too little too late?
February 7, 2020

On Friday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) characterized herself as "obviously" against President Trump punishing impeachment witnesses, the Portland Press Herald reports. The remarks were her first in public since she voted against impeaching Trump on Tuesday, and came almost at the same time as news was breaking that the president had fired impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert; Vindman's twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, who was not involved in the House's investigation; and European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, also an impeachment witness.

"I think it's important to understand that when you're in an impeachment trial, you consider the evidence that is before you," Collins went on, in defense of her vote to acquit Trump, although she had initially broken with her party to call for additional witnesses. "You don't try to make predictions. You consider the evidence that's before you. In this case, the evidence did not meet the high bar that's established by the Constitution for immediate removal of the president from office."

Alexander Vindman's attorney slammed Trump and the Senate in a statement released after his client was fired. "In recent months, many entrusted with power in our political system have cowered out of fear," the statement read, adding: "If we allow truthful voices to be silenced, if we ignore their warnings, eventually there will be no one left to warn us." Jeva Lange

September 18, 2017

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer burst onto the scene with his boasts about the crowd size at President Trump's inauguration. In his first-ever press briefing the Saturday after Inauguration Day, Spicer scolded reporters for suggesting that the turnout for Trump's big day was anything short of huge, insisting — regardless of photos and Washington Metro ridership suggesting otherwise — that this "was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in-person and around the globe."

Now, he wishes he could take it all back.

The morning after he poked fun at himself in a surprise Emmys cameo on Sunday night, Spicer admitted to The New York Times that he regrets making those claims. "Of course I do, absolutely," Spicer said.

Still, Spicer said he certainly hopes Trump doesn't take offense at his performance mocking his crowd size claims, as this was just "an attempt to poke a little fun at myself." Spicer admitted he didn't give the White House any advanced warning of his appearance.

In fact, Spicer said he didn't really tell anyone. When he and his wife departed for Los Angeles, he was wearing a disguise. The Times reported that Spicer "wouldn't say what it was, though a friend of his hinted that it might have included fake facial hair."

Read more at The New York Times. Becca Stanek

April 27, 2017

Following the furor over a passenger being dragged off of an overbooked flight earlier this month, United Airlines announced Thursday it is implementing 10 changes the company says will "better serve our customers and empower our employees."

The airline will now offer passengers on overbooked planes as much as $10,000 to voluntarily give up their seat; previously, gate agents could dole out no more than $500 to passengers, and site managers could offer as much as $1,350. The company will also hold off on calling law enforcement unless security and safety are at risk, and launch a new automated system to determine which passengers are willing to be bumped from an overbook flight.

"Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect," United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement. "Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize." David Dao, 69, refused to give his seat up on an overbooked Chicago to Louisville flight, and was forcibly removed by Chicago Department of Aviation officials. Dao's attorney said he suffered a concussion and broken nose and lost two teeth during the violent incident, which was filmed by concerned passengers and caused a public relations nightmare for United. Catherine Garcia

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