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July 13, 2018

On Thursday evening, British Prime Minister Theresa May hosted a lavish black-tie dinner for President Trump at Blenheim Palace. The Brexit plan her government published earlier Thursday offers "an opportunity to reach a free trade agreement that creates jobs and growth here in the U.K. and right across the United States," May said in her effusive remarks, in which she also name-checked Sir Winston Churchill. As the dinner was breaking up and guests were leaving, British tabloid The Sun crashed the party:

In a Wednesday interview with The Sun published Thursday night, Trump trashed May's "soft" Brexit plan, saying he "would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't listen to me." He said if May follows through with her plan, "it will probably kill the deal" between the U.S. and Britain, a May imperative. And Trump praised May's Conservative Party rival Boris Johnson, who quit as foreign minister on Monday in protest of her Brexit strategy. "I have a lot of respect for Boris. He obviously likes me and says very good things about me," Trump said, adding that Johnson "would be a great prime minister." He also criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

May's office didn't respond immediately to the protocol-bashing diplomatic broadside. The White House, which expected the interview to be published Friday, went into damage-control mode. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted in a statement that Trump "likes and respects Prime Minister May very much" and thinks she's "a really terrific person." A senior White House official told The Washington Post that "there's no way Trump will apologize. ... But we also don't want to blow everything up." Peter Weber

10:06 a.m. ET

Now contending with a second allegation of sexual misconduct, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces an uphill journey to confirmation. But President Trump is standing by his man.

In allegations published in The New Yorker on Sunday, Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of thrusting his penis into her face at a party while they were both students at Yale University. But the new story has not deterred the president, as Trump told reporters Monday that he still heartily supports Kavanaugh, whom he called a "fine man with an unblemished past."

The allegations, Trump said, are "highly unsubstantiated statements," and the president encouraged reporters to "look into" the lawyers representing the accusers. Last week, California professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward with an allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh stemming from a high school party both attended in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied both Ford and Ramirez's accusations.

What's happening to Kavanaugh "could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything," Trump said, concluding that the allegations are "totally political." Watch his remarks below. Brendan Morrow

9:55 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday it would seek "deadly and unforgettable" revenge against those responsible for an attack on a military parade that killed 25 people, including 12 guard members.

Tehran has accused Gulf Arab nations allied with the U.S. of supporting the gunmen in Saturday's assault, and Revolutionary Guard acting commander Gen. Hossein Salami again promised vengeance Monday. "You have seen our revenge before," he said in a televised speech before a funeral service for some of the attack's victims. "You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating, and you will regret what you have done."

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pushed back Sunday on comments from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani linking the United States to the attack, suggesting it was provoked by Tehran's own policies. "I think what Rouhani needs to do is he needs to look at his own home base," she said on CNN's State of the Union. "He's oppressed his people for a long time," she continued. "I think the Iranian people have had enough, and that's where all of this is coming from."

The attack was claimed by both the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement, an Iranian separatist group, and, without any evidence, the Islamic State. It targeted officials gathered on a viewing stand in the southwestern city of Ahvaz during an annual event held to remember the start of Iran's 1980-1988 war with Iraq. Bonnie Kristian

9:26 a.m. ET
Rod Lamkey/Getty Images

The latest battle in this year's U.S. vs. China trade war is the most brutal yet.

President Trump imposed new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods Monday, The Washington Post reports. China has promised to respond to levies with fresh tariffs of its own, and immediately kept its word by imposing tariffs on $60 billion in American goods.

The escalating trade war, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is "determined to win," has reached such heights that China is running out of American products to target, reports the Post. China's government accused the U.S. of "trade bullying," after canceling trade talks due to the rising economic tensions.

Trump has shown no sign of reining in the punitive duties. Pompeo predicted that "we're going to get an outcome which forces China to behave," but the Chinese government on Monday castigated the U.S. for "attempting to impose its own interests on China through extreme pressure." Trump has said that retaliatory tariffs would simply lead him to levy additional taxes on $267 billion in Chinese products. Once China runs out of American goods to hit, officials expect "qualitative" retaliation like slowing the process for visas and licenses.

Thousands of imports are now being taxed up to 10 percent, a cost absorbed by American consumers. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza

8:57 a.m. ET

When Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was first accused of sexual misconduct last week by Christine Blasey Ford, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Ford should be heard. But now Conway's tone has changed.

Over the weekend, a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Ramirez told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh thrust his penis into her face at a party when they were both students at Yale University. Kavanaugh denies the allegation. Conway on Monday told CBS that the allegations are "starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy."

Referring to Ramirez as the "second so-called accuser," Conway suggested to CBS that this is all a "smear campaign," also citing The New York Times' report that the paper spoke with dozens of sources and was unable to verify Ramirez's story.

Conway concluded that Kavanaugh is simply a victim of a "pent-up demand for women to get their day." Watch Conway's full interview below. Brendan Morrow

8:54 a.m. ET

On Sunday night, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh denied allegations in a New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer that he had put his exposed genitals in the face of a fellow freshmen, Deborah Ramirez, during a drinking game in a Yale dorm. "The alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen," Kavanaugh said in a statement. "The people who knew me then know that this did not happen and have said so."

That's a "blunt" and "unequivocal" denial, George Stephanopoulos told Farrow on Monday's Good Morning America. Farrow agreed, noting that he and Mayer included it in their article. But "it is not accurate to say that those who knew [Kavanaugh] at the time dispute this," he said. "We wouldn't have run this if we didn't have a careful basis of people who had heard at the time and found her credible."

Still, given the denials, "at any point when you were writing this story this close to the nomination, did you sort of want to push the pause button, say, 'Are we sure this is the right thing to do?'" Stephanopoulos asked. No, Farrow said. "The evidentiary basis for this, the number of witnesses who were told at the time, is strong. It's in excess of what we typically see in this kind of investigative reporting." The two eyewitnesses who denied the event, he added, were the ones "she alleged were egging Brett Kavanaugh on."

Farrow said Ramirez didn't reach out to Senate Democrats and wants to be fair to Kavanaugh. He also said Senate Republican staffers "were indeed aware of an allegation" last week "and were concerned about it and reached out to us about that." Peter Weber

8:10 a.m. ET
Thos Robinson / Getty Images

The first time Michael Moore directed a fiery documentary about an incumbent Republican president, it made for box office gold, but the filmmaker's second attempt came up short this weekend.

Fahrenheit 11/9, the new documentary in which Moore takes on President Trump, debuted with a low $3 million, putting it in eighth place, per Box Office Mojo. That might sound somewhat decent for a documentary, but it's fairly disastrous for one that opened in as many theaters as Moore's did. It played in about 1,700 theaters, giving it a per-screen average of just $1,800.

For comparison, Moore's 2004 George W. Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 opened to $23.9 million and a per-screen average of $27,000, Box Office Mojo reports. Calculating for inflation, that's the equivalent of $31 million today. What makes matters worse is that Fahrenheit 9/11 actually opened in fewer theaters: only 868.

Still, it seems those who did go see Moore's film liked it, as CinemaScore shows that a random sampling of moviegoers from across the country gave it an "A" rating. Brendan Morrow

6:57 a.m. ET
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The Indian Ocean island nation the Maldives held a national election on Sunday, and in an upset, opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih beat incumbent President Abdulla Yameen, 134,616 votes to 96,132, according to provisional results. Yameen, accused of increasing authoritarianism, conceded, saying: "The Maldivian people have decided what they want. I have accepted the results." The election had pitted not only Yameen against Solih, but also China against India. Yameen had accepted economic aid and investment from Beijing and moved the Maldives closer to China; Solih, known as Abu, is expected to bring the nation back into India's orbit.

Solih led a coalition including his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the Jumhooree Party, and the Adhaalath Party, running on a platform of democratic reform. "The message is loud and clear," he said after the results came in. "The people of Maldives want change, peace, and justice." Yameen, who has sharply cracked down on dissent in recent months, is the half-brother of former longtime autocratic leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was jailed in June. The Maldives, made up of 1,192 islands and 26 coral atolls, is one of the countries most at risk from rising sea levels tied to climate change. Peter Weber

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