November 21, 2019

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that administers the country's naturalization and immigration system, and two of its newest leaders once worked at an organization that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

John Zadrozny and Robert Law worked with Ken Cuccinelli while he was still acting director of the agency. Cuccinelli is now the second-highest ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security, and Zadrozny, once his top aide, was promoted to acting USCIS chief of staff. Law, who was Cuccinelli's senior adviser, is now acting chief of policy. Zadrozny has pushed for slashing refugee admissions to zero, Politico reported this summer, while Law has publicly denounced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, saying those who support it favor "immigration anarchy."

Both Zadrozny and Law worked at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded in 1979 by anti-immigration activist John Tanton, who once declared that a "Latin onslaught" was coming. The group says its mission is to "reduce overall immigration to a more normal level," but the Southern Poverty Law Center says it is actually a hate group, citing its ties to "white supremacist groups and eugenicists" and people who have made racist remarks.

"These groups, which were basically outside of the mainstream, have been embraced by the Trump administration and their ideas are now policy, which is affecting millions and millions of people of color," the Southern Poverty Law Center's Heidi Beirich told CBS News. FAIR's president, Dan Stein, said the organization has "never had any issue with immigration, per se. All we've ever said is that it should be lawful and that the numbers need to be properly regulated." Catherine Garcia

7:22 a.m.

"There were big campaign fireworks in Iowa today," thanks to former Vice President Joe Biden, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "Biden is on his 'No Malarkey' bus tour," and at an afternoon event, "he said no to one questioner's malarkey," calling the 83-year-old man a "damn liar" for saying Biden sent his son Hunter over to Ukraine to sell a gas company access to former President Barack Obama. "Man, Biden is getting feisty," Colbert said, showing more of the "ugly" exchange.

Biden challenged the man push-ups or a race, told him to "get your words straight, Jack," and then said he was "too old" to vote for him anyway, but it was Biden (probably) calling the guy "fat" that prompted Colbert to stage an intervention: "Sir, I totally get it, you're understandably upset, you love your son — but can I just talk to you over here? You can't call an Iowa voter fat! They deep-fry butter! Their faucets have hot and cold running high-fructose corn syrup! For Pete's sake, their state bird is a funnel cake!"

Pete Buttigeig's campaign also had a little kerfuffle in South Bend, Indiana, late Wednesday, when a white Blacks Live Matter protester interrupted black leaders supporting Buttigieg — and almost got caned by an elderly woman, Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. But the real drama was Biden versus the Iowa voter "parroting Fox News talking points about Joe's son Hunter's activities in Ukraine." He showed the video. Biden "said 'No Malarkey,' and I think he meant it," Kimmel deadpanned.

Biden's sparring with President Trump, too, Jimmy Fallon said on The Tonight Show. In a new ad, "Biden has just called Trump 'the laughingstock of the world.' When he heard that, Rudy Giuliani had to change his Twitter bio." Watch below. Peter Weber

6:05 a.m.

The House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report says that Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal lawyer and fixer, "had three phone calls with a number associated with OMB," or Office of Management and Budget, on April 23, and another 13-minute call from the OMB-associated number in August, both key moments in Trump's alleged Ukraine pressure campaign. But the phone number in question may not actually be from OMB, which froze $400 million in military and security aide for Ukraine at Trump's direction for contested reasons, the White House tells The New York Times and CNN.

The number, (202) 395-0000, is a generic White House switchboard number that could also have connected Giuliani to the White House political shop, the National Security Counsel, or a couple of other White House offices, The Wall Street Journal reports. A senior Intelligence Committee official told CNN that the committee had linked the number to OMB "based on public directories" and continues "to investigate these call records as part of our ongoing work." The White House and Giuliani have declined to turn over subpoenaed records that could "clarify" who Giuliani was talking to at the White House so frequently "at key points during the scheme," the official said.

An OMB official told the Times that a review of call logs showed no one in the office spoke to Giuliani around the times of the April and August calls, and a White House official said Giuliani didn't speak with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff and titular director of OMB. Giuliani, who says he did speak with Mulvaney, seems less sure. He told the Times on Tuesday he "never discussed military assistance" to Ukraine in his calls with OMB, adding "I am expert on so many things it could have been some very esoteric subject." On Wednesday, he texted CNN that he doesn't "remember calling OMB and not about military aid never knew anything about it." Peter Weber

4:14 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially requested articles of impeachment against President Trump on Thursday, and Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer asked the network's senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano for his reaction. "If you ask me if there is enough evidence on which to base articles of impeachment, the answer is yes, because impeachment is essentially political," Napolitano said, adding that Democrats would "get more evidence if they wait to hear from Secretary [Mike] Pompeo, Director [Mick] Mulvaney, former Ambassador [John] Bolton."

Assuming the House impeaches Trump and we "go to a Senate trial, who testifies on behalf of the president?" Hemmer asked. "Himself," Napolitano replied. "You believe that could happen?" Hemmer asked. "I do," Napolitano said. "I think it will be the most dramatic legal-political event in the history of our era, with the president of the United States testifying under oath in front of the chief justice and the full Senate and 200 million people watching on television."

Hot Air's Allahpundit found that implausible. "Can you imagine the horror among Trump's advisers and Senate cronies if he suddenly started chirping about wanting to testify?" he asked. White House Counsel "Pat Cipollone and [Sen.] Lindsey Graham would chloroform him and lock him in the White House basement to prevent it. ... No one around him trusts him to keep his story straight if he has to answer questions under oath. He lies easily and rarely convincingly." Allahpundit talked himself up from a 0.1 percent chance to 49 percent, though, after "considering that American politics has become a reality show, and that Trump is a compulsive narcissist who wrongly thinks he can outsmart anyone, and that he knows the TV ratings for him if he testified really would be as yuuuge as Napolitano says."

In case Napolitano's views on impeaching Trump weren't clear, he told Hemmer on Wednesday that "the Democrats have credibly argued that he committed impeachable offenses," and if he were in the House, he "certainly would" vote to impeach Trump. Peter Weber

3:13 a.m.

After Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended NATO receptions at Buckingham Palace and Lancaster House on Monday evening, he returned to his London hotel and quietly slipped downstairs meet with the Hamilton Society, "a conservative group that included a small number of wealthy Republican donors," CNN reported Thursday, citing an invitation to the event and interviews with several attendees. The off-the-books gathering "only serves to heighten speculation that Pompeo may be eyeing a run for the Senate in Kansas next year," CNN says.

Pompeo called reports that he is preparing to contest an opening Senate seat next year "completely false" as recently as this week, and his political ambitions did not come up when he was mingling with the wealthy Republicans on Monday night, one attendee told CNN, "but everyone was talking about them after he departed." The attendees had to leave their cellphones outside the room so there would be no recording of Pompeo's remarks.

President Trump also met with donors during the London summit, only his Tuesday "roundtable with supporters" was listed on his official schedule. The fundraiser, hosted by Trump Victory, was expected to raise $3 million for Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee, a Trump campaign official told CNN. Peter Weber

2:07 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned a reporter from the conservative Sinclair TV network not to "mess with" her on Thursday, and The Late Show found that advice sound, to the tune of "Bad Bad Leroy Brown."

Before her "spirited" press conference, "Pelosi had a big announcement" on the impeachment inquiry, Stephen Colbert said in his monologue, though he seemed underwhelmed that "we're about to start the beginning of the middle" of impeaching President Trump. He chuckled at Pelosi's notion that "we Catholics don't hate anyone," historically speaking, but he tipped his hat to her moxie: "Nancy Pelosi prays for the president, and I pray for that reporter. 'Uh, Madame Speaker, follow-up question: Can I have my balls back?'"

It was certainly "a feisty and festive day in Washington, D.C," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. Pelosi announced that "the House Judiciary Committee will now draft articles of impeachment against the president of the Untied States. This is big: This will be the first draft Donald Trump can't dodge."

On Wednesday, "the House heard testimony from four legal scholars, three of whom agreed that Trump's abuse of power is worse than any president in the history of presidents," Kimmel said. "These were professors from Stanford Law, Harvard Law, highly respected schools, and so naturally Trump sent his scariest crow out to discredit their credits." But Kellyanne Conway wasn't alone — Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tried to co-opt Willie Nelson to mock Stanford and Harvard Law, succeedingly only in making a mockery of himself, Kimmel laughed.

"What? 'Mama's don't let your babies go to Harvard or Stanford'? That took a weird turn," Trevor Noah agreed at The Daily Show, dramatizing Gohmert's bizarre polemic. While most of Wednesday's legal scholars "agreed that DJT needs to GTFO," he added, "according to the Republicans on the committee, these people weren't saying this because they're constitutional scholars; no, they were saying it because they're drinking Trump haterade." And one of them, Pamela Karlan, gifted them "a joke that backfired hard" involving 13-year-old Barron Trump, Noah sighed. "No, professor, what were you doing? You were brought in for your legal expertise, not to try and make jokes. The C in C-SPAN doesn't stand for comedy." He advised people to stick to making fun of Don Jr. and Eric. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:33 a.m.

President Trump's favorite brand of concealer is having a moment.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post published an article about several undocumented immigrants who used to work at Trump's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. They revealed that the face makeup he uses is by the Swiss brand Bronx Colors in a shade so potent it would regularly stain his golf shirts and they would have to run down to the pro shop to buy replacements.

Bronx Colors was thrilled by this free advertising, and decided to capitalize on its moment in the spotlight. The company has revived its dormant Twitter account and updated its website with a special promotion: for a limited time, buy any item and receive the Boosting Hydrating Concealer in BHC06, "Donald Trump's favorite Bronx Colors product and color," for free. The concealer is already a steal at €6.50 a tube, and offers "beautiful, natural-looking coverage you can count on." Yes, for just €6.50, you too can have that fluorescent orange glow that no tanning bed can legally provide. Catherine Garcia

12:12 a.m.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, but he has shown no rush to quit Congress. He has blown off reporters who've asked when he is resigning, and as of Wednesday, Politico reports, he had not met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to discuss his legal situation. "Our patience is not unlimited," a top Democratic leadership aide told Politico. A GOP lawmaker added that Hunter would be given time to "get his affairs in order .... but not forever."

The House Ethics Committee took the first step in nudging Hunter out the door on Thursday, telling him in a letter to stop voting in the House. If he does vote, the top Democrat and Republican on the committee warned Hunter, "you risk subjecting yourself to action by this committee, and by the House, in addition to any other disciplinary action that may be initiated in connection with your criminal conviction."

"In the past, members who have cut plea deals or been convicted of criminal offenses have come under enormous pressure to leave office quickly or face action by their colleagues, including expulsion," Politico reports. "The late Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio), for instance, was expelled by the House following his conviction on bribery and other corruption charges. Traficant was convicted in April 2002, but then he refused to resign. Following a 'trial' by the House Ethics Committee, Traficant was expelled from the chamber three months later by a 420-1 vote."

Hunter took a plea deal to avoid dozens of federal counts of campaign finance violations for improperly diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal use, including, allegedly, extramarital affairs with lobbyists and congressional staffers. House GOP leaders asked Hunter to give up his committee assignments when he was indicted last year, and when he didn't, they forced his hand. Peter Weber

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