November 8, 2019

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) fell about 5,200 votes short in his bid for re-election Tuesday, and while Democrat Andy Beshear is preparing to be inaugurated in December, Bevin has requested a recanvass, or county-by-county audit of the voting tallies. Republican lawmakers in the state are skeptical — "I've never seen a recanvass move more than 100 votes," Rep. Jerry Miller (R) told the Lexington Herald Leader — and they are urging him to put up or sit down.

"The best thing to do, the right thing to do, is for Gov. Bevin to concede the election today so we can move on," Rep. Jason Nemes (R) told the Herald Leader. "There's nothing wrong with checking the math," added Rep. Adam Koenig (R), but "unless there is a mountain of clear, unambiguous evidence, then he should let it go."

Under Kentucky law, the losing candidate in a gubernatorial race can't seek a recount, the Herald Leader reports. "That means the only way a recount could happen is if Bevin files an election contest and the legislature orders a recount as part of the resulting investigation." If Bevin contests the election, the state legislature would assemble a panel of eight House members and three senators to examine his claims of fraud or other irregularities — but Bevin has not provided any such evidence so far.

Senate President Robert Stivers (R) had suggested Tuesday night that the General Assembly might end up picking the next governor, but he dialed that back on Thursday, saying the Senate will perform its duty only if required to do so — and Bevin faces "a very high bar to succeed." Nemes said he doubted it would come to that. "The proof isn't that people were turned away, the proof is that you have to show fraud or irregularities," he told the Herald Leader. "You can't just go on a fishing expedition at this point." Read more at the Lexington Herald Leader. Peter Weber

5:34 p.m.

Republicans are getting ready to pull the impeachment ball back into their court.

Within minutes of Thursday's impeachment hearings closing out two weeks of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who runs the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a letter. In it, Graham requested a bevvy of documents from the Obama administration, including any that involved Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Hunter Biden's work with the Ukrainian company Burisma essentially started this whole impeachment inquiry, seeing as the company was under investigation by Ukraine's prosecutor general Viktor Shokin and Joe Biden later pushed Poroshenko for Shokin's firing. Graham spells this out in his letter, saying that he'd like to "answer questions regarding allegations" that Biden got Shokin fired to "end the investigation" into Burisma. So he's seeking "documents and communications" between Joe Biden and Poroshenko from the days they presumably talked about Shokin, as well as any documents from a meeting between a business partner of Hunter Biden's and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Graham's move directly contradicts what he told CNN's Manu Raju a few weeks ago: that investigating Hunter Biden wasn't within his committee's jurisdiction. So what's changed this time around? Well, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) just wrapped up impeachment hearings with what sounded like an endorsement of the next step in the impeachment process: a trial in the Senate. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:25 p.m.

The disappointing final season of Game of Thrones has led many fans to wish for a do-over (even if that petition for HBO to film a whole new final season seems a little pie-in-the-sky).

But a new glimmer of hope has come from actor Kristofer Hivju, who played Tormund Giantsbane in the HBO drama. "We shot an alternative ending," Hivju told Metro, adding that it was "mostly for fun" and that he wasn't sure if he was allowed to talk about it. (Our guess: Probably not!)

Unfortunately, Hivju didn't spill any other details, so for now let's just go ahead and assume it ended with, you know, literally anyone else on the Iron Throne. Read more at Metro. Scott Meslow

5:12 p.m.

Daniel Radcliffe: Boy wizard, adolescent multimillionaire, surprisingly well-adjusted human adult, and… walking drink cart?

That's the story told by his Harry Potter costar Helena Bonham Carter, who described Radcliffe on The Late Show as a boy who was so well-mannered that he routinely agreed to hold her beverages on set.

"He was really handy because I like my tea and my coffee and my Diet Coke and things and he'd hold them all for me," explained Carter. (We guess Hogwarts saves the holdus yourown beverageus spell for graduate-level witches and wizards.) Read more at The Hollywood Reporter. Scott Meslow

5:03 p.m.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) saved his harshest words for last.

The committee wrapped its second week of public impeachment hearings after hearing from former top adviser on Russia Fiona Hill and diplomat to Ukraine David Holmes. And while Democrats and Republicans still have more witnesses they'd like to hear from, Schiff delivered what felt like a finale at the end of Thursday's testimonies.

Schiff used much of his closing statement to tear down a constant refrain heard from Republicans throughout the hearings. They constantly brushed off witnesses' and the Ukraine whistleblower's testimonies as "hearsay," which Schiff called "absurd" because it requires taking President Trump at his word, and then "imagin[ing] he said something else ... about actually fighting corruption."

Schiff then compared what witnesses have said about Trump to former President Richard Nixon's impeachment scandal, saying today's situation is "far more serious than a third-rate burglary of the Democratic headquarters." But the reason there isn't more definite action being taken against Trump is summed up in "the difference between that Congress and this one," Schiff continued. "Where is Howard Baker? Where are the people that are willing to go beyond their party to look to their duty?"

And with that, Schiff adjourned. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:01 p.m.

Getting merchandise in time for Christmas, Baby Yoda is.

Merchandise of everyone's favorite little green friend from The Mandalorian, the new Disney+ Star Wars series, will be going on sale for this holiday season, CNBC reported Thursday.

That might have seemed like a sure bet from the very first appearance of the adorable creature, who isn't actually Yoda as a baby but has been given that moniker since no official name for the character or the character's species has been revealed. But there were fears Baby Yoda merchandise might not go on sale until after the holiday season, as Disney had apparently held back in an attempt to prevent leaks of the surprise character. CNN just this morning observed that Disney "appears to have missed a big opportunity to sell a bunch of 'Baby Yoda' Star Wars toys to boost its holiday toy sale numbers."

But CNBC reports that "apparel and accessories featuring the yet unnamed creature will soon be available through Amazon, Zazzle, Target, Kohl's, Macy's, Hot Topic and Box Lunch," and these products "could arrive as early as Friday." Baby Yoda products are also headed to the Disney Store, ShopDisney, and to Disney Parks before the holidays as well, and "presales for toys and plush will be available in the coming weeks," the report says, though it's "uncertain when that merchandise will be shipped."

Disney will be striking while the iron is hot, then, presumably covering all its bases with everything from Baby Yoda dolls to Baby Yoda mugs to Baby Yoda, well, fill in the blank. And for those who don't believe what a phenomenon Baby Yoda has become in just over a week, that is why you fail. Brendan Morrow

4:57 p.m.

Here's news that might ruffle some feathers: Mark Ruffalo — who has appeared as Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Incredible Hulk, in seven different Marvel movies — may have worn his last pair of shockingly stretchy pants.

In a recent interview with Collider, Ruffalo said he asked Hollywood executives if there would be room for the Hulk in the Marvel movies after Avengers: Endgame, and was given an extremely noncommittal answer about seeing where things landed in the future. "I just took that as a really nice way of saying 'probably not,'" Ruffalo says — which was a wise approach, because you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Read more at Collider. Scott Meslow

4:56 p.m.

Apple's hopes of entering the film battleground to fight in the great streaming wars are on pause for now. The tech company pulled the release of its first original movie, The Banker, late Wednesday night, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Apple did not state any specific reasoning behind the decision to yank the movie, merely stating there were "concerns" surrounding the film. The Banker has recently garnered controversy over sexual abuse allegations against Bernard Garrett Jr, the real-life character's son. The claims were made by Garrett Jr.'s half-sisters, Cynthia and Sheila Garrett, Deadline reports. As of now, the accusations are undisclosed, but according to the Reporter, Cynthia Garrett recently brought the claims to Apple's attention. They allege the misconduct took place while Garrett Jr. was staying at their family home. Garrett Jr. co-produced The Banker, notes the Reporter, but he is no longer credited, according to the film's IMDb page.

The movie is based on a true story about the first African-American bankers in the United States who used a white man (played by Nicholas Hoult) as the face of their business. It stars Marvel co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie. Jackson is playing Joe Morris and Mackie is playing Garrett Jr.'s father, Bernard Garrett.

The Banker was set to have its world premiere Thursday night in Hollywood at the American Film Institute Fest, and was even gathering Oscars buzz ahead of its sudden cancellation. The slot has now been filled with Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, per Deadline. Brielle Diskin

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