×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
September 21, 2018
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sources told The New York Times on Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed in meetings the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unfit to serve and remove him from office, and that he proposed wearing a wire to secretly record Trump. But how the conversation really played out is unclear.

These conversations were reportedly documented in memos written by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and other sources told the Times that Rosenstein followed up on the suggestions later. The Washington Post reports that McCabe's memos detailed conversations about a wire and the 25th Amendment that both occurred at the same meeting, shortly after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. But one person who was at the meeting told the Post that the 25th Amendment was not discussed, in addition to confirming that Rosenstein mentioned wearing a wire "sarcastically." The source says a wire was only brought up because of McCabe's needling for further investigation into Trump, not because of Rosenstein's interest in actually doing so. It was "a sarcastic comment along the lines of, 'What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?'" per the Post.

Another source told the Post that McCabe had previously claimed in private that Rosenstein suggested invoking the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein has denied the Times report, calling it "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

McCabe's attorney told ABC News in a statement that the former acting FBI director "drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials ... When he was interviewed by the special counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos — classified and unclassified — to the special counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos." Summer Meza

10:01 a.m. ET
Screenshot/Mediaite/Fox News

President Trump's recent interview with 60 Minutes could not have gone over better with his favorite morning show hosts.

Fox & Friends on Monday heaped praise on the president for his Sunday interview with 60 Minutes, Mediaite reports, and they particularly loved one moment that drew some criticism from other pundits. During a somewhat heated exchange with Lesley Stahl, Trump declared to the 60 Minutes anchor, "I'm president, and you're not."

When this clip played on Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy literally laughed out loud, while host Ainsley Earhardt said this was the "best line" because Trump was "reminding her who's boss." Brian Kilmeade also joined his co-hosts in laughing at the zinger. The hosts were positively Trump-like in raving about the president's overall performance, with Earhardt noting that "many people" are saying Trump answered "everything correctly" and with Kilmeade arguing the president has "never been more confident."

They also criticized journalist Lesley Stahl, saying she interrupted Trump "a good bit" and asked unfair questions about global warming, which Trump claimed wasn't manmade. But if anything, the Fox & Friends hosts felt this only made the president look better, with Kilmeade excitedly declaring that Trump's attitude in these interviews is, "bring it on." Brendan Morrow

9:49 a.m. ET
Hamptons International Film Festival

Actor Alec Baldwin called on voters to "overthrow" the government Sunday night, but he's not ready to haul out the guillotines.

"The way we implement change in America is through elections. We change governments here at home in an orderly and formal way," Baldwin said at a fundraising dinner in New Hampshire for the state's Democratic Party. "In that orderly and formal way and lawful way, we need to overthrow the government of the United States under Donald Trump." Baldwin may have been using "government" in the parliamentary sense, which is similar to how Americans commonly use "administration."

To support his case, Baldwin highlighted issues including gender equality, gun policy, criminal justice reform, and immigration. "There is a small cadre of people currently in power," he said, "who are hell-bent on continuing a malicious immigration policy that has set this country up for human rights violations charges by the global community."

The day before these comments, Baldwin reprised his role as President Trump on Saturday Night Live. Bonnie Kristian

9:25 a.m. ET

After speaking with Saudi King Salman about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump wants a second opinion.

Trump announced Monday on Twitter that he will be "immediately" sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the Saudi monarch. The president also noted King Salman "denies any knowledge of what may have happened" to Khashoggi, who disappeared after going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document he needed to get married. Turkey says it has evidence that Saudi agents killed Khashoggi, The Washington Post reports.

Trump has threatened to inflict "severe punishment" on Saudi Arabia if it is proven to be responsible, and on Sunday, Saudi Arabia threatened retaliation if the U.S. follows through on any sanctions, per The Associated Press.

Trump in his tweet specifically references the fact that Jamal Khashoggi is not an American citizen, going out of his way to quote Salman as saying Khashoggi was "our Saudi Arabian citizen." This is something Trump has previously pointed out several times, although he told Fox & Friends last week that the fact that Khashoggi isn't an American citizen "in this case doesn't matter" and that "I don't like it." Brendan Morrow

8:33 a.m. ET

The #MeToo movement has forced many on the left to reassess their feelings about the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal. But Hillary Clinton isn't budging.

Clinton told CBS in a new interview that her husband's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the mid-1990s was not an abuse of power, pointing to the fact that Lewinsky "was an adult." At the time of the scandal, Bill Clinton was 49 years old and Lewinsky was 22.

Lewinsky said in 2014 that her relationship with Clinton was consensual, although he "took advantage of" her. However, she said in February 2018 that she's now beginning to question this, saying that with such a power imbalance between the two, "the idea of consent might well be rendered moot." She also called what President Clinton did a "gross abuse of power."

Even some Democrats — including Hillary Clinton's successor in the Senate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) — now believe that President Clinton should have stepped down, but Hillary Clinton told CBS that her husband "absolutely" should not have done so. She pointed to the fact that there was an investigation that she believes "came out in the right place." When also asked what role she played in criticizing the character of her husband's accusers, Clinton responded, "none," saying she takes "responsibility for my life and my actions." Watch a portion of Clinton's interview with CBS below. Brendan Morrow

7:49 a.m. ET
Universal Pictures via YouTube

Ryan Gosling's First Man did not quite achieve lift-off.

The Neil Armstrong biopic came in third place at the box office this weekend, with last week's releases, Venom and A Star Is Born, taking the number one and number two slots respectively, Box Office Mojo reports. It earned $16.5 million, despite projections it would break $20 million and potentially even $25 million, per Variety. But although it had this weak start, the film could still end up being a success if it holds steady over the coming weeks, a distinct possibility considering the amount of Oscar buzz it has.

It seems A Star Is Born, another critically-acclaimed movie with Oscar buzz, may have just taken the wind out of its sails, as the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga musical grossed $28 million this weekend. That's only down about 33 percent compared to its debut, and it brings the film's total gross to nearly $100 million.

The biggest success story of the month, though, is Venom, which took the number one spot once again this weekend and grossed another $35 million after having the best October opening of all time. This brings the comic book film, based on the Spider-Man source material but without Spider-Man actually being in it, up to a domestic total of $142 million and counting, a massive success for Sony and a clear indicator that their planned universe of Spider-Man films has gotten off on the right foot with audiences. Brendan Morrow

7:37 a.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took President Trump up on his offer. Trump, who regularly mocks Warren's assertion that she has Native American ancestry, said he would donate $1 million if she took a DNA test. Now she has. It found "strong evidence" she had a Native American in her family tree at least six generations ago, The Boston Globe reports. Warren provided a DNA sample to a lab in Georgia, and the results were analyzed by world-renowned Stanford DNA ancestry expert Carlos Bustamante and sent to Warren last week. "The vast majority" of her ancestry is European, Bustamante found, but the results also "strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor."

Six to 10 generations "fits Warren's family lore, passed down during her Oklahoma upbringing, that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American," the Globe reports. But it also indicates she's no more that 1/32 Native American. Warren is expected to easily win re-election to the Senate in November, but the ad about her ancestry she released on Monday suggests she's serious about a run for president.

The Boston Globe extensively researched Republican claims that Warren got any of her academic jobs because of her claim to Native ancestry, and found only evidence that she was not considered a minority hire.

That's not to say people use dubious Native American ancestry to get preferential treatment. On Sunday, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that a company owned by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) brother-in-law William Wages earned more than $7 million in federal contracts due to Wages' claim to be 1/8 Cherokee. Wages belongs to the federally unrecognized Northern Cherokee Nation, considered fraudulent interlopers by the three recognized Cherokee tribes. Neither Wages nor any of his known ancestors appear on tribal ancestry rolls dating back to the early 19th century, a Cherokee genealogist discovered, and the Times found that all of Wages' ancestors identified as white. Peter Weber

6:05 a.m. ET

On Sunday, the New York Police Department said it is looking to identify three men recorded kicking and beating a man on the street Friday night after far-right commentator Gavin McInnes and his "Western chauvinist" Proud Boys spoke at the New York Metropolitan Republican Club on Manhattan's Upper East Side. McInnes told The Wall Street Journal in an email that the Republican Club event had included him re-enacting the 1960 assassination of Japanese socialist party leader Inejiro Asanuma by a sword-wielding 17-year-old far-right nationalist. After the re-enactment, McInnes wrote, he gave a speech "making fun of" liberals and mainstream media.

McInnes acknowledged that some of his Proud Boys had been involved in the vicious attack afterward. "It was a hell of a beating but that's what you get when you antagonize a group of people and relentlessly attack them for 24 hours," McInnes told the Journal. According to a video of the attack by freelance videographer Sandi Bachom, it started after one of the protesters who'd gathered outside the Republican club swiped a Proud Boy's MAGA hat. "If the cops hadn't pulled up, they probably would have just kept going and killed them," Bachom told Newsweek.

Police arrested three protesters for theft and assault on Friday night but none of the Proud Boys. They are also looking into Republican complaints that their clubhouse was vandalized with an anarchist symbol before the event. On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called the Proud Boys "thugs."

Asanuma's murderer has been celebrated as a martyr by some right-wing groups. In 1960, the U.S., represented in Tokyo by Ambassador Douglas MacArthur, called the public assassination "deplorable." Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads