November 8, 2019

Netflix's historical drama The Crown is one of its buzziest, most awards-nabbing hits, but there's at least one person who hasn't sat down to binge it yet: Prince William.

Olivia Colman — who plays Queen Elizabeth in Season 3 of The Crown — bumped into the real Queen Elizabeth's grandson, Prince William, at a dinner, she said on The Graham Norton Show on Friday. But as she put it, "It didn't go very well."

"I was so excited and asked, 'Have you watched it?'" Colman says. "His answer was a firm, 'No.'" And as cold as that might sound, to be fair: How excited would you be if Netflix was making a show about your grandma? Read more at ET Online. Scott Meslow

3:46 a.m.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz appears to be nearing the release of his findings on the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation. Horowitz told Congress last month that his final report was being reviewed, he did not anticipate a lengthy review process, and he expects to release his report with minimal redactions.

In recent days, Horowitz has invited some of the dozens of witnesses his team interviewed and their lawyers to review their testimony over the next two weeks, The Associated Press and The Washington Post report. The witnesses will be able to suggest revisions to the portions of the report that concern their testimony. Horowitz provided a draft of his report to Attorney General William Barr in September, and Barr and other Justice Department officials have been working to clear legal and classification hurdles to the report's release.

Horowitz's review covers the early stages of what later became Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and any role the Trump campaign played. It is one of three investigations of the Russia probe that Trump's Justice Department launched. Barr has been very actively involved in the investigation he assigned to U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is now reportedly considering unknown criminal charges.

Trump and his allies are hoping that the investigations will cast doubt on the legitimacy of the origins of the Russia investigations, which, under Mueller, led to criminal convictions of Trump's former campaign chairman and vice chairman, national security adviser, and other campaign aides. If Horowitz's investigation does not come out next week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) tweeted Tuesday, "I will be very disappointed & left to wonder WHAT THE GAME IS?? Is someone at FBI or DOJ tying IGs hands??" Peter Weber

2:02 a.m.

The streaming service Disney+ went live on Tuesday, complete with technical issues, a little controversy, and formatting pains. Some people likely celebrated by binge-watching old Disney classics, but Jimmy Fallon and Kristen Bell went a different route, singing a five-minute medley of Disney songs on Tuesday's Tonight Show.

The medley roughly follows the release dates of Disney's classic animated films, starting back with 1940's Pinocchio. Fallon and Bell perked up a bit when the songs hit Disney's '90s revival era, and the timeline got complicated with movies like The Lion King, released twice with many of the same songs, and the Pixar movies from before Disney's 2006 acquisition of the animation studio. Bell herself sang the role of Anna in Frozen, and yes, the hit song from that movie also makes the cut in the medley. But there are enough catchy tunes you may not be doomed to have that one stuck in your head after the singing is over.

If classic animation is not your thing, The Week's Jeva Lange has other some other picks from Disney+ for your consideration. Peter Weber

1:21 a.m.

Stephen Colbert's Late Show kicked off Tuesday's "Impeachment Hearing Eve" show with a carol laying out the entire case against President Trump in less that 2 minutes.

Yes, the chill in the air "means we're heading into my favorite season, because it's impeachment eve," Colbert said in his monologue. "Tomorrow is the first day of televised impeachment hearings. I'm so excited, I won't be able to sleep — so, like every other night of the Trump presidency. And I've already decorated my impeachment tree!" He showed off some of the ornaments, including "Quid Pro Snow" and a salty one involving Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Wednesday's first witness, U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor, testified behind closed doors that Trump tied Ukraine military aid directly to investigations of his domestic political rivals and that Rudy Giuliani had opened an "irregular channel" of policymaking on Ukraine, Colbert said. "What's an irregular channel that includes Giuliani? Oh, Fox News!" Ukraine's president was going to announce Trump's investigations on Sept. 13, but Trump released the military aid on Sept. 11 — "not out of any goodness of Trump's heart, but because federal lawyers told the White House Trump had no legal standing to block spending of the Ukraine aid," he explained, switching into Trump voice: "Foiled again by my two arch-nemeses: legal and standing."

The evidence so far has put some Trump defenders in the uncomfortable position of saying what Trump did was wrong but not impeachable, in part because he says similar things in public all the time. "So what?" Colbert said. "Just because you publicly brag about a crime doesn't make it legal! The cops won't leave you alone just because you put up a sign that says 'I [Heart] My Murder Shed.'" Trump did not like that strategy, so Republicans released a memo outlining their talking points, including that Trump had an innocent "state of mind." Colbert had a visual depiction. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:31 a.m.

It looks like Mick Mulvaney is right: President Trump just can't quit him, even as he longer wants or needs him.

Trump has been threatening to fire Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff and nominal director of the Office of Management and Budget, for weeks, The Washington Post reports. Trump is particularly angry that Mulvaney acknowledged in an Oct. 17 press conference that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine to pressure Ukraine's government to investigate his Democratic opponents. But "senior advisers have cautioned Trump that removing Mulvaney at such a sensitive time could be perilous," the Post reports, "both because Mulvaney played an integral role in the decision to freeze the aid, and because of the disruption that would be caused by replacing one of Trump's most senior aides."

"I don't think you'll see him going anywhere until after December," one Trump adviser told the Post. "But the president was very unhappy with that press conference. That was a very bad day for the president." Another senior U.S. official said Trump is "back asking everyone what they think about Mulvaney." White House officials are also irritated by Mulvaney's abandoned legal bid to request court guidance on participating in the House impeachment inquiry.

At the same time, Politico reports, "Mulvaney is isolated, marginalized, and growing more irrelevant to the West Wing staff he's meant to lead during one of the most consequential moments of the Trump presidency." He is reportedly participating in joint White House-congressional GOP meetings to come up with a unified response to the public impeachment hearings, but from the sidelines.

"Mulvaney is kind of a lone wolf," one former senior administration official tells Politico. "This just reinforces what some of us already know: Some people play the inside game. Some people play the outside game. He is playing both poorly right now. Once impeachment is over, my guess is that he is not long for this world" — meaning, reportedly, the White House. Peter Weber

November 12, 2019

Mariann Jeffery just found out her family tree has more branches than she ever imagined.

Jeffery, 92, of Southgate, Michigan, was adopted as a baby and raised an only child. Her biological parents, Margaret Corwin and Thomas Dumas, were teenagers when she was born, and Jeffery had no idea that they separated after her birth. She certainly didn't know that both ended up getting married twice to other people, with Corwin ultimately having 11 additional children and Dumas having eight.

Earlier this year, Robert Dumas was doing genealogy research, and recent home DNA testing results showed that he had an aunt: Jeffery. He started digging around, and learned she had a total of 19 half-siblings, born between 1928 and 1948. After getting in touch with Jeffery, a big party was planned for her to meet her new relatives — including all 11 of her half-siblings who are still living.

Jeffery was astounded when she learned about her family history, and quipped that her newfound relatives are "all good looking." Her half-brother Robert Corwin, 75, told The Detroit Free Press that the reunion made him emotional. "This is truly amazing to find out after eons that you have a living sibling," he said. Catherine Garcia

November 12, 2019

President Trump is angry at Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, due to his handling of the Ukraine whistleblower complaint, and has repeatedly brought up firing him, four people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times.

The whistleblower flagged a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals. The complaint was filed in August, and after Atkinson found it to be credible, he forwarded the report to Joseph Maguire, the government's top intelligence official. Under the law, Maguire was required to turn the complaint over to Congress, but he did not provide it right away.

Atkinson told lawmakers about the complaint, and amid pressure from Democrats, Maguire finally gave it to Congress. Maguire said the Justice Department told him Atkinson didn't have authority to deliver the complaint because Trump is not a member of the intelligence community. Trump appointed Atkinson in 2017, and now he thinks he is disloyal and conspiring with Democrats, the Times reports.

Recently, Trump has mentioned several times to aides that he wants to fire Atkinson, but two people familiar with the matter told the Times they believe he is just venting, not seriously contemplating getting rid of him. Inspectors general can be fired by the president, but only if they are deemed incompetent or there's a case of misconduct. Catherine Garcia

November 12, 2019

After attending a private dinner last year with President Trump, Lev Parnas told associates that he personally discussed Ukraine with Trump, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

This is the first indication that Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, directly interacted with Trump about Ukraine, the Post notes. During the April 2018 dinner at Trump's Washington hotel, held for major donors to a pro-Trump super PAC, Parnas told Trump that he believed then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was hostile to the president and his interests, the Post reports. Parnas told associates that immediately, Trump suggested Yovanovitch should be fired.

Parnas and Fruman later began working with Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to dig up on dirt on Democrats in Ukraine, and a former senior administration official told the Post that Giuliani regularly shared with Trump information he received from the pair. Trump has said he does not know Parnas or Fruman, and it's "possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody," but the official told the Post: "It's just not true that he had no idea who these guys were. He knew Lev particularly."

Trump's July discussion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son is what launched the House impeachment inquiry. Last month, Parnas and Fruman were arrested and charged with funneling foreign money into U.S. campaigns. For more on the Parnas-Trump connection and Giuliani's role in the whole matter, visit The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

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