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January 13, 2018

Actor Liam Neeson argued in an appearance on Ireland's Late Late Show Friday that the cascade of sexual harassment allegations against famous men in recent months has not adequately distinguished between rape or assault and milder offenses or misunderstandings. "There is a bit of a witch hunt happening too," Neeson said. "There's some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl's knee or something and suddenly they're being dropped from their program or something."

He highlighted the case of radio host Garrison Keillor, who was fired by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) over allegations of inappropriate behavior. MPR has not stated the nature of the accusation against Keillor, though the radio host claims he merely placed his hand on the back of a female colleague in a comforting gesture before he realized she was wearing an open-backed shirt. Neeson also said he is "on the fence" about the accusations against fellow actor Dustin Hoffman, calling Hoffman's alleged misconduct, which includes exposing himself to a 16-year-old, "childhood stuff."

Neeson concluded by saying he believes the #MeToo movement is "healthy, and it's across every industry," mentioning his experience as a United Nations goodwill ambassador as he described the "chilling" treatment of women in the workplace. Watch his comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

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

2:23 p.m.

William Barr seems to have Special Counsel Robert Mueller's back — to an extent.

President Trump's pick for attorney general faced the Senate Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Democrats worried about the safety of Mueller's probe questioned Barr, and he responded with some reassurance — and some reason for Democratic concern.

1. Not to fire Mueller at Trump's request: One Democrat, Sen. Chris Coons (Del.), asked Barr if he'd allow Trump to fire Mueller, "assuming no good cause." Barr responded that he "would not carry out that instruction," but also later told multiple senators he would not recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller probe if ethics officials recommended he do so.

2. Not to impede related investigations: Barr's later assured that he "would not allow a U.S. attorney to be fired for the purpose of stopping an investigation," seeing as Trump is implicated in a Southern District of New York case.

3. To allow Mueller to finish the probe: In his opening statement, Barr shared how he's known "Bob" Mueller for years and said he'd let the special counsel "complete his work." He avoided saying whether he'd heard "nonpublic information" about the probe, but said he didn't "recall" hearing anything "confidential" about it from the White House.

4. To prevent 'edits' to Mueller's report: Barr said he would not allow "editing" of the confidential Mueller report. But he did not agree to Sen. Richard Blumenthal's (D-Conn.) request for Barr to "explain" any deletions or edits he makes to a public version of the report, or to follow through on any prosecutions Mueller may suggest in it. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:20 p.m.

President Trump's attorney general pick may have just served Democrats cause for concern.

William Barr faced the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, hearing from a line of Democrats concerned about the protection of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) explicitly asked whether Barr has received any "nonpublic information about Mueller's investigation" from the White House. But Barr changed up Feinstein's language in his response, saying "I don't recall getting an confidential information."


Earlier in the hearing, Barr acknowledged discussing Mueller's probe into the Trump campaign's potential involvement with Russian election interference with the president. But he said those discussions were "not in any particular substance."

Democrats are worried that an attorney general might interfere with the special counsel's probe, especially considering Barr once issued a memo criticizing an aspect of Mueller's investigation. Barr did ensure in his opening statement that he'd allow Mueller to "to complete his work" and make any results of the probe public, providing they are "consistent with the law." Kathryn Krawczyk

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