×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 17, 2018

Hold on to your lattes: Starbucks is going to close some 8,000 stores across the United States on May 29 in order to "conduct racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores," the company announced Tuesday. Approximately 175,000 Starbucks employees will receive the training, and it will be incorporated into the training for new hires as well.

The decision follows a Philadelphia store manager calling the police on two black men last week for "trespassing" while they were waiting in the Starbucks for a business meeting. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson told Good Morning America on Monday that the company would be "look[ing] more broadly at the circumstances that set that up just to ensure that never happens again." Executive chairman Howard Schultz said in Tuesday's statement: "The company's founding values are based on humanity and inclusion. We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer."

Read the company's entire announcement below. Jeva Lange

9:10 a.m. ET

The Trump administration is staying mum about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's fate.

During an interview on Good Morning America on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly declined to answer questions about Rosenstein after reports emerged Monday that he would be leaving the administration, either by resigning or by being fired. Rosenstein and President Trump are currently set to meet Thursday. When asked if Trump told Rosenstein on Monday that he wants him to stay on, Sanders wouldn't say.

Sanders also would not answer a question about whether Trump will fire Rosenstein Thursday if he doesn't resign, saying she doesn't want to "get ahead of" the conversation. But things certainly don't sound great for Rosenstein: When Sanders was asked if Trump has confidence in his deputy attorney general, she also declined to answer, simply saying, "The president has confidence in the system."

The New York Times reported Friday that Rosenstein has discussed wearing a wire to secretly record Trump, as well as invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. While Sanders didn't address the Times report directly, she did say there have been a "number of incidents" at the Justice Department and the FBI that have "caused a great deal of concern." Watch Sanders' full interview below. Brendan Morrow

8:18 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confidently declared in a speech last Friday that Brett Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the Supreme Court. But after a second sexual misconduct allegation was leveled against the nominee, things are looking a lot less certain.

Fox News reports that at least four Senate Republicans, and reportedly as many as seven, are currently on the fence about confirming Kavanaugh. The four who are definitely in play are Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), but there are reportedly three more Republicans who could be swayed in either direction.

To be confirmed, Kavanaugh will need the approval of 50 senators. There are currently 51 Republicans in the Senate, so just two of them breaking from the ranks would dash his confirmation hopes.

Now, it all comes down to Thursday, when both Kavanaugh and one of the two women accusing him of sexual misconduct are expected to testify before Congress. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. Multiple Senate Republicans told Fox News that they'd vote against Kavanaugh if they heard "something alarming" during Thursday's testimony.

Meanwhile, some of President Trump's allies are beginning to grow more doubtful about Kavanaugh's chances, with Ed Rollins, co-chairman of the pro-Trump Great America PAC, telling The Daily Beast he's got a "fifty-fifty" shot. Brendan Morrow

8:13 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

President Trump's first day at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York City was spent at a counternarcotics meeting and with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, with whom he signed a revised U.S.-South Korea trade agreement. It was also largely overshadowed by chaos in his own administration tied to his Supreme Court nomination and the job status of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. On Tuesday, Trump will address the General Assembly, and White House officials say he will assert U.S. sovereignty and defend his decisions to engage with North Korea and withdraw the U.S. from multilateral decisions on climate change and Iran's nuclear program.

"Such rhetoric, when delivered from the dais of the General Assembly chamber, was a shock last year," says Ishaan Tharoor at The Washington Post. "But as Trump makes his second appearance at the United Nations as president, no world leader or foreign dignitary will be surprised to hear more of the same." On Wednesday, Trump will chair a meeting of the United Nations Security Council where he is expected to focus on Iran, even as other key members of the Security Council are meeting at the General Assembly to explore ways of salvaging the Iran nuclear deal amid U.S. sanctions and threats.

A year ago, Trump used his U.N. General Assembly speech to attack North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man" and threatened to "totally destroy North Korea." On Monday he said after meeting with Moon that he will hold a second summit with Kim in the "not too distant future," though "the location is being worked on. The timing is being worked on." Peter Weber

6:45 a.m. ET

CNN's Don Lemon said Monday night that his vacation last week was interrupted both by the news of Christine Blasey Ford's attempted rape allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a conversation he had with a family member "extremely close to me" who opened up about being sexually assaulted by a boyfriend. Lemon showed the clip from eight years ago where he spontaneously acknowledged that he had been sexually abused. "In my life, it hasn't mattered if the person was 17 or 70 — the pain and the damage are real, and it never goes away," he said.

"Here's my message then, and now, and today: People aren't always who they present themselves to be in public," Lemon said. "A molester doesn't have an 'M' on their forehead. ... People are tricky characters. Innocent until proven guilty must remain the law of the land, but at the same time, some guilty people do cloak themselves in innocence. Remember, after all, Bill Cosby was 'America's Dad' not so long ago."

Lemon said he doesn't know whether Ford or his accusers are telling the truth, but as we weigh their stories and why they felt compelled to share them publicly he said, consider carefully: "Are we interested in truth, are we interested in healing, or is there, as there always seems to be these days, a political game being played with people's lives?" And it's not a few lives: Every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and one in six women has been raped or the victim of attempted rape. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:53 a.m. ET

On Monday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's freshman roommate at Yale, James Roche, elaborated on a statement he gave to The New Yorker about Kavanaugh's alcohol consumption and social network during the period their classmate Deborah Ramirez says Kavanaugh stuck his penis in her face at a party. "Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year," he said. "We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends." Roche added:

It is from this experience that I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk. I did not observe the specific incident in question, but I do remember Brett frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk. ... Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up. Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described. [James Roche]

Fox News' Martha McCallum asked Kavanaugh about Roche's characterization on Monday, and Kavanaugh repeated that he has "always treated women with dignity and respect" and emphasized that Roche "does not corroborate the incident at all." When McCallum asked, Kavanaugh said he's "not going to speculate about [Roche's] motives" and there was never a time when he drank so much he couldn't remember the night before.

Roche said in his statement that he doesn't "consider myself to be a political person and I have no political agenda," and he "shared this information ... because Debbie has a right to be heard and I believe her. I have been asked for more details and additional stories, but this is all that I am comfortable sharing." Peter Weber

4:54 a.m. ET

"A lot of presidents might look at a week in which their Supreme Court nominee's being accused by multiple women of sexual assault and think, 'It can't get any worse than this,'" Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, but that's where President Trump really "shines — it can always get worse." In this case, Trump is meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday amid speculation he'll fire him over a New York Times report about Rosenstein suggesting wearing a wire to record Trump. "It would be very fishy if Trump fires Rosenstein, because he's the guy overseeing the special counsel and the Russia investigation," Kimmel said, "but Thursday's also the day of the [Brett] Kavanaugh testimony, and some people believe Trump might fire Rosenstein just to change the news coverage that day."

Stephen Colbert saw an immediate flaw in Rosenstein's alleged plot. "The wire is really smart, because — think about this — if Trump were caught on tape saying something horrible, he could win the 2016 election," he deadpanned on The Late Show. "The whole damn thing came to a head this morning when one news report claimed that Rod Rosenstein had verbally resigned to John Kelly — to which Kelly replied, 'Damnit, I was going to resign to you!' But, they were wrong." Cable news networks went crazy chasing the rumors anyway, Colbert said, laughing over "the first ever cable news car chase of a parked car."

On Late Night, Seth Meyers noted the absurdity of "a constitutional crisis because nobody could tell if Rod Rosenstein was joking of not," then ran through the crazily shifting reports on Rosenstein's job status, including the CNN anchors "talking in circles about how confused they were." He ended with some dodgy theories Republicans are trotting out to explain away the Kavanaugh sexual misconduct allegations, including Jeanine Pirro's hypnosis theory and Ben Carson's ideas about a vast Fabian conspiracy. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:19 a.m. ET

On Sunday night, lawyer Michael Avenatti announced he is representing a third woman with sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and on Monday, he told reporters that "within 48 hours we will release additional details relating to the allegations relating to Brett Kavanaugh," including the woman's name. That will put the big reveal very close to Thursday's high-stakes Senate Judiciary Committee testimony from Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. Avenatti's client "may sit for a televised interview at that time," he said. "She is 100 percent credible, and when the American people hear from her, they will determine, as I have, that she is to be believed."

Kavanaugh denies all the allegations and says he has never sexually assaulted anyone. Avenatti described the woman as a former State Department and U.S. Mint employee and said her information relates to how Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge "behaved at countless house parties" in high school. The woman will "literally risk her life" by coming forward, he claimed, and she will be willing to take a polygraph test if Kavanaugh does, too.

Democrats aren't necessarily thrilled with Avenatti's late entry into the Kavanaugh imbroglio. "Mr. Avenatti has a tendency to sensationalize and make his various crusades more about himself than about getting at the truth," a senior Senate Democratic aide told The Daily Beast. "This moment calls for the exact opposite." Avanatti dismissed the criticism as "certain Democrats being weak-kneed and not up for the fight." Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads