In 2015, after a sexually explicit, mainly online relationship with a woman ended, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) threatened to report the woman to the Capitol Police, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post. Barton had reportedly sent the woman sexually explicit photos, videos, and messages over the course of their relationship, which began on Facebook in 2011.
The woman, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, recorded the 2015 conversation in which Barton confronted her about communications she had with other women connected to Barton. "I am ready if I have to, I don't want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation," he said, according to the recording.
On Wednesday, Barton apologized to his constituents after naked photos of him circulated on social media. In a statement, Barton, who is the longest-serving member of Congress from Texas, said he had sexual relationships "with other mature adult women" while separated from his second wife, before their divorce in 2015. "I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days," he said. But Barton, who has reportedly hired a crisis communications firm, also said that he had suffered a potential crime over the released lewd photos. In Texas, it is a misdemeanor to intentionally publicize images or videos of someone's genitals or sexual activity without consent. Barton said the Capitol Police may be launching an investigation. Lauren Hansen
On Wednesday, former Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey (N.H.) sent a letter to several lawmakers urging President Trump's prompt removal from office. In light of Trump's recent threat to meet continued North Korean nuclear threats with "fury and fire," which Humphrey likened to "pouring gasoline on fire," Humphrey argued that the "system of checks and balances" is not enough.
"The president alone has the authority to launch nuclear weapons, the only restraint being the advice of senior advisers who might be present at the time of crisis, and Donald Trump has shown repeated contempt for informed and wise counsel," wrote Humphrey, a former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "He is sick of mind, impetuous, arrogant, belligerent, and dangerous."
Humphrey, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, called for Trump to be "relieved of the powers of the presidency" as soon as possible. He advised that a commission be established to determine whether Trump is "mentally fit" to serve. If Trump and his "seriously sick psyche" remain in office, Humphrey warned, the president's "reckless conduct could consume the lives of millions."
Read Humphrey's letter, which he sent to New Hampshire lawmakers Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, Carol Shea-Porter, and Annie Kuster, below. Becca Stanek
— John DiStaso (@jdistaso) August 9, 2017
Just days after the congressional baseball practice shooting, Brad Carver, the Republican Party chairman in Georgia's 11th congressional district, predicted that the attack would boost Republicans' chances of winning the upcoming special election in the Peach State.
"I'll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us," Carver told The Washington Post on Saturday after a get-out-the vote rally for Republican candidate Karen Handel, who is running against Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th congressional district. The two are vying for the seat vacated by Tom Price, who left to become the Trump administration's health secretary.
Carver explained that he thinks the shooting will help Handel win because "moderates and independents" are "tired of left-wing extremism." "I get that there's extremists on both sides, but we are not seeing them," Carver said. "We're seeing absolute resistance to everything this president does. Moderates and independents out there want to give him a chance. Democrats have never given this president a chance."
Carver said he thinks "it'll be close," but that Republicans will "win it." "And I really do think the congressional baseball shooting is going to decide the election," he reiterated.
Voters head to the polls Tuesday. Becca Stanek
After long avoiding watching White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's daily press briefings, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was appalled when he finally tuned in Friday:
I've avoided watching Sean Spicer briefings, but am at MSNBC watching this one. The non-stop dishonesty and irresponsibility is amazing.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 31, 2017
Kristol didn't say if there were any Spicer statements in particular he was referring to. On Friday, Spicer clarified President Trump's upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping would not be a "sit around a play patty-cake kind of conversation," mispronounced Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) name, and misstated the amount of money the U.S. is giving up annually on countervailing duties. He also accused Hillary Clinton of making inappropriate "personal" phone calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin, though it's Trump's campaign that is under investigation by the FBI for its alleged ties to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
And that's just Friday's briefing. Earlier this week, Spicer scolded a veteran White House reporter for shaking her head, called a Politico reporter an "idiot with no real sources," and claimed reporters were so eager to find Trump-Russia ties that "if the president puts Russian salad dressing on a salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection." Becca Stanek
A recent study on gender stereotypes found that American girls believe being "really, really smart" is a trait associated with boys and men, The Guardian reports.
Researchers at New York University conducted tests with 200 boys and 200 girls between the ages of 5 and 7. In one study, the children were read a story about an extremely smart person, then asked to guess the person's gender. In another study, the children were shown pictures of adults of different sexes and asked to pick who they thought was intelligent. A third study asked children to match traits, including "being smart," to photos of men and women.
Taken together, the results reveal that girls of 5 years old are just as likely as boys to associate brilliance with their own gender. However, for those aged 6 and 7, girls were less likely than boys to make the association: among 6-year-olds, boys chose people of their own gender as "really, really smart" 65 percent of the time while girls only selected their gender as brilliant 48 percent of the time.
The study then explored which gender was expected by children to do better academically at school. The team found that while girls aged 5 to 7 were more likely than boys to associate their own gender with good grades, they did not link such achievements to brilliance. [The Guardian]
"Because these ideas are present at such an early age, they have so much time to affect the educational trajectories of boys and girls," said Andrei Cimpian, the co-author of the New York University study. Jeva Lange
There was a big, green, gaping lawn visible at Tim Kaine's rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, where Hillary Clinton's vice presidential candidate didn't exactly draw massive crowds:
Tens of supporters attend Tim Kaine rally in West Palm Beach, FL. pic.twitter.com/1Sk5cGbDw2
— John Gludovatz (@johngludovatz) October 25, 2016
In a raspy, campaign trail-worn voice, Kaine still managed to work up enthusiasm for the few who turned out. "You really are a checkmate state," he said. "That's more than a battleground state … If we win for Hillary here, it's over. She's going to be president." Still, as CNN noted, Kaine was very much suffering from a case of the Mondays:
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 24, 2016
Admittedly, vice presidents don't have the same draw as the tops of their tickets. But for comparison, Mike Pence also hosted a rally on Monday:
— Jeremy G (@JeremyGOPin2016) October 24, 2016
Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson raised eyebrows and dropped jaws Thursday when he asked the hosts of Morning Joe what Aleppo was in response to a question about his policy on Syria.
While Mike Barnicle responded with, "You're kidding," Joe Scarborough was even harsher. "My god, can you believe it?" he asked the other hosts following the commercial break. Scarborough added that Johnson is "unqualified to be the president of the United States" due to his "stunning" ignorance about Aleppo.
Johnson, for his part, has canceled some of his other scheduled television appearances on Thursday, The New York Times reports. "I'm incredibly frustrated with myself," he told MSNBC after his Morning Joe appearance. "I have to get smarter and that's just part of the process."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 8, 2016
Donald Trump has spent $0 on campaign ads this year, although he is reportedly looking to start running his first ads in the coming days. It might be too little too late for local broadcasters, though, who count on the boost of political advertising this time of year, Bloomberg reports.
Spending on political advertising is down — way down — dropping 60 percent in 2016 from 2012. It is not all due to Trump, though; Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders' battle to the very end meant the turn to the general election became a focus later than it has in the past.
Still, Trump's tight hold on the advertising purse strings is reverberating. Trump essentially won the Republican nomination in late April, and since then $146 million has been spent by the campaigns in advertising. In 2012, by contrast, campaigns spent $373 million in the same period.
The stations aren't panicking yet, though, sensing that an influx of spending for Senate races might start to bring the missing money back to their pockets. "Certainly it's not what was expected," the president of the Television Bureau of Advertising, Steve Lanzano, told Bloomberg. "But you're going to see the money coming in. It'll just come in later." Jeva Lange