September 16, 2019

"Immigration is the subject that [President] Trump campaigned on the hardest, and as president, his tone hasn't exactly softened," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. But Trump "and his political allies will tell you they love" legal immigration, and that's a large category, he said. About 13 percent of the people in the U.S. are immigrants, and 77 percent of those are here legally.

"So tonight let's talk about our legal immigration system, because there are a lot of misconceptions about a process that, to be fair, most Americans have never experienced," Oliver said. "And a key misconception is captured in a phrase you hear all the time, both from politicians and from ordinary voters": Get in line. "The truth is, for those who want to come here, there is no one 'line' to get in, the lines that do exist can be prohibitively long or have sudden dead ends, and for many people — and this is really important — there simply isn't a line at all."

There are essentially four paths to a green card or U.S. citizenship now, Oliver explained: Family, employment, good luck — you won the visa lottery — or bad luck, meaning you're a refugee or seeking asylum. He ran through all of them and described the extremely complicated, stressful, and expensive path he took to permanent resident status. First lady Melania Trump's parents had it considerably easier, he added, with a disturbing side note about the president's mother-in-law.

"The point here," Oliver said, is that "for all of their talk about how fine they are with legal immigration, this administration has worked hard to reduce it as much as possible across the board," including slashing refugee numbers and tweaking the system to gum it up or put other bricks in Trump's "invisible wall." "If you are going to say 'Get in line' to people, you should at least make sure they actually have a line to stand in," he added. Because "for many people there is literally no way to come in 'the right way.'" Parts of the video are NSFW. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:03 p.m.

Maybe there's a reason Mick Mulvaney's gig never went full time.

The acting White House chief of staff admitted on Thursday the Trump administration had engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine, withholding aid from the country until its role in the 2016 DNC email hack was further investigated. But the rest of the Trump administration isn't being so forthcoming, with Justice Department officials brushing off possible roles in the exchange entirely.

"If the White House was withholding aid in regards to the cooperation of any investigation at the Department of Justice, that is news to us," a senior DOJ official said in a statement to reporters Thursday. This comes after another DOJ official told reporters they "have no idea what [Mulvaney] is talking about."

But over on President Trump's personal legal team, things aren't going so well. "I think people are a bit stunned," one person familiar with the team's thinking told CNN. Another source called Mulvaney's briefing "not helpful," per CNN. Trump's top attorney Jay Sekolow, meanwhile, briefly said "the legal team was not involved in the acting chief of staff's press briefing."

Mulvaney's shocking comments were briefly characterized as taking the impeachment inquiry "from very, very bad to much, much worse," House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Thursday. After all, "no quid pro quo" has been Trump's simple defense from the day his call with Ukraine's president was first made public. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:17 p.m.

It's not Facebook's job to keep false information off your timeline.

At least that's the perspective of Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, which he shared with shared with The Washington Post ahead of a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday. While Zuckerberg says he's worried about "the erosion of truth" in society, he's just not ready to root out falsehoods on his platform altogether.

Zuckerberg and Facebook have been criticized for letting false news stories and even claims from politicians stand on the site. That issue was even the focus of an experimental ad from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in which she claimed Zuckerberg endorsed President Trump for re-election just to see if the site would take it down. Facebook didn't, and on Thursday, Zuckerberg gave a reason why. "I don't think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100 percent true," he said, adding that he fears "potentially cracking down too much" on free expression even if it can lead to confusion.

Still, Zuckerberg acknowledged that the power Facebook has on political systems is very much on his mind. He even considered banning political ads on Facebook altogether, he said Thursday at Georgetown. But that would result in a site that "favors incumbents and whoever the media covers," Zuckerberg added. Read more of Zuckerberg's political thoughts at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:14 p.m.

President Trump just created an "enormous headache" for himself with his plan to hold the 2020 Group of Seven summit at his Florida resort, according to Fox News' Andrew Napolitano.

The network's legal analyst reacted Thursday after the White House announced the 2020 meeting of world leaders would be held at the president's Doral golf resort, calling this a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from accepting "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

After quoting from this clause, Napolitano noted its purpose is to "keep the president of the United States of America from profiting off of foreign money," and so Trump holding the summit at his private resort is "about as direct and profound a violation of the emoluments clause as one could create."

The White House has claimed the resort was simply the best venue for the event and that Trump will not profit from it. Napolitano, however, dismissed this defense.

"The president owns shares of stock in a corporation that is one of the owners of this, along with many other investors," Napolitano said. "He also owns shares of stock in the corporation that manages it. Those corporations will receive a great deal of money from foreign heads of state because this is there. That's exactly what the emoluments clause was written to prohibit."

Fox host Neil Cavuto also sounded fairly baffled by Trump's decision, saying he'd think Trump would "bend over backwards to avoid" holding the event at a location with his name on it. "You would think so," Napolitano responded. "But you know the president. He loves a fight, and he just picked another one." Brendan Morrow

3:31 p.m.

The riddle of who will help Warner Bros. flesh out its villainous The Batman cast has just been solved.

Paul Dano has landed the role of the iconic villain the Riddler in The Batman, which stars Robert Pattinson in the title role, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Jonah Hill was reportedly being considered to play the Riddler or the Penguin in the movie, but Hill recently dropped out of talks, and Variety reports the studio "had an offer ready to go out to Dano once Hill passed on the role."

The Riddler was previously brought to life by Jim Carrey in 1995's Batman Forever, as well as by Cory Michael Smith on Fox's Gotham. Dano's casting comes just days after Zoe Kravitz also boarded the project as Catwoman, and Jeffrey Wright is reportedly set to play Commissioner Gordon.

The Batman will see Pattinson take over as the caped crusader after Ben Affleck portrayed him in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, also having a cameo in Suicide Squad. Affleck was originally set to both star in and direct The Batman, but he said earlier this year he "couldn't crack" the movie and decided it was "time to let someone else take a shot at it." He was replaced as director by War for the Planet of the Apes' Matt Reeves.

Reeves has confirmed The Batman will feature a "rogues gallery" of villains, so prepare for the bat signal to be lit up as many more members of the cast are announced in the coming months. The film hits theaters in 2021. Brendan Morrow

2:48 p.m.

The G7 at Doral might be the only thing President Trump can look forward to right now.

After announcing that the Group of Seven summit would be held at Trump's Miami resort next year, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney took Trump's impeachment inquiry to a place he certainly didn't want it to go. Mulvaney essentially admitted to a quid pro quo agreement with Ukraine over security funding, and House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) says it has made things "much, much worse" for Trump and company.

When asked why the Trump administration withheld security aid to Ukraine earlier this year, Mulvaney didn't just say it was because Trump wanted the country to probe the DNC email hack it likely had nothing to do with. And he didn't just let his comments stand when ABC News' Jon Karl said Mulvaney had just described a quid pro quo. Mulvaney suggested withholding aid was something the U.S. does "all the time with foreign policy," and that the press should "get over it."

Schiff, who is currently leading the House's impeachment investigation into Trump's urging of Ukraine to investigate his political rival, kept his response to Mulvaney's admittance simple. "Mr. Mulvaney's acknowledgment means that things have gone from very, very bad to much, much worse," Schiff said, not saying whether he'd like to bring Mulvaney in for congressional testimony and letting his comments stand from there. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:40 p.m.

President Trump plans to hold next year's Group of Seven summit at his golf resort, and former President George W. Bush's press secretary isn't happy.

Ari Fleischer, who served as Bush's press secretary from 2001 through 2003, slammed Trump Thursday after the White House announced the 2020 Group of Seven summit will be held at Trump's Doral golf resort in Miami, as The Washington Post reports.

This, Fleischer tweeted, is "one of the most foolish, unseemly things the [White House] could do."

During a press briefing Thursday, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defended the choice by saying the Trump-owned property is "the best physical facility for this meeting" and saying that Trump wouldn't profit in "any way, shape or form." But when asked if the White House would share documents showing how they arrived at this decision, he said, "absolutely not." Brendan Morrow

2:22 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in Syria.

Pence after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a press conference Turkey will "pause" its operation in Syria "in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours." Turkey's offensive, Operation Peace Spring, will be "halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal," Pence also said.

This announcement comes after Trump pulled back troops from northern Syria last week, clearing the way for Turkey's military to enter Kurdish-held zones in a decision that drew bipartisan criticism. A senior Turkish official told CNN after the announcement, "we got exactly what we wanted." Kurds worked with the U.S. in northern Syria to fight the Islamic State; Turkey considers Kurds terrorists. Kurdish troops will now have a brief period to vacate the area, where dozens of Kurds have died in recent days upon Turkey's incursion.

As part of the agreement, the United States won't impose additional sanctions on Turkey, Pence said, with Trump planning to withdraw the Turkish sanctions put into effect this week once the ceasefire is permanent.

Trump tweeted after Pence's announcement that "this deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago" and "there needed to be some 'tough' love in order to get it done." He added, "This is a great day for civilization." Brendan Morrow

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