British journalist who interviewed Trump says it was 'like being in the court of an imperial Chinese emperor'
When Tom Newton Dunn, political editor for British tabloid The Sun, interviewed President Trump in Brussels on Wednesday, "his mood was nervous, I think, his arms were crossed a lot," he told BBC Radio 4's Today on Friday. The Trump interview, which The New York Times characterized as "a remarkable breach of protocol, publicly undercutting Prime Minister Theresa May," was published just as guests were leaving the black-tie dinner May threw for Trump Thursday night. In it, Trump criticized May's newly published Brexit plan, said it endangered a U.S.-Britain free trade deal May has been promising, and said May's political rival Boris Johnson "would be a great prime minister," among other comments damaging to May.
Newton Dunn said that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to end the explosive interview after the allotted 10 minutes, but Trump "swatted her away" and "kept on talking." It was an "amazing experience" interviewing Trump, because "nobody tells him what to say or nobody tells him off once he's said it, and he'll say it for as long as he wants," he told BBC Breakfast. "I felt it was like being in the court of an imperial Chinese emperor from the 15th century." Talking to him one-on-one, "I mean, he certainly isn't Barack Obama," Newton Dunn added. "He perhaps doesn't quite have the poise that Barack Obama had, you know, as a wise and great leader of men. But, you know, he gave us one hell of an interview, and I think there's a lot to be said for answering an honest question honestly."
Trump "knows an awful lot about Britain," cares what Britons think about him, and is "a true Brexiteer," Newton Dunn told the BBC. "He's really quite stung by the criticism he's been getting, the treatment he was going to get when he arrived. ... He knew all about the baby blimp. I think it hurt him." Peter Weber
Before Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) was a member of Congress, he hosted a radio show.
The Jason Lewis Show, which ran from 2009 until 2014, gave Lewis the chance to broadcast all sorts of compelling thoughts. One of his recurring arguments, CNN reported Wednesday, was that people should be allowed to call young women "sluts."
Lewis, whose show dubbed him "America's Mr. Right," said that women who vote based on health care that covers birth control lack "cognitive function," and suggested they were not "human beings." The congressman narrowly won his House seat in 2016, even after the Star Tribune in Minnesota published some of his misogynistic comments.
"It used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard," Lewis lamented in a 2012 episode of his show. "We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can't call her a slut?"
He additionally called young female voters "ignorant of the important issues in life," saying "somebody's got to educate them." While discussing the notion that women are "guided by emotion, not reason" later that year, Lewis defended his respect for women by noting, "I'm married to a woman for heaven's sake."
A representative for Lewis defended his comments, telling CNN that "this has all been litigated before ... it was his job to be provocative while on the radio." The congressman is up for re-election in the fall in his competitive district. Read more at CNN. Summer Meza
While it's impossible to know exactly what President Trump discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin in their one-on-one meeting Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there was "some conversation" about allowing Russia to question U.S. citizens.
Reporter Maggie Haberman of The New York Times asked Sanders on Wednesday whether Trump supported the idea of allowing Russia to question people like Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia. Sanders said Trump would "meet with his team" about the matter and make an announcement later if necessary.
McFaul is reportedly of interest to Putin regarding the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions against Russia. Putin has accused officials like McFaul, British-American financier Bill Browder, and Steele dossier author Christopher Steele of financial crimes, some of which he alleged during Monday's summit. McFaul and Browder have denied the allegations, but Putin said he was interested in interrogating them to be sure.
The former ambassador himself was wondering whether Trump had pushed back on the suggestion, writing on Twitter to call the allegations against him "whacko." Rather than "push back," apparently, Sanders said that Trump had discussed it with Putin, suggesting that the president was considering allowing Russia to question the U.S. citizens. "There wasn't a commitment made on behalf of the United States," said Sanders, without offering any other details about the conversation.
McFaul wrote that he hopes the White House will "correct the record" and denounce the "ridiculous request." Russian state media, meanwhile, published an article titled "Nervous, are we?" taunting McFaul's "defensive" tweets. Summer Meza
House Democrats have a new slogan, and it's no "Where's the beef?"
Actually, that would be a good question for Democrats' midterm election catchphrase, which is actually "For the People." Because it seems to invoke Lincoln-esque memories from 155 years ago, not provide the meat Democrats need to win back the House in a few months.
The tagline was unveiled during a private meeting Wednesday, Politico reports, presumably because Democrats haven't figured out how to explain that they borrowed the title of ABC's new law drama. It's been a journey to get to this point, as Democrats have toyed with "A Better Deal" and some variations of draining the swamp as their slogan since the 2016 presidential loss, Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur pointed out on Twitter.
Still, a series that's already been renewed for a second season makes for a better slogan than a Lady Antebellum song that peaked at nowhere on the charts. That seems to be where Republicans stole their catchphrase, "Better Off Now," which they couldn't even be bothered to buy the domain for.
We'll just have to see who's better off in November. Kathryn Krawczyk
Mark Zuckerberg seems to think Holocaust deniers don't realize they're lying when they spread that hoax on Facebook.
In a wide-ranging interview with Recode founder Kara Swisher published Wednesday, Zuckerberg was questioned about why Facebook doesn't remove objectively false information, like claims that the Holocaust or the Sandy Hook shooting didn't happen. His response? "I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong."
Facebook recently came under fire for allowing InfoWars, a consistent spreader of false information and hoaxes, to stay on the site. Swisher asked Zuckerberg why such conspiracy-peddling sources are granted a presence on Facebook. Zuckerberg responded that while Holocaust denial is "abhorrent" and "deeply offensive," it can be hard to "understand the intent" of those who post false statements such as Holocaust denials.
"Everyone gets things wrong, and if we were taking down people's accounts when they got a few things wrong, then that would be a hard world for giving people a voice and saying that you care about that," Zuckerberg said. So when Facebook's fact checkers identify a hoax, the site simply moves them down in users' News Feeds instead of removing them altogether.
Something that would be removed? "Going to someone who is a victim of Sandy Hook and telling them, 'Hey, no, you're a liar' — that is harassment," Zuckerberg explained. Read or listen to the whole interview at Recode. Kathryn Krawczyk
Update 5:04 p.m. ET: Zuckerberg issued a statement to Recode on Wednesday afternoon, attempting to clarify his comments about Holocaust deniers. "I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn't intend to defend the intent of people who deny that," Zuckerberg said. Read his full statement at Recode.
For those of you currently shopping for an engagement ring, here's some good news: There are a lot more diamonds hiding in the ground than we thought.
By measuring seismic waves rippling through Earth, scientists have discovered a quadrillion tons of diamonds about a hundred miles below the planet's surface. That's as much as a thousand times more than previous estimates, National Geographic reported.
A quadrillion — which is about the number of ants that are alive worldwide, to give you some perspective — tons is still only a small percentage, as it turns out. The newly discovered diamonds amount to only about 2 percent of the layer of Earth where they were found. "It was unexpected," said Joshua Garber, the author of the study, "but not unprecedented."
The study, published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, isn't perfectly conclusive; there's a possibility that the seismic waves measured could be caused by other compounds. But it presents "an exciting and elegant result," said Maureen Long, a seismologist at Yale University.
The rarity of diamonds has always been a little exaggerated by jewelry markets — and now, it's even more so. But it might be too much to hope that this new discovery will make getting that bling any cheaper. Read more about this study at National Geographic. Shivani Ishwar
Trump contradicts intelligence community again, saying Russia is no longer currently targeting the U.S.
President Trump on Tuesday was forced to walk back his controversial statements about Russia's election interference, clarifying that he accepts the "intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place." But on Wednesday, he suggested that the issue was a thing of the past.
When ABC News' Cecilia Vega asked Trump whether Russia is still targeting the U.S., Trump reportedly shook his head and simply said "no."
— ABC News (@ABC) July 18, 2018
After Trump held a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, critics condemned his failure to side with the U.S. intelligence community on its findings that Russia meddled in the election. Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, directly disputed Trump's defense of Putin, issuing a statement that reaffirmed his confidence in Russia's "ongoing" attempt to "undermine our democracy."
Former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden expressed shock over Trump's claim that Russia is no longer attempting to interfere in U.S. election systems, writing "OMG. OMG. OMG." on Twitter. Whether Trump will walk back his walkback on the walkback remains to be seen.
Update 3:05 p.m ET: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that Trump was saying "no" to answering more questions, not to Vega's question. But as The Guardian's Sabrina Saddiqui notes, Trump continued answering questions about Russia after he said "no" following Vega's inquiry. "We believe that threats still exist," said Sanders. Watch her full explanation here. Summer Meza
Most school districts in the U.S. are not testing their drinking water for lead, a Government Accountability Office report published Tuesday found.
The finding, reported Wednesday by Stat, paints an alarming picture for water safety. Just 4 in 10 school districts conducted tests in 2016 and 2017, but 37 percent of the schools that ran tests found elevated levels of lead in drinking water.
While 43 percent of schools conducted lead tests, 41 percent of schools did not, and 16 percent didn't know whether the water had been tested. Congressional Democrats, who requested the report, called the findings "disturbing and unacceptable" and called for "immediate action" from the Trump administration.
"The administration should finalize a stronger Lead and Copper Rule and issue protective guidance requiring lead testing for all public schools," said the lawmakers in a press release. The GAO also recommended that the EPA implement new guiding rules on how schools test lead levels.
Elevated lead exposure is linked with numerous health concerns, reports Stat, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says lead can have severe consequences on brain development and children's nervous systems. Summer Meza