×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 9, 2018
David McNew/Getty Images

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) does not have the best reputation vis-à-vis guns, and a new internal audit finds the agency has a record of carelessness with its own weapons.

Though the ATF does not lose guns at the rate it once did, it had "26 instances of lost, stolen, or missing firearms" in the fiscal years 2014 to 2017, and at least one of those weapons is known to have been used in commission of a crime. Some of these guns were lost in diners or on the Washington Metro system. One was discovered by an agent's neighbor, who found it sitting on the roof of the agent's car.

Perhaps more troubling given the sheer scale of the problem is ATF's missing ammunition. The report found "several significant deficiencies related to tracking and inventory of ammunition. For example, ammunition tracking records were understated by almost 31,000 rounds at the 13 sites we audited." Extrapolated across the agency's 275 offices, that comes out to about 650,000 missing rounds. Explosives were also not correctly inventoried in some offices and may be lost or stolen as well.

Audits of other federal agencies have shown ATF is not alone in losing track of deadly weapons. The Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Prisons, among others, have evinced a similar sloppiness. Bonnie Kristian

4:32 a.m. ET

"Since I started hosting this show, I've had to cover some unfortunate topics — for example, everything, all the time," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. But "yesterday, the news hacked up a truly memorable hairball. So I have to warn you, the following story is unsuitable for viewers under the age of dead." He was talking, of course, about President Trump's genitals, as described in "mind-searing" and "harrowing detail" by Stormy Daniels in her new book, Full Disclosure. If you don't know them, Colbert had the specifics.

If Colbert seemed less than thrilled to spend a few minutes on Trump's sexual organs, Mario Kart's Toad was devastated — at least in this darkly comic Late Show cold open.

To lighten the mood, Colbert rolled his eyes at Trump's statement that Hurricane Florence is "one of the wettest we've ever seen, from the standpoint of water" — "That statement right there is one of the dumbest we've ever heard, from the standpoint of stupid," he deadpanned — and also the new controversy over Bert and Ernie's relationship.

"So, are Bert and Ernie a gay couple or are they simply two adult asexual men with no outside relationships living together to dull the pain of their loveless existence?" Colbert asked. "In any case, it's 2018 and this whole argument feels a little dated. The question we should be asking is: Are the Ninja Turtles a pansexual polyamorous quartet?" Watch below. Peter Weber

3:43 a.m. ET

The Republican Party in Fort Bend County, Texas, is apologizing for an ad it ran in an Indian-American newspaper during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrating the birth of the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesaha. "Would you worship a donkey or an elephant?" the ad asked. "The choice is yours." The suburban Houston county is home to to a competitive congressional race between incumbent GOP Rep. Pete Olson and Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni; about a fifth of the 22nd Congressional District is, like Kulkarni, Asian-American.

"While we appreciate the Fort Bend County GOP's attempt to reach out to Hindus on an important Hindu festival, its ad — equating Hindus' veneration of the Lord Ganesha with choosing a political party based on its animal symbol — is problematic and offensive," said Rishi Bhutada at the Hindu American Foundation. The foundation asked that the Fort Bend Republican Party "apologize for the offensive and inaccurate reference" and "not run the ad again."

"Pete agrees" that the ad "should have been more respectful," said Olson campaign manager Craig Lewellyn. "The ad was not meant to disparage Hindu customs or traditions in any way," the Fort Bend GOP said in a statement. "This ad was created with input from those of Hindu faith so that we could properly pay respect to the sacred festival. ... We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone that was offended by the ad. Obviously, that was not the intent." Peter Weber

2:49 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump and Senate Republicans are insisting that an FBI investigation of Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her in the 1980s would be impractical and unnecessary. If Ford doesn't agree by Friday to testify on Monday, Republicans say, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to confirm Kavanaugh next week anyway. Ford wants the FBI or other independent, nonpartisan investigators to gather facts and testimony in the case before she testifies. FBI involvement would require White House consent.

"It would seem that the FBI really doesn't do that," Trump said Wednesday, a day after saying the FBI doesn't "want to be involved" and "this is not really their thing." Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who was also on the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, when the FBI investigated Anita Hill's claimed of sexual misconduct against Clarence Thomas, said: "The FBI does not do investigations like this. The responsibility falls to us."

"But several officials who have had direct roles in the nomination and background check process said it's common, as part of the FBI's vetting of presidential nominees for judicial posts and executive branch jobs, to investigate matters that do not qualify as federal crimes," Politico reports. When the FBI investigated Hill's allegations against Thomas in 1991, it took only three days.

"What happened here is actually not unusual," said John Yoo, a senior Justice Department official under former President George W. Bush. "The Judiciary Committee will often say to the Justice Department: 'Can you send the agents back out and find out if this is true, find out what happened with this?' ... You could have this done in a day or two." Having the FBI investigate "is a quick process, I don't think it needs to take more than a couple of days," agreed former Obama White House lawyer Sarah Baker. "The only reason you don't ask is if you don't want the answer." Peter Weber

2:02 a.m. ET
David Ryder/Getty Images

As part of Amazon's continued quest to be involved in every aspect of your life, the company is considering opening up to 3,000 new Amazon Go stores by 2021, Bloomberg reports.

There are no cashiers at Amazon Go stores, which sell snacks, drinks, sandwiches, and salads. Shoppers gain access by scanning an app, and cameras and sensors can tell what items they take off the shelves. When they're done, customers just walk out and get charged automatically. The first Amazon Go opened in Seattle in 2016; there are now two other stores in Seattle, as well as one in Chicago.

People with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg that Amazon is trying to decide if it wants these new Amazon Go stores to compete against convenience stores like 7-Eleven, offering prepared food and a limited selection of groceries, or fast-casual restaurants like Panera Bread. One plan the company is considering involves opening 10 Amazon Go stores by the end of 2018, 50 more in major urban areas in 2019, and as many as 3,000 by 2021, Bloomberg reports. Catherine Garcia

1:11 a.m. ET
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

It's not surprising that President Trump told Hill.TV on Wednesday, "I don't have an attorney general," people close to him shared with The Washington Post.

Trump doesn't feel like anyone is protecting him, they said, and he remains angry over an anonymous senior official writing a critical op-ed for The New York Times, as well as unknown staffers feeding unflattering information to Bob Woodward for his new book, Fear. It's not just Trump wondering who has his back — his family members and longtime friends are also looking at everyone suspiciously. "Everybody in the White House now has to look around and ask, 'Who's taping? Who's leaking? And who's on their way out the door?' It's becoming a game of survival," a Republican strategist who works with the White House told the Post.

Trump may not have a clue who wrote the op-ed or spoke to Woodward, but he does know that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself last year from the Russia investigation, leading to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and that's why he directed so much of his ire toward Sessions on Wednesday. "I don't have an attorney general." Trump lamented. "It's very sad." He told Hill.TV that Sessions was "mixed up and confused" in his Senate confirmation hearing, and even though the attorney general has taken a hardline approach to immigration, Trump is "not happy at the border, I'm not happy with numerous things." Catherine Garcia

12:43 a.m. ET

Senate Republicans are willing to hear Christine Blasey Ford's testimony about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's alleged rape attempt when both were in high school, but they won't delay the hearing until after the FBI investigates. "Oh, so the hearing comes before the investigation, just like on the classic TV show Order & Law," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. And President Trump won't even authorize an FBI investigation, saying that's not really the bureau's thing, he added. "Yeah, the FBI really doesn't have time to investigate sexual assault — that takes precious time away from finding real criminals like the author of the anonymous op-ed."

There's clear precedent for the FBI investigating sexual misconduct claims against a Supreme Court nominee, Colbert noted. "I guess all Dr. Blasey Ford's asking is that Congress treat her with the same respect and dignity they gave Anita Hill. The bar could not be lower if you dropped it in the Marianas Trench."

Colbert walked through the various, sometimes suspect defenses of Kavanaugh from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and the Judicial Crisis Network official who referred to Kavanaugh's alleged rape attempt as "rough horseplay" — which, Colbert said, "raises the question, What has Brett Kavanaugh done to horses?" And he took special exception to the anonymous lawyer close to the White House who said if Kavanaugh can be sunk "by accusations like this," then "every man" should be worried: "No, no they shouldn't. Not 'every man' goes through a sexual assaulter phase. And, to anyone out there who's saying 'boys would be boys,' you should not be allowed to raise boys. Or girls. Maybe a plant." Watch below. Peter Weber

September 19, 2018

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings "were already controversial and contentious" before Sunday, when a woman stepped forward to accuse him of attempted rape in the early 1980s, Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. Kavanaugh denies the allegation, but "this is like the fifth prominent person Donald Trump has supported who's been accused of mistreating women," Noah said. "It's almost like he doesn't realize it, but if he likes someone, it's because they have a shady history with women."

Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, wants the FBI to investigate the incident before she testifies, and the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee Republican majority says that while they want to get to the bottom of this, she'll testify Monday or they'll just move on, Noah said. "How tone-deaf is it that in the case of an alleged sexual assault, the woman is saying 'I think you guys are moving too fast,' and these dudes are like, 'Well, we're ready, so we're doing this!'"

Noah explained why he had little patience for the people questioning the timing of Ford's accusation, a tiny bit of empathy for those questioning her motives, but zero tolerance for the "boys will be boys" defense from those who conceded Ford's allegation may be true and don't care. "All I'm saying is I think it's worth taking the time to try and find out the truth," he said, "because if it turns out that this allegation is true, would you want a guy making decisions about all women's rights if he couldn't even respect one woman's right to choose?"

Between the on-air segments, Noah had an incisive look at Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) particular argument that the Kavanaugh he knows wouldn't try to rape a girl, drawing on Bill Cosby, Oscar Pistorius, and other people with skeletons in the closet. You can watch that below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads