November 3, 2018

A group of elementary school teachers in Middleton, Idaho, have found themselves in hot water after one set dressed up as President Trump's border wall and another donned cartoonishly stereotypical "Mexican" costumes, including sombreros, ponchos, and fake mustaches.

Asked about the costume in conversation with host Chris Cuomo, CNN's Don Lemon was briefly struck speechless. "I don't know what to say. It's a sign of the times," he finally answered.

Cuomo pressed Lemon to explain "why is the wall crossing a line." Watch him make his case below. Bonnie Kristian

October 18, 2018

A group called "Black Americans for the President's Agenda" says that Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) is the lawmaker who will keep America from going "back to the bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences, and lynchings when a white girl screams rape."

A radio advertisement in support of Hill has reportedly been aired in Arkansas to promote support for the congressman among black voters. In the ad, two women discuss the sexual assault allegations that confronted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh ahead of his confirmation, and warn of the dangers of abandoning the presumption of innocence, "especially for black men."

"If the Democrats can do that to a white justice of the Supreme Court with no evidence, no corroboration, and all of her witnesses including her best friend say it didn't happen, what will happen to our husbands, our fathers, or our sons when a white girl lies on them?" asks one woman.

"Girl, white Democrats will be lynching black folk again," the other responds. Listen for yourself below. Summer Meza

October 16, 2018

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's (D-N.D.) crumbling path to re-election just took another wrong turn.

Heitkamp's campaign published an open letter attacking her opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) for his disparaging comments about the "#MeToo" movement, running it as an ad in several North Dakota newspapers on Monday. Now, she's apologizing after finding out the letter outed some of its signers as abuse survivors, The Associated Press reports.

Heitkamp's re-election chances have evaporated over the past few months; the newest Fox News poll shows Cramer ahead by 12 points. She's tried to win over voters with a focus on fighting sexual assault, notably opposing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation despite the possibility of damaging her chances in the midterms. Cramer, meanwhile, called #MeToo a "movement toward victimization" an in interview with The New York Times last week.

The controversial Heitkamp letter decried Cramer's comments, and was signed by over 125 people. But some signers soon criticized the ad's publication, saying they "either hadn't authorized it or are not survivors of abuse," AP reports. Cramer quickly slammed the mistake as "revictimization of victims" when talking with AP, and one survivor whose name was unwittingly published said she would no longer vote for Heitkamp.

Heitkamp issued a statement saying she's "in the process of issuing a retraction" of the ad and "personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this." AP reports that a "clearly emotional" Heitkamp also said she would investigate how her campaign got these names. Heitkamp said she didn't see the ad before its publication, but still took responsibility for the "very flagrant error." Kathryn Krawczyk

October 12, 2018

An interview clip that resurfaced this week is not a great look for Michigan's Republican gubernatorial nominee.

In a 1989 video posted by a Democratic opposition research organization, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, then a member of Congress, seems to creepily hit on a woman behind the camera as she sets up for an interview. When she asks him to move closer to a lamp, he tells her, "I will do anything you want," adding "some things I may not let you run the camera on." Next, Schuette compliments the woman for her "tenacity" and compares her camerawork to that of "Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Toulouse-Lautrec."

Schuette says he doesn't remember the clip, but that it seems to be a "poor attempt to be humorous 30 years ago," adding that it's "embarrassing" and "I regret it," The Detroit Free Press reports. Even before the video surfaced, Schuette was trailing Democrat Gretchen Whitmer by nine points in Michigan's gubernatorial race, according to Real Clear Politics' poll tracker.

Watch the video below. Brendan Morrow

October 10, 2018

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just experienced its third-worst point drop in history.

The Dow plummeted over 800 points Wednesday, or over 3 percent, falling below 26,000 for the first time in a month, per CNN. It was the third worst point drop in the Dow's history, though not even close in percentage terms due to the index's size. As a percentage, the drop was only the worst in eight months, CNN's Vaughn Sterling reports.

The S&P 500 also tumbled over 3 percent while the Nasdaq fell over 4 percent. Technology stocks were hit with some of the deepest selloffs, with Amazon and Netflix falling over 6 percent and 8 percent respectively, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Analysts blamed the drop on fears that rising interest rates, trade tensions between the U.S. and China, and dips in housing and automotive sales could spell trouble for the U.S. economy. The CBOE Volatility Index, sometimes referred to as the "market fear index," also rose to its highest point in about six months, CNBC reports. Brendan Morrow

August 29, 2018

Newly-minted Florida GOP gubernatorial nominee Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) drew criticism when he appeared on Fox News to discuss his Democratic opponent on Wednesday.

DeSantis, who decided to run shortly after President Trump tweeted that he "would make a GREAT governor," wasted no time in tearing down his Democratic counterpart, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who won his party's Tuesday night primary in a surprising upset.

DeSantis said Gillum is "much too liberal" for Florida, and added that "the last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state."

The line was quickly interpreted by many to be racially charged. Gillum is the first African-American gubernatorial nominee in Florida. "The racist attack [DeSantis] just unleashed on [Gillum] is exactly why he's [Trump's] favorite congressman," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D). The Florida Democratic Party chairwoman called it "disgusting" that DeSantis "is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles."

A spokesperson for DeSantis told NBC News that the congressman "frequently" uses the phrase, and said it "had nothing to do with race or anything like that." Gillum's campaign took the high road, telling the Tallahassee Democrat that "DeSantis' comments speak for themselves." Watch the moment below, via Fox News. Summer Meza

Update 2:50 p.m. ET: Fox News host Sandra Smith addressed DeSantis' comment, saying on behalf of the network that "we do not condone this language." She also read a statement sent to Fox News by the DeSantis campaign, in which communications director Stephen Lawson said that the candidate "was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd." Read more at The Hill.

August 21, 2018

President Trump boarded a plane to West Virginia just minutes after Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, two men who were formerly among the president's closest aides, succumbed to their legal troubles Tuesday. Cohen, the president's former personal lawyer, entered a guilty plea on eight counts of financial crimes, including admitting to breaking campaign finance laws; Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign, was found guilty on eight charges of tax and bank fraud by a Virginia jury.

Trump is in West Virginia for a campaign rally, and the nature of the news led a White House insider to wonder whether he might do something impulsive in front of his live audience, as he is wont to do. Specifically, reports BuzzFeed News' Tarini Parti, the unnamed source "close to the White House" is afraid that Trump might pardon his former campaign chairman on a whim — while television cameras capture the scene live:

Trump was confronted by a throng of reporters on the tarmac when he landed in West Virginia, and while he said he "[feels] badly for both" Cohen and Manafort, he spoke at length in defense of the latter, calling him a "good man." He conspicuously avoided discussing Cohen's decision to plead guilty, instead repeating his complaint that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation is a "witch hunt." Kimberly Alters

August 15, 2018

The Center for Immigration Studies has been called a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and on Wednesday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Lee Francis Cissna spoke at the organization's annual Immigration Newsmakers event.

CIS is a think tank founded by white nationalist John Tanton, The Daily Beast reports, and it's known for publishing false information on immigration. The group wants to see not only an increase in the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, but also a reduction in legal immigration. CIS policy director Jessica Vaughan asked Cissna about the Trump administration's hardline approach. "For whatever reason, our authority on enforcement has not been fully exercised in the past," Cissna said. "Well, now it will be. Everything we [do] at the agency should be guided by the law, not any other thing. That's our Bible."

Cissna is the son of a Peruvian immigrant, The Daily Beast reports, and became head of the federal agency in October. He shared why he decided to remove the words "We are a nation of immigrants" from the USCIS mission statement, saying he wanted to "redefine, clarify, what the purpose of the agency is. I looked at the old mission statement and I concluded it didn't really do that. So I started from scratch."

This isn't the first time a Trump administration official has appeared at the event: Before Cissna, Thomas Homan, former director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and James McHenry, director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, both attended. Catherine Garcia

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