May 18, 2017
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

While Barack Obama is living his best life hanging out in tropical locales and wearing leather jackets, a gloomy group of Trump loyalists have put their heads together and concocted a plot to get revenge against the former president and members of his administration through an approach being described by one person as a "bag of crazy cats," Foreign Policy reports.

In the wake of The Washington Post's report that Trump gave highly classified information about the Islamic State to Russian officials during their visit to the Oval Office last week, members of Trump's inner circle held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss how to recover from the ongoing repercussions. A person with knowledge of the summit said the team is considering going after Obama's administration by accusing it of sharing sensitive information, too, launching an investigation into a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program called the Automated Indicator Sharing capability. That program gathers information from companies on possible cyberattacks, including malicious IP addresses and emails, that is then shared with foreign partners. The goal of the program is to "identify and block adversary methods that we've never seen before," DHS spokesman Scott McConnell told FP, but the Trump team suggests that the sharing capability can open up sensitive data to Russia and other non-allies.

The problem with this revenge plan is it "doesn't make sense," one former DHS official told FP, after bursting out laughing. "It seems ludicrous," said another former official, who added that the cybersecurity being shared is "beneficial for everyone to have, like, 'Hey, this Windows program has a bug.'" Beyond that, the information in the system is not highly classified but rather "indicators of an attack," the official said. "Nothing is going to be vital to national security." Aside from being "a bag of crazy cats," as the person with knowledge of the meeting judged the approach, Robyn Greene at the Open Technology Institute told FP it's a "massive distraction," and she doesn't understand "how they can draw the line between Trump sharing code-name information with the Russians and this." The White House told FP it is unaware of any meeting or talks. Catherine Garcia

5:46 a.m. ET
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On Sunday, the White House asked congressional Democrats to accept two and a half years of legal protections for DREAMers, or young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, in return for $25 billion for President Trump's border wall, Politico reports. Democrats countered with $25 billion for the wall and border security in return for permanent protection for 1.8 million DREAMers, not just through September 2020, and the White House balked. The omnibus spending package that must pass this week might be Trump's last best chance to get funding for his border wall this year, or ever if Democrats take control of Congress — and on Monday, three organizations supported by conservative megadonors Charles and David Koch urged Trump to take the offer.

Brent Gardner at Americans for Prosperity called the Democrats' proposal "an offer all parties should immediately accept," and Daniel Garza at the LIBRE Initiative said "Congress and the White House should seize this chance." Nathan Nascimento, an executive vice president at the Freedom Partners chamber of commerce, said that "if a deal was on the table that offered both security at the border and permanent status for DREAMers, that's a deal that Republicans, Democrats, and President Trump should support. We cannot continue to allow politics to stand in the way of finding a solution to this problem."

Trump did not seem to be interested late Monday, however.

Trump ended the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program last fall, setting March 5 as the end of the temporary protection for DREAMers, but federal courts have stayed his order for now. Peter Weber

4:43 a.m. ET

The big news on Facebook is that "free will is an illusion," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show, pointing to the weekend's news about Trump campaign "behavioral microtargeting" contractor Cambridge Analytica. "That's a classy name, Cambridge Analytica — not to be confused with their competitor, Oxford Thinkemups," he joked. It just came out that when the data firm was run by Stephen Bannon, it built detailed psychographic profiles of U.S. voters by harvesting the personal information of 50 million Facebook users without authorization. "Now, I consider myself both a 'neurotic introvert' and a 'fan of the occult,'" Colbert joked, "which is why I often summon Satan, but then I'm too shy to talk to him."

Facebook discovered this breach in 2015 but didn't warn users. "Really?" Colbert asked. "The one time I actually would have wanted a Facebook alert? Perhaps that could have replaced one of the four messages I get a day about my ex-roommate's college girlfriend's one-woman show."

Cambridge Analytica is defending itself on Twitter by "saying advertising can't change your behavior — literally on the same page that says 'Data-driven behavior change,'" Colbert noted skepically. But things got arguably worse when Britain's Channel 4 recorded secret footage of Cambridge Analytica executives bragging about tipping elections through stoking fear, plus a little bribery and entrapment, specifically mentioning Ukrainian women. "Well, we don't have to worry about them blackmailing our leaders," Colbert said, "as long as no one in Washington is attracted to Eastern European women — oh my God."

Colbert also congratulated "friend of the show" Vladimir Putin for "making up a realistic sounding number," 76 percent, in his re-election victory. "This is Putin's highest margin of victory yet — it's really impressive, though I'm starting to think he might have had help from the Russians," Colbert joked. "As much as I'm happy for him, my condolences to Putin's opponents, Viktor Strawmanski and Nerve Gas Patient No. 5421. Too soon?" Watch below. Peter Weber

3:28 a.m. ET
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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed legislation Monday banning abortion in the state after 15 weeks of gestation, joined in the closed-door signing ceremony by lawmakers who pushed through the legislation and other abortion opponents. If it survives court challenge, it will be the nation's strictest abortion law. About an hour after the signing, Mississippi's lone abortion clinic sued to block the law, arguing that it violates Supreme Court precedence by banning abortion before a fetus could survive outside of the uterus. The legislation exempts pregnancies where a fetus has health problems making it "incompatible with life" and in cases where a woman's life or "major bodily function" is threatened, but not for pregnancies from rape or incest. Peter Weber

2:46 a.m. ET

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in existence, died on Monday, Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy announced early Tuesday. He was 45 and "being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds," the conservancy said. "He was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal. The veterinary team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta, and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him."

There are now only two northern white rhinos left in the world: Sudan's daughters, Najin and Fatu. The only hope for keeping the subspecies going now involves creating new in vitro fertilization techniques using eggs from Najin and Fatu, stored northern white rhino sperm, and surrogate female southern white rhinos, the conservancy said. Sudan "was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness globally of the plight facing not only rhinos, but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity," Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vinge said. "One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists worldwide."

On a happier note, the small Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in India's Assam state reported Monday that its population of one-horned rhinos has risen to 102 from 93 during its last census in 2012. "Our efforts at conserving the rhino have paid off," forestry officer Pradipta Baruah told The Associated Press. All five rhino species in the world are under threat from poachers; rhino horns are sold on the black market, especially in countries where the horn is believed to increase male potency. Peter Weber

1:59 a.m. ET

"Are you guys enjoying March Madness?" Stephen Colbert asked on Monday's Late Show. "Speaking of madness, Donald Trump. We're on the brink of another crisis? Because it really feels like Donald Trump is gearing up to fire" Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The first clue was when Trump lawyer John Dowd released a statement calling for Mueller's investigation to be scrapped, writing in purple comic sans font. "Now that sounds inappropriate until you remember that the Declaration of Independence was originally written in wingdings," Colbert joked. But Trump tweet-attacking Comey by name really raised the stakes, prompting even some Republicans to express mild alarm.

Like Sen. Lindsey Grahm (R-S.C.), who said Trump firing Mueller would be "the beginning of the end of his presidency." "Wait, it's not even the beginning of the end of his presidency?" Colbert protested. "I thought we were at least at the middle of the beginning of the end! I should have gone to the bathroom when Reince Priebus left — now I gotta hold it till the midterms." Trump is clearly in a firing mood, he added, pointing to the sacking of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, two days before his retirement, putting his $60,000-a-year pension at risk. "$60,000 — that's, like, half a porn star payment," Colbert said.

Now, McCabe was being investigated by the FBI inspector general, "so to avoid looking like he's trying to shut down the Russia investigation, all Trump had to do was not dance on McCabe's grave," Colbert said, reading the inevitable grave-dancing tweet. "Let that tweet sink in for a second: This is the sitting president of the United States gloating about firing a respected career FBI official and smearing another FBI official whose firing led to the appointment of the special counsel — and none of that shocks me as much as the fact that he spelled 'sanctimonious' correctly." And Trump's Twitter fingers were just getting started. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:33 a.m. ET

Several students from the University of Miami decided to have a different kind of spring break, leaving the beach for Colorado, where they volunteered for a week at the Chelsea Place memory care facility.

The students spent their days in Aurora getting to know the residents, who have dementia. They ate lunch together, shared stories, and at the end of the week, split up into pairs and created paintings that represented their experience, with the artwork then placed in a small gallery set up by the facility staff.

Junior Amanda Lorenzo told CBS Denver spending the week getting to know the residents of Chelsea Place was unforgettable. "They have had more of an impact on me than I would have realized and I'm so thankful that I came on this trip," she said. Catherine Garcia

1:10 a.m. ET

"Man, crazy s--t happens so fast in this presidency, sometimes it feels like I'm binge-watching it," Seth Meyers said on Monday's Late Night, trying to digest the weekend's news. "It's like, 'He's suing the porn star? Two hours ago he said he didn't even know her! Where's my Chinese food?'" He compared Trump's shifting story on whether he had a relationship with Stormy Daniels to Trump's shifting story on whether he has a relationship with Vladimir Putin, with a compelling video montage. And he briefly recapped Cambridge Analytica's harvesting of 50 million Facebook accounts, apparently to help Trump win — something Facebook knew about for two years.

But mostly Meyers focused on the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Trump's attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Trump "spent months trying to discredit McCabe because McCabe is a key witness in the Mueller investigation, specifically with regard to the firing of FBI Director James Comey — which is the central question when it comes to possible obstruction of justice charges," Meyers said. And as with Comey, firing McCabe may backfire. "Trump is such an idiot — he keeps firing dudes who take meticulous notes," he said. "We don't know what's in those memos, nor do we know what Robert Mueller knows, but what we do know is that Trump's public behavior is very much the behavior of a guilty man."

Firing McCabe 26 hours before he can collect his pension — and his 50th birthday — seems "extra vindictive" on Trump's part, Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show. There's lots we don't know, but Trump's behavior is definitely "suspicious," and it points toward firing Mueller. "He's definitely considering it," Noah said. "You know how they say men think about sex every 8 seconds? That's what Trump does with firing people. ... So Robert Mueller, I don't know when your next birthday is, but something tells me the president may be planning a surprise." Peter Weber

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