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Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos was a man of relatively few words during his interview with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday morning, but what he did say raised serious questions about President Trump's own potential hand in the ongoing government shutdown.

Sanders began the interview by using Stephanopoulos' opening question to blast Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for the shutdown. "I know sometimes members like Sen. Schumer need a little help and guidance getting through big policy negotiations like that," she told Stephanopoulos, "but the president's laid out what he wants and if they need help understanding it, we'd be happy to send some people over there to explain it to them."

Stephanopoulos didn't take the bait. "Do you really want to be questioning Sen. Schumer's knowledge of this legislation?"

Sanders laughed the question off, but Stephanopoulos followed up by asking why Trump hasn't called "everyone down to the White House today, Democrats, Republicans, together in the Oval Office."

"The president has been engaged," Sanders replied. "Different circumstances call for a different type of leadership."

"No meetings this weekend, Sarah," Stephanopoulos simply interrupted. Watch the full back-and-forth below. Jeva Lange

January 19, 2018

Olympic gold medalists and former teammates Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber issued powerful impact statements in court Friday at the sentencing of former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In total, Nassar, 54, is accused of having sexually abused more than 130 of his patients during medical exams between 1998 and 2015. He was sentenced in December to 60 years in prison for child pornography crimes, one of his three criminal cases.

Wieber, 22, had not previously revealed her abuse, saying for the first time Friday that Nassar began touching her inappropriately at the age of 14. "This was when he started performing the procedure that we are all now familiar with," Wieber said, adding: "Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of."

Raisman, 23, addressed Nassar directly: "Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice," she said. "Well you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I am only beginning to just use them."

Raisman also issued a scathing criticism of the institution that allowed Nassar to abuse her and her teammates. "Your abuse started 30 years ago," she said. "But that's just the first reported incident we know of. If over these many years just one adult listened and had the courage and character to act, this tragedy could have been avoided."

For his sexual conduct charges, Nassar has agreed to a minimum of 25 to 40 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life. On Thursday, it was reported that more than a dozen Michigan State University employees knew of their colleague's serial sexual abuse. Watch Raisman's powerful testimony in full below. Jeva Lange

January 19, 2018

Canadian immigrant Mark Steyn expressed concern over the future of American society while defending white supremacists during a bizarre and alarming segment on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show Thursday night.

Steyn set out by mocking CNN's Chris Cuomo for claiming that "the real problem" in America is white supremacy, not undocumented immigrants. The white supremacists are "the real monsters," Steyn quoted Cuomo as saying, "not these hardworking illegal immigrants." Steyn added: "For the purposes of argument, let's just say [Cuomo is] right."

You might wonder where, exactly, Steyn could go from there. The answer is that he ruled that it is "irrelevant" if white supremacists are "monsters" because "the white supremacists are Americans. The illegal immigrants are people who shouldn't be here." Steyn then attempted to argue that "the organizing principle of nation states is that they're organized on the behalf of citizens, whether their citizens are cheerleaders or white supremacists or whatever. You're stuck with them."

Steyn additionally could not get over the fact that "the majority of grade school students in Arizona are Hispanic," deducing from this that "the border has moved north" while ignoring the fact that some 56.6 million people prove you can actually be both American and Hispanic at the same time, as ThinkProgress points out. Watch the full interview below. Jeva Lange

January 18, 2018
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CNN anchor Chris Cuomo might want to brush up on his slang.

During an interview Thursday with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, Cuomo challenged McDaniel over accusations that Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) had "mansplained" to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Nielsen appeared before the committee Tuesday, and Booker attacked her for tolerating President Trump's reported vulgar remarks about immigrants.

"You [and the RNC] accused Booker of 'mansplaining' to Nielsen," Cuomo said. "Why? Why did you call it that?" McDaniel replied that a male Republican senator would have been lambasted for talking to a woman the way Booker did to Nielsen. "I know he's auditioning for 2020, I understand that, but he was disrespectful and he did mansplain to her. And she's an intelligent woman, she's the secretary of homeland security, and she deserved an opportunity to answer his rant," she said.

Cuomo then — with no apparent sense of irony — interrupted McDaniel to show a clip of Booker responding to the RNC's accusation. Then Cuomo asked: "In this age of recognizing women as equal, once and for all, at all levels, why would [Booker] have to treat Nielsen differently?" As McDaniel tried to point to "hypocrisy" in the treatment of Nielsen compared to, say, the sympathy afforded Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cuomo interrupted again to ask, "How is it mansplaining ... just because she's a woman, that's what you're saying? ... [Senators] talk to people like that all the time, Ronna, they talk to men like that all the time."

"Here's the deal," McDaniel said. "Cory Booker was grandstanding, he was lecturing her, he didn't give her a chance to respond. It was disrespectful." Watch the full interview at Mediaite. Kelly O'Meara Morales

January 16, 2018

HLN anchor Ashleigh Banfield came to the defense of Aziz Ansari on her show, Crime & Justice, after a pseudonymous woman, "Grace," accused the actor of sexual assault in an article published over the weekend. "Grace" claimed her date with Ansari was "the worst experience with a man I've ever had" and that the actor repeatedly pressured her to have sex despite her objections.

Addressing Grace directly, Banfield said: "I'm sorry you had a bad date. I've had a few myself. They stink. I'm sure it must be really weighing on you." Banfield clarified, though, that "after protesting [Ansari's] moves, you did not get up and leave right away. You continued to engage in a sexual encounter. By your own clear description, this was not a rape, nor was it a sexual assault." Banfield added that if Grace was indeed sexually assaulted, "you should go to the police right now."

Otherwise, seeing that the encounter did not "affect your workplace or your ability to get a job," Banfield inquired: "What exactly was your beef — that you had a bad date with Aziz Ansari?" She concluded: "What you have done, in my opinion, is appalling. You went to the press with the story of a bad date. And you have potentially destroyed this man's career over it, right after he received an award for which he was worthy."

Watch the segment below, and read why Damon Linker says the Ansari takedown is a setback for the #MeToo movement here at The Week. Jeva Lange

January 16, 2018

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon is the relatively apolitical late-night host, so presumably he was channeling 1970 James Taylor on Monday's show when he endorsed Oprah Winfrey for president in 2020, concern-trolled Stephen Bannon, and used some of the details in the Michael Wolff tell-all Fire and Fury to paint President Trump as a cheeseburger-eating TV addict who has turned the White House into a "s--thole." Fallon, dressed as early-vintage Taylor, sang a modified version of Taylor's hit "Fire and Rain," and it had plenty of zingers. "I've seen Fire and I've seen Fury, I've seen White House staff who will have to face a jury," he sang on one chorus. "I've seen him drink a cup of water with tiny hands, while he's lying in bed watching Fox & Friends." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 11, 2018

President Trump began Thursday by tweeting out two very different takes on a sweeping surveillance law, all but ensuring an eventful day for his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sure enough, the afternoon briefing did not disappoint, as Sanders insisted Trump's tweets — the first insinuating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act had been used nefariously to "abuse the Trump campaign," the second imploring the House to extend the bill because "we need it!" — were entirely in concert with one another.

Sanders insisted that Trump has a "full understanding" of the FISA debate, additionally pointing to comments made earlier Thursday by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that defended the president's knowledge of the issue. "It is well-known that he has concerns about the domestic FISA law," said Ryan, who went on to acknowledge that the domestic law was "not what we're doing today." Ryan reportedly called Trump after the president's first tweet this morning to clarify the White House position.

That wasn't enough for MSNBC's Hallie Jackson, who pressed Sanders to explain how exactly Trump's missives did not contradict each other. "His tweet today was confusing, it was contradictory. It just was," Jackson said, before asking how people can trust administration officials to relay the president's positions if he changes them seemingly on a whim.

"I think the premise of your question is completely ridiculous and shows the lack of knowledge that you have on this process," Sanders retorted, adding that the president's tweet "wasn't confusing to me. I'm sorry if it was for you." Watch Sanders' full defense to Jackson below. Kimberly Alters

January 8, 2018

On Monday morning, CNN's Chris Cuomo tried to make ex-Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo acknowledge that President Trump appears to have a warped sense of priorities, given his recent tweets and bombastic reaction to Michael Wolff's explosive book, Fire and Fury.

"Of the last 10 tweets [made by Trump], only two are about matters of state. Eight of the 10 are personal gripes. Even if you want to cut out the 25th Amendment, mental capacity, how healthy his mind and soul are right now, isn't this proof that he's spending way too much on the wrong things?" Cuomo asked.

Caputo disagreed: "The fact of the matter is this book has come out with some very personal and very visceral, even insulting criticisms of the president of the United States, and he feels compelled to defend himself."

An incredulous Cuomo suggested instead that Trump should ignore the noise around him and focus on governing. "If you voted for this man ... is that why you voted for him, to spend his time defending himself against ghosts of the past?"

While Caputo said he wants the White House to tout more of their "successes and their agenda," he would not concede that Trump's use of Twitter was a problem. "I believe the president has every right, and I expect him to defend himself against this trashy book from a trashy writer," he said.

Watch the whole interview at Mediaite. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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