×
February 20, 2019

CNN has hired Sarah Isgur, a longtime Republican political operative and recent Justice Department spokeswoman, as a political editor helping to steer the network's 2020 campaign coverage. The hire, first reported by Politico, caught CNN's editorial staff by surprise, not just because her résumé is full of partisan advocacy but also because it contains no experience in journalism or managing a TV news operation. She has also publicly disparaged the news media, including CNN. "It's extremely demoralizing for everyone here," one CNN editorial staffer told The Daily Beast.

CNN officials said Isgur will be one of several editors directing coverage of the Democratic primary and President Trump's re-election campaign at the network, reporting to political director David Chalian, and she'll also occasionally offer analysis on air. She will apparently not be involved in coverage of the Justice Department. TV networks often hire political operatives and politicians as analysts and program hosts, but it is very rare to bring them on to direct political news coverage.

Before joining the Trump administration as the top spokeswoman for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Isgur served as a political adviser to Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney, was deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee, and served as deputy campaign manager for Carly Fiorina's presidential campaign. Thanks to comments she made about Trump while working for Fiorina, she had to personally pledge loyalty to Trump before he would allow Sessions to hire her, The Washington Post reported in April 2018. Peter Weber

12:56 p.m.

Now that one special counsel investigation has wrapped up, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wants another.

Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Monday said Attorney General William Barr should appoint a new special counsel to investigate allegations of the FBI and the Department of Justice "playing politics" in 2016. This would include looking into the FBI's obtaining of a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump aide Carter Paige, which included references to allegations from British spy Christopher Steele's unconfirmed dossier on the Trump campaign's alleged Russia collusion. This was not the entire basis for obtaining the warrant, however, explains NBC News.

"The FISA warrant issued against Carter Page based on a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele is at a minimum disturbing," Graham said, per ABC. "Whether or not it's illegal, I don't yet know, so I'm going to get answers to this."

Graham said he would "like to find somebody like a Mr. Mueller" that could look into this FISA warrant among other concerns raised by conservatives in recent years. Mueller "thoroughly investigated the Trump campaign," but "you cannot say that about the other side of the story," he argued. Graham also said he wants this special counsel to investigate the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. He was headed to speak with Barr shortly after this press conference.

Trump himself suggested on Sunday more investigations should take place, saying, "hopefully, somebody's going to be looking at the other side."

The Judiciary Committee will also examine these issues, Graham said on Monday after previously hinting at this by tweeting at Former FBI Director James Comey, "See you soon." Brendan Morrow

11:45 a.m.

Cyclone Idai isn't going anywhere.

The storm has long since subsided over southeast Africa, leaving at least 750 dead from the cyclone and the flooding that followed it. But those waters have created a hotbed of disease, leaving unhygienic conditions and the beginnings of cholera, malaria, and typhoid outbreaks behind, Al Jazeera reports.

Even before Idai made landfall in Beira, Mozambique on March 15, heavy rain had already flooded much of the country and nearby Zimbabwe and Malawi. Winds upwards of 109 miles per hour continued the destruction. Ten days later, the 530,000-person city of Beira is largely dry, but is just starting to reestablish basic communication services, The Associated Press reports. Standing water remains in more remote parts of the country, leading an international Red Cross head to say "we are sitting on a ticking bomb" when it comes to "water-borne diseases," per France24.

Malaria is already a major problem in Mozambique, and with towns still flooded, its propagation is "unavoidable," Mozambique's land and environment minister Celso Correia said. He also said "we'll have cholera for sure," AP notes. Four people were recently diagnosed with typhoid in the central Manica Province, and more cases are expected to pop up, per Al Jazeera.

Some roads have been pumped clear of water, letting two field hospitals and water purification systems embark further into Mozambique. Drones are also being used to locate places that need help. Correia was asked about concerns that humanitarian aid money could be lost in Mozambique's ongoing corruption scandal, and he tersely said "we are doing everything to fight corruption," AP reports. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:23 a.m.

Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch are about to make history at WrestleMania.

WWE has announced that 2019's WrestleMania will feature a women's match as the main event for the first time ever. A previously-announced triple threat match between Rousey, Flair, and Lynch for the Raw Women's Championship will take center stage at the show, WWE confirmed on Monday.

In recent years, women have gained greater prominence in WWE amid what the company has referred to as the "women's revolution," the rise of which Flair and Lynch played major roles in. WWE finally stopped calling its female wrestlers "divas," in 2016 replacing the Divas Championship with the Women's Championship, of which there are now two for Raw and SmackDown Live. In October 2018, WWE held Evolution, its first pay-per-view event centered entirely around the female talent.

Still, despite all this progress, women have yet to perform in the main event of WrestleMania. The match currently scheduled between Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship would typically be expected to conclude WrestleMania. But not this year. Instead, with Rousey set to defend her Raw Women's Championship, WrestleMania's main event is about to get rowdy. Brendan Morrow

11:23 a.m.

There is still a great question of if Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full report into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia will ever be made public —the attorney general, in his summary, only included four partial quotes — but that isn't stopping book publishers from working themselves into a frenzy over the manuscript. Skyhorse Publishing, Scribner, and now Melville House have all announced plans to publish the report: "We've had an ISBN and a cover design for almost a year now," Melville House's co-founder, Dennis Johnson, told Publishers Weekly.

Skyhorse plans to release the Mueller report with an introduction by attorney Alan Dershowitz within three weeks of the report being made public. "We know that making the Mueller report instantly available will be both a public service and good business," Skyhorse's president, Tony Lyons, told PW. Scribner's edition, which would include some of The Washington Post's reporting as context and an introduction by the paper's investigative journalists Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky, is planned to be released as an e-book within three days, with the paperback edition following in as few as five days, of the report's release, PW adds.

Melville House already has a website, GetMuellerReport.com, for readers to preorder the Mueller report book, with Johnson calling it "the most anticipated publication in American history" and the website deeming it "a document that can actually have an impact on the very future of our democracy." It is the publishing house's first mass market paperback ever, costing $9.99 with an initial print run of 50,000 copies.

Public Radio International reports that "the public may never see a report from Mueller's investigation" while Attorney General William Barr has said his goal is to release "as much" of the report as possible. Jeva Lange

11:19 a.m.

A German "industrial dynasty" is coming to terms with its past, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported on Sunday, per BBC.

The Reimann family, whose holding firm JAB owns a controlling interest in global chains such as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Panera Bread, and Pret a Manger, said that Bild's report that their ancestors enthusiastically supported Adolf Hitler and his Nationalist Socialist German Workers' Party when they controlled Germany before and during World War II is true. The Reimann family also used war prisoners as forced laborers during Hitler's time in power and female slaves were beaten and sexually abused on Reimann premises in German-occupied Eastern Europe.

A spokesperson for the Reimann family said that the Reimanns who were in charge at the time, a father and son, belonged in prison. The two reportedly never talked about their association with the Nazis, keeping the current leadership of the Reimann family in the dark.

As compensation for the family's past crimes, the Reimanns will reportedly donate 10 million euros, or about $11.3 million, to a "suitable" charity organization.

The Reimanns are far from the only major German business power whose legacy is tarnished by its Nazi past — prominent global companies like Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank, and Bayer all have acknowledged using forced laborers during Hitler's reign and paid similar reparations. Tim O'Donnell

10:29 a.m.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller just won't go home — and neither will CNN.

Reporters — namely the so-called CNN stakeout team — have spent months loitering around Mueller's office, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mysterious man and his even more mysterious investigation into the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding Russian election interference. Yet even though the whole world knows Mueller's job is pretty much wrapped, the CNN stakeout team seemingly hasn't gotten the message.

All this behavior paid off on Tuesday, when CNN's Evan Pérez said Mueller was spotted dressing down at the office. On Thursday, CNN's Shimon Prokupecz noted that Mueller didn't leave for lunch as he usually does. And on Friday, it seemed Mueller didn't even show up — the biggest special counsel news of the day until the Department of Justice confirmed Mueller had wrapped his report completely.

Yet even though special counsel staffers were seen toting boxes out of the office last week, Mueller returned to work on Monday, Prokupecz tweeted. That's likely because, as Attorney General William Barr addressed in the preliminary findings from the report he delivered to Congress, there's still a whole lot of report for Barr to review. Some of the lawyers in Mueller's office are sticking around to tie up loose ends, like prosecuting former Trump adviser Roger Stone. Chances are, it'll be a while before Mueller gets to return to his regular scallop dinners with his wife — and before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gets to leave like he's long intended to do. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:27 a.m.

A renewed battle against an old enemy has been waged, and it's sure to make Michael Bloomberg and Leslie Knope proud.

Stat News reported on Monday that two prominent medical groups — the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association — conjointly released a list of policy recommendations to reduce the consumption of nefarious sugary beverages.

The groups' research shows that added sugars are only supposed to contribute 10 percent of the calories consumed by youth. But instead that number hovers around 17 percent, which has led to "a high prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity," particularly among those who are socioeconomically vulnerable. Nearly half of those excess calories from added sugars come from sweetened drinks, the groups found.

Among the policies suggested, which would be implemented at any of the local, state, or federal levels, are excise taxes to increase the price of the drinks, government backing of efforts to decrease sugary drink marketing, and increased marketing of and access to healthy foods in and drinks in federal nutrition assistance programs. Read the full report at The American Academy of Pediatrics. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads