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January 3, 2018
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President Trump's former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, did not mince words when he spoke to Michael Wolff, the author of the forthcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. After obtaining a copy early, The Guardian learned that Bannon volunteered a range of opinions on and insights into the Trump campaign and White House, especially regarding the infamous meeting in June 2016 between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a Russian lawyer who promised them incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

Read some of the juiciest quotes below, and check out the full early scoop on the book at The Guardian. Jeva Lange

On the Russia investigation. "They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV."

On the Trump Tower meeting: "The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s--t, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately."

On where they should have met instead: "A Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire."

On where the Trump team could have "dump[ed]...down" information:Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication."

On where Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is headed: "This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f--king Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner ... It's as plain as a hair on your face."

On how they're going to get there: “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner s--t. The Kushner s--t is greasy. They're going to go right through that. They're going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.”

On the Trump team's chances to escape Mueller's probe: "They're sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five."

10:58 p.m. ET

If he wasn't before, Cam Dedman is now definitely his grandfather's favorite.

Last year, Dedman decided that for his grandfather Fred Lamar's next birthday, he would surprise him by completely restoring his 1957 Chevy Bel Air. "My grandpa is like my best friend," Dedman told WDRB. "He does everything with me." The car had been sitting in his grandparents' garage since 1976, and was in terrible shape. Throughout the entire restoration process, Dedman posted updates on social media, and family and friends who watched from start to finish flew to Kentucky last weekend to watch as he surprised Lamar with the car on his 81st birthday.

Lamar bought the Bel Air when he was 28, and never thought he'd see it look brand new again. "I love it," he said. The pair have always been close, and both love traveling together and classic cars, so for their next adventure, they plan on traveling across Kentucky in the Bel Air, visiting different car shows. Catherine Garcia

10:00 p.m. ET

After HLN's Ashleigh Banfield ripped apart a report published over the weekend accusing actor Aziz Ansari of sexual assault, the author fired back, calling Banfield a "burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been."

A woman using the pseudonym "Grace" spoke to the website babe.net, and said Ansari pressured her to engage in sexual acts, ignoring her cues that she was uncomfortable. Ansari said in a statement he was "surprised and concerned" because he thought they were both on the same page, and he had several defenders, including Banfield. On her show Monday, Banfield said it was "appalling" that Grace tried to frame what happened as a rape or sexual assault and "potentially destroyed this man's career over it, right after he received an award for which he was worthy." When Banfield's producer invited the article's author, Katie Way, to appear on the show, she responded with a scathing email that attacked Banfield's age and looks.

Banfield shared some of the comments on her show Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the entire email was sent to Business Insider from Way's editor, Amanda Ross. In the email, Way said she's "certain no one under the age of 45" has heard of Banfield, and said she "targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she's never f—g met before, for a little attention." Way called Grace "the bravest person I've ever met" and said she will never appear on HLN. "I will remember this for the rest of my career — I'm 22 and so far, not too shabby!" Read the harsh email in its entirety on Business Insider, and watch Banfield's reaction in the video below. Catherine Garcia

8:51 p.m. ET
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Walmart announced Wednesday is is now offering a product that safely destroys all forms of unused opioid drugs, but experts say it's an item that's not necessary.

Opioids, including powders, tablets, pills, capsules, liquids, and patches, mixed with DisposeRx and warm water, are turned into biodegradable gel that cannot be converted back into a usable drug. Walmart said this is the first product of its kind, and with 42,000 Americans dying in 2016 from opioid overdoses, the company's executive vice president of consumables and health and wellness said they wanted to take "an active role in fighting our nation's opioid issue, an issue that has affected so many families and communities across America."

About one-third of medications sold go unused, and it's easy for excess pills to end up in the wrong hands, spreading addiction, but DisposeRx isn't necessary, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative at Brandeis University, told NPR. Opioids can just as easily be flushed down the toilet, "the problem is the general public just doesn't know that," he said. "Think about it. Every time someone taking an opioid medication urinates or defecates, it gets into the water supply. So that's not the real problem." Catherine Garcia

7:47 p.m. ET
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While meeting with Democrats on Wednesday, White House chief of staff John Kelly called some of President Trump's campaign stances on the border wall "uninformed," several people told CNN.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) confirmed the comment during an interview with Wolf Blitzer, and a person familiar with Kelly's meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said Kelly told them he was working on educating Trump on campaign vows and policy. "You make campaign promises but then you learn the reality of governing, which is difficult," Kelly said, per a lawmaker at the meeting.

The hour-long meeting ended without any sort of a deal regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigrants, but Kelly "indicated the president is motivated to have a fix," Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said, and he will look into a bipartisan immigration bill Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) put together. "He didn't say he'd sign the bill, but he definitely indicated there would be a positive review," Grisham said. Catherine Garcia

6:59 p.m. ET
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday 2,000 U.S. troops will remain in Syria, as there are "strategic threats" to the United States beyond the Islamic State.

"Iran has dramatically strengthened its presence in Syria...through its position in Syria, Iran is in a stronger position to extend its track record of attacking U.S. interests, allies, and personnel in the region," he said during remarks at Stanford University. U.S. troops were sent to northeastern Syria to assist Kurdish fighters battling ISIS militants, and although ISIS now has just a small presence in the country, Tillerson said there's concern of a revival. "We cannot repeat the mistake of 2011, where a premature departure from Iraq allowed al Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually become ISIS," he said.

Tillerson also said the U.S. continues to push for a peace deal in the country that would exclude Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Catherine Garcia

5:34 p.m. ET
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It apparently only took an hour and a half for Stephen Bannon to crack himself like an egg during his hearing with the House Intelligence Committee.

Axios reported Wednesday that Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, accidentally told congressional investigators about his time working for the Trump administration, despite the fact that he'd been instructed not to by the White House. Bannon was less than 90 minutes into his hearing, Axios claimed, when he mentioned discussions he had with White House officials about the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower where Donald Trump Jr. tried to get opposition research on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer.

The Trump Tower meeting "has become one of the most important focal points of the Russia investigation," Axios explained, given reports that President Trump himself helped draft a misleading statement responding to the news after the meeting was first revealed by The New York Times last July. The White House's involvement in the creation of that statement could illuminate whether the Trump campaign tried to collude with Russia and whether the White House lied about those attempts, Axios explained.

Bannon declined to elaborate on his accidental disclosure, repeatedly invoking executive privilege. He additionally faced tough questioning from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) about comments he'd made in Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, where he'd claimed the Trump Jr. meeting was "treasonous." Read more about Bannon's rocky testimony at Axios. Kelly O'Meara Morales

4:18 p.m. ET
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 26,000 points Wednesday, CNN Money reported, marking a historic first for the market index. The Dow had first passed the 26,000-point threshold Tuesday, but Wednesday was the first day that it sustained those gains at market close.

Overall, the index spiked 323 points over the course of Wednesday's trading, ending the day at 26,115.65 points. The 1.3 percent bump was spurred by "stronger-than-expected quarterly results from some of the biggest U.S. companies," CNBC explained. Kimberly Alters

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