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March 14, 2019

Everyone wants to see the Mueller report. Yes, literally everyone.

Attorney General William Barr has so far refused to promise to make the contents of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe public — an issue that led most Senate Democrats to oppose his confirmation in the first place. Yet it seems even Republicans are fed up with the secrecy, as the House voted unanimously Thursday on a resolution demanding the report be made public.

Both sides of the aisle teamed up, voting 420-0 to make Mueller's report on potential ties between President Trump's campaign and Russian election interference available to Congress and the public. Eight members of Congress didn't vote and four Republicans voted "present," but no one voted against the non-binding resolution. The decision can't force Barr to release the entire report to the public or even Congress, prompting some Republicans to say it was a "waste of time," The Washington Post notes. There's also no indication that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will bring it for a vote.

Still, the resolution serves as an overwhelming reminder to Barr of what many lawmakers want from him. House Democrats have already started their own probe into the Trump campaign and administration, potentially to duplicate and expand on Mueller's or provide what Barr may withhold. Mueller has reportedly been wrapping up his investigation, and is expected to release it to Barr in the next few months. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 16, 2019

Trevor Noah is a little confused by President Trump's demand that people who "hate our country" pack their bags and move away, he admitted on Tuesday's Daily Show.

In 2016, Trump's entire message was "America is failing, this country's not what it used to be, China's beating us," Noah said. "Instead of complaining, why didn't he just leave?" Trump on Sunday tweeted that four Democratic lawmakers, all women of color, need to "go back" to their home countries, and claimed on Tuesday that it wasn't racist because he would tell anyone who is "not happy here" that they are free to leave.

"How come he's never said anything like this to Bernie Sanders?" Noah asked. The senator from Vermont is always talking about how the United States can learn from other countries, "but Trump has never once told Bernie to go back where he comes from. I guess that's partly because ancient Greece doesn't exist anymore, but that's not the point."

Just because a person grumbles about their country, it doesn't mean they don't love it, Noah said, and sports fans are proof of this. "If the Knicks kicked out every fan who yelled at them to play better, Madison Square Garden would be emptier than Mike Pence's spice cabinet," he quipped. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

While he was serving his 13-month sentence in a Florida jail, financier Jeffrey Epstein continued to sexually abuse at least one of his victims, attorney Brad Edwards alleged during a press conference Tuesday.

Epstein was accused of molesting dozens of girls in the mid-2000s, but as part of a lenient plea agreement, was able to plead guilty to state charges of procuring and soliciting prostitution. During his 13-month sentence, Epstein left the jail six days a week to go to work, and Edwards claims he had "female visitors," including some who were under 21.

"All I can say is more than one person that visited him, they believed they were going there for something other than a sexual purpose," he said. "Once there, he turned his perfect master manipulation to turn the situation into something sexual." Edwards added that it's not clear what work was actually taking place at Epstein's office. "What he did on a daily basis was engage in these types of sex acts with minors and vulnerable women," he said. "Where did he make his money? I don't know."

A spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office told The Daily Beast that while on work release, Epstein was picked up by a driver, and a sheriff's deputy met him at his office. She said the deputy was with Epstein the entire time he was in the building, and "was allowed no family, friends, or guests." Earlier this month, Epstein was arrested in New Jersey and charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

John Paul Stevens, the third longest-serving Supreme Court justice in history, died Tuesday in Florida of complications from a stroke. He was 99.

Nominated to the Supreme Court by President Gerald Ford, he served 35 years before retiring in 2010. Stevens told The New York Times in 2007 that he thinks "as part of my general politics, I'm pretty darn conservative," but he ended up leading the liberal wing of the court, and was known for standing up for the rights of individuals.

Stevens revealed that his one regret was voting to reinstate the death penalty in 1976, as he later decided that capital punishment is unconstitutional. He wrote a stern dissent in the landmark 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, saying the ruling represented a "rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government." He also led the opponents in Bush v. Gore. "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is clear," he wrote. "It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

Born in 1920, the Chicago native served in the Navy during World War II as a code breaker, and graduated from the top of his class at Northwestern University School of Law. Following his retirement, he wrote three books, including Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. He is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth and Susan, nine grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

The Trump administration considers Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro an illegitimate leader who is causing havoc in his country, but does not plan on granting temporary protected status to Venezuelans.

The United States grants temporary protected status to people who flee from countries torn apart by armed conflicts and natural disasters, keeping them safe from deportation. The Trump administration supports the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, and routinely criticizes Maduro for causing economic instability in his country, which is suffering from food and medicine shortages. The United Nations, which says the Maduro regime has killed thousands of citizens, estimates the humanitarian crisis could displace as many as 8.2 million Venezuelans by the end of 2020.

In a letter sent to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday, Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said the government "continues to monitor the situation in Venezuela," but will not extend temporary protected status to any Venezuelans in the country. Durbin and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement that Trump "cannot have it both ways. He cannot warn Americans that Venezuela is so dangerous they should avoid traveling there and then turn around and tell Venezuelans in the U.S. they are forced to return."

In 2018, close to 30,000 Venezuelans applied for protection in the United States, The Guardian reports, while 336 were deported between October 2017 and September 2018. Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a resolution condemning President Trump's "racist comments" directed at four Democratic congresswomen, all women of color.

Four Republicans — Reps. Will Hurd of Texas, Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Susan Brooks of Indiana — and one independent — former Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — voted with the Democrats to pass the resolution, 240-187.

Trump tweeted that the women should "go back" to their home countries — three were born in the U.S., and all are citizens — and has refused to apologize, instead doubling-down and saying people agree with him. Before Tuesday's vote, Trump tweeted, "Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don't have a Racist bone in my body!" Catherine Garcia

July 16, 2019

The House of Representatives has some absurdly specific rules.

Inside the manual governing the chamber's parliamentary procedures, there's a ban on calling the president "a little bugger," and on saying they "do not care about black people." And there's a broad rule against calling the president or anything they say "racist," which came into question Tuesday when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did just that.

After President Trump on Sunday tweeted racist attacks on four Democratic congressmembers, House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a resolution condemning them. Pelosi called the tweets "racist," and also "disgraceful and disgusting" on the House floor, and before she even finished her speech, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) asked if she'd like to "rephrase" that comment. Pelosi bluntly shut that idea down, and Collins moved to have Pelosi's words struck from the record.

Cue Democrats huddling, the arrival of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and an hourlong delay that got a GOP meeting with Trump canceled. Finally, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who was chairing the hearing, stepped back up. He then heatedly called the whole ordeal an "excuse to escalate," dropped his gavel, said "I abandon the chair," and walked away.

After several more minutes of nothingness, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) affirmed Pelosi's words were "out of order," as the House parliamentarian had confirmed earlier. That meant Pelosi couldn't speak on the floor for the rest of the day, though the House still voted against striking her words from the record. And all the while, Pelosi stood firm with what she'd said. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 16, 2019

Dr. Leana Wen, the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in decades, was removed by the organization's board on Tuesday less than a year into her tenure, The New York Times reports.

People familiar with the situation said that Wen's removal was a result of internal strife regarding her management. That was magnified by the organization's general turbulence at the moment; several states are attempting to roll back abortion rights in an attempt to chip away at Roe v. Wade. Wen allegedly did not fit the bill when it came to political action, the Times reports, and the board was reportedly looking for a more "aggressive" leader.

In Wen's stead, the board voted unanimously to appoint Alexis McGill Johnson as acting president and chief executive of both Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which provides health care services, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political wing of the organization. McGill Johnson has served on Planned Parenthood's board for nearly a decade and was previously its chair, the Times reports.

Wen, the former Baltimore health commissioner, apparently knew her tenure was over. But she doesn't seem thrilled with how it all went down.

In her statement, Wen wrote that she is leaving due to "philosophical differences" with the board, largely over their approach toward protecting abortion care. Wen said she views it "not as a political issue but a health care one." Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

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