Friendly Fire
September 24, 2020

Republican congressmembers are calling out President Trump's election fraud allegations without actually calling him out.

In a Wednesday press conference, Trump refused to say if he would accept a loss in the 2020 election, instead baselessly suggesting Democrats are running a "scam" that "will end up in the Supreme Court." Democrats roundly accused Trump of acting like a "dictator," but Republicans waited until Thursday to issue gentler, less direct criticisms of their own.

The House's No. 3 Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) ensured in a tweet that "the peaceful transfer of power is enshrined in our Constitution."

While Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) guaranteed even though "it may take longer than usual to know the outcome," the 2020 presidential election will produce a "valid" winner. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) meanwhile brushed off Trump's comments as merely saying "crazy stuff," but said "We've always had a peaceful transition of power. It's not going to change."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) capped them off with a rare criticism, ensuring whoever wins the election will be inaugurated in January, and "there will be an orderly transition" of power when that happens. Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn Krawczyk

June 3, 2019

Democratic presidential candidates may have found a new singular enemy, and it's not President Trump.

Over the weekend, fourteen candidates descended on the California Democratic Party's convention and made it clear they're not onboard with Joe Biden's campaign to bring back the old America. And while they didn't exactly mention Biden by name, their takedowns of his ideas mark a big development among tame campaigners who've so far hesitated to even mention Trump, Bloomberg reports.

Biden wasn't among the candidates who traveled to California this weekend, but it seemed pretty clear that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was talking about the former vice president when he pledged there can be "no middle ground" on certain liberal priorities. "We cannot go back to the old ways, we have got to go forward with a new and progressive agenda," Sanders said — an obvious callback to Biden's announcement video promise to restore "everything that has made America America."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), meanwhile, rebuked the idea that "if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses." That sounds an awful lot like how Biden said last month that Republicans will have "an epiphany" and start working with Democrats again once Trump loses. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg similarly said "the riskiest thing we could do is to try to play it safe" because "there's no going back to normal right now."

Read more about Democrats' anti-Biden swings at NPR and Bloomberg. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 3, 2018

In its relentless pursuit of nuclear strength, North Korea's first land target may have actually been itself. The Diplomat reported Wednesday that an intermediate range ballistic missile launched by the regime last spring accidentally hit the city of Tokchon, which has a population of more than 200,000.

The missile was launched from an airfield just over 40 miles north of North Korea's capital city of Pyongyang. An unnamed U.S. official explained to The Diplomat that due to an engine malfunction, the projectile made it only a minute into its test flight and traveled about 25 miles northeast before hitting the ground.

The Diplomat cross-referenced the failed missile's approximate landing site with Google Earth and other satellite imaging to find that the suspected landing area did indeed seem to show signs of "considerable damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings." Several structures appeared damaged in satellite images, reportedly by debris from the failed launch.

While there have been no confirmed reports of deaths in Tokchon as a result of the failed missile test, the images published by The Diplomat seem to show that the missile came perilously close to exploding in more densely inhabited areas, marking the risk of test launches. North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles since August, both of which flew over Japan and landed cleanly in the Pacific Ocean — but one concerning possibility put forward by The Diplomat is that a future missile could explode prematurely over Japan, which would "spark a serious crisis in Northeast Asia."

NBC News reported Tuesday that U.S. officials believe North Korea may be preparing for another missile test "in the next week or two." Read more about the failed missile at The Diplomat. Kelly O'Meara Morales

August 26, 2015

Jeff Goldblum had his son circumcised, but didn't hold a bris — the ceremonial Jewish circumcision ritual — he told Conan O'Brien, when Conan asked. Instead, he and his wife and their pediatrician, a former New York Met, sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the procedure. Goldblum asked Conan and sidekick Andy Richter if they had circumcised their sons, and Richter took the bait.

Richter did not have his son circumcised, and that's only the tip of the personal iceberg he shared. O'Brien stayed out of the debate, only jumping in occasionally to let everyone know how uncomfortable he was with the turn of the conversation. "With my son, as I told the doctor, I said, 'He was born perfect — why change him?'" Richter said, to appreciative murmurs from the audience. "So, what I'm saying is, you've mutilated your child," he added, good-naturedly ribbing Goldblum. Goldblum said that Ricther was probably right, and Conan took the opportunity to wrap up the debate. You can watch the exchange — with, obviously, some discussion of male genitalia — below. Peter Weber

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