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July 13, 2018

First, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wanted to dictate what President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed during their upcoming meeting. Now he wants it canceled altogether.

After Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced indictments against 12 Russian agents Friday, Schumer quickly called for Trump to pull the plug on the highly anticipated summit.

Trump is set to meet with the Russian leader in Finland on Monday. But Schumer wants the talks called off until Russia makes "demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won't interfere in future elections," he said in an expanded statement released Friday.

The newest indictments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe allege 12 Russian intelligence officers were involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's emails. About 20,000 DNC emails were stolen and leaked in July 2016 — within days of when Trump called for Russia to hack Clinton's emails.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Schumer jointly slammed the upcoming summit in a Wednesday statement, calling on the president to take "concrete steps toward a full cessation of Russian attacks on our democracy" when he meets with Putin on Monday. Pelosi's post-indictment statement released Friday echoed the earlier message, but diverged from Schumer in declaring that "the stakes for the upcoming Trump-Putin meeting could not be higher." Kathryn Krawczyk

8:25 a.m.

Two polls Wednesday found that a plurality of Virginia voters don't think Gov. Ralph Northam (D) should resign over his revelation that he dressed in blackface once in 1984, after a photo of a man in blackface standing next to a man in a KKK robe was found on his 1984 medical school yearbook page. In Quinnipiac's poll, 56 percent of black voters opposed Northam's resignation. There are several possible explanations for Northam's apparent political survival, but one of them is that blatantly racist yearbook photos were shockingly common in the 1970s and 1980s, USA Today found.

In a review of 900 yearbooks from 120 universities and colleges in 25 states in the '70s and '80s, USA Today found "students saluting in Nazi uniforms on Halloween or wearing orange paint and a headdress to depict a stereotype of a Native American on game day," a swastika banner, and photos of "'slave sale' fundraisers that auctioned off young women, 'plantation parties,' and a 'sharecroppers ball,'" the newspaper said. "But the vast majority of the offensive material show racist imagery, such as students in blackface or KKK robes," sometimes including nooses and mock lynchings.

"The volume of shocking imagery found in the examination, which was not comprehensive, suggests that there are likely more yearbooks that recorded racism on campuses nationwide — and countless more acts never captured on camera or submitted for publication," USA Today notes. Experts called this a systemwide failure at universities, and Andre M. Perry at the Brookings Institute had a theory. "The way to fit in, sadly, is to make fun of black people," he told USA Today. "It's a unifying act. It's sad but racism pulls people, particularly white people, together." You can read more at USA Today. Peter Weber

8:25 a.m.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is apologizing for a recently leaked expletive-laden rant, but not for the sentiment behind it.

Carlson on his show Wednesday responded to a viral video showing an unaired interview he conducted with historian Rutger Bregman, which went south when Bregman suggested Carlson's opinions were being influenced by Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and that he is a "millionaire funded by billionaires." This prompted Carlson to call him a "tiny brain" and a "moron" and telling him to "go f--k yourself."

Carlson said Wednesday that it was "too much" when Bregman suggested his "corporate masters tell me what to say." So, Carlson said, he "did what I try never to do on this show: I was rude." At the same time, Carlson argued what he said was "entirely accurate" and that the only reason the interview didn't air was that he cursed during it. He even encouraged viewers to go watch the clip.

"There is some profanity, and I apologize for that," he said. "On the other hand, it was genuinely heartfelt. I meant it with total sincerity." Watch Carlson's response below. Brendan Morrow

8:15 a.m.

Director Jason Reitman says some recent comments of his, which set off a firestorm Wednesday, simply came out the wrong way.

Reitman said in a podcast interview that his upcoming reboot of Ghostbusters will "hand the movie back to the fans." This drew instant derision on Twitter, as his statement made it sound like the 2016 all-female reboot had taken the series away from devotees, or that the misogynistic trolls who were so violently opposed to it were the true fans.

The director has now taken to Twitter to clarify that he has "nothing but admiration" for the 2016 reboot.

Reitman's "back to the fans" comment came as he was discussing ways of recreating the style of the original film, such as using the 1984 movie's score and logo for the recent teaser. He said the 2020 version will be a "love letter" to the original.

This upcoming Ghostbusterswill ignore the 2016 version, as it takes place in the universe of the first two films. Reitman previously expressed his admiration for the 2016 reboot and explained that it won't be factored into his movie simply because he wants it to be a sequel to the originals. But the decision has sparked criticism, including from actress Leslie Jones, who has called the movie "so insulting" and "like something Trump would do."

Reitman's Ghostbusters hits theaters on July 10, 2020. Brendan Morrow

6:14 a.m.

The Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has gotten a lot of blowback and mockery from conservatives, and Kermit the Frog was puzzled by one bizarre critique on Wednesday's Late Show. "It's not easy being green," he sang. "People think you want to outlaw cows and other things." Kermit got in a little dig at President Trump — "So from one puppet to another, please give green a chance" — before things turned a little dark at the end. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:51 a.m.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that constitutional protections against "excessive fines" extend to states through the 14th Amendment, placing limits on the ability of state and local police to seize and keep cars, cash, houses, and other assets used in the commission of crimes, even from people not accused of crimes. The practice, known as civil asset forfeiture, is a common and lucrative source of revenue for states and local governments, and it is frequently abused. The unanimous decision in the case, Timbs v. Indiana, won't end the practice but will allow people whose property was seized to argue in court that the amount taken was disproportionate to the crime.

"The historical and logical case for concluding that the 14th Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the eight-justice majority. (Justice Clarence Thomas wrote his own opinion.) "For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties" and "can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies."

In the case at hand, Indiana ordered small-time drug offender Tyson Timbs to pay $1,200 in fines and fees after pleading guilty to selling $225 of heroin, but they also seized his $42,000 Land Rover, arguing that even though he bought it with money from his father's life-insurance policy, he used it to commit crimes. "People are still going to lose their property without being convicted of a crime, they're still going to have their property seized," Wesley Hottot, a lawyer for Timbs, told The New York Times. "The new thing is that they can now say at the end of it all, whether I'm guilty or not, I can argue that it was excessive." Peter Weber

2:27 a.m.

On Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told congressional Democrats and Republicans that the House will "move swiftly" to pass a resolution to terminate President Trump's emergency declaration, and she urged all members of Congress to cosponsor it. "The president's decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated," Pelosi wrote, according to Politico. "We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the president's assault."

Democrats are expected to file the resolution, sponsored by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), on Friday, after Trump's emergency declaration is recorded in the federal register. But no vote is likely until mid-March, The Associated Press reports. The resolution is expected to pass easily in the Democratic-controlled House, and when the Senate votes no more than 18 days later, it's plausible at least four Republicans will join Democrats to pass it in that chamber. On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) became the first Senate Republican to publicly say she will vote for the resolution. There are probably not enough votes to overcome Trump's expected veto. Peter Weber

1:33 a.m.

Special Counsel "Robert Mueller's report may be delivered as early as next week," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. Among the many unknowns are what kind of "summary" Attorney General William Barr will give Congress, and what, if anything, the public will ever know of Mueller's findings. "We might just get the book report version," he said, stiffly reciting: "The Mueller report was a report written by Robert Mueller. It had many pages and was full of information regarding his report. I found the main character of the president to be cartoonish and unbelievable. And the well represents God."

President Trump would prefer we just don't talk about the Russia investigation, or any of the investigations involving him, as The New York Times tallied on Wednesday, Colbert said. Most of the instances of Trump trying to quash investigations are already public knowledge, and all of them are troubling.

"It's all lies — all of it," Colbert said. "The president attacking his Justice Department, trusting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin over his own intelligence community, calling the FBI a bunch of corrupt deep-state coup-plotters is not normal. It is strange. It's like how Jack in the Box sells tacos for some reason. It may not be illegal but it certainly violates something sacred." The Times had one new revelation, though, and it's quite a doozy.

Yes, "President Trump may have committed obstruction of justice," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "And you're probably thinking, 'Uh, is this a rerun of The Daily Show?' No, it's just that Trump keeps doing the same s--t over and over again. It's like that Netflix show Russian Doll, only with way more Russians." The allegation is that "Trump asked [acting Attorney General] Matt Whitaker to interfere in the Michael Cohen investigation, which is highly unethical," he explained. "Basically right now we're at the point where Trump may be obstructing justice into his obstruction of justice case." Watch below. Peter Weber

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