November 12, 2018

Over the weekend, President Trump told advisers he wants Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out as soon as possible, five current and former White House officials told The Washington Post on Monday.

He has complained about her for months and does not think she is doing a good enough job securing the borders, the officials said. Trump and Nielsen were supposed to visit troops stationed at the border in South Texas this week, but Trump canceled the trip.

People close to Nielsen said Trump gets frustrated when she tries to tell him about immigration laws and regulations, and he has berated her during Cabinet meetings. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who preceded Nielsen as DHS secretary, is Nielsen's biggest defender in the administration, and he's reportedly trying to either avert her dismissal or postpone it. Officials told the Post that Kelly's word doesn't mean much, because his future at the White House is also uncertain.

Trump has told White House aides that potential replacements for Nielsen include Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or David Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, the Post reports. Catherine Garcia

5:24 p.m.

Israel on Wednesday became the first country to officially warn its citizens to avoid any international travel amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

Several airlines have canceled flights to China, where the respiratory virus originated, and governments have issued warnings about travel to certain countries, but no country has actively urged their citizens avoid traveling abroad at large until now. "If you don't genuinely have to fly — don't do so," Israel's health ministry said in a statement.

Although the majority of cases remain in China, the virus has spread to several other countries. In response to criticism that the country was stoking panic and could cause both economic and diplomatic damage, the health ministry said they'd rather deal with the inconveniences now than be sorry later, The Times of Israel reports.

The only confirmed Israeli cases so far involve people who were on a cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan, although South Korea — which is experiencing one of the larger outbreaks beyond China — reportedly informed Israel over the weekend that a members from a group of pilgrims returned to South Korea from Israel and tested positive for the disease. Read more at The Times of Israel. Tim O'Donnell

4:58 p.m.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the award-winning Directer of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has worked in the public health sector since 1995. But, for some people apparently, her accomplishments and experience pale in comparison to the fact she's the sister of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Messonnier reportedly angered President Trump on Tuesday when she said it's not a question of if, but when and how fiercely, the coronavirus will hit the United States. "She never should have said that," a senior administration official told CNBC. "It's bad."

But some of President Trump's supporters, like conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, have taken things a step further. Limbaugh, who has said the coronavirus is nothing more than the common cold and a scare tactic meant to send the stock market into a frenzy and weaken Trump in the process, doubled down on his conspiracy theory Wednesday by tying Messonnier to her brother, who is, to put it gently, not viewed favorably by Trump and his allies thanks to his role overseeing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference.

Limbaugh baselessly suggested Messonnier was part of the deep state perpetuating the lie about the coronavirus to bring down Trump.

Perhaps not shockingly, others have followed suit. Tim O'Donnell

4:47 p.m.

In today's edition of this is why we can't have nice things, the Federal Communications Commission reported Wednesday that it received a whopping 1,312 complaints over Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's halftime show at the Super Bowl earlier this month, per Fox Business.

The performance — which paid homage to the women's Latina roots — was described as "completely inappropriate," "obscene," and a "strip club act" by irate viewers, with objections arriving from every state except Vermont.

The most baffling news of all, though, was that somehow only around 50 people filed complains when Maroon 5's frontman, Adam Levine, performed topless at Super Bowl LIII in 2019 and subjected all of us to his unfortunate tattoo collection. Jeva Lange

4:44 p.m.

No Time to Die should have been called No Time for a Bathroom Break, because rumor has it the film is going to be the longest James Bond movie ever made.

According to unofficial run times posted on AMC and Regal Cinemas' websites, Daniel Craig's fifth and final installment in the 007 franchise will take 163 minutes, or nearly three hours, to watch, reports Esquire.

If that turns out to be the case, it would make No Time to Die an entire quarter of an hour longer than the next-longest Bond movie, Spectre, and almost a full hour longer than the shortest (but still also somehow the longest?) Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. Jeva Lange

4:22 p.m.

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg twice compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme when he was in office, CNN reports, which is a far cry from his current stance as a Democratic presidential candidate.

Nowadays, Bloomberg has vowed to to strengthen entitlement programs, but he used to see them as a major hurdle in the effort to shrink the United States' deficit. During appearances on his old radio program "Live from City Hall," which were reviewed by CNN's KFile, Bloomberg made the Ponzi scheme comparison once in 2006 and again in 2009. The latter instance was in relation to Bernie Madoff, who was arrested in December 2008 and later pleaded guilty to a massive Ponzi scheme.

"I don't know if Bernie Madoff got his idea from there, but if there's ever a Ponzi Scheme, people say Madoff was the biggest? Wrong," Bloomberg said. "Social Security is, far and away."

Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Bloomberg, attempted to explain Bloomberg's comments to CNN. "The Social Security Administration itself gives out detailed actuarial tables on when and how payments will exceed income, and the issue needs attention because we're running the cushion between them down," he said. "Mike believes that between now and that time, we will need to boost receipts by raising contributions from those who can best afford it, which is what he'll do as president." Read more at CNN. Tim O'Donnell

4:03 p.m.

Heading into the 2020 presidential election, immigrants make up more of the voting population than ever before.

Immigrants account for roughly 10 percent of the electorate — 23 million eligible voters — marking a record high and nearly doubling that of 2000, according to analysis by Pew Research Center.

The number of eligible voters who are immigrants has increased more rapidly than that of the U.S.-born population over the last two decades due to both the increase in the number of immigrants living in the U.S., and an increase in naturalization. Forty-six percent of U.S. immigrants who are eligible to vote live in states with Democratic primaries or caucuses on or before Super Tuesday.

Hispanic and Asian immigrants make up the majority of eligible immigrant voters and see higher voter turnout rates than that of U.S.-born Hispanic and Asian people. Immigrants from Mexico are the largest group, accounting for 16 percent of foreign-born voters.

Immigrant voters include those born outside of the U.S. who are at least 18 and gained U.S. citizenship. The findings were pulled from Census Bureau data. Read more at Pew Research Center. Taylor Watson

3:36 p.m.

President Trump loves to threaten lawsuits against the media, but it looks like he's now actually filing one.

The Trump campaign announced Wednesday it's suing The New York Times for libel over a 2019 opinion column, "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo" by Max Frankel. In the op-ed, Frankel writes "there was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin's oligarchy because they had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration's burdensome economic sanctions."

The campaign's legal adviser claims these statements were "100 percent false and defamatory" and the Times "was aware of the falsity at the time it published them." Axios notes that to win this lawsuit, the campaign would need to prove the Times acted with "actual malice," which is usually a "high bar" to clear. As CNBC's Christina Wilkie wrote, the "suit claims the Times must've known the *March 2019* op-ed was false because of what was in the *April 2019* Mueller report."

The Times said Wednesday the Trump campaign has "turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable." But "fortunately," the Times added, "the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance."

Trump has long threatened to sue media organizations for coverage he dislikes, but he generally hasn't ended up following through. As for why, The Washington Post explained in 2018 when Trump threatened to sue the Times over a story about his taxes that "he would be required as part of the discovery process to provide private financial documents that he has long resisted making public."

This is something pundits noted on Wednesday, with The Daily Beast's Harry Siegel tweeting, "The Times has to be licking its lips thinking about discovery here if the suit gets that far." Brendan Morrow

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