witches, you might say." On Tuesday, Mueller's team secured guilty verdicts for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to, among other crimes, trying to sway the 2016 election by paying off two purported Trump mistresses "at the direction of" Trump.

"Let that sink in: Mr. Trump's own lawyer has now accused him, under oath, of committing a felony," the Times editorialists wrote. "Only a complete fantasist — that is, only President Trump and his cult — could continue to claim that this investigation of foreign subversion of an American election ... is a 'hoax' or 'scam' or 'rigged witch hunt.'" And Cohen may not be done talking.

The Manafort and Cohen cases "are a damaging commentary on the shady operators Donald Trump associated with," The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial, but "the evidence in both cases is unrelated to the Russian collusion claims that set these prosecutions in motion." Mueller won't indict Trump, the Journal predicted, and "voters may want to see more than evidence about payments to a porn star to overturn the results of a presidential election."

The president was just "credibly accused in federal court of directing one of his subordinates to commit a federal crime," The Washington Post said in a editorial, and "Trump cannot pretend these crimes did not occur or that they have nothing to do with him. Neither can Congress." The Constitution largely leaves Trump's fate up to Congress, "and powerful Republican lawmakers have seemed more interested in covering for Mr. Trump than investigating him," the Post said. This "partisan abdication of public duty" must end, and "Congress must open investigations into Mr. Trump's role in the crime Mr. Cohen has admitted to. ... Legislators cannot in good conscience ignore an alleged co-conspirator in the White House." Peter Weber

12:43 a.m. ET
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

To indict, or not to indict: that is the question.

Not long after Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight counts of financial crimes, his attorney, Lanny Davis, posed a question to his Twitter audience: If Cohen broke election laws by secretly paying off two purported Trump paramours "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" with the "purpose of influencing the election," then "why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?"

Cornell professor Jens David Ohlin told Vox that Trump is "clearly guilty of violating campaign finance laws and also guilty of federal conspiracy as well. ... Normally, he would be indicted right away. But that won't happen only because he's the president." He's not the only one who said this on Tuesday; Fox News' John Roberts tweeted that people close to Trump told him, "Remember, the president cannot be indicted."

In 2000, the Office of Legal Counsel released a memo saying it agreed with a conclusion reached by the Justice Department in 1973, that the "indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting president would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions." Neal Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, told CBS News in May "the basic point is that prosecutors should not be able to tie up the work of a president."

That's not to say that a president, after leaving office, couldn't be charged with wrongdoing, or that Congress couldn't revive the independent counsel statute and have that person file charges. Scott L. Frederickson, a former federal prosecutor, told CBS News that "a fundamental tenet of our political and criminal justice system is that no man is above the law," and because of that, "there is a very persuasive argument that can be made that you can indict a sitting president." Catherine Garcia

August 21, 2018

Speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Tuesday night, Michael Cohen's lawyer said his client has "knowledge on certain subjects" that should be of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and he's "more than happy" to share "all that he knows."

Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight charges of bank and tax fraud and campaign finance law violations, and said he made hush payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump "at the direction of a candidate for federal office." Davis told Maddow that Cohen now feels "liberated to tell the truth, everything about Donald Trump that he knows."

Davis said one thing Cohen is open to talking about is a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, attended by Donald Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his former campaign chairman and recently convicted felon Paul Manafort. They met with several Russians connected to the Kremlin, who promised compromising information on Hillary Clinton, and there is the "obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system," Davis said.

The lawyer also appeared on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time, where he told host Chris Cuomo he believes Cohen "has information about Mr. Trump that would be of interest in Washington as well as New York State." Watch the Cuomo interview below. Catherine Garcia

August 21, 2018

Lawyer and academic Alan Dershowitz appeared on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show Tuesday night, where he scoffed at those who are "playing funeral music for Trump" in the wake of his former campaign chairman being convicted of eight counts of financial fraud and his former personal lawyer pleading guilty to eight felony charges.

Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and making an "excessive campaign contribution," and said in 2016, he made payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with President Trump, in order to keep them quiet. Cohen said the payments were made "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" for the "purpose of influencing the election."

Carlson said it's a "common scenario among famous people" to make secret payments to keep people quiet about possible wrongdoing, and wondered, "How is that a crime?" Dershowitz explained that the "allegation here is it was Cohen who paid it and made a campaign contribution, which he didn't report, at the direction of the president." When Carlson said he still didn't understand, Dershowitz again said if "somebody else pays the money in order to influence the outcome of the election, it is technically, perhaps, a violation of the election laws."

Dershowitz then declared that the violation of election laws is no big deal, and "regarded as kind of jaywalking in the realm of things about elections. Every administration violates the election laws, every candidate violates the election laws when they run for president, usually they pay a fine or something like that. Here, they're trying to elevate this to an impeachable offense or a felony against the president." Sure, it was a "negative day," Dershowitz admitted, but "we're a long way from tolling the bells for this administration." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

August 21, 2018
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook has removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts that originated in Iran and Russia and sought to covertly spread political content to users in the United States, United Kingdom, Latin America, and the Middle East, the company announced Tuesday.

The accounts were in violation of Facebook's terms of service due to "coordinated inauthentic behavior." These campaigns were separate and Facebook has not been able to find any connection between them, but they used "similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing," Facebook said in a blog post.

Cybersecurity experts were able to determine that some of the pages were linked to Iranian state media, and others to Russian military intelligence services. The Iranian accounts were able to spend more than $12,000 on ads and hosted more than 20 events, Facebook said, and also attempted to spread malware. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads