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February 13, 2018
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's Cabinet has faced an onslaught of accusations about improper travel, and it looks like the latest to join their ranks will be Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, USA Today reports. While the VA inspector general's findings have not yet been made public, a report likely to be issued this week is expected to ding Shulkin for a potentially unnecessary 10-day trip to Denmark and London last July, during which taxpayers allegedly paid for his wife's airfare. Additionally, the couple reportedly spent half the trip sightseeing, ventures Shulkin allegedly improperly directed his staff to arrange.

Shulkin is an Obama administration holdover, having formerly served as the undersecretary for health at the VA. His trip to Denmark and London also involved meetings with health-care and veterans professionals, and he had designated the travel as "essential."

The VA inspector general's report is also expected to cite Shulkin for improperly accepting tickets for him and his wife to attend Wimbledon. Shulkin apparently claimed the person who provided the tickets was a friend, although ethics officials believe otherwise after the provider failed to remember Shulkin's wife's name.

Shulkin's lawyers heavily pushed back against the anticipated findings, claiming the Denmark trip was "essential travel" and that saying otherwise shows a "fundamental lack of understanding of the secretary's work and the VA's mission." The lawyers additionally argue that it is unimportant whether or not Shulkin was given the Wimbledon tickets by a personal friend because the provider, a strategic adviser to the U.K.'s Invictus Games, was not seeking to influence him in any way. Jeva Lange

9:26 a.m. ET
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Because tipplers and java fiends need good news, too, a new study from University of California-Irvine has found that drinking alcohol and coffee increases your chance of living past 90 by a statistically significant amount. The university's 90+ Study has followed about 1,700 nonagenarians since 2003, and those "who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained." "Moderate" means two glasses of beer or wine and two cups of coffee, which decrease your chances of premature death by 18 percent (alcohol) and 10 percent (coffee).

"I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity," study lead researcher Dr. Claudia Kawas said at an American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Austin last weekend. But there's good news for more than just beverage aficionados in the study. "People who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did," the study found, even if the difference was just 3 percent. People with a hobby were 21 percent less likely to die early, and — sorry — exercising 15-45 minutes a day also reduced premature death chances by 11 percent.

So, pick your poison — in this case, a moderate amount may extend your life. Peter Weber

9:08 a.m. ET

Do you ever stop and wonder, "What's Gary Johnson up to?" If it doesn't happen to be one of the two days a year he is being mobbed by fans at the Conservative Political Action Conference, then there is one probable answer: He's skiing.

Once upon a time, before serving as the governor of New Mexico and long before his Aleppo moment, Johnson even had aspirations to be a ski racer, Esquire reports. Since losing the 2016 election, he hasn't done much more than ski, actually. Last year, Johnson spent more than 100 days on the mountain, whether in Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, or Lake Louise.

It doesn't look like he plans to slow down anytime soon. "After CPAC, he has no immediate plans beyond skiing," Esquire writes. Watch Gary Johnson rip up the slope below. Jeva Lange

8:38 a.m. ET

President Trump has made a determined push for arming school teachers after the Parkland, Florida, shooting last week, but voters appear divided on the issue, a new CBS News poll reveals. Half of Americans, 50 percent, are opposed to arming teachers, while 44 percent are in favor of the plan, the poll found.

"If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly," the president said during a listening session at the White House on Wednesday. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten blasted the idea: "Teachers don't want to be armed, we want to teach," she said.

Sixty-five percent of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, up 8 points since December due to mounting support by Republicans and independents. Forty-one percent of Republicans said they would follow Trump's lead if he called for stricter laws, as he has suggested.

Overall, 87 percent of Americans want the country to spend more money on mental health screenings, 75 percent want to strengthen background checks, 56 want to ban bump stocks, and 53 percent want a nationwide ban on the AR-15, making arming teachers the least popular of the ideas being mulled.

The poll reached 1,012 adults nationwide between Feb. 20 and 22. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 points. See the full results here. Jeva Lange

8:07 a.m. ET

President Trump will speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, although his vision and voice were strongly felt throughout the first day of events Thursday in speeches by Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was one of the lone voices of criticism, hitting Trump for "his repeated untruths, which earned some applause," observed Tom Kludt for Reliable Sources.

Trump is set to speak at 10:05 a.m. ET, and his message will be "a test of whether or not the conference can move on from the issue that gripped most of the day on Thursday — responding to last week's shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that killed 17 people," NPR reports. Watch a live stream here. Jeva Lange

7:51 a.m. ET

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, a rural conservative who has presented himself as a devoted husband and father of four, resigned on Friday, citing a sexual harassment claim that emerged in the Australian press on Thursday. Joyce was already facing a sex scandal from recent revelations that he had impregnated his former press secretary after an extramarital affair; the woman is reported to be 33, which would have made her 9 when Joyce got married. That scandal prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to instate a ban on government ministers having sex with their personal staff, and while the so-dubbed "bonk ban" has majority approval, The Washington Post notes, it opens a new chapter in Australian politicians' presumption of privacy.

"That's just not who we are in Australia," Joyce said upon announcing his resignation. "Don't go after private individuals. It's just wrong." That may be the Australian way, it isn't how things are done in the U.S. or Britain. So for more more information about Joyce's affair, watch this overview from Sunday's Last Week Tonight, where John Oliver not only explains Joyce's previous claim to fame but also introduces the very Australian father of Joyce's paramour. Peter Weber

7:42 a.m. ET
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Outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the last Republican to drop out of the 2016 primary against Donald Trump, and three years later his team is considering giving it another go in 2020, Politico reports. The question partially comes down to whether or not to challenge Trump in the primary, or run a campaign as an independent, with hopes high that the issue will be resolved by the president simply choosing not to run again due to a lack of interest or legal issues.

Kasich has "actually been pretty straightforward about it," said Kasich 2016 campaign adviser Charlie Black. "He would like to run again if he sees an opening. And if Trump runs again, there's no opening. But if Trump doesn't run, there is one."

While a Kasich 2020 bid is a long shot no matter how he decides to run, the governor "feels a responsibility to fill the role of the conservative conscience," Politico writes. Refusing to close any door yet, he is returning to New Hampshire in April, and will appear in Washington over the weekend for the National Governors Association meeting. "Anybody on the Republican side who's even imagining themselves possibly being in some kind of a race in 2020 has to start taking action sometime really soon," explained New Hampshire Republican Party chair Jennifer Horn.

Still, it's an uphill battle. "John Kasich sounds too reasonable to run in a Trump-era GOP primary," The Washington Post recently wrote.

In the 2016 primary, Kasich walked away with a single state — Ohio — and finished in second behind Trump in New Hampshire. He scored just 2 percent in Iowa, where Trump took nearly a quarter of the vote. Jeva Lange

7:14 a.m. ET

Oprah Winfrey was on Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Kimmel cut straight to the chase: "So you're definitely not running for president?" "Where do I look into the camera?" Oprah asked. "I am definitely not running for president." The audience booed. "You know, you give a speech and then you sit down, and you have, surprisingly, started to run for president," she said. The buzz started as soon as she walked offstage at the Golden Globes, and "I was kind of first thrown by it — it's a humbling thing to have people think that you can run the country, it's a humbling thing," she added. "I'm the kind of person who tries to listen to signs. I think, 'Well, am I supposed to run the country? I don't think so!'"

Oprah said she found out that Trump had tweeted about her 60 Minutes focus group when director Ava DuVernay called her, and she never considered tweeting back at Trump, "not a second." When Kimmel offered to use her Twitter account to hit back at Trump, Oprah protested. "No, you don't win by meeting any kind of negativity head-on," she said. "We've already lost, though, in general," Kimmel said. "You just have to say, 'Well, I don't know what that was, but all right,'" Oprah said. She explained that she is not, in fact, "insecure," as Trump claimed, but she has hung out with him at boxing matches and, oddly, Maya Angelou's 80th birthday party, which Oprah held at Mar-a-Lago.

Oprah explained to Kimmel a little bit of what life is like as Oprah: She doesn't answer her phone, for example, but she does pay her own bills. You can learn more below. Peter Weber

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