October 9, 2019

Harvey Weinstein pressured NBC News into killing an investigation into his alleged sexual abuse using dirt on Matt Lauer, Ronan Farrow alleges in his new book.

Farrow in October 2017 published allegations of sexual abuse against Weinstein, but his New Yorker exposé was originally intended to be published by NBC News. In his new book Catch and Kill, Farrow alleges that prior to NBC's decision not to run his story, Weinstein "made it known to the network that he was aware of Lauer's behavior and capable of revealing it," The Hollywood Reporter writes. Farrow reports Weinstein used dirt about Lauer, who was then host of Today, obtained by the National Enquirer to pressure NBC into killing the investigation, citing anonymous sources at NBC and AMI, the Enquirer's publisher. This reportedly occurred after Weinstein strategized with AMI's chief content officer, Dylan Howard.

NBC has denied Farrow's claim, saying it was never "made aware in any way of any threats." The network has said it was not aware of alleged misconduct by Lauer until firing him in November 2017, and NBC News Chair Andy Lack in 2018 said Farrow's reporting wasn't run because it wasn't "yet fit to broadcast."

Weinstein reportedly felt, though, that he had successfully pressured NBC into spiking the story, with Farrow reporting Weinstein bragged in his office, "If I can get a network to kill a story, how hard can a newspaper be?" He was referring to The New York Times, which in October 2017 broke the story about the misconduct allegations against him.

Sometime after Weinstein was informed Farrow wasn't working on the story for NBC, Farrow reports NBC News President Noah Oppenheim engaged with Weinstein in a friendly email about Megyn Kelly's debut in which Oppenheim wrote, "Thanks Harvey, appreciate the well-wishes," per the Reporter. Weinstein reportedly then sent him a bottle of vodka. Brendan Morrow

2:14 a.m.

President Trump arrived in India on Monday for a state visit, and Monday's Late Show noticed he had a little trouble pronouncing Indian names.

Trump's actually really popular in India, Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. Some Indians "like him because of his anti-Muslim rhetoric, some like him because of his business savvy, and all of them like him because his skin looks like tikka masala."

"Clearly, India is trying to give Trump a memorable experience," Noah said. "There was, however, one tiny culture clash that Trump had to deal with" — Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vegetarianism. "I honestly don't know what's stranger: the fact that Trump might eat vegetables, or that people are actually worried about how it will go," he said. And "despite the beef issue," Trump "even made an effort to show the Indian people how much he respects them by trying to speak their language."

"After Trump butchered half the Hindi dictionary, Indian Twitter lost their minds," Noah said. "But to those Indians, I say: please don't be mad. Trump may not be able to pronounce Hindi words, but he can't pronounce English words, either."

Yes, "because he was in India, Trump had to prove that English isn't the only language he struggles with," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. But Trump also had to face the "challenge" of Modi's "plans to serve vegetarian food to the president. Oh my God, we're going to war with India!" Upon landing in India, Colbert said, "Trump's first stop was at the home of Mahatma Gandhi where he got the chance to spin a replica of the wheel that Gandhi used to make his own clothes. That's lovely — now he knows what it's like to work in one of Ivanka's factories."

Trump also visited the Taj Mahal on Monday — and described it "as too understated," James Corden joked at The Late Late Show. After the big rally, "local commentators said that Trump mispronounced the names of nearly every famous Indian official that he mentioned, as well as the name of the city was in," he added, laughing. "Basically, what you get from this is that every time Trump goes to an Indian restaurant, he just goes, 'Yeah, I'm gonna get that thing.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

2:01 a.m.

At least seven people were killed and 50 injured Monday in New Delhi after clashes broke out between supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law many consider anti-Muslim, police announced Tuesday.

In December, India's Parliament approved the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which provides citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, with the exception of Muslims. Activists say supporters of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) incited violence over the weekend, and video circulated showing a mob of people beating a Muslim man. Protests took place across several neighborhoods in New Delhi, and police fired tear gas at demonstrators.

President Trump is spending Tuesday in New Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP. During a rally in Ahmedabad on Monday, Trump commended India, saying it's a country where different faiths "worship side by side in harmony." Catherine Garcia

1:05 a.m.

With a few days to go before the South Carolina Democratic primary, a major newspaper in the state is endorsing Pete Buttigieg, saying the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has an "outsider's appeal" and a "message of unity."

In an endorsement published Monday night, The State said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former Vice President Joe Biden were both "impressive" in their interviews with the newspaper, but it is "vital" for Democrats to "nominate an energetic, disciplined candidate who can offer voters a powerful yet pragmatic vision of a better America. The Democrats need a nominee who seeks to bring Americans together based on broad common ground — and not divide them along narrow interests." That person, The State declared, is Buttigieg.

From a historical standpoint, the Democratic Party has only won the presidency over the last 50 years "when it has resisted the temptation to pick status-quo nominees and shown the courage to choose centrist outsiders with fresh optimistic messages." Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama "successfully connected with voters by tapping into the sensibilities of average Americans," The State said, and Buttigieg "gained that needed perspective" while serving as mayor of South Bend.

The State praised Buttigieg for his health care ideas, including enacting Medicare for all who want it. "That's preferable to demanding a radical overhaul of our health care system — an unrealistic idea that's been advanced by politicians who spent most of their time inside the insular Washington bubble," The State said. "And it exemplifies Buttigieg's ability to see a crucial issue through the eyes of Americans who simply want practical policies, not upheaval and unknowns." Read the entire endorsement, which acknowledges Buttigieg's struggle to woo black voters, at The State. Catherine Garcia

12:26 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) got some blowback Monday for comments he made on Sunday's 60 Minutes in favor of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro's literacy program. It's not clear many people outside of Florida or under age 70 have strong feelings about Castro anymore — he died in 2016, after all, and Cuba is now mostly known as a hot vacation spot. And as Sanders also said on 60 Minutes, it's not like he thinks current, nuclear-armed despot "Kim Jong Un is a good friend," and unlike President Trump. "I don't trade love letters with a murdering dictator."

Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton clearly did not pay attention to that last part of the interview when he jumped in to slam Sanders for "revealing the extent of his extremism" by suggesting "Castro's communist Cuba is not all bad." So Twitter reminded him.

In any case, Sanders doesn't seem rattled by the criticism. "You know what? I think teaching people to read and write is a good thing," he said at a CNN town hall in Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday night. "I have been extremely consistent and critical of all authoritarian regimes all over the world — including Cuba, including Nicaragua, including Saudi Arabia, including China, including Russia. I happen to believe in democracy, not authoritarianism." He still doubled-down on the not-all-bad motif, saying that China, while "becoming more an more authoritarian," has also clearly "taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history." Peter Weber

February 24, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its South Korea travel advisory to its highest level as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country.

The CDC is warning Americans against nonessential travel to the country, saying, "There is a widespread, ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person. Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions may be at risk of severe disease." The advisory also states that there is "limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas."

There are now 893 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in South Korea. Most of the cases are in and around Daegu, South Korea's fourth-largest city. About half of the patients are members of Shincheonji, a controversial religious organization that believes its leader is the second coming of Jesus Christ. On Sunday, the South Korean government ordered a temporary shutdown of the church, in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading to more people. Catherine Garcia

February 24, 2020

A Republican running for Congress in Arizona announced on Monday he is suspending his campaign following a heroin overdose last week.

Chris Taylor is an Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan and a member of the City Council in Safford. He has a history of opioid addiction dating back to his high school years. "I'm not going to hide from this," Taylor told The Arizona Republic. "I'm not ashamed of what happened. I wish to sincerely apologize to the amazing people who have supported me."

Taylor told NBC News he is seeking treatment for substance abuse, having relapsed "after having so many solid years in sobriety. I have to figure out where I went wrong. Thankfully I have every resource available to me through the Veterans Affairs Administration and I have the strongest support system one could dream of. The only thing I can do is face this head on in complete humility and put one foot in front of the other so that I can get the help needed to be the father and husband that my family deserves."

Taylor was running in Arizona's 1st Congressional District, hoping to unseat Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D). In his campaign ads, Taylor promised to support President Trump, cut taxes, and defend the Second Amendment. Catherine Garcia

February 24, 2020

The White House sent a letter to congressional leaders on Monday night, asking for $1.8 billion to spend on its response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

The White House is requesting $1.25 billion in new funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and access to $535 million that had been set aside to fight Ebola, The Washington Post reports. In the letter, White House Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russell Vought wrote: "To this point, no agency has been inhibited in response efforts due to resources or authorities. However, much is still unknown about this virus and the disease it causes. The administration believes additional federal resources are necessary to take steps to prepare for a potential worsening of the situation in the United States."

In response, House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said the request was "woefully insufficient." The White House had previously said it did not think it needed any additional funding to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus. There are now more than 50 cases in the United States, and organizations representing state and local public health officials have asked for money to buy protective equipment, expand outreach to the public, and fund mobile home-testing teams, the Post reports. Catherine Garcia

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