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June 14, 2018

In May, The New York Times reported that a television agent was shopping around a Crossfire-type show starring Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing porn star Stormy Daniels, and short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. They tried out the concept on Wednesday's Late Show. Stephen Colbert started off the interview by asking, "What is this?" It never quite became clear, but you got a taste of what could be: Avenatti with the punchy answers, Scaramucci filibustering.

Colbert asked about reports that Michael Cohen, President Trump's lawyer and fixer, might flip. "There's no question in my mind," Avenatti said. "I think that Michael Cohen is in a very, very bad spot, and I think that the president is in a very, very bad spot, because this is what happens when you trust your innermost secrets to a moron." Scaramucci said it was more complicated and depends on the indictment. "When my producer asked you about Michael Cohen, whether he was going to flip, you actually called Michael Cohen on the phone backstage," Colbert told Scaramucci. "Did you bring your phone out with you?" "I don't have my phone, do you want to talk to Michael?" Scaramucci asked, but sadly, he wasn't serious. Colbert ordered a bottle of rosé and three glasses.

Colbert asked Avenatti and Scaramucci — both lawyers — about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and two lies the Trump team has been caught telling: about paying Stormy Daniels and about dictating the misleading letter about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian officials. "Lying is the rule rather than the exception with this administration, and when you can't keep your lies straight, this is what happens," Avenatti said. Scaramucci put it in the "historical context" of everybody lies, especially politicians, and Colbert wasn't having it: "Not about colluding with the Russian government to undermine our democracy!" They ended on the common ground of the first amendment. Watch below. Peter Weber

7:53 a.m.

Preliminary results of the European Union parliamentary elections show that nationalist parties gained significant ground in the U.K., France, Italy, and Poland. Parties like Britain's Brexit party, led by Nigel Farage, and France's National Rally party, led by far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen, took the most votes in their home countries.

However, Reuters reported, these victories in individual countries still didn't "dramatically alter the balance of pro-European power in EU assembly." Pro-Europe groups, including the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and the Greens/European Free Alliance party, held strong with 504 out of the 751 available seats in parliament. The EU's new priority will be "the search for a majority," as no single party took enough seats to hold a simple majority.

Europeans managed to sharply buck the norm of low voter turnout at EU parliament elections. This time, 51 percent of eligible voters cast their vote, the highest turnout in 20 years. Back in 2014, that figure was only 43 percent. But renewed nationalist sentiment, along with its opposition, seems to have invigorated European voters enough to reverse the trend of "falling participation since the first direct EU vote in 1979."

Read more at Reuters. Shivani Ishwar

May 26, 2019

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, gave a lengthy interview for ABC's This Week which aired on Sunday. While Buttigieg is usually known for his measured opinions, the 37-year-old mayor was a little more fiery during his conversation with Martha Raddatz. Here are three standout moments.

On the military — Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, was highly critical of President Trump's ideas about the military. First, he doubled down on his comments that Trump faked his bone spurs to avoid serving in Vietnam, calling it "an assault on the honor of this country." He later added that Trump's potential pardoning of soldiers accused of war crimes "undermines the foundations of this country."

North Korea negotiations aren't working — While Buttigieg is a fan of diplomacy, he doesn't fully agree with Trump's tactics regarding North Korea. In fact, he thinks the main thing Trump accomplished was legitimizing a rogue state.

His experience comes from his office, not his age — Buttigieg often gets questioned about his youth and lack of experience in Washington. But he argues that his job as mayor might prepare him even more for the presidency than serving in Congress would. "You can be a very senior member of Congress and have never in your life managed more than 100 people," he said. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Bart Starr, a Hall of Fame quarterback known for guiding the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls ever in 1967 and 1968, died on Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama. Starr had battled numerous health issues in recent years, including two strokes, a heart attack, and several seizures. He was 85.

Starr and the Packers won three other NFL championships before the Super Bowl began, giving him five titles in a decade — a feat not even Tom Brady can claim. Starr also won the league's Most Valuable Player award in 1966.

In a team press release, the Packers described Starr as "maybe the most popular player" in franchise history. He is also known for his game-winning quarterback sneak to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1967 NFL championship, a memorable game dubbed the "Ice Bowl" due to the frigid winter temperatures in Green Bay.

"While he may always be best known for his success as the Packers quarterback for 16 years, his true legacy will always be the respectful manner in which he treated every person he met, his humble demeanor, and his generous spirit," his family said in a statement. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Sumo wrestling and trade negotiations make for an unlikely combination. But Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping the two mesh well.

During his visit to Japan on Sunday, President Trump presented a special "President's Cup" trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling tournament, one of Japan's most significant cultural institutions. The winner, Asanoyama, became the first recipient of a winner's trophy awarded by a United States president.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump sat in ringside armchairs during the bouts, The Guardian reports, as opposed to the traditional form of viewership — sitting cross-legged on thin cushions.

The gesture, orchestrated by Abe, is widely viewed as a diplomatic attempt to flatter Trump as the two countries gear up for trade negotiations, which Trump tweeted would likely develop more fully after Japan's elections in July.

In the short term, at least, it appears Abe made the right call — Trump seems to have enjoyed the moment. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Felix Klein, Germany's anti-Semitism commissioner, on Saturday warned the country's Jewish population about the potential dangers of donning the kippa, a traditional Jewish skullcap, in public.

Klein said his position on the matter has changed over time, citing a rise in anti-Semitic activity in Germany, mostly on the far right of the political spectrum, including from leaders of the Alternative for Germany Party who have openly questioned Germany's policy of atonement for the Holocaust and other World War II atrocities, France 24 reports. "The internet and social media have largely contributed to this," he said in an interview published by the Funke regional press group. "But so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance."

Official figures show there were 1,646 hate crimes committed against Jews in Germany in 2018, a sharp increase from the year prior. Klein also suggested police, teachers, and lawyers should receive better training to recognize anti-Semitic behavior.

Recently, Berlin's top legal expert on anti-Semitism, Claudia Vanoni, told Agence France-Presse that while the issue has always been "deeply rooted" in German society, "it has become louder, more aggressive, and flagrant." Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

President Trump's appeal against an order from a federal judge which allowed for Deutsche Bank and Capital One to hand over financial records to Democratic lawmakers was successful in delaying the process, a Southern District of New York court filing revealed on Saturday.

Until a final decision is reached on the appeal, the two banks will not have to immediately comply with the subpoenas, which call for financial records of Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization. The delay is the result of what Reuters calls a "rare accord" between Trump's attorneys, the banks, and the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees.

Trump's legal team has argued the subpoenas exceed the authority of Congress, but U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos found they do, in fact, fall under Congress' authority to conduct investigations to further legislation, Reuters reports. Tim O'Donnell

May 26, 2019

Norway's foreign ministry confirmed on Saturday that delegates from both Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government and the country's opposition led by Juan Guaidó will meet in Oslo next week to negotiate an end to Venezuela's political crisis.

Both sides met separately with Norwegian mediators last week for preliminary talks. Guaidó has been hesitant about sending representatives to meet with the government, arguing Maduro has used negotiations as nothing more than a stalling tactic in the past. But as the opposition continues to lose momentum, he confirmed he would support the Oslo talks during a rally on Saturday, though he insisted his side would maintain that a transfer of power is necessary. The U.S. State Department shares that sentiment. "As we have stated repeatedly, we believe the only thing to negotiate with Nicolás Maduro is the conditions of his departure," department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.

Maduro has also publicly endorsed the Norway talks, but has shown no indication he would step down.

Norway has a history of successfully mediating foreign internal conflicts, including situations in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Tim O'Donnell

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