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November 7, 2018

"What a strange couple of centuries the last two years have been," Stephen Colbert said to kick off Tuesday's live Election Night Late Show. The cold open was taped before the election, but "one thing I know for sure: Whichever side won today, the good news is Americans are all in this together," Colbert said. "The bad news is, same as the good news." That was the theme of the song he performed, with props.

On Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel asked Sacha Baron Cohen to resurrect one of his characters, Borat, to meddle in the election, since Russia is being heavily scrutinized and few Americans can even find Kazakhstan on a map. The result is very Borat.

At The Daily Show, Trevor Noah made of fun of victorious New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and handed the show to Ronny Chieng, who mocked the serious network and cable-news election analysts with their fancy big screens and granular analyses, and then threw to Dulce Sloan and Jaboukie Young-White, who gave their electoral analysis at the same time. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:23 p.m.

Could House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) actually be in danger of losing her bid to become House speaker?

That possibility became a bit more real on Monday when 16 Democrats released a letter formally saying they would not vote for Pelosi. While these Democrats say in their letter they are "thankful to Leader Pelosi for her years of service," they say they are "committed to voting for new leadership," arguing that "Democrats ran and won on a message of change," The Washington Post reports. The letter is signed by 11 current members of Congress and five members elect, although two of them haven't won their races yet, and one of them, Ben McAdams, is currently losing to his Republican opponent, Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah).

Assuming Democrats end up with 233 seats in the House as expected, Pelosi could afford to lose 15 Democratic votes, as she needs a total of 218 to become speaker. There are some additional Democrats who haven't signed the letter but may vote against Pelosi, HuffPost reports. But if McAdams loses his race, and no one else votes against Pelosi other than the Democrats who signed this letter, she would win.

At the moment, there isn't currently a formal challenger to Pelosi, although Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) is considering it. Fudge did not sign the letter. Read more at The Washington Post. Brendan Morrow

2:23 p.m.

The Republican Party is officially backing up President Trump's Sunday criticism of a retired Navy admiral — and abandoning a central tenet of its platform in the process.

In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace that aired Sunday, Trump declared Adm. William McRaven's mission to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden should've happened "a lot sooner." He also called the former Navy SEAL commander a "Hillary Clinton fan." And after Trump repeated his charge in a Monday tweet, the Republican Party stepped in to share some facts about McRaven it felt were "worth noting."

McRaven did author a Washington Post op-ed challenging Trump to revoke his security clearance in defense of former CIA Director John Brennan. But what his dislike for Trump has to do with killing the man largely responsible for 9/11 is unclear.

Robert O'Neill, the man who actually shot bin Laden and has since not been shy about his conservative views, has a different message. After tweeting yesterday that "McRaven was born to lead this mission," he affirmed Monday that "the mission to get bin Laden was bipartisan." Kathryn Krawczyk

12:58 p.m.

Two turkeys will step up to President Trump's chopping block this Tuesday. Only one will survive.

The White House's two candidates for a traditional Thanksgiving presidential pardon arrived at the White House on Monday. They are five months old and adorably named Peas and Carrots. They have detailed life stories and aspirations. "And you get to decide which turkey [Trump] pardons," the White House website ominously states.

Will you end Peas' life, in which his greatest joy has been watching planes with the hope of learning to fly?

Or will you opt to squelch Carrots' "strong and confident" gobble before he reaches his goal of meeting the Virginia Tech HokieBird?

The choice is yours. But fear not, anyone with a soul. The White House website mentions "the turkeys" — plural — "will make the journey to Virginia Tech's 'Gobblers Rest' exhibit" and hang out for the rest of their predictably short lives. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:56 p.m.

It seems no one's more upset about George R.R. Martin's inability to finish the next Game of Thrones book than George R.R. Martin himself.

While promoting a new book that he actually has completed, Fire and Blood, Martin told Entertainment Weekly that getting the history of House Targaryen done was "emotionally a big lift" for him. After all, he said, he's "mad" about the fact that he's still toiling away on The Winds of Winter.

"I've had dark nights of the soul where I've pounded my head against the keyboard and said, 'God, will I ever finish this?'" he said. "The show is going further and further forward and I’m falling further and further behind. What the hell is happening here? I've got to do this.'"

After initially starting as an adaptation of published material, the past two seasons of Game of Thrones have covered events beyond Martin's existing books, the last of which came out in 2011. Considering Martin plans for his series to consist of at least two more books, the ship has sailed on him finishing it before HBO, meaning he won't be the one to bring the ending he has been planning for decades to life.

Martin sounds motivated to get the material done to the point that The Wall Street Journal reports he is "in hiding" and doing his writing at an undisclosed "remote mountain hideaway." But he also recently told The Guardian that he is "struggling" with the book and that writing it is "very, very challenging," leaving fans fearful that winter may never come again. Brendan Morrow

12:03 p.m.

President Trump is sure he beat out every branch of U.S. intelligence in figuring out Osama bin Laden wasn't such a great guy. He most certainly did not.

In a Monday tweet, Trump doubled down on his Sunday insistence that the Navy SEAL who commanded the bin Laden raid should've tracked the former al Qaeda leader down "a lot sooner." After all, Trump said Monday he "pointed [bin Laden] out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center."

It's true, Trump did give bin Laden a brief mention in "The America We Deserve," published in 2000. In fact, he suggested bin Laden was just "a shadowy figure with no fixed address" and not America's "public enemy No. 1."

Just as Trump mentioned in his book, American warplanes had already taken aim at bin Laden because he'd been indicted for bombing U.S. embassies in 1998, per The Washington Post. CNN also reported in 1999 that U.S. officials feared bin Laden was planning a terrorist attack.

Still, Trump's Monday comments reflect a claim he'd made throughout the 2016 campaign: that America should've found bin Laden before 9/11, and if he'd been in charge, it would've. Trump failed to concede that perhaps bin Laden's lack of a fixed address complicated things. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:49 a.m.

Some Senate Democrats are taking their grievances with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker's appointment to court.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) are filing a lawsuit against Whitaker and President Trump in U.S. District Court, The Daily Beast reported Monday. Their argument is that Trump violated the Appointments Clause of the Constitution when he named Whitaker the acting attorney general since he was not confirmed by the Senate. Prior to his appointment, Whitaker was former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, a job that didn't require Senate confirmation.

The constitutionality of Whitaker's appointment has been the subject of debate for this reason. Last week, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel argued in a memo that Whitaker's appointment was constitutional and that while "presidents often choose acting principal officers from among Senate-confirmed officers ... the Constitution does not mandate that choice."

This is not the first legal challenge Whitaker has faced, as the state of Maryland is also battling the appointment in court, arguing that Trump is trying to "bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office." Trump has defended Whitaker's appointment by saying that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was not Senate-confirmed either, although this was not a requirement. Brendan Morrow

11:23 a.m.

The White House Correspondents' Dinner will be dropping the jokes in favor of a history lesson next year.

The White House Correspondents Association, which puts on the yearly event, announced Monday that the featured speaker for 2019's dinner will be Ron Chernow, a historian who has written a number of popular biographies including the one on Alexander Hamilton that inspired the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Chernow will speak in lieu of a comedian, which is the usual featured guest. "While I have never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, I promise that my history lesson won't be dry," Chernow said in a statement. Chernow will "make the case for the First Amendment" in his speech, the WHCA says.

This year's featured speaker at the White House Correspondents' Dinner was comedian Michelle Wolf, whose jokes about the Trump administration drew some criticism. Trump had declined to attend the dinner for the second year in a row, making him the first president in decades not to show up. After the event earlier this year, WHCA President Olivier Knox told The New York Times he was looking at ways to improve the dinner, including possibly inviting a serious speaker. Knox told CNN that he's been hoping for changes to the format for a long time, though, saying it should be "focused on journalists and the work of good reporters." In other words, he said, "the dinner should be 'boring.'" Brendan Morrow

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