September 10, 2019

It looks like President Trump and former National Security Adviser John Bolton had one last argument for the road.

Trump on Tuesday announced that Bolton has left the administration after he requested his resignation last night, although Bolton is disputing that, claiming he was the one to offer to resign. Both parties agree, though, that a conversation about Bolton's departure took place on Monday evening, with Bolton saying Trump told him they would "talk about it tomorrow." In his original tweet, Trump said he "disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions."

Now, CNN's Kaitlan Collins is reporting Trump and Bolton "got into a bitter argument" last night about Trump's plan to meet with Taliban leaders at Camp David over the weekend, just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This meeting ultimately did not take place, with Trump saying he called it off after an attack in Kabul.

NBC News previously reported that Bolton "vehemently opposed" this idea, as did Vice President Mike Pence. Pence subsequently denied this report. CNN's Jim Acosta reports a "factor in Bolton’s firing was that Trump and Pence were upset that Bolton's team had made it sound as though the VP opposed the Taliban meeting at Camp David."

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Tuesday "there was no last straw" that led to Bolton's ouster, although this certainly sounds like one. Brendan Morrow

12:08 p.m.

Biotechnology company Novavax rolled out its first human trials for its coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday.

Novavox already tested its vaccine on animals in low doses and found it successful, Axios notes. So the Maryland-based company will inject 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane, with results of the clinical trial expected to be made public in July.

Phase 1 of the trial is a "randomized, observer-blinded, placebo-controlled trial" that assesses two different dosage sizes of the vaccine among healthy participants age 18 to 59, Novavax said in a press release. If that first phase goes well, Novavax said it expects a second phase to begin "promptly." That second phase will be conducted across several different countries, including the U.S., and across a broader age range.

Novavax shares spiked when markets reopened Tuesday after the holiday weekend, up from $46.11 per share to $54.20. Novavax is among several pharmaceutical companies racing to develop coronavirus vaccines, with Pfizer and Moderna launching human trials earlier this month. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:01 a.m.

An Obama administration economist has reportedly left Democrats concerned about President Trump's re-election prospects with his prediction about the state of the economy leading up to November.

Speaking to a group of Republican and Democratic officials in early April, Politico reports Jason Furman, who was chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Obama, surprisingly asserted that "we are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country."

As the coronavirus pandemic takes a devastating toll on the U.S. economy, bringing the unemployment rate to the highest level seen since the Great Depression, Furman continues to predict a "partial rebound" on the horizon, comparing the situation to the economic aftermath following a natural disaster and telling Politico that "you could easily have one to two million jobs created a month in those four reports before November."

He added, "And then toward the end of October, we will get GDP growth for the third quarter, at an annualized rate, and it could be double-digit positive economic growth. So these will be the best jobs and growth numbers ever." This assumes re-openings continue across the country and a second wave of coronavirus doesn't prompt major lockdowns.

Although Politico notes that a "rebound won't mean that Trump has solved many underlying problems," Democrats are reportedly "spooked" by the idea that the president "could be poised to benefit from the dramatic numbers" ahead of the 2020 election, with one former Obama White House official pointing to Trump's positive polling on the economy and arguing, "This is the challenge for the Biden campaign. If they can't figure this out they should all just go home." Read the full report at Politico. Brendan Morrow

10:39 a.m.

Everything you've ever known is a lie, because apparently everyone has been pronouncing Steve Buscemi's name wrong for years.

In a profile published Monday in GQ, the endearingly humble actor (who, by the way, has survived getting hit by a bus, car, and stabbed by a stranger in a bar!) discusses topics like how he hopes to one day win the New Yorker caption contest and how he'd prefer to be murdered less in movies. But the real revelation comes in a parenthetical by the article's author, Gabriella Paiella: "He says it boo-sem-ee, not boo-shem-ee."

This information might, understandably, radically alter the way you see the world. Maybe now that you know the proper pronunciation, you'll sell all your earthly possessions to become a shepherd in the Scottish highlands, all the while muttering "boo-sem-ee, not boo-shem-ee" under your breath. If ever in doubt, though, you can always avoid the whole "potato, po-ta-to" headache and stick with plain old "Mr. Pink." Read the full profile here. Jeva Lange

10:20 a.m.

Multiple authorities are investigating the death of a black man in Minneapolis police custody after a disturbing video showed an officer kneeling on the man's neck as he protested "I can't breathe."

Around 8 p.m. Monday, police were called to a report of a forgery in progress at a business in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. When officers found a suspect matching the report's description, they ordered him out of his car and said he complied with their commands, police spokesman John Elder said. But the man later "physically resisted," Elder continued.

As bystander video shows, a white police officer ended up kneeling on the man's neck as he said "I can't breathe" and "everything hurts" over and over. One bystander noted the man's nose was bleeding, and another kept telling the officers "you're stopping his breathing right there" and "you could have put him in the car by now." "He's not responsive right now," one bystander later notes, and after an ambulance arrives for the man, another bystander tells the officer "You just really killed that man, bro." The man was taken to a hospital and later died.

The officers in the incident were wearing body cameras, and the footage has been turned over to Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. "Being black in America should not be a death sentence," Frey said Tuesday, adding that "this officer failed in the most basic, human sense."

You can find the disturbing video at Fox 9, and read more at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:53 a.m.

Houston, we have a problem.

Netflix's highly-anticipated new comedy Space Force, which stars Steve Carell and comes from The Office creator Greg Daniels, is being hit with unexpectedly brutal reviews from critics ahead of its streaming debut.

The series, inspired by President Trump's announcement of the creation of a new branch of the military called Space Force, is "largely unfunny" with "little to warrant a recommendation," and "there is an absence of a point of view," writes The Daily Beast.

Time agrees the show is "a bust," while Entertainment Weekly describes it as "an innocuous and startlingly unfunny sitcom" that "often plays like a show that was reverse-engineered around a title" and is surprisingly apolitical despite the subject matter. Variety says it's "just okay" and sometimes "buckles under the weight of its own ambition," while The Hollywood Reporter says the show "isn't close to consistent," and Consequences of Sound deems it a show "for people either desperate for new Office content, or who still find 'covfefe' funny."

Some slightly more positive reviews for Space Force were still fairly lukewarm, as IndieWire gave it a B rating while describing it as "serviceable."

This is Carell's first regular starring role in a comedy series since his departure from The Office, and it comes to Netflix as the streamer is set to lose The Office's streaming rights. Space Force is also the second Carell-starring streaming show that looked like a sure bet on paper but was met with unexpectedly mixed-to-negative reviews from critics after Apple's The Morning Show. For those interested in giving Space Force a shot, its liftoff is set for May 29. Brendan Morrow

9:32 a.m.

President Trump has given the Biden campaign a death sentence — literally.

On Tuesday, Trump shared a video declaring former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign effectively over for declaring that black voters who can't decide between him and Trump "ain't black." It first shares the devastating clip, and then cuts to video of Ghana's dancing pallbearers, with Biden's campaign logo on the coffin.

While closing out a Friday interview with Charlamagne tha God on The Breakfast Club, Biden declared that "you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or [President] Trump, you ain't black." A whole lot of people unexpectedly found Biden's comment racist and offensive, and by Friday afternoon, Biden had acknowledged he "shouldn't have been such a wise guy." Kathryn Krawczyk

8:21 a.m.

President Trump continues to baselessly accuse MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of murdering a staffer — and the staffer's widower wants Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to step in.

Trump has recently revived a conspiracy theory suggesting without evidence that Scarborough was involved in the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old staffer in his Florida congressional office, despite the fact that a medical examiner said she died from a heart condition, no foul play was suspected, and Scarborough wasn't in the same state at the time.

Klausutis' widower, Timothy Klausutis, has now written a letter to Dorsey published by The New York Times on Tuesday, in which he says he has "struggled to move forward with my life" because of the "barrage of falsehoods, half-truths, innuendo and conspiracy theories" about his late wife's death, and this "bile and misinformation" is now being spread on Twitter both by the president and by Donald Trump Jr.

"My request is simple: Please delete these tweets," Klausutis writes to Dorsey. "...I'm asking you to intervene in this instance because the president of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain."

Klausutis goes on to ask Dorsey to think about Lori's niece and nephews, as they "have never met their aunt and it pains me to think they would ever have to 'learn' about her this way." He concludes, "My wife deserves better."

The Times' Kara Swisher reports that Twitter executives have been "trying to figure out what to do" about Trump's tweets, and the idea of labeling them as false is being discussed. Swisher, however, argues removing them is the right move, as this would "send a strong message that this behavior is not tolerated." Read the full letter via The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

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