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December 11, 2017
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CNN reported Monday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions did in fact receive guidance from the FBI instructing him not to disclose contacts with foreign officials if they occurred as part of his activities as a senator. A spokesperson for Sessions had made that claim in May after the attorney general faced fierce criticism for not listing conversations he had with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but Monday's report is the first indication by the FBI that it gave such instruction.

The email, sent in March and obtained by CNN, shows an unnamed FBI agent telling an aide to Sessions that he could leave foreign contacts made as a senator off of his security clearance application. Sessions' spokesperson said earlier this year that he had been "instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities."

During his confirmation hearings in January, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was not aware of any contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, stating unambiguously, "I did not have communications with the Russians." That claim was called into dispute in March when The Washington Post reported that Sessions had met with Kislyak in September 2016. A spokesperson for Sessions said that "there was absolutely nothing misleading about [Sessions'] answer" because he had met with Kislyak as part of his duties as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the hearing question had specifically concerned acts undertaken as a surrogate for the Trump campaign.

While the newly released email does give Sessions cover regarding his foreign contacts disclosures, it does not clarify why Sessions does not remember talking to Kislyak at all, nor his presence at a meeting where a Trump campaign aide suggested setting up a meeting with Russian government officials, as he has claimed. Kelly O'Meara Morales

1:47 a.m. ET

If you were, for whatever reason, excited about the "Most Dishonest & Corrupt Media Awards Of The Year" that President Trump promised for Jan. 8, then postponed until Wednesday, well, don't get your hopes too high. There's nothing about the "Fake News Awards" on Trump's schedule for Wednesday, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump's awards were merely "a potential event."

Arizona's two Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are using Trump's promised/threatened awards to criticize the president's frequent attacks on the free press, with Flake making comparisons to Joseph Stalin. But late-night TV appears to believe that laughter is the best disinfectant. On Tuesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon's President Trump presented "Fakeys" to CNN, The New York Times, and himself, aided by Melania Trump (Gina Gershon) and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (Rachel Dratch).

Still, nobody will be more disappointed if Trump bails than Late Show host Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee at Full Frontal, all of whom are in full-on campaign mode for "Fakeys" of their own. "Personally, I'm excited for the Most Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year, or as we call them in the biz, the Fakeys, because nothing gives you more credibility than Donald Trump calling you a liar," Colbert said, kicking off the late-night jockeying. "And I, of course, don't want to be snubbed." He took out a For Your Consideration ad in "Failing New York Times Square."

The Daily Show shot back, claiming that Colbert's Late Show and Bee's Full Frontal were were too fact-based.

Not to be outdone, Bee's decidedly NSFW retort leaned heavily on the F-bombs. If that doesn't bother you, watch below. Peter Weber

1:37 a.m. ET
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They lost their home and all of their possessions in the devastating Montecito mudslides, but Lindsey and Woody Thompson said they held out hope they would be reunited with their cat, Koshka.

The Thompsons didn't know if they were going to survive the mudslide earlier this month, and they said their goodbyes to each other, ABC Los Angeles reports. Because the road outside their house was wiped out, they had to be airlifted to safety, and once they were settled they immediately asked for help finding Koshka. "We knew that she was alive and we knew that she was smart and she would find a safe spot to be and she did," Woody Thompson said.

It still wasn't safe to access the house, but a fire team told Santa Barbara County Animal Services that they saw muddy paw prints. Starting Jan. 9, the property was checked by animal services every day, and on Monday, after officers entered the house through a window, they found Koshka in the rubble "with mud-caked fur ... thankful to see her rescuers." The Thompsons were overwhelmed when they got to hold Koshka again."We needed this," Lindsey Thompson said. "Thank you. You're our heroes." Catherine Garcia

1:08 a.m. ET

It might not have impressed Brian Wilson's high school music teacher, but "Surfin'" was good enough to launch The Beach Boys to stardom.

While a student at Hawthorne High School 58 years ago, Wilson composed "Surfin'" and received an "F" from his teacher, Fred Morgan. On Twitter Monday, Wilson shared that he went back to visit his alma mater, and a new teacher changed his grade to an "A." Morgan used to say the composition earned an "F," Wilson wrote, "but it made a million dollars."

"Surfin'" was The Beach Boys' first hit off of their debut album, Surfin' Safari, and although Wilson was known for writing song ("Surfin' USA") after song ("Catch A Wave") about surfing, the 75-year-old wrote in his autobiography, I Am Brian Wilson, that he failed miserably at the sport. "I tried once," he wrote, "and got conked on the head with the board." Catherine Garcia

12:38 a.m. ET

President Trump appears remarkably healthy for a 71-year-old man who doesn't eat well or exercise, and he aced a rudimentary cognitive ability test (you can take it yourself here), according to Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2013. But not everyone is buying Jackson's assessment that Trump is 6-foot-3 and weighs 239 pounds, giving him a barely sub-obesity body mass index (BMI) of 29.9. MSNBC's Chris Hayes came up with the name:

The main argument seems to be that since muscle weighs more than fat, Trump can't possibly weigh the same as professional athletes of roughly the same build. One example of many:

Sports Illustrated compiled many other Trump vs. athlete visual comparisons. Did the commander-in-chief order Jackson, a two-star Navy admiral, to tip the scales, so to speak? Some "girthers" are putting their money where their doubts are.

Others doubt that Trump is actually 6-foot-3.

The "girthers" already have counter-girthers, including Fox News analyst Brit Hume.

The Hume conversation ended on kind of a strange note, but that's par for the course in 2018. Peter Weber

12:06 a.m. ET
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For the first time since she left the Today show after just a year as co-anchor, Ann Curry is talking about the pain she felt upon her departure, and why she's proud of how she handled her very public exit.

"Experience has taught me, as a journalist, the No. 1 thing you have to be is humble," she told People. "It's not about you." Curry left Today on June 28, 2012, and it was hinted she was fired because she didn't have "chemistry" with her co-host, Matt Lauer, who was fired from the show last November over allegations of sexual misconduct. "It hurt like hell," Curry said. "It hurt so much, but I learned a lot about myself. I can say I've done nothing wrong. I've been honest and true. I've tried to stay pure. I've tried to not respond in a knee-jerk manner, and I've stayed very close to who I am. So it hurt, but I'm also proud of myself."

The Emmy winner said she had to "let it go," and is "stronger now. I'm smarter. I'm happier, as happy as I've ever been. And my compassion has only grown. When you go through the pain and learn the lessons, you will be changed for the better." Read more of Curry's interview at People, and watch her first live interview since leaving Today Wednesday on CBS This Morning. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2018
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Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is ready to spill his guts to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a person familiar with his thinking told The Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff on Tuesday.

During a lengthy closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Bannon invoked executive privilege, telling lawmakers he couldn't answer their questions about anything he was involved with after the election because he'd been advised not to by the White House. This was essentially a "gag order from the White House," the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), said after the hearing. Bannon was subpoenaed on the spot, but he continued to refuse to answer questions about conversations he had and events he attended. "This witness is not an executive," Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) told reporters. "There were questions that we asked that were not answered and we are going to resolve the issues to get the answers."

The New York Times reported Tuesday morning that last week, Bannon received a grand jury subpoena from Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Bannon's ready to share what he knows with the special counsel, Woodruff writes, with his associate telling her, "Mueller will hear everything Bannon has to say." Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2018
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The U.S. Navy announced Tuesday it is filing negligent homicide charges against several officers involved in two deadly ship collisions last year.

In June, the USS Fitzgerald hit a commercial ship in the waters off Japan, leaving seven sailors dead, and in August, the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in the waters off of Singapore, killing 10 sailors. Both collisions were deemed avoidable. Navy spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks said a hearing will determine if the officers, charged with dereliction of duty and endangering a ship as well as negligent homicide, will be taken to trial in a court-martial.

The Navy is filing at least three charges against four officers on the USS Fitzgerald, including the commanding officer at the time, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, and charges against the commander at the time of the USS John S. McCain, Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, and the chief petty officer. Hicks said the announcement of charges is "not intended to and does not reflect a determination of guilt or innocence related to any offenses. All individuals alleged to have committed misconduct are entitled to a presumption of innocence." In the wake of the collisions, several top leaders, including the commander of the 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucion, were fired. Catherine Garcia

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