December 6, 2017

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez joined the chorus of voices calling for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to step down Wednesday, after a seventh woman accused the Minnesota senator of inappropriate behavior:

The Democratic Party's response to the Franken allegations had been a talking point for Republicans, who argued it was hypocritical to allow Franken to serve in Congress but call for GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to drop out. Earlier this week, the Republican National Committee reinstated its support for Moore, who is accused of pursuing and sexually assaulting teenage girls. Jeva Lange

9:33 a.m.

President Trump has announced a news conference on the coronavirus crisis, but only after placing blame on the media, swiping Democrats, and spelling the very thing he's talking about wrong.

Trump in a tweet Wednesday accused the media, particularly CNN and MSNBC, of "doing everything possible" to make the coronavirus "look as bad as possible, including panicking markets." The Trump administration has been repeatedly downplaying the virus' threat to the U.S., with economic adviser Larry Kudlow claiming Tuesday "we have contained this" even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans should prepare for the possibility of major disruptions to their day-to-day lives.

In this tweet, Trump also managed to bungle the spelling of coronavirus. He tagged the CDC, perhaps anticipating a fact-check on this rosy assessment.

Trump's news conference will take place on Wednesday afternoon at 6:00 p.m. Eastern — unless that time is also a typo. Brendan Morrow

9:18 a.m.

After playing the sport since she was four years old, women's tennis star Maria Sharapova is hanging up her tennis racket.

The 32-year-old Sharapova announced her retirement from tennis in a farewell essay published Wednesday in Vanity Fair, citing injuries. Throughout her career, Sharapova dealt with various shoulder problems, and she said she realized one U.S. Open match last August that she couldn't realistically compete at the level she need to anymore. "I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction," she wrote.

It wasn't easy to say goodbye to the sport, she said, noting that "tennis gave me a life" and she'll "miss it everyday." But she also said her career prepared her well for whatever she does next. "And so in whatever I might choose for my next chapter, my next mountain, I'll still be pushing," she wrote.

Over the span of her career, Sharapova emerged as one of the defining players of her generation, capturing five Grand Slam singles titles, including a Wimbledon victory over top-ranked Serena Williams in 2004 when Sharapova was just 17 years old. She was also a recognizable figure off the court where she was the world's highest-earning women's athlete for 11 straight years thanks in part to endorsements from companies like Nike and Evian. Read Sharapova's essay at Vanity Fair and more about her career at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

8:19 a.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during Tuesday's Democratic debate confronted former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with a comment he's alleged to have made, but MSNBC's Chris Matthews seems skeptical.

Matthews grilled Warren in an interview Tuesday night after she called out Bloomberg during the South Carolina debate by saying, "At least I didn't have a boss who said to me, 'Kill it,' the way that Mayor Bloomberg is alleged to have said to one of his pregnant employees." She was referring to the fact that Bloomberg was sued by a former saleswoman who alleged he made this comment to her, and a former Bloomberg employee also told The Washington Post he witnessed the conversation. Bloomberg strongly denied the accusation during the debate, saying he never made such a comment.

"You believe that the former mayor of New York said that to a pregnant employee," Matthews asked Warren in a post-debate interview, to which Warren responded, "Why shouldn't I believe her?"

From there, Matthews continued to question Warren's assertion, asking, "You believe he's that kind of person who did that?" Later, Matthews asked, "You believe he's lying? ... You believe he's lying? And why would he lie? Just to protect himself?" Finally, he asked one more time, "You're confident of your accusation?"

Warren didn't back off during this tense exchange, saying "I believe the woman" and shooting back to Matthews, "Why would she lie? That's the question, Chris."

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman noted after this Warren-Matthews exchange, "Whether people believe the allegation or not, it isn't something Warren came up with. It's something Bloomberg has been asked questions about for nearly 20 years." Brendan Morrow

7:41 a.m.

The Boston Globe editorial board endorsed hometown Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for president on Wednesday, less that a week before Massachusetts holds its primary on Super Tuesday, and they drew back the curtain and explained why in a video.

"Every Democrat wants to know who can beat Donald Trump," and "any of the top six Democratic primary candidates would make a better president than the current occupant of the White House," the Globe editorial board said (they also endorsed William Weld over Trump). "But one candidate stands out as a leader with the qualifications, the track record, and the tenacity to defend the principles of democracy, bring fairness to an economy that is excluding too many Americans, and advance a progressive agenda. She would fight the corruption and corporate influence that distort our politics, lift up working families, and combat gun violence and climate change. That candidate is Elizabeth Warren."

What really set Warren apart from the Democratic frontrunner, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), is that Sanders is "less likely to deliver" the "profound changes" both candidates seek to enact, the editorial board explained. "Warren is uniquely poised to accomplish serious reform without sacrificing what's working in our economy and innovation ecosystem. She would get under the hood to fix the engine — not drive off a cliff, but also not just kick the tires."

Oddly, that's essentially the same argument conservative provocateur Ann Coulter made after Tuesday night's debate: "Sen. Warren has convinced me that Bernie isn't that worrisome. He'll never get anything done. SHE'S the freak who will show up with 17 idiotic plans every day and keep everyone up until it gets done."

"No one should expect the same Warren who can bring the fight to Trump to be fully embraced by the entire country," the Globe editorial board shrugged, "but her candidacy would be bolstered by showing more of her capacity to unite the party and yes, even the polarized factions of our society." Peter Weber

6:26 a.m.

At least 20 people have now died in street clashes between Hindus and Muslims in northeastern New Delhi, India's capital. The violence stems from months of protests against a divisive citizenship law pushed through by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which offers legal status to every prominent religious minority except Muslims, who make up 14 percent of India's population.

The protests against the law had been peaceful until Sunday, when local BJP leader Kapil Mishra threatened to mobilize a Hindu mob to clear out the protesters, specifically warning police that if the streets weren't cleared by the time President Trump left India, his followers would do it instead. "As Air Force One flew Trump and his delegation out of New Delhi late Tuesday, Muslim families huddled in a mosque in the city's northeast, praying that Hindu mobs wouldn't burn it down," The Associated Press reports. Along with the 21 confirmed deaths, at least 189 people have been injured from bullets, knives, clubs, and stones.

"This was the first time that the protests have set off major bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims," crossing "an old and dangerous fault line," The New York Times reports. On Wednesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked Modi's home minister, Amit Shah, to send the army in to help police quell the violence. Sonia Gandhi, a leader of the opposition Congress party, accused Modi's BJP of inciting violence and called on Shah to step down. Modi broke his silence on Wednesday, urging the people of "Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times."

The violence was seen as an embarrassment to Modi as he hosted Trump on his first state visit to India. Trump said late Tuesday he'd heard about the violence but he didn't "want to discuss" it, "I want to leave that to India." Muslims said they feared the violence would get worse after Trump left. "It's a little quiet because Trump is here," rickshaw driver Mohammed Tahir told the Times. "Their side is scared to give the prime minister a bad name," but "as soon as Trump leaves ... they will attack." Peter Weber

4:33 a.m.

As the Democrats brawled in South Carolina, "President Trump is on his way home from India," where "he believes the reception he got was like nothing the Indian people had ever given before," Jimmy Kimmel laughed on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "Of course he got a big reception — they love cows in India."

Trump's former doctor, Ronny Jackson, just revealed some secrets he used to try to keep the president healthier, though Kimmel noted that hiding the ice cream and sneaking cauliflower into the mashed potatoes is "what we do with our 5-year-old at home." In other medical news, "the stock market was down a lot again today, in part because of the coronavirus, which is spreading," he said. "This morning, the president tweeted that 'the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,' which means we're in a lot of trouble. I mean, we just found out they had to trick him into eating vegetables. Do we really think he has a handle on the coronavirus?"

"One person who is not concerned about the coronavirus is recent Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Rush Limbaugh," Kimmel sighed. As a counterpoint, he showed a real coronavirus SWAT drill in China.

"In lighter news, we're all going to die," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. "Today, top health officials issued dire warnings about the coronavirus, or COVID-19." Until recent, "the coronavirus has mostly been restricted to China and people who have traveled to China," he said, but now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "believes the virus is headed here," and could be really bad.

"Fear of the coronavirus is already ravaging Wall Street — on Monday, the Dow tumbled more than 1,000 points, which was its third-worst point drop in history, effectively erasing all gains for 2020," Colbert said. "Then just today, the Dow closed down by almost 900 points! Good Lord, if it goes any lower, I'll have to find out what a 'Dow' is."

But "one man doesn't seem too worried: Donald Trump," Colbert said. And "there's a reason Trump is trying to downplay the coronavirus fears. If the CDC is right about this outbreak, it might be Trump's fault. Because in 2018, the Trump administration fired the government's entire pandemic response chain of command. Trump did not replace them. So currently, our pandemic response team is Ivanka and a bottle of Airborne." Watch below. Peter Weber

3:12 a.m.

The seven top Democratic presidential candidates faced off in South Carolina on Tuesday night, and The Late Show got everyone up to speed with a topical parody of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline."

Yes, "the Democrats met in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, and these folks said a lot of words — and I did not hear many of them, because the candidates were speaking all over each other the entire time," Stephen Colbert said in his live post-debate monologue. Former Vice President Joe Biden "wasn't exactly in top form coming in to the debate," having just forgotten which office he's running for, but the night's first big fight was the "haymakers between Bernie and Bloomie," he said. "Wow, that is really punching below the belt, but then again, Bloomberg can't reach much higher."

"It wasn't just Bloomberg attacking Sanders — all the candidates had their torches out to set fire to the wicker Bernie," Colbert said, showing some samples. And "Bernie wasn't always a hit with the crowd tonight, especially when he defended his limited praise of the Cuban Revolution," Colbert said. Still, he added, he personally would be happy Sanders getting the nomination, "because Bernie and Trump are the only two impressions I can do."

The debate "was wild tonight — I haven't seen white people go at each other that hard since khakis were on sale at Banana Republic," Trevor Noah joked at The Daily Show. Bloomberg had another tough night, and "if Bernie Sanders was the ass-whooping appetizer, Elizabeth Warren brought the main course," he said. "She destroyed him in the first debate, she came after him again tonight," and "if Bloomberg worried that he was coming across as a corrupt billionaire, it really didn't help him when he made a really bad slip of the tongue," he added. "You probably shouldn't brag about 'buying' people in South Carolina."

Amy Klobuchar had "one of the strangest moments of the night, easily," bringing up her "Uncle Dick in the deer stand," Noah said, offering a probably NSFW riposte. But finally "it was time to get to the main event: Going after Bernie Sanders." Sanders didn't help himself with his Cuba answer, he said, offering an analogy about infidelity. Still, "as long as all the moderates decide to stay in the race, Bernie is going to have a pretty clear path to win the nomination." Watch below. Peter Weber

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