April 21, 2017
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Calm and quiet negotiations aren't everyone's cup of tea. Congress has until April 28 to pass a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, and Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate appropriations committees have been working with Republican leaders to negotiate a spending package. Any spending bill will need the support of at least eight Democrats in the Senate to pass. On Thursday, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the spending bill has to include some initial funding for President Trump's border wall with Mexico, and Democrats have to play ball.

"We have our list of priorities," Mulvaney said Thursday. "We want more money for defense. We want to build a border wall." He said the White House would be open to throwing some money at Democratic priorities, too — mentioning paying risk-sharing subsidies to insurance companies to cover low-income health care, important to keeping ObamaCare exchanges functioning — but Democrats have to support Trump's wall and other priorities, too. He stopped short of saying Trump wouldn't sign a bill without such funding, The Washington Post reports.

Democrats expressed disappointment that the White House was elbowing its way in. "Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand," said Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). "Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well." Mulvaney wasn't swayed, insisting Democrats agree to fund the wall. "If they tell us to pound sand, I think that's probably a disappointing indicator of where the next four years is going to go," he said

The cost of completing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border ranges from $12 billion to $70 billion. During the campaign, Trump had insisted that he would somehow force Mexico to foot the costs. Peter Weber

2:23 a.m. ET

Sometimes a last-minute vacation is just a vacation. And sometimes, it's a little more permanent, as Fox News star Bill O'Reilly illustrated earlier this month. O'Reilly, facing an exodus of advertisers after it was revealed he and Fox News had settled five claims of sexual and verbal harassment for $13 million, unexpectedly announced a family vacation, and he was fired while still in Italy. Jesse Watters, O'Reilly's former on-the-street guy and now a host on The Five, announced at the end of Wednesday night's show that he is going on vacation until Monday. His The Five co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle will cover his weekend show, Watters' World.

Watters raised some eyebrows on Tuesday night when he made a comment about Ivanka Trump and how he "really liked how she was speaking into that microphone." Some observers took the comment as suggestive, especially when combined with his facial expression and a hand gesture he made while saying it. On Twitter, Watters protested that interpretation, insisting he was just "referring to Ivanka's voice and how it resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ," and it "was in no way a joke about anything else."

"So, to recap, Watters is going to miss the final two broadcasts of The Five's first week in primetime, as well as his weekend show," says a skeptical Justin Baragona at Mediaite, which has Wednesday night's clip. "All to take a short family vacation that hadn't been announced until this evening. And this just coincidentally occurs following this latest flap — a flap that happened just a week after the network parted ways with its biggest star over a sexual harassment scandal. Got it." Though, to be fair, Tuesday night's comments are hardly the most offensive thing Watters has said on air. Peter Weber

2:09 a.m. ET
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Following the furor over a passenger being dragged off of an overbooked flight earlier this month, United Airlines announced Thursday it is implementing 10 changes the company says will "better serve our customers and empower our employees."

The airline will now offer passengers on overbooked planes as much as $10,000 to voluntarily give up their seat; previously, gate agents could dole out no more than $500 to passengers, and site managers could offer as much as $1,350. The company will also hold off on calling law enforcement unless security and safety are at risk, and launch a new automated system to determine which passengers are willing to be bumped from an overbook flight.

"Every customer deserves to be treated with the highest levels of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect," Untied CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement. "Two weeks ago, we failed to meet that standard and we profoundly apologize." David Dao, 69, refused to give his seat up on an overbooked Chicago to Louisville flight, and was forcibly removed by Chicago Department of Aviation officials. Dao's attorney said he suffered a concussion and broken nose and lost two teeth during the violent incident, which was filmed by concerned passengers and caused a public relations nightmare for United. Catherine Garcia

1:27 a.m. ET

CNN's Jake Tapper said Wednesday night that he's disheartened by a new poll. He traced the objectionable results back to President Trump's tweets in February accusing former President Barack Obama of tapping his phones in Trump Tower, then played clips of House Speaker Paul Ryan and FBI Director James Comey unequivocally shooting down those claims. "So that would have seemingly been that — except that the president and his team kept pushing ways to make this evidence-free claim somewhere, sort of, possibly in the neighborhood of almost not entirely false," Tapper said. "Now, they failed, but they muddied the waters quite a bit, and now, here are the shocking numbers."

In a new ABC/Washington Post poll, he said, "32 percent of the public thinks President Obama intentionally spied on Donald Trump and members of his campaign, and 52 percent of Republicans believe this charge — a charge that there is literally no evidence to support; it is the definition of fake news." Americans can believe what they want — "18 percent of the public says they've seen or been in the presence of a ghost — I mean, whatever," Tapper said — "but in a thriving democracy, truth matters and facts matter. We learned in the campaign that Donald Trump can be cavalier about facts and truth. We learned in his first 100 days that that's not going to change, indeed that some in the government and some of his friends in conservative media will even work to try to make his falsehoods seem true."

But then Tapper pulled back, pointing out that "fake news" cuts both ways, and there's "a lot of incendiary nonsense against Trump on the left that is just as fake." Otherwise sensible journalists retweet some of that news on Twitter. The news media has to be very careful to present only facts and cogent analysis, he said, "and this is a time for you, the public, to demand evidence from your leaders and from your media, even if you already agree with the politics of the person on your TV." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:01 a.m. ET

For his 97th birthday, Bill Grun lived out his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter.

The Doylestown, Pennsylvania, resident spent 70 rewarding years as a teacher, but always admired firefighters. "I'll say one thing about firemen — they are really gutsy," he told Fox 29. "We get choked up on candle smoke, and those fellas have to face all that stuff. It's tough." He was surprised on Monday by the all-volunteer crew of the Doylestown Fire Company, who came and picked him up from his retirement home with a ladder truck. While there weren't any fires to fight that day, Grun did have a very important job: He was in charge of the siren. Catherine Garcia

April 26, 2017
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The Venezuelan government is accusing the Organization of American States (OAS) of meddling in the country's affairs, and said it plans on leaving the Washington-based group as soon as possible.

The announcement came after the OAS voted to hold a meeting with foreign ministers to talk about the economic crisis and protests rocking Venezuela. Inflation is soon expected to reach 700 percent, and there is a shortage of food and medicine. Nearly 30 people have been killed during anti-government protests, including a demonstrator who was hit in the head by a tear gas canister Wednesday in Caracas.

The opposition is asking for early elections, and blames President Nicolas Maduro's socialist party for the country's woes; the government is blaming business elites. The Venezuelan government has also accused the United States of attempting to undermine Maduro's party, and Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the OAS is focusing on her country while ignoring what she called violations of democracy in Brazil, the BBC reports. Catherine Garcia

April 26, 2017

Coming up on 100 days in office and "desperate for positive accomplishments to celebrate," President Trump is bragging about signing 30 executive orders, Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night, unimpressed. This "is ridiculous," he said. "Claiming you've been a good president just because you signed a lot of executive orders makes no sense. But don't just take it from me." After a series of clips of Trump pooh-poohing former President Barack Obama's relatively restrained use of executive orders, and his golfing, Meyers shook his head: "It is, at this point, like a law of physics: For every Trump action there's an equal and opposite Trump clip." He gave New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie the same treatment, only sadder.

Meyers breezed through Trump's sharp reversals on NATO and funding for his Mexico border wall, plus Ivanka Trump's trip to Berlin, then turned to Trump's new tax plan: "So the president has very little to show for his first 100 days, which may be why Trump, who sold himself as a champion of the forgotten man, is setting his sights on a new goal: a giant tax cut for corporations." He ran through a short, familiar list of people who would benefit from such a tax cut, then noted that the actual details of the plan are still pretty vague. When Trump tried to explain his plan, as he did to The Associated Press, is was largely "unintelligible." "Trump's answers are literally just Mad Libs now," Meyers said, and he came up with one for Trump's tax proposal. Watch below. Peter Weber

April 26, 2017
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After speaking with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, President Trump "agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time," the White House announced Wednesday night.

The North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada was implemented in 1994, and while on the campaign trail, Trump called it a "job killer" and a "disaster." In a statement, the White House said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto "agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation" of the trade deal to "the benefit of all three countries."

Earlier in the day, a senior administration official told The New York Times the White House was finalizing the wording of an order to withdraw from the deal, with the draft reportedly written by Trump's chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, and Peter Navarro, the head of the National Trade Council. Catherine Garcia

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