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Moving On
September 10, 2019

Kevin Durant is no stranger to drama, but he's insisting that his departure from the Golden State Warriors was anything but tumultuous, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Durant, who signed a four-year, $164 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets, will move from California to New York to start the next phase of his career as he recovers from a devastating Achilles injury in last season's NBA Finals between the Warriors and the eventual champion Toronto Raptors. Durant says his decision to leave Golden State after just three seasons was simply because Brooklyn was the right fit for him, on and off the court — when he's finally healthy, he'll get to play alongside the Nets other new acquisition, Kyrie Irving, who is reportedly Durant's closest friend in the league.

But despite a confrontation with his old teammate Draymond Green last year, Durant does not appear to be harbor any ill will toward Golden State, where he won two NBA titles. In fact, he said he and Green got over their issues pretty quickly. He did, however, admit that he never really felt quite in sync with his teammates. "I came in there wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be part of a family, and definitely felt accepted," he said. "But I'll never be one of those guys."

Durant explained he realized he was "just different" from his teammates like Green, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson, all of whom were drafted by the Bay Area franchise. Even the other players who joined the club later in life were there under different circumstances, as they were often focused on rehabilitating their stalled careers. "How can you alter anything in my basketball life?," Durant said, pointing to the MVP trophy and scoring titles he carried with him from his days playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

July 8, 2019

Unsurprisingly, leaked comments from the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, calling President Trump "inept" and "incompetent" did not sit well with Trump.

It took the commander-in-chief a little while to respond to the news, which broke on Saturday evening, but he eventually got around to firing back at Darroch on Monday afternoon over Twitter. Essentially, Trump said that the White House will ignore Darroch until Prime Minister Theresa May's resignation goes into effect and a new government takes over in London.

It's unclear if the sentiment that Darroch is not well-liked in the U.S. is actually true. Senior Trump officials, including White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser Stephen Miller, and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, have all been Darroch's private dinner guests, while national security adviser John Bolton meets with Darroch frequently, The Washington Post reports.

He also apparently played a role in orchestrating Trump's state visit to the U.K. last month, which Trump remains enthusiastic about.

One other word that Darroch used to describe Trump in the cables was widely noted: "insecure." Tim O'Donnell

October 24, 2018

Over the last several weeks, Megyn Kelly has been meeting with NBC executives to discuss ending her morning show, Megyn Kelly Today, after this season, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

She wants to focus more on hard news and politics, the person said, and ending her show has nothing to do with the comments she made on Tuesday about blackface. On Wednesday, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack told employees he condemned Kelly's remarks, calling them "very unfortunate."

Kelly left Fox News for NBC in early 2017, and reportedly earns nearly $20 million a year. Her show airs during the 9 a.m. hour of the Today show, and it's unclear what NBC would put in place of the program, The Hollywood Reporter says. Catherine Garcia

July 18, 2017

On Monday, the Republican hopes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year essentially died, but by Tuesday morning the GOP was already moving on to the next big battle, a tax overhaul. On Tuesday morning, the House Budget Committee released its 2018 budget blueprint, which calls for significant increases in defense spending matched by $203 billion in cuts to domestic social programs like Medicare, Social Security, federal employee benefits, and welfare over the next decade. Crucially, it also sets up a procedural mechanism that could allow Senate Republicans to overhaul the tax code with no support from Democrats.

"In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House," House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said Tuesday, calling the blueprint "not just a vision for our country, but a plan for action" and "a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges."

The first challenge will be getting the budget plan approved in the House, starting with a committee markup on Wednesday and an expected committee vote on Thursday. The GOP's far-right Freedom Caucus and more centrist Tuesday Group are already attacking the budget as too little in cuts and too harsh, respectively. The increases in defense spending would also require approval from Senate Democrats, as they would exceed the caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act. Peter Weber

March 30, 2017

One of the highest women in the White House, deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, is leaving her post in order to boost a floundering pro-President Trump political group.

Walsh is headed to America First Policies, which is already staffed with several people who worked on the Trump campaign and has been having a hard time doing what it's supposed to do — supporting Trump's agenda (one official told Politico the group "has turned into an embarrassment"). After the health-care vote was scrapped last Friday, Walsh went to Jared Kushner, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, and Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, to discuss moving from the White House to work on outside efforts for Trump. Kushner, Priebus, and chief strategist Steve Bannon all thought this made sense and gave their approval, officials told Politico.

White House officials say this isn't part of a shake-up in the West Wing, but rather a reboot. Walsh served as chief of staff at the Republican National Committee while Priebus was chairman, and she was one of many RNC staffers he brought to the White House with him. She has been described by a Trump associate as being "Reince's political secret service" and his "eyes and ears" inside the White House, and an official told Politico not to take her departure as a sign that Priebus will be next. Catherine Garcia

August 5, 2016

In an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told his supporters to stop being "despondent" and "inactive" and instead get to work defeating Donald Trump. Sanders said that while he completely understands their disappointment over his loss in the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton, at a certain point "going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters." That, he said, is why he is "vigorously supporting" Clinton — and they should too:

Donald Trump would be a disaster and an embarrassment for our country if he were elected president. His campaign is not based on anything of substance — improving the economy, our education system, healthcare, or the environment. It is based on bigotry. He is attempting to win this election by fomenting hatred against Mexicans and Muslims. He has crudely insulted women. And as a leader of the "birther movement," he tried to undermine the legitimacy of our first African American president. That is not just my point of view. That's the perspective of a number of conservative Republicans.

In these difficult times, we need a president who will bring our nation together, not someone who will divide us by race or religion, not someone who lacks an understanding of what our Constitution is about. [Los Angeles Times]

And just because he's conceding to Clinton doesn't mean the "political revolution" is over, Sanders insisted. "That revolution continues as Hillary Clinton seeks the White House. It will continue after the election. It will continue until we create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent."

Read Sanders' full comparison of Clinton versus Trump on the issues at the Los Angeles Times. Becca Stanek

August 1, 2016

Following the weekend release of the highly-anticipated script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, author J.K. Rowling says she is finally saying goodbye to the Harry Potter universe — no, actually.

The play, a production of which is currently sold out through May 2017 in London, follows Harry Potter's son, with the Potter of the original series now a 37-year-old dad. "He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we're done. This is the next generation, you know. So, I'm thrilled to see it realized so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now," Rowling told Reuters.

While the stage production has gotten rave reviews, critics have been lukewarm on the publication of the script, calling it an "incomplete experience." Nevertheless, Potter fans worldwide queued for the midnight release; "I've been waiting for this for 10 years," one fan said. Jeva Lange

July 14, 2016

Luke Russert joined NBC News as a politics reporter in 2008, fresh out of college and just six weeks after the sudden death of his father, veteran NBC newsman Tim Russert. On Wednesday, Russert and NBC announced that the congressional correspondent, now 31, has decided to leave the network, effective Friday. In a statement, Russert said he is not moving to a rival network but instead "taking some time away from political reporting" and pondering what to do with the rest of his life.

The sudden departure of a high-profile TV regular raised eyebrows in Washington and on Capitol Hill, CNNMoney reports, but friends and colleagues say that Russert is just bored and restless and looking for a change, or at least the chance to see if he wants a change. "It's fair to say my broadcast career began in an unusual way after college graduation and the death of my father," Russert said in his statement. "As a result, I threw myself into the work and never took the time to reflect, to travel, and to experience many things that would have given me a clearer sense of what my future should be."

NBC said that Russert, whose first assignment was the 2008 conventions, is leaving on Friday because as a congressional reporter he's not scheduled to cover the Republican and Democratic conventions starting next week, and because Russert wanted to leave now. Peter Weber

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