May 16, 2018

"There is just so much news coming out of the White House these days, and some of it they actually want you to know — that news is called leaks, and right now the Trump administration is obsessed with them," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. Neither the White House nor staffer Kelly Sadler has publicly apologized for the leaked comment about Sen. John McCain "dying anyway," he noted. "In fact, White House officials seem more upset that the story leaked than that Sadler said it." How do we know that? It leaked.

"This White House is so leaky, there are even leaks about why they're leaking," Colbert said, running through some of the reasons — and how one leaker gets away with it by using other staffers' idioms in leaks to throw the White House off the scent. That leaker "added: 'Sad! Witch hunt! Fake news! I want to sleep with a porn star. I wish I was married to Sean Hannity,'" Colbert joked.

The president is incoherently furious, but "I don't get why Trump even cares about leaks, because these days he's not even trying to hide his dirt anymore," Colbert said. Everyone was baffled when Trump announced he's working to save "jobs in China" by helping phone maker ZTE, "the exact opposite of everything he has ever said — what's next, short ties?" he asked. But curiously "Trump tweeted out that announcement a mere 72 hours after the Chinese government agreed to put a half a billion dollars into an Indonesian project that will personally enrich — any guesses? — Donald Trump. He's not even trying to be subtle."

In case you didn't get the Sean Hannity joke, The Late Show re-created a bedtime conversation between Trump and the Fox News host.

And Deadpool's Ryan Reynold's interrupted the last part of Colbert's monologue and made telling Trump jokes look easy. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:26 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has a suggestion for President Trump.

It took Biden a little while to respond to an angry tweet Trump fired off Sunday, in which he criticized the media for reporting on the story about his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But the Democratic presidential candidate took to the social media platform himself Monday and seemingly remained cool, calm, and collected as he called for the president to "release the transcript" if he was so sure he did nothing wrong.

Trump confirmed Sunday that he and Zelensky talked about investigating Biden's son, but he's continued to defend his right do so. Trump dismissed the accusations that he was pressuring Zelensky as a "witch hunt," and said he was not taking threats of impeachment seriously. But he did say that "If we're supporting a country," referring to Ukraine, "we want to make sure that country is honest" and that it's "very important" to talk about corruption.

Later on Monday, though, Trump tried to shift the focus back to Biden, telling reporters that if a Republican "ever did what Joe Biden did...they'd be getting the electric chair right now." Biden's primary victory is far from a sure thing, but in the scenario his early lead in the polls does hold, we may have received a brief glimpse at what to expect if these two face off for the Oval Office next year. Tim O'Donnell

3:55 p.m.

The Democratic National Committee is back with some brand new hoops to jump through.

Continuing the trend it has followed in each successive primary debate, the DNC on Monday announced increased donor and polling requirements candidates have to meet to make the November debate stage. It includes a total of 165,000 individual donors and a smattering of poll showings either nationally or in one of four early-primary states.

The total number of donors isn't that much higher than the 130,000 threshold it was set at for the September debates, and at least eight of the 10 candidates who got on that stage have hit at as well, The New York Times reports. But the newly required 3-percent showing in four national or early-state polls, or at least 5 percent in two early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina — may be a bit harder.

Polls are only counted if they were released between Sept. 13 and seven days before the November debate, so it's a bit like a reset button for any traction candidates had gained and lost over the summer. The November debate date hasn't been announced yet, and only three qualifying polls have been released so far. Top tier candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) could all make the cut by Tuesday morning, Politico reports. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:52 p.m.

The producers of this year's Emmys were hoping to replicate the success of the Oscars with a host-less show. It didn't work.

Emmys viewership was once again down this year, with Sunday's broadcast reaching yet another new ratings low. Nielsen estimates just 6.9 million people watched the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards in the U.S., down 32 percent from 10.2 million last year, Reuters reports. That's the biggest ratings decline of the major awards shows in 2019, The Hollywood Reporter writes.

No one hosted the Emmys this year for the first time since 2003, with Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier noting in August, "The Oscars did very well. That was something we paid attention to." Indeed, when the 91st Academy Awards went without a host in February, the fast-paced show earned surprisingly positive reviews, and ratings improved for the first time in five years.

But Sunday's Emmys revealed there's a danger in going without a host, as the broadcast was widely panned for feeling disjointed and chaotic. In the show's biggest blunder, actor and comedian Thomas Lennon was recruited to fill the host void by providing commentary, which earned derision on social media throughout the night. His jokes often fell flat when they were audible at all, and at one point, he stumbled before reaching his punchline and said live on the air, "this is why people don't do this, because it sucks."

The Emmys' ratings failure comes despite the fact that the show celebrated the final season of Game of Thrones, with HBO's television phenomenon taking home the top drama prize. But ratings for award shows in general just keep falling as streaming-focused viewers lose interest in live events, and without an obvious Thrones equivalent next year, the Emmys could be in for even more trouble. Brendan Morrow

3:37 p.m.

President Trump really wants a Nobel Peace Prize.

At the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, a member of the Pakistani press reportedly suggested to Trump that he would be deserving of such an honor if he mediated a solution to the tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region. While Trump was reportedly flattered by the questions he was receiving from the Pakistani press, the Nobel-themed comment reminded him that former President Barack Obama already has such a prize, leading him to question the fairness of the committee. "I think I'm going to get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they gave it out fairly," Trump said. "Which they don't."

He added that the only thing he ever agreed on with Obama was his predecessor's surprise at receiving the award. "He had no idea why he got it," Trump said while seated next to Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, who reportedly laughed at the comment.

Trump went on to tout himself as a potential mediator between India and Pakistan, arguing that he has a good relationship with Khan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that he has "never failed as an arbitrator." Tim O'Donnell

3:04 p.m.

Sixteen adolescents, including Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, are suing five countries for violating their rights as children by not taking sufficient measures against climate change. But they don't want money, they want action.

The lawsuit was announced Monday shortly after Thunberg's emotional speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly. The five countries named are Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey — the children filing the suit, all under 18, are from 12 different countries, including four of the five named in the suit, reports Gizmodo.

They claim the countries did not uphold the 30-year-old U.N. treaty Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is the most widely ratified in history, and lays out rights to life, health, and peace.

The plaintiffs expressed how climate change is negatively impacting them, ranging from worsening asthma to having to leave their homes for fear of running out of water — showing that pollution of the environment has no borders.

The complaint is to be heard by a committee of children's rights experts, and, if successful, the U.N. will classify the climate crisis as a children's rights crisis, according to Gizmodo. Then the five countries must exit the convention or address climate change.

Two of the largest carbon dioxide emitters, China and the United States, are not named, as they did not ratify the part of the treaty that allows children to file a suit against the countries signed onto the protocol. Read more at Gizmodo. Taylor Watson

2:59 p.m.

Stanford University's attempts to compensate Chanel Miller for her sexual assault on campus severely missed the mark.

For instance, the university told Miller it would put up a memorial garden and a plaque near where Brock Turner raped her on campus in 2015. But when she selected quotes from her viral impact statement to put on it, the university turned them all down, NPR reports from a preview of Miller's memoir Know My Name.

Before revealing her name in a 60 Minutes interview earlier this month, Miller was known as "Emily Doe" — an anonymous sexual assault victim. Turner ended up serving just three months of a six-month sentence, but Miller's impact statement was published and ensured his name wasn't forgotten.

But it seems that Turner wasn't the only one trying to preserve his reputation. Stanford, Miller writes, didn't seem to care so much about her attack once it realized she wasn't a student there. It offered her money for therapy in an attempt to stop her from suing the school, making her realize she was "visible not as a person, but a legal threat, a grave liability," she writes. And when Miller offered Stanford pieces of her statement to put on a plaque near where the attack happened, it turned her down in hopes she would give it "something reassuring and inane, something that implied all was forgiven," NPR writes. Miller and Stanford negotiated for a while, but Miller eventually turned the school down.

Read more from Miller's book at NPR, or preorder it here. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:38 p.m.

Europe's attempts to ease the tensions between the United States and Iran have gotten a little more challenging, The New York Times reports.

At this time last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had mostly won over European support, as leaders hoped to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal. Indeed, President Trump received most of the blame for its fragile state after he pulled the U.S. out of the pact. Now, as the world's leader gather in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, there's reportedly a growing amount of European skepticism when it comes to Iran, thanks largely to attacks on two major Saudi Arabian oil facilities earlier this month. Washington and Riyadh are convinced Tehran was behind the strikes, despite denials from Zarif and his fellow leaders.

European leaders have been less vocal about the attacks than Washington, but French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters Sunday that the strikes were a "game changer," placing French President Emmanuel Macron's once-promising mediation efforts in jeopardy. Now France's priorities have reportedly shifted from renegotiating the nuclear deal to preventing a military conflict between Tehran and Washington. "The priority subject is whether we can restart a de-escalation path with the different actors," Le Drian said.

Ellie Geranmayeh, the deputy head of Middle East and North Africa studies for the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Iran has received "a real wake-up call that what they are able to get from Europeans is no more than some limited political cover for support of the nuclear deal." Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

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