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July 13, 2018

While President Trump has had few nice things to say about anybody on his tumultuous trip through Europe, he was bubbling over with praise ahead of his meeting with 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. "If you think of it, for so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake," Trump told British tabloid The Sun. "You don't see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman."

Trump has a long history of being obsessed with the royal family, The Boston Globe reports. "Anything that says 'fancy' really appeals to him," explained Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio. "And I think a lot of the environment that the royals find themselves in would be gilded and he loves gilding, he loves anything that is just the color of gold. If he could have a crown, he would love it."

Trump revealed to The Sun that his mother, who was from Scotland, was the root of his interest in the queen: "My mother loved the queen. Any time the queen was on television, my mother wanted to watch it." But Trump's interest in the royal family doesn't end there — he also famously tried and failed to seduce Princess Diana. Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were also invited to his wedding to Melania Trump, but turned down the invitation.

"Trump is always very impressed by monarchy and dictatorships," said Rice University history professor Doug Brinkley. "He likes that idea of a permanent power and something that has glamour and celebrity wrapped around it — and nothing screams that more than the British royal family." Jeva Lange

9:33 p.m.

Michael Cohen will testify publicly before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Feb. 27, Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) announced Wednesday.

Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, was set to appear before the committee on Feb. 7, but pulled out, saying his family was being intimidated and he was worried about their safety. In a statement, Cummings said his committee will "address the president's payoffs, financial disclosures, compliance with campaign finance laws, business practices, and other matters."

Cohen, who will also testify privately in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 28, tweeted that he is "looking forward to the American people hearing my story in my voice!" After pleading guilty to violating campaign finance law, Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison, and earlier Wednesday, a federal judge granted his request to postpone the start of his sentence by 60 days. Catherine Garcia

8:19 p.m.

Federal prosecutors say that a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant arrested last week on drug and gun charges wanted to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."

Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested on Feb. 15, and investigators discovered 15 firearms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his Silver Spring, Maryland, home, court documents say. Prosecutors allege that Hasson was a "domestic terrorist," who held extremist views and described himself in a document found on his computer as a "long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military."

Prosecutors say from January 2017 to January 2019, he read "neo-fascist and neo-Nazi literature" online, and on Jan. 17, searched "what if trump illegally impeached," "best place in dc to see congress people," and "civil war if trump impeached." On that same day, he compiled a list of "political leaders, media leaders, cultural leaders, and industry leaders" he wanted to target, which included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, Ari Melber, and Chris Hayes, and CNN's Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Van Jones.

A law enforcement source told NBC News that the Coast Guard flagged Hasson because he was searching extremist websites while using his work computer. Catherine Garcia

6:52 p.m.

Actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report about an assault that took place in Chicago in January, the Cook County state's attorney's office announced Wednesday night.

Earlier in the day, Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that Smollett was being investigated for filing a false police report, which is a felony, and detectives were presenting evidence before a Cook County Grand Jury.

The Empire star said that on Jan. 29, he was attacked by two men, who put a rope around his neck and yelled racist and homophobic slurs. When police began their investigation, they said the incident could be a "possible hate crime." Two persons of interest were questioned last week and released without charges. Smollett has denied staging the attack.

This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout. Catherine Garcia

6:03 p.m.

A member of the jury from the Brooklyn-based trial of Sinaloan cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán told Vice News about their experience with the widely publicized case, detailing a daily routine that was rife with both excitement and a constant state of fear.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing," the juror, whose identity was withheld, said. "This is the case of the century. Do I want to live it … or do I want to watch it on the screen?"

The juror told Vice News that, while the 12 members were able to return to their homes every night, they had to meet at secret locations every morning and, in teams of five, hop into vans driven by U.S. Marshals to ensure their protection.

Initially, the juror said, the jury stuck to Judge Brian Cogan's orders to refrain from speaking about the case or following it on the news or social media. But curiosity eventually got the better of some members, who would whisper with each other about the next steps of the case during the ride home and follow what reporters were tweeting.

The Vice News report and the apparent violations of the judge's orders garnered a response from Guzmán's legal team, sparking speculation that they could appeal for a new trial, USA Today reported. Guzmán was found guilty last week on 10 counts that included narcotics trafficking.

"More disturbing is the revelation that the jury may have lied to the court and had seen some deeply prejudicial, uncorroborated and inadmissible allegations against Mr. Guzmán on the eve of the beginning of jury deliberations," Jeffrey Lichtman, one of Guzman's defense attorneys, wrote in an email to Law & Crime. "Above all, Joaquín Guzmán deserved a fair trial."

The juror told Vice News, however, that the conversations and media exposure did not change anyone's mind. Tim O'Donnell

4:24 p.m.

There's apparently a wide swath of cell phone users begging to be confused by a baffling array of camera lens options, and Samsung's got the market cornered.

Samsung put on a literal show on Wednesday, streaming the unveiling of its newest line of smartphones online for the world to see. The most startling new development in its line is the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that literally folds into a tablet and back again, which would allow the user to view three apps at once, which is nothing compared to the Fold's six — yes, six — built-in cameras.

It is not, apparently, the first foldable smartphone produced, but it is expected to be the first made widely available when it hits shelves on April 26, per The Verge. And while some of the features may seem gratuitous, particularly the $1,980 price tag, Bloomberg reported that the Fold represents "a leap that rivals the category shifts not seen since smartphones took off with a broad audience more than a decade ago." For prolific amateur photographers, snap-happy tourists, and angle-working selfie lovers alike, the innovation may be welcome news. Tim O'Donnell

4:01 p.m.

A woman who left America four years ago to join the Islamic State won't be allowed back into the country, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

In 2014, Hoda Muthana left her family in Alabama to marry an ISIS fighter in Syria. Now a widow living in a refugee camp, Muthana told The Guardian earlier this week she "deeply regret[s]" her decision and asked to come back and face the American justice system. But in contrast to what a lawyer for Muthana's family claimed, Pompeo said on Tuesday that Muthana is "not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States."

The Muthana family's lawyer countered Pompeo's statement, telling The Associated Press Muthana was born in New Jersey. Muthana was a student at the University of Alabama when she flew to the Middle East, telling her family she was going on a school trip, per CBS News. Instead, she married an ISIS fighter and had a son. "I know I've ruined my future and my son's future," she told The Guardian when asking for a chance to return.

Muthana is one of about 1,500 women and children staying at the refugee camp in northern Syria, and The Guardian says she's probably the only American. A British citizen and "ISIS bride" similarly tried to return home, but the U.K. revoked her citizenship on Tuesday, AP reports. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:56 p.m.

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is apparently a new correspondent for Extra, and he's making his debut by ... chatting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Bohemian Rhapsody.

That is not a Mad Libs but rather a real description of events that happened Wednesday, when Extra teased a clip from an upcoming interview with Pompeo. It's conducted by Spicer, who Extra casually dubs their "special D.C. correspondent." Spicer hit Pomepo with a hard-hitting question to start, asking what he listens to on iTunes — Pompeo named AC/DC and Toby Keith. His wife, Susan, added that he's a big fan of Queen, though, so much so that they saw Bohemian Rhapsody opening weekend.

This led to a conversation about the Oscars. President Trump may think the Academy Awards are "a sad joke," but Pompeo apparently watches them every year and will even make sure he can do so during his flight this Sunday. And what's his pick for Best Picture? While Susan mentioned that they saw A Star Is Born, the secretary of state threw his weight behind Bohemian Rhapsody, which he "loved." The Queen biopic has been criticized for a wide variety of reasons, including its minimization of Freddie Mercury's sexuality, although considering Pompeo has suggested homosexuality is a "perversion," perhaps that wasn't a concern.

Watch the clip below. Brendan Morrow

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