July 12, 2018

Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) was stunningly defeated in last month's Democratic primary in New York by progressive phenom Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. At the time, he put on a good face, even playing "Born to Run" for her after she'd sealed the spot. But things might not be so friendly beyond the Bruce Springsteen covers, and now Ocasio-Cortez is accusing Crowley of mounting a third-party challenge against her:

New York has a quirky third-party system, which can allow unsuccessful major party candidates like Crowley to be the nominee for a smaller party and therefore still appear on the general election ballot. This was most recently highlighted by Ocasio-Cortez winning a district she didn't even run in as a write-in for the Reform Party. Likewise, Crowley won the Working Families Party line in New York's 14th District, where he lost the Democratic nomination to Ocasio-Cortez.

It had been expected that Crowley would vacate the spot and support his fellow Democrat in the race:

Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families Party, said he immediately reached out to Mr. Crowley's campaign to request that he vacate the line.

To Mr. Lipton's chagrin, his campaign declined; Mr. Crowley will remain on the ballot in November. "You'd think that given the moment we're in," said Mr. Lipton, "that Democratic leaders would want to help progressive forces to unite." [The New York Times]

Crowley's campaign sidestepped a question about why they are remaining on the ballot. "Joe Crowley is a Democrat," a spokeswoman told the Times. "He's made clear he is not running for Congress and supports the Democratic nominee in NY-14."

Update 9:51: Crowley responded to Ocasio-Cortez's accusation on Twitter, writing: "Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together. I've made my support for you clear and the fact that I'm not running. We've scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through. I'd like to connect but I'm not willing to air grievances on Twitter." Jeva Lange


Turkey's evidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly involved in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last month includes a phone call from one of the 15 men who apparently murdered him in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, The New York Times reports. In the recording, Saudi security officer Maer Abdulaziz Mutreb tells a superior in Saudi Arabia to "tell your boss" that the deed was done, right after the killing. Turkish intelligence believes the person on the other end of the call, conducted in Arabic, was an aide to the crown prince.

Turkey played the recording for CIA Director Gina Haspel in Ankara last month, and on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country has shared the audio with not just the U.S. but also Saudi Arabia and other Western allies. However, Turkish officials say no other government has copies of the recordings, just transcripts.

Bin Salman's name is not mentioned in the audio, and Saudi officials deny he had "any knowledge whatsoever" of Khashoggi's killing and said there were no instructions to "tell your boss" in the parts of the recordings Turkey played for them. But "even without definitive proof, intelligence agencies had already concluded that only Prince Mohammed could have ordered the operation to kill Mr. Khashoggi, given the personal character of his governance and the depth of his control over the kingdom," the Times notes.

"A phone call like that is about as close to a smoking gun as you are going to get," former CIA officer Bruce Riedel tells the Times. "It is pretty incriminating evidence." Without irrefutable evidence, President Trump is unlikely to cut ties with bin Salman, the Times reports, "but the shift in power in Congress, where Democrats take control of the House in January, is also increasing pressure on the administration to take more punitive action." Read more at The New York Times. Peter Weber


Persistence paid off for Benjamin Sinclair.

The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, resident has played the same lottery numbers for 27 years. He told Inside Edition he only buys a ticket when "the jackpot gets above a certain amount," and he purchased a Powerball ticket for the Oct. 27 drawing. When he checked the numbers, Sinclair couldn't believe it when he realized the numbers he had been playing for nearly three decades were a match for the night's drawing.

"I had to look at the numbers several times to make sure," he said. "It feels great to win." Because Sinclair did not have the winning Powerball number, his prize was $1 million. He chose to take the lump sum option, and walked away with a cool $705,0111. Catherine Garcia


In her victory speech Monday night, the winner of the Arizona Senate race, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, urged her supporters to show empathy and "embrace difference while seeking common ground."

Sinema defeated Republican Martha McSally, the win announced nearly a week after Election Day because it took that long to count enough ballots to determine the victor. Not all votes have been recorded, and Sinema said the U.S. is at "its best when everyone is engaged and everyone's voice is heard. That work isn't over, and we will continue to make sure every vote is counted."

A moderate, Sinema said that while campaigning, she met people who are "sick and tired of the dysfunction in Washington" and "want leaders who put aside party labels and focus on just getting things done." She said that's what she will do as senator, praising the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as "a legend" who didn't play political games. 

"His example shines a light on the way forward," Sinema said. "Sen. John McCain stood for everything we stand for as Arizonans: Fighting for what you believe in, standing up for what's right even if you stand alone, and serving a cause greater than one's self." McCain is "irreplaceable," but that doesn't mean he won't "guide our next steps forward. He taught us to always assume the best in others, to seek compromise instead of sowing division, and to always put country ahead of party. It's up to us to carry on Sen. McCain's legacy." Catherine Garcia


"This last week has not been a good one for the president," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show, comparing President Trump's two years in office to "airplane WiFi — there are moments when it seems to be working but most of the time it's complete trash." Trump's bad week began on Wednesday, when he replaced "his house elf" Jeff Sessions with an acting attorney general so unqualified Trump blatantly lied about not knowing him. "You know, sometimes Trump lies so hard he gives my brain whiplash," Noah said. "He's like Newton's third law: For every Trump there is an equal and opposite Trump."

Trump also got blowback for lying about the cause of California's wildfires. "But he had a chance to put all of this behind him in France, where the president traveled to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I," Noah said. "All he had to do was show up for a ceremony at an American cemetery to honor the World War I troops. Super easy — but apparently, not easy enough." He canceled, citing the rain. "So the president's helicopter can't fly in the rain?" Noah asked. "What, does the helicopter have to keep its hair dry, too?"

"Well, you can't blame him — he's only got one umbrella, and he couldn't figure out how to bring it on the plane," Stephen Colbert joked at The Late Show. "Trump did attend the ceremonies yesterday, but the other leaders said mean things," like French President Emmanuel Macron, who criticized nationalism as a betrayal of patriotism. "I just want to point out that a man gave a speech about the importance of moral values, and everyone assumes he was insulting our president," Colbert said.

Colbert also savaged Trump for his "blame the victim" response to the California fires. This includes a terrible Axl Rose impersonation. Watch below. Peter Weber

November 12, 2018

Amazon has decided to divide its new headquarters between New York City and Northern Virginia, a person with knowledge of the plan told Politico on Monday night.

The headquarters will be split between Long Island City in the New York borough of Queens and Crystal City, with about 25,000 employees at each site.

Wanting a second headquarters equal to the one in Seattle, Amazon first started looking for a site in September 2017. Cities across the United States tried to lure Amazon by offering tax breaks and other incentives, and last week, The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon was going to actually open two new headquarters instead of one. The official announcement could be made as early as Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

November 12, 2018

Over the weekend, President Trump told advisers he wants Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out as soon as possible, five current and former White House officials told The Washington Post on Monday.

He has complained about her for months and does not think she is doing a good enough job securing the borders, the officials said. Trump and Nielsen were supposed to visit troops stationed at the border in South Texas this week, but Trump canceled the trip.

People close to Nielsen said Trump gets frustrated when she tries to tell him about immigration laws and regulations, and he has berated her during Cabinet meetings. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who preceded Nielsen as DHS secretary, is Nielsen's biggest defender in the administration, and he's reportedly trying to either avert her dismissal or postpone it. Officials told the Post that Kelly's word doesn't mean much, because his future at the White House is also uncertain.

Trump has told White House aides that potential replacements for Nielsen include Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or David Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, the Post reports. Catherine Garcia

November 12, 2018

At least 42 people have been killed by the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, making it the deadliest fire in state history.

The previous deadliest blaze was the 1933 Griffith Park Fire, which killed 29 people in Los Angeles. The Camp Fire has burned 117,000 acres, destroyed more than 7,100 homes and businesses, and is just 30 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Monday. Most of the deaths were in the town of Paradise, which was almost entirely wiped out by the fire.

In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire has burned 91,572 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, destroying 370 structures and killing two people. It is only 20 percent contained. Two new fires broke out nearby on Monday, but firefighters were able to quickly get them under control, thanks to ground and air support. Winds are fanning the flames in both Northern and Southern California, and forecasters say it is not expected to rain before Thanksgiving. Catherine Garcia

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