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May 9, 2018

The three Americans released from North Korea on Wednesday were only freed about an hour before they boarded a plane with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, bound for the United States.

Pompeo was in Pyongyang for just 12 hours, which included a 90-minute meeting with leader Kim Jong Un, and he didn't know if the detainees would be released until a North Korean official came to his hotel and let him know Kim had granted amnesties, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press.

The men — Korean-Americans Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Tony Kim — were picked up by Carl Risch, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, and a doctor, and appear to be in good health, AP reports. President Trump was notified of their release as soon as Pompeo's plane cleared North Korean airspace. In 2016, Kim Dong Chul was convicted of espionage, and sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labor. Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song, both of whom taught at a university in Pyongyang, had been detained for a year but apparently were never tried. Catherine Garcia

2:08 a.m.

In a court filing released Tuesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey asserts that the former president of Purdue Pharma, Richard Sackler, knew in the early 2000s that his company's powerful opioid painkiller, OxyContin, was being abused, but still pushed it on doctors and tried to blame users for becoming addicted.

"We have to hammer on abusers in every way possible," Sackler, whose family owns Purdue Pharma, wrote in a 2001 email. "They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals." This was one of several internal documents cited in the court filing, The New York Times reports, which also alleges that Sackler told sales representatives they needed to urge doctors to prescribe the highest dosage of OxyContin, because Purdue made the most money off of those pills.

In June, Healey sued eight members of the Sackler family, Purdue Pharma, and several directors and executives, accusing them of misleading doctors and patients about the risks of taking OxyContin. Purdue Pharma has long said the Sackler family was not involved in marketing the drug, which came on the market in 1996. Doctors were told that it was next to impossible for people to abuse the painkiller; since then, more than 200,000 people have died in the United States from OxyContin overdoses.

The court filing says the Sackler family also knew that Purdue Pharma was aware early on that OxyContin was being abused by some users and sold on the street, but never told authorities. Purdue Pharma said in a statement the court filing is "littered with biases and inaccurate characterizations." The Sacklers are extremely wealthy, with OxyContin sales helping boost their bank accounts, and involved in philanthropy. With this latest court filing, it's expected that many institutions will be urged to decline or give back their gifts, the Times reports. Read the entire complaint against Purdue Pharma at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

1:52 a.m.

"It is Day 25 of the government shutdown, which is great news for everyone whose New Year's resolution was lawless anarchy," Stephen Colbert joked on Tuesday's Late Show. But "it's been hard on government employees, particularly the president. His popularity had taken a nose dive," even on his favorite poll, Rasmussen. "He's cratering," Colbert said. "By the time the election rolls around, he could lose to the ticket of Chlamydia/Ted Cruz 2020."

Still, "at least one good thing has come out of the government shutdown: A giant pile of hamburgers," Colbert said. He reveled in the photo of Trump standing before the 300 hamburgers he bought for Clemson's champion football team. If Trump's using his pile of burgers to distract everyone from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and his tanking poll numbers, "I'm totally into it," Colbert said, especially if it comes with presidential tweets about serving "over 1,000 hamberders."

"That's right, 'hamberders,'" Jimmy Kimmel laughed on Kimmel Live. "How does that happen? The 'e' and the 'u' aren't even near each other on the keyboard! It's like in the middle of tweeting he had a stroke or something. Or is it possible he thought they were called 'hamberders' until today?" Before Trump took down the tweet, he was trolled by Burger King, among others, Kimmel noted. He trolled Trump, too, with a special person-on-the-street quiz. He also pointed out that Trump himself said he ordered 300 burgers, not 1,000. "He has to lie about everything, he can't help it," Kimmel said. "Or maybe he ate the other 700 hamberders himself."

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah found the whole burger-by-candlelight thing eerily on-brand: "If you combine any fancy thing with any garbage-y thing, that's Trump's style, right? McDonald's by candlelight, caviar in a porta-potty, him in the White House. It's just the mix. But I will say this: If the government shutdown means that Trump gets to eat cheeseburgers every night, then this thing is going to last forever." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:12 a.m.

When Michael Nieves found out his favorite coffee shop was closing, he decided then and there that wasn't going to happen, because he was going to buy it and keep the doors open.

Nieves went to Yellow Mug Coffee in Fresno, California, five days a week, always ordering an Americano or espresso. When the owner told him last year that he was drinking his last cup of coffee because they were closing, "I said, 'No, you're not,'" Nieves told The Fresno Bee. The shop felt like home, which is why he was adamant about it staying open.

Three days later, Nieves and his wife, Belinda Bagwell, purchased Yellow Mug Coffee, and they officially took over on Jan. 1. This is new territory for the couple; Nieves is a software developer and Bagwell is a stay-at-home mom to their three teenage sons. Nieves and Bagwell are excited, though, and so are their customers: When they announced on Facebook the business was staying open, the comments ranged from "This really is good news" to "So freaking exciting." While they have the same baristas and aren't changing the coffee formulas, they've already expanded the menu to include additional drinks and snacks and plan on hosting more community events. Catherine Garcia

12:37 a.m.

On Tuesday, Day 25 of the government shutdown, Senate Republicans said they are mostly on board with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) hands-off approach to negotiating a way out of the impasse, House Democrats said they are united behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi's position that President Trump has to sign their legislation to reopen the government before they will discuss border security, and Trump tried to peel off some rank-and-file Democrats to join his push for a border wall paid for by American taxpayers. So far, he's gotten no takers.

The White House had invited a handful of centrist Democrats to the White House for a Tuesday afternoon lunch, but all of them turned him down, citing previous engagements or lack of interest in being used as pawns. Pelosi, who wasn't invited, told her Democratic colleagues Monday night that she had no problem with other Democrats attending, USA Today reports. "They can see what we've been dealing with," Pelosi joked to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). "And they'll want to make a citizen's arrest."

After a House Democratic caucus meeting Tuesday in which Pelosi reportedly urged Democrats to stick together, Hoyer told reporters: "Is anybody surprised that the president is trying to get votes wherever he can get votes? ... We are totally united. Totally." Trump has invited more rank-and-file Democrats, part of the bipartisan "Problem Solvers" caucus, to the White House on Wednesday, and it isn't clear how many will attend, if any.

No known discussions have taken place between Democratic congressional leaders and the White House since Trump abruptly walked out on the last meeting. Bipartisan groups of senators have been huddling, looking for an off-ramp to the longest shutdown in U.S. history, "but hopes are slim in the Senate that they can reach a solution that the president will endorse," Politico notes. Peter Weber

12:07 a.m.

While campaigning, President Trump made it a point to court rural voters, telling them that their lives would improve if he was elected. On Tuesday night, Seth Meyers decided to check in on one portion of the area dubbed Trump Country, to see if things really are on the upswing.

Meyers focused on West Virginia, where Trump made "impossible promises" to voters, telling them they would get "so tired of winning." "I don't think he gets how winning works," Meyers said. "You don't get tired of it. I've never heard a New England Patriots fan burning his Tom Brady jersey and moving to Cleveland."

Trump promised he would put coal miners back to work, and after he became president, he returned to West Virginia and crowed that he had "ended the war on beautiful, clean coal." A new report out earlier this month contradicts Trump's claims; coal mines are closing faster than ever, with more shuttering during the first two years of the Trump administration that the first four years of the Obama administration.

This isn't because of regulations, but rather competition from cleaner and cheaper forms of energy. Meyers notes that this isn't even Trump's fault, "it's the march of time," but the problem is Trump gave a lot of coal miners false hope, and continues to insult them by saying they are incapable of doing any other jobs. Watch the video below for more on Trump's promises to coal miners, plus how cutting regulations on power plants is bad news for the air we breathe. Catherine Garcia

January 15, 2019

Jason Reitman considers himself "the first Ghostbusters fan," and it's only fitting that he will direct and co-write a new movie set in the original universe.

"I wanted to make a movie for all the other fans," he told Entertainment Weekly. "This is the next chapter in the original franchise. It is not a reboot. What happened in the '80s happened in the '80s, and this is set in the present day." His father, Ivan Reitman, directed the original 1984 movie, and will serve as producer of his son's project.

The movie will begin filming in the next few months, and is expected to be released in the summer of 2020, Sony Pictures said. Reitman isn't sharing any information on the plot or if any of the original actors will make appearances, because he wants "the film to unwrap like a present. We have a lot of wonderful surprises and new characters for the audience to meet." Catherine Garcia

January 15, 2019

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) indicated on Tuesday he's seriously considering a run for president in 2020, announcing that he plans on traveling to early-primary states over the next few weeks to meet with voters.

Brown will visit Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina on what he's calling the Dignity of Work Tour. After a stop in Cleveland on Jan. 30, Brown will head to Iowa on Jan. 31, and will visit the other three states in February. "Some national Democrats, they've created this sort of binary choice that you speak to the progressive base or you talk to working class voters of all races," Brown told reporters. "I don't think it's an either or. I think you do both. That's how you win the heartland. That's how we won in Ohio. That's what I hope the narrative is for all the presidential candidates on the Democratic side."

Brown made the announcement just hours after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) revealed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert she is launching a presidential exploratory committee. Catherine Garcia

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