June 2, 2019

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that President Trump is "absolutely, deadly serious" about imposing a 5 percent tariff on Mexican imports starting June 10.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that the tariff would remain in place "until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP." Mulvaney told Wallace the White House has been working on a plan "for months" to deal with an influx of migrants coming to the United States, and Mexico needs to tighten security along its southern border. "It is much easier to secure that border than it is our border because it is so much shorter," he said. "It is about a quarter of the length." Mexico's southern borders with Guatemala and Belize add up to roughly 700 miles. Catherine Garcia

5:19 p.m.

As Bolivia's political situation intensifies, the country's interim government Wednesday produced audio it says consists of former exiled President Evo Morales ordering a blockade to prevent food from entering Bolivian cities. But Morales' supporters have dismissed the recording as fraudulent.

"Brother, don't led food into the cities, we are going to do a blockade, a true siege," someone whom the government says is Morales is heard saying in what is allegedly a phone call he made from exile in Mexico. "From now it is going to be fight, fight, fight."

The audio was released by Interior Minister Arturo Murillo one day after the military clashed violently with Morales' supporters who were reportedly blocking fuel from reaching the capital, La Paz, which along with several other cities throughout the country has been facing a food and fuel shortage since the standoff between the protesters and interim government began, per The Wall Street Journal.

Morales' backers, who have accused the military of orchestrating a right wing coup to remove the socialist Morales from power, argue that the government released the video in an attempt to distract the country as it conducts a crackdown on protesters who are demanding Morales' return.

Meanwhile, morales activists have reportedly shared videos showing soldiers firing live rounds at protesters. Morales called upon the interim government Wednesday to "stop this massacre of indigenous brothers who ask for peace, democracy, and respect of life in the streets." Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

4:53 p.m.

White House aides and Trump campaign officials were "freaking out" after being "blindsided" by European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony on Wednesday, which contained allegations of quid pro quo and pointed fingers at the president and other top administration officials, CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

The White House had attempted to get an "early peek" at Sondland's remarks during the jittery hours before the impeachment hearing began, due to the perception that he was a "wild card" witness, The Washington Post reports. Sondland's attorney had refused those attempts.

It became clear during the testimony, though, that Sondland's confirmation that "everyone was in the loop" was bad news for Republicans, who pivoted to attempting to distance Trump from what Democrats say was an attempt to pressure Ukraine into digging up dirt on Hunter Biden, the son of his potential 2020 rival. Trump's campaign specifically zeroed in on Sondland saying that Trump "directly told him he wanted nothing from Ukraine," although Sondland did confirm that the requests of Trump's personal lawyer and fixer Rudy Giuliani "were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit" for the Ukrainian president, and that "Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States."

Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany maintained that "over and over we've heard from Democrats and the media that the next hearing, the next witness, the next testimony would be the bombshell they've been promising, only to have it fizzle out like all the rest. It has happened yet again." But Ken Starr, the lead prosecutor during the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings, begs to differ: "This obviously has been one of those bombshell days," he told Fox News. Jeva Lange

4:36 p.m.

Al Pacino is widely regarded as one of America's great living actors, but in recent years, that hasn't stopped him from appearing in movies like Gigli, Righteous Kill, and Jack and Jill, which offered audiences two Adam Sandler performances for the price of one.

Why does Pacino sign up for such dreck? In a recent interview with GQ, Pacino admitted he has a "perverse" impulse to appear in bad films just to see if he can make them better. (Alas, they still don't give out an Oscar for Most Acceptable Part of a Piece of Garbage.) Read more at GQ. Scott Meslow

4:34 p.m.

Have you followed Marie Kondo's advice and thrown out everything in your residence that doesn't spark joy? Great! Now it's time to fill your residence back up again — and as long as your shelves are bare, why not buy all that stuff directly from Marie Kondo's online store?

And if you think it's a little hypocritical for the self-styled de-cluttering guru to sell you a bunch of overpriced junk, we're sure a sip from your $98 gem-infused water bottle will clear those bad vibes right up. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Scott Meslow

4:32 p.m.

Cynthia Erivo stars in Harriet, a based-on-a-true-story drama about the life of the legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman — but 25 years ago, at least one Hollywood executive had a different star for a Tubman biopic in mind.

Per Entertainment Weekly, screenwriter and producer Gregory Allen Howard says that back in 1994, when he was pitching a Tubman-focused movie, one Hollywood executive proposed an unconventional choice for the lead role: Julia Roberts.

When someone in that meeting raised, well, the most obvious objection to Julia Roberts playing Harriet Tubman, the executive replied, "It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference" — a thesis that would surely have been put to the test by literally anyone who saw the movie. Read more at Entertainment Weekly. Scott Meslow

4:16 p.m.

Democrats might want to shield their eyes from the latest poll from Marquette Law School released Wednesday.

President Trump was shown leading all four of the party's top primary contenders — former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — in head-to-head matchups in Wisconsin, which many analysts regard as one of the most important states in the 2020 election. Last month, three of the four, save for Buttigieg (whose deficit increased) had small leads over the president.

Of course, like all polls there's probably not any reason for Democrats to panic, just as there was no reason for Republicans to worry too much about the October survey. With the exception of Buttigieg again, Trump's leads are all either within in or nearly within the poll's margin of error or 4.1 percentage points.

Biden, meanwhile, was leading the Democratic field among Wisconsin voters with 30 percent of the vote, followed by Sanders at 17 percent, Warren at 15 percent, and Buttigieg at 13 percent.

The Marquette Law School poll was conducted between Nov. 13-17. The sample consisted of 801 registered Wisconsin voters who were interviewed over the phone. The margin of error was 4.1 percentage points. Read the full poll here. Tim O'Donnell

4:09 p.m.

A Joker sequel is in the works, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But Deadline says that's "flat false" — at least, for now.

Rumors about a Joker sequel have abounded this week after the blockbuster raked in $1 billion at the box office. But much of that seemed to be wishful thinking from fans, until THR's report on Wednesday seemingly revealed that "Joker director Todd Phillips headed into Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich's office" on Oct. 7, and "proposed an outsized idea — the rights to develop a portfolio of DC characters' origin stories." The report also added that Joaquin Phoenix and Phillips are "likely to reteam" for the antihero flick's sequel.

But Deadline is countering THR's report and citing multiple sources who say "no such October 7 meeting between Phillips and Emmerich occurred, and that Phillips hasn't even considered overseeing other DC character films." There are currently "no deals for a sequel, nor even any negotiations with director Todd Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver to craft one," Deadline's sources say.

While the conflicting reporting leaves unclear whether the sequel is "officially" coming soon, most agree that it's probably happening. Just as Phoenix is game for a sequel, Warner Bros. will surely welcome the deal, so "no one is saying a Joker sequel won't happen someday," Deadline carefully notes. Ramisa Rob

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