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May 7, 2014
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Isn't it interesting that — almost apropos of nothing Monica Lewinsky suddenly reemerged with a piece in Vanity Fair this week? The development was surprising enough that it prompted blogger and law professor Ann Althouse to wonder, "Who lured Monica Lewinsky out of her 10-year silence?"

Althouse posits five theories, including the possibility that Vanity Fair simply thought it would sell copies. But if the answer comes down to cui bono — who benefits? — then, as Dave Weigel notes, "The Lewinsky scandal was fantastic for [Hillary] Clinton. You can see in the Gallup poll's comprehensive chart that opinions of the first lady surged through 1998 and peaked after Bill Clinton was impeached."

But, putting aside the question of why Lewinsky is suddenly talking, there's another angle worth exploring, and that is the surfeit of speculation about how Republicans might now react.

It's kind of folks to worry about Republicans, but — as MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and CNN's Ashleigh Banfield both noted today — so far, at least, the criticism has mostly come from female columnists, not from Republican politicians.

This may be a sign the GOP has learned its lesson. No matter what the explanation is for Lewinsky's return, Republicans would be well served to take the advice of Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and not take the bait this time. Matt K. Lewis

7:41 p.m. ET
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On Thursday morning, the jury in Paul Manafort's federal trial will start deliberations.

President Trump's former campaign chairman is facing 18 charges of tax evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud. On Wednesday, the jury heard closing arguments from both sides, with prosecutor Greg Andres saying Manafort "lied to keep more money when he had it, and he lied to get more money when he didn't," and the defense arguing that Manafort was so rich, he didn't need to hide money.

The trial is being held in Alexandria, Virginia, and the jury is comprised of six men and six women. If convicted, Manafort could be sent to prison for the rest of his life. This is the first trial to come out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, although this case is based on Manafort's personal finances. Catherine Garcia

6:55 p.m. ET
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Authorities in New Haven, Connecticut, said at least 41 people have overdosed today in or near New Haven Green, a park close to Yale University, and more calls could come in before the day is over.

Police suspect they overdosed on synthetic marijuana. Rick Fontana, New Haven's director of emergency operations, told CBS News the calls started coming in after 8 a.m., with people showing "a multitude of signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states." The victims were of "all different ages," and for some, anti-overdose drugs did not work on them.

Over a three-hour period, officials responded to 25 overdoses, police said. A man believed to be connected to some of the overdoses was arrested on Wednesday, but officials are not releasing his name. No deaths have been reported, and authorities are now waiting for the results of toxicology tests. Catherine Garcia

5:37 p.m. ET
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The man who destroyed Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star wants a gold star.

Last month, a man carrying a pickaxe smashed the star into smithereens. On Wednesday, that man pleaded not guilty to felony vandalism charges, writes The Hollywood Reporter, and said he "only wanted to bring about positive political change."

"I don't personally think that there should be any charges brought against me," he told reporters outside the Los Angeles courthouse. "Because what I did, I believe, was a rightful and just act." Trump's star was previously pulverized by a different pickaxe-wielding individual in 2016.

The alleged vandal, Clay Austin, additionally said the repercussions of his actions last month "were only positive." The Los Angeles City Council last week voted to remove Trump's star from the Walk of Fame altogether, citing the costs of dealing with the repeated vandalism. If the city's chamber of commerce agrees with the city council, it would be the first star removal in Walk of Fame history. Read more at The Hollywood Reporter. Summer Meza

4:46 p.m. ET

America's greatness has been called into question.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) sought to slam President Trump's "make America great again" slogan while speaking at an event Wednesday, reports CBS News — but perhaps he should've thought through his line a bit more carefully. The governor ended up eliciting gasps when he said America "was never that great."

Cuomo tried to make a point about working toward equality for women and helping girls reach their full potential, but the moment was overshadowed by his introduction to the sentiment. "We are not going to make America great again," he said. "It was never that great."

Gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, a Republican who is hoping to unseat Cuomo in the fall, immediately fired off a scathing response, saying "America, with its imperfections, has always been great." Molinaro said Cuomo "should be ashamed of himself" and owes the nation an apology.

Cuomo's office quickly offered a clarification, saying the governor merely disagrees with the president, but "believes America is great." The U.S. simply "has not yet reached its maximum potential," the statement read. Summer Meza

4:21 p.m. ET
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Most people agree that climate change is a huge problem for the modern world. And for many, stopping the warming of the Earth — let alone reversing the damage that has already been done — seems impossible.

But maybe not for much longer.

A group of scientists from Trent University in Ontario, Canada, have discovered a way to use a naturally-occurring mineral to tackle one of the biggest culprits behind climate change: carbon dioxide. The buildup of it and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere are what causes the Earth's temperature to rise. But the formation of magnesite, a mineral comprised of magnesium, oxygen, and carbon, has the power to take that harmful carbon dioxide back out of our atmosphere, Popular Mechanics reported.

On its own, magnesite forms incredibly slowly in nature — it can take up to hundreds or even thousands of years, Newsweek explained. But this team of researchers has created a method to form the mineral in just 72 days. The process is sustainable and "extremely energy efficient," said Ian Power, the project leader, in a statement at the Goldschmidt Conference, an international conference on the field of geochemistry.

Of course, forming magnesite in a lab is still a far cry from actually deploying it to fight climate change, Inverse reported. But reducing atmospheric carbon is seen as the single most powerful thing we can do to protect the Earth from worsening climate change — and this promising research may develop into a real strategy.

Read more about magnesite and the way it works at Popular Mechanics. Shivani Ishwar

3:35 p.m. ET
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President Trump has revoked security clearance for John Brennan, the former director of the CIA. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the decision Wednesday, reading a statement from Trump at the press briefing that claimed Brennan had displayed "erratic conduct," including "wild outbursts on the internet and television."

Brennan has frequently criticized Trump, taking to Twitter to call the president "treasonous" and "imbecilic." Sanders said the White House is additionally reviewing the clearances of other officials, such as former FBI agent Peter Strzok; former national security officials Susan Rice, James Clapper, and Michael Hayden; and current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Many of the officials listed have also been critical of Trump, reporters pointed out, but Sanders denied that revoking the security clearances was a form of retaliation against those who have voiced their criticism.

Former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe also made the list, though they haven't had security clearance for months. Instead, Sanders said Trump was reviewing whether he wanted to prevent them from ever re-obtaining clearance. Last month, when Sanders first announced that Trump was considering rescinding clearances, Clapper called the threat "petty" and warned it could set a "terrible precedent."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), at the time, said he believed Trump was just "trolling people, honestly." Clearly, Trump was very serious, since the statement about Brennan was dated July 26, coincidentally a day when the White House was not frantically picking up the pieces of a very-public ex-employee scandal. Summer Meza

2:44 p.m. ET
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A California congressional candidate says his campaign was the victim of ongoing cyberattacks that are now under investigation by the FBI, Rolling Stone reported Wednesday.

Hans Keirstead, who was running to unseat Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), fell just short of moving to the general election, losing out by just 125 votes back in June. His campaign manager, Kyle Quinn-Quesada, said some outside entity carried out persistent attempts to hack the campaign website, gain access to Keirstead's email accounts, and take over the campaign's Twitter account.

"It is clear from speaking with campaign professionals around the country that the sustained attacks the Keirstead for Congress campaign faced were not unique but have become the new normal for political campaigns in 2018," Quinn-Quesada told Rolling Stone. Last month, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said Russia unsuccessfully targeted her campaign with cyberattacks, and Sen. Bill Nelson (D) of Florida said Russia had "penetrated" some of the state's voting systems. The FBI hasn't told the Keirstead campaign whether it has identified who was perpetrating the attacks.

Rolling Stone notes that 15-term incumbent Rohrabacher is one of the most pro-Russia members of Congress, voting against Russian sanctions and supporting President Trump's effort to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the Keirstead campaign has no evidence that Russia was behind the attacks, and Quinn-Quesada says he does not believe the cyberattacks affected the election results, the investigation fits in with intelligence officials' warnings of pervasive cyber threats to the midterm elections. Read more at Rolling Stone. Summer Meza

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