September 13, 2019

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro's debate swipe at former Vice President Joe Biden's memory was a big miss, according to MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski slammed Castro Friday after he questioned Biden's memory at the third Democratic debate and asked if he "already" forgot what he said "two minutes ago" during a discussion on health care. This attack, Brzezinski argued, was a "low blow."

"Castro essentially implied that Biden is senile," Brzezinski said. "... There were so many things wrong with that."

Scarborough agreed, calling this a "cheap shot," a "low blow," and "ageism," concluding that "it is hard to imagine how Julián Castro could have looked much worse last night."

Of course, there was also the issue that, as the hosts pointed out, Castro appears to have been wrong. Castro has since argued his swipe was, in fact, correct and that he wasn't trying to go after Biden's age.

But the 2020 Democrat has been taking post-debate fire for this, including from some of his fellow candidates, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) saying it reminded her of something President Trump would tweet. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), however, has defended Castro, saying, "there are definitely moments when you listen to Joe Biden and you just wonder." Brendan Morrow

10:06 p.m.

During her testimony before House lawmakers on Monday, Fiona Hill, President Trump's former top Russia adviser, said that Rudy Giuliani wanted to see certain things happen in Ukraine in order to benefit Trump, so he went around U.S. officials and career diplomats, a person familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Hill met with lawmakers from the three House committees investigating Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Throughout her 10-hour, closed-door testimony, she shared her concerns over Giuliani's role in Ukrainian foreign policy, the Post says. Hill was a member of the National Security Council, but left one week before Trump's call with Zelensky.

Hill also reportedly praised Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, and told lawmakers she was angry when Yovanovitch was removed in May, after Giuliani pressured Trump to recall her from the post. Last week, Yovanovitch testified as part of the impeachment inquiry, and said Giuliani and some of his Ukrainian allies saw her as a threat, standing in the way of their political and financial interests. Catherine Garcia

9:03 p.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's former senior adviser Michael McKinley is set to testify privately on Wednesday before the three Congressional committees leading the House impeachment inquiry, two officials involved in the matter told The Washington Post on Monday.

McKinley, a career diplomat who served as ambassador to Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, stepped down last week. He was not directly involved with Ukraine, and reportedly resigned because he felt Pompeo did not do enough to publicly support State Department personnel caught up in the Ukraine scandal.

A person with knowledge of the matter told CNN McKinley will appear for a transcribed interview, indicating he is not coming under subpoena. Catherine Garcia

8:27 p.m.

Federal investigators in Manhattan are taking a close look at Rudy Giuliani's business dealings in Ukraine, as well as his bank records, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

They want to know about meetings he held and specific work he did in the country. Investigators have been questioning witnesses since at least August regarding Giuliani's relationship with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, business associates who were arrested last week and accused of campaign finance violations, the Journal reports. The scope of the inquiry is unknown.

Giuliani, who is President Trump's personal lawyer, told the Journal on Monday he has done nothing wrong, and "they can look at my Ukraine business all they want." Giuliani is ensnared in Trump's Ukraine scandal, and as part of the impeachment inquiry, House committees have heard testimony from witnesses regarding Giuliani's role in the affair, including how he pushed Trump to remove Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine. Catherine Garcia

6:44 p.m.

Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo are the joint winners of the 2019 Booker Prize, it was announced Monday.

First awarded in 1969, the Booker Prize is one of the literary world's most distinguished honors. "We were told quite firmly that the rules state that you can only have one winner," Peter Florence, the chair of the judges, said. However, "the consensus was to flout the rules and divide this year's prize to celebrate two winners." After asking the prize's trustees three times if they could give the award to two winners, the trustees finally relented.

Atwood won for The Testaments, the sequel to 1985's The Handmaid's Tale; she also received the award in 2000 for The Blind Assassin. Evaristo won for Girl, Woman, Other, becoming the first black woman to win the Booker Prize. "I hope that honor doesn't last too long," she said. Atwood and Evaristo will split the $63,000 prize money. Catherine Garcia

5:48 p.m.

We officially have our new Catwoman.

Zoe Kravitz is set to take on the role of Selina Kyle in The Batman, in which she'll star opposite Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader, The Hollywood Reporter writes. This decision was reportedly reached at the end of a "rigorous testing process," during which Ana de Armas, Ella Balinska, and Eiza Gonzalez were also considered for the part.

Director Matt Reeves confirmed the news on Twitter by way of an image of Kravitz from HBO's Big Little Lies.

Kravitz will be the latest actress to take on the iconic Batman character on film after Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Lee Meriwether. Meriwether, Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman on the original Batman TV series, while recently, Camren Bicondova took on the role on Fox's Gotham.

In addition to Pattinson and Kravitz, The Batman is also reportedly eying Jonah Hill for a key villain role, potentially the Riddler. The film, which comes after Ben Affleck hung up his cape following three Batman appearances, hits theaters in 2021. Brendan Morrow

5:39 p.m.

NBA players don't seem very happy with the league, commissioner Adam Silver, or Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey right now.

Silver held a meeting last week in Shanghai with players from the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, who were there for an exhibition game, ESPN reports. The players reportedly vented about being asked by local Chinese reporters to address the controversial situation that arose following a now-deleted tweet sent by Morey that offered support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy, anti-Beijing protests before Silver himself spoke on the matter. China, which is home to a massive NBA fan base, was angered by Morey's tweet, placing the NBA's relationship with the country in jeopardy.

It's become a pretty big deal stateside, as well, with numerous coaches and players getting thrown into hot water over their attempts to answer questions about the fiasco, which have frequently received criticism from across the political spectrum.

While the players seemed unhappy with Silver and the media, they also reportedly questioned whether Morey will be disciplined. It's unclear if the players think Morey — whom the NBA has sort of, but not really defended — should face consequences, but ESPN reports that they at least felt it was hypocritical of Silver to let him off the hook; several players reportedly said they believe they would have been disciplined if they were in Morey's shoes. Read more at ESPN. Tim O'Donnell

5:24 p.m.

Mark Zuckerberg is firing up the grill for the GOP.

The Facebook founder and CEO has received a lot of flack, including from President Trump and GOP lawmakers, for apparently holding a bias against conservative viewpoints. So in what seems to be an attempt to patch things up, Zuckerberg has been inviting conservative commentators and even one lawmaker to "informal talks and small, off-the-record dinners" over the past few months to discuss "free speech" and "partnerships," Politico reports.

Previous reports have indicated that Zuckerberg has been meeting for years with conservatives to "build trust" — not that it has curbed allegations of bias. But Politico's report details just who those conservatives are and how they feel about the meetings. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Zuckerberg met up earlier this year after Graham suggested Facebook had become a monopoly, a spokesperson confirmed. Zuckerberg also reportedly met with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who suggested Zuckerberg has led to "the death of free speech in America," and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who has called out purported "big tech bias."

Carlson and Hewitt declined to comment to Politico, but other conservatives who've talked to Zuckerberg seemed to be happy with the results. "I'm under no illusions that he's a conservative but I think he does care about some of our concerns," one person familiar with gatherings said. Another person said Zuckerberg is making a "genuine" effort to "make things right by conservatives."

Read more at Politico, and find Zuckerberg's response below. Kathryn Krawczyk

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