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December 28, 2015

In a front page editorial on Monday, the publisher of an influential conservative New Hampshire newspaper, the Union Leader, slammed Donald Trump's campaign for insulting the "intelligence of Republican voters."

"Trump can certainly be an entertaining character... But his public descent into bathroom humor and verbal bullying has been painful, and educational, to watch," publisher Joseph W. McQuaid wrote. He continues:

Trump has shown himself to be a crude blowhard with no clear political philosophy and no deeper understanding of the important and serious role of president of the United States than one of the goons he lets rough up protesters in his crowds.

He reminds us of the grownup bully "Biff" in the Back to the Future movie series. Lo and behold, the screenwriter says that he based Biff on Trump. On Feb. 9, we trust New Hampshire Republicans will send "Biff Trump" back to somewhere — anywhere but on the road to the most important elective office in the United States at a most crucial time for this nation. [New Hampshire Union Leader]

According to Real Clear Politics, for much of December, Trump averaged 26.5 percent support among New Hampshire Republican primary voters. Jeva Lange

7:17 p.m.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced on Tuesday that she is launching a presidential exploratory committee.

Gillibrand shared the news while taping an episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, telling the host she has the "compassion, the courage, and the fearless determination" to take on corruption and greed in Washington, institutional racism, and "special interests that write legislation in the dead of night."

She also told Colbert she will "fight for other people's kids as hard as I will fight for my own," and she believes that "anybody who wants to work hard enough should be able to get whatever job training they need to earn their way into the middle class." Colbert asked Gillibrand the first thing she would do if elected, and she said in addition to taking action on climate change, she would "restore what's been lost — the integrity and the compassion of this country. If you want to get things done, you have to get people together." Gillibrand is a vocal critic of President Trump's, and was re-elected in November. Catherine Garcia

6:48 p.m.

In a new court document filed Tuesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office listed what investigators believe are lies Paul Manafort told since he agreed last year to be a cooperating witness.

Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, agreed to a plea deal in September so he would not have to go on trial in Washington, D.C., on conspiracy charges. In the heavily-redacted document, an investigator with Mueller's office writes that Manafort was "advised that lying to the government could subject him to prosecution." Last month, Mueller filed a document saying he believed Manafort had been lying, and the plea deal is now void.

The latest document states that Manafort lied about his dealings with Ukrainian business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, his contacts with members of the Trump administration, and a $125,000 payment he made in June 2017 to a redacted name. His lawyers have claimed that if Manafort gave any false statements, it was purely by accident. Catherine Garcia

5:19 p.m.

A Canadian businessman looking to avoid liquidation just got his hopes dashed by a font.

When Gerald McGoey's company went bankrupt at the end of 2017, a court tried to use his homes to pay back $5.6 million in debt to creditors, Ars Technica details. McGoey wasn't having that, and said he had papers from 1995 and 2004 showing his wife and children owned the homes.

The document from 1995 was written in the typeface Cambria, and the deed from 2004 was written in Calibri. Unfortunately for McGoey, those fonts were introduced by Microsoft Word in 2002 and 2007, respectively, as The Province describes.

It wasn't just some ordinary Microsoft aficionado who found the discrepancy, The Province says. The Ontario court brought in self-described "font detective" Thomas Phinney, who said "no one, other than a Microsoft employee, consultant or contract designer" could've used those typefaces at the time, per the court decision. McGoey's lawyers tried to argue they were misdated, but a judge still shredded McGoey's claim.

Calibri has a long history of tripping up schemers. When the infamous Panama Papers tied the Pakistani prime minister's children to some offshore companies, his daughter posted documents showing she was a trustee, not an owner of the companies. One problem: The Calibri-typed papers were dated before the font debuted.

These examples should teach would-be fraudsters a thing or two about typing out boldfaced lies. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:58 p.m.

Members of Congress took an hour Tuesday to condemn white supremacy and white nationalism on the House floor.

Why? Because after Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) questioned why those terms are "offensive" nowadays, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) decided to introduce a resolution to officially reject white nationalist and white supremacist movements. And in the debate that followed, 17 bipartisan lawmakers — including King himself — lined up to support him.

Debate isn't the best word for what transpired. It was more like a unanimous rejection of King's words that not-so-coincidentally took place on what would've been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 90th birthday. After hearing from the heads of the House Judiciary Committee, Clyburn kicked off the roast.

King took the floor right after Clyburn, explaining that he came from a family of abolitionists, saying his words were misconstrued, and pledging to back the resolution. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) quickly rose and said she "beg[ged] to differ." A total of four Republicans and 13 Democrats shared similarly scathing takes.

Congress eventually voted 424-1 to pass the resolution. The only no vote came from Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), who said the bill didn't go far enough and demanded a censure of King, which he and two other Democrats moved to do Monday. Also on Monday, King was removed from his committee spots over his recent comments.

Watch everyone's harsh words for King on C-SPAN. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:20 p.m.

President Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, may not be able to discuss certain topics during his upcoming congressional testimony — but he still has plenty to say.

Cohen's testimony next month will be "highly restricted" so that he doesn't interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Therefore, Cohen won't dive into Russia-related topics he has discussed during his 70 hours of interviews with Mueller.

At the same time, the Journal reports that the hearing, which will focus more on Cohen's personal experience working as Trump's attorney, could still be "explosive." In fact, a source close to Cohen said that he will "tell the story of what it's like to work for a madman, and why he did it for so long," adding that he's "going to say things that will give you chills."

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to violating campaign finance laws, saying he made hush payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump years before he ran for president. Trump, who Cohen claims directed him to make the payments, has accused Cohen of making up a story to get a lighter sentence. Cohen has also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about how long Trump negotiated a business deal in Russia.

Cohen's public hearing on Capitol Hill will take place on Feb. 7. Brendan Morrow

4:02 p.m.

President Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, was grilled for hours on Capitol Hill — yet plenty of Congress' key questions remained without definitive answers.

With hedging language thrown around left and right, here are some of the most non-committal responses from Barr so far that leave how he might act as attorney general somewhat unclear.

1. Barr didn't offer much in the way of his interpretation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution and how it might relate to President Trump, saying that there's a "dispute as to what the emoluments clause relates to" and that he has "not personally researched the emoluments clause" and "couldn't even tell you what it says," per Vox.

2. When asked to commit that the Justice Department under his leadership wouldn't "jail reporters for doing their jobs," Barr avoided doing so, saying he "can conceive of situations" where reporters might be imprisoned as a "last resort," The Daily Beast reports.

3. Asked about his statement in 1992 that Roe v. Wade will "fall," Barr didn't quite say Tuesday whether he still believes the landmark abortion case had been wrongly decided, but he told senators that the department had "stopped as a routine matter asking that it be overruled" and said "I don't see that being resumed," per CNN.

4. Barr at numerous points during the testimony would not commit to recusing himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe if his ethics officials told him to, saying he will not "surrender the responsibility" of the job, says The Washington Post. He also didn't say how much of the report would be made public and didn't commit to explaining potential changes he might make to it, per Talking Points Memo.

5. When Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asked Barr whether waterboarding is torture, he said that he would "have to look at the legal definition" but that "right now, it's prohibited," per Vox. Brendan Morrow

3:14 p.m.

As expected, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan was soundly defeated Tuesday. What wasn't expected was the incredible 230-vote margin that took it down.

Parliament voted Tuesday, 432-202, to reject May's much-decried plan to exit the European Union. It's the biggest defeat the British government has suffered in nearly a century, and leaves Brexit and May's leadership in peril, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The opposition Labour Party rejected May's proposed Brexit path, and members of May's own Conservative Party publicly joined them. Many Brexit supporters said May's deal would have given too much control to the EU to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland, part of the U.K., and Ireland, an EU member.

This newest defeat means "all Brexit options are on the table," including a departure from the EU without any form of deal, and a second referendum to overturn Brexit altogether, per the Journal. Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, so there's not much time to find a new solution.

May had her concession speech ready before the vote, and welcomed a vote of confidence in her leadership, per The New York Times. Lawmakers narrowly preserved May's leadership in a confidence vote last month, but opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has still called another vote for Wednesday, per The Guardian. Kathryn Krawczyk

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