White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has severely mishandled the allegations of domestic abuse against former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, numerous White House aides and advisers told The Washington Post, so much so that one said it "amounts to dereliction of duty."
Last week, Porter's two ex-wives came forward and said Porter had physically and verbally abused them during their marriages. Kelly first defended Porter, and the White House eventually landed on a timeline that had Porter's background investigation ongoing through his departure. In front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray contradicted this version of events, saying the White House received a partial background report on Porter last March, with the full report sent in July.
Several people told the Post that in the wake of the Porter fiasco, President Trump has been asking about possible replacements for Kelly, and many senior staffers say they believe that Kelly told them to offer a misleading timeline about the Porter accusations. He's a "big fat liar," one staffer said of the retired four-star Marine Corps general. "To put it in terms the general would understand, his handling of the Porter scandal amounts to dereliction of duty."
Kelly does not believe he should be blamed for the fallout, one confidant told the Post, and he thinks the White House communications office should take some responsibility. He also gets defensive when discussing the matter and complains that the media is making a bigger deal out of the allegations than is necessary, several people told the Post. When asked by the Post if Kelly could have been more transparent or truthful, one staffer responded: "In this White House, it's simply not in our DNA. Truthful and transparent is great, but we don't even have a coherent strategy to obfuscate." Read more about the debacle at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia
The Endeavor talent firm is in discussions to return a $400 million investment from the Saudi Arabian government's Public Investment Fund, two people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News on Monday.
The move comes after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkey has told U.S. officials it has audio proof that he was murdered inside the consulate.
The Public Investment Fund agreed in March to buy a small stake in Endeavor. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said on Monday the disappearance of Khashoggi was "upsetting" and he was "really concerned." If Endeavor does cut ties with Saudi Arabia, it would be one of the most visible moves by an American company to distance itself from the kingdom in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. Catherine Garcia
Paul Allen, the philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, died Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 65.
In a statement, his sister, Jody, said Allen was "a remarkable individual on every level." Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Allen "created magical products, experiences, and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world." He founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates, and after leaving the company, founded Vulcan, Inc, which oversaw his philanthropic and business endeavors.
One of the world's wealthiest people, Allen's net worth was estimated at more than $20 billion. He owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, plus had a stake in the Seattle Sounders soccer team. Allen was diagnosed nine years ago with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and announced earlier this month he had started treatment for it again. Catherine Garcia
President Trump once said he'd pay $1 million to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) charity of choice if she proved she was "an Indian." In true Trumpian fashion, he's now negotiating the deal.
Trump has continually derided Warren for her assertion of Native American ancestry, suggesting it's untrue and dubbing her "Pocahontas" during rallies. So on Monday, Warren released a video challenging Trump's mockery and sharing DNA analysis that provided "strong evidence" that she has some Native American ancestry. Upon hearing the news, Trump declared that he never made a $1 million pledge, CNN reports.
Later in the day, Trump was more willing to play ball. He said Warren would have to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination to receive the cash. Warren hasn't said she's running for president, but pundits say she's a top contender. Trump also, somewhat disturbingly, said he would have to "test [Warren] personally" to seal the deal.
Pres. Trump says he will only pay the $1 million over Elizabeth Warren DNA test "if I can test her personally. Okay? That will not be something I enjoy doing, either." pic.twitter.com/Nr9ZEPPdpH
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) October 15, 2018
Trump isn't the only one who took issue with Warren's test results. The Cherokee Nation released a response to Warren's video on Monday, saying "using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong." Read the whole statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk
Inbox: Cherokee Nation responds to Senator Warren’s DNA test. pic.twitter.com/Sh8aNZgyAT
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) October 15, 2018
The Saudi government is planning to release a detailed report on missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources told CNN on Monday.
Saudi officials are reportedly planning to admit that Khashoggi was killed, after previously claiming they had no knowledge about the incident. Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month before he went missing. The Saudi government will reportedly say that Khashoggi died during an interrogation gone wrong and that there was an unauthorized operation conducted to abduct him from Turkey. Those involved in the operation will face repercussions, the report will likely say.
Information about the new report comes after President Trump said Saudi King Salman "strongly" denied having any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi during a private phone call. Trump seemed inclined to believe this, speculating that the reporter could have been killed by "rogue agents." Turkey previously told the United States it had evidence that a Saudi security team killed Khashoggi at the consulate and dismembered his body.
The Saudi report has not yet been released, and CNN's sources indicate that some details could still change. Brendan Morrow
Stormy Daniels never wanted to become a feminist "hero," and that didn't change when she entered the national spotlight.
When Daniels confirmed the leaked story of her alleged affair with President Trump, she only "wanted to set the record straight and not be bullied," she told The Cut in an interview published Sunday. But now, Daniels, an adult film actress and director, says people think she's "in charge of saving the world," and it's become an "emotionally overwhelming" duty.
Before Daniels' revelation, she'd pack clubs with "middle-aged white guys [who] are usually Trump fans," she said. Today, they've been replaced with "large groups of women" who turn out in droves, often in matching T-shirts.
— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) October 15, 2018
Still, Daniels doesn't see herself as "anybody's hero," The Cut writes. She doesn't want to be attached to the "#MeToo" movement, since she wasn't "forced" to do anything. Tying her to the movement just "takes power away from the people who've been assaulted or raped or [sexually] harassed by their boss," she explains. And she says she's "not a feminist," because she doesn't "necessarily try to help women."
In fact, Daniels actually "feel[s] sorry for men right now," she says, adding that "a guy can't even open a door for a lady without being called a pig." For those who don't like that, well, Daniels says she looks forward to their angry tweets — Twitter has been too "nice" lately. Read more of Daniels' interview at The Cut. Kathryn Krawczyk
Surging GOP Senate candidate hits Bob Menendez with unproven prostitution allegations in incredibly misleading ad
New Jersey Senate candidate Bob Hugin is bringing out the big, unsubstantiated guns in his narrowing race against Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.
In a dramatic ad released Monday, the GOP challenger singled out Menendez's call to "believe women" when they come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. "What about the underage girls who accused you, according to the FBI?" the ad menacingly shoots back. What follows is a dive into one aspect of the FBI investigation into Menendez's corruption charges, which were ultimately dropped earlier this year.
The ad cites an FBI affidavit that says "for several years, Senator Menendez had been traveling to the Dominican Republican to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes, some of whom were minors." The affidavit quotes an email from an anonymous tipster, but doesn't provide substantiated evidence, as Hugin's ad implies. The FBI investigated those claims, but they were "never corroborated," reports Politico. Menendez has likewise denied the allegations.
Bob Menendez is a hypocrite. Last week, he called for all women to be believed. But he claims that no one should believe the underage women who accused him. The public has a right to know all the facts about the FBI investigation of @SenatorMenendez and decide for themselves. pic.twitter.com/ZFpDAsKOdy
— Bob Hugin (@BobHugin) October 15, 2018
Still, these allegations are treated as fact on a website run by the Hugin campaign. That is, until you scroll to the bottom of the site, where the Hugin campaign answers one big question: "Are you accusing Senator Menendez of having sex with underage girls?" "No," the campaign responded. "We are asking why Senator Menendez says all victims should be believed, but not his alleged victims?" One of the alleged victims, in this case, later said she was paid to lie about having sex with Menendez.
Director Bryan Singer appears to be worried that an upcoming exposé could destroy his career.
Singer said on Instagram Monday that Esquire is preparing to publish a "negative" article about him that will "attempt to rehash false accusations and bogus lawsuits." Last December, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman brought a lawsuit against the X-Men director, claiming Singer raped him when he was 17. Previously, a civil suit was brought against Singer in 2014 accusing him of raping an underage boy, Michael Egan, in 1999. That suit was later withdrawn. Also in 2014, Singer was accused of sexually assaulting an anonymous man when he was 16. This case was later dropped. Additionally, in 1997, the parents of a 14-year-old boy alleged in a lawsuit that Singer filmed their son naked for a shower scene without permission. This suit was dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Singer has denied all allegations against him.
Singer said in his Instagram post that Esquire is "attempting to tarnish a career I've spent 25 years to build," also saying that in "today's climate," careers "are being harmed by mere accusations." The director knows about the article, he says, because his friends and colleagues have been contacted about it. He also says the article will quote sources who have "intimate" knowledge of his personal life.
Even as the #MeToo movement has swept through Hollywood over the last year, Singer has not been brought down like other men accused of misconduct. He's the credited director of the new Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, although 20th Century Fox fired him from the project and had Dexter Fletcher complete the film; this was reportedly due to unprofessional behavior, including frequently being missing from the set, per Variety. Singer was also just hired to direct a new comic book movie last month, per The Hollywood Reporter. Brendan Morrow