August 9, 2018

Everybody's a critic, but the people who attend President Trump's rallies are specifically media critics, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta told Stephen Colbert on Wednesday's Late Show. Acosta famously sparred with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week over whether the press is an "enemy of the people," but he's long been a celebrity of sorts at Trump's rallies — attendees, up to and including the president, frequently single him out for abuse. Acosta told Colbert that when he can, he goes down and talks to his Trump-loving detractors.

"A lot of these folks, they're well-intentioned, they care about their country — I totally understand that — they really like this president, but they'll ask me, 'Well, why don't you report the good things that he does?'" Acosta said. After he runs through some positive Trump news CNN recently reported, "they sort of calmed down," he said, "but my sense of it, Stephen, is that a lot of these folks, they get their impressions of what we do by watching other conservative outlets, they look at other conservative websites. And these folks are focused on the coverage of the president's behavior more so than they are the president's behavior. And to me, you know, I think that the president's behavior is more newsworthy than our coverage. But a lot of these folks our there, they're getting their sense of what we do twisted and warped by some people out there who just want to do the president's bidding." Acosta wisely did not name any names, but you can try to figure out which Fox News hosts he's likely alluding to in the video below. Peter Weber

2:58 p.m.

Surprise, surprise, she's back!

Gossip Girl is coming to HBO Max seven years after it went off the air. WarnerMedia's new streaming service — set to launch in 2020 — has ordered 10 episodes of the rebooted series and is bringing fans back to the inner circles of the Upper East Side elite, reports TVLine.

The creative team behind the original CW hit series is set to return, with creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage executive producing and Joshua Safran stepping in as showrunner. It's unknown whether the original cast will make appearances in the reboot, but HBO Max has revealed that the series "will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years."

Based on Cecily von Ziegesar's book series, Gossip Girl ran on The CW from 2007-2012 and exposed the world to the talents of Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley. The show has remained a staple in pop culture and the reboot is sure to fill many viewers' hearts with nostalgia. But, until then, xoxo. Amari Pollard

2:00 p.m.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 presidential candidate, tried to unanimously pass the House-passed extension of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund without a roll call vote on Wednesday, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stepped in to block it.

The bill, which has been the subject of testimonials from several 9/11 responders like the late Luis Alvarez, is not considered to be in danger. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said it will pass by August.

But Paul, who is known for preferring to slash budgets, said "at the very least" he wants to have a debate. "Any new program that's going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable," he said on the Senate floor.

In short, Paul is reportedly concerned about the "open-ended nature" of the bill which would provide protections for first responders until 2090. Most other Republicans reportedly consider the bill too important and are ready to spend. Tim O'Donnell

1:59 p.m.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) apparently likes bringing business into his personal life.

While joining President Trump for a round of golf this weekend, Paul asked Trump to send him to meet with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, four U.S. officials tell Politico. Paul's plan, the officials say, is to soften the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran — and Trump reportedly approved of it.

Paul's reported request just after Iran announced it violated enrichment levels set under the international nuclear deal Trump pulled the U.S. out of. Trump has responded with a so-called "maximum pressure" campaign on Tehran, which comes in the form of economic sanctions. Administration officials who support the maximum pressure move are "rankled" by Paul's apparent involvement in the deal, seeing as he's known to oppose foreign intervention, Politico reports. After all, Paul sent a letter alongside a bipartisan group of senators last month expressing concern over Trump's deployment of troops to the Middle East.

Zarif is in New York City this week for talks with the U.N., which is presumably where Paul would talk with him, Politico says. But Paul and his office have declined requests for comment, leaving the possible meeting up in the air. Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:14 p.m.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who served the bench between 1975 and 2010 and died on Tuesday at age 99, was known for playing a major role during a crucial era for the Court and his evolving legal views.

Described by The New York Times as a "low-key Republican" who became an "ardent champion" of the court's liberal wing, Stevens wrote the majority opinions in major cases, including one that prevented military commissions from conducting trials for Guantánamo detainees and another declaring that the Constitution does not permit executing the mentally disabled.

But the bow tie-wearing justice wasn't held in high regard for his jurisprudence alone. Stevens was also reportedly known around the court for being a nice guy, treating others "with sensitivity and respect," the Times reports.

One former law clark, Christopher Eisgruber, wrote in a 1993 essay about Stevens' actions during a party for new law clerks. An older male justice instructed one of the few female clerks present at the party to serve coffee before Stevens arrived. When he got there, Stevens walked up to the young clerk and thanked her for serving the coffee. Then he made her stop. "I think it's my turn now," he said before taking over the job.

Read more about the heartwarming anecdote and Stevens' legacy at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

12:28 p.m.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) during a congressional hearing on Wednesday offered a brutal assessment of Facebook's cryptocurrency Libra, suggesting it will make the company more dangerous to the United States than Osama bin Laden.

Sherman spoke as members of the House Financial Services Committee questioned Facebook's David Marcus about the company's forthcoming cryptocurrency, Libra, which it announced last month.

"We're told by some that innovation is always good," Sherman said. "The most innovative thing that happened this century is when Osama bin Laden came up with the innovative idea of flying two airplanes into towers. That's the most consequential innovation, although this may do more to endanger America than even that."

Lawmakers hit Marcus with difficult questions throughout both Wednesday's hearing and a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urging Facebook to stop its development of Libra because she has "serious concerns" that if it goes forward, the company will "wield immense economic power that could destabilize currencies and governments," CNN reports.

But Sherman went much further in the hearing, going on to call Libra a "godsend to drug dealers and sanctions evaders and tax evaders" and blast CEO Mark Zuckerberg as someone who "invades the privacy of ordinary Americans and sells it to the highest bidder."

Sherman also told Zuckerberg that "if cryptocurrency is used to finance the next horrific terrorist attack against Americans, 100 lawyers standing in a row, charging $2,000 an hour, are not going to protect his rear end from the wrath of the American people." Watch the congressman's comments below. Brendan Morrow

12:27 p.m.

Human anatomy means nothing when it's time to form a snappy comeback.

On Tuesday, the House voted to condemn President trump for his racist attacks against four Democratic congresswomen, while Trump tweeted to defend himself by saying "I don't have a racist bone in my body." 2020 contender and former Vice President Joe Biden got a crack at all those developments on Wednesday, and when confronted with Trump's claim of a racism-free skeleton, Biden responded by saying "that means he has no bones."

Biden has repeatedly called Trump "racist" over the course of his presidency, and the recent controversy over Trump telling congressmembers to "go back" to the countries they came from has been no exception. Yet in response to Republicans in the House refusing to do so during Tuesday's condemnation vote, Biden told ABC News "they know better." He did stop short of calling the GOP House members racist themselves. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:42 a.m.

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

The notorious Mexican drug cartel leader was found guilty in February on all ten counts against him, including narcotics trafficking and murder. And on Wednesday in a Brooklyn, New York federal court, he was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for what Judge Brian Cogan called Guzmán's "overwhelming evil," CNBC reports.

Guzmán was previously imprison at two maximum-security facilities in Mexico, but broke free twice and was most recently captured in early 2016 and extradited to the U.S. the next year. He's since been held in a Manhattan jail where, ahead of his Wednesday sentencing, Guzmán said he underwent "psychological, emotional, and mental torture 24 hours a day," per The New York Times. Breaking the silence he'd maintained throughout all of the three-month trial, Guzmán also alleged that he'd been denied a fair trial "when the whole world was watching," NBC News reports.

On the other side, the head of New York's Drug Enforcement Administration called Wednesday's sentencing "justice not only for the Mexican government, but for all of Guzmán's victims in Mexico," the Times reports. Guzmán will likely be sent to America's highest security prison in Colorado, and also must pay $12.6 billion in restitution. Still, Guzmán's former Sinaloa cartel has "hardly faltered despite the arrest of some of the group's top leaders," nonprofit investigative group InSight Crime reported in October. Kathryn Krawczyk

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