November 13, 2018

On Tuesday, President Trump hosted a celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights and one of the religion's most popular annual festivals, at the White House. Diwali was actually a week earlier, Nov. 7, and in his tweet marking his belated celebration of the festival, Trump — or more likely, one of his staffers — explained that Diwali is "a holiday observed by Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the United States & around the world."

Diwali is not widely celebrated among Buddhists, and people noticed that he left out the Hindus.

Trump — who proclaimed during the 2016 election that "we love the Hindus!" — followed up with a tweet expressing his "great honor" at hosting a "celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights," calling the attendees of his celebration "very, very special people!"

Last year, Trump hosted an intimate Diwali celebration in the Oval Office, organized by major GOP fundraiser Shalabh "Shalli" Kumar, India Abroad reports. This year's Diwali celebration almost did not happen because the White House was busy with the midterm elections and, as one senior administration official told the publication, with "everything else that’s going on, organizing a Diwali event this year has not been something we've been thinking about." There has been a White House Diwali celebration every year since 2003. Peter Weber

6:35 a.m.

Former White House Counsel Don McGahn made it official: He will be a no-show at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, defying a subpoena and threats of enforcement from House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). In a letter to Nadler, McGahn's lawyer cites Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel's "detailed and persuasive" memo on why McGahn should say no, and the stated wishes of McGahn's "former client," President Trump.

There are other reasons that may be factoring in McGahn's decision, too. "If McGahn were to defy Trump and testify before Congress, it could endanger his own career in Republican politics and put his law firm, Jones Day, in the president’s crosshairs," The Washington Post notes. "Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with the firm, which is deeply intertwined in Washington with the GOP." In fact, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing itemized by ProPublica, the Republican National Committee's top expense in April was $2 million for "legal and compliance services" to Jones Day, out of $14.3 million total spending last month.

Trump's motives are more clear. "Trump has fumed about McGahn for months, after it became clear that much of Mueller’s report was based on his testimony," the Post reports. "The president has bashed his former White House counsel on Twitter and has insisted to advisers that the attorney not be allowed to humiliate him in front of Congress, much as his former personal legal fixer Michael Cohen did."

Previous administrations have also held that close presidential advisers like the White House counsel are immune from compelled congressional testimony about their White House work, though a federal judge disagreed in 2008, the Post reports, ruing that former White House Counsel Harriet Miers had to at least show up to congressional hearings. Peter Weber

5:37 a.m.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo was declared official winner of April's presidential election early Tuesday, beating former Gen. Prabowo Subianto, 55.5 percent to 45.5 percent. Subianto, an authoritarian nationalist who had aligned himself with Islamic hard-liners, refused to concede, telling reporters he will "continue to make legal efforts in line with the constitution to defend the mandate of the people and the constitutional rights that were seized." Independent observers said the election appeared free and fair.

Widodo also beat Subianto in the 2014 election, and Subianto lost his challenge of those results before Indonesia's Constitutional Court. About 32,000 security personnel were dispatched around Jakarta, the capital, on Tuesday in anticipation of protests from Subianto's supporters, and the Election Commission's headquarters was under heavy guard behind razor wire.

Widodo, a 57-year-old relative moderate from humble beginnings, was governor of Jakarta before winning his first five-year term. Subianto, 67, was formerly married to the daughter of longtime Indonesian dictator Suharto, and though he is closely linked to the country's traditional political elite, he ran as an outsider. Peter Weber

4:49 a.m.

"The biggest TV event of the weekend, of course, was all about the brutal struggle for power and warring houses — of course I'm talking about Pete Buttigieg on Fox News," Stephen Colbert joked on Monday's Late Show. "Mayor Pete sat down with Chris Wallace, and Wallace pressed him on how Buttigieg is going to respond to [President] Trump's attacks." The Late Show audience clapped, but Colbert himself was less impressed. "I'm so happy for you, Mayor Pete, that you don't have to care about Trump's tweets," he said, slow-clapping sideways. "Unlike you, some of us need to read them out loud every night just to feed our families."

Buttigieg was right about Trump's "grotesque" tweets, however, and he criticized Fox News hosts but not Fox News viewers, Colbert said. Still, one prominent Fox News viewer "rage-tweeted before the town hall even started." Colbert read Trump's tweets, presumably to feed his family. Trump appeared jealous at Wallace's praise of Buttigieg's "substance" and "biography," and Colbert responded in Trump voice: "Come on, Chris, anything Mayor Pete can do, I can do better. I can marry a guy. I'll marry two guys, then leave them both for a younger, hotter guy."

Colbert also hit on some good news: Billionaire Robert F. Smith's surprise offer to pay off the student debt of Morehouse College's graduating seniors. "Class of 2019, you just learned a valuable lesson: Sucks to be the Class of 2018," he said. "You know there's somebody in that crowd of graduates going, 'Aren't you happy it took me five years to graduate now, Dad?'" Less happy was Colbert: "As someone who frequently gets asked to give commencement speeches, I have just one thing to say to Robert F. Smith: What are you doing, man?" Watch below. Peter Weber

3:54 a.m.

The Game of Thrones series finale drew a record number of viewers to HBO on Sunday night, and not all of them left satisfied. On Monday night, the late-night shows bade farewell to the cultishly beloved drama in their own unique ways, some more elaborate than others. There are few, if any, spoilers.

At Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel showed a sneak peak of one of the secretive Game of Thrones spinoffs HBO is promising, this one starring Bob Saget and Dave Coulier in their Full House roles, with a twist.

The Late Show's Stephen Colbert imagined what other TV shows HBO might stick dragons in, and laid out the story arc of that errant plastic water bottle.

Colbert's Late Show started off with a little fan fiction about Jaime Lannister.

On Conan, a super fan dressed as a Game of Thrones character complained that the current season of Wahlburgers was terrible, and he made Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter act out a very GoT-y scene of his own fan fiction.

Trevor Noah noted at The Daily Show that some fans are taking the finale so hard, a website is "offering therapy sessions for people upset about the ending of Game of Thrones. And let me just say, people, if you need therapy because a TV show ended, your life is too good, okay? I'm just going to tell you straight, you don't need a therapist, you need some credit card debt and an STD."

"Watching Game of Thrones is kind of like running a marathon," James Corden mused at The Late Late Show. "Even if you chose not to take part, you're still forced to listen to people at work talk about it forever." He joked that sadly, millions or people are discovering their friendship was based only on a shared HBO password, and "now if you want to watch dozens of odd characters scheme for power, you'll need to start following the 2020 Democratic race." Peter Weber

2:33 a.m.

The Golden State Warriors eked out a 119-117 overtime win over Portland on Monday, sweeping the Trail Blazers 4 games to 0 in the NBA Western Conference finals. Monday's win sends the Warriors to their fifth consecutive NBA Finals. They have a week to rest before facing either the Toronto Raptors or the Milwaukee Bucks, and they hope to have one or both injured stars, Kevin Durant or Andre Iguodala, back in the game by then. The Bucks lead the Eastern Conference series 2-1, and Game 4 is Tuesday.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Draymond Green became the first teammates in NBA history to each get triple-doubles in a playoff game — Curry had 37 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists; Green, 18 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists. The Blazers were playing in their first conference finals since 2000. Peter Weber

1:37 a.m.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., handed House Democrats their first legal victory Monday in their fight to obtain President Trump's financial records, in this case from Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA. "It is simply not fathomable," Judge Amit Mehta wrote, "that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry." Mehta gave Trump a week to appeal, and Trump said he will do so.

The next legal battle involves a subpoena from the House Financial Services Committee for Trump's business and personal financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan is hearing Trump's motion to block that subpoena on Wednesday, and House lawyers quickly reminded Ramos that Mehta had just rejected "a substantially similar challenge by President Trump."

Ramos will be hearing Trump's request for a preliminary injunction, a step Mehta skipped, but Trump's basic legal argument is broadly similar in both cases: Congress is inappropriately investigating Trump's personal finances, without any legitimate legislative reason. If Ramos allows the subpoena, Trump's lawyers wrote last week, "nonstop investigations into the personal lives of presidents" will become "the new normal."

Trump refuses to release his tax returns, and his relationship with Deutsche Bank in has been a point of particular intrigue, most recently when The New York Times reported Sunday that Deutsche Bank money-laundering experts flagged several suspicious transactions from Trump-controlled accounts in 2016 and 2017, but executives in the private-banking division sat on the reports rather than passing them to government regulators. Peter Weber

1:37 a.m.

Céline Dion joined James Corden for a special, Las Vegas edition of "Carpool Karaoke," which involved much more than just singing.

Dion passed out pairs of her shoes to unsuspecting people on the sidewalk, discussed the pitfalls of fame, made some seriously great facial expressions, and with her rendition of "Baby Shark," proved that she can make any song dramatic.

Of course, no Céline Dion "Carpool Karaoke" can end without a taste of "My Heart Will Go On," and the pair hopped out of the car and into a boat waiting for them in front of the Fountains of Bellagio. As very confused tourists watched from the Las Vegas Strip, Dion and Corden channeled their inner Jack and Rose, even dropping a certain piece of jewelry into the water. Watch the video here. Catherine Garcia

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