August 21, 2017

The New York Times has been talking about today's total eclipse since 1932. On Monday, ahead of the solar eclipse that will sweep the country from Oregon to South Carolina, the Times shared an archived clip from 85 years ago that accurately predicted the totality of today's eclipse:

Citing a study by Dr. S.A. Mitchell, director of the Leander McCormick Observatory of the University of Virginia, the Times warned that if viewers didn't catch the Aug. 31, 1932 eclipse, they'd be waiting until Aug. 21, 2017 for "conditions that are really favorable and promise scientific success."

With that prediction seemingly coming true, we'll have to wait and see if the Times is also right in predicting the next similarly phenomenal solar eclipse — mark your calendars for April 8, 2024. Becca Stanek

August 14, 2017

Months before Saturday's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent, President Trump reportedly was warned about the growing threat of white nationalist extremism. Foreign Policy reported Monday that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security alerted Trump in a report dated May 10 that the white supremacist movement "likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year."

The report, titled "White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence," found that white supremacists "were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement." The report went on to cite several instances of white nationalist violence, including "an 18-year-old Chinese student in Nashville, Indiana, who was attacked by a white supremacist with a hatchet," and "the stabbing of Klansman in East Yanceyville, North Carolina, by other KKK members, who believed the victim was Jewish and secretly working for law enforcement," Foreign Policy reported.

Despite the FBI's prior warning of white nationalist violence, President Trump was slow to directly condemn white supremacists in the wake of the rally, instead rebuking "many sides" for the weekend's violence. One woman was killed and 19 were injured after a driver plowed his car into a group of demonstrators protesting the alt-right rally. Becca Stanek

August 9, 2017

President Trump's alarming warning to North Korea on Tuesday stunned many Americans, with Sen. John McCain observing that "the great leaders I've seen don't threaten unless they're ready to act and I'm not sure President Trump is ready to act." While it isn't clear how pre-planned Trump's threat was — that North Korea would draw "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continued to intimidate the U.S. — the president's words were nevertheless a clear and chilling echo of former President Harry S. Truman's speech after dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, The New York Times reports:

Seventy-two years ago almost to the day, Truman told the Japanese that "if they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this Earth."

At the commemoration of the second bomb drop three days later, on Nagasaki, Mayor Tomihisa Taue warned Wednesday that "the nuclear threat will not end as long as nations continue to claim that nuclear weapons are essential for their national security," USA Today reports. Jeva Lange

July 11, 2017

Just 51 days after Donald Trump Jr. received an email from publicist Rob Goldstone offering to arrange a meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer to receive Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton, and 38 days after that meeting took place, the president's son went on CNN and mocked reports that Russia had any interest in his father's campaign.

When confronted with a quote from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager claiming Russia was trying to swing the election for Trump, Trump Jr. said: "It just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they'll say anything to be able to win this."

Trump Jr. added in the July 24 interview: "Time and time again, lie after lie … It's disgusting, it's so phony."

Yet in an email to Trump Jr. on June 3, Goldstone had detailed the existence of "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful" to President Trump.

"This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Goldstone wrote. "If it's what you say I love it," Trump Jr. replied. Jeva Lange

May 10, 2017

Oh, how quickly things can change. Just months ago, President Trump was blowing a kiss to FBI Director James Comey and praising him as "more famous than me."

And now? Comey has been unceremoniously dumped by the administration, learning of his own unexpected firing on television.

While there are many baffling elements to Tuesday evening's developments, one of the most head-spinning parts is Trump citing Comey's treatment of Hillary Clinton's email scandal as a part of his rationale. In October, Trump had praised Comey for reopening the ultimately unfruitful second investigation into Clinton's emails: "It took a lot of guts," Trump said at the time. "I really disagreed with [Comey]. I was not his fan. But I'll tell you what he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back. He's got to hang tough because there's ... a lot of people want him to do the wrong thing. What he did was the right thing."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was reportedly tasked with finding a reason to dump Comey, claimed in November that "Director Comey did the right thing when he found new evidence. He had no choice."

By January, it seemed the whole administration was on board. Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, told ABC's This Week that Trump "has confidence in Director Comey."

"We have had a great relationship with [Comey] over the last several weeks," Priebus said. "He's extremely competent. But, look, his term extends for some time yet. There's no plans at the moment in changing that term. And we've enjoyed our relationship with him and find him to be extraordinarily competent." Jeva Lange

February 6, 2017

With the New England Patriots trailing by 25 points Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons' Super Bowl win looked as certain as many pundits predicted Hillary Clinton's presidential election victory would be. But then the Patriots surprised everyone, rebounding to tie the score and then going on to win 34-28 — just like, some might say, now-President Donald Trump rebounded to trounce Clinton on election night.

Trump supporters went wild on Twitter after the final whistle, comparing the glee of the Patriots' unexpected win to the joy they felt after Trump's unexpected election triumph. Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., was quick to point out this wasn't the first time he'd seen such a favored winner tumble to defeat:

And he certainly wasn't the only one to see the parallels:

Trump, surprisingly, didn't take the opportunity to relive his election night victory. Becca Stanek

November 4, 2016

Two of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's former aides were found guilty on all counts in the Bridgegate trial on Friday, having been accused of both conspiracy and fraud over the 2013 lane closures of the George Washington Bridge, which were allegedly an act of revenge against a political enemy.

The scandal, which has dogged Christie ever since, was also ammo for Donald Trump when he was running against Christie in the Republican presidential primary. Although the two are now allies — Christie was even considered for vice president — in December 2015, Trump said, "The George Washington Bridge. [Christie] knew about it … He totally knew about it."

Christie endorsed Trump in February and is the head of Trump's White House transition team. He will be campaigning with the candidate in New Hampshire on Saturday. Jeva Lange

November 3, 2016

Ah, March 2016. The month now feels like a distant memory — a time when Ted Cruz and John Kasich were still in the Republican race, a time before Kyle Schwarber tore his ACL and LCL and got knocked from the Cubs' lineup for an entire season. A time, also, when Donald Trump was considering running attack ads against Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and his hard-luck team.

The feud began when Trump tweeted that "I hear the Rickets [sic] family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!" Ricketts' parents had in fact donated $3 million to an anti-Trump super PAC, Our Principles. None of that was secret, though, or had anything directly to do with Tom Ricketts.

"It's a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom," Ricketts said after the tweet went out. He added, "If we had something to hide, you people would have found it by now. I have no idea [what Trump was talking about]."

Nevertheless, Trump doubled down on his comments the next month, threatening to run attack ads "about their baseball team":

Trump would go on to win the primary. The Ricketts family would go on to pledge $1 million to him.

And the Cubs? Well, the rest of that story is history. Jeva Lange

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