November 15, 2019

Former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone was found guilty on all seven counts of obstruction on Friday, including witness tampering and making false statements to the House Intelligence Committee during its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Stone had pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The verdict came after two days' worth of deliberations, USA Today reports, and arrived just as the Intelligence Committee was questioning former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in relation to claims that Trump and his personal lawyer and fixer Rudy Giuliani tried to promote their personal interests in the country.

Stone was arrested in January, on an indictment from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, which asserted that he had lied to Congress about his ties to Wikileaks (you can revisit the indictment's five most staggering details here). Prosecutors made the case that Stone's falsehoods about his contacts with Wikileaks and the website's founder, Julian Assange, were made to protect the Trump administration from embarrassment. Wikileaks released emails that had been hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign during the explosive days leading up to the 2016 election.

Stone was also found guilty of bullying his friend, the radio host Randy Credico, into backing up his version of the story, The Washington Post writes. In texts to Credico, Stone apparently wrote: "You are a rat. A stoolie. Prepare to die."

Witness tampering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while Stone's other counts each carry a maximum sentence of five years. "If Stone is convicted, under U.S. sentencing guidelines he would likely face much less jail time as a first-time non-violent offender," Reuters reports. Jeva Lange

10:22 p.m.

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson wants to change the way nondisclosure agreements are used.

In an op-ed published Thursday night in The New York Times, Carlson said that when she settled her 2016 retaliation and sexual harassment complaint against Roger Ailes, the late Fox News chairman and CEO, she signed a nondisclosure agreement, which prevents her from talking about her experiences at the network. Nondisclosure agreements were "originally designed to safeguard the sharing of proprietary corporate information (think the formula for Coca-Cola), not to protect predatory behavior," she writes, and her NDA with Fox News has essentially "forced" her into silence.

Two 2019 projects — the movie Bombshell and the Showtime limited series The Loudest Voice — focus on Carlson and other Fox News employees who filed harassment claims, but because of the NDA, she "cannot consult with filmmakers, writers, journalists, or anyone else telling my story ... nor can I comment on the accuracy of a final product." Carlson wants her "voice back," she said. "I want it back for me, and for all those silenced by forced arbitration and NDAs."

NBC recently announced it will release former employees from their nondisclosure agreements, and Carlson hopes Fox News will follow suit. "We have a right to say what is factually correct or incorrect about what happened," she said. "We have a right to our voices and our truths. I urge executives at Fox to do what's right and take this step today." Catherine Garcia

9:16 p.m.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) sharply rebuked President Trump during the House Judiciary Committee's hearing on Thursday night, saying that because of his "selfish" actions, Ukrainians died.

"In my colleagues' efforts to defend this president, you want him to be someone he's not," Swalwell said. "You want him to be someone he is telling you he is not." Trump's decision to freeze security aid to Ukraine, given to help the country fight Russian military aggression, resulted in the deaths of innocent Ukrainians, he continued, adding, "People died, and you may not want to think about that, but they died when this selfish, selfish president withheld the aid for his own personal gain."

Swalwell then pivoted to Russia. "To my colleagues who believe we have such an anti-corruption president in the White House, I ask you this: How many times did this anti-corruption president meet with the most corrupt leader in the world, Vladimir Putin?" he said. "How many times did he talk to him? Sixteen times, between meetings and phone conversations. And how many conditions did the president put on Vladimir Putin to get such an audience with the most powerful person in the world at the highest office? Zero conditions. That's who you're defending. So keep defending him. We will defend the Constitution, our national security, and our elections." Catherine Garcia

8:29 p.m.

A resolution recognizing the 1915 Armenian genocide unanimously passed the Senate on Thursday.

"From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire carried out a force deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians, of whom 1.5 million were killed," bill co-author Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said. "We must never be silent in the face of atrocity."

Turkey has denied a genocide occurred, and after the House passed its version of the bill in October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained about it to President Trump, NBC News reports. Previously, the resolution was blocked three separate times by three Republican senators, at the request of the White House.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a co-author of the bill, said he is "thankful this resolution has passed at a time in which there are still survivors of the genocide. [They] will be able to see the Senate acknowledge what they went through." Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also praised the move, calling it a "victory of justice and truth. On behalf of the Armenian people worldwide, I express our profound appreciation to the Senate for this landmark legislation." Catherine Garcia

7:14 p.m.

During the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearing on Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tried to shift the focus away from President Trump to former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.

Gaetz introduced an amendment to the articles of impeachment that would refer to the "corrupt" hiring of Hunter Biden by the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Hunter Biden has a history of alcohol and drug abuse, which Gaetz gleefully mentioned. "It's a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car," he said.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) was next to speak, and without uttering any names, he reminded the entire room that Gaetz himself was arrested for driving under the influence (the case was later dropped). "I would say the pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do," Johnson said. "I don't know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse, been busted in a DUI, I don't know, but if I did, I wouldn't raise it against anyone on this committee. I don't think it's proper." As Johnson spoke, CSPAN's cameras zoomed in on Gaetz, who looked pained. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

5:33 p.m.

If you love Keanu Reeves, clear your schedule on May 21, 2021, because Hollywood is treating you to a double feature.

Warner Bros. has announced that The Matrix 4 will arrive in theaters on that date, which also happens to be the date Lionsgate had previously scheduled for the fourth John Wick movie. Honestly: Just cut out the middleman and give us the John Wick vs. Neo movie of our collective dreams. Read more at The Wrap. Scott Meslow

5:22 p.m.

Let's hope Vacation is all you ever wanted, because you're about to get a lot more of it.

The Griswold family — immortalized on the big screen in the movies Vacation, European Vacation, Christmas Vacation, Vegas Vacation, and an Ed Helms-starring reboot you probably forgot about — is bound for the small screen, reports Deadline.

The new TV series, titled The Griswolds, will premiere on the upcoming streaming service HBO Max, and promises to explore the family's "daily lives in the suburbs of modern-day Chicago," because nothing says "Vacation adaptation" like a bunch of people sitting around at home. Read more at Deadline. Scott Meslow

4:55 p.m.

The upcoming Game of Thrones prequel spinoff House of the Dragon is set hundreds of years before the events of the original series, which makes it rather unlikely that fan favorites like Tyrion Lannister or Arya Stark will be popping in for cameos.

But one Game of Thrones actor who could actually, plausibly appear in House of the Dragon says she might be down to reprise her role: Carie van Houten, who played the "red witch" Melisandre.

Melisandre was eventually revealed to be very, very old in one of many Game of Thrones plot twists that didn't actually go anywhere — but hey, at least that gives the spinoff something to explore. Read more at Entertainment Weekly. Scott Meslow

See More Speed Reads