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October 7, 2018
Lisa O'Connor/AFP/Getty Images

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Taylor Swift announced she is backing Tennessee Democrats Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives, adding that while she's been "reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions," she feels "very differently about that now" due to "several events in my life and in the world in the past two years."

Swift said she will be voting in Tennessee during the Nov. 6 midterm elections, and has always voted for candidates who "will protect and fight for the human rights we all deserve in this country. I believe that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening, and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender, or who they love."

Citing her vote against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and belief that businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples, Swift shared she "cannot support" Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, saying her "voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me." She will vote for Bredesen and Cooper, and urged people to educate themselves before hitting the polls. "For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100 percent on every issue, but we have to vote anyway," she said. Swift has 112 million followers on Instagram. Catherine Garcia

12:57 p.m. ET

President Trump's latest shockingly sexist insult is already drawing a strong rebuke from at least one congressional Republican.

Trump on Tuesday referred to Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006, as "Horseface." Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) denounced the remark as "embarrassing," and called it "unbecoming of any man, let alone the POTUS." He also said it's "obvious" that this sort of language "enables teenage boys to feel they have a license to refer to girls [with] such names."

Costello can't be particularly happy to be tweeting about this. He announced earlier this year that he would be retiring from Congress, saying that all he does is "answer questions about Donald Trump," reports The Hill. In fact, he cited the Stormy Daniels scandal specifically as one of the reasons he's fed up with modern politics. He explained that the constant "talking about porn stars and the president" means "it's the right time for me to perhaps consider another line of work." Brendan Morrow

12:30 p.m. ET

Stormy Daniels is not taking President Trump's latest demeaning insult in stride.

After Trump called Daniels, the adult film star who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006, "Horseface" in a Tuesday tweet, she responded by saying the president has "demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control on Twitter AGAIN!" Trump's insult was in response to news that Daniels' defamation lawsuit against him was dismissed by a federal judge, which he took to mean he can now "go after her."

Daniels also mocked Trump by referencing his "umm...shortcomings," and joked that he "perhaps" has a "penchant for bestiality." Trump has privately attacked Daniels' appearance and in recent weeks has been wanting to fire back at her for "mocking his manhood" in her book, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reports. Now, Trump has done just that, and it sounds like Daniels welcomes this escalating war of words. "Game on, Tiny," she wrote. Brendan Morrow

12:18 p.m. ET

President Trump on Tuesday celebrated a federal judge's decision to dismiss Stormy Daniels' defamation lawsuit against him, and launched an insult her way in the process.

Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006, was ordered to pay his legal fees after a judge said on Monday that Trump calling Daniels' allegations "a total con job" did not constitute defamation.

This was the first time Trump called Daniels out by her (misspelled) name, aside from one formal string of tweets using the porn star's real name in May. With the newest tweet, Daniels joined the long list of women whose appearances Trump has publicly disparaged. Trump has apparently called Daniels "Horseface" in the past, but "privately," The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reported.

Daniels and her lawyer Michael Avenatti have vocally criticized the president ever since Daniels confirmed the leaked story of her alleged affair with Trump. The duo launched scathing tweets in response to Trump's insult, calling him a "misogynist" and joking about his apparent "penchant for bestiality." Kathryn Krawczyk

10:53 a.m. ET

President Trump has insisted on rebranding Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as "Pocahontas" — despite Warren's attempt to rebut his criticism, Trump is not letting it go.

Trump on Tuesday called Warren a "complete and total fraud" whose claims of Native American ancestry were "a scam and a lie." He derided Warren's Monday video revealing the results of a DNA test that indicated "strong evidence" of her Native American ancestry. The test, according to Trump, was "bogus."

Warren released the video in response to Trump's July promise that he would give $1 million to her "favorite charity" if a DNA test proved she had Cherokee ancestry. Trump on Monday declared he never made the promise, then later said he'd have to "test [Warren] personally" if she really wanted the money.

In his string of tweets, Trump thanked Cherokee Nation for "revealing" Warren's results as a "scam and a lie." The tribe called Warren's DNA test "useless to determine tribal citizenship" in a Monday statement.

Lastly, Trump claimed that Harvard University, where the senator previously taught, only hired Warren because they "called her 'a person of color.'" Warren's "claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty" when deciding to hire her, a Boston Globe investigation found. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:41 a.m. ET

President Trump would like you to forget that he boasted of his business deals in Saudi Arabia many times throughout his presidential campaign.

The president on Tuesday tweeted that he has "no financial interests in Saudi Arabia," and any suggestion otherwise is just "FAKE NEWS." Trump distanced himself from foreign interests after critics suggested his business with Saudi Arabia may influence his response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials believe was murdered when he went to visit the Saudi consulate.

But Trump has long touted his past dealings with Saudi Arabia. "I love the Saudis," he said at his very first campaign event at Trump Tower. "Many are in this building." Trump sold a full floor of Trump World Tower to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for $12 million in 2001, reports CBS News. More recently, CNN reports, a lobbying firm for Saudi Arabia paid the Trump International Hotel about $270,000 between 2016 and 2017. And per The Washington Post, Trump's hotels have seen a substantial uptick in Saudi visitors this year.

In 2015, Trump said that he "makes a lot of money with" the Saudis and that "they pay me millions and hundreds of millions." And at a rally, he suggested he likes Saudi Arabia specifically because of his business dealings there. "They buy apartments from me," he said. "They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much." Brendan Morrow

10:33 a.m. ET
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The police cannot simply kill your dog because you have failed to license it with the city, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, reversing a lower court decision.

The case in question involved a police raid on the Detroit home of Nikita Smith in response to a report that marijuana was sold there. While executing the search warrant, officers fatally shot Smith's three dogs, one of which was pregnant. An officer allegedly commented after shooting a dog, "Did you see that? I got that one good." The raid turned up 25.8 grams of marijuana, and Smith was given a misdemeanor charge that was later dismissed.

She sued over the death of her dogs, and a district court ruled the suit could not go forward because Smith did not have "legitimate possessory interest" in the dogs "because they were unlicensed." The appeals court disagreed, holding that just "as the police cannot destroy every unlicensed car or gun on the spot, they cannot kill every unlicensed dog on the spot." Smith's suit can now proceed.

"The opinion establishes that pet owners' Fourth Amendment rights do not depend on a license," said Smith's lawyer, Chris Olson. "More importantly, the opinion foreclosed a post hoc 'get out of jail free card' for police officers that unreasonably shoot dogs every day in this country." Bonnie Kristian

10:06 a.m. ET
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

China's detention of religious and ethic minorities, notably Uighur Muslims, is the "largest internment of civilians in the world today," outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Monday night. "It may be the largest since World War II," she added, labeling the arrangement "straight out of George Orwell."

"At least a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been imprisoned in so-called 're-education camps' in western China," Haley reported, accusing Beijing of using torture to force them "to renounce their religion and to pledge allegiance to the Communist Party."

China on Tuesday responded with its most significant defense of the camps to date, tacitly admitting detainees are held at length against their will. Shohrat Zakir, chair of the government in the Xinjiang autonomous region where many Uighurs live, told state-run media the facilities are "humane" vocational training centers with amenities including air conditioning, sports, and movie screenings. He described them as a useful tool for opposing "terrorism and extremism."

"Today's Xinjiang is not only beautiful but also safe and stable," he said. "No matter where they are or at what time of the day, people are no longer afraid of going out, shopping, dining, and traveling." Zakir is himself an ethnic Uighur. Bonnie Kristian

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