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April 17, 2018

"Hi, it's only Monday," CBS This Morning cohost John Dickerson reminded Stephen Colbert on Monday's Late Show. "I'm sweating from the news," Colbert said. He asked if Dickerson has read former FBI Director James Comey's new book, A Higher Loyalty, and Dickerson said he'd skimmed it and read the transcript of Comey's interview on ABC News. But he had some well-thought-out ideas about the risks and rewards of Comey's project.

What Comey is "trying to do is he's making the case for a moral standard at a time when all of those standards are being thrown out by the president — and some people love the fact that those standards are being thrown out — and so he's trying to make this case while he has fallen short of standards as well," Dickerson said. "He's not totally clean. So the question is, now that he's got this book out there, will people hear that it's a call to a higher standard? Will they think this is just more weaponry in a partisan fight? If those standards he's making a case for get written down as just more weaponry in a partisan fight, then he's actually net-reduced our belief in those standards that he says should be above politics. So that's the fight for him: Can he protect those standards from the launch of his own book?"

"Wow," Colbert said. They talked more about Comey and Trump, the increasingly impossible job of the presidency, Jimmy Carter getting so into the minutiae that he took over the scheduling of the White House tennis courts, and what it's like to float in a sensory deprivation tank. Watch below. Peter Weber

11:47 a.m.

The Oklahoma City bombing woke up U.S. counterterrorism officials to violent white supremacy and other forms of right-wing extremism. But 9/11 and political pressure turned their attention elsewhere — and "now, they have no idea how to stop" far-right extremists, The New York Times details in Thursday's episode of The Daily podcast.

After Timothy McVeigh's deadly 1995 attack, an FBI crackdown "somewhat succeeded in sending the far right underground," Times contributor Janet Reitman reports on The Daily. Then 9/11 arrived, and "the entire national security apparatus," including the FBI under then-director Robert Mueller, shifted to "countering Islamic extremism," Reitman says. Just one man — Daryl Johnson — was left to probe domestic right-wing extremism under the newly formed Department of Homeland Security.

Things seemed quiet until former President Barack Obama gained national prominence, and Johnson — a registered Republican — correctly assumed the first black president would reinvigorate white supremacists. Under Obama, Johnson authored a report warning of this new threat, which was largely taking shape online, Johnson tells The Daily. But conservative media didn't like tying "right-wing" to "extremism," Johnson said. And their intense backlash led then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to rescind the report altogether.

National security monitoring of violent white supremacy only faded from there. Johnson was reassigned to a new job and eventually left DHS, and today, not a single person at DHS is dedicated solely to right-wing extremism, Johnson tells The Daily.

This shift may have successfully prevented another 9/11. But "white supremacists and other far-right extremists have killed more people in the United States ... than any other category of domestic extremist" in the meantime, per the Times. Listen to more on The New York Times' The Daily. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:23 a.m.

The 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced Thursday, with Radiohead, Janet Jackson, and Def Leppard among the latest to be enshrined in Cleveland, reports Pitchfork.

Joining them in the March induction ceremony will be Stevie Nicks (already in as a member of Fleetwood Mac), The Cure, Roxy Music, and The Zombies. Among the acts who will be left out despite a nomination: Devo, Kraftwerk, LL Cool J, and Rage Against the Machine.

Radiohead got the nod despite its well-publicized indifference to the honor. "If you ask me what I'd rather be doing that night," guitarist Ed O'Brien told Rolling Stone upon the band's first nomination in 2017, "I'd rather be sitting at home in front of the fire or going to a gig." It seems that for O'Brien and his bandmates, that cozy night will have to be postponed. See the full list of inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jacob Lambert

9:51 a.m.

President Trump seems to have no idea how lawyers work.

In a series of tweets Thursday morning, Trump railed against his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for what a judge called a "smorgasbord of criminal conduct." Among those crimes were campaign finance violations that Cohen said he committed on Trump's orders.

But Trump "never directed Michael Cohen to break the law," the president claimed in Thursday's tweets. Instead, Trump insinuated that if he suggested something illegal, Cohen should've known not to do it. Trump went on to claim Cohen's campaign finance charges "were not criminal," and that his ex-fixer "probably" wasn't guilty of them "even on a civil basis," which isn't exactly how the law works. Instead, Cohen pleaded guilty to these charges simply "to embarrass the president," Trump claimed.

Read Trump's haphazard explanation of what he claims is Cohen's elaborate prank below. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:47 a.m.

In case you're having trouble keeping track of the criminal status of various associates to President Trump, Wikipedia is, as always, here to help.

After former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen on Wednesday was sentenced to three years in prison, Vox reporter Aaron Rupar pointed out that the Wikipedia page for Cohen and other Trump allies has a handy-dandy "criminal status" box, with Cohen's currently reading "pleaded guilty to all charges; sentenced to three years in jail and a $50,000 fine to the U.S. Senate."

Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, also has one. His reads, "Found guilty on 8 counts; pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy; scheduled to be sentenced on February 8, 2019 or March 5, 2019." Both Cohen's and Manafort's pages appear to have been graced with this box in August, following their convictions.

Another Trump associate who has this box on his Wikipedia page is former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who was recently released from prison and is under supervised release after pleading guilty to making false statements to the FBI. Brendan Morrow

9:25 a.m.

Working for Tesla CEO Elon Musk sounds like a stressful and bizarre experience, as you might gauge from his erratic Twitter feed.

Wired on Thursday published a detailed account of what it was like to work at Tesla as the company ramped up production of the Model 3, speaking with dozens of current and former employees. What they describe is a ridiculously demanding work environment in which everyone lives in fear that they will be suddenly humiliated or fired by Musk at any given time.

For instance, one employee said that literally the first time he ever encountered Musk, Musk called him a "f---ing idiot" and fired him in an encounter that "lasted less than a minute." This kind of behavior was so common that one manager said they referred to it as "Elon's rage firings," and during meetings, he was apparently known to suddenly demote employees on the spot in addition to "bullying those who had failed to perform."

"The threat of firing became a drumbeat," Wired writes. One executive said that "every day you expected to be fired" and "there was this constant feeling of dread." According to the article, if anyone questions Musk, they can expect to be immediately let go, reassigned, or asked not to attend meetings anymore.

Musk's obsession with firing people got to the point that he would reportedly come in and say, "I've got to fire someone today," and other executives would have to try to talk him out of it. One former executive summed things up by saying, "Everyone in Tesla is in an abusive relationship with Elon." Tesla in multiple statements disputed the article's characterization of Musk, calling some anecdotes "overly dramatized." Read the full piece at Wired. Brendan Morrow

8:04 a.m.

First lady Melania Trump is once again speaking out against the media, this time slamming some journalists and authors as being mere "opportunists."

Trump sat down with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday and was asked about the hardest part of being first lady. She pointed to what she called "the opportunists who are using my name or my family name to advance themselves." This, she explained, includes comedians, journalists, performers, and authors, although she did not name names.

Trump went on to say that this "doesn't hurt" but that it bothers her because they are "writing the history, and it's not correct." She kept up her media critique, saying the press likes to "focus on the gossip" when she'd like them to "focus on the substance and what we do, not just about nonsense."

The first lady has frequently offered criticism of the way she's covered in the press during her sporadic media interviews, telling ABC News in October that she specifically wore her now infamous "I really don't care, do you?" jacket as a statement to the media because she wishes they "would focus on what I do and on my initiatives than what I wear." She also said in that interview that she is the "most bullied person in the world." Watch Trump's interview with Hannity below. Brendan Morrow

7:10 a.m.

On Thursday, Apple announced that it is building a new $1 billion campus in Austin, its third in the Texas capital. The new 133-acre campus will start with 5,000 employees and have the capacity for 15,000 employees. Austin's current Apple workforce of about 6,200 employees already makes it Apple's second-largest center of employment, after the company's Cupertino headquarters. "With the planned expansion," Axios notes, "Apple is on track to be Austin's largest private employer." The new campus will have jobs in engineering, research and development, sales, finance, customer support, and operations.

Apple also announced plans to set up new offices in Seattle, San Diego, and Culver City, a part of greater Los Angeles famous for its movie and TV studios. Within the next few years, as it works to fulfill its promise to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023, the company is also expanding its operations in New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, Boston, and Boulder, Colorado. Peter Weber

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