February 19, 2019

Maybe they meant to type "(Crickets)"?

The White House has posted online the remarks made by Vice President Mike Pence last Friday at the Munich Security Conference, but there's a glaring error. In the beginning of his address, Pence said it was his "great honor" to speak "on behalf of a champion of freedom and a champion of a strong national defense, the 45th president of the United States, President Donald Trump." In the transcript, it says this was followed by "(Applause)." In reality, it was followed by (Silence).

As video from the event shows, Pence expected to be met with some sort of a reaction, as he paused, awkwardly, before moving on. The White House hasn't said why it inserted this fabrication, or why they didn't go with something more exciting, like (Audience starts chanting, "USA! USA! USA!" while twirling star-spangled rally towels) or (German Chancellor Angela Merkel dons a MAGA cap, initiates The Wave). Catherine Garcia

12:09 p.m.

Congress' effort to advance a disaster relief package before Memorial Day was just derailed by a Republican lawmaker.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on Friday objected to the passage of this disaster relief bill by unanimous consent, calling for a recorded vote, CNN reports. Since each member would have to be present for this full recorded vote, and most have already left Washington for Congress' Memorial Day recess, this forces a delay until after the holiday weekend.

The Senate had previously passed this $19.1 billion disaster relief measure, which includes aid for Puerto Rico but doesn't include the border wall funding President Trump had originally requested. Roy complained about this absence of wall funding on Friday, also bemoaning the legislation's lack of offsets, Politico reports. Trump had signed off on the bill, saying it had his "total approval." As Politico notes, this package has already been delayed for five months.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed Roy's move on Friday as a "last-minute sabotage" and an "act of staggering political cynicism," The New York Times reports.

The Washington Post reports lawmakers will once again attempt to pass the package on Tuesday by unanimous consent, while most representatives are still on their recess, which lasts until June 3. Roy said when asked if he'll pull the same move on Tuesday, "We'll see." Brendan Morrow

11:12 a.m.

Alabama's restrictive new abortion law has just prompted a federal lawsuit from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The two organizations announced the filing of this lawsuit on Friday, with Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, arguing in a statement that the new law is "blatantly unconstitutional."

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of abortion providers in the state, with a doctor from the Alabama Women's Center arguing in the filing that the law "directly conflicts with Roe and more than four decades of Supreme Court precedent affirming its central holding," The Washington Post reports.

Alabama's new law, which was signed by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last week, makes performing nearly all abortion a felony in the state except in cases where the mother's health is at risk or where the fetus has a "lethal anomaly," with no exception for rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions could be punished with up to 99 years in prison. The law will not actually go into effect until 2020, however.

The law has received significant pushback even among some Republicans, with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel saying she personally supports exceptions for rape and incest. President Trump also tweeted on Saturday that he too supports exceptions for rape and incest but that the party must stay "united."

Upon signing the Alabama law, Ivey signaled that it would inevitably face legal challenges, saying it provides the Supreme Court an "opportunity" to "revisit" Roe v. Wade. Brendan Morrow

9:29 a.m.

The NASA executive tasked with strategizing a mission to the moon by 2024 has already resigned amid growing skepticism that the five-year deadline is feasible.

Mark Sirangelo on April 9 was appointed special assistant to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, with NASA saying at the time he would help develop the 2024 strategy, as is the Trump administration's goal. The administration has sped up the timeline from the previous goal of 2028, with Vice President Mike Pence saying in March, "Failure to achieve our goal to return an American astronaut to the moon in the next five years is not an option."

But six weeks later, Sirangelo has resigned, and Reuters reports that his "ouster was sealed by increasing skepticism that 2024 was a realistic deadline for moon landings." This also comes after a proposal from NASA to create a separate directorate for lunar missions was rejected by lawmakers. Bridenstine said on Thursday that "given NASA is no longer pursuing the new mission directorate, Mark has opted to pursue other opportunities."

President Trump has proposed providing an additional $1.6 billion to NASA in furtherance of this 2024 goal, but the administration has been met with resistance on Capitol Hill to taking that money from a Pell grant program surplus, The New York Times reports. Should NASA not get this additional money, Bridenstine says the timeline would probably move back to 2028. Brendan Morrow

8:44 a.m.

Could President Trump's tax records end up dropping right at the height of the 2020 presidential election? That's looking increasingly possible.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Thursday decided to expedite its review into the president's request to block Congress' subpoena of his accounting firm for years of financial documents, as The Washington Post reports. The court called for oral arguments by July, and Democrats have agreed to suspend deadlines from the subpoena.

This new timeline, the Post writes, "could set up a decision from the Supreme Court that could land in the thick of the 2020 presidential campaign." After all, the report notes that experts expect the president's lawyers to immediately appeal to the Supreme Court should they lose in the D.C. Circuit.

This comes after several setbacks this week for Trump, as a New York judge previously refused to block subpoenas for Trump's financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Judge Amit Mehta with the District Court for the District of Columbia also upheld Democrats' subpoena for the financial records from his accounting firm, prompting Trump's lawyers to appeal. Democrats are also looking to have the IRS hand over years of Trump's tax returns, a fight that is expected to head to court after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rebuffed their subpoena.

With all of this in mind, Politico reports on Friday on the "decent chance the White House could lose the fight and be forced to hand over Trump's tax records before the election," as federal courts are "ruling quickly" on these other cases and the Supreme Court might not even take up the IRS case at all. If it doesn't, this might allow for a final decision from the lower courts in about a year — meaning in the end, as Politico writes, this could "leave the GOP wishing Trump had ripped off the tax-return Band-Aid sooner." Brendan Morrow

7:22 a.m.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the President Trump's aides and family "should stage an intervention for the good of the country" and suggested he wasn't in control of the White House on Thursday, she was deliberately trying to provoke an angry reaction from the president, people close to Pelosi tell The New York Times and The Washington Post. And provoke she did.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump lashed out at Pelosi, insisted he had been calm and angry when he walked out of a Wednesday meeting after three minutes, declared himself an "extremely stable genius," and had five aides — one of whom hadn't been in the room — attest that he had been "calm" during his brief time in the meeting.

Having aides describe him as calm during a press conference about a farm aid package is "vintage Trump," Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Stein write at The Daily Beast: "The policy push of the day overwhelmed by internal insecurities and grievances with press coverage bursting into public view. And it underscored the degree to which his warfare with Nancy Pelosi has gone from political to psychological." If Pelosi was looking for a soft spot, they add, she struck gold:

Few recurring characterizations bother President Trump more than the (largely accurate) narrative that he has a hair-trigger temper behind the scenes, and that he can easily and frequently be sent into vulgar, sometimes volcanic hissy fits when he doesn't get his way.

In the middle of last year, Trump once sat in the White House and angrily listed various words in headlines and cable-news chyrons he'd seen recently that described his mood — "fuming," "raged," "furious," and so forth — decrying them as inaccurate reporting, according to a source who was present for this. The president sounded increasingly irate as he rattled off headline after headline, the source said, noting the irony. [The Daily Beast]

Point, Pelosi. Peter Weber

5:29 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation as Conservative Party leader on Friday morning, effective June 7. She will stay on as prime minister until her party chooses a new leader. May said she was sorry she was unable, after three attempts, to get her Brexit plan thorough Parliament. She tried to get lawmakers to compromise on Britain's European Union divorce deal, but "sadly, I have not been able to do so," she said. It will be up to the next prime minister to solve Brexit, May said, and she defended her domestic accomplishments from her nearly three years in office.

The race for her successor is open to any Tory member of Parliament, but the frontrunners include former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. There are more than a dozen MPs who are considering a run.

The Tories will start voting on the new prime minister in the week after May steps down on June 7. MPs will narrow the pool down to two potential leaders, and Conservative Party voters will select between those two finalists. Peter Weber

4:44 a.m.

"Yesterday, President Trump had a meeting with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. It was supposed to be about infrastructure, "but instead of building bridges in this meeting, Trump decided to burn them down."

What really happened? "According to Chuck and Nancy, Trump came into that meeting, completely acted the fool," Noah said. "But according to Trump's very calm Twitter rant this morning, he was very chilled for the whole three minutes, and then when he stormed out, it was in a relaxed and graceful fashion. Now obviously, most people didn't believe Trump, so today he interrupted a press conference with farmers to basically ask his very objective employees to tell us all how Zen he is." He showed that spectacle.

"Say what you want about Trump, but he is truly the king of political theater," Noah said, laughing. This was so obviously planned, like "you'll see in Africa all the time. Like, some dictator will be accused of war crimes, and then he'll bring his own soldiers out as his defense." He acted that out.

So Trump "denies having a temper tantrum by having a temper tantrum," Jimmy Kimmel recapped, playing more of Trump's performance. "He's an 'extremely stable genius' — why can't people understand that? He's not a maniac. Ask his 10 terrified underlings! ... This is exactly what would have happened if we had a President Charlie Sheen."

Donald Trump Jr. is writing a book, Kimmel noted, and he had some ideas for a title: "For instance, Are You There Dad? It's Me, the Dumb One."

At The Late Show, Stephen Colbert suggested "The Art of the Douche" as the "working title" for Don Jr.'s book. He also noted that Trump is officially launching his re-election campaign on June 16, Fathers Day: "Evidently, he thinks he's America's father, which explains why he only loves a third of us." Watch below. Peter Weber

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