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October 10, 2018

During a recent meeting, President Trump spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff about replacing his boss, several people with knowledge of the discussion told The Washington Post on Wednesday.

Trump met with the chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, after The New York Times reported last month that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire to monitor Trump; people close to Rosenstein said he was not being serious. The White House was interested in having Whitaker replace Rosenstein as acting deputy attorney general, and the conversation moved on to him taking over for Sessions, the Post reports. It wasn't clear if Trump wanted Whitaker to become the official nominee to replace Sessions, or if it would just be temporary. The plan was ultimately dropped, with Trump saying he does not want to remove Rosenstein.

Trump has wanted to get rid of Sessions ever since the attorney general recused himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, setting up the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump has dragged him publicly multiple times since, and recently announced, "I don't have an attorney general." Catherine Garcia

8:02 p.m.

It's not something you see every day, or year, or even decade: Snow in Los Angeles.

An exceptionally chilly storm system from Alberta, Canada, brought snow on Thursday to cities across Southern California, including Malibu, West Hollywood, Pasadena, San Bernardino, and Rancho Cucamonga. The snow level dropped to as low as 1,000 feet in some areas, with flakes falling in cities that haven't seen snow in several decades. "This is probably the coldest storm system I've seen in my time in California," meteorologist David Sweet with the National Weather Service in Oxnard told the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Public Library Archives says that it hasn't snowed in the city since January 1962, when snow dusted downtown L.A. Much of Thursday's snow melted as soon as it hit the ground, but it's definitely sticking up in the mountains across Southern California, which have already seen a lot of powder this winter. Catherine Garcia

6:54 p.m.

Peter Tork, bassist and keyboardist for The Monkees, died on Thursday. He was 77.

In 2009, Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his head and neck. Known for their hits "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer," The Monkees had four No. 1 albums and a television show that ran from 1966 to 1968. The group, comprised of Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith, released the movie Head in 1968, and later that year, Tork left the band. He participated in several reunion tours, both before and after Jones died in 2012. Tork's last solo record, "Relax Your Mind," came out in 2018.

Dolenz tweeted on Thursday that his heart is "broken," and Nesmith said he is "clinging to the idea that we all continue," but the "pain that attends these passings has no cure." Catherine Garcia

4:58 p.m.

Get ready to enter a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.

CBS on Thursday debuted the first full trailer for The Twilight Zone, the new reboot of the classic 1959 series. The trailer teases a variety of storylines that seem just in line with the original show, including one in which a character played by Kumail Nanjiani seems to notice things are subtly off about his universe, and one in which a kid, played by Jacob Tremblay, appears to be the president, similar to the classic devil child episode "It's a Good Life."

That's not the only tie-in to the original series in the trailer, though. An episode starring Adam Scott appears to be a riff on the classic William Shatner episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet," in which a man is terrorized by a monster on the wing of a plane. Scott's episode is called "Nightmare at 30,000 Feet," and he's shown freaking out on a plane, just like Shatner's character. A doll resembling the infamous monster on the wing from that episode is also shown washed up on the beach. At another point, we see the same fortune teller machine from another classic Shatner episode, "Nick of Time."

The Twilight Zone debuts on April 1 on CBS All Access. Watch the trailer below. Brendan Morrow

4:43 p.m.

North Carolina's elections board has called for a new congressional election to finally fill its 9th District seat.

Republican candidate Mark Harris narrowly beat Democrat Dan McCready in November's elections, but the board had refused to call the election amid widespread allegations of fraud committed by Harris' campaign. After a weeklong series of hearings on the issue — and after Harris called for a new election — the board decided Thursday to hold a do-over, per The Washington Post.

After November's elections, dozens of voters filed affidavits saying people came to their house and illegally asked for their absentee ballots, even if they weren't filled out, signed, or sealed. Witnesses have since testified to collecting those ballots after being paid by McCrae Dowless, a political operative who consulted for Harris.

The uncertainty prompted a series of hearings on the issue, during which state investigators and the board said they had "evidence" that proved "a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme operated during the general election," per NBC News. Harris has long denied knowledge of any illegal activities, and repeated that claim Thursday. Still, he called for a new election because "the public's confidence... has been undermined." Less than an hour later, the board voted to hold a new election, the Post says. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:36 p.m.

#RogerStoneDidNothingWrong will have to carry on without Roger Stone's help.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued a full gag order on Stone's case on Thursday, telling him she would revoke his bail and have him detained if he violated the order. Stone, President Trump's former adviser, appeared in court to apologize for sharing an inflammatory post about Jackson on Instagram.

He called the post "an egregious, stupid error" and blamed the decision on stress, but Jackson barred stone from publicly commenting on his case, "period."

"What concerns me is the fact that he chose to use his public platform and chose to express himself in a manner that can incite others that feel less constrained," said Jackson, per BuzzFeed News. She didn't buy his claim that he didn't realize the picture he shared contained a crosshairs next to her face, saying there was "nothing ambiguous" about the imagery. "Thank you, but the apology rings quite hollow," she said.

Jackson previously issued a partial gag order, telling Stone he couldn't comment on his case outside the Washington, D.C. courthouse but could gripe about his witness tampering and obstruction charges on InfoWars to his heart's content. On Thursday, she determined he needed a little more rigidity, condemning his quick "abuse" of the "liberty he was afforded."

He will be allowed to maintain his innocence, and can ask for donations to his legal fund, but that's it. "I'm not giving you another chance," Jackson told Stone. He'll remain out on bail, but as former U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance pointed out, "if you're Roger Stone, being told you can't talk to the media is probably a worse punishment than being sent to jail." Summer Meza

4:20 p.m.

The federal prosecutors who signed a plea agreement with Florida millionaire Jeffrey Epstein broke the law, a judge said Thursday, reports The Miami Herald.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that the prosecutors involved in the sex-trafficking case, including then-Florida prosecutor and current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act by not keeping Epstein's victims informed about the agreement, per Politico. After the deal, which resolved a case in which Epstein was accused of building a "cult-like network" of girls coerced into sexual acts, Epstein ultimately served 13 months in prison. The deal, which Acosta agreed to seal, was kept secret from dozens of women who alleged abuse.

“Particularly problematic was the government's decision to conceal the existence of the [agreement] and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility," the judge said. "When the government gives information to victims, it cannot be misleading. While the government spent untold hours negotiating the terms and implications of the [agreement] with Epstein's attorneys, scant information was shared with victims."

Marra also said he has reviewed evidence that Epstein violated sex trafficking laws and abused at least 30 girls between 1997 and 2007, per NBC News. "Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others," Marra said. The Labor Department did not comment on the ruling. Brendan Morrow

3:57 p.m.

President Trump's longtime confidante Roger Stone was arrested last month, quickly pleaded not guilty to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's charges, and was released on bail. But after sharing an inflammatory post about his case's judge, Amy Berman Jackson, on Monday, he landed back in court to explain just what happened — not that he explained anything at all. Here are 5 ways Stone skirted the issue on Thursday.

1. Used a hashtag. On his way to the courtroom, Stone, seemingly having learned nothing, shared an Instagram with a caption including #RogerStoneDidNothingWrong.

2. Blamed a volunteer. Stone says he has "five or six volunteers" who send him pictures and he decides what to post, per HuffPost. He couldn't name which volunteer sent it to him, or whether it was via text or email.

3. Called it a mistake. In fact, Stone said that a whole bunch of times.

4. Blamed "enormous pressure." "I'm having a hard time putting food on the table and making rent," Stone said, adding that "political commentators" are apparently saying he'll be "raped in prison," per NBC News.

5. Said he had no idea what crosshairs even are. The post featured Jackson's face next to a set of crosshairs, and Stone said Thursday he "researched" the symbol and found it was "Celtic." Jackson then asked if it was an "occult symbol," to which Stone said "I don't know, your honor, I'm not into the occult." That whole explanation, as you can see below, was easily debunked. Kathryn Krawczyk

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