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December 11, 2018

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 87 to 13 to approve a farm bill that will cost $867 billion over 10 years, legalize the production of hemp, expands farm subsidies to the extended family of farmers, permanently funds farmers markets and farmer-training programs, and doesn't add work requirements to receive food stamps, as House Republicans had wanted. The bill has the backing of President Trump, and it's expected to pass the House in the next week. The legislation will give a boost to farmers harmed by Trump's trade wars, especially with China.

Some Senate Republicans opposed the farm bill because of the extension of some agriculture subsidies to the nieces, nephews, and cousins of farmers, even those who don't work directly on the farm. House Republicans championed this measure, arguing it would encourage more people to become involved in farming. Peter Weber

6:38 a.m.

Canadian politics has been roiled by a photo that has emerged of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "wearing brownface at a party," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "This is pretty bad, and I just want to say ... it's not us this time! Suck it, Canada!"

"There are so many problems with this photo," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "First of all, it's obviously never okay to do blackface, and secondly, if you are going to darken your skin, at least get the color right, okay? Trudeau isn't dressed like Aladdin, he's dressed as Aladdin doing blackface. ... And also, Trudeau didn't even need the brownface to make the costume work. He's in a full Aladdin outfit at an Arabian Nights–themed party!"

When Time published the photo, "Trudeau hopped on his magic carpet and flew straight to a press conference to apologize," Noah said. And how did that go? "This is not good, man," he said, laughing. "Trudeau came out to apologize for one blackface and ended up admitting to more. He's like, 'I did brownface for Aladdin and I did blackface when I sang the song 'Day-O.' And now, if you'll excuse me, daylight's coming and me wanna go home.'"

"Look, two instances of blackface would be bad enough," Noah said, but "apparently Trudeau has been going full-body," too. "This guy's committed," he said, but "with the Canadian election just one month away, many are wondering if this blackface scandal is gonna hurt Trudeau's chances of being re-elected. And to be honest, I'm just sad to see another black man being brought down." Trudeau is hardly alone, though, and Noah had some suggestions on how to beat the blackface epidemic. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:19 a.m.

Millions of protesters around the world are expected to participate in Friday's "global climate strike," a series of rallies urging governments to back measures to combat climate change ahead of a United Nations summit in New York. Large crowds turned out in Australia to kick off the day of youth-led protests, inspired in part by the "Fridays for Future" demonstrations by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. The estimated 300,000 protesters at 100 rallies in Australia — including 100,000 in Melbourne and 80,000 in Sydney — would make it the biggest protest in Australia since the Iraq War in 2003.

More than 800 events are planned around the U.S., and Europe and Asia are expecting hundreds more. Peter Weber

1:55 a.m.

Carson King thought the funny sign he made for the Iowa State and University of Iowa football game over the weekend might help him make some beer money, never dreaming that he would eventually accrue $100,000.

King, 24, ended up standing behind a commentator for ESPN's College GameDay, holding his sign that read "Busch Light supply needs replenished." Underneath his message, King added his Venmo name, and within an hour, he had $400 in donations from people who saw him on camera. By the time he had $600, King's thoughts turned to something other than beer, and he decided he would donate the money to charity.

After discussing the matter with family and friends, King decided to use a few dollars to buy a case of Busch Light, with the rest of the money going directly to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. "They do so much," he told Today. "It's incredible." Word spread, and as donations continued to come in, Busch and Venmo both told King they'd like to match all the money he raises. As of Thursday, that's a hefty $100,000. King will keep the fundraiser going until Sept. 30, and is appreciative of all the donations he's received so far, from 25 cents to $300. "Anything is incredible," he said. Catherine Garcia

1:19 a.m.

"Remember a couple of years ago, when [President] Trump first got into office, we were all so nervous that Donald Trump was some sort of sleeper agent who was going to sell America out to a foreign power behind our backs?" Stephen Colbert asked on Thursday's Late Show. "Well, it's Throwback Thursday!" He ran through the outline of the whistleblower complaint that over the summer, Trump made a very troubling "promise" to an unknown "foreign leader." Colbert saw the silver lining: "Thank God Trump never keeps his promises."

"Trump denies he did anything wrong," Colbert said, reading the tweet. "Very good point: What kind of moron would think you would make an inappropriate offer to a foreign country while you were being recorded?" He let Trump answer that, then played a game to try and figure out what Trump promised to which leader. But it turns out, according to The New York Times, that the complaint actually involves a "series of actions" Trump took. "Oh, a series?" Colbert said. "Great. Now we can binge-watch the end of America."

This story is "stunning," Late Night's Seth Meyers said. "Now, we don't know which foreign leader this is, and this is a complicated story, so just to help you follow along, we put together a helpful little mnemonic device. Remember: It's a [P]romise from the [U]nited States made by [T]rump to an [I]nternational leader, but we do not know their [N]ame. Could be anyone." (It actually appears to be somebody in Ukraine.)

Meyers also answered Trump's question about whether he would say something "inappropriate" to a foreign leader over the phone: "It's not that we're dumb enough to believe it, it's that we're smart enough to believe you're dumb enough to do it." Still, Trump "probably feels like he has impunity to do whatever he wants because so far he's face almost no consequences," he said, making his case for impeachment. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:05 a.m.

Following a public outcry, the Trump administration reversed policy on Thursday and restored the medical deferred action program, which protects immigrants with life-threatening medical conditions from deportation as they receive treatment.

Last month, applicants received letters from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services saying that requests were no longer being accepted, and the sick migrants had to leave the United States within 33 days. Recipients who spoke to the media, like 16-year-old Jonathan Sanchez, said that if they went back to their original countries, they would die; Sanchez has cystic fibrosis, and said doctors in Honduras are not equipped to treat him.

When U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped the program on Aug. 7, the agency did so without alerting Congress or the public. Hearings were held on Capitol Hill, with immigrants sharing their stories about how the program helped them, and USCIS said it would reopen cases that were pending as of Aug. 7. In a letter to the House Oversight Committee sent Thursday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said he had directed USCIS to start considering all applications again.

"It should not take an emergency hearing by Congress — and threats for more — to force the Trump administration to do the right thing," House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a statement. "Because of the secrecy and obstruction surrounding this policy, we will be taking additional steps to verify that these children and their families do not need to live in fear and uncertainty." Catherine Garcia

September 19, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, and other presidential candidates shared their climate change plans on Thursday during MSNBC's Climate Forum 2020.

The two-day event at Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service kicked off Thursday morning with a question-and-answer session between students and the candidates. Twelve presidential candidates are participating, with Thursday's lineup consisting of Sanders, Yang, Castro, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), author Marianne Williamson, former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).

Castro said his $10 trillion climate plan consists of a public-private partnership that will result in 10 million new jobs and the United States having net zero emission within the next 30 years. Ryan is calling for a forceful climate police that focuses on bringing manufacturing jobs back to hard hit rural and industrial areas. Delaney said he would re-enter the Paris climate agreement and promote global development of clean technologies.

Sanders declared that "unlike Trump, I do believe in science," and said one of his first acts as president would be to sign an executive order prohibiting fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Williamson said people need to push back against corporations and lawmakers who are tight with the fossil fuel industry.

Yang feels that action should have been taken two decades ago, and wants to see corporations taxed on their carbon production. Bennet said he would give lawmakers nine months to pass climate change legislation, and if they didn't do it he would turn to executive orders. He also discussed the importance of talking about the economy and jobs and how they tie in to climate change, so people don't fall for President Trump's scare tactics. "We can't lose an economic debate to a climate denier," he said. Catherine Garcia

September 19, 2019

During a chaotic interview Thursday night with CNN's Chris Cuomo, President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani was happy to accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of bribing Ukrainian politicians, but he grew enraged when asked about Trump's relationship with the country's leader.

Throughout the rambling, nearly 20-minute interview, Giuliani made it clear that he doesn't like Biden, whistleblowers, CNN, or using his inside voice. His appearance coincided with The Washington Post's report that a U.S. intelligence whistleblower filed an "urgent" complaint last month about President Trump's communications with someone in Ukraine. Giuliani didn't want to talk about that, though, instead telling Cuomo the real story is his allegation that Biden bribed the former president of Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating his son.

Giuliani also claimed that several Ukrainians tried to tell him that there was collusion between Ukrainian politicians, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee, but the U.S. ambassador blocked them. This has all the trappings of an "astounding scandal of major proportions," he said, but it's "being covered up by the news." Cuomo finally got a question in about the whistleblower, which Giuliani immediately shot down. "I'm here on television," Giuliani said, while "this guy is hiding somewhere, skulking around."

Cuomo reminded the former U.S. attorney that there are protections in place for whistleblowers. Giuliani said sure, but "some whistleblowers are liars." Giuliani went on to admit he asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and insult Cuomo and CNN several more times, accusing the network of favoring Democrats and covering up their scandals, before patting himself on the back for insulting Cuomo "directly to your face and not behind your back." Lower the volume on your computer, and watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

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