on second thought
January 21, 2020

The Senate's impeachment trial of President Trump is underway, but it's already received a last-minute rule change.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday unveiled the proposed impeachment trial rules, under which each side would have 24 hours over two days for opening arguments. This proposal quickly drew criticism from Democrats, as it could see sessions stretching past midnight, beyond the point where most people would be able to watch.

But this rule was modified Tuesday with a proposal under which opening arguments for each side would still last 24 hours, but over three days rather than two, NBC News reports. This would allow Senate sessions to wrap up around 9 p.m. ET, and could extend the length of the trial by two days, Politico notes. CNN's Kevin Liptak reports this change apparently came together quite quickly, as the resolution received a handwritten update.

Although Democrats were critical of the rules, CNN reports the changes were actually "the result of concerns from moderate Republicans." A spokesperson for Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) confirmed to NBC News that she was among these Republicans who complained, saying, "She thinks these changes are a significant improvement." Another rule change allows for evidence to be submitted automatically unless there are objections.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins further reports that the White House pushed for the two-day timetable, as "officials were concerned they may not get to make their full arguments this week with the 3-day period." These White House officials, Collins reports, "think it's better if all their arguments are made consecutively, instead of possibly being broken up and stretching into next week." Besides, as CBS News' Kathryn Watson noted, "Most senators want to sit silently for 12 hours without moving/eating/looking at their phones as much as anyone else." Brendan Morrow

July 16, 2019

Netflix is excising a graphic scene from its teen drama 13 Reasons Why after more than two years of criticism.

The Netflix original series based on a young adult novel about a high-school student who takes her own life originally contained a disturbing and explicit depiction of suicide in its finale that sparked debate when it aired in March 2017. The show's creators defended the scene as their way of showing the horror of suicide, while experts raised concerns over how the scene might affect vulnerable young viewers. A study in April found that suicides among those between age 10 and 17 spiked the month after 13 Reasons Why premiered on Netflix, although this increase could not be definitively tied to the series' release, NPR reports.

Now, two years later, the controversial suicide scene has been edited out of the show. In the version currently streaming on Netflix, only the moments immediately before and after Hannah's suicide are shown, but the series no longer depicts the character cutting her wrists as in the original version.

Netflix in a statement on Tuesday said that "we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show" and decided to edit the scene "on the advice of medical experts." Creator Brian Yorkey said, as he has in past interviews, that the intent of the scene was to "tell the truth about the horror of such an act" so that "no one would ever wish to emulate it" but that the creators have "heard concerns" ahead of the third season's launch. He concludes that this new version will "do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers." Brendan Morrow

April 22, 2019

Samsung has delayed its new foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, just days before it was scheduled to launch.

The company on Monday confirmed a report from The Wall Street Journal that it's delaying the release of the Galaxy Fold, which functions both as a 4.6-inch smartphone and a 7.3-inch tablet and was scheduled to be released on April 26, per CNBC.

This comes after a number of journalists from outlets like Bloomberg and CNBC reported that their review copies broke after just days of use. Some said they inadvertently peeled off a part of the screen that looked like a screen protector, while others said the screen simply stopped working. Samsung on Monday explained that these reviewers "showed us how the device needs further improvements," promising to "take measures to strengthen the display protection."

Some of these early issues "could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge," Samsung said, adding that there "was an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance," per CNN.

No new launch date was provided for the device, which costs almost $2,000, but Samsung said it will announce a new one "in the coming weeks." Brendan Morrow

April 2, 2019

Don't count former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of the 2020 race just yet — not even after he counted himself out.

Bloomberg might reconsider his decision not to run for president in 2020, Axios reports, noting he would be most likely to enter if former Vice President Joe Biden decides not to run. He could also launch a 2020 bid if Biden does enter the race but his campaign doesn't last long. As had been previously reported, Biden had been a major factor in Bloomberg's 2020 decision, as he was reportedly worried about whether there would be a centrist spot for him in the race. Still, the Axios report notes it's possible Bloomberg could reconsider but ultimately just decide not to run a second time.

Bloomberg announced in early March he wouldn't run for president, doing so in an op-ed in which he also spends several paragraphs explaining why he thinks he would make a great president. "I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election," he writes. "But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field." He goes on to say that the best way for him to help the party wouldn't be with a presidential campaign — at least, "for now."

This op-ed leaves him some wiggle room if he wants to change his mind should the state of the race dramatically change. And it certainly would if Biden, the frontrunner, decided not to run after two women came forward to say he made them feel uncomfortable with unwanted touching. CNN reported on Monday after the second woman came forward that this "won't dissuade [Biden] from running in 2020," although a decision still hasn't been finalized. Last we heard, Biden was expected to announce by Easter. Brendan Morrow

April 24, 2018

President Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House physician Ronny Jackson, is deciding whether to drop out of consideration, Trump told reporters Tuesday.

The Senate on Monday postponed Jackson's confirmation hearing following allegations that he drank excessively on the job, improperly dispensed medications, and created a hostile work environment, The Washington Post reports. Lawmakers were reportedly also concerned that Jackson is unqualified for the position because he lacks large-scale management skills.

Trump said that Jackson is "making a decision" on whether to remain in the mix, noting that "if I were him, I wouldn't do it." Trump said that he hadn't heard of the "particular allegations," but that he'd still support Jackson if he decided not to withdraw his nomination. "I don't think personally he should do it," Trump said of Jackson, characterizing a possible Senate investigation as an "ugly" and "disgusting" process. "What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians?"

Jackson has told reporters that he wants to go through with a confirmation hearing. If Trump doesn't ask him to drop out, his hearing will be delayed until May at the earliest, CNN's Manu Raju notes, after senators complete an investigation into his qualifications and alleged misconduct. Summer Meza

March 3, 2017

Just eight days ago, President Trump vowed to United States Steel CEO Mario Longhi that the Keystone XL pipeline would be constructed from "steel made in this country and pipelines made in this county." By Tuesday, Trump had changed the rhetoric in his address to a joint session of Congress to specify that "new" American pipelines would "be made with American steel."

As it turns out, following pressure from the Keystone XL's developer, TransCanada, the White House has announced that the Keystone pipeline is exempt from the "buy American" policy, Politico reports. "Removing the steel condition could help persuade TransCanada to fully drop the $15 billion NAFTA complaint against the U.S., which it suspended earlier this week," Politico adds.

Keystone XL is excluded from an order signed by Trump calling for "all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines" inside the U.S. to use U.S. steel "to the maximum extent possible" because "the Keystone XL pipeline is currently in the process of being constructed, so it does not count as a new, retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipeline," a White House spokeswoman said. Jeva Lange

January 12, 2017

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis seemed to walk back his previous objections to women serving in the military during his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday regarding his nomination for secretary of defense. As Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) pointed out in her questioning of Mattis, he has previously questioned whether women could handle the "atavistic primitive world" of the infantry, and he has also suggested it isn't appropriate to "mix love, affection, whatever you call it" with combat.

But on Thursday, Mattis suggested he has "no plan to oppose women in any aspect of our military." His sole concern, he said, is that everyone in the military meets the expected standards. "The standards are the standards, and when people meet the standards, that's the end of the discussion on that," Mattis said.

He expressed a similar stance on the participation of LGBT individuals in the military. "My concern is the readiness of the force," Mattis said. He added: "Frankly senator, I've never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with."

Catch a snippet of the exchange between Mattis and Gillibrand below. Becca Stanek

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