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August 19, 2018

President Trump's lawyers basically have no idea what White House Counsel Don McGahn shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team during 30 hours of interviews, people close to Trump told The New York Times on Sunday.

McGahn's lawyer only gave them a sliver of what he told investigators, two people told the Times, and now Trump's advisers are worried McGahn gave a lot of information that will end up in Mueller's ultimate report. Trump's lawyers weren't aware of how little they knew until they read a report published on Saturday in the Times regarding McGahn's cooperation with Mueller's office. A person close to Trump told the Times his lawyers never asked McGahn to give a complete description of what he told Mueller's team, and others said McGahn wanted to talk to investigators because he was afraid Trump was going to set him up to take the blame for any wrongdoing.

On Sunday morning, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted he didn't know much about what McGahn had told Mueller's team, and Trump went on a Twitter tirade, claiming he "allowed" McGahn to speak to investigators because he has "nothing to hide." Catherine Garcia

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There are lots of words you could use to describe President Trump, but Seth Meyers thinks there's one that everyone can admit fits him best: weird.

"He is a weird man," Meyers said on Monday's Late Night. "Just a flag hugging, umbrella ditching, can't do a normal handshake kind of weirdo." One of the more bizarre things Trump does is make up an outlandish lie about another country, which can easily be fact checked and proven untrue. In February 2017, for example, Trump claimed there was an attack in Sweden, when there was not. The "deeply weird president" was at it again on Saturday in California, when he started talking about taking care of the "floors of the forest" like they do in Finland.

Trump declared that the president of Finland told him in his "forest nation" they "spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning" and in turn, they don't deal with things like devastating fires. The president of Finland later clarified he did not say that people in his country are going around raking the ground, and Trump is certain that "we're a week away from the president of Romania calling a press conference to say, 'I did not tell President Trump that vampires are real.'" Trump, Meyers concludes, has to "concoct fantastical lies" because they "reinforce his deluded worldview, and they're easier to swallow than reality." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

On Monday, the White House announced it had restored CNN reporter Jim Acosta's hard press pass, following a legal battle.

At the same time, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and deputy chief of staff Bill Shine announced new guidelines for journalists covering press conferences. They are only allowed to ask one question, with any follow-ups answered at the discretion of President Trump or the White House official holding the press conference. When a journalist is done asking their question, they must also hand over the microphone. Anyone violating those rules could have their press pass suspended or revoked.

The White House announced it was revoking Acosta's pass on Nov. 7 following a testy exchange with Trump, and his refusal to give the microphone to an aide. CNN took the matter to court, and a judge temporarily restored Acosta's press pass on Friday. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

In 2017, Ivanka Trump used her personal email account to send hundreds of emails to White House aides, her assistants, and Cabinet officials, several people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Many of these emails were in violation of federal records rules, they said, and White House ethics officials found out about her personal email use while responding to a public records lawsuit. Nearly 100 of the emails were about government policies and official White House business, and hundreds were related to her work schedule and travel, the Post reports.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump made Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state a major issue. A spokesman for Ivanka Trump's attorney Abbe Lowell told the Post she did not know about records rules when she sent the emails, and none of her messages contained classified information. "While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who stared before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family," Peter Mirijanian said.

Using a personal email account to conduct government business could violate the Presidential Records Act, which requires all White House communications and records be preserved. People close to Trump said she never received reminders sent to White House staffers telling them not to use private email. For more on Trump's use of private email and some of the messages that she sent, visit The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

The 5,800 U.S. troops sent to the southern border to provide assistance to Customs and Border Protection agents should all be home by Christmas, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan told Politico on Monday.

"Our end date right now is 15 December, and I've got no indications from anybody that we'll go beyond that," Buchanan said. The troops were deployed to the border before Election Day, with President Trump saying they were there to deal with an "invasion" of migrants headed to the United States from Central America. Most of the migrants have said they are fleeing their countries because of extreme poverty and violence, and thousands remain hundreds of miles away. After the deployment, Trump was criticized by Democrats and accused of using the troops as part of a political stunt. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

Three people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Monday afternoon.

The victims include police officer Samuel Jimenez, a married father of three who joined the Chicago Police Department in 2017, and two hospital employees. The city "lost a doctor, pharmaceutical assistant, and a police officer, all going about their day, all doing what they loved," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "This just tears at the soul of our city. It is the face and a consequence of evil."

The gunman is dead, a police spokesman said, and it's not known at this time if he took his own life or was shot by officers. The Associated Press reports the incident began in the parking lot, when the gunman began arguing with a woman he was in a relationship with, and escalated when a friend intervened. The woman, a hospital employee, was shot and killed, and when police officers arrived, the suspect ran inside the hospital and exchanged gunfire with officers.

This is a developing news story, and has been updated throughout. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

The Trump administration's decision to add a question of citizenship to the 2020 census may have had some political motivations after all.

Census surveys are confidential, but several lawsuits still alleged including a question about citizenship would discourage undocumented immigrants from taking the census. Now, documents filed in a California suit Friday show the census' inherent confidentiality may have been in danger, The Washington Post reports.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in March that the 2020 census would explicitly ask if people were U.S. citizens. Lawsuits across the country quickly challenged the constitutionality of the proposal, and critics said undocumented peoples' fear of taking the survey would lead to undercounts. Questions also arose over the motivation behind adding the question, with some worrying President Trump's hostility toward non-citizens would leave the census results vulnerable to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As activists and attorneys prodded Trump officials over whether the question results would remain within the Commerce Department, as mandated under the Census Act, at least one official was told to stay silent, per the Post. Friday's court filings show a June 12 email to acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore, in which a Department of Justice attorney told him not to "say too much" about the confidentiality issue because it might "come up later for renewed debate."

The first of several trials challenging the question is currently underway in New York. A hearing over what evidence can be used in these trials, and whether Trump officials' motivations in enacting the question can be considered, is slated for the Supreme Court in February. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 19, 2018

Six people were stuck in an elevator in Chicago's fourth-tallest building on Friday. But firefighters weren't exactly sure where they'd ended up, seeing as a cable had snapped and sent the car plummeting from the 95th floor. And there was no easy way to find out, the Chicago Tribune details.

A pair of Northwestern University law students, a married couple, and two New Zealand tourists stepped into an elevator in the former John Hancock Center just after midnight Friday. But their ride down soon turned bumpy — "like a flight into Chicago," one student told the Tribune. A clacking noise rattled as the passengers fell, and dust poured into the car. Jaime Montemayor, visiting from Mexico with his wife, told CBS Chicago he "believed we were going to die."

The car didn't hit the ground thanks to a few stable cables, but it was hard to tell exactly where it ended up because the blind-shaft elevator had no windows. One student told the Tribune they felt like they'd only fallen "a few floors." Firefighters eventually found the car had plunged 84.

Since the firefighters couldn't safely "come down like Batman" on ropes from the top of the shaft, as one firefighter described it, they had to hack a hole in the wall. Three hours later, the six passengers emerged into an attached parking garage without injury. Read more about the extensive operation at the Chicago Tribune. Kathryn Krawczyk

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