×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
June 12, 2018
Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that AT&T could purchase Time Warner, bringing a closely-scrutinized antitrust case to an end, The Washington Post reports.

AT&T moved to merge with Time Warner in 2016, but the Justice Department sued to block the purchase over concerns that the massive telecom merger would reduce competition and lead to higher prices. AT&T owns companies like DirecTV, while Time Warner owns companies like HBO and CNN, which will make the combined corporation a veritable media giant. Bloomberg reports that U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled to allow the purchase with no conditions.

The DOJ called the decision disappointing, saying the market will be "less competitive and less innovative." It also pledged to "consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition for the benefit of American consumers," reports CNN. The ruling on the $85 billion merger is expected to set a precedent for other major deals. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza

3:05 a.m. ET

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) and President Trump don't agree on much politically, but O'Rourke said in a debate Tuesday night that the president had a point when it comes to his opponent Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) truthfulness. "Sen. Cruz is not going to be honest with you," O'Rourke said in the San Antonio debate, likely his last face-off against Cruz before the election. "He’s dishonest. It's why the president called him Lyin' Ted, and it's why the nickname stuck. Because it's true."

O'Rourke, who's trying to unseat Cruz, is trouncing him in fundraising but trailing in the polls. Cruz characterized O'Rourke as too liberal for Texas on a number of issues, while O'Rourke said "Ted Cruz is for Ted Cruz" and "all talk and no action" when it comes to helping Texas. They sparred on border security and abortion rights, but largely agreed on trade, and both stressed the importance of civility — though Cruz snapped "Don't interrupt me, Jason," at one of the moderators when he tried to ask a followup question about the uncivil Brett Kavanaugh confirmation battle, CBS News notes.

When O'Rourke pointed to Cruz's 2013 government shutdown over ObamaCare, Cruz shot back that if you "want to talk about a shutdown," O'Rourke's efforts to investigate Trump would lead to "two years of a partisan circus and a witch hunt on the president." O'Rourke replied that it's "really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the Senate."

Both candidates tried to end on a high note. "We're in desperate need right now of inspiration," O'Rourke said, adding that he's constantly inspired by the people of Texas. Cruz highlighted his policy differences with O'Rourke and portrayed himself as the actual candidate of hope. "Do we choose fear, or do we choose hope?" Cruz asked. "I believe in hope." Peter Weber

2:09 a.m. ET

CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett found himself on the same New York–bound flight as President Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner — both White House employees — on Tuesday evening, and he took the opportunity to ask Kushner a question about Saudi Arabia and the presumed murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Or rather, he tried to ask that question. A Secret Service agent accompanying Kushner blocked Barnett's phone, according to a video of the incident he posted online, and when Barnett showed the agent his press credentials, he said: "I don't give a damn who you are, there's a time and place."

On the CBS Evening News, Barnett explained press-shy Kushner's role as Trump's main envoy to Saudi Arabia — the U.S. doesn't have an ambassador in Riyadh — and centerpiece to Trump's close ties to the Saudi rules. "The Secret Service officer said to me there is a time and a place for these types of interviews. I have to make the point that it's unclear what time and place that would be to ask Jared Kushner questions."

Blocking a reporter from asking a government employee a question is apparently against Secret Service protocol. In a statement to Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, the Secret Service said the incident is under review. Peter Weber

2:02 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

Within the first few moments of The Conners premiere Tuesday night, it was revealed how Roseanne Barr was written out of the show: Her character, Roseanne Conner, was dead.

The very-much-alive Barr didn't care for this twist, tweeting, "I AIN'T DEAD BITCHES!!!!" The original Roseanne aired on ABC from 1988 to 1997, and a revival was launched this spring. ABC canceled the show in May after Barr tweeted a message that likened former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett to Planet of the Apes, but the network ordered a spin-off, The Conners, in mid-June, with everyone but Barr coming back.

Barr released a statement on Tuesday, written with her spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, saying they wish the "very best for the cast and production crew," but "regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show." People loved Roseanne Conner "not in spite of her flaws, but because of them," they added. "The cancellation of Roseanne is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive." Catherine Garcia

1:22 a.m. ET
Martin Oulette-Diotte/AFP/Getty Images

As of midnight Wednesday, it is legal to possess and use recreational marijuana in Canada.

Provinces and territories will set the parameters of where pot can be purchased and consumed in their boundaries, and the government has sent out mailers to households across Canada notifying them of the new cannabis laws. While adults will be able to purchase dried weed and cannabis oil from licensed producers and retailers, it will be illegal to possess more than 30 grams in public, grow more than four plants in a household, and buy from an unlicensed dealer.

The first legal purchase was made in St. John's, Newfoundland, and while the nationwide market is open, it's not going to easy to buy in some places; in Ontario, for example, retail stores won't open until the spring, BBC News reports, although residents can order online. In British Columbia, there will just be one legal store open on Wednesday. Edibles will be available for purchase within the next year.

Marijuana possession became a crime in 1923, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has argued that laws criminalizing marijuana haven't done anything to curb use. Marijuana has been legal for medical use in the country since 2001. With this new law, Canada becomes the second country after Uruguay to make it legal to possess and use recreational marijuana. The government predicts it will earn $400 million in tax revenues from the sale of marijuana every year. Catherine Garcia

1:16 a.m. ET

President Trump scored a legal victory over porn actress Stormy Daniels on Monday when a federal judge threw out her defamation case against the president, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show.

"The judge's reasoning for why he threw the case out is — it's a little upsetting," Colbert said. "Trump called Stormy a liar on Twitter, but Judge S. James Otero ruled that Trump's speech was protected by the First Amendment because, he said, it was the kind of 'rhetorical hyperbole' normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States." Colbert dissented: "It's only normal because Trump made it normal! Like how now it's normal to be buddies with Kim Jong Un yet fear the cruel and devious Canadians."

"Trump took immediate advantage of the 'new normal'" and called Daniels "Horseface" on Twitter," Colbert noted. "Yes, 'Horseface.' You heard it straight from the horse's ass. ... But on Twitter, just like in real life, Stormy quickly spanked the president." He read that tweet, which mentioned "bestiality," Trump's "umm ... shortcomings," and ended: "Game on, Tiny." Anyway, Colbert said, "the president of the United States and a porn star are exchanging ad hominem attacks on Twitter — or as Judge Otero would call it, normal."

But Trump "has bigger problems than Stormy, because it's looking more and more like his buddies in Saudi Arabia murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their Istanbul consulate," Colbert said. He ran through Saudi Arabia's recent suspicious behavior and the "certain" evidence Turkey claims to have. "So at this point, you'd have to be either stupid or delusional to believe the Saudis' denials. Luckily, our president is both," he said. Trump denies backing the Saudis due to "financial interests in Saudi Arabia," Colbert added. "Here with a counterpoint is Donald Trump." Watch that, and a little needling of Ivanka Trump's knowledge of classical philosophy, below. Peter Weber

12:40 a.m. ET
iStock

It all started with a blood drive at his church.

Richard Packman, 74, first donated blood in the early 1990s, and after being told by a phlebotomist he had "big veins," the Chicago resident made the switch to platelets. "It takes longer than a blood donation, but it's well worth it," he told The Chicago Tribune. "I really enjoy being a platelets donor because you really know you're saving lives." It takes about two hours to donate platelets, which are commonly used for cancer patients who lose platelets during chemotherapy treatment, but Packman said the time passes quickly, as he watches a movie or chats with staff.

Packman has spent an estimated 1,000 hours giving blood or platelets, and on Friday, made his 500th donation. A small celebration was held, with streamers and carrot cake, and Packman plans on continuing to donate beyond this milestone. "Just remember one thing: It's better to give than to receive," he said. Catherine Garcia

12:19 a.m. ET

Saudi Arabia has for years been known as "the super conservative country where women can't drive, gay people get flogged, and thieves have their hands chopped off," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. It was taking strides to shed that reputation under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, until journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"So, a Washington Post journalist known for criticizing the Saudi government was seen entering the Saudi consulate, and then he was never, ever seen again," Noah recapped. "Now, I'm not a detective, but come on." The Saudi government has officially claimed Khashoggi left through the back door, but their security camera doesn't record images — an idea Noah found laughable. The Turkish government has another explanation. "Holy shit, 15 assassins, private planes, and a black van?" he asked. "This doesn't sound like real life, it sounds like the opening of a James Bond movie."

"So it's looking more and more like Saudi Arabia had Khashoggi killed, and this isn't just a big deal for Turkey and Saudi Arabia," Noah said. Khashoggi was a U.S. resident who wrote for The Washington Post, and the Saudis are U.S. allies, so this is an American problem, too. But President Trump, pressured to step in, has repeatedly accepted the Saudi leaders' denials, and he even introduced a random new suspect, "rogue killers," he noted. Since nobody's buying that, "Saudi Arabia is preparing to release their latest excuse," Khashoggi dying during an interrogation gone wrong.

"I don't know whether to be horrified or impressed," Noah said. "Because this is diabolical. The Saudi government is testing their excuse before officially using it." Michael Kosta explained why American should be "honored" that Saudi Arabia is testing its excuses because it shows "Saudi Arabia respects us enough to find a lie that works for both of us." Watch below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads