January 25, 2019

President Trump on Friday lashed out at CNN after the indictment of ally Roger Stone, suggesting the network must have been tipped off about his arrest.

In Trump's first tweet responding to Stone's arrest, he called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference a witch hunt, but he also pointed a finger at CNN. A journalist from the network earlier in the morning had been able to capture footage of Stone being arrested at his Florida home.

The theory that CNN was tipped off, possibly by the FBI itself, had picked up quite a bit of steam in the hours before Trump's tweet, being promoted by conservative pundits like Greta Van Susteren.

But CNN denied this, with the network instead citing "determined reporting and interpreting clues revealed in the course of events."

In fact, CNN's David Shortell had reported on air that a crew from the network staked out Stone's home because of "reporter's instinct," with the network having flagged some grand jury activity on Thursday and anticipating a possible indictment for Stone. CNN reporter Shimon Prokupecz had explained on Don Lemon's show the night before that they noticed Mueller was convening a grand jury on a Thursday, which is not typical. "This could give us a big clue that perhaps something is coming," Prokupecz said, adding that the stepson of Jerome Corsi, an associate of Stone's, had just recently testified.

CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy on Friday criticized Trump for spreading this "baseless" conspiracy theory, adding, "Color me shocked!" Brendan Morrow

10:58 a.m.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had a fitting escort to walk her up the stairs of the Capitol on Wednesday: Eugene Goodman, the lone, Black police officer who bravely lured rioters away from the Senate chamber during the invasion of the Capitol building earlier this month.

Goodman is the new acting deputy House Sergeant at Arms, and a candidate for the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. "I've always said, if bullets start ripping through, I'm finding Goodman," a friend of Goodman's told The Washington Post. "He's been in hostile firefights [in Iraq], so he knows how to keep his head."

Goodman will also accompany Harris on the presidential platform on Wednesday, where she will be sworn in as vice president of the United States. Jeva Lange

10:44 a.m.

President-elect Joe Biden is revamping outgoing President Trump's coronavirus approach before he even takes office.

On Wednesday morning, Biden asked Surgeon General Jerome Adams, whom Trump nominated for a four-year term back in 2017, to step down from his post. Biden has already announced his intention to nominate former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to the post, but will install an acting surgeon general in the meantime, The Washington Post reports.

The nation's top doctor is appointed for four-year terms; Adams took office in Sept. 2017, allowing him to stay on through this September. But amid the Trump administration's bungling of the COVID-19 crisis, it seems Biden wants a fresh start. He'll even bypass Deputy Surgeon General Erica Schwartz, a career civil servant, in naming an acting top doctor to take Adams' spot, the Post reports.

Adams acknowledged his forced resignation in a statement, which focused more on smoking cessation and other health crises than on COVID-19. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:03 a.m.

Ivermectin, a cheap and "generic" antiparasitic drug "used all over the world," may significantly reduce the risk of death in patients suffering from moderate to severe cases of COVID-19, researchers have found.

The University of Liverpool's Andrew Hill and others carried out a meta-analytical breakdown of 18 studies that showed the drug — which is off-patent and commonly used to treat lice and scabies, as well as some more serious parasites — appears to reduce inflammation and eliminate the coronavirus swiftly, the Financial Times reports. In six of those trials, the mortality risk was cut by 75 percent in patients with more serious COVID-19 infections. The research team has also theorized the drug could also make it harder for infected people to transmit the virus.

Hill said he's encouraged by the findings, but further studies are needed, especially since several of those in the analysis were not peer-reviewed. FT also notes that meta-analyses, which look at many studies at once, can be prone to errors. Read more at the Financial Times. Tim O'Donnell

10:00 a.m.

Melania Trump was reportedly "emotionally checked out" long before boarding Air Force One to leave D.C. on Wednesday, going as far as to outsource writing her "thank you" notes to the White House residence staff, The New York Times and CNN report.

Traditionally, the first family of the United States will write short cards to their household staff, thanking them for taking care of them over the past four to eight years. The cards tend to be intimate and "much of the correspondence includes personal anecdotes and the letters become 'cherished keepsakes' for the residence staff," such as the butlers, cooks, and housekeepers, who do not tend to turn-over between administrations, CNN writes.

Melania Trump, however, reportedly did not personally write the cards for the approximately 80 staff members charged with caring for her, her husband, and her teenage son, Barron, while they lived in the White House. Instead, she is said to have instructed a "lower-level East Wing staffer" to write the type-written notes "in her voice," and then signed her name.

"I think she was a reluctant first lady and she did it for her husband," society publicist R. Couri Hay, who knows Trump from New York, told The New York Times. He added that after she departs Washington, "I think that you will find that she will be even less visible, and less available." Jeva Lange

9:41 a.m.

President Trump never really acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden's victory — or even mentioned his name after the election. But the president did leave a note for his successor before his Wednesday morning departure, outgoing White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told NPR.

Trump left the White House for the final time Wednesday morning, to the tune of some very fitting songs. Outgoing presidents and their staffs typically leave notes on their desks for their successors to aid in the transition and wish them well. But given Trump's history of not exactly following norms or accepting election results, it's a surprise that he followed that tradition.

It's unclear just what was in the note Trump left for Biden. In his farewell address, he did wish the next administration "great luck and great success," without mentioning their names. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence, who reportedly did eventually offer his congratulations in a call to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, also left behind a note for her. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:39 a.m.

President Trump offered his final goodbye before leaving office, vowing that "we will be back in some form" before concluding his term with the "YMCA" and wishing everyone a "good life."

Trump spoke at a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday before leaving for Florida instead of sticking around to attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. He described serving as president as "my greatest honor and privilege," thanking supporters while offering one assessment both supporters and critics will likely agree with: "We were not a regular administration."

As in previously released farewell remarks, Trump never mentioned Biden's name during his address, though he wished "the new administration great luck and great success." He also promised he will be "watching" and listening."

"Goodbye," Trump said. "We love you. We will be back in some form."

He concluded the very last speech of his presidency with, "Have a good life. We will see you soon." From there, the 45th president exited the stage a final time to a staple of his rallies: the "YMCA." Minutes later, Air Force One departed as Frank Sinatra's "My Way" played Trump off. Brendan Morrow

9:38 a.m.

And he's off — to the crooning of Frank Sinatra and the escaped laughter of CNN anchors.

President Trump departed with his family from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday, four years to the day after he took his oath of office. He got out of Dodge a few hours before President-elect Joe Biden's swearing-in ceremony and is headed to Florida to begin his post-White House life.

As Trump's plane took off, Frank Sinatra's "My Way" blared, which was certainly on the nose. The whole scene amused CNN's coverage crew, who couldn't hold back a few chuckles. It's been a long four years, after all. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads