Women working on Capitol Hill use a word-of-mouth 'creep list' to warn each other about male members to avoid
Nearly 50 lawmakers and political aides told CNN that they have "personally experienced sexual harassment on the Hill or know of others who have." One female congresswoman claimed "half [of the men in Congress] are harassers" before revising her statement to assert that only "some" are. Whatever the exact numbers, though, harassment is reportedly common and widespread; as one Senate aide put it, Capitol Hill is "a sort of old school, Wild West workplace culture that has a lot of 'work hard, play hard' ethos and without the sort of standard professionalism that you find in more traditional workplaces."
Female lawmakers and Hill staff reportedly use a word-of-mouth "creep list" to warn each other about which male members to avoid. Others employ basic rules of thumb: Avoid the male lawmakers who sleep in their offices, for example, and skip taking an elevator alone with a male congressman or senator.
The people CNN interviewed declined to go on record, many out of fear of repercussions. CNN additionally declined to name which lawmakers face allegations because the stories are unverified, although "more than half a dozen interviewees independently named one California congressman for pursuing female staffers; another half dozen pointed to a Texas congressman for engaging in inappropriate behavior."
Leaders from both major parties have called for sexual harassment training in Congress, as well as cited flaws in the system of handling victims' harassment allegations. "We must ensure that this institution handles complaints to create an environment where staffers can come forward if something happens to them without having to fear that it will ruin their careers," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) earlier this month.
Still, not everyone is optimistic. "There's a little bit of a sex trade on Capitol Hill," said one former staffer. "If a part of getting ahead on Capitol Hill is playing ball with whatever douchebag — then whatever." Read the full report at CNN. Jeva Lange
Disney on Friday cut ties with James Gunn, who was set to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, after prominent conservative Twitter users unearthed Gunn's old tweets referencing pedophilia and rape, reports Deadline.
Gunn was removed from the Marvel Comics franchise, with Disney calling his tweets "indefensible." The offending comments, which also included jokes about 9/11 and the Holocaust, have since been deleted. Right-wing bloggers who resurfaced the tweets have criticized Gunn's political beliefs, reports Fox News, and have condemned his outspoken opposition to President Trump.
Gunn defended himself by describing his tweets as an attempt to be a "provocateur," and said he's "very, very different" than he was in 2010 and 2011 when he posted the "shocking jokes" online. Read more at Deadline. Summer Meza
President Trump's military parade keeps getting bigger.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 service members are now set to march in Trump's military extravaganza, which is estimated to cost $12 million, U.S. defense officials have told ABC News. That's nearly the cost of the $14 million joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Trump canceled for being "tremendously expensive," and almost the size of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
About a year ago, Trump saw a Bastille Day military parade in France and decided he wanted to bring that patriotic spectacle to D.C. In February, he gave official "marching orders" to the Pentagon to organize an all-American version, and later told reporters he'd "have to try and top" the French one.
A March memo suggested the parade run from the White House to the Capitol, complete with vintage aircraft displays. Tanks wouldn't make an appearance, as they'd tear up the D.C. streets.
Planning appeared to stall for awhile after that, as White House officials weren't exactly feeling the pomp, NBC News reported. But about 50 Defense Department personnel have now been dedicated to working on a Nov. 10 parade, scheduled to celebrate Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. That number will probably grow to about 3,000 by November, ABC says.
Add in 100 military vehicles, 50 aircraft, and 100 horses — no puppies like Chilean military parades — and Trump will have a crowd close to the 8,000 marching on Thanksgiving in New York later that month. Kathryn Krawczyk
The giant balloon that depicted President Trump as a cantankerous, diaper-clad baby was a big hit when thousands of protesters took to the streets during Trump's U.K. visit. Apparently, it's not just the #resistance of Britain that thought the "Trump baby blimp" was fantastic — museums are hoping to add it to their collections.
The inflatable president is in high demand, with the British Museum and the Museum of London battling it out with other institutions who want to document the moment in protest history, The New York Times reported Friday.
While the British Museum wants to display the 20-foot balloon in an exhibition on the history of dissent and protest, the Bishopsgate Institute wants to keep the inflatable in its permanent collection of protest artifacts. The Design Museum in London and the Victoria and Albert Museum are also interested in collecting the balloon, which traveled from London to Edinburgh to protest Trump while he visited last week.
Kevin Smith, a Londoner who was part of the group that created the Trump baby, said that museums are not the only ones interested in making the project a more permanent fixture of Trump protests. He said the group has raised around $44,000 to take the balloon on a "Trump baby world tour." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza
No one knows why Cats was able to rise from nightmare fodder to Broadway legend. Nevertheless, nearly four decades after it should've died, the disturbing production is hitting the big screen.
A movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's implausible hit is set to start filming in Britain this November, Variety reports. And it's not some low-budget, straight-to-Netflix production. Talented famous people Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellan, James Corden, and Taylor Swift have all been cast as cats.
Hudson is the only cast member whose fursona has been confirmed, per Variety. She'll play Grizabella, a cat who's been exiled by the Jellicle Cat clan, just as we all wish to be. McKellan will likely play the wizened Old Deuteronomy, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. And cat lady turned actual cat Swift will probably be the flirtatious Bombalurina, which isn't a surprise the more you think about it. James Corden hasn't been connected with an oddly named cat yet, but he uncomfortably channeled one of Webber's feline roles on his Late Late Show last month and can leave it at that.
The King's Speech director Tom Hooper will direct, and Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall has already adapted the show for the big screen, shrinking chances of preventing its existence even further.
The only upside to this adaptation seems to be the promise of Hudson belting the show's noteworthy track "Memory." Listen to it on a video-less cast recording and let the rest of this show fade like the moonlight. Kathryn Krawczyk
The FBI reportedly has a tape, secretly recorded by Michael Cohen, of President Trump talking about hush money payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Michael Avenatti says it's not the only one.
The lawyer for Stormy Daniels, a porn star who's also gotten hush money payments via Trump's ex-lawyer Cohen, has repeatedly said there are multiple "Trump tapes" out there. And after The New York Times reported one's existence on Friday, Avenatti immediately demanded its release.
"I know for a fact this is not the only tape," Avenatti told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "And I think that any and all tapes Michael Cohen has in his possession relating to this president should be released immediately for the benefit of the American public and they can decide what happens next."
"There are multiple audio recordings, and our position is that they should be released immediately. So again, the American people can decide what the next steps are. Period."
– @MichaelAvenatti tells @mitchellreports pic.twitter.com/nivEFYYJ2J
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 20, 2018
Avenatti claimed Cohen is "one of the world's great hoarders of evidence" in a June MSNBC appearance, and predicted secret recordings had already been seized during an FBI raid of Cohen's office in April. He was at least partly right, as the Times revealed Cohen taped a discussion with Trump about a payment to McDougal, who alleged she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that this appears to be the only tape. Avenatti, for his part, wouldn't say how he apparently knows there are more recordings out there — just that he knows. Kathryn Krawczyk
The Republican National Committee has selected Charlotte, North Carolina, as the host city for its 2020 convention, The Associated Press reported Friday.
Charlotte previously hosted the Democratic convention in 2012. North Carolina, a critical swing state that narrowly voted for President Trump in 2016, will inevitably see thousands of activists and members of the media, and some Charlotte leaders said they also expect demonstrators to turn out to protest Trump. "We recognize and are prepared for the tremendous responsibility of welcoming 35,000 visitors to our community," said Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority CEO Tom Murray.
Charlotte City Council members were reportedly torn on whether to approve the convention, with some worrying that welcoming the GOP would represent an endorsement of the Trump administration. The RNC ultimately preferred Charlotte over Las Vegas, another finalist, because leaders thought Sin City's reputation and proximity to casino owners who donate to the party would distract from the convention. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza
President Trump's White House is not known for particularly high morale, but this week has brought things to new lows.
Staffers are reportedly looking toward the exits now that Trump's joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin has created such a sharp political backlash, Politico reported Thursday.
"People are just depressed," a Republican close to the White House said. "Nobody wants to take on the public heat of resigning right now, but there are a bunch of people who were thinking maybe they'd leave after the midterms who are very seriously starting to consider accelerating their timetable."
Trump has drawn criticism over his flip-flopping views on whether Russia is responsible for interference in the 2016 election. Democrats and Republicans alike condemned his failure to side with the U.S. intelligence community, and ridiculed his explanation that he had simply slipped up while using a double negative. While high-level officials are reportedly unlikely to resign, aides and holdover staffers may be looking to put in their two-weeks notice. Read more at Politico. Summer Meza