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February 13, 2018
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has severely mishandled the allegations of domestic abuse against former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, numerous White House aides and advisers told The Washington Post, so much so that one said it "amounts to dereliction of duty."

Last week, Porter's two ex-wives came forward and said Porter had physically and verbally abused them during their marriages. Kelly first defended Porter, and the White House eventually landed on a timeline that had Porter's background investigation ongoing through his departure. In front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted this version of events, saying the White House received a partial background report on Porter last March, with the full report sent in July.

Several people told the Post that in the wake of the Porter fiasco, President Trump has been asking about possible replacements for Kelly, and many senior staffers say they believe that Kelly told them to offer a misleading timeline about the Porter accusations. He's a "big fat liar," one staffer said of the retired four-star Marine Corps general. "To put it in terms the general would understand, his handling of the Porter scandal amounts to dereliction of duty."

Kelly does not believe he should be blamed for the fallout, one confidant told the Post, and he thinks the White House communications office should take some responsibility. He also gets defensive when discussing the matter and complains that the media is making a bigger deal out of the allegations than is necessary, several people told the Post. When asked by the Post if Kelly could have been more transparent or truthful, one staffer responded: "In this White House, it's simply not in our DNA. Truthful and transparent is great, but we don't even have a coherent strategy to obfuscate." Read more about the debacle at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

12:30 p.m. ET

Names are important — sometimes all it takes is a great name to realize someone is a winner. But even President Trump, who made his riches off of the association of his surname with all things gold and luxurious, gets name envy sometimes.

"I think you have the greatest name in politics," Trump raved to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) on Thursday. "If I had that name I would have been president 10 years sooner."

You've gotta admit — McHenry University, McHenry Steaks, McHenry Vodka. It's kind of got a ring. Jeva Lange

12:17 p.m. ET

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is likely having "a giggle fit right now" over President Trump's letter calling off their planned summit in Singapore next month.

Kim "got global recognition and regard," Pelosi went on. "He's the big winner. When he got this letter from the president saying 'okay, never mind' — he must be having a giggle fit right there now in North Korea." Pelosi said that it was clear Trump didn't know what he was getting into in the negotiations with Pyongyang, and mocked the language used in his "very chummy, palsy-walsy letter." Watch below. Jeva Lange

12:17 p.m. ET
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

President Trump's Thursday announcement that he would not travel to Singapore next month for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seemed to catch the South Korean government off guard.

"We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means," said South Korean government spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom. South Korean President Moon Jae-In called a late-night emergency meeting to discuss Trump's announcement with top aides and Cabinet members, The Washington Post reports.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to comment on whether or not the U.S. gave South Korea and Japan a warning that Trump would cancel the summit. Pompeo said that North Korea was not responsive over recent weeks while the U.S. tried to prepare for the meeting. The Post reported on Tuesday that a North Korean delegation didn't show up at a recent planning meeting with U.S. leaders. Hours before Trump pulled out of the summit, however, North Korea did make a show of destroying its nuclear test site. Summer Meza

11:41 a.m. ET
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner

Eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment, reports CNN.

People who worked with Freeman on film sets or during press tours said that the actor would ogle women, try and lift their skirts, engage in inappropriate touching, and make suggestive comments. Freeman did not comment on the allegations. Former employees and coworkers told CNN that Freeman acted like a "creepy uncle" who would make "vulgar" comments about women, often remarking on their bodies and the way they dressed.

"He would be verbally inappropriate and it was just shocking," one former employee of Freeman's production company told CNN. Freeman would allegedly make approving comments when women wore revealing clothing, and one former production assistant said that he repeatedly tried to lift her skirt, asking whether she was wearing underwear.

Eight women said they had been harassed, and eight other people said they had witnessed Freeman's alleged misconduct. The women say they didn't report Freeman's behavior out of fear that it would negatively affect their careers. Some women said they would dress differently when they knew Freeman would be on set, in an attempt to avoid unwanted comments or touching. Read more at CNN. Summer Meza

11:08 a.m. ET
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

After 65 years on the green, Ben Bender has retired from golf on a high — quitting the game just minutes after hitting his first-ever hole in one. The 93-year-old Ohioan bought his first set of clubs for $50 at age 28 and has been playing ever since, getting as low as a 3-handicap. The former insurance salesman, who suffers from hip bursitis, was on the third hole when he made his long-sought ace last month. "I played a few more holes, my hips were hurting, and I had to stop," Bender says. "It seemed the Lord knew this was my last round, so he gave me a hole in one." Christina Colizza

10:37 a.m. ET

On Thursday, President Trump announced that he was pulling out of a scheduled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by … writing a civil, calm, professionally regretful letter? Still, despite the generally cordial tone, this is distinctly a work from the Trump canon.

The first clue comes in the second sentence: "We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant." Then why bring it up? While the next sentence, "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," might be translated as "I really want the Nobel Prize," the subsequent sentence uses Trump's favorite word ("sad!") and displays his usual love of hyperbolic adjectives: "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

The letter even sneaks in a Trumpian boast at the bottom of the first paragraph: "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."

While admittedly the letter isn't littered with ellipsis, threats, typos, oddly Capitalized letters, or addressed to Mr. Rocket Man, Trump's own staff have reportedly learned to mimic his rambling, colorful messages in order to ghostwrite them more effectively. Apparently that goes to open letters to foreign heads of state, too. Jeva Lange

10:25 a.m. ET

The summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be canceled, but the commemorative coins will live on forever.

Trump on Thursday pulled out of the summit that was scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, writing to Kim that "it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting" due to increasing tensions. But the souvenir coins that the White House Communications Agency minted earlier this week are still for sale through the White House gift shop.

(The White House Gift Shop)

The coin celebrated the "PEACE TALKS" of 2018, depicting Trump and Kim facing off with both national flags. Patriotic collectors can still visit the White House gift shop online and pre-order a coin for just $24.95, though it's a different version that includes South Korean President Moon Jae-In. It even comes in a black velvet coin case!

If coins aren't your thing but you still want to remember the almost-talks, don't worry — the White House is still taking orders for the official Nuclear Deproliferation Summit Ornament. The shop says it's the most sophisticated ornament design yet, made to complement the summit coin.

So buy your souvenirs now: if not to commemorate a successful summit, then to wistfully sigh and remember what could have been. Summer Meza

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