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August 10, 2018

It seems somehow fitting that a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame has become a symbolic battleground for America's stark divide on President Trump. The Donald Trump star, in honor of The Apprentice, has been destroyed twice in the past two years, most recently in late July. The man who claimed responsibility for taking a pickax to Trump's star, Austin Clay, was bailed out of jail by James Otis, the man who took a sledgehammer to the star in November 2016. And the West Hollywood City Council just voted unanimously to remove the star over his treatment of women, a decision that isn't theirs to make.

But the fear of losing the Trump star was enough to spur a group of Trump-loving street artists to jump into action, and on Wednesday night, they installed dozens of vinyl Donald Trump stars on blank squares around the stars of Trump critics. "Keep taking down the @realDonaldTrump star, and we will further spread Trump Derangement Syndrome by installing a never ending stream of stars," the group, calling themselves The Faction, wrote on Twitter, with video of their work.

The unidentified conservative street artist who made the realistic-looking Trump stickers told The Hollywood Reporter he spent $1,000 on the first batch of stars, with the money coming at least partly from "a young and anonymous entrepreneur." "If no one peels these off, they could last there for 10 years," the artist said, but it's a good thing The Faction took pictures, because cleaning crews and employees of stores along Hollywood Blvd. began removing the stars at 5 a.m. Thursday.

The Faction isn't the only group going to silly lengths to make a brief, symbolic stand on the Donald Trump star. In a bout of world-class trolling, two men dressed as Russian soldiers stood guard over the star in the days after its most recent destruction.

Keep in mind, late July was really hot in Los Angeles. Peter Weber

3:23 a.m.

At least 48 Conservative Party members of Britain's Parliament have signed a letter to trigger a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May. Graham Brady, leader of the 1922 Committee that oversees Tory leadership contests, says the vote will happen between 6 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, London time (1-3 p.m. ET). If May gets fewer than 158 votes, or a majority of Conservative MPs, she will be forced to step down and the Tories would vote on a new leader. If she wins, she can't be challenged again for another year.

The leadership challenge is from pro-Brexit Conservatives who are concerned that she is bungling Britain's divorce from the European Union, especially after she pulled her unpopular Brexit plan before a House of Commons vote on Monday. "Normally when a prime minister loses her main policy she resigns, that is the main constitutional convention, they don't just carry on regardless," Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a former May ally who signed the no-confidence letter, told CNBC on Tuesday. "The prime minister only holds office as long as she maintains the confidence of the House of Commons." Peter Weber

2:32 a.m.

"I've shared a story or two this week about my ongoing struggle with the elf in our shelf at home," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. He described the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon as "a very sneaky way to get kids to behave: The elf watches everything your child does and then goes to Santa and rats them out when they do bad things. But now there's a new holiday character to counter that little narc, to help kids spin their bad deeds and hopefully make Christmas great again." And the tagline for Kimmel's new product is pretty hard to resist: "Protect yourself from prosecution this holiday season with 'Huckabee in a Tree' — 'Kellyanne in a Garbage Can' sold separately." Watch below. Peter Weber

2:10 a.m.

After Tuesday's madcap Oval Office meeting between President Trump and the top two congressional Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), there unanimous agreement that Trump had in fact taken ownership of any partial government shutdown due to his demand for $5 billion for a border wall. The Democrats emphasized their willingness to extend existing funding to avoid the "Trump shutdown." Trump leaned heavily on the phrase "border security."

"We gave the president two ways" to "avoid a shutdown," Schumer told reporters outside the White House. "We hope he'll take it, because a shutdown hurts too many innocent people. And this Trump shutdown, this temper tantrum that he seems to show, will not get him his wall, and it will hurt a lot of people because he will cause a shutdown — he admitted he wanted a shutdown."

"We're telling him we'll keep government open with the proposal Mr. Schumer suggested, why doesn't he just think about it," Pelosi added. "In fact, I asked him to pray over it."

"I thought it was a very good meeting," Trump told reporters, a group of priests behind him. "If we have to close down the country over border security, I actually like that in terms of an issue." Schumer "doesn't want to own it," he added. "If we close down the country, I will take it, because we're closing it down for border security, and I think I win that every single time."

And Trump isn't wrong, as long as we're just talking about Republicans. In a Marist poll for NPR and PBS released Tuesday, 56 percent of U.S. voters said Trump should compromise on the border wall and 69 percent said the wall isn't a priority, but 65 percent of Republicans said Trump should not compromise and 63 percent said building a wall should be a top priority. Marist conducted the poll Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 among 835 registered voters, a sample statistically significant within ±4.2 percentage points. Peter Weber

1:01 a.m.

On Tuesday, President Trump hosted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss averting a government shutdown, and he invited in the cameras. The main bone of contention? "Trump is demanding $5 billion for a border wall, and as you can imagine, Democrats would rather release Obama's original Kenyan birth certificate than give Trump that wall money," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "Which is why this meeting turned into an absolute mess."

"It felt like being in the TV room of a nursing home, with just old people fighting," Noah said, but the bickering wasn't just over the wall, it was over preventing the shutdown, and "no politician wants to take the blame for a government shutdown. But Donald Trump is not a politician. Donald Trump is a moron." He played the clip. "I don't know if you realize how monumental this moment is: Donald Trump just agreed to take blame for something," he said. "So today, I'm proud of President Trump, because taking blame shows some personal growth on his part. Although if we're being honest, he probably thinks that if the government shuts down, there'll be nobody there to impeach him."

"To be clear, he's offering to take all the blame for the thing you always blame the other side for," Stephen Colbert pointed out on The Late Show. "You'll notice the whole time Trump was bragging about his shutdown, Chuck Schumer did his best not to make eye contact with Trump, like you do with a drunk guy screaming on the subway." After the meeting, Pelosi privately compared negotiating with Trump to a "tinkle contest with a skunk," then questioned Trump's "manhood." Colbert laughed, then added to Pelosi's quip a line about erecting a wall. He explained Trump's political dilemma about claiming to have built the way while demanding money to build the wall: "He needs a wall that both does and does not exist — I just hope he has good mime skills." You can watch Colbert's skills below. Peter Weber

December 11, 2018

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 87 to 13 to approve a farm bill that will cost $867 billion over 10 years, legalize the production of hemp, expands farm subsidies to the extended family of farmers, permanently funds farmers markets and farmer-training programs, and doesn't add work requirements to receive food stamps, as House Republicans had wanted. The bill has the backing of President Trump, and it's expected to pass the House in the next week. The legislation will give a boost to farmers harmed by Trump's trade wars, especially with China.

Some Senate Republicans opposed the farm bill because of the extension of some agriculture subsidies to the nieces, nephews, and cousins of farmers, even those who don't work directly on the farm. House Republicans championed this measure, arguing it would encourage more people to become involved in farming. Peter Weber

December 11, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may have laid down the law during a contentious meeting with President Trump on Tuesday, but the comments she made after the Oval Office sitdown were even more harsh.

Trump, Pelosi, and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sparred Tuesday over border walls and government shutdowns, quickly devolving from a rehearsed press conference into a shouting match. Pelosi, though, later characterized it as a "tirade" that spewed directly from the president, CNN's Manu Raju reports.

During the meeting, Trump interrupted Pelosi no less than 15 times in an attempt to prove he wouldn't sign a spending bill with less than $5 billion allocated for his border wall. Democrats have maintained they won't give up more than $1.6 billion.

After attempting to reason with Trump and shutting down a demeaning comment, Pelosi waltzed out of the Oval Office and into some private meetings. In one, Pelosi suggested Trump's insistence on building a wall is "like a manhood thing for him," a Pelosi aide tells CNN. "As if manhood could ever be associated with him," Pelosi reportedly added. Also in Pelosi-isms:

Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump all tussled over the spending bill set to expire Dec. 21. If a new bill isn't passed by then, the government will shut down. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 11, 2018

At least two people are dead and 11 are injured after a shooter opened fire in Strasbourg, France, French National Police tells NBC News.

The shooting happened near Strasbourg's Christmas market, which was being held under tight security measures after France was rocked by terror attacks in recent years, Reuters reports. A shooter has been identified as someone on a terrorist watchlist, per NBC News. They were shot by an Operation Sentinel soldier, but are still on the run, per AFP. Witnesses tell Reuters the gunshots lasted about 10 minutes, though it's not clear if all those shots came from the original shooter or police returning fire.

The European Parliament has a location in Strasbourg, which is on France's border with Germany, and a parliament member tells Euronews the building is on lockdown. Around 80 people sheltered in place in a nearby McDonald's, and residents around the market have been told to stay inside. France's counterterrorism prosecutor has already launched an investigation into the attack, per BBC.

More than 130 people died in 2015 when terrorists attacked a concert hall and other spots around Paris. In 2016, a terrorist drove a car into vacationers in Nice, killing more than 80. These past incidents led authorities to check bags before visitors could enter the Strasbourg market and unauthorized vehicles were banned from getting close, Reuters says. Kathryn Krawczyk

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