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March 14, 2018

Facebook has decided to unfriend the unfriendly.

The company removed pages belonging to far-right U.K. group Britain First for repeatedly posting "content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups," Facebook explained in a blog post on Wednesday. The social media site said the group had ignored a final written warning asking it to stop sharing content that violates Facebook's hate speech community standards. The group's leaders, who were jailed last week after being convicted of religiously aggravated harassment, have also been banned from the site, BBC reports.

The Britain First page had more than two million followers. Its posts, which included photos with captions that read "Islamophobic and Proud" and compared Muslim immigrants to animals, were shared hundreds of thousands of times. Facebook will not allow a replacement page to be created, BBC says.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan expressed support for Facebook's decision. "Britain First is a vile and hate-fueled group," said Khan in a statement. Britain First found itself in the spotlight last November when President Trump retweeted several of its anti-Muslim videos. Summer Meza

2:12a.m.

Saturday Night Live returns to the air on Nov. 3, right before the midterm elections, but SNL cast member Melissa Villaseñor was on Monday's Tonight Show, and it had nothing to do with politics. Villaseñor had challenged Jimmy Fallon to a round of Wheel of Musical Impressions via Instagram, and on Monday's show she drew Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera before nailing Bjork, all singing nursery rhymes. "The world has always wanted to hear this, Bjork doing 'Rock-A-Bye Baby,'" Fallon said. For his part, Fallon requested auto-tune for his Post Malone impersonation but was ready for Barry Gibb all on his own. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:54a.m.

You may not need political experience to work in this White House, but a background in MMA could be helpful.

On Feb. 21, the same day families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims were visiting with President Trump, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Corey Lewandowski, Trump's first campaign manager, got into a physical altercation, six people with knowledge of the scuffle told The New York Times on Monday. The fight took place outside the Oval Office, and Secret Service agents had to get involved after Kelly grabbed Lewandowski by the collar and attempted to push him up against a wall, people familiar with the incident told the Times.

It started when both men were meeting with Trump, and Kelly was critical of Lewandowski, saying he was making money off of Trump's name, the Times reports. Kelly was also unhappy with Lewandowski for going on television and discussing how he'd handled the situation with Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. Lewandowski did not get physical, people with knowledge of the matter told the Times, and while he still visits the White House, aides make sure he doesn't go near Kelly.

Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, became chief of staff last year. Last week, it was reported he got into a screaming match with National Security Adviser John Bolton over immigration, and Anthony Scaramucci, the onetime White House communications director turned interpretive dancer, blasted Kelly on Sunday's Meet the Press, saying he "hurt the morale inside the place" and "has hissy fits." Read more about Kelly's temperament, and what his supporters have to say about it, at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

1:33a.m.

President Trump was in Texas on Monday to rally for the man he used to call "Lyin' Ted" Cruz. But that was then, in 2016. "Trump is so close to Cruz now, he's even pretending to unveil a new nickname for him," Stephen Colbert laughed on Monday's Late Show. "'Beautiful Ted'? Really? Somewhere, Ted Nugent is weeping over his assault rifle. 'I thought I was Beautiful Ted. Wango saddo.'

"And there's more random cruelty from the Trump administration coming down the pike," Colbert said. "This time they spun the Wheel of Discrimination and they landed on transgender." The Trump administration says its proposed change, to recognize people only by their birth genitalia, rests "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science." Colbert threw up his hands: "Oh, now you care about science! Wow, how convenient." He poked a little fun at himself and his Lord of the Rings obsession: "Gender is clearly a spectrum, okay? We know this. For instance, I identify as a man, but it's a little fluid. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and repairing boats; then again, my favorite book is about elves and jewelry."

Colbert ended on the "obvious and shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey," and he wasn't buying Saudi Arabia's belated story that their agents killed Khashaoggi accidentally, in a spontaneous brawl. "Saudi Arabia's excuses are so lame that they're being doubted by even the most gullible people, like Donald Trump," he said. But even as he shows some skepticism of the Saudi version of events, Trump insists he doesn't want to cancel weapons deals with Saudi Arabia "because he's protecting America's jobs," Colbert said. "How many jobs? You won't believe how many." Literally, Trump's numbers are unbelievable. Says who? "As Trump put it, 'fake news' from the 'Failing White House,'" Colbert surmised. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:51a.m.

At a rally in Houston Monday night, President Trump declared he's a "nationalist," and urged his supporters to "use that word."

Trump was in Texas to campaign for Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who is running against Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke. "You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned," Trump said. "It's called a nationalist. And I say, 'Really? We're not supposed to use that world.' You know what I am? I'm a nationalist. Okay? I'm a nationalist." As the crowd cheered him on, Trump said, "use that word. Use that word."

The Democrats, he said, "want to turn back the clock. Restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists. You know what a globalist is, right? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can't have that." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

12:24a.m.

On Monday, President Trump vaguely elaborated on a 10 percent tax cut for middle-income earners that nobody else seems to know anything about. Trump's proposal for a "major tax cut" before the Nov. 6 election or soon after is "mystifying White House officials, congressional leaders, and tax wonks around town who mostly have no idea what he's talking about," Politico reports.

At a rally in Houston on Monday evening, Trump said he has been working on the proposal with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) for several months, and he's said House Speaker Paul Ryan's office was involved, too. But Ryan and Brady "appeared caught off guard again by Trump's comments," and their offices referred questions back to the White House, The Washington Post reports.

Congress is on break until after the election, "legislation enacting such a cut has not been planned on Capitol Hill, and congressional Republicans were privately skeptical that a vote could happen during the post-election lame duck session," the Post reports. "There are no current plans in Congress for any kind of large new tax cut for the middle class," Politico adds, and a 10 percent cut, as Trump is talking about, would cost about $2 trillion over 10 years, according to Jason Furman, chairman of former President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

"The GOP is already scrambling to avoid criticism for the ballooning debt and deficit under Trump's watch," and Republican candidates scrapped plans to run on the $1.5 trillion tax cut they already passed months ago, Politico says. "The specifics may not matter, though, in the days before an election — especially as the media echoes his message, often uncritically." And Republicans seem fine with that. "It's not a serious proposal," one well-connected conservative lobbyist tells Politico. "Nobody is taking it seriously, but we'd rather have him talking about tax cuts than some of the crazy stuff he usually talks about." Peter Weber

October 22, 2018

Without the generosity of a stranger, Halie Hipsher and Matt Jones would not have been able to move their wedding up to ensure that her grandfather could attend the joyous day.

The stranger, Kolbie Sanders of Tyler, Texas, was set to get married on Oct. 20 at the Belle Vue Wedding and Event Venue. The wedding was called off, but she wasn't going to be able to get the $3,500 rental fee back. The venue told her she could pick a new date and hold a different event, but Sanders had another idea: She went on Facebook and announced she was giving away the venue to a couple that wanted to get married on the 20th. Messages came flooding in, and after whittling down the couples, she put names in a bowl and picked one slip of paper.

Sanders chose Jones and Hipsher, who had told her they planned on getting married in fall 2019, but Hipsher was afraid her grandfather, who has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, might not make it another year. Hipsher and Jones jumped into planning mode, and a photographer and other vendors donated their services. "Walking down the aisle was breathtaking and I wouldn't want to change one second of the day because it is all I dreamed of and more," Hipsher told Good Morning America. Sanders, who stopped by the wedding for photos with Hipsher and her grandfather, said she was thrilled when the bride won, and her "reaction definitely made all of this worth it." Catherine Garcia

October 22, 2018

President Trump better hope the man he once dubbed Lyin' Ted was telling the truth on Monday night, when he declared that "in 2020, Donald Trump will be overwhelmingly re-elected."

Trump was in Houston for a campaign rally in support of Sen. Ted Cruz (R), up for re-election and facing Democrat Beto O'Rourke. Cruz touted his record and accused his opponent of being soft on immigration, The Associated Press reports, but his line about Trump gave him his biggest cheers of the night.

As for Trump, he said Cruz supported him in his quest to cut taxes and regulations, and shared that Cruz has "become a really good friend of mine." Onstage, they patted each other on the back, and it was almost as if 2016 — when Trump ridiculed Cruz's wife's appearance, accused his father of being involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, said he was "choking like a dog" in the Republican presidential primary, and anointed him "Lyin' Ted," while Cruz called Trump "utterly amoral," "a pathological liar," a "sniveling coward," and "narcissist at a level I don't think the country's ever seen" — never happened. Catherine Garcia

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