June 13, 2018
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Democrats successfully took Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) to court when, openly fretting about a "blue wave," he refused to call special elections to fill two state legislative seats. On Tuesday, Democrats won one of the seats while Republicans held on to the other one. Both districts in northwestern Wisconsin had gone heavily for President Trump in 2016, but in the 1st senate district — which voted for Trump by 17 points — Democratic businessman Caleb Frostman beat GOP state Rep. André Jacque. This was the 43rd GOP-held state legislative seat Democrats have flipped since Trump was inaugurated — Republicans have flipped seven seats — and state Democratic Party chairwoman Martha Laning celebrated the district's "21-point swing from Trump's 2016 performance."

In the other race, in the 42nd assembly district, Republican Jon Plumer appears to have defeated Democrat Ann Groves. Republicans now have an 18-15 advantage in the state Senate. Democrats are hoping to unseat Walker in November while Republicans are trying to beat Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). Peter Weber

1:38 p.m. ET
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Just one day after another round of primary elections, two polls found Democrats enjoying a solid lead over Republicans on the generic ballot.

Per a CNN/SSRS poll released Wednesday, if congressional elections were held today, 52 percent of registered voters would pick the Democratic candidate compared to just 41 percent who would choose the Republican. A second poll, from Quinnipiac, found similar results albeit with a slightly slimmer margin, with 51 percent of respondents opting for the Democrat and 42 percent for the Republican.

Democrats are banking on their generic ballot lead to translate to victory come fall, and they're additionally hoping to benefit from high voter turnout. Back in June, a nationwide poll using a generic ballot found Democrats with an 8-point lead. While the specific margins have varied month-to-month and poll-to-poll, the surveys have consistently found Democrats in the lead. In the CNN poll, the percentage of respondents who say they'd vote Republican hasn't cracked 45 percent since before President Trump took office.

The CNN/SSRS poll was conducted August 9-12, interviewing 1,002 people by phone. The margin of error is 3.9 percentage points. The Quinnipiac poll was conducted August 9-13, surveying 1,175 voters by phone with a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. See more poll results at Quinnipiac University and CNN. Summer Meza

12:17 p.m. ET

Tuesday's round of primaries revealed who would face off in this November's midterm elections — and made a blue wave seem even more imminent.

When it comes to turnout, Democrats outperformed Republican in all four states that voted Tuesday, NBC News points out. While that doesn't guarantee the party will dominate this fall, it does reflect strong Democratic enthusiasm that's translated into high turnout throughout the 2018 primary season.

The Democratic difference was most obvious in Minnesota, a reliably blue state that saw 261,000 more Democratic voters than Republicans on Tuesday. Yet even with a competitive GOP Senate nomination up for grabs, Wisconsin, which went for President Trump in 2016, saw 80,000 more Democrats than Republicans show up. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin is still likely to win in the general election, per Cook Political Report, but the skewed turnout has implications for the state capitol: Incumbent GOP Gov. Scott Walker is only slightly favored to prevail this fall, meaning some extra Democratic voters could easily turn his seat blue.

Republicans can still likely count on more voters to turn up this fall for general elections, NBC News says. But there's no denying that things are looking up for Democrats. Just take it from conservative radio host and former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.). Kathryn Krawczyk

11:17 a.m. ET

Rudy Giuliani is flipping the script again. President Trump's attorney appeared on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time and pushed a new narrative about Trump and former FBI Director James Comey.

Cuomo asked why Giuliani was suddenly saying that Trump never had any conversation about the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn with Comey. Comey has said that Trump asked him to "let this go," hoping Flynn's investigation could be dropped, but Trump denies it. The president fired Comey three months after the alleged conversation, which Giuliani now insists never happened. The attorney has previously told media outlets that Trump was simply suggesting Flynn get a "break," not pressuring Comey to do anything untoward.

"I've said it from the very beginning," he told Cuomo, who pointed out that he had only previously disputed the subject matter. Why argue hypothetically about a meeting that never happened? "Because I can get him out of it legally, and I can get him out factually," said Giuliani. He then pivoted to an argument that Comey may have committed a felony by not reporting the apparently non-existent meeting, claiming that Trump never spoke to Comey about Flynn, but that if he had, only Comey would be in legal trouble.

"For this to be true, Jim Comey has to be a crazy liar," said Cuomo doubtfully. Giuliani concurred. Watch the moment below, via CNN. Summer Meza

11:02 a.m. ET
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The #MeToo movement brought what's been widely called a "reckoning" against men accused of sexual misconduct. But some of Hollywood's most powerful still aren't facing any consequences.

Much of the entertainment elite slammed with allegations — Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose — can't find work, and some have even faced legal consequences. Yet for the likes of James Franco, Casey Affleck, and some other men ensnared in #MeToo allegations, not much has changed, The Hollywood Reporter says.

Franco faced five accusations of sexually exploitative behavior in a Jan. 11 Los Angeles Times story. Six months later, it was leaked that he was in talks to direct a Focus Features film about ESPN. And he's still onboard to star in a second season of HBO's The Deuce because "the fact of the matter is that James is in the show," HBO president Casey Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's business as usual. There is no effort to hide the fact that [Franco] is in the show," Bloys continued.

That's not sufficient for activist website Care2. It successfully petitioned director Matthew Newton, accused of domestic violence, off of the upcoming film Eve, and is hoping to do the same with Franco. "Crisis PR," like what HBO has said to justify Franco's continued employment, is growing even more common, Care2 senior director Rebecca Gerber tells The Hollywood Reporter. "In Hollywood, they make business calls about whether people can make a comeback."

Franco has already skipped out on media appearances for The Deuce, something Gerber says is typical of actors hoping to outlast sexual harassment allegations. They'll disappear for a while, "hoping that it all dies down," she tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Care2 is prepared to make sure that doesn't happen. Read more about the road ahead for Franco, Affleck, and others at The Hollywood Reporter. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:01 a.m. ET

Trump campaign official Katrina Pierson insists that her former colleague Omarosa Manigault Newman is twisting the story around when it comes to claims that President Trump is on tape saying the N-word.

Pierson appeared on Fox News for a second night in a row to explain why she appeared to lie when she said Monday that she never acknowledged the existence of such a tape. On Tuesday, Manigault Newman gave CBS News a recording of Pierson talking with former Trump aide Lynne Patton, saying she was working on figuring out "a way to spin it" and saying, "He said it, he's embarrassed."

While the recording purportedly proves that Trump campaign officials were worried about the alleged tape becoming public, Pierson told Fox News' Ed Henry that Manigault Newman was conflating two different recordings to make her look bad. The heated interview only served to make the saga even more baffling, with Pierson insisting that when she said Manigault Newman's story was "absolutely not true," she was only responding to an ultra-specific claim involving a conversation with former Trump communications aide Jason Miller, not the discussion with Patton.

Even though the story is certainly still far from clear, Pierson muddied up the narrative enough to force Henry to move on — but not before grilling her on why she "changed her story" after the recording came out. Watch the full interview below, via Fox News. Summer Meza

9:33 a.m. ET
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Twitter has suspended the account of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a week, saying Tuesday that he violated the company's rules against inciting violence by tweeting a link to a video urging supporters to get their "battle rifles" ready against the media and others. Jones will be able to browse Twitter but not tweet or retweet during the suspension.

The account of his media website and show Infowars was not affected. The move came about a week after Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify announced they were banning Jones due to hate speech. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said at the time that Jones had not violated his company's rules, which prohibit threats of violence and hate speech but not deception and misinformation. Jones has circulated many conspiracy theories, and called the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax. Harold Maass

8:06 a.m. ET

"All hell is breaking loose in Washington as the battle between President Trump and his former adviser/Apprentice contestant Omarosa rages on," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "I'm not sure who I'm supposed to root for in this — it's like Lord Voldemort versus King Joffrey." In her new book, Unhinged, Manigault Newman "called the president racist, a bigot, and a misogynist. She also claims to have heard a recording of Trump using the N-word several times," he added, reading some of Trump's tweeted denials, including the one where he celebrated firing "that dog" Omarosa. "Only Donald Trump would defend himself from being racist by saying something sexist," Kimmel sighed. "I think this is what Melania was talking about when she said Be Best."

Manigault Newman got some backup on the N-word tape from fellow former Apprentice contestants Penn Jillette and Tom Arnold, and she also released a secret recording of Trump campaign officials talking about how to respond to a tape of Trump saying the N-word. The White House is worried that Omarosa has dozens of other tapes, that other staffers have tapes, and that the Apprentice tape will come out, "and on top of all those, we uncovered this tape today of the president using all kinds of N-words, N-words galore," Kimmel said.

On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon put on his Trump outfit and makeup and anchored the Trump News Network. "Omarosa calls me a racist and a misogynist, but that is ridiculous — I am not a racist," he said. "My Cabinet is full of African-Americans. There's Ben Carson. Anyway..."

Late Night's Seth Meyers tried actually firing a dog. "We had our fun here," he said after the predictable, adorable debacle, "but in regards to this Omarosa business, let's not forget that anyone who calls a black woman a dog is a racist with a rotted-out soul." Watch below. Peter Weber

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