Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) just articulated one of the main rationales certain Republican senators are giving for not voting to impeach President Trump for what they agree are his misdeeds regarding Ukraine and Joe Biden. "I believe that the president has learned from this case," Collins told CBS News anchor Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday. "The president has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson. ... I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future."
"The president's call was wrong," Collins added. "The president of the United States should not be asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival. That is just improper. It was far from a perfect call."
Trump, it appears, disagrees with Collins. "It was a perfect call," Trump told O'Donnell and other TV news anchors during a two-hour lunch ahead of his State of the Union address, according to The Washington Post. He again insisted he did nothing wrong. The lunch was off-the-record for journalists who attended — nobody from the Post was there, and CNN was pointedly not invited — but Trump's lack of contrition over impeachment matches other reporting and Trump's frequent public statements.
Trump also mocked his former national security adviser John Bolton during the lunch, saying he wants the White House to block publication of Bolton's forthcoming book and jabbing Bolton for always insisting on being referred to as "ambassador," despite earning the title during a brief, non-Senate-confirmed tenure as United Nations ambassador under President George W. Bush, the Post and CNN report. Trump discussed his potential Democratic rivals, reportedly calling Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "nasty" and fixating on former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) moved to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Tuesday in response to comments she made about the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The House is expected to vote on the resolution later in the afternoon.
Last week, Waters joined protesters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, for a demonstration related mainly to the recent police shooting of Daunte Wright, though George Floyd's death and the Chauvin trial served as an undercurrent. While there, the congresswoman said that if Chauvin was acquitted, demonstrators should "stay on the street" and "get more confrontational" so "they know we mean business."
Her words didn't sit well with Republican lawmakers, who saw it as inciting violence. Additionally, Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the Chauvin trial, suggested to Chauvin's defense attorneys that her remarks could be grounds for an appeal.
The situation escalated a bit on Tuesday, with Democratic and Republican lawmakers going back-and-forth. At one point, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters that McCarthy should "sit this one out" and "clean up [his] own mess," referring to some of the more controversial or scandal-ridden figures in the House GOP, including Reps. Laura Boebert (R-Colo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
McCarthy clearly didn't heed Jeffries' advice, but Democrats, who hold a slim majority, are reportedly confident they'll kill the censure. CNN's Manu Raju reports that one of their main arguments is that Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who many considered to have played a role in riling up the pro-Trump mob that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, weren't censured for their remarks, making it unfair to single out Waters. Tim O'Donnell
Bad Bunny is stepping out of the ring and onto the stage in 2022, and he's already breaking records.
Pre-sale tickets for the Grammy winner's 2022 tour, El Último Tour del Mundo, went live on April 15, and set the record for the fastest-selling tour on Ticketmaster since 2018's Beyoncé and Jay-Z On the Run II.
Eager fans bought more than 600,000 tickets in a week, and the scalping market is booming, with tickets selling for an average of $2,400 — that's 10 times their original price, Billboard reports. Fans joked it was more difficult to get Bad Bunny tickets than a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, citing long queues and a Ticketmaster crash.
After a year without concerts, live music is inching closer. A March stadium concert in Barcelona was safely attended by 5,000 people, and Ticketmaster has reportedly been working on a way to vet vaccination status and COVID test results for concertgoers.
But a full-scale return of concerts depends on vaccination levels and COVID-19 variants, experts told Rolling Stone. While outdoor concerts may work this summer, industry insiders aren't expecting a full-scale return until early 2022, which is when Bad Bunny's 35-city North American tour kicks off. Billboard reports the tour is projected to make between $63 million and $84 million, and the scalping market could make double that. Taylor Watson
Emilia Clarke is trading in dragons for Skrulls as she heads to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Game of Thrones star is in negotiations to join Marvel's upcoming Disney+ series Secret Invasion, according to Varietyand The Hollywood Reporter. The show is set to revolve around the infiltration of Earth by shape-shifting aliens and will see Samuel L. Jackson reprise his role of Nick Fury from Marvel's films. Ben Mendelsohn is also returning as Talos, his Skrull character from 2019's Captain Marvel, while Kingsley Ben-Adir will play the main villain, per Variety.
This would be Clarke's first role in the Marvel universe after she played Daenerys Targaryen on HBO's Game of Thrones for eight seasons, though she's no stranger to non-Thrones franchises, having also starred in Terminator and Star Wars films. She'll also be another Thrones cast member to head into Marvel's world, as Jon Snow actor Kit Harington and Robb Stark actor Richard Madden are set to make their MCU debuts in Eternals this November.
It hasn't been revealed who Clarke might play in Secret Invasion, but her reported casting comes just a day after it was revealed that the show was adding another major star: Olivia Colman. At this point, the day when it's simpler just to keep track of who isn't in the Marvel universe rather than who is might be fast approaching. Brendan Morrow
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is calling on investor Leon Cooperman to come face her and other lawmakers in a Senate Finance Committee hearing next week.
Cooperman, a billionaire investor and one of Warren's most prominent critics, is considering her invitation, which he received via a letter from Warren on Monday, reports CNBC. The subcommittee, chaired by Warren, has titled the April 27 hearing "Creating Opportunity Through a Fairer Tax System" in hopes of discussing the senator's wealthtaxproposal.
Warren and Cooperman clashed during Warren's presidential campaign as a wealth tax became a central pillar of her campaign. Warren's latest Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act proposal seeks to "level the playing field and narrow the racial wealth gap" through increased taxes for the top 0.05 percent, she says. With a net worth of over $2 billion, Cooperman would be affected by the bill, which proposes a 3 percent annual tax on wealth exceeding $1 billion.
Cooperman previously argued Warren had no regard for the American Dream, and participated in an emotional 2019 interview with CNBC decrying her proposal and her "vilification of billionaires." In return, Warren's campaign created a mug with the tagline "BILLIONAIRE TEARS."
Leon, you were able to succeed because of the opportunities this country gave you. Now why don't you pitch in a bit more so everyone else has a chance at the American dream, too? https://t.co/OODIM7RcRn
In a March 2021 interview, Cooperman told CNBC that if Warren's tax proposal passes, Americans should buy gold as a way of "hiding their wealth," and said while he believes the wealthy should pay more, Warren's strategy is an idea with "no merit." The saga may come to an end if Cooperman agrees to face lawmakers in the congressional hearing, where Warren plans to allow Cooperman to voice his concerns about her bill. Warren has requested he RSVP by Thursday. Anne St. Jean
Johnson & Johnson is set to resume shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe as the pause in the U.S. continues.
The European Medicines Agency on Tuesday said that "unusual blood clots" should be "listed as very rare side effects" of Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, but it determined the vaccine's benefits "outweigh the risks of side effects," Axiosand The New York Times report.
The agency, after reviewing eight cases of rare blood clots among the millions of people in the United States who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, found a "possible link" between the vaccine and the blood clots, but it said the "risk of having this side effect is very low."
"Healthcare professionals and people who will receive the vaccine should be aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within three weeks of vaccination," the agency also said.
U.S. health officials last week called for a pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while they examined these rare blood clotting cases. Johnson & Johnson says it will now resume shipment of its vaccine in the European Union, Norway, and Iceland. Meanwhile, the Times notes that an expert panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is set to meet later this week, and Dr. Anthony Fauci has predicted the vaccine's pause won't extend beyond this Friday. Brendan Morrow
Archaeologist Julie Schablitsky believes she has found the site on Maryland's Eastern Shore where Harriet Tubman lived with her family during her teenage years, state and federal officials announced Tuesday, per The Washington Post.
Schablitsky, who works for Maryland's State Highway Administration, had been searching in the isolated area in Dorchester County for signs of the long-vanished cabin for some time when she found a coin from 1808 with her metal detector that suggested she had finally hit the jackpot. After that, officials said, bricks, pottery, a button, and a slew of other household items — all dated to the right time — further pointed to the location being the site of the property owned by Tubman's father, Ben Ross, whose enslaver freed him and granted him the piece of land. Tubman and her siblings were still enslaved (and their parents were far from safe) while they sheltered there.
The discovery is likely a crucial one and should help provide a lot of context to the famed abolitionist's story, experts told the Post. The wooded area where the cabin stood became Tubman's "classroom," biographer Kate Clifford Larson told the Post, explaining that it's likely where, with the help of her "committed" father, Tubman learned how to survive in such terrain and "read the night sky," skills that aided her during her days as a clandestine Underground Railroad conductor. Read more about the discovery at The Washington Post.Tim O'Donnell
With the jury now sequestered and cut off from the outside world, President Biden felt comfortable weighing in on Derek Chauvin's murder trial Tuesday.
Biden said he's praying for the "right verdict" and that the "evidence is overwhelming," indicating he believes Chauvin was responsible for George Floyd's death last May. He added that he has also spoken to Floyd's family over the phone.
President Biden says he spoke to George Floyd's family and he's "praying the verdict is the right verdict" in the Chauvin trial. pic.twitter.com/gxf2bjxlK2
Although Biden's stance on the trial seems clear, he once again called for "peace and tranquility" in response to the verdict, no matter what it is, amid government concerns about a potentially violent public reaction to an acquittal.
Some observers questioned Biden's choice to opine on the trial at all, even with the jury unable to access the public discourse at this point. Tim O'Donnell
The Chauvin jury is sequestered, and in theory cut off from news from the outside world, which should reduce the chances of Biden's comment leading to a mistrial. But still seems like a reckless thing to say.