April 10, 2019

Immigration is the throbbing id of President Trump's politics, and it also "got him two of his wives," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "But there's been a huge spike in illegal immigration since Trump took office, and he looks like an idiot — not sure which of those two things came first — so he's mad, he's hoppin' mad." Trump has reacted with a purge of the Department of Homeland Security, from outgoing Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on down. "It is going to be tough to find people to fill those positions — if only there was a group of folks willing to do jobs Americans don't want to do," he deadpanned.

On Tuesday, Trump "denied he's doing the things that he's already started doing," including "cleaning house" at DHS and coming up with his administration's migrant family separation policy, Colbert said. He acerbically reminded Trump that, contrary to his claim, former President Barack Obama did not come up with or enact that policy, or publicly defend it, like Trump did "in the same meeting where you claimed it was all Obama's fault. ... Don't get me wrong, Obama's no angel here," Colbert said, teeing up an adorable slide show. "I mean, there is ample evidence of Barack taking kids from their parents, subjecting them to harsh interrogations, even confiscating all of their hugs."

"Now President Trump evidently does not care that his border policy isn't — uh, what's the word? — legal," Colbert said. He delivered a PSA to the border agents Trump reportedly told to break the law.

The Late Show also had some advice for anyone hoping to join the ranks of Trump's growing "acting" Cabinet, and you can watch that below. Peter Weber

5:40 p.m.

Amazon employees can apparently download TikTok again.

On Friday, The New York Times broke the news that Amazon sent an email to employees telling them they had to delete TikTok from their cell phones due to "security risks." Staffers were reportedly told they needed to have the app deleted by Friday in order to continue accessing their Amazon email. It was major news that generated headlines across the internet following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying earlier this week the United States was considering potentially banning the Chinese-owned app.

But just hours later, Amazon says actually, forget about all that, as the company now claims it sent the email to employees accidentally.

"This morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error," an Amazon spokesperson told The Verge. "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok."

If it was an error, it's quite a mistake to make given all the attention the news got, although considering the company did evidently have an email ready to go for this scenario, "right now" may be the key phrase in that statement. Brendan Morrow

5:33 p.m.

Valentina Sampaio says she has overcome "snickers, insults, fearful reactions, and physical violations," to become Sports Illustrated's first transgender swimsuit model.

Sampaio, who writes for SI that she was "born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil," will appear in SI's annual swimsuit edition out July 21. She's been on the cover of Vogue Brazil and had a Victoria's Secret campaign last year, and now helps SI take its latest step in including groundbreaking, diverse models on its pages.

In an essay for SI, Sampaio describes how "Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world." "Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples' hearts and minds," Sampaio continues, which often holds trans people back from "growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school, or finding dignified work."

"I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honor that as best I can," Sampaio said, thanking SI for "seeing and respecting me as I truly am." Read all of what Sampaio has to say about her big gig at Sports Illustrated. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:55 p.m.

A moratorium on political ads may be coming to Facebook this fall.

Facebook is considering imposing a ban on political ads "in the days leading up to" November's presidential election, Bloomberg reported on Friday. As of now, the idea is "still only being discussed," the report says.

Facebook has long faced criticism for its decision not to fact-check political ads, something CEO Mark Zuckerberg has defended by saying that "people should decide what is credible, not tech companies." Last year, more than 250 Facebook employees signed a letter arguing that this policy "allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy."

Facebook is now facing an ad boycott from companies urging it to crack down on hate speech and misinformation, and an independent audit concluded this week that it "has been far too reluctant to adopt strong rules to limit misinformation and voter suppression."

According to Bloomberg, part of the reason the potential ad ban hasn't been decided upon is that there's still some concern it "could hurt 'get out the vote' campaigns, or limit a candidate's ability to respond widely to breaking news or new information." The New York Times is also confirming the news of the potential ban while cautioning that it's still possible Facebook will decide against it and "continue with its current political advertising policy."

Facebook previously announced it would let users opt out of seeing political ads altogether, with Zuckerberg saying last month, "for those of you who've already made up your minds and just want the election to be over, we hear you."

Brendan Morrow

4:37 p.m.

Back in March, everyone in the U.S. but essential workers scrambled to adapt to remote work to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Well, everyone but President Trump's 2020 campaign headquarters. The Arlington, Virginia, office has remained packed with workers through the past four months, only closing this week for its first deep cleaning in a while because a staffer tested positive for the virus, people familiar with the HQ's operations detail to Politico.

Social distancing doesn't exist inside the Trump HQ, where "dozens of staffers" are "often sitting in close proximity to conduct phone calls and other urgent campaign business," three people tell Politico. Staffers wear masks outside the office "in case they're spotted by reporters," but are free to take them off inside, Politico continues. Except free might not be the right word for it: One person told Politico "You get made fun of if you wear a mask. There's social pressure not to do it.”

All of that became obvious when Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a picture from a visit to the headquarters last month showing a jam-packed, maskless office. The tweet has since been deleted, but it sparked questions into whether Virginia officials would step in and enforce the state's social distancing guidelines and mandatory mask policy. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) ultimately declined to get involved so he didn't "get bogged down in a political fight," an individual familiar with the situation told Politico.

"The campaign takes the health and safety of our staff very seriously," spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told Politico. That includes a "weekly deep cleaning, daily temperature checks," and "widely available masks and PPE, and testing of staff both before events and before returning to the office," Murtaugh said. Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:57 p.m.

FedEx is threatening to remove its signage from the Washington Redskins' stadium unless the team's name is changed, The Washington Post reports.

The shipping company, which owns the naming rights to the Washington Redskins' stadium under a more than $200 million deal signed in 1999, recently announced it was asking the team to change its controversial name, and the Post is now reporting that FedEx informed the Redskins in a private letter that unless it does so, "it will remove its signage from the stadium after the NFL's 2020 season, six years before the deal's expiration."

This was reportedly communicated in a letter from FedEx's general counsel sent on July 2, the same day the statement saying that FedEx was requesting a name change was released. The company privately described how the Redskins' name, which has long been criticized as racist, "poses the risk of harming FedEx's brand reputation and is inconsistent with its commitment to a more inclusive society," the Post writes.

Following FedEx's initial statement that it was requesting the name be changed, the Redskins announced it would begin a "thorough review." In the days since, Redskins merchandise has been pulled from Amazon, as well as Walmart, Target, and Dick's Sporting Goods. Brendan Morrow

2:39 p.m.

Ghislaine Maxwell is making the same request Jeffrey Epstein did exactly a year ago.

Maxwell, a close friend of Epstein's accused of grooming young girls for his sex trafficking ring, requested through her lawyers Friday that she be allowed to wait out her day in court outside of jail. Maxwell's lawyers offered a $5 million bond secured by six co-signers, as well as property in the U.K. worth $3.5 million, to secure her release, NBC News reports.

Maxwell was arrested at her New Hampshire estate last week on charges of transporting and enticing minors. She initially appeared in court remotely, and was then transferred to a Brooklyn detention center.

COVID-19 is both spreading through jails and putting limitations on who can visit them, leading to Maxwell's request for bond. "COVID-19-related restrictions on attorney communications with pre-trial detainees significantly impair a defendant's ability to prepare her defense," her lawyers said in their proposed bail agreement. Prosecutors meanwhile argued Maxwell is an "extreme" flight risk due to her "three passports, large sums of money, [and] extensive international connections."

Epstein's lawyers tried to request he wait for his trial in his Manhattan mansion a year ago this week, albeit on a $77 million bond package. The judge in the case determined Epstein was a danger to the community and denied that request. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:37 p.m.

Amazon told all its employees to delete the TikTok app off their phones on Friday or lose mobile access to their work emails.

Amazon sent an email to its employees requesting they delete the Chinese-owned video sharing app from any devices they use to "access Amazon email" over unspecified "security risks," The New York Times reports. They'll still be allowed to watch TikTok videos on their laptop browser, the email said. It's unclear how this move will affect Amazon's own use of TikTok, as it promotes its Prime streaming platform and other company segments on the app.

TikTok, the app popular among teenagers, has been the subject of security concerns over its access to American data and ownership by the Chinese company Bytedance. China's Communist party has a notoriously heavy entanglement with tech companies operated out of the country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this week the U.S. was looking into banning the app in the U.S. altogether.

TikTok has said it does not provide data to the Chinese government or comply with the country's censorship requests. This week, the company pulled out of Hong Kong's market pending review of China's new security law that threatens the former British colony's autonomy. Kathryn Krawczyk

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