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October 12, 2018

Melania Trump is finally sharing her thoughts on her husband's alleged affairs.

The first lady told ABC News this week that the allegations of President Trump being unfaithful to her about a decade ago are "not a concern" because she has "much more important things to think about and to do." Adult film actress Stormy Daniels has claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, and model Karen McDougal has claimed she had an affair with him around the same time. Donald and Melania Trump married in 2005 and had their son Barron in 2006. A White House spokesperson said in February that Trump denies having a relationship with McDougal, and the president tweeted in May that Daniels' allegations were "false and extortionist."

In the interview, Melania Trump admitted that the allegations, and subsequent media speculation, are "not always pleasant," but she knows "what is true or not true." When asked if she loves her husband, she said, "Yes, we are fine."

The first lady has rarely weighed in on rumors of her husband's past affairs. When the Stormy Daniels allegations came out earlier this year, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Melania "knows it's untrue." But the first lady told ABC News that she never spoke with Giuliani and isn't sure why he released that statement. Watch Melania Trump's comments below. Brendan Morrow

3:25 p.m.

A New York state senator apologized Tuesday afternoon after publicly telling a Republican aide to kill herself.

Candice Giove, the deputy communications director for the New York state Senate's Republican majority, on Twitter accused Democratic State Senator Kevin Parker of misusing a parking placard and blocking a bike lane. In response, Parker simply wrote back, "Kill yourself!" Giove, naturally, was shocked, asking, "Did a Senator just write this to me?"

Parker has since deleted the original tweet and apologized, writing Tuesday afternoon, "I sincerely apologize. I used a poor choice of words. Suicide is a serious thing and and [sic] should not be made light of." But even after this apology, Parker continued to attack Giove, going after her in two tweets in which he said that she is "on the wrong side of history for every important issue facing New York State!"

He didn't stop there. In an interview with The New York Daily News conducted after his apology was issued, Parker said Giove is just an "internet troll" and "to call her anything more is fake news." He added that she "continues to represent the forces of evil," while simply conceding that by telling her to kill herself, he "probably used the wrong words." Brendan Morrow

3:07 p.m.

Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall has died at 75, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The actress played Laverne DeFazio on the Happy Days spinoff before going on to direct A League of Their Own and Big. Her family says she died "peacefully on Monday night in her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes," per the Times.

Marshall kicked off her career with guest starring roles on The Odd Couple, which her brother Garry Marshall executive produced, and other comedies. After starring on Laverne & Shirley alongside Cindy Williams, she occasionally made cameo spots and took other guest roles on TV. Most of her attention went to directing, becoming the second woman ever to direct an Best Picture nominee with Awakenings. Big was the first film directed by a woman to make more than $100 million in the U.S. box office, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Marshall also loved sports, especially the Los Angeles Lakers, the Times details. A League of Their Own was about a professional women's baseball team, and her most recent project was a still-forthcoming documentary about NBA star Dennis Rodman. Following the news of Marshall's death, friends and admirers tweeted their appreciation and memories. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:59 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders still thinks former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was "ambushed" by the FBI.

Sanders during the White House press briefing on Tuesday was asked if she would like to walk back her comments earlier in the day suggesting the FBI behaved inappropriately when interviewing Flynn. Hours after Sanders claimed Flynn was "ambushed" by an improper FBI interview, Flynn himself declined to withdraw his guilty plea, telling a judge the FBI did not entrap him and that he was aware that lying to the FBI was a crime when he spoke with federal agents. He accepted responsibility for doing so in court, reports CNN.

In spite of all this, Sanders offered no such walk back, saying that "we still firmly believe" that Flynn was ambushed, also saying that the FBI "broke standard protocol" in the way that they interviewed Flynn. In making this argument, she cited former FBI Director James Comey, even though Comey said Monday that he's "very proud of the way the FBI conducted itself," per CNN.

Sanders declined to go into more detail but said of Flynn, "Maybe he did do those things, but it had nothing to do with the president." She additionally said that it's "perfectly acceptable" for Trump to make positive comments about someone who a judge on Tuesday said committed a "very serious" crime. Brendan Morrow

2:24 p.m.

Sponsors are continuing to abandon Fox News' Tucker Carlson.

Just For Men, Ancestry.com, and Jaguar on Tuesday became the latest three companies to announce they will no longer advertise on Tucker Carlson Tonight, per The Hollywood Reporter. They dropped their support after Carlson was widely criticized for saying on his Dec. 13 show that "We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, [Democrats] tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided."

Bowflex, SmileDirectClub, NerdWallet, Minted, Pacific Life, and Indeed had previously abandoned Carlson. In response to the backlash, Carlson did not apologize on his show Monday night, as Laura Ingraham did when advertisers fled her show after she attacked school shooting survivor David Hogg. Instead, he doubled down on everything, saying that he's "not intimidated" by the boycotts, reports The Washington Post.

Carlson argued on his show that what he said the previous week was "true" and claimed those on the left were trying to silence him. "We plan to say what's true until the last day," Carlson said. A spokesperson for Fox News also told the Post, "It is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed 'media watchdogs,' weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech." Brendan Morrow

2:11 p.m.

The Amazon Washington Post is becoming less of a Trumpian joke and more of a marketing strategy.

The Washington Post, notably owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is offering a free Amazon Echo Dot with the purchase of an annual Post subscription, it said in an email promotion Tuesday. It'll read you Post headlines, play you Post podcasts, and, though unmentioned in the email, do these things for The New York Times too.

To be fair, the Post does include an ownership disclaimer on any Bezos-related content. Executive editor Martin Baron has also made it clear Bezos has nothing to do with everyday operations at the paper. But there's no harm in noting you can get a free Echo Dot — a $50 value! — with an annual subscription today. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:03 p.m.

President Trump appears one step closer to having his much-discussed United States Space Force, CNN reports.

On Tuesday, he ordered the creation of "Space Command," a precursor to the Space Force, which would serve as "the new sixth branch of the armed forces," according to Vice President Mike Pence, during remarks in Cape Canaveral.

An August Pentagon report said that the command's purpose will be to "improve and evolve space warfighting" capabilities and will assist in "preparing for and deterring conflict in space and leading U.S. forces in that fight." The command will provide the future Space Force with support tactics and procedures.

"A new era of American national security in space begins today," Pence said. "We're working as we speak with leaders in both parties in congress to stand up the United States Space Force before the end of 2020." In other words, it seems that bipartisan consensus in Washington may be possible after all — so long as it doesn't apply to Earth. Read more at CNN. Jacob Lambert

1:30 p.m.

Trump's agreement to dissolve his charity is a win for New York's attorney general. But it's a loss for some charitable organizations who received millions from the Trump Foundation.

Okay, not exactly.

On Tuesday, the Trump Foundation agreed to "dissolve" and donate its "remaining assets" to approved charities amid an ongoing New York state lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in June and alleges Trump used the charity as his personal "checkbook" — allegations that surfaced in a massive Washington Post report two years ago.

Many charities that Trump claimed to have donated millions of dollars to said they never received the money, the Post details. So what did the Trump Foundation spend money on? For one, a $12,000 autographed Tim Tebow helmet and jersey, the Post says. Trump bought the memorabilia for himself at a nonprofit event, but apparently sent a check from the Trump Foundation, which gets most of its money from rich donors and not Trump himself.

There are far smaller donations, like a $7 gift to the Boy Scouts in 1989. Donald Trump Jr. happened to be 11 at the time, and $7 was coincidentally the cost of a new scouting membership, per the Post. And then there's the biggest: $264,631 to fix a fountain outside the Trump-owned Plaza Hotel.

Scattered in between, there's the $100,000 Trump bid on a trip to Paris to benefit Madonna's charity, per BuzzFeed News' July 2016 report. There's also a $25,000 political donation from the Trump Foundation to Florida's Attorney General, which went unreported to the IRS, per the Post. And to top it off, the Trump Foundation apparently bought a $20,000 portrait of the future president in 2007. It's unclear what has happened to the portrait since then. Read more about these not-quite-charitable donations at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

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