CNN Russia expert says RT was alone in not covering James Comey's Trump testimony. Jake Tapper notes Fox News wasn't, either.
The public testimony of FBI Director James Comey in Monday's House Intelligence Committee hearings was "rather bad news" for President Trump, CNN's Jake Tapper said Monday afternoon, and he asked the two conservative members of his panel — former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Mary Katherine Ham — if there was any good news for Trump. Santorum said yes, kind of. "I think the good news is that Comey went out and announced there is an investigation," he said, so Trump and his Republican allies "can start putting pressure externally to get this thing moving" to its conclusion. Ham agreed and argued that the White House should be focusing on its actual good news, the Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Tapper got some views from former Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon and Bloomberg White House correspondent Margaret Talev, then turned to CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward. Russian President Vladimir Putin is "somebody who likes to meddle in elections and enjoys sowing chaos in the electoral process in liberal democracies throughout the world," he said, so isn't Putin just really "enjoying this, one way or another? The American political system is in disarray."
Ward half-agreed. "I think up to a certain point he was kind of enjoying it, he was enjoying the ambiguity of it, the possibility that he could have thrown the election in the most powerful, important, consequential country in the world — that certainly spoke to his ego," she said. "But what was noticeable today, while every single news channel pretty much in the world — and I'm talking globally, Sky News, BBC, Al Jazeera — one news channel that very noticeably did not take today's hearing was Russia Today, and I do think you are starting to see now the beginning of what we might call a 'conscious uncoupling' of the Kremlin and the Trump administration."
"Russia Today wasn't covering it this afternoon," Tapper said. "Also, when I looked up, Fox News wasn't covering it, they were covering the Gorsuch hearings."
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 20, 2017
"An interesting observation," Tapper said dryly, if slightly immodestly. Peter Weber
Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her ex-boss Roger Ailes last year, is penning a book on women's empowerment that will come out this fall.
Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back is set to be released on Sept. 26, Hachette's Center Street Books announced Tuesday. The book will teach women how to recognize harassment and how to fight back, as well as share ways to end workplace abuse. After Carlson came forward with her claims against Ailes, which he denied, several other women came forward, and he was ultimately ousted from Fox News. Carlson settled with the network in September.
"Make no mistake — sexual harassment is not just about sex," Carlson said in a statement. "It's really about power. Sexual harassers feel they can get away with it because they believe they're the ones holding all the cards. It doesn't occur to them that the women they're harassing have power, too. We need to encourage women to stop being silent, stand up and speak up, and join the movement. Together, we can make change." Catherine Garcia
Several House Freedom Caucus members are close to throwing their support behind a new health-care bill, several White House officials and Republican lawmakers told The Washington Post Tuesday.
The officials said three of the ultra-conservative group's leaders — Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) — hinted on Tuesday that they will back the revised bill. The GOP's earlier plan fizzled in March, when House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) pulled the American Health Care Act from the floor when it was clear it didn't have the votes. Most members of the House Freedom Caucus said at the time they would not vote for the bill as it was written.
Officials told the Post the revised bill would make it so insurers could secure a federal waiver that kept them from having to cover certain essential health benefits established by the federal government, and while it would still require people with preexisting conditions receive coverage, they could be charged higher premiums. The language was crafted by Meadows and Rep. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), co-chairman of the moderate Tuesday Group. Several Republicans told the Post that they are skeptical of how much support this new legislation would receive, and GOP leaders in the House are not spearheading the discussions with the Freedom Caucus. Catherine Garcia
A U.S. missile defense system that China views as a threat to its own military capabilities was sent to a deployment site in South Korea early Wednesday.
Area residents watched as six trailers carrying Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) equipment arrived at a golf course, and Yonhap news agency reports the delivery caused clashes between the locals and police. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles during their last flight stage, and meant to counter the threat from North Korea.
North Korea is thought to be readying for its sixth nuclear weapons test. During his visit to South Korea earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence and the country's acting president agreed to an early deployment of the missile defense system. China has been vocal about its opposition to THAAD, as have South Koreans who think it escalates the situation. Catherine Garcia
An advocacy group is demanding an investigation into a post originally published on the State Department's ShareAmerica website that read like it came straight from the marketing department inside Trump Tower.
On Tuesday, Common Cause filed a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics over the post from early April that went into rhapsodic detail over Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, club that he calls the "Winter White House," even though it is now spring. Since becoming president, Trump has spent half of his weekends at the private club, and after the election, its membership fee doubled to $200,000.
The post also appeared on the websites for the U.S. Embassies in the U.K. and Albania, but after the news broke on Monday, it was was removed. Mark Toner, acting spokesperson for the State Department, said the post was written by the International Information Program, and no one in the administration asked for it. "It was meant to provide historical information and context relevant to the conduct of U.S. diplomacy, and was not intended to endorse or promote any private enterprise," he told NBC News. Common Cause disagrees, and said the post was an "abuse of taxpayer funds" that proves Trump does not separate his business from the government. Another group, American Oversight, also filed a complaint on Tuesday, calling for an investigation into why the glowing post was written and how it came together. Catherine Garcia
The Lion King's beloved warthog-meerkat duo of Pumbaa and Timon could be voiced by comedians Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner in the upcoming live-action remake. The Wrap revealed Tuesday that Rogen and Eichner are reportedly in "final negotiations" to sign onto the film that's being directed by Jon Favreau. Rogen would voice Pumbaa and Eichner would take the part of Timon.
Donald Glover has already agreed to voice Simba, and James Earl Jones will reprise his role from the 1994 animated film as Mufasa. Favreau is reportedly trying to convince Beyoncé to voice Nala.
A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Trump's executive order that threatened to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities, which refuse to comply with federal immigration orders by protecting undocumented immigrants. Cutting off this money was a key promise of Trump's presidential campaign.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that the plaintiffs, San Francisco and Santa Clara County, would likely be able to prove Trump's order unconstitutional. Orrick wrote in the preliminary injunction that the order has "caused budget uncertainty" for the counties, and argued that the president "has no authority to attach new conditions to federal immigration spending," The Associated Press reported. "Given the nationwide scope of the order, and its apparent constitutional flaws," Orrick wrote, "a nationwide injunction is appropriate." Becca Stanek
Randolph "Tex" Alles will be the next director of the U.S. Secret Service, President Trump announced Tuesday. Alles will take over for Secret Service Deputy Director William Callahan, who stepped up after former Director Joseph Clancy retired in March.
Alles served in the Marines for 35 years, before retiring as a major general in 2011. He is now acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. The New York Times noted Alles will be the first Secret Service director "in at least a century not to have served among the agency's ranks."