Stephen Colbert is bemused by Trump's legal shakeup, Ivanka's lab act, and Trump's 'atta boy' call to Putin
Last week, lawyers for President Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller sat down to discuss which topics investigators could ask Trump about, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, showing an artist's rendition of what Trump's lawyers asked for: "They will allow questions on the 2016 electoral map and noises trucks make, but nothing about Stormy's bathing suit area or 'Vlad stuff.'" Trump is also shaking up his legal team, Colbert added, introducing viewers to former U.S. attorney, Fox News regular, and new Trump lawyer Joe diGenova.
Another Trump lawyer, John Dowd, might be leaving because, according to The New York Times, he has concluded he has "no control over the behavior of the president." "You just figured that out?" Colbert asked. "Come on, man, Trump doesn't even have control over Trump's behavior." He mourned the thought of Trump sacking his other lawyer, Ty Cobb, and had a wry laugh at Ivanka Trump's turn as a vape-lab analyst in Iowa.
Meanwhile, "on Sunday, Vladimir Putin won an election rigged to prop up a dangerous strongman who is threatening Western democracy," Colbert said. "That requires a strong response — so Donald Trump called him up to say, 'Atta boy!'" Among those unhappy "that Trump was giving the thumbs-up to a murderous dictator for winning a sham election" were his national security team and a bipartisan group of senators — including Sen. John McCain (R), who slammed Trump for insulting "every Russian citizen denied the right to vote in a free and fair election." Colbert had some words of consolation — "Don't worry, Sen. McCain, the Russians still have a chance to vote in our midterm!" — and a creative way to paper over the fact that former President Barack Obama also congratulated Putin on his similarly shady 2012 win. Watch below. Peter Weber
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, doesn't have any kind of formal cooperation agreement with the government, but he has still spent more than 50 hours in meetings providing information for several investigations, people familiar with the matter told Vanity Fair's Emily Jane Fox on Monday.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to violating campaign finance laws, in connection with payments he made to women who said they had affairs with Trump, and he said in court that he did so under Trump's direction. A longtime friend of Cohen's told Fox that Cohen is offering his assistance to investigators because he regrets what he did while working for the Trump Organization. "What you see now is a return to who he was before all of this," the friend said. "He's an open book, and he's adamant to make it right."
It looks like Cohen is also trying to get back at Trump in an additional way. He's a Democrat again, after becoming a Republican in 2017 while working as the Republican National Committee's deputy finance chief, and he spent his weekend tweeting about the upcoming midterms. "The #MidtermElections2018 might be the most important vote in our lifetime," he tweeted on Sunday. "#GetOutAndVote #VoteNovember6th." Catherine Garcia
If you planned on drowning your sorrows over climate change in a bottle of beer, it's time to pick a new beverage.
In a new report published Monday in the journal Nature Plants, scientists say that in the future, more extreme heat waves and droughts caused by climate change will stifle barley production. Barley is the key ingredient in beer, and in the U.S., Brazil, and China, at least two-thirds of the barley crop goes into beer production. Researchers estimate that the yield could drop by as much as 17 percent, making beer not only harder to find, but also more expensive.
Even adjusting for inflation, beer prices on average would double, the researchers said, and in Ireland, where beer is already more expensive, prices would triple. Barley is one of the most heat-sensitive crops in the world, and researchers only looked at how heat waves and drought would hit barley, not even considering an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
Last week, a U.N. panel released an alarming report about how climate change is going to have a catastrophic impact in just a few decades if major action isn't taken globally, and Department of Agriculture scientist Lewis Ziska told The Associated Press it's studies like the one about beer that really get through to people. "One of the greatest challenges as a scientist doing research on climate change and food is to illustrate it in a way that people can understand," he said. Catherine Garcia
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday released a proposal requiring drug companies reveal how much their medications cost in television ads.
"Right now, drug companies are required to disclose the major side effects a drug can have — but not the effect that buying the drug could have on your wallet," the department said in a statement. The law would apply to brand-name drugs covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, CBS News reports, as long as a typical course of treatment costs more than $35 every month.
PhRMA, the drug industry's largest trade group, said it is open to putting prices up on a website, but believes if prices are revealed in commercials, that could "discourage patients from seeking needed medical care." Catherine Garcia
On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit adult film star Stormy Daniels filed against President Trump, and ordered her to pay his legal fees.
Daniels, who said she had sex with Trump in 2006, claimed that in 2011, after she agreed to discuss the affair in an interview, she was threatened by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot. Trump tweeted this was a "total con job," and she was "playing the Fake News Media for Fools."
Daniels sued, saying Trump suggested she was a liar, but Judge S. James Otero said Monday the tweet "constitutes 'rhetorical hyperbole' normally associated with politics and public discourse in the United States," and is protected by the First Amendment. Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said he will appeal. Catherine Garcia
The Endeavor talent firm is in discussions to return a $400 million investment from the Saudi Arabian government's Public Investment Fund, two people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News on Monday.
The move comes after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkey has told U.S. officials it has audio proof that he was murdered inside the consulate.
The Public Investment Fund agreed in March to buy a small stake in Endeavor. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said on Monday the disappearance of Khashoggi was "upsetting" and he was "really concerned." If Endeavor does cut ties with Saudi Arabia, it would be one of the most visible moves by an American company to distance itself from the kingdom in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. Catherine Garcia
Paul Allen, the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65.
In a statement, his sister, Jody, said Allen was "a remarkable individual on every level." Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Allen "created magical products, experiences, and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world." He founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates, and after leaving the company, founded Vulcan, Inc, which oversaw his philanthropic and business endeavors.
One of the world's wealthiest people, Allen's net worth was estimated at more than $20 billion. He owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, plus had a stake in the Seattle Sounders soccer team. Allen was diagnosed nine years ago with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and announced earlier this month he had started treatment for it again. Catherine Garcia
President Trump once said he'd pay $1 million to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) charity of choice if she proved she was "an Indian." In true Trumpian fashion, he's now negotiating the deal.
Trump has continually derided Warren for her assertion of Native American ancestry, suggesting it's untrue and dubbing her "Pocahontas" during rallies. So on Monday, Warren released a video challenging Trump's mockery and sharing DNA analysis that provided "strong evidence" that she has some Native American ancestry. Upon hearing the news, Trump declared that he never made a $1 million pledge, CNN reports.
Later in the day, Trump was more willing to play ball. He said Warren would have to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to receive the cash. Warren hasn't said she's running for president, but pundits say she's a top contender. Trump also, somewhat disturbingly, said he would have to "test [Warren] personally" to seal the deal.
Pres. Trump says he will only pay the $1 million over Elizabeth Warren DNA test "if I can test her personally. Okay? That will not be something I enjoy doing, either." pic.twitter.com/Nr9ZEPPdpH
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) October 15, 2018
Trump isn't the only one who took issue with Warren's test results. The Cherokee Nation released a response to Warren's video on Monday, saying "using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong." Read the whole statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk
Inbox: Cherokee Nation responds to Senator Warren’s DNA test. pic.twitter.com/Sh8aNZgyAT
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) October 15, 2018