October 12, 2018

President Trump is frustrated that his border crackdown has been curtailed, and is working on finding a way to legally separate migrant parents and children, The Washington Post reported Friday.

In an effort to dissuade migrant families from attempting to cross the border illegally, the White House is considering several different detention options. One possibility is that families seeking asylum will be detained together for up to 20 days, then will have to decide whether they want to stay in family detention or send the children to a government shelter.

Family detention would allow parents to stay with their children, but they could be detained for months or years as they get through the lengthy legal immigration process. On the other hand, allowing children to be taken into a shelter would mean other family members or guardians in the U.S. could take them into custody.

The consideration is a response to the fierce backlash to the administration's "zero tolerance" policy on immigration. Starting in May, thousands of migrant children were separated from their families to be detained separately as their parents were prosecuted. Trump signed an executive order ending the practice, but Vox reports that various loopholes have continued to separate families even as the administration works to comply with a court order to reunite all migrant family units.

White House adviser Stephen Miller, who has been at the front of the administration's hardline immigration policies, has reportedly been pushing to create a new policy. He reportedly felt that the practice was an effective deterrent against illegal immigration. Miller is apparently determined to reinstate the separations, no matter how bad "optics" may be. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza

9:38 a.m.

Weeks ahead of the 2020 Oscars, the Best Picture race already seems to be over. But is it, really?

After a big win at the Golden Globes, 1917 this past weekend cemented its status as Oscar frontrunner by taking the top prize at the Producers Guild of America Awards, one of the most reliable Best Picture bellwethers. The PGA winner has lined up with Best Picture at the Oscars about 70 percent of the time, IndieWire notes.

Just as important as what won at the PGA Awards was what lost, though: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which was thought of as the Best Picture frontrunner weeks ago. But Quentin Tarantino's film has been taking hit after hit, especially after not earning an editing nomination at the Oscars; it's rare for a film to take Best Picture without a nomination in this category.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood after losing at the PGA Awards also didn't win the top prize of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, despite a star-studded cast that many thought would provide it an easy victory. Instead, SAG chose a dark horse: Parasite. With this win, Parasite surges into a strong second place in the Best Picture competition behind 1917, and The New York Times argues it's now a two-way race between these films. Working against Parasite is the fact that no foreign-language film has ever won Best Picture, though that was also true at the SAG Awards until this year.

All eyes now turn to the Directors Guild of America Awards and the BAFTAs, where Once Upon a Time in Hollywood could regain momentum, Parasite could prove to be an even bigger threat, or 1917 could continue its domination. For now, the consensus is that Best Picture is 1917's to lose after its back-to-back Golden Globes and PGA victories. But Parasite is quite well positioned for a history-making upset. Brendan Morrow

9:29 a.m.

No, this isn't the leaked plot for the next James Bond movie.

Back in August, Swiss police uncovered what appears to be a Russian attempt to secretly surveil the World Economic Forum happening this week, Zürich’s Tages-Anzeiger newspaper first reported. In what sounds like a ridiculous whodunnit, a pair of Russian spies posed as plumbers and stayed in the Swiss resort of Davos for an "unusually long" time before their alleged intentions were discovered, the Graubünden police department confirmed to the Financial Times.

The two men had been staying in Davos for an unspecified amount of time before Swiss police were "alerted to their unusually long stay in the high-end resort," the Financial Times writes. The men then "claimed diplomatic protections, but had not been registered as official diplomats with Bern," the Financial Times continues. And while there was no indication the men had committed any crimes, "police and Swiss federal officials suspected the pair of being Russian intelligence agents, posing as tradesmen in order to install surveillance equipment at key facilities around the town" in anticipation of this week's WEF.

It's unclear just what Russia would've learned from the WEF, which is packed with events that eventually get reported to the public. But "the gathering is nevertheless a rare concentration of global power and influence that is tempting to spymasters," including visits from President Trump and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Financial Times says. Read more at the Financial Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

8:53 a.m.

Ready for a return to the 2016 Democratic primary?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is bringing it back by blasting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the upcoming documentary series Hillary. A new piece in The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Clinton goes after Sanders in the documentary, saying, "He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it."

Clinton, asked by the Reporter if this assessment of Sanders still holds, simply responded, "Yes, it does." She declines to say whether she'll endorse Sanders if he wins the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 while criticizing "the culture around him."

"It's his leadership team," she tells the Reporter. "It's his prominent supporters. It's his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it."

Asked about the recent allegation from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that Sanders told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman couldn't be elected president in 2020, which Sanders denies, Clinton called this "part of a pattern."

"If it were a one-off, you might say, 'OK, fine,'" Clinton said. "But he said I was unqualified. I had a lot more experience than he did, and got a lot more done than he had, but that was his attack on me."

Read the full interview with Clinton sure to generate tons of discussion at The Hollywood Reporter. Hillary will begin streaming on Hulu on March 6. Brendan Morrow

8:02 a.m.

Greta Thunberg returned to the World Economic Forum a year after famously observing that "our house is on fire" with a familiar warning.

The Swedish climate activist spoke Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, returning to the event after saying in a 2019 speech there that "our house is on fire." Opening a panel called "How to Save the Planet: Averting a Climate Catastrophe," Thunberg recalled her speech a year ago while advocating for "radical emission cuts at the source, starting today."

"From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left as well as the center have all failed," Thunberg said. "No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, that world is currently on fire."

Thunberg went on to blast what she referred to as being "worse than silence" from leaders: "empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken." She also asked leaders at the forum "what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing the climate chaos you knowingly brought upon them?"

She concluded by echoing her previous warning, saying, "Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. We are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else."

Thunberg spoke after an address from President Trump, who said "we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse." Brendan Morrow

6:55 a.m.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton has said he is willing to testify at President Trump's Senate impeachment trial, and "Trump's legal defense team and Senate GOP allies are quietly gaming out contingency plans" to make sure that doesn't happen, The Washington Post reports.

Under rules proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate won't vote on whether to allow testimony from new witnesses or other new evidence until after House impeachment managers and Trump's team lay out their arguments and senators ask questions, and four Republicans would have to join all 47 Democrats to approve witnesses. If 51 senators allow subpoenaing witnesses, "McConnell is expected to ensure that those individuals are questioned in a closed-door session rather than a public setting," the Post reports, and Bolton's deposition could be moved to "a classified setting because of national security concerns, ensuring that it is not public."

"But that proposal, discussed among some Senate Republicans in recent days, is seen as a final tool against Bolton becoming an explosive figure in the trial," the Post reports. "First, Republicans involved in the discussions said, would come a fierce battle in the courts," with Trump invoking executive privilege to keep Bolton from talking then asking the courts for an injunction if Bolton "refuses to go along with their instructions."

Republicans are also warning Democrats that if they win on Bolton's testimony, Trump's team will subpoena Hunter Biden — though Senate Democrats seem pretty comfortable with that trade, or perhaps calling that bluff. Nobody's sure if Bolton would help or hurt Trump, but Republicans are not eager to find out. At the same time, a CNN-SSRS poll released Monday found that 59 percent of American adults and a 48 percent plurality of Republicans want the Senate trial to include testimony from witnesses not interviewed by the House. Peter Weber

5:37 a.m.

"Three years ago today, this country took on an extraordinary challenge, and that challenge was to answer the question: Can democracy survive the worst person on Earth?" Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, celebrating the third anniversary of President Trump's inauguration. "And so far, the answer is: Barely."

"The moment Donald Trump put his hand on the Bible and swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, that was his first official lie as president," Kimmel said. "And he just kept going from there. According to The Washington Post, since taking office, Trump has racked up more than 16,000 false or misleading claims," including an average of 22 a day in 2019. To put that in perspective, he said, Trump's 16,241 documented falsehoods are "more than 7,000 more lies than there are visible stars in the night sky," or a pancake stack as high as the Empire State Building.

"It's three years of Donald Trump, which is a lot — it's too much, really," Kimmel said. "So much has transpired over the last 1,000-plus days, and tonight we decided to pay tribute to remember the highlights of these three years under our president, Donald Trump." Needless to say, these are not the clips Trump's campaign will use in his re-election ads or convention highlight reel.

The Daily Show also took a look back at Trump's three years in office, but with more of a toddler-in-chief vibe — and a snappier soundtrack. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:51 a.m.

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer most famous for representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her case against President Trump, was arrested in California last week and transferred over the weekend to New York's federal Manhattan Correctional Center to face charges of extortion and embezzlement, his lawyers told a federal court on Monday. In fact, lawyer Scott Srebnick wrote, Avenatti is being housed, for reasons that are unclear, in the MCC's "Special Housing Unit on the notorious 10-South," the "most secure secure floor in the entire facility," in "a cell reportedly once occupied by El Chapo, on a floor that houses individuals charged with terrorism offenses."

Not only is Avenatti being held in the freezing cell that once housed notorious Mexican drug trafficker and escape artist Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Srebnick said, but he's on 24-hour solitary confinement with a guard and two cameras keeping watch on him from outside his cell 24 hours a day. MCC appears to have learned from the suicide of another recent inmate, Jeffrey Epstein, as Srebnick alludes to in his filing.

Srebnick asked for the court's help in finding out why Avenatti is under such strict lockdown and in getting him moved to regular incarceration amid the general population of MCC, saying the current conditions are hindering Avenatti's participation in his defense case. Peter Weber

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