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January 12, 2018

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Friday that he "personally heard" President Trump make "hate-filled, vile, and racist" comments during a bipartisan immigration meeting Thursday that Durbin attended.

Lawmakers were reportedly in the Oval Office discussing changes to the visa lottery system when talk turned to immigrants from Africa and Trump asked why they would want people from "all these shithole countries" coming to America. While the White House did not deny the comments, Trump tweeted that "the language used by me ... was tough, but this was not the language used."

Trump's tweet "is not true," Durbin said. "He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly." Durbin also claimed that Trump used the specific word "shithole" more than once. Watch Durbin's comments below. Jeva Lange

September 21, 2018
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

"Let the wild rumpus start" — on stage.

The 1963 picture book Where the Wild Things Are is being adapted for an off-Broadway play, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Friday.

The classic Maurice Sendak book follows a character named Max as he ventures to a wild jungle after being sent to bed without supper. He meets wild beasts, befriends them, becomes king, enjoys a quick rumpus with his new Wild Thing pals, then heads back to his bedroom. The book was previously adapted into a 2009 live action film directed by Spike Jonze.

Though Sendak died in 2012, the Maurice Sendak Foundation is commissioning the new play for development by New York's New Victory Theater. There's no set date for the production yet, but Sendak's friend and collaborator Arthur Yorinks has joined the project to adapt the script. Read more at The Hollywood Reporter. Summer Meza

September 21, 2018
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Sources told The New York Times on Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed in meetings the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unfit to serve and remove him from office, and that he proposed wearing a wire to secretly record Trump. But how the conversation really played out is unclear.

These conversations were reportedly documented in memos written by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and other sources told the Times that Rosenstein followed up on the suggestions later. The Washington Post reports that McCabe's memos detailed conversations about a wire and the 25th Amendment that both occurred at the same meeting, shortly after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. But one person who was at the meeting told the Post that the 25th Amendment was not discussed, in addition to confirming that Rosenstein mentioned wearing a wire "sarcastically." The source says a wire was only brought up because of McCabe's needling for further investigation into Trump, not because of Rosenstein's interest in actually doing so. It was "a sarcastic comment along the lines of, 'What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?'" per the Post.

Another source told the Post that McCabe had previously claimed in private that Rosenstein suggested invoking the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein has denied the Times report, calling it "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

McCabe's attorney told ABC News in a statement that the former acting FBI director "drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials ... When he was interviewed by the special counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos — classified and unclassified — to the special counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos." Summer Meza

September 21, 2018

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) says she is "appalled" by President Trump's Friday tweet attacking Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, by name, Politico reports. Speaking to reporters in her native Maine, Collins says she "thought that the president's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong."

Trump's tweets early Friday morning questioned the seriousness of the alleged assault because Ford didn't file charges at the time of the incident. Ford has said she didn't tell anyone about the alleged assault when it happened, but that she did discuss it with a therapist in 2012. Kavanaugh has denied Ford's claims.

Collins is considered to be one of two Republican swing votes, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who may break party lines to vote against confirming Kavanaugh, CNBC reports.

Collins has previously spoken out against the president, penning an op-ed before the November 2016 election detailing why she wouldn't vote for Trump. She also notably voted against his effort to repeal ObamaCare. But since Trump took office, Collins has voted in line with his preferences 79.2 percent of the time — including casting a yes vote to send Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench. Marianne Dodson

September 21, 2018
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The New York Times may not be so fake anymore.

Shortly after the Times reported Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in 2017 floated the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, many conservatives are now calling for Rosenstein to be fired. The Times also reported that Rosenstein suggested he wear a wire to surreptitiously record the president, though a Justice Department spokeswoman said Rosenstein proposed the idea "sarcastically."

But that hasn't stopped Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who tweeted Friday afternoon that "Rod Rosenstein must be fired today." Ingraham is one of the 47 people Trump follows on Twitter, and Politico reporter Alex Guillén ‏notes that former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned earlier this year not long after Ingraham called for his removal.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), a Fox News staple, agreed with Ingraham, tweeting that Rosenstein must be fired if the Times' reporting is accurate, because "Rosenstein doesn't seem to have the integrity to resign." Gregg Jarrett, who also appears as a frequent analyst for the network, tweeted that not only must Rosenstein be fired, but that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference must also end. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations into Russian interference and the Trump campaign in March 2017, leaving Rosenstein to oversee the matter. Rosenstein appointed Mueller that May.

Yet another Fox News analyst weighing in is Jeanine Pirro, who tweeted that Rosenstein should have been fired long ago but that now is the time to act. As The Daily Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng points out, Pirro was once considered for Rosenstein's job. Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman reports that Bill Shine, the ousted Fox News executive who now helps lead Trump's communications team, is "rolling out [a] media plan to build public support for Trump to fire Rosenstein." Brendan Morrow

September 21, 2018
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As support for elements of the Affordable Care Act has increased, political attacks against the bill have quietly retreated. The Daily Beast reported Friday that Republican lawmakers have slowly scrubbed ACA criticism from their websites in recent years, opting instead to promise constituents extended protections on health care.

Republicans, especially ones who are in danger of losing their seats, have further altered their messaging to support some aspects of the ACA, often called ObamaCare. The Daily Beast found 20 instances of GOP House members eliminating ObamaCare criticism from their websites between 2014 and 2018.

But just because lawmakers like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) have softened their anti-ObamaCare rhetoric, HuffPost notes, it doesn't mean that they're suddenly fans of former President Barack Obama's signature health-care bill. Just three of the 20 lawmakers who changed their websites voted against a 2017 GOP replacement bill that would have unraveled ObamaCare; the repeal bill passed in the House but faltered in the Senate. But their continued opposition to ObamaCare is now obscured as they face close midterm races, their websites show.

Democratic analyst Jesse Ferguson suggested that Republicans were more willing to openly attack the ACA when there was a lower chance of Obama's health-care bill actually being rolled back. Now, GOP lawmakers are going on the defense to assure constituents that they don't want to repeal protections for pre-existing conditions — a provision of the ACA that Americans have increasingly come to value. "If you ask a Republican why they voted for health-care repeal, they'll change the topic faster than you can blink your eyes," Ferguson told The Daily Beast.

Unfortunately for those Republicans, the internet never forgets. Read more at The Daily Beast. Summer Meza

September 21, 2018
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A new bombshell report from The New York Times further fuels the narrative that even senior Trump administration officials feel the president is unfit for office.

The Times reported Friday that in 2017, not long into his tenure in the Trump administration, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed in meetings the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unfit to serve and remove him from office. Further, he reportedly told Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe that he might be able to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on his side in this effort. Earlier this month, a senior administration official said in an anonymous Times op-ed that there had been discussions within the White House of invoking the 25th Amendment.

Additionally, the Times reports that Rosenstein proposed he wear a wire to secretly record Trump, as documentation of a White House in disarray. Officials say this plan did not end up moving forward, and an unnamed Justice Department spokeswoman told the Times that Rosenstein made the suggestion "sarcastically." Rosenstein has already denied the report, telling the Times that their story is "inaccurate and factually incorrect" and that "there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."

This report will no doubt raise Trump's ire, sparking speculation that the story was leaked with the express purpose of ousting Rosenstein, as Bloomberg's Jennifer Epstein observed. Already, the president's son — who has said that the "failing New York Times" lives in an "alternate universe" — has weighed in on the story, suggesting that he is not at all surprised that "these guys would do anything in their power to undermine" his father. Read the full report at The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

September 21, 2018
TINA SMOLE/AFP/Getty Images

At least 131 people have died after a Tanzanian ferry capsized on Lake Victoria on Thursday, The New York Times reported Friday. Initial reports put the death toll at just 44.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of "all those involved in the management of the ferry," South Africa's The Sunday Times says. The ferry was reportedly holding up to 300 people at the time, despite its maximum capacity being around 100, per The New York Times. Isack Kamwelwe, Tanzania's minister for communication, transport, and infrastructure, said the government is no longer searching for survivors and that the death toll could continue to rise.

The ferry — which is managed by Tanzania's Electrical, Mechanical, and Electronics Services Agency — was traveling on an hour-long journey between two islands when it capsized, The New York Times reports. Marianne Dodson

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