September 18, 2019

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton turned a private lunch into a roast of President Trump, several attendees told Politico.

Bolton was asked to speak by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think tank, and the invitation came before he resigned (or was fired, depending on who you ask). The lunch, held Wednesday in Manhattan, was attended by billionaire Rebekah Mercer, attorney Alan Dershowitz, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, and former Fox News host John Stossel, and Bolton made it clear he thinks Trump's foreign policy is the pits, two attendees said.

Bolton took umbrage at Trump inviting the Taliban to Camp David, saying it sent a "terrible signal" and was "disrespectful" to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, as the Taliban let Osama bin Laden hide out and plan the attack in Afghanistan. He said negotiations with North Korea and Iran were "doomed to fail," and all Pyongyang and Tehran are worried about is easing sanctions so they can have a bit of economic relief. Bolton, one attendee told Politico, "ripped Trump, without using his name, several times."

Bolton is a longtime hardliner on Iran, and attendees said he mentioned several times that because Trump did not retaliate against Iran for shooting down an American drone in June, it emboldened Tehran. This, Bolton suggested, could be one of the reasons why Iran allegedly attacked Saudi oil facilities over the weekend. Read more about Bolton's criticisms, and how the audience received them, at Politico. Catherine Garcia

June 2, 2019

Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates took advantage of early front-runner former Vice President Joe Biden's absence from a California state party gathering on Saturday evening.

Biden was reportedly the only prominent candidate not in attendance, as he was campaigning in Ohio on Saturday. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of 14 candidates at the event, seemingly took a jab at the former vice president who had previously preached calm in the Democratic Party and said once President Trump is out of office, the GOP may have an "epiphany," leading them to embrace bipartisanship. "Some say if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses," Warren said. "But this country is in crisis. The time for small ideas is over." South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was less direct than Warren, but also said "the riskiest thing we can do is play it safe."

Despite the veiled Biden criticism, most of the candidates united against President Trump, agreeing that the ultimate goal is driving him out of the Oval Office, The Los Angeles Times reports. Tim O'Donnell

September 18, 2018

On his show Monday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper told viewers that while he typically ignores conspiracy theorists, he wasn't going to let an "idiotic" tweet making the rounds go without explanation.

On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a photo of Cooper in waist-deep floodwaters, with the caption: "It's a shame that CNN's ratings are down 41 percent. What's worse is there's a simple solution that they refuse to accept. Stop Lying to try to make @realDonaldTrump look bad." Other Twitter users circulated the photo, falsely claiming it showed Cooper on his knees to make it look like the water was deeper. This was dumb for a variety of reasons, including that the photo was from September 2008, when Cooper was covering Hurricane Ike in Texas.

Cooper said he's covered hurricanes for 14 years, and it "really does make me sad to think that anyone would believe I would try to fake something or overly dramatize some type of disaster." He then played several clips that proved he was in deep water, and explained that he was in the thick of things to show people how dangerous it was to go out in the water, and to also stay out of the way of emergency vehicles using the roads. "The idea that I am kneeling in water to make it look deep is frankly idiotic," he said.

As if that wasn't enough evidence, Cooper noted that a member of his crew included in the photo, veteran CNN audio tech Doug Thomas, died a year ago this month. "We miss him every day," Cooper said. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

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