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August 7, 2018

MSNBC's Chris Hayes doesn't understand his fellow journalists who set alerts for President Trump's increasingly frequent tweets, he told Stephen Colbert on Monday's Late Show. "It sometimes feels like we're all pigeons or rats in some stimulus response experiment that he's running," Hayes said. Trump's increasingly frenetic tweetstorms are a sign of fraying nerves, he suggested, but they're also "like bad Jedi mind tricks, where he feels like if he gets in front of you, he can change your mind about something."

Colbert asked Hayes about the just-breaking news of Rick Gates testifying that both he and Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, committed financial crimes. The trial isn't about Trump, but Gates, Trump's deputy campaign chairman, stayed with the Trump campaign through the election, the presidential transition, and then worked on a Trump super PAC, so he's inexorably tied to the Trump administration, Hayes said. And he's the first member of the Trump team "to stand on the stand and say, 'Yes, I am a criminal, I committed crimes, and the president of the United States' campaign manager ... is a criminal, and I know that because me and him did crimes together.'"

"Its strange to even say — do you think this story has legs?" Colbert asked, and they both laughed. "Because he did, over the weekend, admit to collusion, and we're all like, 'Yeah, we know.'" Hayes said yes, he thinks this trial will continue to make news, in part because of the facts yet to emerge. "It's a shady group of people, and at some point, you're best assuming the worst," he said.

On Late Night, Seth Meyers read the key Gates testimony verbatim. "Oh my God, this whole thing is like a Law & Order episode that ends in the first five minutes," Meyers said. "'Did you do crimes?' 'Yes, I did crimes.'" Cue the theme music. Watch below. Peter Weber

6:48 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Steve Helber

Less than a week after becoming the interim president and chief executive of USA Gymnastics, Mary Bono is stepping down from the role, following criticism from Olympians Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.

Bono is a former Republican congresswoman from Southern California. She recently tweeted a photo showing her covering up the Nike logo on her golf shoes, in response to Colin Kaepernick's Nike advertisement. "Don't worry, it's not like we needed a smarter usa gymnastics president or any sponsors or anything," Biles tweeted.

Bono came under fire from Raisman due to her work with a law firm that many believe helped USA Gymnastics cover-up the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal. The former USA Gymnastics national team doctor was accused of molesting hundreds of gymnasts, and earlier this year, was found guilty of sexual assault of minors. In the wake of the scandal, the entire USA Gymnastics board resigned in January, and a new president, Kerry Perry, was hired, although she resigned nine months later.

After sending in her resignation letter Tuesday, Bono released a defiant statement, saying she had to step down because of "personal attacks." She defended covering the Nike logo on her shoes, saying it was free speech, and said it wasn't fair that the tweet "has now been made the litmus test of my reputation over almost two decades of public service." She did not address Raisman's concerns. Catherine Garcia

5:41 p.m. ET
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Brothel owner turned Nevada Assembly candidate Dennis Hof has died, just a day after his 72nd birthday, Nye County police confirmed Tuesday.

Hof was often described as "Nevada's most famous pimp," and starred in the HBO documentary series Cathouse. The bombastic Hof also authored The Art of the Pimp, which foreshadowed his foray into politics earlier this year. Branding himself as the "Trump of Pahrump," Hof unseated a three-term incumbent to win the Republican primary for Nevada's state Assembly in June.

His curious blend of vice and politics led to quite the unique birthday party the night before his death. Hof was celebrating with porn star Ron Jeremy, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and tax opponent Grover Norquist, The Nevada Independent reported. The party doubled as a campaign rally at the Love Ranch, one of his several brothels.

A Nye County spokesman said Hof apparently went to sleep on Monday night, and was found unresponsive the next morning. His death looks "normal" on its face, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly told the Independent, but there will still be an autopsy.

Hof's campaign manager, Chuck Muth, first tweeted about his death on Tuesday, and later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was "confused and stunned" by the news. Hof's Democratic opponent Lesia Romanov sent her condolences to "those who care about him." Nevada state law mandates Hof's name stay on the ballot this fall, but polling places will post that he has died. If Hof wins the election, county commissioners will appoint another Republican to take his place. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:31 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's (D-N.D.) crumbling path to re-election just took another wrong turn.

Heitkamp's campaign published an open letter attacking her opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) for his disparaging comments about the "#MeToo" movement, running it as an ad in several North Dakota newspapers on Monday. Now, she's apologizing after finding out the letter outed some of its signers as abuse survivors, The Associated Press reports.

Heitkamp's re-election chances have evaporated over the past few months; the newest Fox News poll shows Cramer ahead by 12 points. She's tried to win over voters with a focus on fighting sexual assault, notably opposing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation despite the possibility of damaging her chances in the midterms. Cramer, meanwhile, called #MeToo a "movement toward victimization" an in interview with The New York Times last week.

The controversial Heitkamp letter decried Cramer's comments, and was signed by over 125 people. But some signers soon criticized the ad's publication, saying they "either hadn't authorized it or are not survivors of abuse," AP reports. Cramer quickly slammed the mistake as "revictimization of victims" when talking with AP, and one survivor whose name was unwittingly published said she would no longer vote for Heitkamp.

Heitkamp issued a statement saying she's "in the process of issuing a retraction" of the ad and "personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this." AP reports that a "clearly emotional" Heitkamp also said she would investigate how her campaign got these names. Heitkamp said she didn't see the ad before its publication, but still took responsibility for the "very flagrant error." Kathryn Krawczyk

4:04 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

One of President Trump's closest allies in the Senate is not buying his theory about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said that he believes the missing Washington Post columnist was murdered and that it was likely "orchestrated at the highest levels of government," per CBS News' Alan He.

Trump suggested on Monday that "rogue killers" may have been responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance, but Graham doesn't "think it was a rogue event." Graham said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is "the one pulling the strings right now." But Trump on Tuesday, seemingly without skepticism, promoted the crown prince's claim that he has no knowledge of Khashoggi's fate.

Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month and has not been heard from since. Turkish officials told the United States they found evidence he was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi security team, and gave The Washington Post scans of seven men they believe were part of the Saudi team responsible. Trump promised that "answers will be forthcoming shortly" as Saudi Arabia will "rapidly expand" its investigation. But Turkish officials told the Post that there has been a "lack of Saudi cooperation" in the investigation and that it appears the consulate was cleaned and repainted before they could examine it.

Graham said the Saudi crown prince is "very schizophrenic," and told Fox & Friends that he has "got to go." Until something new happens in Saudi Arabia, Graham added, he has "no interest in engaging with this government" because he "cannot imagine a more blatant example of contempt for a relationship than this." Brendan Morrow

3:20 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Longtime Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) could be in danger of losing his re-election.

While the 13-term Republican representative is still the heavy favorite, election forecast website FiveThirtyEight lowered his odds of winning by about 10 points on Monday. Analyst Nate Silver chalked the shift up to good Democratic fundraising.

King's Democratic opponent, Liuba Grechen Shirley, raised more than King's last five opponents combined, The New York Times reported in August, and Grechen Shirley told Newsday in September that she outraised King by $25,000 in the last quarter.

Grechen Shirley now has a 26.9 percent chance of defeating King, based on FiveThirtyEight's model. For comparison, the same forecast gave President Trump a 28 percent chance of being elected in 2016.

This shift comes after the Cook Political Report moved King's seat from being "safe Republican" to "likely Republican" in September. The New York Times reported last month that Republican and Democratic strategists both felt King "might not be safe," especially after his district was redrawn in 2012 to include more registered Democrats than Republicans. Grechen Shirley, who has never held elected office, told the Times that she believes she can pull off an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-style upset.

Even if King does end up winning, as he is still likely to do, this could end up being the closest re-election of his career. FiveThirtyEight, after all, predicts he will receive 52 percent of the vote while Grechen Shirley will receive 48 percent. In 2016, King defeated his Democratic opponent by a margin of more than 20 points. Brendan Morrow

3:02 p.m. ET
Allyson Riggs/NBC

Fantasy series Grimm may have said goodbye just one year ago, but it's already gearing up for a comeback.

There's a spinoff in the works between NBC and Marvel's Iron Fist writer Melissa Glenn, Variety reported Tuesday. The untitled reboot will certainly include touches of the original show, since its executive producers, Sean Hayes and Todd Millier, and its creators, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, are reportedly coming on as producers.

The original Grimm followed Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt, played by David Giuntoli, who discovers he comes from a long line of guardians sworn to protect the mortal world from mythological creatures called Wesen. In his new role as a protector, or Grimm, Burkhardt enlists the help of his partner, played by Russell Hornsby, to maintain a balance between both realms.

Little is known about the spinoff, other than it will center around a female Grimm. No actors are attached to the show yet, but fans can reportedly expect to see some familiar faces alongside new characters.

The original series went off the air in March 2017 after six seasons. It quickly became a breakout show, and remained one of Friday's highest-rated scripted series throughout its run, reports Deadline. So get ready Grimm fans, because the story continues. Read more about the spinoff at Deadline. Amari Pollard

2:45 p.m. ET
LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) seems to have raised more money than he knows what to do with. But he's still keeping it for himself.

O'Rourke, who is fighting to take Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz's Senate seat in Texas, raked in a record-breaking $38.1 million in the last fundraising quarter. Even though polls continue to predict a Cruz victory, O'Rourke isn't yet redirecting any of his efforts — or funds — to any other race.

Despite picking up steam, O'Rourke still trails Cruz by eight points, a recent poll from The New York Times/Siena College found. Similarly pessimistic polls prompted Democratic Party officials to push O'Rourke to send his overflowing funds to Democrats in tighter races, the Times reported.

O'Rourke did take a step in that direction with an $815,000 transaction to the Texas Democratic Party last month, campaign finance reports show. But that money could go further "in states where candidates just need a little extra to get over the hump," such as "Missouri, Tennessee, or North Dakota," one Democratic strategist told the Times. After all, reports have shown that a good chunk of O'Rourke's millions came from Democrats in states with competitive races of their own.

Still, O'Rourke rejected the idea of directing funds to other Senate races on Monday, telling the conservative Washington Examiner that if people "want to contribute to another campaign, of course they're welcome to do that." But as long as the remaining $22.9 million is in O'Rourke's war chest, he said, he's going to stay "focused on Texas" and "spare no expense" in the final stretch of his own campaign. Kathryn Krawczyk

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