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September 21, 2018

A new bombshell report from The New York Times further fuels the narrative that even senior Trump administration officials feel the president is unfit for office.

The Times reported Friday that in 2017, not long into his tenure in the Trump administration, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed in meetings the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unfit to serve and remove him from office. Further, he reportedly told Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe that he might be able to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on his side in this effort. Earlier this month, a senior administration official said in an anonymous Times op-ed that there had been discussions within the White House of invoking the 25th Amendment.

Additionally, the Times reports that Rosenstein proposed he wear a wire to secretly record Trump, as documentation of a White House in disarray. Officials say this plan did not end up moving forward, and an unnamed Justice Department spokeswoman told the Times that Rosenstein made the suggestion "sarcastically." Rosenstein has already denied the report, telling the Times that their story is "inaccurate and factually incorrect" and that "there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."

This report will no doubt raise Trump's ire, sparking speculation that the story was leaked with the express purpose of ousting Rosenstein, as Bloomberg's Jennifer Epstein observed. Already, the president's son — who has said that the "failing New York Times" lives in an "alternate universe" — has weighed in on the story, suggesting that he is not at all surprised that "these guys would do anything in their power to undermine" his father. Read the full report at The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

5:27 p.m.

No one could find evidence of the middle-class tax cut plan President Trump kept promising before November's midterms. Now, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin won't even confirm it ever existed.

In a Tuesday interview, Mnuchin told Bloomberg the administration's top priority for next year is fixing 2017's tax overhaul. And as for the mysterious tax cut, well, Mnuchin said he was "not going to comment on whether it is a real thing or not a real thing."

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed last December and lauded in a documentary series from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) released Tuesday. But its final form largely neglected promised tax cuts for the middle class, instead largely benefiting high-income Americans while raising the federal deficit by an projected $1.4 trillion in 10 years. Mnuchin didn't mention those issues when talking to Bloomberg, but said the administration will issue "some minor technical corrections" in early 2019.

Flash forward to October, just weeks before the midterms, and Trump again starts mentioning "a major tax cut for middle-income people." Mnuchin also affirmed he and House Republicans were working on a new tax plan to be released "shortly," Bloomberg says. Republicans, meanwhile, didn't know what Trump and Mnuchin were talking about.

When Bloomberg asked about that October hint on Tuesday, Mnuchin simply said "we have other things we're focused on." Which seems to be a fancy way of saying it's very, very far on the back burner. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:43 p.m.

Even Sen. Sherrod Brown's (D-Ohio) barber thinks he's running.

The Ohio senator is known for easily hanging onto his Senate seat despite his state going nearly all red in the most recent midterm elections. He's also known for his uncombed curls, recently trimmed short by Ohio barber Carlo Sarti, Cleveland.com reports.

After the Democrat secured an easy victory in a now-red state last month, some suggested he'd be the ideal choice to take on President Trump in 2020. Brown seemed to hear them, and revealed he was "seriously" considering a run just days after the midterms. Brown soon debuted a shorter, less messy hairstyle, leading some — including Sarti — to say he looks like he's leaning toward a run.

Not necessarily, Brown's wife Connie Schultz soon said. Brown was just too busy for weekly haircuts, so he had Sarti cut it shorter, the Pulitzer-winning journalist tweeted. Sarti, though, told Cleveland.com that Brown "looks more like a candidate for president" after the trim. He also has a sense of Brown's bipartisan popularity: Sarti doesn't talk politics with customers, but "most of 'em" like Brown, he said. And regardless of how customers feel politically, they're excited when they see Brown in the shop, Sarti added.

Brown still hasn't confirmed if he'll seek the Democratic nomination, but rest assured, his haircuts at Carlo's cost far less than $400. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:27 p.m.

Saturn's iconic rings will one day be no more. The ring formation around the sixth planet from the sun is experiencing "ring drain," says James O'Donoghue of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The planet's magnetic field is causing the rings to be pulled inward by gravity, creating a dusty rain of ice particles. Every half hour, enough water is drained from the rings to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, O'Donoghue said in a NASA press release.

This revelation, along with information from Cassini spacecraft research, led scientists to estimate that the rings will cease to exist in fewer than 100 million years — a short time relative to Saturn's 4-billion-year existence, O'Donoghue says.

Saturn's rings are made of chunks of water ice varying in size — some are microscopic while others are several yards wide. The particles are balanced between Saturn's gravity and their orbital velocity, creating rings, per NASA.

But scientists aren't sure whether Saturn has always had rings. New research supports the idea that they formed later in the planet's existence and are unlikely to be more than 100 million years old. If this is the case, the rings may have formed when the gravitational pull from a comet or asteroid caused small, icy moons that were orbiting the planet to collide, says NASA.

O'Donoghue notes that humans are lucky to be around during the lifetime of Saturn's ring system, but that, if rings are temporary, we may have missed out on seeing the beauty of ring formations around Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, too. Taylor Watson

3:49 p.m.

Something's brewing over at Netflix and it's because of one special witch.

Following the release of A Midwinter’s Tale, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina holiday episode that dropped on the streaming service last week, Netflix announced on Tuesday that the series will be renewed for another season. It has ordered 16 episodes of the show, which will be split into two parts, reports Variety. Production is set to begin in 2019.

The highly anticipated series premiered in October, just in time for Halloween. The dark take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch of the Archie Comics and the 1990s sitcom was so well received that Netflix extended it after initially ordering 20 episodes of the show. It currently has a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling it "bewitchingly beautiful."

Throughout the series Sabrina, who is played by Kiernan Shipka, struggles with her dual identity as both a mortal and a witch as she tries to keep her two worlds intact. The chief creative officer of Archie Comics and Chilling Adventures showrunner, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is excited to continue developing the strange town of Greendale and its inhabitants. "Praise Satan! I'm so grateful to my partners at Warner Brothers, Netflix, Berlanti Television, and Archie Productions for supporting this darker vision of the world’s most famous teen witch," said Aguirre-Sacasa in a statement.

Season 2 is bound to bring lots of surprises as Sabrina travels deeper down the path of Night. The next installment of Season 1 will premiere on April 5, 2019. Watch the full teaser below. Amari Pollard

3:25 p.m.

A New York state senator apologized Tuesday afternoon after publicly telling a Republican aide to kill herself.

Candice Giove, the deputy communications director for the New York state Senate's Republican majority, on Twitter accused Democratic State Senator Kevin Parker of misusing a parking placard and blocking a bike lane. In response, Parker simply wrote back, "Kill yourself!" Giove, naturally, was shocked, asking, "Did a Senator just write this to me?"

Parker has since deleted the original tweet and apologized, writing Tuesday afternoon, "I sincerely apologize. I used a poor choice of words. Suicide is a serious thing and and [sic] should not be made light of." But even after this apology, Parker continued to attack Giove, going after her in two tweets in which he said that she is "on the wrong side of history for every important issue facing New York State!"

He didn't stop there. In an interview with The New York Daily News conducted after his apology was issued, Parker said Giove is just an "internet troll" and "to call her anything more is fake news." He added that she "continues to represent the forces of evil," while simply conceding that by telling her to kill herself, he "probably used the wrong words." Brendan Morrow

3:07 p.m.

Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall has died at 75, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The actress played Laverne DeFazio on the Happy Days spinoff before going on to direct A League of Their Own and Big. Her family says she died "peacefully on Monday night in her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes," per the Times.

Marshall kicked off her career with guest starring roles on The Odd Couple, which her brother Garry Marshall executive produced, and other comedies. After starring on Laverne & Shirley alongside Cindy Williams, she occasionally made cameo spots and took other guest roles on TV. Most of her attention went to directing, becoming the second woman ever to direct an Best Picture nominee with Awakenings. Big was the first film directed by a woman to make more than $100 million in the U.S. box office, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Marshall also loved sports, especially the Los Angeles Lakers, the Times details. A League of Their Own was about a professional women's baseball team, and her most recent project was a still-forthcoming documentary about NBA star Dennis Rodman. Following the news of Marshall's death, friends and admirers tweeted their appreciation and memories. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:59 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders still thinks former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was "ambushed" by the FBI.

Sanders during the White House press briefing on Tuesday was asked if she would like to walk back her comments earlier in the day suggesting the FBI behaved inappropriately when interviewing Flynn. Hours after Sanders claimed Flynn was "ambushed" by an improper FBI interview, Flynn himself declined to withdraw his guilty plea, telling a judge the FBI did not entrap him and that he was aware that lying to the FBI was a crime when he spoke with federal agents. He accepted responsibility for doing so in court, reports CNN.

In spite of all this, Sanders offered no such walk back, saying that "we still firmly believe" that Flynn was ambushed, also saying that the FBI "broke standard protocol" in the way that they interviewed Flynn. In making this argument, she cited former FBI Director James Comey, even though Comey said Monday that he's "very proud of the way the FBI conducted itself," per CNN.

Sanders declined to go into more detail but said of Flynn, "Maybe he did do those things, but it had nothing to do with the president." She additionally said that it's "perfectly acceptable" for Trump to make positive comments about someone who a judge on Tuesday said committed a "very serious" crime. Brendan Morrow

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