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May 19, 2017
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The ongoing probe into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign has reportedly identified a current White House official as "a significant person of interest," The Washington Post reports. The individual was described by people familiar with the matter as being "someone close to the president," although the sources declined to name names.

So far, President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, have been the public centers of the investigation. Neither is a part of the current administration. "Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Cabinet members Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson," the Post writes.

Kushner, for one, was a "prominent voice advocating Comey's firing," CBS writes. On Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump told Russian officials he had fired Comey in order to ease the pressure of the ongoing probe.

The White House also has acknowledged that Kushner met with [Sergey] Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., in late November. Kushner also has acknowledged that he met with the head of a Russian development bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. The president's son-in-law initially omitted contacts with foreign leaders from a national security questionnaire, though his lawyer has said publicly he submitted the form prematurely and informed the FBI soon after he would provide an update.

Vnesheconombank handles development for the state, and in early 2015, a man purporting to be one of its New York-based employees was arrested and accused of being an unregistered spy. [The Washington Post]

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the Post that "as the president has stated before, a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity."

The Washington Post adds that "people familiar with the matter said investigators on the case are more focused on Russian influence operations and possible financial crimes" and that "the probe has sharpened into something more fraught for the White House, the FBI, and the Justice Department — particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take." Read the full scoop at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

3:51 p.m. ET
Screenshot/Twitter/CBS

Following an outpouring of sexual harassment and assault allegations made across industries and professions over the past several weeks, many critics of President Trump have returned to accusations of misconduct made against him by more than a dozen women during his presidential campaign. On Friday, though, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a distinction between the commander in chief and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who was accused Thursday of kissing and groping a woman for the camera in 2006.

"I think specifically in one case, Sen. Al Franken has admitted wrongdoing and the president hasn't," Sanders told the reporters. "I think that's a very clear distinction."

It isn't, strictly speaking, entirely true: Trump was caught on tape making vulgar comments about women and bragging about groping and kissing them without consent, telling Access Hollywood's Billy Bush in 2005: "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... grab them by the pussy." Watch Sanders' defense below. Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange

3:26 p.m. ET
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A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that an overwhelming percentage of Americans do not consume enough fruits or vegetables, The Guardian reported Friday. The numbers are staggering: Only 1 in 10 Americans actually consumes the recommended amount of the good stuff, the CDC found.

Sarah Reinhardt, a nutritionist and food systems analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), told The Guardian that low fruit and vegetable consumption in the U.S. isn't a huge surprise. "The food industry is not exactly working with public health on this, there's a multimillion-dollar industry working to get people to eat [processed foods]," she said.

More and more Americans are seeking out plant-and fruit-based diets, but healthy food consumption is still frequently tied to income and education levels. The CDC study found that fruit and vegetable intake varied from state to state, but that "men, young adults, and people living in poverty all had especially low rates."

The CDC study is a sobering reminder that as food prices and the cost of living increase, it becomes harder to eat healthy. The Guardian noted that the challenge of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is not only financial — a 2013 UCS study, for example, found that only 2 percent of the farmland in the United States grew fruit and vegetable products while 59 percent was devoted to growing commodity crops. Kelly O'Meara Morales

3:24 p.m. ET
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Stove Top, the turkey-­stuffing maker, sold ­elastic-waistband pants to make it more comfortable to overeat at Thanksgiving. The $19.98 pants feature a stuffing-motif cummerbund that will expand to twice its original size over the wearer's abdomen. They're already sold out, but those who were lucky enough to purchase the limited-edition pants will be able to "enjoy more of Thanksgiving in comfort and style," Stove Top said. The Week Staff

3:01 p.m. ET
Courtesy image

Could a $9,000 Ball of Yarn be this year's ultimate status symbol? Just in time for the holidays, Tiffany & Co. has unveiled a new home-and-accessories collection, and it includes — apart from the expected finery — an array of items billed as "ordinary objects made extraordinary." So imagine a pair of paper cups, except that they cost $95 and are really made of bone china. Or a tin can that's actually made of sterling silver and costs $1,000. The ball of yarn shown is one of just five, each handspun from textured strands of silver. It's "absurd in the best possible way." The Week Staff

2:35 p.m. ET

With half a decade of experience under his belt, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) shared his ideas Friday for making "the world's greatest deliberative body," the Senate, even better. "To ensure bills are vetted, [require] mandatory hearings on major legislation," he tweeted as one idea. "Sixty-seven vote threshold to waive the requirement."

Schatz also proposed "flesh[ing] out and [formalizing] advice and consent to expedite routine, necessary nominations," "[reasserting] constitution appropriations authority of legislative branch," and eliminating the speed-voting tradition of Vote-a-Rama "to reduce churn, partisan 'gotcha' votes and save time."

Here are a few more:

Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane noted that Schatz has been in both majority and minority parties during his time on the Hill. "These aren't partisan ideas," Kane said. "Worth a look." Jeva Lange

2:32 p.m. ET
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL, BuzzFeed News reported Friday, after an Uber driver alleged that Winston groped her during a ride in March 2016. The driver claimed that after picking Winston up around 2 a.m. in Scottsdale, Arizona, the quarterback grabbed her crotch while they were waiting for food at a drive-thru window.

The driver, Kate, declined to provide her last name to BuzzFeed News for fear of retribution from NFL fans. She said that Winston sat in the front seat of her car and was the only passenger for the ride, and that he held his hand over her crotch for several seconds. She said he moved only after she "looked up in shock and said, 'What's up with that?'"

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Uber confirmed that Kate had submitted a complaint report to the company after the alleged assault. Winston "is NOT safe for other female drivers," Kate wrote to Uber at the time. The company told BuzzFeed News that an account under the name Jameis Winston had been "permanently removed" from the app that evening, and that "the behavior the driver reported is disturbing and wrong."

In a statement Friday after BuzzFeed News published its story, Winston did not deny that his Uber account had been suspended, but called the groping accusation "false" and said that he believed Kate "was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her."

In December 2016, Winston settled a lawsuit with Erica Kinsman, who alleged that Winston raped her when they were students at Florida State University in 2012. Winston was never formally charged by the Tallahassee Police Department for the alleged incident, and an FSU investigation found that the school's star quarterback had not violated its code of conduct.

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News. Kelly O'Meara Morales

1:57 p.m. ET

Have you ever wondered what it would look like to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds? Probably not, because before yesterday, it was almost impossible. All that changed when on Thursday, Tesla's Elon Musk unveiled the second-generation Roadster, the Roadster 2, which is the fastest production car ever made, The Verge reports.

Can't quite wrap your head around that? Here's what it looks like, if you're the unlucky bystander watching the Roadster 2 peel off into the California night:

You can take a test drive below, or wait for the real thing to drop in 2020 for $200,000. Jeva Lange

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