March 13, 2016

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton apologized Saturday for saying President and Nancy Reagan "started a national conversation" on HIV and AIDS.

"To be clear, the Reagans did not start a national conversation about HIV and AIDS," she wrote on Medium. "That distinction belongs to generations of brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, along with straight allies, who started not just a conversation but a movement that continues to this day."

The Reagans notoriously kept quiet in the first years of the disease.

Clinton's comments Saturday followed a shorter statement Friday, in which she said she "misspoke" about the Reagans' record. Read her full Medium post here. Julie Kliegman

9:11 p.m.

Two prison guards assigned to watch accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein on the night he took his own life are expected to be charged with falsifying prison records, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast on Monday.

Epstein was arrested on July 6 and held in New York City's Metropolitan Correctional Center while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy. He was in a special unit, and while Epstein was no longer on suicide watch, guards were supposed to check on him every 30 minutes. On August 10, he was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell, and the New York City medical examiner confirmed that his death was a suicide.

Federal investigators have been trying to determine how Epstein was able to take his own life, and there have been multiple reports that the unnamed guards fell asleep on the job and altered records to cover their tracks. The charges against the guards could be filed as soon as Tuesday, The Daily Beast reports. Catherine Garcia

8:10 p.m.

A career official at the Internal Revenue Service who filed a whistleblower complaint over the summer, accusing at least one political appointee at the Treasury Department of trying to interfere with an audit of President Trump's tax returns, met with Senate Finance Committee staff members earlier this month, a congressional aide told The New York Times.

The whistleblower spoke with staffers for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Finance Committee. The whistleblower contacted the staff of the House Ways and Means Committee in July, claiming that political appointees were getting involved in the audit and putting pressure of some kind on senior IRS officials, the Times reports.

Details of the allegations remain unclear, and the House Ways and Means Committee is still reviewing the complaint. "We generally do not comment on whistleblower meetings, their contents, or even if they happened," Michael Zona, a spokesman for Grassley, told the Times. "Additionally, federal law prohibits the discussion of protected taxpayer information."

A person familiar with the matter told the Times the complaint does not directly implicate Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has refused to comply with a congressional request to release six years worth of Trump's personal and business tax returns. Catherine Garcia

7:18 p.m.

Mina Chang, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Conflict and Stability Operations, resigned on Monday, just a few hours after NBC News asked her spokeswoman about several false claims Chang made about her nonprofit and education.

In her resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chang said she was "unfairly maligned, unprotected by my superiors, and exposed to a media with an insatiable desire for gossip and scandal, genuine or otherwise." She also said her resignation is actually "a protest," and not "surrender, because I will not surrender my commitment to serve, my fidelity to the truth, or my love of country."

NBC News reported last week that she embellished her résumé, claiming among other things that she was a "graduate" of a program at the Army War College, when she actually just attended a four-day seminar. Chang also showed people a Time cover with her face on it, which a magazine spokesperson said was "not authentic."

Since that report, NBC News uncovered more falsehoods. Chang said in 2012, she won a CBS Humanitarian of the Year Women That Soar award, but it was actually a Dallas, Texas, honor, and the ceremony aired on a local CBS affiliate. Chang also said she earned a degree in international development from the University of Hawaii, but that program does not exist. She visited Afghanistan in 2015, saying it was a humanitarian mission facilitated through her nonprofit Linking the World, but NBC News reports the trip was paid for by a defense contractor, no aid was delivered, and she lied about the people she met. Read more about these tall tales at NBC News. Catherine Garcia

5:44 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg is stuck on a polling rollercoaster.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 candidate got good news over the weekend when a new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll put him at the top of the Democratic field in Iowa. But his high hopes promptly sunk with a new Quinnipiac University poll out Monday that shows him floundering in South Carolina.

Buttigieg racked up a respectable 6 percent support among likely voters in South Carolina, which will be the first southern state to hold a presidential primary next year. But when only black voters are taken into account, he earned the support of precisely 0 percent of them. Several other candidates also got negligible support among black voters, but Buttigieg has the highest percentage of white support in comparison and draws nearly all of his support from that demographic.

That dismal showing might have something to do with how 60 percent of black respondents said they hadn't heard enough about Buttigieg to decide if they found him favorable or not. Still, that total puts him around the midpoint for recognizability among all the candidates, meaning things haven't looked this bad for Buttigieg since his followers learned how to dance.

Quinnipiac surveyed 768 likely South Carolina Democratic primary voters via landline and cell phone from Nov. 13–17, with a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:41 p.m.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University remains sealed off with many pro-democracy, anti-government protesters trapped on campus as fears of violent clashes with police intensify.

At least some demonstrators escaped at great personal risk, as dozens of protesters lowered themselves more than 30 feet down from a bridge with plastic hosing before jumping onto the back of waiting motor bikes and speeding off while police fired projectiles, Reuters reports.

Not everyone fled the scene successfully, however. A Reuters reporter who captured footage of the escape later said that it appeared several of the protesters were arrested.

Meanwhile, two "prominent figures" were allowed onto campus by police to mediate with the demonstrators, signaling a growing risk of violence, Reuters reports. Tim O'Donnell

5:32 p.m.

Kanye West is putting himself under an all-new spotlight. The rapper announced his first opera, Nebuchadnezzar, tweeting a picture of a gold foil opera program engraved with the heading "A Kanye West Opera."

Tickets are on sale for the matinee performance at The Hollywood Bowl on November 24.

The contents of the opera have not been made public but the title provides some insight. Nebuchadnezzar was a real person — a biblical king, in fact. He is featured in the Book of Daniel and regarded as one of the most famous Babylonian kings, ruling for 40 years. This is not the first time his story has been told in the operatic medium. As NPR noted, 1841's Nabucco (the Italian translation for Nebuchadnezzar) was an early work by composer Giuseppe Verdi, and was a passionate retelling of a king gone mad.

Vocal about his own struggles with mental health, West might find himself relating to his opera's protagonist, a complex character grappling with tangled self-perceptions of glory and fame. West recently spoke candidly in an interview on David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction about his bipolar disorder diagnosis along with paranoia.

The biblical roots of the narrative suit the superstar as he has also become very public with his relationship to God, from his infamous Sunday services to his comments in the media to his most recent album Jesus is King. Read more about the opera at NPR. Brielle Diskin

4:53 p.m.

The United States is changing its tune when it comes to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, bucking international consensus in the process.

"The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with international law," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters during a press conference Monday.

The statement indicates that the U.S. will take a softer stance on the matter going forward, which is becoming a trend for the Trump administration in matters related to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Reuters notes that the latest announcement follows Washington's 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and 2018 decision to move the U.S. embassy to the city.

Unsurprisingly, Pompeo's words were not received warmly among Palestinians. Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, criticized the announcement on Twitter.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, was pleased by the decision, which is viewed as a victory for his camp as he struggles to remain in power in Israel.

The new stance could be risky for the Trump administration, though, as it's likely to alienate other foreign powers, including the European Union. That could subsequently make it even more difficult for the White House to carry out its Middle East peace plan. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads