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October 11, 2018

Following a phone call with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) last year about the Trump administration's travel ban, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly fired off an email to his top aide calling Warren "an impolite arrogant woman."

Using a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, BuzzFeed News obtained a copy of the email, sent Feb. 8, 2017, from the Department of Homeland Security. At the time, Kelly was the department's secretary, and Kevin Carroll was his senior counselor. "Absolutely most insulting conversation I have ever had with anyone," Kelly wrote to Carroll. "What an impolite arrogant woman. She immediately began insulting our people accusing them of not following the court order, insulting and abusive behavior towards those covered by the pause, blah blah blah."

In response, Carroll wrote it was "too bad Senate Majority Leader McConnell couldn't order her to be quiet again! Warren is running for president so early, trying too hard, and chasing bad pitches." A day earlier, Warren had been silenced by McConnell (R-Ky.) as she read a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, to a federal judgeship.

A person with knowledge of the phone call between Kelly and Warren told BuzzFeed News her office had been trying to get information on constituents who were detained at Boston's Logan International Airport, and Kelly avoided her calls then denied that she ever tried to reach him. Kelly has had a lot to say about women in politics — last year, he falsely accused Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) of taking credit for the development of an FBI field office video, saying she was an example of "empty barrels making the most noise." He refused to apologize. Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2018

Unfortunately for Elon Musk, all the money in the world can't buy you a thicker skin.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO lashed out Sunday on Twitter at a British diver who criticized him for sending a mini-submarine to the cave in Thailand where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than a week. Vern Unsworth played a major role in the rescue, and told CNN on Saturday the mini-submarine was "just a PR stunt" with "absolutely no chance" of working.

In now-deleted tweets, Musk said he "never saw this British expat guy," and there was video of the rescue that proved Unsworth wrong. Musk followed up by saying, "You know what, don't bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it." Unsworth told The Guardian on Monday he was "astonished and very angry" by Musk's comments, and is considering legal action. Catherine Garcia

May 16, 2018

Researchers have finally figured out what is responsible for the thousands of dead fish washing up on the banks of the Mara River between Kenya and Tanzania: It was Mr. Hippo in the pool with … well, with a whole lot of poop.

Hippopotami, the researchers discovered, create so much waste that it actually suffocates hundreds and hundreds of fish to death when their sewage flushes downstream, The Atlantic reports. Every day, some 4,000 or so hippos crowd into "hippo pools" near the Mara River, where they keep cool and safe from the sun. But as a result, "there's hippo feces everywhere. Over the rocks. Over the bottom," said Chris Dutton, one of the researchers.

Just how much? Try 18,740 pounds in about a 62-mile stretch of water.

All that dung is consumed by bacteria, which also pulls the oxygen out of the water. Combine the lack of oxygen with the "ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, and other chemical grotesqueries" that occur in the bottom of what is essentially a gigantic communal hippo toilet, and you have yourself the perfect murder weapon, The Atlantic writes. When rains come, the lethal water pours downstream, and the low oxygen levels smother innocent fish along the way.

Learn more about the toxic waste, and how the researchers got to the bottom of the mystery, at The Atlantic. Jeva Lange

January 23, 2018

During a meeting later described as "disturbing," President Trump asked then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe a very personal and pointed question about the 2016 presidential election: Who did you vote for?

Several current and former U.S. officials told The Washington Post about the meeting, held last May in the Oval Office. McCabe, currently deputy FBI director, responded that he didn't vote in the election, the Post reports, but Trump wasn't done with him — he then shared his displeasure over donations McCabe's wife accepted in 2015, when she ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia state Senate. Jill McCabe, a Democrat, received $500,000 from a political action committee controlled by then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton; at the time of the race, McCabe was the assistant director of the FBI's Washington field office, and he recused himself from cases involving Virginia politicians.

McCabe, who was also serving as deputy FBI director when Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey last May, thought the conversation was "disturbing," one person told the Post, and his fellow FBI officials were also bothered by Trump asking a civil servant to share how he voted. The Post says this conversation is of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump has tweeted several unfavorable things about McCabe, and Axios reported on Monday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has pushed FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire McCabe, and Wray threatened to resign if McCabe is forced out. Read more about the conversation, plus Trump's intense dislike of McCabe, at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

September 27, 2017

President Trump has grown increasingly frustrated with the Republican-controlled Senate, which once again failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week. Trump's ire is particularly targeted toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who helped put the nail in the GOP health-care bill's coffin.

In addition to his public airing of grievances, Trump has reportedly taken to mocking McConnell and McCain in private, too. Trump physically mocks McConnell's "slumped shoulders" and "lethargic body language" and mimes McCain by "imitating the thumbs-down of his historic health-care vote," Axios reports. Trump also reportedly mocked McConnell as "weak" at a private dinner on Monday, Politico reports, adding that the president also "called McCain 'disgraceful' on health care and mocked his thumbs-down gesture on the Senate floor against a GOP proposal in July, complete with a facial expression, attendees said."

Trump has a long road ahead, though — including needing Senate Republicans on his side for a tax overhaul. "With his stoking of the culture war and bombastic style amid national and global turbulence, Trump continues to make every issue about himself — at the very time that he most needs friends," Axios concludes. Jeva Lange

August 3, 2017

Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday taunted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, calling him "a fool" and warning that his "chubby face looks kind" but he's a "son of a bitch."

The president of the Philippines is known for using crude language, and this isn't the first time he has spoken out against Kim, who is trying to build up his nuclear arsenal. On Monday, Manila will host the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, where representatives from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Russia, China, Australia, Japan, and South Korea, will come together to discuss North Korea's recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Duterte also accused Kim of "playing with dangerous toys," and said if he "commits a mistake, the Far East will become an arid land. It must be stopped, this nuclear war. A limited confrontation and it blows up here, I will tell you, the fallout can deplete the soil, the resources, and I don't know what will happen to us." Catherine Garcia

August 1, 2017

President Trump loves golf, and he doesn't hide it — he has spent many of his weekends since January golfing, owns several courses, and has teed up with world leaders like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A new article coming out in the August 7 edition of Sports Illustrated shares lots of interesting tidbits about Trump the golfer, like how he'll play a second ball if his first swing didn't go his way, and how he "doesn't play a round of golf so much as narrate it," adding hyperbole along the way. But while the article gives insight into what Trump's ostentatious clubs and courses reveal about the person he is, what's getting buzz are a few comments he reportedly made to members of his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The club, close to his home in New York City, was almost like a campaign headquarters before the election, and he's visited multiple times since his inauguration. It was there that, during a recent round of golf, he told some members of the club he was at Bedminster so often because "that White House is a real dump," Sports Illustrated reports. (A White House spokesperson denied this.) Sports Illustrated was also told that last November, when Trump was gearing up to interview Cabinet prospects at the club, he told members at a cocktail reception and dinner that "this is my real group. You are the special people. I see all of you. I recognize, like, 100 precent of you, just about." He then gave a blanket invitation to everyone in the room, letting them know they were more than welcome to swing by the Cabinet interviews. Read the entire Sports Illustrated report. Catherine Garcia

May 25, 2017

Several Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials went to Sava's Restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Wednesday and enjoyed a nice breakfast, perhaps a Belgian waffle or that insidious avocado toast. After eating, they promptly went into the kitchen and arrested three employees.

That's the account of Sava's owner Sava Lelcaj, who reports the agents interrogated her kitchen workers before taking three into custody and transporting them to Detroit, nearly an hour away. "They came in looking for one person, who was not on duty," Lelcaj said, but arrested the others anyway. The employees were released later Wednesday; all three have proper immigration documents to work in the United States but were not carrying their papers while on the job.

"It's really sad," Lelcaj said of the incident. "It scares the whole community. Today's a great indication even if you have your documentation, and you're at the wrong place at the wrong time, you can still be at risk." Bonnie Kristian

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