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January 18, 2017

Fox News host Tucker Carlson began his interview Tuesday night with an unusual demand: "Tell me what your real name is." While the man Carlson was talking to claimed to be Dom Tullipso, director of operations for a business called Demand Protest, Carlson said a "law enforcement-level background check" revealed that name "does not exist" — and Carlson wasn't convinced Tullipso's business did either. "So, this is a sham," Carlson said of the business, which claims to organize "paid protest." "Your company isn't real, your website is fake, the claims you have made are lies, this is a hoax."

The man never exactly admitted that the whole business is, in fact, a hoax, but he does give a pretty good display of what Carlson dubs "performance art." At one point, Tullipso (if that's really his name) claims his support for "national treasures such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Peyton Manning." Yes, football-playing, Super Bowl-winning Peyton Manning.

Watch the utterly indescribable interview below. Becca Stanek

January 13, 2017

If you think the 1970s was just an era of squares and soulless disco and Jimmy Carter cardigans, remember that the Kinks had a hit in 1970 with a suggestive song about meeting a transvestite in a bar and going home with him. You wouldn't know any of that from Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Bacon's "First Drafts of Rock" version on Thursday's Tonight Show. Playing Ray and Dave Davies, Fallon and Bacon's first draft of "Lola" is closer to a Sesame Street lesson about spelling, only funnier and with a better soundtrack. If you're looking for a smile, watch them sing about y-o-g-a yoga and Motorola below — and if you want a bit more of an edge, check out the Kinks' original song, or even Weird Al's homage, "Yoda." Peter Weber

January 12, 2017

During his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, housing and urban development secretary nominee Ben Carson faced a pointed line of questioning from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) regarding President-elect Donald Trump's potential conflicts of interest. During a press conference Wednesday — his first since July — Trump announced that with regard to his sprawling real estate business, he would not divest his ownership stake but would instead resign all positions. Ethics officials quickly pointed out that Trump's plan for his business was "wholly inadequate."

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is set to control a nearly $49 billion budget this fiscal year — one that, if confirmed, Carson will be tasked with dispensing toward the goal of revitalizing troubled neighborhoods and improving housing access. Warren pointed out that given Trump's continued financial stake in a real estate business, Carson could conceivably implement federal programs, using taxpayer money, that would result in dollars in the pocket of a President Trump:

Carson attempted to evade the question, saying he would not intentionally implement any programs that benefited any single American. At least, that's what he meant to say — as Vox's Matthew Yglesias pointed out, his stumbled a bit in making that point. Kimberly Alters

January 11, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump clashed with CNN's Jim Acosta on Wednesday during his first press conference in 167 days. The conflict started after Trump tore into BuzzFeed News and CNN for publishing unsubstantiated reports that Russia had information on Trump they could use for blackmail. Acosta demanded to ask a question, given that Trump was "attacking" CNN from the stage.

Trump quickly silenced him: "Not you. Your organization is terrible," he said.

Acosta continued to fight for his chance to ask a question as Trump demanded "quiet, quiet." Getting nowhere, Trump finally snapped, "You are fake news." Watch the exchange below. Jeva Lange

January 11, 2017

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) did not go easy on Rex Tillerson during his line of questioning at the secretary of state nominee's Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday morning. Nominated to lead the State Department by President-elect Donald Trump, Tillerson has been a contentious choice due to his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin — a point Rubio did not let drop lightly.

Tillerson might have seen it coming: Rubio has long been critical of the former ExxonMobil executive, who was awarded the Order of Friendship by Putin. "Being a 'friend of Vladimir' is not an attribute I am hoping for from a #SecretaryOfState," Rubio has previously tweeted.

He didn't go easy on Tillerson in person, either. "Are you aware that the people who oppose Putin end up dead?" Rubio asked at one point, to which Tillerson answered he did not, as he hadn't been briefed on such information. "None of this is classified, Mr. Tillerson," Rubio replied. "These people are dead."

In another particularly thorny attack, Rubio bluntly demanded to know, "Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?" Tillerson replied: "I would not use that term."

"Well, let me describe the situation in Aleppo, [Syria], and perhaps that will help you reach that conclusion," Rubio shot back. Watch the ruthless exchange in full below. Jeva Lange

January 10, 2017

With President-elect Donald Trump threatening to deport some 800,000 "Dreamers" protected by Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, Sen. Jeff Sessions found himself facing a heavy line of questioning about how he would address the situation during his attorney general confirmation hearing before the Senate on Tuesday.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) led the charge with a scathing takedown of Sessions' political history: "Sen. Sessions, since joining the Senate in 1997, you've voted against every immigration bill that included a path to citizenship for the undocumented," Durbin said. "You described the Dream Act, which I introduced 15 years ago to spare children who are undocumented through no fault of their own, as 'a reckless proposal for mass amnesty.' You opposed the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, which passed the Senate four years ago. You've objected to immigrants volunteering to serve in our armed forces, saying, 'In terms of who's going to be most likely to be a spy: somebody from Cullman, Alabama, or somebody from Kenya?' When I asked what you would do to address the almost 800,000 Dreamers … you said, 'I believe in following the law. There's too much focus on people who are here illegally and not enough on the law.'"

"Sen. Sessions," Durbin finished, "there is not a spot of evidence in your public career to suggest that as attorney general you would use the authority of that office to resolve the challenges of our broken immigration system in a fair and humane manner. Tell me I'm wrong." Watch below. Jeva Lange

January 6, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump is due to receive an intelligence briefing on the Russian hacks early Friday afternoon, but in the meantime, everyone from fellow Republicans to television anchors are trying to get to the bottom of what really happened and whom to believe.

The question was a powder keg on CNN's New Day, where Chris Cuomo refused to let Kellyanne Conway off the hook for skirting his questions. "Did [the Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper come out in early October and say, 'We know it was Russia?'" he demanded to know.

Conway began to answer with "and what did Obama say —" but Cuomo interrupted. "No, no, no, no," Cuomo said. "What did he say? That's the question. What's the answer?"

It didn't get much better. "I see you're very passionate about this," Conway began at one point, only to be interrupted again. "Sure I am. Russia trying to hack during our election being ignored by the president-elect, that's troubling," Cuomo said.

"No, it's not," Conway fired back, but she doesn't make it to her next point before Cuomo splutters, "Really?" Watch the interview below. Jeva Lange

January 2, 2017
Rob Kim/Getty Images

Fox News host Sean Hannity will interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London for a segment that will air on the network Tuesday night, Mediaite reports.

Assange is living in the Ecuadorian embassy under political asylum, although that didn't prevent his involvement in November's U.S. election; WikiLeaks published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee over the summer and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta just before Election Day.

Although Hannity once accused Assange of "waging war against the U.S.," the pair's relationship has since warmed, with Assange appearing on Hannity's show in early December to deny Russian involvement in the hacking. Hannity himself now faces accusations of being Trump's "biggest media cheerleader" and defender. Fox News will air the new interview at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, with plans to show clips through the rest of the week. Jeva Lange

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