Stephen Colbert recaps what we learned about Trump and Russia on the Mueller probe's 1st anniversary
Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation, and The Late Show had a gift idea.
Stephen Colbert said his "happy one-year anniversary of the Mueller investigation" present was this monologue, but "the Senate gave us all something big yesterday," 2,500 pages of testimony about that June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., other top Trump campaign officials, and Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.
President Trump and his eldest son have both insisted the president did not know about the now-infamous meeting, Colbert said, "but the transcript of his testimony shows that after Don Jr. set up this meeting, with help from a Russian oligarch's son — as you do when you're not colluding — he immediately made a four-minute mystery call to a blocked number, and earlier testimony revealed that candidate Trump's primary residence has a blocked number." Don Jr. told the Senate he couldn't recall who he'd called. "Sure," Colbert said, "he could have been speaking to anybody between two calls to a Russian oligarch's son planning to collude with the Russian government. 'Hello, Dominos? You'll never guess who has dirt on Hillary Clinton.'"
"Prior to these transcripts coming out, the Trump team had planned to use this anniversary as a turning point in their campaign to end Mueller's probe," Colbert said. The man tasked with that job, Rudy Giuliani, didn't convince Colbert, but Colbert conceded that Giuliani did have a point about Mueller being unable to indict Trump. "The Justice Department has held they can't indict a sitting president since the Nixon administration, and that was reaffirmed in the Clinton administration," he said. "Yes, our two most innocent presidents. 'I am not a crook!' and 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman' has now become 'I am a crook, and I did have sexual relations with that woman, and you can suck it!' I'm paraphrasing." Watch below. Peter Weber
Sarah Huckabee Sanders 'can't guarantee' that Americans will never hear a recording of Trump saying the n-word
Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and White House leaks.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders knows this to be true, telling reporters on Tuesday that she "can't guarantee anything" when it comes to the next tape that former senior adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman will inevitably release.
Manigault Newman alleged that President Trump has said the n-word on tape, and gave CBS News a recording of Trump campaign officials allegedly discussing the existence of such a tape to corroborate the claim. Trump himself took to Twitter to insist that "there are NO TAPES" of him using "such a terrible and disgusting word."
Sanders couldn't make things quite so black and white, leaving some room for the possibility that more recordings will emerge. She said she had "never heard him use that term or anything similar," but when asked whether she could "guarantee the American people they'll never hear Donald Trump utter the n-word on a recording in any context," she only said that if people in the administration thought Trump was racist, they "wouldn't be here." To explain why she "can't guarantee anything," Sanders said she "hasn't been in every room" to know for certain whether tapes exist.
Instead, Sanders pointed to policies that have reduced the unemployment rate among African Americans, claiming Trump has already tripled the accomplishments of former President Barack Obama. Watch the moment below, via Fox News. Summer Meza
American millennials may have ruined mayonnaise, but at least they haven't launched an avocado black market.
That's what's happened in New Zealand, as low avocado harvests has driven the average cost of one fruit to $3.30. New Zealand refuses to import the toast-topper, jacking prices up 37 percent in the past year, The New York Times reports.
Guacamole lovers have tried to avoid high prices by growing their own avocado trees, but they are often put on a waitlist at nurseries, the Times says. Others see an opportunity to turn green into gold and have started nabbing avocados in the night: Two thieves were recently caught smuggling $4,300 of avocados out of an orchard in duvet covers, the Times reports. Another pair tried using a hook to pull fruits off a tree and escaped on a mobility scooter.
These thieves' plots may have been smashed, but one farmer reported 70 percent of his avocados were stolen last year, per The New Zealand Herald. Growers have taken to surrounding trees with razor wire or installing security systems to protect their crops.
The sheer volume of these stolen avocados suggests they're likely sold in small shops or used for food service. "It's clearly not for their own consumption," Alasdair Macmillan, New Zealand's coordinator of community policing, told the Times. "You can only put so much avocado on your burger or in your sushi," Macmillan continued — indicating he's never seen the full power of a dedicated millennial mind. Kathryn Krawczyk
Former senior White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman promises to keep whistleblowing.
Manigault Newman appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday to claim that she witnessed "a lot of corruption that went on both in the campaign and in the White House."
The former Apprentice contestant, who departed her White House role in January, has the GOP and President Trump on edge now that she is doing a media tour to promote her new tell-all book, suddenly vowing to "expose" the administration's hidden secrets and alleging that Trump is a proven racist and misogynist.
Manigault Newman claimed Trump "absolutely" knew in advance that WikiLeaks would make public a trove of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton. She said he knew they were forthcoming, but opted not to say how he knew. She further did not offer any evidence to support the claim, though she did reveal that she has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for more details.
Manigault Newman went on to say that White House staffers are worried about Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump campaign was involved with Russian election interference, and claimed Trump would grab women and kiss them without their consent at "any time of any day." When MSNBC's Katy Tur asked Manigault Newman why viewers should believe her, the former White House employee promised that "every single thing" from her book Unhinged had been verified — and more ominously, documented. Watch the full interview below, via MSNBC. Summer Meza
The cells in our body are constantly changing and mutating, and it's specific harmful types of mutations that can cause cancer. Logic would suggest that larger organisms, which have larger volumes of cells, should develop cancer a lot more often than smaller ones.
This does not hold true for elephants.
Elephants have a remarkable ability to avoid cancer, CNN reported; only about 5 percent of elephants die of cancer, compared to about 25 percent of humans. That's why researchers are studying the massive mammals for clues into how they manage to fight back against cancer so well, in the hopes that some of their findings can be applied to treat cancer in humans, too.
In a study published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports, scientists reveal the discovery of a gene in elephants that might explain their resilience. Called a "zombie gene," it can detect cancer as soon as it develops in a cell, and kill that cell off before it can divide and create more cancerous cells. By observing the "zombie gene" at work in elephants, the researchers were able to learn that its self-destruct button is triggered by damaged DNA — which is why it responds to the mutations in cancer cells.
There's a long road ahead before the "zombie gene" can be used as a treatment for humans with cancer, but it's "one piece of a larger puzzle," study author Vincent Lynch said. Read more at CNN. Shivani Ishwar
You might want to keep a close eye on your bank accounts, because something wicked this way comes.
The FBI recently warned banks that cybercriminals are preparing to perform a global ATM heist. Within the "coming days," criminals plan to infiltrate banks or payment card processors and withdraw millions of dollars from ATMs using fake cards, per an FBI notice reported by cybersecurity blogger Brian Krebs. The advisory came from a "confidential alert the FBI shared with banks privately on Friday," Krebs added.
Referred to as an "unlimited operation," the choreographed scheme will seek to access customers' bank card information with the help of malware. Once the hackers have gained access to accounts, they'll be able to manipulate a number of features, such as withdrawal amounts, limits on ATM transactions, and account balances. Per The Verge, the card data will then be sent to accomplices who can reprint it "onto reusable magnetic strip cards" to be used at individual ATMs, where they can quickly withdraw the maximum amount of money available from the compromised accounts.
The FBI alert sent to banks Friday explained that "historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cyber security controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities," per Krebs' report. The breaches also tend to occur on holidays when banks are closed, or on Saturday evenings when banks are beginning to close.
Paul Manafort's lawyers on Tuesday opted not to present a case nor call any witnesses, resting the defense for the former Trump campaign chairman just one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team finished two weeks of prosecution, reports CNN.
Manafort has been charged with tax evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud, among other charges. He is also accused of failing to report millions of dollars he earned while working as a political consultant in Ukraine ahead of joining the Trump campaign. Manafort's former bookkeeper and accountant testified against him, as did his former deputy, Rick Gates, who said Manafort used offshore accounts to hide money.
Manafort did not take the stand. The Washington Post reports that both sides will get two hours to present closing arguments tomorrow, and then the verdict will be in the hands of the jury. Summer Meza
If former FBI agent Peter Strzok had any money problems, the #resistance has almost certainly helped solve them.
Strzok was fired from the bureau Friday, after the FBI's inspector general found he had sent text messages to FBI lawyer Lisa Page that revealed antipathy toward President Trump. Strzok's lawyer announced the dismissal Monday, and by midday Tuesday, a GoFundMe online fundraiser had already rounded up more than $290,000 to cover Strzok's "hefty — and growing — legal costs and his lost income."
The fundraiser, set up by the "friends of special agent Peter Strzok," characterizes Strzok's firing as "highly politicized," saying "he needs your help" to overcome the difficulties of his dismissal, though it's unclear exactly what legal costs have been incurred. Strzok tweeted his thanks for the "extraordinary outpouring of support" from "thousands of fellow everyday citizens." Those everyday citizens poured more than 7,000 donations into Strzok's legal fund, with many donors contributing between $5 and $25.
Strzok, as a 22-year veteran of the bureau, was likely making a six-figure salary. But the GoFundMe notes that he's "not a wealthy lobbyist and he's not interested in using his notoriety for personal gain," so he apparently doesn't have the "deep pockets" he'll need to defend himself. His pockets have certainly been deepened now — the fundraiser already exceeded its original goal of $150,000, and is well on its way to surpassing the new $350,000 goal. Summer Meza