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December 14, 2017

There were a lot of factors that went into Senator-elect Doug Jones' (D) upset victory in Alabama on Tuesday night — a divided Republican Party, suburbanites who are fed up with President Trump, "and apparently, some people don't like accused kiddie-touchers," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. "But there was one really huge factor that you can't ignore," he said: African Americans really turned out, giving Jones a higher percentage of the black vote than former President Barack Obama received.

Dulce Sloan came out and explained how it wasn't just black voters, but black women, who sank Republican Roy Moore. "You're welcome, white people, you're welcome," Sloan said, on behalf of all black women, and she had a suggestion: Maybe America could show its gratitude by "changing the laws to make it easier for us to vote, or sing our praises by giving us raises, or at the very least, cancel winter — you know only white people like snow."

On Late Night, Amber Ruffin also took a bow on behalf of black women. "Roy Moore was a well-known anti-gay, anti-Muslim, racist pedophile (allegedly)," she said. Most white women still voted for him, but 98 percent of black women voted for Jones. "P.S.: You know that's why Omarosa got fired today," Ruffin joked. "Trump was like, 'You promised me the black lady vote,' and she was probably like, 'I don't know any!'"

Ruffin invited white people to "appropriate" this example by black women, and noted that despite her initial fears about "black women" trending on Twitter, it turns out "everyone was writing 'Thank you, black women' — and that is cool, but when you're done thanking us, why don't you try voting for us and putting a few of us in office so we can run this s--t."

Daily Show regular Roy Wood Jr. just savored being publicly proud to be from Alabama. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:10 p.m.

Two chiefs of staff walked into the White House Christmas party and, naturally, they had to capture the moment.

Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus popped up at the White House Christmas party Thursday night, despite not being an administration employee for more than a year now. Current Chief of Staff John Kelly was also there, and seeing the man he replaced drew a rare smile from Kelly as they posed in front of Christmas trees that would not make Nancy Reagan proud.

Perhaps Kelly cracked a grin because he realized Priebus is exactly where he'll be in a few weeks: anywhere but the White House. Perhaps Priebus looks more reluctant because he's reportedly still President Trump's phone buddy, and often hears about Trump's frustrations with Kelly. Perhaps neither of them should be smiling on Twitter because this pleasant party memory is better suited for Instagram.

Regardless, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) wanted to make it very clear that Kelly and Priebus weren't hanging out with him.

12:58 p.m.

Johnson & Johnson had evidence for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos but did not disclose these findings with the Food and Drug Administration, a Reuters investigation discovered.

This investigation comes as the company is being sued by thousands of plaintiffs who say the talc in its products causes cancer. According to the report, Johnson & Johnson told the FDA in 1976 that asbestos was not "detected in any sample" of talc, but they didn't mention three tests that did find asbestos in its talc. In one of the tests, the amount of asbestos was reported to be "rather high." One professor looked at a sample of Shower to Shower powder and wrote that there was "incontrovertible asbestos."

Johnson & Johnson disputed the findings of this report, saying that "thousands of independent tests prove our talc does not contain asbestos or cause cancer" and that these findings were outliers. A New Jersey judge in June said that "providing the FDA favorable results showing no asbestos and withholding or failing to provide unfavorable results, which show asbestos, is a form of a misrepresentation by omission." Following the publication of this piece, Johnson & Johnson stock dropped 10.8 percent, and CNBC reports it's on pace for its worst day since 2002. Read the full investigation at Reuters. Brendan Morrow

11:59 a.m.

Friday marked six years since 28 people, mostly children, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On the same day, another threat to the school forced its evacuation.

At around 9 a.m. Friday, police say the Newtown, Connecticut school received a bomb threat and evacuated everyone inside, local ABC affiliate WCVB reports. Police later said the threat was likely not credible, but school was still canceled for the rest of the day, per local station Fox 61.

A wave of bomb threats were emailed to businesses, schools, and government buildings across the U.S. on Thursday, but were determined to be a hoax. Sandy Hook's threat didn't seem to be connected to these widespread threats, police told Fox 61. The building where the Sandy Hook shooting happened in 2012 was previously demolished and a new school was rebuilt. Police began sweeping the existing school after everyone was evacuated.

Local gun control group Newtown Action tweeted the news and asked readers to "please stand with our community as we attempt to survive another tragic anniversary." Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) quickly responded with the tweet below. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:19 a.m.

Conservative magazine The Weekly Standard is shutting down after 23 years in print, its owners announced Friday.

The Weekly Standard, once published by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp, rose to prominence as it influenced former President George W. Bush's administration. It was sold to Clarity Media Group in 2008, and soon proved a persistent critic to President Trump and the rise of the far right.

That neoconservative voice may have been its downfall, though, CNN points out. The Weekly Standard's finances faltered as far-right publications such as The Daily Caller and Breitbart grew. It reportedly searched for a new owner earlier this year, but The Daily Caller later reported the magazine wouldn't last until 2019, per The Ringer.

The Weekly Standard editor Steve Hayes broke the news to staffers in an email on Friday. Read all of it below. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:18 a.m.

Facebook has just disclosed yet another leak, this time affecting millions of users' private photos.

The social media platform said Friday that it discovered a bug that may have given up to 1,500 third-party apps improper access to photos from up to 6.8 million users. Normally, the apps would only be permitted to access photos that a user has actually posted on their Facebook timeline, but because of this bug, the apps could access pictures that weren't publicly posted. This would include pictures shared on Facebook's Marketplace or on Facebook Stories, as well as pictures that a user uploaded but didn't end up posting.

The apps had access to these photos for 12 days in September 2018, Facebook says. This issue would have only affected users who authorized the app to access photos. "We're sorry this happened," Facebook said. You can find out whether any of your pictures were affected by the bug here.

This is just the latest security scandal for Facebook, which is still reeling from revelations earlier this year that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, was able to gain access to Facebook users' private information. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress the scandal was "my mistake, and I'm sorry." Brendan Morrow

10:49 a.m.

As expected, late Sen. John McCain's replacement is stepping down at the end of this year.

Following the longtime senator's death in August, fellow Arizona Republican Jon Kyl was appointed to take his spot. Kyl served three Senate terms alongside McCain before retiring in 2013, and only promised to serve until the end of the year. He officially submitted his resignation letter Friday, leaving Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to appoint another senator before a 2020 special election.

Arizona's U.S. senators have had a tumultuous year, with Sen. Jeff Flake (R) opting not to run for re-election this year and making a few last-minute bipartisan stands along the way. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) narrowly beat Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) to win Flake's seat in November.

Still, McSally remains popular among other Republican senators, suggesting Ducey might appoint McSally to fill Kyl's shoes next year, CNN notes. Ducey's Chief of Staff Kirk Adams has also emerged as a potential appointee, as has state treasurer Eileen Klein, AZ Central says. Regardless, whoever Ducey appoints will only get to serve until 2020 before having to defend their seat in a special election. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:47 a.m.

"Truth isn't truth," and presidential inaugurations have nothing to do with presidents, apparently.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Thursday night that The Wall Street Journal's report about a criminal investigation into President Trump's 2017 inaugural committee is only distantly, vaguely related to Trump himself.

"That doesn't have anything to do with the president or the first lady," said Sanders. "The biggest thing the president did in his engagement in the inauguration was to come here, and raise his hand, and take the oath of office."

Federal prosecutors are reportedly looking into whether Trump's inaugural committee misspent any of its record $107 million haul and whether any of the committee's biggest donors sought access to or special favors from the incoming Trump administration for their donations. Improper spending could amount to a violation of federal corruption laws.

Even though the committee told the Journal that there is no such investigation, Sanders quickly distanced Trump from the entire situation. "The president was focused on the transition during that time and not on any of the planning," she said. Watch her comments below, via Vox's Aaron Rupar. Summer Meza

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