August 9, 2018

It's a circus tent! It's a NASA knock-off! It's a bunch of potential logos for the Space Force, President Trump's proposed sixth branch of the military!

Six bright, retro designs crash-landed into inboxes Thursday afternoon, asking Trump email list subscribers to vote for the cutesy design they most want to see represent America's extraterrestrial might. There's a space shuttle being dragged down by a parachute. There's ketchup and mustard NASA. There's even one reading "Mars Awaits" that's sure to be downright vintage if Americans land on the red planet soon, like Trump hopes.

These logos are truly adorable, and they'd be great for the peewee version of Space Mountain, or as a patch on the jacket of the softest punk of all time. They just may not strike fear into the hearts of America's intergalactic enemies like a brawny military logo should. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:29 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday afternoon that President Trump just had a "meltdown" during a White House meeting. "Historians will record that within the White House it took several hours for a damage control plan to mature," Lupe "Southpaw" Luppen tweeted: "The president would say exactly what the speaker had said about him, but about her." To wit:

But Trump's I'm-rubber-and-you're-glue pushback peaked with a photo he posted of Pelosi literally standing up to him at the meeting, captioned: "Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown!" Not many other people saw it that way.

"Looks more like the second most powerful person in the country owning the room," said historian Joshua Zeitz. "She seems calmer than him, [to be honest]," tweeted the Houston Chronicle's Erica Grieder. "Nobody does projection better — or more predictably," tweeted conservative pundit Matt Lewis. Fellow conservative David Frum noted: "The people on the president's side of the table seem profoundly fascinated by their thumbs." Civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler observed: "I see Trump's meltdown came because a woman (one of maybe 3 in the room) scolded him in front of a bunch of men who've never had the courage to do so."

Former President Barack Obama's White House photographer Pete Souza simply thanked the White House for posting such an "awesome photo of Speaker Pelosi." Pelosi seemed to agree. She made the photo her Twitter banner. Peter Weber

1:37 a.m.

Congressional leaders met with President Trump at the White House to discuss the mess in Syria on Wednesday, and it didn't go well. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Trump had a "meltdown" and she was praying for his health. Using his patented I'm-rubber-you're-glue strategy, Trump responded that Pelosi had an "unhinged meltdown" — posting a photo that didn't appear to have the intended effect — and tweeted "Pray for her."

The 20-minute meeting started with Trump saying he didn't want to be there, The New York Times reports, citing several Democratic officials and noting that "the White House did not dispute their accounts." Trump brought up a bizarre letter he sent to Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claiming his "nasty" missive shows he didn't green-light Turkey's invasion of Syria. Pelosi noted that the House had just overwhelmingly condemned Trump's decision to withdraw the handful of U.S. troops that had been keeping Turkey at bay.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) started to read Trump a quote from his former defense secretary, James Mattis, at which point Trump called Mattis "the world's most overrated general" because "he wasn't tough enough" and "I captured ISIS" faster than he'd said was possible. Pelosi said Russia has long sought a "foothold in the Middle East" and he had just given Russian President Vladimir Putin such an opening, adding: "All roads with you lead to Putin." That's when the already-tense meeting "reached a fever pitch," the Times reports.

The Associated Press recounts the next few exchanges:

Trump: "I hate ISIS more than you do."

Pelosi: "You don't know that."

Schumer: "Is your plan to rely on the Syrians and the Turks?"

Trump: "Our plan is to keep the American people safe."

Pelosi: "That's not a plan. That's a goal."

After Trump called Pelosi either a "third-rate" or "third-grade" politician, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said "this is not useful," and the Democrats walked out. Trump said: "Goodbye, we'll see you at the polls." White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said of the meeting: "The president was measured, factual, and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi's decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising." Peter Weber

1:32 a.m.

In the early 20th century, hunting almost entirely wiped out the southwest Atlantic humpback whale, but scientists say it appears that the population has almost fully recovered.

There are seven different humpback populations in the southern hemisphere, and it's believed that before they were almost hunted to extinction, there were 27,000 southwest Atlantic humpback whales in the ocean, BBC News reports. The southwest Atlantic humpback whales spend their winters off the coast of Brazil and travel to sub-Antarctic and Antarctic waters during the summer to feed off krill.

Humpback whales became protected in the 1960s, and Dr. Alex Zerbini of the National Marine Fisheries Service told BBC News the populations weren't measured until the 1980s. Scientists have since been documenting the southwest Atlantic humpback whales, surveying them by ship and plane, and at the start of the 2000s, "we realized just how well they were recovering," Zerbini said. It's estimated there are now nearly 25,000 of these whales in the world, which is a "positive story," Zerbini said. Catherine Garcia

12:54 a.m.

The Marine Corps on Wednesday confirmed the suspicions of three historians who believed that one of the six men in the famed photo of a U.S. flag being raised over Iwo Jima had been misidentified.

One of the most recognizable photos from World War II, the picture earned Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal a Pulitzer Prize. It was snapped during the second flag raising on Mount Suribachi — the first flag was deemed too small, and a larger one was put up a few hours later.

Historians Stephen Foley, Dustin Spence, and Brent Westemeyer studied film footage and pictures taken by soldiers on Iwo Jima, and decided that the person identified in the famous photo as Pfc. Rene Gagnon was actually Cpl. Harold "Pie" Keller, a Purple Heart recipient from Iowa. The Marine Corps told NBC News on Wednesday that investigators from the FBI's Digital Evidence Laboratory have concluded that the historians were correct.

The Marine Corps said in a statement Gagnon was responsible for "returning the first flag for safe keeping," and regardless of who appears in the photograph, "each and every Marine who set foot on Iwo Jima, or supported the effort from the sea and air around the island is, and always will be, a part of our Corps' cherished history." Keller's daughter Kay Maurer told NBC News the family was shocked to learn he was in the picture, as her father "never spoke about any of this when we were growing up." Both Keller and Gagnon died in 1979. Catherine Garcia

12:28 a.m.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry led the U.S. delegation to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration in May. In a subsequent May 23 meeting in the White House, President Trump said he wouldn't agree to meet Zelensky until the Ukrainians "straightened up their act," Perry told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, adding that he later understood Trump to be referring to concerns about his 2016 presidential campaign. In order to resolve those concerns, Perry said, Trump told him to "visit with Rudy," meaning Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Perry says he agreed to call Giuliani in the hopes it would ease the way for Trump to meet with Zelensky. "And as I recall the conversation, he said, 'Look, the president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election,'" Perry told the Journal. "Rudy didn't say they gotta do X, Y, and Z," he added. "He just said, 'You want to know why he ain't comfortable about letting this guy come in? Here's the reason.'"

Those reasons, Perry recalled, involved three conspiracy theories: That Ukraine was responsible for former British spy Christopher Steele's dossier on Trump; that Ukraine had Hillary Clinton's email server; and that Ukrainian's "dreamed up" evidence that led to Paul Manafort's conviction and imprisonment.

Trump's former homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, said last month he was "deeply frustrated" that Giuliani had poisoned Trump's mind with those "completely debunked" conspiracy theories. Perry had a more detached response. "I don't know whether that was crap or what," he said, "but I'm just saying there were three things that he said. That's the reason the president doesn't trust these guys."

Trump finally called Zelensky on July 25, and their conversation — specifically Trump's request that Zelensky investigate Joe Biden and his son — led to a whistleblower complaint and a House impeachment inquiry. In that inquiry, several diplomats have expressed concerns about Giuliani's shadow diplomacy in Ukraine on behalf of Trump and possibly other clients. Federal prosecutors in New York are also reportedly investigating Giuliani's Ukraine business dealings. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Peter Weber

12:01 a.m.

More than 30,000 Chicago Public Schools teachers and support staff will go on strike Thursday, after the unions were unable to reach a deal with the district.

"We have not achieved what we need to bring justice and high quality schools to the children and teachers of Chicago," Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey said Wednesday night. "We need to have the tools we need to do the job at our schools. We need pay and benefits that will give us dignity and respect. We are on strike until we can do better." In response to the strike, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that at "every turn, we bent over backwards to meet the unions' needs."

About 300,000 students attend Chicago's public schools; Lightfoot canceled classes for Thursday, but said administrators will be at all schools in case kids need a safe place to go. Negotiations will start again on Thursday. Chicago has the United States' third-largest school district. Catherine Garcia

October 16, 2019

Well, that backfired.

After an explosive meeting on Wednesday afternoon between President Trump and Democratic leaders — which included Trump insulting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats walking out — the president decided to unwind by continuing the fight on Twitter. He posted several photos from the meeting, including one showing Pelosi standing and pointing at a sitting Trump. "Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown!" he captioned the picture.

Trump may have thought this was a sick burn, but most of the comments under the picture were not favorable. Some people told him he was the one who appeared nervous, and others pointed out that several of his advisers looked like they would rather be anywhere else in the universe than in that room. As for Pelosi, she's a big fan of the photo that literally shows her standing up to the president — it's now her Twitter banner. Catherine Garcia

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