A 17-year-old is the target of legal attention by President Donald Trump's general counsel over a site where kitten paws bat around images of President Trump's face, according to a report from the New York Observer. As the Observer reports, the site's creator, named only as Lucy, initially made the site as a way to practice her coding skills. But after a few weeks, the site received a cease and desist letter from President Trump's general counsel in New York. The cease and desist letter, which the Observer confirmed, mentions that "as I'm sure you're aware, the Trump name is internationally known and famous." Lucy changed the site from TrumpScratch.com to KittenFeed.com, but said the Trump team contacted them again. Lucy told the Observer she was dumbfounded by the attention from President Trump's legal team.
In a last-minute effort to sink the Republican health care bill, a powerful network of conservative donors said Wednesday it would create a new fund for Republican 2018 reelection races -- but they'll only open it up to GOPers who vote against the bill. The advocacy groups helmed by Charles and David Koch have unveiled a new pool of money for advertisements, field programs and mailings that would exclude those who vote for the health care bill they oppose on Thursday. "We want to make certain that lawmakers understand the policy consequences of voting for a law that keeps Obamacare intact," Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips said. "We have a history of following up and holding politicians accountable, but we will also be there to support and thank the champions who stand strong and keep their promise."
The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN. This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to one source. read more
An increased number of immigrants in the U.S. might have contributed to an historic drop in crime rates, according to a new study. Research also shows that immigrants are less likely than U.S.-born citizens to commit crimes and be imprisoned. Both reports cast doubt on President Donald Trump's and his administration's populist rhetoric that immigrants and particularly undocumented immigrants are more likely to commit violent crimes. read more
House Republicans are in danger of losing a vote on their health care bill, a defeat that would be hugely damaging for the party and President Donald Trump. Trump campaigned on the promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replace it with "something terrific." According to a tally by NBC News, at least 27 Republicans have said they are voting against or leaning toward voting against the bill, called the American Health Care Act, as of Tuesday afternoon, about 48 hours before a vote is expected to occur. read more
Canada has banned life-size cardboard cutouts of the popular Canadian prime minister. According to CBC News, diplomats have been told to stop using stand-ups of Justin Trudeau. Stand-up images of the prime minister have appeared at Canadian events in the United States, attracting visitors, many of whom have snapped fake-Trudeau selfies and then posted them on social media. Global Affairs Canada has officially asked that there be no more Trudeau cutouts at events hosted by Canadian diplomats. "We are aware of instances where our missions in the United States had decided to purchase and use these cutouts," Michael O'Shaughnessy, Canada's global affairs spokesman said in an email to CBC. "The missions have been asked to no longer use these for their events." read more
Talk about taking a bazooka to kill a fly: A U.S. general reported last week that an unnamed ally used a $3.4 million Patriot missile to shoot down a hostile $200 commercial drone. General David Perkins's point wasn't that this was a technically remarkable feat -- although it certainly was given the tiny target -- but to point out yet another asymmetric advantage global terrorists' hold: it costs the West an unconscionable amount of money to combat even the most basic ad-hoc threats. read more
Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Every new administration has a shakeout period. But this assumes an ability to learn from mistakes. And this would require admitting mistakes. The spectacle of an American president blaming a Fox News commentator for a major diplomatic incident was another milestone in the miniaturization of the presidency. An interested foreigner (friend or foe) must be a student of Trump's temperament, which is just as bad as advertised. He is inexperienced, uninformed, easily provoked and supremely confident in his own judgment. read more
Rex Tillerson said the job of secretary of State wasn't a role he sought out. "I didn't want this job. I didn't seek this job," Tillerson told the Independent Journal Review in an interview during his recent Asia trip. When asked why he agreed to take on the position of secretary of State, Tillerson said his wife "told me I'm supposed to do this." ... The former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO added: "I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to go to the ranch to be with my grandkids."
David Leonhardt, New York Times: The ninth week of Donald Trump's presidency began with the FBI director calling him a liar. The director, the very complicated James Comey, didn't use the L-word in his congressional testimony Monday. Comey serves at the pleasure of the president, after all. But his meaning was clear as could be. Trump has repeatedly accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones, and Comey explained there is "no information that supports" the claim. But the current president of the United States lies. He lies in ways that no American politician ever has before. He has lied about -- among many other things -- Obama's birthplace, John F. Kennedy's assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud and his groping of women. read more
An attack occurred outside the British Parliament in London Wednesday in which a police officer was stabbed and several people struck by a car on Westminster Bridge. "We were in the cafe when it happened," said witness Michelle Langham. "We saw a policeman down on the floor. We saw a lot of commotion. Everyone who was out on the street was told to get into the cafe. There were lots of people screaming." Daily Mail journalist Quentin Letts said, "This man had something in his hand, it looked like a stick of some sort and he was challenged by a couple of policemen in yellow jackets and one of the yellow jacketed policemen fell down."
A Ukrainian politician has released documents that seem to incriminate one of Donald Trump's former campaign managers in a Ukrainian money laundering scheme. Politician and former investigative journalist Serhiy Leshchenko, turned over what he claimed is an old invoice from former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's Ukraine consulting firm. The invoice appears to document a $750,000 computer sale to a Brazilian tech company on October 14, 2009. Records in former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych's "black ledger" appear to show a $750,000 payment to Manafort on the same day. read more
The numbers are astonishing. The Standard & Poor's stock index returned 135.6 percent in those seven years through Thursday, a performance that we may not see again in our lifetimes. But the managed care stocks, as a whole, have gained nearly 300 percent including dividends, according to calculations by Bespoke Investment Group. UnitedHealth, the biggest of the managed care companies, with a market capitalization that is now more than $160 billion, returned 480 percent, dividends included. An investment of $100 in the company's stock when Obamacare was signed into law would be worth more than $580.50 today. "If Obamacare has been bad for the managed care stocks, why have they performed so well under it?" asked Paul Hickey, a founder of Bespoke Investment Group. "And do they really need to be rescued by Congress?"
James Fallows, The Atlantic: Something has happened to every new president, and something will happen to Donald Trump. It is inevitable. And when that something occurs, it is also inevitable that his administration will need to say, Trust us on this. That's in the nature of foreign emergencies. It can take a long time to figure out the truth. Even when the truth is known, some of it remains too sensitive to reveal. The inevitability of this moment, when a new president says Trust me, is why so many veteran officials have warned about Donald Trump's habit of incessantly telling instantly disprovable lies. Some of the lies don't really matter. Some of them obviously would matter, if they were true. But of course they're not true, and everyone except Trump and his coterie can look at the evidence and know that. Thus the problem: If an administration will lie about facts where the contradictory evidence is in plain sight, how can we possibly believe them on anything else? read more
Chuck Barris, whose game show empire included The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and that infamous factory of cheese, The Gong Show, has died. He was 87. Barris died of natural causes Tuesday afternoon at his home in Palisades, New York. Barris made game show history right off the bat, in 1966, with The Dating Game, hosted by Jim Lange. The gimmick: a young female questions three males, hidden from her view, to determine which would be the best date. Sometimes the process was switched, with a male questioning three females. But in all cases, the questions were designed by the show's writers to elicit sexy answers. Celebrities and future celebrities who appeared as contestants included Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Martin and a pre-Charlie's Angels Farrah Fawcett, introduced as "an accomplished artist and sculptress" with a dream to open her own gallery. read more