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March 25, 2019

America's sharp polarization over President Trump has, fairly or unfairly, become incarnate in the marriage of George and Kellyanne Conway — a conservative lawyer who uses Twitter to vent about his disappointments with Trump and concerns about the president's mental health, on one hand, and Trump's senior counselor and most steadfast defender on cable news. The Conways had predictably different takeaways from Attorney General Robert Barr's four-page summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and any wrongdoing by the Trump campaign.

George Conway focused on the part of Barr's report that quotes Mueller as explicitly saying his report "does not exonerate" Trump of criminal obstruction of justice, suggesting that maybe America should have a higher bar for the presidency.

Kellyanne Conway ignored the part of the letter that explicitly did not exonerate Trump and focused instead on Mueller finding insufficient evidence to conclude Trump or his campaign colluded or conspired with the Russian government. In that sense, Mueller's unreleased report was "a gift for the 2020 election," Conway wrote, under a photo of Trump with his arm around her waist.

Former FBI Director James Comey, who appears to be living his best life, is focusing on nature and reserving judgment about Mueller's report.

Hopefully, the Conways get opportunities to set work aside for a salubrious walk in the woods, too. Peter Weber

5:16 a.m.

There were several eyebrow-raising and factually incorrect parts of President Trump's interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, including his assertions that he has been treated worse than Abraham Lincoln, that he'll have his long-promised health care plan out in anywhere from "a month" to "fairly soon" or "much before the election," and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was "conflicted" because of a dispute over golf club dues.

But when Trump was trying to convince Stephanopoulos that while Congress wants his "fantastic financial statement" and he wants them to see it, "it's not up to me, it's up to lawyers, it's up to everything else," acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney started coughing. Trump stopped the interview. "Let's do that over, he's coughing in the middle of my answer," he said. "I don't like that, you know, I don't like that. ... If you're going to cough, please leave the room. You just can't, you just can't cough. Boy, oh boy."

Trump isn't wrong about coughing in the middle of your boss' on-camera interview, but the idea that Trump believes he can do just about anything but release his tax returns or financial statements is pretty hard to swallow. Peter Weber

4:25 a.m.

Impeachment is "an anagram for 'pinch me meat,' which is, interestingly, the sentence that got the Lucky Charms leprechaun #MeToo'd," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. But impeaching President Trump is also a big topic among Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is pumping the brakes.

Pelosi is actually right "that many people don't fully understand what impeachment involves," Oliver said, "so we thought that tonight might be a good time to discuss what it is, why it may be warranted, and what the risks might be in carrying it out." He ran thought the impeachment process and the grounds for impeachment laid out in the Constitution: treason, bribery, or "high crimes and misdemeanors." That last category, which Trump doesn't appear to understand, covers a wide range of serious misdeeds, and Trump has provided a lot of fodder. Oliver focused on one particular incident of likely obstruction of justice and why it's a "very, very big deal."

"It's impossible to say how a Trump impeachment would play out, although him leaving office is extremely unlikely," Oliver cautioned. "That would require 20 Republican senators to vote against him, and even if they did that, there is still to guarantee that Trump would actually leave — he basically told us as much out loud." But "not opening an inquiry comes with consequences, too," he said, "because it essentially sends the message that the president can act with impunity, which is a dangerous precedent to set — not just for future presidents but for the current one."

Oliver said that after vacillating for a while, he is on Team Impeach. "Every a--hole succeeds until finally they don't," he said, citing Richard Nixon. "I can't guarantee that impeachment will work out the way that you want it to, because it probably won't. But that doesn't mean that it's not worth doing. Because if nothing else, we'd be standing by the basic, fundamental principle that nobody is above the law." There is NSFW language throughout. Peter Weber

3:05 a.m.

The cousin of a man shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in a Corona, California, Costco described him as being a "gentle giant" who was nonverbal and had an intellectual disability.

Kenneth French, 32, was fatally shot Friday night by an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer, the Corona Police Department said. Authorities say that while holding his child, the officer was suddenly attacked; he fired his weapon, hitting French and two of French's relatives.

French's cousin, Rick Shureih, told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday that French "has always been very cooperative and kept to himself." Shureih said French's parents, Russell and Paola French, were hit during the shooting, and both have been hospitalized in intensive care, with Paola in a coma. The officer, whose name has not been released, sustained minor injuries, the LAPD said.

Police have not released any additional information on what occurred before the shooting, but Shureih told the Times that his cousin was no longer able to speak, and "it could have been that he bumped into somebody but couldn't communicate the fact that he was sorry." Shureih is asking that witnesses come forward and Costco release surveillance tapes. "These are things we need to pursue to make sure justice is done," he said. Catherine Garcia

2:34 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on Sunday, and he was eager to talk about Iran and the apparent attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Friday but less excited to discuss President Trump's comments about accepting foreign dirt on domestic opponents from foreign governments.

"Is accepting oppo research from a foreign government right or wrong?" Wallace asked Pompeo, after playing a clip of Trump telling ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he would accept such information. Pompeo first suggested that the question was "ridiculous," then said Trump "has been very clear" and "clarified his remarks later" that he would both accept the information and call the FBI. Wallace pointed out that Trump said he would "maybe" call the FBI, and Pompeo said Trump "has been very clear that he will always make sure that he gets it right for the American people."

They disagreed on whether Trump had "walked" his comments back on Friday's Fox & Friends, and Wallace played more of Trump's ABC News interview. Pompeo claimed that Trump agrees with America's founders that foreign interference in a U.S. election is bad, then cut the line of questioning short: "I have nothing further to add. I came on to talk about foreign policy and I think [that's] the third time you've asked me about a Washington piece of silliness, that chased down the story that is inconsistent with what I've seen President Trump do every single day."

Presumably, a foreign government interfering in the U.S. election and how the president handles it would qualify as "foreign policy" and not as Washington "silliness,' but as CNN reported Friday, Trump's answer on the question isn't playing well among Trump's allies. Peter Weber

2:25 a.m.

One trip to the library was all it took to get Omar and Octavio Viramontes hooked on learning.

The twin brothers immigrated to the United States from Mexico when they were 10 years old. Once the family settled in central California, they all worked together, picking grapes and selling produce door to door. Omar told CBS News that the first year was "tough," but "we started to realize that we were doing this for a specific reason, and it was to help our family, to help each other."

Their mother introduced them to the library, and they instantly became enamored. "Every single time I entered that library, I was entering a different world by reading a different book," Octavio said. "It gave me the imagination to be somewhere else." The brothers excelled in high school, and were co-valedictorians at graduation. Both received scholarships to attend college — Omar went to the University of California San Diego, Octavio to Harvard — and each decided, separately, that he wanted to attend medical school.

Octavio remained at Harvard, while Omar went to the University of California Los Angeles, and they recently graduated, just one day apart. Both are grateful to their parents for making sacrifices to improve their lives, and Omar said he plans on paying that forward. "Every day I wake up and I think, 'What can I do today to make myself better, my family better, and my community?'" he said. Catherine Garcia

1:30 a.m.

Lija Greenseid, "a rule-abiding Minnesota mom," just led a small caravan of Americas to Canada to buy analog insulin for her 13-year-old daughter, and "she and five other Americans paid about $1,200 for drugs that would have cost them $12,000 in the United States," The Washington Post reports. As other people dealing with Type 1 diabetes and the rapidly rising price of insulin hear about her journeys north of the border, the caravan is growing — the next one will be on a chartered bus.

These drug runs to Canada — where you can buy analog insulin without a prescription, unlike in the U.S. — may be illegal. "But the organizers of the caravan — their word, a nod to the migrants traveling in groups through Mexico to the U.S. border — are speaking out about their trip because they want Americans to see how drug prices push ordinary people to extremes," the Post reports.

Canadians get the caravan reference, too. While many of them were supportive of the American caravan, others expressed concern about the supplies of Canadian insulin. "We heard a lot of comments like, 'Canada needs to put up a wall,'" said caravaner Nicole Smith-Holt. "I was like, 'Oh, come on.'"

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbying group blamed insurance companies for the cost of insulin, which doubled in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016, saying drug companies are increasingly offering rebates on insulin that aren't reaching patients.

Barry Power, the Canadian Pharmacists Association's director of therapeutic content, told the Post that the caravans and other cross-border drug purchasers haven't yet affected Canada's insulin supply. Canada keeps insulin prices low through a combination of price caps, negotiations with drug manufactures, and other policy, he added. "This is something the U.S. could do." Learn more at The Washington Post, or in the New York Times video op-ed below. Peter Weber

12:32 a.m.

President Trump's re-election campaign is cutting ties with three of its pollsters, several news organizations reported Sunday, the apparent cause being leaked internal poll numbers that showed Trump losing to former Vice President Joe Biden in 15 of the 17 states polled. Those poll numbers have been trickling out for two months, and ABC News and NBC News obtained the full top-line results over the weekend. "While the campaign tested other Democratic presidential candidates against Trump," NBC News reports, "Biden polled the best of the group."

The numbers do look very bad, but Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale called them "ancient" and outdated, repeating Trump's claim that newer polls show him winning everywhere — at least against "defined" Democrats, meaning the pollsters gave respondents their own political descriptions of the Democrats' policies. Trump, who reportedly ordered aides to bury the terrible numbers, told ABC News "those polls don't exist."

The Trump campaign is retaining Tony Fabrizio — the pollster who conducted the leaked March 15-28 poll, and also calls the leaked numbers misleading — and John McLaughlin, Politico reports, and it is getting rid of Brett Lloyd, Mike Baselice, and Adam Geller.

Lloyd heads up the Polling Company, "a firm started by Kellyanne Conway in 1995," Politico notes. "Conway is now a senior White House adviser to Trump and is no longer formally connected to the company." Geller is founder and CEO of National Research Inc. and Baselice founded Baselice & Associates. "There is widespread speculation within the re-election campaign that Geller and Baselice, who still enjoy the confidence of top Trump aides, will join the pro-Trump super PAC," Politico adds. Peter Weber

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