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February 18, 2019

Roger Stone may have been ordered to keep quiet by a federal judge in Washington, D.C., but he's not staying silent on Instagram, posting a picture on Monday of the judge next to a crosshairs symbol.

Stone, a longtime Republican operative and adviser to President Trump, wrote in the caption that Special Counsel Robert Mueller used "legal trickery" to ensure that his criminal trial for lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction went before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. Stone, who has been hustling to raise money online to cover his legal bills, tagged his defense fund, and added the hashtag #fixisin.

When contacted by BuzzFeed News, Stone said he posted a "random photo taken from the internet," and "any inference that this was meant to somehow threaten the judge or disrespect court is categorically false." He later deleted the image and filed a notice of apology with the court, saying the photograph and comment were "improper" and he "recognizes the impropriety and had it removed." Catherine Garcia

4:55 a.m.

The Democratic presidential field is split over whether to sit down for interviews on Fox News, a news network that has a decidedly anti-Democrat slant. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are on the no side, Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) got a warm welcome and appeared to win people over in his town hall, and on Sunday night, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg slammed Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson — and got a standing ovation from the Fox News audience.

"Pete Buttigieg went on Fox News, trashed their most popular anchors, and then got a standing ovation at the end — that is amazing," Noah said. "Because if someone came to your house and told you how ugly your kids were, you'd probably be like, 'Get the hell out of here!' You wouldn't be like: 'Someone had to say it. You've got a big-a-- head, Billy. ... Some reporters on Fox News actually credited Buttigieg for coming on to their network. But, the kids with the big-a-- heads? They weren't as happy."

"Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Brian Kilmeade, they were all pretty pissed with Buttigieg's star turn on Fox," Noah said. "But there was one Fox viewer who was downright heartbroken." That would be President Trump, who complained about Buttigieg's town hall beforehand and slammed it at a rally on Monday night. "Aw, poor Trump," Noah said. "You realize what happened here: The news network that he loves the most flirted with a younger, hotter candidate, and he's clearly shook."

Noah didn't have a pat answer on whether Democrats should go on Fox New or stay away. "In many ways, it's just like eating an Oreo," he said. And that ended in a profane Ben Carson takedown. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:31 a.m.

"Congress might finally get a look at the president's finances, even though he very much doesn't want that to happen," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. A federal judge upheld a House subpoena for Trump's records from his accounting firm on Monday, and while Trump has appealed the decision, "this is the best," Kimmel said: "The judge who might preside over that appeal is none other than Merrick Garland, the guy whose Supreme Court seat got squatted by Republicans in Congress."

"How perfect is that?" Kimmel asked. "Keep your fingers crossed. That's like if Donald and Melania renewed their vows, and the minister was Stormy Daniels." At a rally in Pennsylvania on Monday night, Trump "took shots at Joe Biden, the Oscars, Fox News, and even the lighting on stage," saying he prefers the sun to artificial lights, Kimmel said. "This, by the way, is coming from a man who sleeps in a tanning bed," he noted. But "he's right, the lights are very bright — maybe they should be president for a little while."

Kimmel also caught up on some crumbs from last week, namely Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) much-ridiculed warning about "space pirates." "Just when you think Ted Cruz can't get any weirder, he goes and becomes a Scientologist on us," Kimmel joked. But he took the remark seriously to create a trailer for Space Force 2, featuring, of course, space pirates.

The Late Show mocked Cruz last week, with some traditional space pirate shanties. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:37 a.m.

President Trump has decided to hire former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II in a new role coordinating immigration policy out of the Department of Homeland Security, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported Tuesday night. Cuccinelli is an immigration hardliner, but it isn't clear what his role will be at DHS. He will report to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, but he will also regularly brief Trump at the White House, the Post reports, and his duties will overlap with McAleenan's responsibilities.

Before her ouster, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had pushed Trump to create an immigration czar position at the White House to coordinate the many federal agencies that handle immigration. "Putting an immigration czar at DHS is a total waste," a former DHS official told the Post. Others predicted conflict with McAleenan, who unlike Cuccinnelli, is broadly respected by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. McAleenan was reportedly at the Oval Office meeting on Monday where Trump offered Cuccinelli the job.

Cuccinelli was tapped after former acting Immigrations and Customs Enforcement chief Tom Homan turned Trump down, the Post reports. He beat out former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whom Trump soured on in part because of a list of 10 demands Kobach reportedly handed the White House. "Cuccinelli, who has been hawkish on immigration policy during television appearances that also praise Trump, appears to fulfill the president's desire to have a forceful personality and a loyalist at the highest levels of DHS," the Post says.

But his chance of advancement is limited, the Post adds. "Cuccinelli is deeply disliked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has vowed to block Cuccinelli from any Senate-confirmed post for leading efforts in 2014 backing insurgent candidates that hurt the Senate GOP majority," and he's "even less popular with Democrats." Peter Weber

2:48 a.m.

At a rally in Pennsylvania on Monday night, President Trump went after former Vice President Joe Biden, who — according to public and apparently internal Trump campaign polling — is beating Trump in the Keystone State. "He's not from Pennsylvania," Trump said of Biden, who lived in Scranton until age 10. "I guess he was born here, but he left you folks. He left you for another state. Remember that, please."

Stephen Colbert's Late Show turned that into a mock Trump attack ad.

But Biden appeared to take the slight more seriously. "I’ve never forgotten where I came from," he wrote on Twitter. "My family did have to leave Pennsylvania when I was 10 — we moved to Delaware where my Dad found a job that could provide for our family."

Biden continued the pushback at a Florida fundraiser Tuesday night, deftly slipping in a coal reference

In a Quinnipiac poll released last week, Biden is beating Trump by 11 points in Pennsylvania, but to be fair, Trump is also losing to a handful of other Democrats, too. Peter Weber

1:29 a.m.

The latest blow in the oversight fight between President Trump and Congress was former White House Counsel Don McGahn ignoring a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee, Stephen Colbert explained on Tuesday's Late Show. "They wanted to ask McGahn about the section of the Mueller report where McGahn says Trump tried to obstruct justice — and it's a large section — but last night the White House blocked McGahn from testifying to Congress. So, they don't get to ask about obstruction, because the alleged obstructer obstructed the witness to his obstructing."

House Democrats, who scolded McGahn's empty chair on Tuesday, are not happy. "But there's some good news on the obstruction front," Colbert said. On Monday, a federal judge upheld a different House subpoena for Trump's financial records from his accounting firm. "That's huge — we are finally getting his financial records, and I have a strong feeling that we're going to find out that the whole time, Eric was just a shell corporation," he joked. Trump criticized the ruling and the judge, and Colbert recapped in Trump voice: "You can't trust an Obama-appointed judge. Take it from me, a Putin-appointed president."

"Trump promised to appeal this decision — and now comes the fun part," Colbert said. "Because the case is going to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is headed by .... drumroll please ... Judge Merrick Garland." In case you forgot, he said, "Merrick Garland is the judge Obama nominated to the Supreme Court in 2016, only to have his appointment shot down by Mitch McConnell. Now that guy's court gets to rule on Trump's financial records." Ha, "payback's a Mitch," Colbert said, adding, quietly and probably correctly, "I'm sure he'll be evenhanded."

"Thankfully, one member of the Trump administration actually did show up in Congress today," Colbert said, and what we learned from HUD Secretary Ben Carson "is that in two years, he has learned nothing about this own agency." Peter Weber

1:03 a.m.

Kami Rita Sherpa makes climbing Mount Everest look easy.

The 49-year-old reached the top of the world's tallest mountain for a record 24th time on Tuesday, less than a week after he last successfully conquered the peak on May 15. Kami Rita climbed Mount Everest for the first time in 1994, and told BBC News he "actually never knew that you could make a record. Had I known, I would have made a lot more summits earlier."

Sherpas not only guide people up the mountain, but also prepare everything, from setting the route to creating ladder-bridges to fixing ropes to delivering oxygen and supplies. "In every mountain, there is a goddess," Kami Rita told BBC News. "It's our responsibility to keep the goddess happy. Months before I start an ascent I start worshiping and ask for forgiveness because I will have to put my feet on her body." He doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon, saying he wants to "keep going until I am 60 years old. With oxygen, it's no big deal." Catherine Garcia

12:13 a.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has a plan. Well, lots of plans — for breaking up big tech companies, erasing student loan debt, fighting presidential corruption, fixing military housing, making the military carbon-neutral, jailing lawbreaking corporate executives, and just about every other topic you might or might not think about. Over the weekend, comedian and Full Frontal writer Ashley Nicole Black wondered if Warren might have a plan to fix her love life. And, well...

Warren wasn't making any promises she couldn't keep, apparently.

It's not clear what kind of shape Black's love life was in, but if Warren can set it in order while doing her day job of being a U.S. senator and also running for president on the side, fixing military housing should be a snap. Peter Weber

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