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July 17, 2018

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was so incensed by President Trump's press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday that he called Republican lawmakers and gave them permission to speak out against Trump's comments, three people familiar with the matter told Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman.

Kelly warned Trump that by saying he had no reason to believe Russia would want to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, it made things infinitely worse for him with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Sherman reports, and he also urged him to take back the remarks, which he kind of attempted to do on Tuesday.

Trump himself was surprised by the public's negative reaction to the press conference, but by the time he returned to the United States he was enraged that few people were defending him. "This was the nightmare scenario," one Republican close to the White House told Sherman. Catherine Garcia

4:26p.m.

In the days since Saudi Arabia offered an explanation for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump's reaction has completely shifted.

The president on Monday told reporters he is "not satisfied" with what he has heard from Saudi Arabia about the death of the Washington Post columnist who went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month, reports Talking Points Memo. After first claiming they had no knowledge of the situation, Saudi Arabian officials claimed last week that Khashoggi was killed as part of a rogue operation carried out by one of the advisers to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They also claimed that Khashoggi was only supposed to be interrogated and was killed after a fistfight broke out, but on Monday, CNN reported that surveillance footage showed a man suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's death leaving the consulate in his clothing. Turkey suggested that he traveled to Istanbul specifically to serve as a body double.

On Friday, Trump said that he found Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death to be credible. On Saturday, though, he suggested the Saudi government had lied in some way, saying, "their stories are all over the place," reports The Washington Post. However, he also said he wasn't convinced the crown prince was involved.

Trump's statement Monday came after he said he had spoken directly with the crown prince. He also told reporters that he wouldn't wait one month for Saudi Arabia to complete its investigation into Khashoggi's death. "That's a long time," he said, per CNN's Kaitlan Collins, adding that "there's no reason" for it to take a full month. "We're going to get to the bottom of it," he pledged. Brendan Morrow

4:16p.m.

For Wonder Woman fans, the wait for the second outing will now be even more excruciating than expected.

Star Gal Gadot revealed on Twitter Monday afternoon that Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to the hit 2017 superhero film, will now be released on June 5, 2020 after previously being scheduled for Nov. 1, 2019. Though this seven-month delay might be disappointing, Gadot presented it as a good thing, calling the June release date the movie's "rightful home." The first Wonder Woman also came out in June and became the highest-grossing film of summer 2017.

Gadot didn't give any particular reason for the delay, but mentioned that it was being moved "thanks to the changing landscape." She could possibly be referring to the fact that a November slot would force Wonder Woman 1984 to compete with the studio's Oct. 2019 release of Joker, the standalone film about the Batman villain.

Marvel also recently removed an untitled film originally planned for July 2020 from its schedule, possibly giving Warner Bros. room to shift Wonder Woman into that new "home" date. It remains to be seen whether there are any other reasons for the delay, but some box office pundits view it as a wise move.

Wonder Woman 1984, as the title suggests, will see Diana Prince returning decades after the events of the first film amid the Cold War. Despite the fact that his character died in the first film, Chris Pine will somehow be returning. Nobody knows for sure how that's happening, but now, we'll have another seven months to speculate wildly. Brendan Morrow

3:42p.m.

Unpaid taxes and lawsuits may squash Michael Avenatti's presidential campaign before it's even started.

A California judge on Monday ordered Avenatti, the lawyer representing Stormy Daniels, to pay $4.85 million he owes to an ex-colleague, reports The Associated Press. The ruling came just hours after The Daily Beast reported that Avenatti owes millions in back taxes.

Monday's suit came from Jason Frank, who was an attorney at Avenatti's former law firm. Frank alleged the firm "misstated its profits" and owed him far more than he was paid, AP writes. After denying Avenatti's request to bring the case to federal court, the judge ruled in Frank's favor. Neither Avenatti not a representative were at Monday's hearing, and did not argue in the case, but Avenatti did tell AP on Monday that Frank owed him $12 million "for his fraud," without explaining further.

Avenatti rocketed to fame after representing Daniels in a lawsuit against President Trump earlier this year. He's since used that platform to campaign for Democrats and float a 2020 presidential run, and often urges Trump to release his tax returns. But Avenatti's first 2020 mention was met with criticism over his finances, particularly reports of $2.4 million in then-unpaid taxes owed by his old law firm. The Daily Beast also reports Avenatti personally owes another $1.2 million to the IRS, though Avenatti says those debts are "fully paid."

Monday's ruling adds to the $10 million Avenatti's former firm was already ordered to pay Frank in May. Read more about Avenatti's reported financial straits at The Daily Beast. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:29p.m.

Americans will head to the polls this November with a much different view on the nation's biggest problems than in 2016.

A new survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that more U.S. adults view drug addiction, college affordability, sexism, and racism as "very big" problems than did two years ago.

Just before the 2016 presidential election, 56 percent of Americans already viewed drug addiction as being a "very big" problem, but now, that number has risen to 68 percent. Meanwhile, 63 percent now say college affordability is a very big problem, compared to 52 percent in 2016. Today, 34 percent say sexism is a very big problem, compared to 23 percent in 2016; and 46 percent say racism is a very big problem, compared to 39 percent in 2016.

Some of these answers are split among party lines. For instance, while 48 percent of Democrats see sexism as a very big problem, only 17 percent of Republicans do. But a few issues, including drug addiction and ethics in government, earned bipartisan concern.

Then there are issues that have become less troublesome. Two years ago, 47 percent of those surveyed said job opportunities for Americans was a very big problem, but now, that number has shrunk to just 25 percent. In fact, of the 18 issues presented, job opportunities ranked lowest as the least of Americans' worries. Additionally, just 35 percent now say that terrorism is a very big problem, compared to 53 percent in 2016.

The poll surveyed 10,683 U.S. adults online from Sept. 24 through Oct. 7. The margin of error is 1.5 percentage points. See more results at Pew Research Center. Brendan Morrow

2:09p.m.

The stars have aligned for physics fans hoping to get their hands on a Stephen Hawking relic.

Wheelchairs, scientific papers, and even a script from The Simpsons once belonging to the late physicist will be auctioned off starting Oct. 31, The Associated Press reports. Proceeds from the online sale will benefit Hawking's foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Hawking was given just a few months to live when he was diagnosed with ALS at age 22, but famously produced cosmological theories from a wheelchair until he died at 76 in March. His oldest chair will be up for auction, as well as a newer motorized model expected to fetch up to $19,500, per AP.

The auction's premier item is expected to be a signed copy of Hawking's doctoral thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes." It's estimated to fetch up to $195,000, AP says. Lower-budget items include a bomber jacket, a copy of A Brief History of Time signed with Hawking's thumbprint, and a script from one of Hawking's several Simpsons appearances. The rest of Hawking's scientific archive will be preserved by the British government.

Papers by Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and other science legends will all be up for grabs at the same auction, CNBC says. If old-school physics is more your thing, drop a bid on a script explaining Isaac Newton's love of alchemy that's expected to go for at least $100,000. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:12p.m.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner may be the Trump administration's closest link to Saudi Arabia. So when CNN host Van Jones sat down with Kushner on Monday, he just had to ask: How did Kushner get "the dopest job in the world?"

Kushner's interview with Jones at CNN's Citizen political forum was his first public interview since December 2017, Politico's Annie Karni pointed out. It seemingly would've been a good time to ask about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey's Saudi consulate, considering Kushner's reportedly friendly relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Instead, Jones spent much of the interview discussing whether President Trump is a good grandfather, calling Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump "extraordinary," and asking if Kushner is "having fun" in the White House.

Jones did eventually ask whether Kushner "trust[ed] the Saudis to investigate themselves," seeing as bin Salman is both the "prime suspect" and the "prime investigator" in Khashoggi's death. Kushner simply urged bin Salman to "be fully transparent" as the investigation continues, then pivoted back to talking about the Middle East in general.

Kushner and Jones originally planned to discuss prison reform during the interview, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman acknowledged. But, as Karni put it, the conversation's lack of Khashoggi questions made for one big "elephant in the room."

12:58p.m.

Since winning the Academy Award for Best Director this year, Guillermo del Toro's career has just kept growing.

The Shape of Water director is set to helm a new stop-motion animated musical version of Pinocchio for Netflix, which will be set in Italy during the rise of fascism, writes The Hollywood Reporter. Del Toro says Pinocchio will be portrayed as an innocent soul who embarks on a journey in a world he does not understand, and along the way learns to understand his uncaring father. Del Toro also said in a statement that he feels a deeper personal connection with Pinocchio than with any other fictional character.

In fact, del Toro has been trying to make this movie for many, many years, but as recently as last November, he said it wasn't happening anymore. Then, a few months later, he won the Oscar for Best Director, and his film The Shape of Water won Best Picture, allowing him to leverage this success into financing his dream project. In his statement, del Toro emphasized that he's excited to direct an animated film for the first time, though he has previously produced stop-motion films like The Book of Life. Del Toro has hired the company that made the puppets for Tim Burton's Corpse Bride to make figurines for Pinocchio, and the Jim Henson Company will produce.

This del Toro film is completely unrelated to the live-action version of Pinocchio that Disney is currently making as part of its new slate of live-action remakes including The Lion King and Aladdin. The Disney version will be directed by Paddington's Paul King. Del Toro's Pinocchio is expected to begin production this fall, while Disney's reportedly won't start shooting until next year, so it looks like Netflix might beat Disney to the punch. Brendan Morrow

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