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February 25, 2019

It apparently took a private plane ride to convince Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to campaign for Hillary Clinton.

After begrudgingly withdrawing from the presidential race in 2016, Sanders started stumping for his former rival across the country. But before he agreed to do so, Sanders demanded private flights from venue to venue, costing the Clinton campaign $100,000 in all, six Clinton campaign staffers tell Politico

Ex-Clinton staffers have been eager to call out what they see as Sanders' lackluster efforts to defeat President Trump, citing his earlier criticism of Clinton and how long he waited before dropping out of the primary. When Sanders finally did withdraw, those Clinton staffers say they expected him to fly commercial "90 percent of the time." That didn't happen, as the Clinton campaign's director of rapid response Zac Petkanas snidely describes:

“I'm not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe."

Sanders spokesperson Arianna Jones said the private planes were used to ensure the senator "could get to as many locations as quickly as possible" and defended his "grueling" tour in support of Clinton. Sanders has also racked up another $324,000 in private jet flights in the two years since the presidential election, paid for by his Senate campaign committee, Politico also notes. Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:18 p.m.

Everyone on both sides of the aisle, it seems, agrees that they want Attorney General William Barr to release Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference in 2016 in full. But reasons may differ, if ever so slightly.

For example, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said during a Sunday appearance on CNN's State of the Union with Dana Bash that it is crucial the report is released. Nadler told Bash that one of the key questions his committee wants to answer is why Mueller did not recommend any further indictments. "We know there was some collusion," he said.

Nadler confirmed that House Democrats are prepared to take their demand to access the entirety of the report to the Supreme Court. He also believes there have been obstructions of justice throughout the process — though he did say he is unsure if those obstructions are criminal.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), meanwhile, told Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press that he, too, wanted to view the full report. But he was more interested in the probe's "underlying criminal predicate" — particularly how the investigation was conducted in its nascent stages under the Obama Administration, as opposed the lack of indictments.

The senator also wanted to understand the reasons behind the investigation's FISA applications, which he considers an "extraordinary use of government surveillance power."

Barr is expected to brief Congress on the Mueller investigation's principle conclusions in the coming days, possibly as soon as Sunday. Tim O'Donnell

12:00 p.m.

Evacuees from a cruise ship had some harrowing tales after being brought to safety on Sunday.

479 people were safely airlifted off the Viking Sky cruise, which was stranded in rough seas off the coast of Norway with 1,373 passengers on board. 436 guests and 458 crew still remained on board the ship. But they're safe now, as well. CNN reported that the ship docked on Sunday at a quay in a harbor in western Norway, where relieved passengers exclaimed in jubilation.

Although bad weather conditions persisted on Sunday, the vessel regained power in three out of four engines and was traveling alongside two supply ships and one tug assist vessel.

20 people reportedly sustained non-life threatening injuries while the ship was rocked by wind and waves, the cruise line said. Passengers were able to document the situation, sending footage via social media.

"It was surreal," passenger Deborah Kellet told NBC News. "It was like what you see in the movies." Tim O'Donnell

11:42 a.m.

As lawmakers were bracing themselves for Attorney General William Barr to reveal the principle conclusions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian election interference in 2016, President Trump reportedly had quite a calm weekend. He barely even tweeted.

CNN reported that Trump was enjoying time at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida with First Lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron. He was on a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussing trade and Brexit when news that Mueller had handed over his investigation to Barr became official.

Per CNN, Trump and the aides who traveled with him to Florida were relieved that the investigation had reached its conclusion and viewed the fact that Mueller did not recommend any further indictments as a cause for celebration, which lines up with earlier reports that the White House is feeling confident that the investigation will clear Trump legally. The president was reportedly in good spirits on Friday evening at dinner and on Saturday took to the golf course with singer Kid Rock.

So much for stress. Read the full report at CNN. Tim O'Donnell

10:57 a.m.

The Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand has reclaimed a place of worship. On Saturday, the restored Al-Noor mosque, one of the sites of the mass shootings that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, was reopened.

It remains under heavy police detail, but small groups of worshippers are now allowed in for limited periods of time, reports RNZ National. Although the mosque has been completely restored following the damage, those who enter have been asked to refrain from taking photographs. Several survivors of the shootings, carried about by a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant who expressed racist, anti-immigrant views, were among the first people to return to the mosque.

On Saturday, nearly 40,000 people turned out for a vigil in Christchurch on Saturday evening, as the country continues to mourn the attacks. Saturday’s vigil, which included speeches, music, and moments of silence, is the latest in a string of remembrance events that have and will continue to take place around New Zealand. Tim O'Donnell

8:22 a.m.

Protests took place in Pittsburgh on Saturday after a jury acquitted a former East Pittsburgh police officer who was tried for the killing of Antwon Rose, an unarmed black 17-year-old, last June.

The officer, Michael Rosfield, who is white, shot Rose three times after the teenager ran from a traffic stop. Rosfield said that Rose was in a car that matched the description of one involved in a drive-by shooting 20 minutes prior to the traffic stop. Another person in the vehicle, 18-year-old Zaijuan Hester, pleaded guilty last week to the drive-by shooting. He said that he, not Rose, fired the shots.

Crowds gathered in protest over the jury's decision outside of the Allegheny County Courthouse on Friday evening and continued throughout the city on Saturday. Shots were reportedly fired at the window of one of Rosfield's attorney's offices on Saturday morning in what was an apparent retaliation. No one was hurt. But Rose's father urged people to refrain from violence, and Pittsburgh police described the protests as peaceful. Tim O'Donnell

7:47 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this week that she did not believe the British people supported a second Brexit referendum. A massive anti-Brexit demonstration held in London on Saturday poked some holes in that theory.

The Guardian reports that the protest's organizers estimate that 1 million people took to the streets for the "Put it to the People" march, which demanded that Parliament grant a second EU withdrawal referendum. It is being considered one of the biggest protests in British history, per BBC, although specific attendance numbers have not been confirmed. Protesters carried EU flags and donned blue and yellow garb to signify their support for remaining in the Union.

The march took place just days after the EU agreed to an extension of Article 50, which will now trigger the U.K.'s exodus from the EU on April 12 — with or without a deal. May, who has so far been unable to secure a withdrawal agreement, has faced renewed calls for her resignation. Tim O'Donnell

March 23, 2019

Attorney General William Barr is reviewing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on whether President Trump's campaign colluded with Russian election interference, a source familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday. Barr is expected to reveal the principle conclusions of the report soon. Meanwhile, per AP, House Democrats have scheduled a conference call for Saturday to strategize over how they will proceed. As everything winds down, here are three pressing questions that remain about the Mueller investigation.

How much will Barr reveal? To state the obvious, it remains unclear just how much information the attorney general will make available to the public. Barr is under no obligation to provide any aspect of the report, but there are also no laws that prevent him from doing so. Earlier in March, Congress voted unanimously to make the report public.

Will Mueller testify? Congressional investigations into the Trump administration will continue regardless of the Mueller report's conclusions. But how much will Congress rely on Mueller going forward? Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chair, said on Friday that his committee could call on Mueller to testify before them if the report is not made fully available to Congress.

Is this really the last major legal threat to Trump's presidency? The White House was reportedly feeling very confident about the conclusion of Mueller's investigation. But an undisclosed number of federal and state investigations grew out of Mueller's work that will continue to lurk behind the Trump presidency. These include the prosecution of Trump political adviser Roger Stone, as well as inquiries into the business dealings of close Trump associates like Elliott Broidy and Thomas J. Barrack. No matter how it shakes out, it is therefore unlikely that Trump will be fully in the clear. Tim O'Donnell

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