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May 18, 2018
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The times they are a changin', and it's no longer the "Wild West" at Fox News, one insider told Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman. The transformation, which comes as the company has settled nearly 20 recent gender and racial discrimination lawsuits, goes way beyond the company promoting Suzanne Scott to be its first female CEO, too.

"People are terrified," one person told Sherman. "They kicked [new National Rifle Association president] Ollie North out and put in a prayer room. We've got a new trans policy. You're not allowed to be transphobic."

Speaking of that "prayer" room, it is "complete with Muslim prayer rugs," Sherman writes. It's no wonder, then, that "people's heads are blowing up." Read more about the changes afoot at Fox News at Vanity Fair. Jeva Lange

3:16 p.m. ET

New Jersey Senate candidate Bob Hugin is bringing out the big, unsubstantiated guns in his narrowing race against Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

In a dramatic ad released Monday, the GOP challenger singled out Menendez's call to "believe women" when they come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. "What about the underage girls who accused you, according to the FBI?" the ad menacingly shoots back. What follows is a dive into one aspect of the FBI investigation into Menendez's corruption charges, which were ultimately dropped earlier this year.

The ad cites an FBI affidavit that says "for several years, Senator Menendez had been traveling to the Dominican Republican to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes, some of whom were minors." The affidavit quotes an email from an anonymous tipster, but doesn't provide substantiated evidence, as Hugin's ad implies. The FBI investigated those claims, but they were "never corroborated," reports Politico. Menendez has likewise denied the allegations.

Still, these allegations are treated as fact on a website run by the Hugin campaign. That is, until you scroll to the bottom of the site, where the Hugin campaign answers one big question: "Are you accusing Senator Menendez of having sex with underage girls?" "No," the campaign responded. "We are asking why Senator Menendez says all victims should be believed, but not his alleged victims?" One of the alleged victims, in this case, later said she was paid to lie about having sex with Menendez.

Hugin's ad comes on the heels of a poll showing him statistically tied with Menendez. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:12 p.m. ET
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Director Bryan Singer appears to be worried that an upcoming exposé could destroy his career.

Singer said on Instagram Monday that Esquire is preparing to publish a "negative" article about him that will "attempt to rehash false accusations and bogus lawsuits." Last December, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman brought a lawsuit against the X-Men director, claiming Singer raped him when he was 17. Previously, a civil suit was brought against Singer in 2014 accusing him of raping an underage boy, Michael Egan, in 1999. That suit was later withdrawn. Also in 2014, Singer was accused of sexually assaulting an anonymous man when he was 16. This case was later dropped. Additionally, in 1997, the parents of a 14-year-old boy alleged in a lawsuit that Singer filmed their son naked for a shower scene without permission. This suit was dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Singer has denied all allegations against him.

Singer said in his Instagram post that Esquire is "attempting to tarnish a career I've spent 25 years to build," also saying that in "today's climate," careers "are being harmed by mere accusations." The director knows about the article, he says, because his friends and colleagues have been contacted about it. He also says the article will quote sources who have "intimate" knowledge of his personal life.

Even as the #MeToo movement has swept through Hollywood over the last year, Singer has not been brought down like other men accused of misconduct. He's the credited director of the new Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, although 20th Century Fox fired him from the project and had Dexter Fletcher complete the film; this was reportedly due to unprofessional behavior, including frequently being missing from the set, per Variety. Singer was also just hired to direct a new comic book movie last month, per The Hollywood Reporter. Brendan Morrow

1:32 p.m. ET
Palm

Looking to spend less time on your phone? Palm has the solution: Get a second one.

Beginning next month, Palm will sell Verizon users a new tiny smartphone that's intended to be used in addition to your regular-sized smartphone, per The Verge. The idea is that when you want to disconnect from your primary smartphone with all its distractions, you can take this minimalist device with you in its place. In fact, the Palm can't even be purchased as a standalone phone; it's only available as an add-on. Users connect the Palm to their main phone so that both devices use the same number, and you can receive texts and calls on both. "Do you really need to bring a supercomputer everywhere you go?" co-creator of the device Dennis Miloseski told Variety.

It's not like the Palm is a cheap "dumb" phone, though. It retails for $350 and runs Android 8.1, meaning you can download a fair number of apps on it. The device is also available for iPhone users, but you can't download any Apple-exclusive apps, CNET reports.

The Palm is only 3.3 inches tall, about the size of a credit card, and it weighs just 2.2 ounces. That's less than half of what your apparently super cumbersome iPhone weighs. Brendan Morrow

12:52 p.m. ET
Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images

Republicans may have dominated the Midwest in the 2016 election. But it doesn't look like 2018 will deliver a sequel.

If today's polls remain steady, Democrats in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania will hold their Senate spots and even pick up a few House and governors' seats, The Washington Post reports. In some cases, once vulnerable Democrats, including Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), are even ahead by double digits.

It's an astonishing turnaround for the Democratic Party after President Trump unexpectedly flipped much of the Midwest in 2016, sweeping down-ballot Republicans into power alongside him. The Washington Post attributes the reversal to Trump's divisive behavior and policies fueling Democratic turnout, but some Republican strategists have a slightly different read. "We forget about the power of Hillary Clinton being on the ballot in 2016," a GOP consultant for the flagging Senate campaign of Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Penn.) told the Post, adding that if "if Hillary was on the ballot, Republicans would probably be doing better in all of these states."

Read more about Republicans' swing state problem in The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:55 a.m. ET

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeks answers in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump is already floating a possible conclusion.

Trump told reporters Monday that after speaking with Saudi King Salman over the phone, it "sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers" who were involved in Khashoggi's disappearance, although he added, "Who knows?" Turkish officials told the United States last week there is evidence that a Saudi security team killed Khashoggi when he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document for his wedding, The Washington Post reports. The Saudi government has denied any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.

While it's unclear what Trump's theory is based on, he noted that the Saudi king's "denial to me could not have been stronger," also calling it "firm" multiple times. Trump added that he did not "want to get into [Salman's] mind" by speculating, however.

The president previously announced that Secretary of State Pompeo would be leaving for Saudi Arabia to speak with Salman, and Trump told reporters that they are going to "leave nothing uncovered" and will "try getting to the bottom of it." But based on what Trump said, it sounds like he is inclined to believe the Saudi king. Watch Trump's statement below. Brendan Morrow

10:29 a.m. ET

President Trump has ... interesting taste in art.

During Trump's wide-ranging 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday, eagle-eyed viewers spotted a very ... interesting painting hanging in the White House:

As you can see, the painting depicts Trump laughing alongside a slew of former Republican presidents. Trump seems to be enjoying his favorite Coke, while Abraham Lincoln has a glass of water, a beverage chronologically suited to his mid-1800s presidency. Ulysses S. Grant, Calvin Coolidge, and even the not-so-popular Herbert Hoover are lurking in the background, as is a mysterious female figure.

These artistic choices are all the work of the seemingly bipartisan Andy Thomas, who has also depicted Democratic presidents playing poker. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) gave this painting to Trump, and the president called the artist to seemingly compliment the work, saying "he'd seen a lot of paintings of himself and he rarely liked them," Thomas told The Daily Beast.

Thomas said Trump's skin tone and smile were "hard to paint." But he prevailed, creating a perfect match for the White House's gold curtains, gold carpet, and giant jar of pink and red Starburst. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:29 a.m. ET

The small Gulf nation of Yemen is on the brink of the "worst famine in 100 years," the United Nations warned in a BBC report Monday, and it could reach that grim milestone within three months if the conflict does not cease.

"I think many of us felt as we went into the 21st century that it was unthinkable that we could see a famine like we saw in Ethiopia, that we saw in Bengal, that we saw in parts of the Soviet Union — that was just unacceptable," said Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.

"Many of us had the confidence that would never happen again and yet the reality is that in Yemen that is precisely what we are looking at," she continued. "We predict that we are looking at 12 to 13 million innocent civilians who are at risk of dying from the lack of food."

The U.S.-supported, Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen's civil war has implemented a blockade — cast as an effort to keep weapons away from Houthi rebel fighters — with deadly results. Yemen imports 90 percent of its food, so limited port access for civilian concerns has combined with currency collapse to produce starvation conditions. The country is already wracked by cholera, and more than 100 Yemeni children die daily from starvation and preventable diseases.

Watch the BBC report on starvation in Yemen below; be warned, the images are disturbing. Bonnie Kristian

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