January 18, 2021

Rudy Giuliani has been hard at work crafting the defense for President Trump's upcoming Senate impeachment trial. But on Sunday, he told ABC News that he could no longer represent Trump in the trial because of his own involvement in said trial.

The House last week impeached Trump for a second time, charging him for "incitement of insurrection" after his supporters launched a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Before the riot, Trump gave a rally speech in which he repeated unfounded claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 election, called the election outcome an "assault on our democracy," and urged supporters to "walk down to the Capitol." Giuliani spoke before Trump took the stage, and called for "trial by combat" against the Democrats.

Before abandoning the case, Giuliani told ABC News that his plan was to essentially argue that the president's voter fraud claims were true, prompting some eyebrow raising from Republican strategist Karl Rove:

It's not clear who will represent Trump in the trial now, as "many of the lawyers involved in the president's first impeachment, including White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputies and outside lawyers Jay Sekulow and Jane and Marty Raskin, do not plan to return for the second trial," ABC reports. Giuliani was one of Trump's last remaining "steadfast defenders," The Washington Post says, but Trump recently refused to pay Giuliani's $20,000-per-day legal fees. Jessica Hullinger

4:56 a.m.

"Today, President Biden met with six state governors to discuss ways that they can get more Americans vaccinated," Jimmy Fallon said on Tuesday's Tonight Show. "They spent about 15 minutes coming up with ideas and three hours talking about if Bennifer is back." The Biden administration "is teaming up with McDonald's to raise vaccine awareness, so get ready for the all new McDerna," he joked. "You know we're living through historic times when McDonald's is giving public health advice."

"Meanwhile, over in Italy, a nurse accidentally gave a woman six doses of the Pfizer vaccine in one shot," Fallon said. "I'm 99 percent sure this is how every Marvel movie starts."

The six-dose vaccine shot "was all part of Olive Garden's famous promotion, unlimited needle sticks!" Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. "There are so many hopeful signs, at long last, that America may be emerging from the pandemic," including that "more than 58 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one shot," kids 12-15 will soon be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, "and Bennifer is back! Nature is healing."

New York City will start vaccinating people at subway stops, and Biden announced Tuesday that Uber and Lyft will drive people to and from vaccination appointments for free, Colbert noted. "This is great for patients and even greater for any Uber drivers who have thought, 'I love working during the pandemic but I just wish there was a way to make sure that 100 percent of my passengers were unvaccinated.'"

The Late Show also found a cure for another contagious disease, "Foxitis."

Vaccination drives are "just what the subway needs: More random band-aids and needles on the ground," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. New York City is also incentivizing vaccinations with "free food, free tickets to events, and the opportunity for one lucky vaccinee to to be starting quarterback for the New York Jets this season."

"Here in California, Caitlyn Jenner's learning that running for governor isn't exactly like running in the Olympics," Kimmel said. "She is polling at 6 percent in our upcoming recall election, well behind two other Republicans. You know who those other Republicans are who are ahead of Caitlyn Jenner? No, no one does, no one has any idea, because none of them were on the E! network." He ended with a surprise for the menthol soap guy who went viral on TikTok. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:15 a.m.

"A conspiracy ripping through the anti-vax world may finally drive some anti-maskers to do the unthinkable: wear a mask and keep their distance," Vice News reports. The conspiracy theory claims, falsely, that vaccinated people "shed" certain proteins that can infect unvaccinated people and cause some sort of harm, usually tied to reproduction. ("It is biologically impossible for a vaccinated person to spread the vaccine to someone who hasn’t been vaccinated," The Associated Press says.)

For those who do believe that vaccinated people can somehow infect them with vaccine proteins — one private school in Miami barred vaccinated teachers from interacting with unvaccinated students — some "anti-vax influencers" are suggesting they protect themselves by "social distancing, the very strategy the have long decried," Vice reports. Others "conspiracy theorists are wondering if perhaps their longtime bane, the mask, could become their salvation."

Several people who study the anti-vax and anti-mask movements said they are skeptical mask-wearing will take hold in those communities. Other observers found the conundrum delightful and perhaps a little too perfect to be true.

In any case, "while the conspiracy is baseless, the fear it is causing vaccine skeptics is very real," Vice says. "And where there is a fear, there's money to be made." You can read more at Vice News. Peter Weber

1:50 a.m.

Over the last 20 years, so many forests have regenerated worldwide that they could fill up France, according to a new World Wildlife Fund study.

There were different ways the forests were regenerated — in some areas, nothing was done, while in others native trees were planted, invasive plants removed, and livestock fenced off, BBC News reports. Natural forest regeneration is "cheaper, richer in carbon, and better for biodiversity than actively planted forests," WWF's William Baldwin-Cantello said.

The documented forest regeneration occurred in northern Mongolia, Canada, central Africa, and Brazil, where an area about the size of the Netherlands has regrown since 2000. These regenerated forests could absorb the equivalent of 5.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide, which is more than the U.S. emits every year, BBC News reports.

To "realize the potential of forests as a climate solution," there needs to be more than just the restoration of natural forests, Baldwin-Cantello said. The world must also combat deforestation. Catherine Garcia

12:38 a.m.

"Israel versus Palestine — and I know that even saying that sentence means I'm losing followers online and I'm on the verge of being blocked on all social media and in life," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "But guys, we have to talk about it. Because this is one of the most difficult stories that has existed in our lifetime," even more than India versus Pakistan, China versus Tibet, or "white people versus rhythm."

Israel versus Palestine "is a 73-year-old beef that has that has stumped everybody," Noah said, and because it has gone on for so long, "people forget that it is ongoing — that is, until there are flare-ups that the world cannot ignore," like what happened this week. What makes the conflict so difficult to discuss is "all the layers that are packed into it," he said. "No matter how much you try and break it down, people are always going to say that you're leaving out some crucial piece of context," and "they're probably right."

There's the Holocaust, Britain's seizure of Palestine, clashing religions, and surrounding countries with their own agendas, Noah said. "And you know what makes it even harder is the fact that who's right and who's wrong always seems to change depending on when you start measuring time. This week was the perfect, perfect example of it." But "I don't want to have that argument," he said, "the part where we say who's good and who's bad and who started it. Let's step away from that and instead ask a different question. Instead, let's look at who's dead and who's alive this week."

It's just not a fair fight, Noah concluded, "and I know this is contentious, and I know people are going to hate me for this, but I just want to ask an honest question here: If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how hard should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?" He ran through some imperfect personal analogies, admitted he didn't have any answers, and left viewers with one question: "When you have this much power, what is your responsibility?" Peter Weber

12:37 a.m.

The reason why some gas stations are running out of fuel isn't because of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday, but rather because people are panic buying.

"Much as there was no cause for, say, hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline," Granholm told reporters.

Running from Texas to New Jersey, the Colonial Pipeline transports 45 percent of the East Coast's fuel supply. It shut down on Friday when the company learned it was the target of a ransomware attack, but the pipeline is expected to be "substantially operational" by the end of the week, Granholm said.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 gas stations in the South and along the East Coast reported being out of fuel. There are long lines at other stations, and this is due to a "supply crunch" rather than a worrisome shortage, Granholm said. With summer approaching, gasoline prices are starting to go up, and Granholm warned gas station owners there will be "no tolerance for price gouging." Catherine Garcia

May 11, 2021

California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner told CNN, in an interview broadcast Tuesday, that she "didn't even vote" in the 2020 election. But "Los Angeles County records show she actually did cast a ballot last fall," Politico reported Tuesday night, with notarized proof.

Jenner didn't leave much wriggle room, telling CNN's Dana Bash she didn't vote for president or any of the 12 ballot measures because "I didn't see any propositions that I really had one side or the other." So on Election Day, Jenner said, "I just couldn't get excited about it. And I just wound up going to play golf and I said, eh, I'm not doing that."

An unidentified Jenner campaign spokesperson told Politico's Carla Marinucci that Jenner voted on "some local issues." But even if that's true, Marinucci writes, "her claim to be a non-voter in that seminal 2020 election was baffling for a gubernatorial candidate trying to establish her political credibility, especially since records show she did participate in the contest."

GOP strategist Tim Rosales told Politico he's heard of lots of candidates who said they voted and didn't, "but I've never heard it the opposite way, where somebody said that I didn't vote" and actually did. "I can imagine, having been on the inside of these types of high profile campaigns, you've got a lot of a lot of people scrambling right now," he added.

Claremont McKenna College's Jack Pitney, a former GOP operative, said if Jenner were "someone who is serious about public life," she "would know there is record of who votes — and who doesn't." He likened Jenner's campaign to "a reality show," adding "this gets her attention. Mission accomplished."

A new poll from the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found opposition to the California gubernatorial recall rising to 49 percent, with 35 percent in favor. Jenner won only 6 percent of voters pressed to pick a candidate if Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is recalled. Peter Weber

May 11, 2021

The fighting between Israel and Hamas escalated on Tuesday to levels not seen since the 50-day war in the summer of 2014.

An Israeli airstrike targeting an apartment building in Gaza City left three senior members of the Islamic Jihad militant group dead, as well as 10 children and a woman, The Associated Press reports. Another airstrike destroyed a 12-story building that housed Hamas offices; because warning shots were fired, civilians were able to flee, and no casualties have been reported. At least 35 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the fighting began, AP says.

Hamas started firing rockets into Israel on Monday, and in response to Tuesday's Israeli airstrikes, launched hundreds more into the country, killing three women and injuring dozens more. One rocket hit a bus in Holon, wounding three people, including a young girl. There have also been reports in cities across Israel of synagogues, Jewish-owned business, and cars owned by Arabs being set on fire.

The current conflict began last week after Palestinians held demonstrations against Israel's planned evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. Over the course of several days, Palestinians and Israeli forces clashed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews. Police used tear gas and stun grenades inside the mosque, and the Palestinians in turn threw stones and chairs at officers.

During a televised address Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has fired at hundreds of targets, and Hamas and smaller militant groups "have paid, and I tell you here, will pay a heavy price for their aggression." He added that the "campaign will take time. With determination, unity, and strength, we will restore security to the citizens of Israel." Qatar, Egypt, and the United Nations are trying to work out a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Catherine Garcia

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