July 20, 2017

After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) vowed Thursday morning on Twitter that he would "be back soon" to his Senate duties in Washington, "unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress." McCain, 80, was diagnosed with a type of tumor known as a glioblastoma after a surgery last week, his office announced Wednesday.

But in addition to his feisty Thursday morning tweet, McCain is hardly slouching on the job while he recovers from the operation — he also issued an official statement Thursday morning regarding President Trump's reported decision to end a CIA program that covertly arms moderate rebels in Syria. That relentless energy is why CNN commentator and former McCain staffer Ana Navarro has faith in McCain's recovery fight, she said on CNN on Thursday morning. "I know that if there's one word that he stands for, it's 'fight,'" Navarro said. "That guy has never given up in his life."

"I have never heard John McCain complain once," Navarro continued. "He is so much more than Sen. McCain. He is a friend, he is a mentor, he is a buddy, he is an adviser, he's a confidante. He's a critiquer — he's honest, he's blunt. He will open doors for you, and he will tell you when you're making mistakes."

Watch Navarro share her touching thoughts on her former boss below. Kimberly Alters

July 19, 2017

"We're having a lot of fun with Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert told Keegan-Michael Key on Tuesday's Late Show. "Is he fun for you?" Key said President Trump is a very difficult challenge for him and his comedy partner, Jordan Peele, "because it's hard when a person is the most ideal comic version of themselves. It's really tough to go, 'You know what would be really funny? Oh, he just did that? But you know what he would never do? Oh no, he did that as well? Okay.' It's really hard to catch up."

Former President Barack Obama was a different kind of challenge, because he was so measured and low-key. Key and Peele dealt with that by creating Key's character Luther, Obama's "anger translator." Colbert asked if Key would bring Luther out of retirement, and Key agreed. Obama hasn't said much since the election, but since Peele was not on stage, Colbert read a few things Obama has said in the past few months and Key let Luther loose. Like, really loose. On TrumpCare, for example: "You know what? I'd say you people make me sick, but I can't afford that because I'd have no damn insurance!" Watch below. Peter Weber

July 18, 2017

MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace on Tuesday hammered New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) with some tough questions about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who claimed to have negative information on Hillary Clinton. "You think the president's judgment is that Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Don Jr. handled this meeting well?" asked Wallace, who served as communications chief under former President George W. Bush.

Christie, a campaign surrogate for President Trump and a former federal prosecutor, paused before answering. "I don't think I've heard the president say that, and I don't think I've seen him tweet it," Christie said. He argued instead that Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort should've gone to the campaign's lawyer — as opposed to the FBI — as soon as they were offered compromising information by the Russian lawyer.

But while reading that email "would have rang bells" for Christie, who has decades of experience in politics, Christie noted that Trump Jr. does not have the same background. "I'm saying he's not sophisticated in this stuff," Christie said of the president's son. "You're basically saying Don Jr. is dumb," Wallace fired back.

Christie insisted that he was "not here defending the taking of the meeting," but arguing that it's less "evidence of a crime" than proof of a lack of judgment. "I don't think anybody really thinks that this meeting was advisable," Christie said.

Watch Wallace interrogate Christie below. Becca Stanek

July 17, 2017

John Oliver's Last Week Tonight is on hiatus this week, but last Thursday Oliver was a guest on Stephen Colbert's Late Show, and over the weekend, The Late Show posted this unaired clip of Oliver and Colbert sparring over the wax figures of Warren G. Harding and Zachary Taylor they bought, respectively, at an auction in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It is mostly safe for work, and features a contest of comedic insults about historical figures most people know little about.

The fight over Harding and Taylor was prompted by Oliver's comments on last week's Last Week Tonight, in a decidedly NSFW segment on Harding that features a short film on the 29th president's life with four Academy Award nominees interacting with the wax figure, including Anna Kendrick as his mistress.

Oliver was off this week, he explained on The Late Show, because typically this is a very slow time for news. "I imagine you took these two weeks off because this is the part of the year, the summer, where you go, like, nothing's gonna happen," Colbert said. "Nothing — it's always quiet, right?" Oliver said, laughing. "You'd have to have an offspring who is so stupid," he began, referencing the emails Donald Trump Jr. released acknowledging he met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer who promised information from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton. Oliver mentioned his show's "Stupid Watergate" frame for the Trump-Russia scandal — "the idea that it's something with all the gravitas but where everyone involved is stupid and bad at everything," he reminded viewers — and said the frame "was supposed to be a self-contained joke, but current events are making it more and more relevant, which is not normally how jokes work."

Oliver and Colbert went on to discuss whether the Trump Jr. news or anything else matters in this current political climate, and compared notes about being openly shadowed by menacing figures in Russia. Watch below. Peter Weber

July 14, 2017

Taiwan's parliament broke out in a brawl Thursday during a budget dispute that found the opposition party, Kuomintang (KMT), violently protesting President Tsai Ing-wen's plans for approximately $13 billion in infrastructure spending it says is centered on regions loyal to her Democratic Progressive Party, The Telegraph reports. Lawmakers clubbed each other with signs, tossed papers, grabbed each other's throats, and chucked pink armchairs around the room.

Premier Lin Chuan was unable to give a report on the budget after a water balloon, lobbed by the opposition, burst near him. Angry lawmakers also honked air horns to express their fury.

"We call for rational discussions … to resolve our difference," the DPP said in a statement, slamming the KMT's "violent boycott."

Stateside, the U.S. Congress has its own battle looming: This fall, it must set a budget, tackle the tax code, address President Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan, and raise the debt ceiling. Hopefully, there will be no pink chairs handy. Jeva Lange

July 13, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary refused to say definitively if Pence ever met with representatives of Russia during an interview with Fox News' Bill Hemmer on Wednesday. Previously, Pence's team tried to distance the vice president from the Russia scandal, going as far as to pointedly note that Pence joined the Trump campaign only after Donald Trump Jr.'s controversial meeting with an apparent Kremlin agent.

On Wednesday, though, Pence's press secretary Marc Lotter dodged three separate times when asked point-blank if his boss had met with Russian representatives. Hemmer first asked, "Did the vice president ever meet with representatives from Russia?" with Lotter declining to give a straight response. Unsatisfied, Hemmer again asked, "Did he ever meet with representatives from the Russian government during the campaign?" This time, Lotter said the question was something "that the special prosecutors and the counsels are all looking at."

One final time, Hemmer gave Lotter a chance to offer a clear answer. "Is that a yes or a no?" Hemmer demanded. "Did [Pence] or did he not? And was it relevant, in fact?" And one final time, Lotter refused to say. Watch below. Jeva Lange

July 12, 2017

The lawyer for Russian pop star Emin Agalarov on Wednesday tried to deny his client's ties to the Russian government, only to be backed into a corner by CNN's Chris Cuomo.

Agalarov's publicist, Rob Goldstone, mentioned in his email exchange with Donald Trump Jr. a phone call between the pop star and Trump Jr. regarding Russian government information. But on Wednesday, Agalarov's lawyer Scott Balber insisted to Cuomo that the phone call "didn't happen."

"So Mr. Goldstone, who is the publicist for your client, was wrong when he suggested that Donald Trump Jr. had spoken with your client?" Cuomo asked. "And he was wrong when he said, 'The crown prosecutor of Russia met with his' — Emin's — 'father this morning, and in their meeting, offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]?'"

Cuomo concluded that if that were really all false, as Balber claimed it to be, "that is some doozy of a lie." "That's a lot of information and specificity just to pitch a meeting, is it not?" Cuomo asked.

Balber continued to deny that any such meeting happened between Agalarov's father and Russian officials, prompting Cuomo to pull out the big guns. "When did your client fire Mr. Goldstone?" Cuomo asked. "I don't know that he fired Mr. Goldstone," Balber responded. "The man told a lie like this about your client and he didn't fire him as his publicist?" Cuomo fired back.

Watch Balber try to respond to that question below. Becca Stanek

July 12, 2017

President Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, fiercely maintained Wednesday that his client is not being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and that the president was uninvolved in his son's questionable meeting with a Kremlin source for dirt on Clinton. Contrary to Sekulow's claims, though, officials have said the special counsel is in fact investigating Trump, for possible obstruction of justice.

Speaking with Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, Sekulow said Trump knew nothing about the email exchange released by Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday. "The president was not at the meeting, was not aware of the meeting, did not participate in the meeting, and as I said, was made aware of the email exchange when it was released yesterday," Sekulow said. "He was briefed on it earlier by his legal team, but very recently."

Sekulow added that "the president is not under investigation by the special counsel," prompting Stephanopoulos to correct him. "I'm not sure about that," Stephanopoulos said, "but we'll have to leave it for another day." Jeva Lange

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