January 14, 2018

Saturday Night Live opened on the set of MSNBC's Morning Joe this week, with Mika Brzezinski (Kate McKinnon) and Joe Scarborough (Alex Moffat) talking about President Trump and Michael Wolff's controversial new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. SNL alum Fred Armisen appeared as Wolff, joined by ousted White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, revealed under his Grim Reaper hood to be played by Bill Murray.

The real life Bannon's quotes in Fire and Fury led to a statement from Trump declaring his former ally has "lost his mind," but Murray's Bannon is pretty optimistic about "the Bannon dynasty," and also his forthcoming line of "wrinkled barn jackets called, 'Frumpers, for guys.'"

Watch the full sketch — including an appearance by Leslie Jones' Oprah and plenty of swipes at the Morning Joe hosts — below. Bonnie Kristian

10:54 a.m. ET
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Two journalists and a comedian walk into a TV studio. Somehow, none of them say, "Maybe this is a bad idea."

Page Six reported late Wednesday that disgraced CBS News anchor Charlie Rose is in talks to host a show where he interviews men who have similarly been confronted by credible accusations of sexual harassment, including former Today host Matt Lauer and comedian Louis C.K. Rose was suspended by CBS last November after eight women spoke to The Washington Post accusing him of sexual harassment in the workplace, including walking around nude and making inappropriate comments.

Tina Brown, journalist and former editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, revealed Tuesday at a women's event in New York City that Rose is in talks to headline a "#MeToo atonement series," Page Six reports, which would feature Rose sitting down with "others embroiled in sexual harassment scandals." Brown said she was approached to co-host the show with Rose, per Page Six, but turned the offer down.

Vanity Fair notes that the whispers of comeback tours for men hit with #MeToo allegations have been steadily amplifying in recent weeks, with rumors about a return for Louis C.K. — one of the few men to outright acknowledge that specific allegations made against him were true — specifically swirling of late. Read more about the rumored show at Page Six. Kimberly Alters

10:21 a.m. ET

President Trump started his Thursday morning with a wide-ranging phone interview on Fox & Friends, in which he returned to old favorite talking points and revealed new tidbits of information. Here are the highlights. Summer Meza

On first lady Melania Trump: Trump began his meandering monologue by telling the show hosts that he was joining them in honor of Melania's birthday. So what did he buy his wife for her 48th birthday? "Maybe I didn't get her so much. I got her a beautiful card. You know, I'm very busy."

On attorney Michael Cohen: The president distanced himself from his longtime attorney by characterizing Cohen's legal practice as second to his business interests. "I don't know his business," said Trump. "This doesn't have to do with me." Even though Cohen apparently only handles "a tiny, tiny little fraction" of Trump's legal work, Trump admitted that "he represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal."

On former FBI Director James Comey: Trump denied telling Comey that he didn't stay overnight during a trip to Moscow in 2013. Comey has said Trump claimed he didn't stay the night in Russia as part of his explanation as to why an unverified intelligence dossier that alleges Trump spent the night with prostitutes is false. "He said I didn't stay there the night — of course I stayed there," said Trump. "I never said I left immediately."

On White House physician Ronny Jackson: Trump energetically defended Jackson, who on Thursday dropped out of consideration to run the Department of Veterans Affairs following days of allegations of workplace misconduct. Jackson has an "unblemished" record, Trump said, and was up against "obstructionist" Democrats who wanted to block his nomination for no reason.

On pop culture: Trump praised rapper Kanye West for supporting him on Twitter, saying that West likely appreciated that black unemployment is at its "lowest" in history. The president also complimented Canadian singer Shania Twain, who came under fire for saying she would have voted for Trump. Twain is "terrific," Trump said, but she shouldn't have apologized for her comments.

10:20 a.m. ET

At 95 years old, Canada's oldest blood donor is happy to keep on giving. Beatrice "Granny Bea" Janyk has been donating blood ever since her husband nearly died from a sawmill accident in the 1940s. She's given blood more than 200 times to no fanfare, but last week Canadian blood services honored her with a special ceremony and pin. "Knowing that I can save someone's life, that's so important," says the great-grandmother, who takes no medications so her O-positive blood can be used for children and infant transfusions.

Janyk's message to anyone who's afraid of giving blood is simple: "No pain, 20 minutes, then you'll gain." Christina Colizza

10:11 a.m. ET

You know how when you're really worked up, you call a best friend? You know, someone you can rant to, who really supports you, and who you know won't really hold your most aggravated thoughts against you?

President Trump did that Thursday morning with a quick call to the gang of Fox & Friends.

In a freewheeling interview with hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade, the president addressed several ongoing stories, including former FBI Director James Comey's book tour and the allegations in his memoir, A Higher Loyalty; the failed nomination of his preferred Veterans Affairs secretary, Ronny Jackson; and his apparently renewed kinship with Kanye West. He also revisited one of his pet topics, the "fake news media."

"People have to understand," Trump began, "how dishonest the news is." He was careful to note that his host network, Fox News, treats him "fairly" even if they're not "perfect for me." When Trump launched into an attack of CNN, Kilmeade gently suggested that perhaps Trump watch less of the network. "I'm not your doctor, Mr. President, but I would recommend you watch less of them," Kilmeade said, which prompted Trump to declare, "I don't watch them at all." He then immediately pivoted to a discussion of a CNN town hall with "Leakin' Lyin' Comey" that aired Wednesday night, which he admitted he watched but "hated to do it."

Doocy and Earhardt tried their hands at getting the president to move to a new topic, which they eventually succeeded in — but not before Trump got in a shot at NBC News, too. Watch below. Kimberly Alters

9:20 a.m. ET

Tens of thousands of schoolteachers are walking off the job in Arizona on Thursday, in the state's first statewide teachers' strike. Teachers in four Colorado school districts, including two of the state's largest, are also walking out today, a day before a statewide demonstration on Friday.

In both states, the teachers are seeking higher pay — the average annual salary for teachers in Arizona is $47,403 and in Colorado, $51,808, versus a national average of $59,660 — and increased funding for schools, after years of cuts and shortfalls. In Colorado, lawmakers are also considering changes to the state's public pension system that would reduce take-home pay for teachers.

In Arizona, where teachers overwhelmingly approved the strike, there is no set end to the walkout. Many of Arizona's school districts, including its largest, will be closed at least Thursday and Friday, and churches and community groups are working to provide inexpensive or free emergency day care for parents. All four Colorado districts closed today are expected to be open Friday, while the state's largest district, in Denver, will be closed Friday. Teachers have already gone on strike in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky this spring. Peter Weber

8:09 a.m. ET
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Embattled White House physician Ronny Jackson said Thursday that he is "regretfully withdrawing" his name to be veterans affairs secretary, saying that while he had expected tough questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs, "I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity." He called the allegations against him "completely false and fabricated." The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee had indefinitely suspended confirmation hearings this week as lawmakers received allegations from current and former colleagues that Jackson had crashed a government vehicle while drunk, drank on the job, and handed out prescription drugs "like candy." Peter Weber

7:17 a.m. ET

The Senate has scheduled a final confirmation vote for CIA Director Mike Pompeo early Thursday afternoon, and with four Democrats and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) saying they will join all Republican in supporting Pompeo for secretary of state, his confirmation is all but assured. The Senate will then leave for a weeklong recess, and if confirmed, Pompeo will immediately fly to Brussels for a NATO summit. "The secretary-designate Mike Pompeo is prepared to travel to the meeting of foreign ministers to reaffirm our commitment to NATO and coordinate the alliance's response to Russian aggression," a senior administration official told Axios.

Pompeo was narrowly endorsed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, avoiding an embarassing negative recommendation only after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) flipped to back him, and on Wednesday's Full Frontal, Samantha Bee dug a bit into Pompeo's history and past statements on gay rights and Islam, providing some examples of why the CIA director has so little Democratic support to be America's face to the world.

The hawkish former Kansas congressman "is about to be our nation's top diplomat, and he's already given up on diplomacy," Bee said. "Ellen Pompeo is a national treasure, and Mike Pompeo is a racist, war-mongering homophobe. And it looks like the only thing preventing him from being our new secretary of state is the common decency of the Senate — so, basically, nothing is standing in his way." The clip is mostly safe-for-work, and you can watch below. Peter Weber

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