A second White House staffer on Friday followed Rob Porter in resigning his position over domestic abuse allegations. Former speechwriter David Sorensen left his role after his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, told The Washington Post he "ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall, and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine's coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life."
Corbett said she shared these accusations with the FBI months ago when Sorensen was subject to a background check. The FBI declined to comment to the Post.
Sorensen has denied all allegations. "I have never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life," he said in a statement to CNN. "In fact, I was the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her." Corbett said the most she did was slap Sorensen repeatedly "after he called her a vulgar term." Bonnie Kristian
The Virginia state Senate unanimously passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana on Monday, three days after its companion bill was passed, also unanimously, in the Virginia House of Delegates. The legislation will now go to the desk of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is expected to sign it because he supports legalizing medical marijuana, as well as decriminalizing recreational possession of the drug.
The Virginia legislation will permit doctors in the state to prescribe cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil for any "diagnosed condition or disease." Previous legislation permitted use for "intractable epilepsy" only. Supporters hope the bill may also help address the opioid crisis in Virginia, as legal medical marijuana correlates with significantly fewer opioid overdose-related deaths.
"I finally decided that I needed to advocate for the physicians being the decision makers," said state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-12), a doctor who sponsored the Senate version. "We physicians are the ones that follow the literature and know which treatments are best for different conditions. The literature on medical cannabis is going to be evolving rapidly now, and because of this, it is not a decision that should be in the hands of the legislature. Instead, it should be with physicians." Bonnie Kristian
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.) announced Thursday he will not seek re-election, a week after The New York Times reported he used taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment case involving a former aide.
Meehan, 62 and married with three sons, said the allegations have become a "major distraction" but he needs to "own it because it is my own conduct that fueled the matter." Speaking to The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week, Meehan denied any wrongdoing, but admitted he had strong feelings of affection for the woman, who is decades younger than him, and said he thought she was his "soul mate." He also said he settled the case on the advice of House attorneys.
Meehan was removed from the House Ethics Committee over the weekend, and an investigation into the claim was launched; Meehan said if he is found guilty by the committee, he will repay the taxpayer funds. Catherine Garcia
Like Trump University, Trump Airlines, Trump magazine, Trump Steaks, and Trump Vodka, The Donald J. Trump Foundation will soon cease to exist — except this time, the shutdown is planned.
In its 2015 tax filing, the charitable foundation admitted to violating rules against "self-dealing," which prohibits nonprofit leaders from directing charity money to themselves, their families, or their businesses, NBC News reports. In October 2016, the New York attorney general demanded the foundation cease asking for contributions, and in December, President Trump said he would start winding down operations to avoid conflicts of interest.
A spokesperson for the foundation confirmed it is closing down, and said it "looks forward to distributing its remaining assets at the earliest possible time to aid numerous worthy charitable organizations." The foundation can't close down just yet, though. "As the foundation is still under investigation by this office, it cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the New York attorney general's office, told NBC News. The foundation's 2016 IRS filing, filed this month, states it had assets of close to $970,000. Catherine Garcia
Not wanting to tick off The Boss, a Bruce Springsteen cover band says it won't play the Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala on Thursday.
Since 1980, the B-Street Band has played 200 shows a year, and in 2013, after performing during President Obama's inauguration, signed a contract to play four years later. They obviously didn't know who would be president at the time, but once Donald Trump was elected, "the complexity of the situation became real immense and intense," Will Forte, keyboardist, manager, agent, and publicist for the band, told Rolling Stone. The group received "thousands of emails from both sides" when it was announced they would be playing the gala, Forte said, and they had to "get out of the storm."
Springsteen is a vocal critic of Trump, and after Forte started seeing headlines declaring that the band was personally hired by the president-elect, he knew it was time to call it quits. "We felt that we had to make it known that we didn't want to seem disrespectful, in any way, shape, or form, to Bruce and his music and his band," he told Rolling Stone. "I don't want to upset them. We owe everything to him, and our gratitude and respect to the band is imperative above all else." Forte said he doesn't think there will "ever be a cover band of our size in the history of music that has gotten the attention of something this big," and "whatever the consequences are for breaking a contract, I'm willing to take because this is much more important." Catherine Garcia
Donald Trump has done it again. On Monday, another longtime Republican, top Jeb Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw, announced she was exiting the GOP and becoming an Independent because of her party's standard-bearer, CNN reported. Moreover, Bradshaw said that if the presidential race in her home state of Florida is close, she'll be casting a ballot for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Though Bradshaw disagrees with Clinton on several issues and has worked "to elect Republicans" for the last 30 years, she said this election is simply one of those moments when "country has to take priority over political parties." "As much as I don't want another four years of [President Barack] Obama's policies, I can't look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump," said Bradshaw, noting that Trump is a "total narcissist — a misogynist — a bigot. ... I can't tell [my kids] to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won't do it."
Other Republicans who have left the party over Trump include longtime conservative columnist George Will and Iowa state senator David Johnson. Still more, including former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, former top John McCain adviser Mark Salter, and former Ronald Reagan spokesman Doug Elmets, have said they will vote for Clinton instead of Trump this fall. Becca Stanek
Andrea Leadsom, one of the two women selected as the Conservative Party's finalists to run for British prime minister, announced Monday that she was dropping out of the race. Leadsom's exit clears the way for the sole remaining finalist, Theresa May, to succeed current Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his resignation following the Brexit vote.
Leadsom said she decided to drop out after she felt "under attack, under enormous pressure" from senior party colleagues following comments she made about May not having any children. "It has been shattering," she said during a Monday interview, after announcing that she'd "concluded that the interests of our country are best served by the immediate appointment."
The two finalists, chosen by the ruling Conservative Party from five candidates, were set to be voted on by the party's 150,000 people this fall. It is not yet clear whether Leadsom's decision will allow May to automatically become the next prime minister, or whether the party will need to find another finalist. Becca Stanek
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio may have talked a lot about voting against the spending bill that passed in Congress Friday — but he didn't actually do it. Just one day after vowing to use "every procedural aspect that we have to slow it down" in a Fox News interview, Rubio missed the vote on the $1.15 trillion deal, which marked the Senate's final vote of the year.
The latest missed vote is more fuel for Rubio's detractors, who have criticized him for missing more than half of the Senate's votes since October. Even Rubio's hometown newspaper, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, has gone so far as to call for Rubio to resign from the Senate because of the number of votes he's missed — and that was back in October.
Rubio is the only presidential candidate to miss the vote. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) all voted against the spending bill, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) voted in favor of it. Becca Stanek