×
November 7, 2017

President Trump's longtime bodyguard, fast-food fetcher, and "emotional binky," Keith Schiller, will be grilled Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee as part of the ongoing probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, Politico reports. While the revelations from the so-called Trump whisperer's testimony are expected to be mild at best, they could still put the heat on Trump: "The image of Keith walking in and testifying is not going to make the president happy," a former campaign aide told Politico. "That is a loyal lieutenant being dragged in. That's clearly going to upset him."

In particular, investigators are expected to express interest in Trump's 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe contest, a trip that is central to an unverified dossier containing compromising allegations about the president. On Tuesday, a newly released transcript of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee supports "key portions" of that dossier, Business Insider reports.

Schiller departed from his role as White House director of Oval Office operations after Chief of Staff John Kelly succeeded Reince Priebus. Jeva Lange

6:37 p.m.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) apologized on Thursday for anti-LGBTQ comments she made while working for her father Mike Gabbard's organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage.

The Alliance for Traditional Marriage pushed for an amendment to Hawaii's state constitution banning same-sex marriage and advocated against pro-gay rights lawmakers, Politico reports. In the 1990s, Mike Gabbard said homosexuality is "not normal, not healthy, morally and scripturally wrong," and while running for Hawaii state legislature in 2002, Gabbard defended her father and her work for his group. Gabbard apologized for her comments in 2012, but since announcing last week that she will run for president in 2020, her past remarks are once again under scrutiny.

On Twitter, Gabbard said that she grew up in a socially conservative home and in her past, she "said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, hurtful to people in the LGBTQ+ community and their loved ones. I'm deeply sorry for having said and believed them." Now, she is a member of the House LGBT Equality Congress, and knows that "LGBTQ+ people still struggle, are still facing discrimination, are still facing abuse and still fear that their hard-won rights are going to be taken away by people who hold values like I used to. I regret the role I played in causing such pain, and I remain committed to fighting for LGBTQ+ equality." Catherine Garcia

6:02 p.m.

President Trump may want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to fly commercial, but first lady Melania Trump certainly doesn't have to.

After the speaker suggested she might rescind her invitation for Trump to deliver the State of the Union address, the president promptly shelved what he called her "public relations" trip to "Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan" scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Members of Congress usually use Air Force One for these trips.

Air Force One still took off that afternoon, but it didn't head overseas, Politico's Jake Sherman and aircraft-watching CivMilAir tweeted. It was using code that typically means the first lady is onboard, and it was headed for Mar-a-Lago's city of Palm Beach, Florida.

Pelosi hadn't announced her Congressional Delegation, or codel, trip before Trump issued the letter, in which he encouraged her to either "negotiat[e] with him" about the ongoing government shutdown or take a commercial flight to Afghanistan. Pelosi responded by saying her codel was stopping in Brussels to meet with "top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies." She was also headed to Afghanistan to meet with troops and "obtain critical national security and intelligence briefings," adding that a stop in Egypt was never part of the plan.

As NPR's Kelsey Snell pointed out, codels are usually not publicly announced for security reasons, making Trump's "flying commercial" suggestion useless. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:51 p.m.

Everything experts warned would happen after California's wildfires subsided? It's happening.

Massive snow, rain, and wind storms have rocked the state from top to bottom this week, leaving at least six dead, The Associated Press reports. And with thousands of acres of trees gone after October's massive wildfires, mudslides and flash floods were quick to follow.

Heavy rain and snow started falling Tuesday in "a significant part of California" thanks to a "storm rolling in from the Pacific Ocean," an Accuweather meteorologist told USA Today earlier this week. Conditions have remained harsh ever since, bringing a winter storm warning to southern California and blizzards to the tops of the Sierra Nevadas through Thursday. Four people died in storm-related car accidents, one died when a tree fell on a homeless encampment in Oakland, and another died while fleeing a falling tree, per AP.

While rain helped douse the Camp Fire in northern California in November, it also increased the risk of deadly floods and mudslides because no vegetation remained to absorb the runoff, experts said. Those risks became a reality this week as up to 7 inches of rain were expected through Friday in the ravaged town of Paradise, with the National Weather Service issuing a flash flood watch in the town's Butte County.

The storms came a week after President Trump said he would cut off federal disaster funding to the state because "with proper forest management," the wildfires "would never happen." Thousands of families are still rebuilding after last year's fires, and the government shutdown could delay recovery efforts even further. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:26 p.m.

Pennsylvania's 12th District just got a new representative. And now it needs another one.

Less than three weeks after he was sworn into office, Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) has announced he's stepping down. Marino is going to "take a position in the private sector" after "spending over two decades serving the public," he said in a Thursday statement. He didn't exactly say what that private sector job is, but broke down three of the eight bills he's introduced that became laws in the press release.

Before easily winning his seat last fall, Marino served as a four-term senator for Pennsylvania's 10th District, which was redistricted into the 12th. President Trump nominated him to be the federal "drug czar" in 2017, but he withdrew his name after a report showed he pushed for a pharmaceutical industry-backed bill that stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its biggest tool to fight prescription opioids entering the black market. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will now have to schedule a special election for the heavily Republican district, per Politico.

Marino's decision is especially ironic seeing as just last week, he introduced an amendment to the constitution that would let representatives serve 4-year terms. In a statement accompanying the proposed amendment, Marino said he'd "serve 12 years and then let new blood and ideas take the reins," but apparently he let go a few years early. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:45 p.m.

All Keanu Reeves' John Wick ever wanted was to hang out with his puppy, Daisy. But after losing his dog — not to mention his wife, house, car, and pretty much everything else to hordes of gun, knife, and grenade-launcher-toting gangsters in the first two John Wick films, it doesn't seem like things are getting any easier for the perpetually-pulled-out-of-retirement-by-a-righteous-code-of-honor hitman, if the first trailer for John Wick 3: Parabellum, released Thursday, is any indication. From the looks of things, the series' world-building maximalism, rain-splashed neon colors, and, of course, femur-snapping violence are entirely present in the franchise's second sequel — with a swaggering Halle Berry now added for good measure.

John Wick 3: Parabellum opens on May 17, and will look to build on the surprising box office success of John Wick: Chapter 2, which earned $171.5 million — more than double that of the original, which pulled in $88.8 million. Reeves could certainly use a hit, with his much-derided new sci-fi thriller, Replicas, having earned a paltry $2.9 million, according to Box Office Mojo — or roughly $11 million less than the bounty placed on our hero's head in John Wick 3: Parabellum.Jacob Lambert

3:42 p.m.

President Trump's cancellation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) overseas trip, seemingly in response to her request to delay the State of the Union, is already receiving pushback from one of his biggest supporters in Congress.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted that "one sophomoric response does not deserve another" in reaction to Trump's letter. While he said the House speaker's "threat" to cancel Trump's State of the Union address was "very irresponsible and blatantly political," Trump striking back by denying her the use of military aircraft for a previously undisclosed trip was also "inappropriate."

Pelosi had mentioned the ongoing government shutdown as the reason for potentially canceling the State of the Union, and Trump, in turn, cited the shutdown as the reason for canceling her trip. Graham says he has been attempting to find a bipartisan agreement to end the impasse in Congress but has had no luck, saying last week after Trump reportedly rejected a plan he was involved with that he has "never been more depressed." Brendan Morrow

3:03 p.m.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) may be a freshman congresswoman, but she has a thing or two to teach her fellow Democrats.

The newly elected representative is a bona fide Twitter star, topping every news organization and politician — other than President Trump — in interactions in the past month. And in a Thursday social media bootcamp, she taught some other representatives how to get a slice of her 2.45 million followers.

The Thursday session was "jam packed" with Democrats hoping to glean some of Ocasio-Cortez's wisdom, ABC News reports. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), whose husband, former Rep. John Dingell, has a solid 252,000 Twitter followers to her 37,000, said she was counting on her husband and "AOC" to improve her game. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) experimented with a gif and asked "#WheresMitch" after the lesson, and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Hawaii) learned how to snap a selfie.

Engaging younger voters is a perennial struggle for politicians on both sides of the aisle. But Ocasio-Cortez, along with some other young candidates, mastered the game in the run-up to the 2018 midterms. In Thursday's session, Ocasio-Cortez was sure to tell her colleagues that "social media is not just for young people," ABC News says. Then again, "don't try to be someone you're not," Ocasio-Cortez very rightly said. Get more Twitter tips from Ocasio-Cortez at ABC News. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads