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September 14, 2018

Stephen Colbert was impressed with The Weather Channel's terrifying new graphics for Hurricane Florence, less impressed with President Trump's tweets about Puerto Rico's hurricanes last year. "Folks, if you watch this show, you know we kid the president about being a terrible person, but in reality, it is much worse than we could have imagined," he said on Thursday's Late Show. He read Trump's tweets about the Hurricane Maria death toll being massively inflated to harm him politically, noting that "not only is this a sickening tweet, it is in no way true."

The estimated number of deaths — 2,975 U.S. citizens — came from a government-commissioned study by researchers from George Washington University, and while it might be politically damaging, it would probably have been buried under all the other Trump-related news if Trump hadn't tweeted about it, Colbert said. "It was kind of like he was on trial for littering and said on the stand: 'I only threw that cup out of my window because I was distracted by the homeless man I ran over. Pretty sure he died of old age, okay? Democrats pushed him in front of my car.'"

Speaking of chaos, Republicans think Trump is going to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions soon, but they also don't believe anyone could get confirmed to replace him and, in any case, no Republican wants the job, Colbert said, reading some responses. And meanwhile, the Trump Organization's former VP of construction just told a story in a New York Daily News op-ed about Trump ordering the Trump Tower architect to (illegally) get rid of Braille in the elevators, reportedly yelling: "No blind people are going to live in Trump Tower." Maybe, "but if you've seen Trump tower, I'm pretty sure blind people decorated it," Colbert joked. "You'd think Trump would love Braille — it's like reading through groping." Watch below. Peter Weber

10:43 p.m.

Pitcher Mariano Rivera made history on Tuesday, becoming the first player unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rivera, who played for the New York Yankees for 19 seasons, received a vote on all 425 ballots cast. Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, and Mike Mussina were also elected on Tuesday. In December, the Today's Game Era Committee picked Harold Baines and Lee Smith for induction. They will be honored during a ceremony July 21 in Cooperstown, New York.

With Rivera as a closer, the Yankees won five World Series titles. The 13-time All-Star was also named the MVP of the 1999 World Series. Before Rivera, Ken Griffey Jr. came the closest to being unanimously elected, receiving 99.3 percent of the vote three years ago. This was the first year Halladay, who died in a plane crash in November 2017, was on the ballot. The last player to be elected on the first ballot posthumously was Christy Mathewson in 1936, the Los Angeles Times reports. Catherine Garcia

9:41 p.m.

A former Trump campaign aide told CNN on Tuesday that when he was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, investigators asked him about how the National Rifle Association forged a relationship with the campaign.

Sam Nunberg said he was also questioned about President Trump's speech at the NRA's annual meeting in 2015, and how that opportunity came up. Nunberg was interviewed in February 2018, but CNN reports that as recently as a month ago, investigators were asking about ties between the NRA and the campaign.

The NRA spent $30 million to support Trump's candidacy, more than the organization spent on presidential, House, and Senate races combined in 2008 and 2012. People familiar with the matter told CNN that Mueller did not ask Trump about the NRA in the written questions he sent him.

Last month, Russian national Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiring against the United States, and has acknowledged forming friendships with prominent NRA members in order to gain access to GOP political circles. She said she was working under the direction of Alexander Torshin, a former Russian central banker and lifetime member of the NRA. Catherine Garcia

8:33 p.m.

On Friday, three men and a juvenile were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to attack a predominately Muslim community in upstate New York, police in Greece, New York, announced Tuesday.

Islamberg is home to about 200 people, and was settled by followers of Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarik Gilani. During a press conference, Greece Police Chief Patrick D. Phelan said a 16-year-old at Greece Odyssey Academy showed a classmate a photo during lunch, and said the person looked "like the next school shooter." Police were tipped off, and during an interview with the teen, learned he was allegedly planning on attacking the Islamberg community, along with three men. At that point, "our investigation took us to this plot that we had no idea about," Phelan said.

Police arrested Brian Colaneri, 20, Vincent Vetromile, 19, Andrew Crysel, 18, and the 16-year-old on Friday. They discovered three improvised explosive devices at the juvenile's home, and through search warrants, found 23 legally owned shotguns and rifles. Phelan said the suspects began planning the attack about a month ago, and on Saturday, the adults were each charged with three counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree and one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree. Due to the teenager's age, police did not release any information on his charges. Catherine Garcia

7:39 p.m.

A judge in North Carolina on Tuesday rejected Republican candidate Mark Harris' request to certify the results of the state's disputed 9th congressional district race.

The final tally from the November election has Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. The state's election board said it could not certify the results because it is investigating allegations that a man working on behalf of a firm hired by Harris illegally collected absentee ballots. To make things even more complicated, the election board that launched the investigation was ruled unconstitutional and dissolved, The News Observer reports, and the next board won't be created until Jan. 31 or later.

During the hearing, Wake County Superior Court Paul Ridgeway said "this is an extremely unusual situation, with no board in place, and asking this court to step in and exert extraordinary power in declaring the winner of an election, when that is clearly the purview of another branch of government." Harris and McCready did not attend the hearing, but afterwards, a spokesman for McCready said "the most important thing is that people get the answer they deserve," and he believes "both sides agree that it's important that the people of North Carolina have a voice in Washington." Catherine Garcia

6:41 p.m.

In an affidavit filed as part of her divorce proceedings, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said that in July 2016, she was interviewed to be then-candidate Donald Trump's vice president, but turned down his offer because it "wasn't the right thing for me or my family."

Last August, Ernst announced she was divorcing her husband of 26 years, Gail Ernst. Their divorce was finalized this month, and under Iowa law, the court records were automatically made public. In the affidavit, which was submitted in October, Ernst said her former husband was not only verbally and mentally abusive, but also physically assaulted her when she confronted him about his relationship with their daughter's babysitter, The Des Moines Register reports.

Gail Ernst was "very cruel," the senator said, and often belittled her and didn't want to see her succeed. When describing how she turned down the offer to be vice president, she said she "continued to make sacrifices and not soar out of concern for Gail and our family." Ernst is the first woman elected in Iowa to represent the state in Congress, and has said she'll run for a second term in 2020. Catherine Garcia

5:08 p.m.

Harris Wofford, a lifelong Democrat who worked alongside the leaders of the party, died Monday. He was 92, and died in Washington, D.C. after suffering a fall on Saturday, The Washington Post reports.

Wofford served in World War II, and soon went on to a life of civil rights activism. He was "one of the first white students to graduate from the historically black Howard University Law School," the Post writes, and later marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama. He worked on former President John F. Kennedy's campaign, compelling him to meet with King. That move was credited with pushing black voters to overwhelmingly elect Kennedy, per Philly.com.

Wofford spent years as Kennedy's special assistant for civil rights, then left to help found the Peace Corps. He was president of Bryn Mawr College for eight years, chaired Pennsylvania's Democratic Party, and went on to serve in former Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey Sr.'s cabinet. Casey appointed Wofford to the Senate to replace Republican Sen. John Heinz (Pa.), who was killed in an airplane accident in 1991.

In 2008, Wofford introduced then-Sen. Barack Obama before a noteworthy speech on race. And in 2016, he revealed he'd married Matthew Charlton, a man 50 years younger than his 90. Read more about Wofford's life at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:21 p.m.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has one word for America's longest running shutdown: stupidity.

The unprecedented shutdown fell into its 32nd day over President Trump's demand for border wall funding and Democrats' refusal to give in. But while there remained no hint of a deal to reopen the government on Tuesday, Warner did introduce the STUPIDITY Act to prevent hypothetical shutdowns in the future.

Under the craftily acronymed act, the federal government would keep running even if legislators and the president fail to agree to a new funding bill by a shutdown deadline. It would simply preserve the previous fiscal year's funding levels but adjust them for inflation. It wouldn't fund the legislative and executive branches, though, "effectively forcing Congress and the White House to come to the negotiating table" without hurting American jobs, Warner's press release says. And if you're wondering what STUPIDITY means, well...

Of course, STUPIDITY does neglect to include a "C" to account for "coming." But STUPIDITCY would just be, well, stupid. Kathryn Krawczyk

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