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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

10 Dishes with Celebrity Chef Tim Hollingsworth
Courtesy of OtiumAfter a shift, what is your favorite guilty pleasure to eat? "Thai food. There is a place by our house that has really good Drunken Noodles with steak that has just the perfect amount of kick."

Is there one dish you won't cook? "Spaghetti Bolognese, only because it reminds me of the staff meal we would eat almost every day before service."

All-time favorite spice. "Aleppo because it has a nice mild heat level to it with a touch of sweetness."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

A Brief Global History of the War on Weed
GettyThis piece originally appeared in The MIT Press Reader



I want a Goddamn strong statement on marijuana … I mean one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them. … By God we are going to hit the marijuana thing, and I want to hit it right square in the puss. … I want to hit it, against legalizing and all that sort of thing.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

The New U.S.-Russia Space Race Has Begun (But Moscow May Be Bluffing)
Russia's space agency has approved the blueprints for the country's most powerful rocket since the 1960s space race, a 246-foot-tall monster packing 10 separate engines in five stages.

In theory, the new Yenisei rocket, named for a river in central Russia, could boost cosmonauts vast distances, allowing Russia to plan independent missions to the Moon. With Yenisei, the Russians could compete with the Americans in a new wave of space exploration. 

The idea behind the Yenisei program is to develop a rocket capable of slinging manned capsules the quarter-million miles to the Moon or to a space station orbiting the Moon. The same rocket could also carry extremely heavy satellites weighing 80 tons or more and place them in orbit around Earth.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

GOP's ‘Drug Deal' for Trump Keeps Bolton From Testifying About Him
Alex Wong/GettyHowever the Senate trial turns out, it is immensely gratifying to know that the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil Republicans were pinned in their seats for two hours and 20 minutes with only flat water, bubbly water, or milk to drink on Wednesday afternoon as House manager Adam Schiff, with the skill of a practiced trial lawyer, outlined the case against Donald John Trump. 

He may be "shifty Schiff" to Donald Trump and his allies, but any fair-minded impeachment watcher will tell you that Schiff did a masterful job detailing the building blocks of Trump's corruption with regard to Ukraine, the lies he told along the way, the cast of enablers who sought to hide the truth—and finally, the public servants who came forward to testify about what they witnessed. 

Schiff presented enough evidence to rebut the White House argument that the House managers had a weak case. He put to bed any notion of the quick dismissal GOP leader McConnell might have once envisioned. But for all the Democrats' success and skill in presenting their case, getting witnesses and documents that would totally nail Trump remain just out of reach.  

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

Casino Royale: Feds Say Chinese Drug Barons Laundered U.S. Coke Cash in Guatemalan Casinos
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastChinese coke traffickers. Latin American cartels. Millions in American cash laundered through a Guatemalan casino.

According to a wild federal criminal complaint unsealed in Virginia last week, the war on drugs is going about as well as ever. But it's still no cinch to hide the proceeds of cross-continental coke dealing.

U.S. affidavits and civil forfeiture paperwork describe two men, Xueyong Wu, an alleged Guatemala-based drug trafficker who goes by the nickname "Antonio," and Xizhi Li, a Chinese national, as alleged leaders of a drug trafficking cartel that netted millions of dollars in proceeds. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

Michael Avenatti's Lawyers Plan to Bring Up Trump, Stormy Daniels in Nike Case
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty ImagesEmbattled lawyer Michael Avenatti, who is accused of trying to extort Nike for more than $20 million, will face trial in Manhattan federal court next week—despite his lawyers' efforts to delay the criminal proceedings further.

During a hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors and defense lawyers argued over what evidence of Avenatti's debts, including millions in judgments and tax warrants, was admissible. They also sparred over the defense's plans to mention adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during opening arguments. Avenatti catapulted to fame in 2018 after representing Daniels in her legal tangles with President Trump and his fixer, Michael Cohen. He even fancied himself a Democratic presidential candidate who would defeat Trump.

But prosecutors said they wanted to keep Stormy's name (and President Trump's) out of opening remarks, which could begin late Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

‘Star Trek: Picard,' With Its Refugee Crisis and Anti-Trump Messaging, May Be the Most Political Show on TV
Trae Patton/CBSEach of the 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation began in the same way, with Patrick Stewart—now Sir Patrick Stewart—as Captain Jean-Luc Picard delivering the speech that outlines the starship Enterprise's mission: "To boldly go where no one has gone before." 

Now, more than 25 years after that series' final episode aired, Stewart, Picard, and the Enterprise are going where seemingly everybody has already gone: the TV reboot. 

There's a certain reassuring comfort in seeing Stewart back in space and once again channeling Picard, the stately Starfleet captain so noble as to make it entirely believable that he could be a moral compass for an entire galaxy, and then some. Star Trek: Picard, which debuts Thursday on CBS All Access, revives the most successful iteration of the TV franchise for the first time since a string of four The Next Generation films ended with the maligned Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

Trump's ‘Ridiculous' Impeachment Defense Could Crumble
Bloomberg/GettyRepublicans couldn't have created a more twisted trial of the president if they'd named Kafka to the defense team. 

What a bind they've put Democrats in. To fight back against White House lawyers' main objection to the House's articles of impeachment—that the officials in the room where the impeachable acts happened did not testify—Democrats have to plead for those witnesses to testify now. And that gives Donald Trump's political defense a favorite talking point: If Democrats have such a strong case (which in fact they do), than why are they spending the first two days of the trial begging for more evidence? 

Easy. While Republicans insist that there's no case without witnesses and that it's too late to call them, they neglect to mention that it's Republicans who demanded and got witnesses in Clinton's impeachment, including the president himself. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who's ripping into Democrats now for supposedly creating a "complete circus" by demanding witnesses, was a House impeachment manager then.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

The Deadly Internet Diet Drug That Cooks People Alive
Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/ Photos GettyIn 1915, French workers in factories near Avignon and Marseille were filling artillery shells with a yellow powder called 2,4-dinitrophenol, or DNP. It was World War I and the French military wanted an explosive that could pierce the sides of ships and other armor. Trinitrophenol, also known as picric acid, had been the chemical of choice, but it was very sensitive, making the shells it filled too unstable. Mixing it with DNP solved that problem.

But soon after DNP entered the factories, several munitions workers began mysteriously losing weight. They were often very sweaty. The strange trend quickly grew alarming. The employees became weak and developed intestinal pain, followed by diarrhea. Their condition worsened even after they left work. Their skin turned yellow. Their pupils contracted. They suffered from a "burning thirst," as one report later described it. And then there were the fevers—most rose to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, but many exceeded 106 F, even 109. They became confused and agitated. They fell unconscious and died within hours, rigor mortis setting in eerily fast.

One hundred years later, in London, England, Bernard Rebelo was making a small fortune online thanks to DNP. The process was simple: order bulk quantities of the chemical, now used as a fertilizer, from overseas; seal small amounts inside capsules inside his apartment in the northwest part of the city; and ship them off to whoever ordered them through the websites he'd created. A 53-pound drum of the powder cost him just $450 and earned him about $260,000, according to one report. And the money was certain

The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

Bernie Sanders Once Compared Vermont Workers to Black ‘Slaves'
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyIn recent weeks, Sen. Bernie Sanders has criticized his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination for having too much "baggage" to win the diverse coalition needed to defeat President Donald Trump in November. But as the Vermont independent tops national polls for the first time, newly unearthed baggage from his own decades-long political career could call his own past statements and judgment into question.

As the leading member of a self-described "radical political party" in the 1970s, Sanders repeatedly compared Vermont workers to enslaved black people, according to archival interviews obtained by The Daily Beast. In one 1976 conversation, Sanders told a local newspaper that the sale of a privately held mining company by its founders harkened back to "the days of slavery, when black people were sold to different owners without their consent," and compared the service economy to chattel slavery.

"Basically, today, Vermont workers remain slaves in many, many ways," Sanders said in another interview in 1977, in which he compared the burgeoning service industry in the nearly all-white state to the enslavement of African-Americans at the nation's founding. "The problem comes when we end up with an entire state of people trained to wait on other people."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 23, 2020

Samantha Bee Dunks on Trump's Defense Team: ‘A Virtual Dream Team of Rape Culture'
Early in her weekly show Wednesday night, Samantha Bee played a clip of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) telling Fox News that he thinks not calling witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial is the "right thing to do." 

"And if anyone's an expert on witnesses not talking about the crimes they saw, it's Jim Jordan," the Full Frontal host said, putting up a headline about how the congressman allegedly knew about sexual abuse at Ohio State and said nothing. 

That was a preview of what was to come later in the opening segment when Bee took a closer look at President Trump's defense team "Continuing his tradition of appointing only the best, Trump's defenders include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Jim Jordan," she said. "It's a virtual dream team of rape culture." 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Trevor Noah Goes Wild Over Rep. Hakeem Jeffries' Trump Impeachment Shout-Out to Biggie
Comedy CentralOn Tuesday night, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) dropped a lyrical bomb on the Senate floor during President Trump's impeachment trial.

In response to a query by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, Jeffries, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, responded by shouting-out Brooklyn's finest: "We are here, sir, to follow the facts, apply the law, be guided by the Constitution, and present the truth to the American people. That is why we are here, Mr. Sekulow, and if you don't know, now you know." (The line comes from the Notorious B.I.G. classic "Juicy.")

"Ohhhh! And if you don't know, now you know!" exclaimed The Daily Show's Trevor Noah on Wednesday night. "That's right! Congressman Hakeem Jeffries just quoted Biggie on the floor of Congress. The only thing I wish is that he'd used the entire line. That would have been amazing. He's like, ‘If you don't know, now you know, n*ggaaaaa!' because if that happened, Black people would have been out celebrating in the streets, it would have been MLK Day Part II."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Dems: Convict Trump or ‘Write the History of Our Decline with Our Own Hand'
Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/GettyHouse Democrats opened their case to remove President Trump from office by imploring the same Senate Republicans who have stood in lockstep with the White House that they're the only ones who can save American democracy.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House intelligence committee chairman turned lead impeachment manager, began his side's arguments with an appeal to history. He bookended his recitation of Trump's pressure campaign to suborn Ukraine into aiding his reelection with references to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin and name checked any other member of the Founding Generation—his colleague Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) later added James Madison—who could help contextualize the constitutional obligation Schiff said senators have when faced with "a man who would be a king."

It's likely the only play Schiff, Jeffries and their fellow Democratic impeachment managers have. The unyielding political reality they confront is that only with the assent of 20 Republican senators, practically a third of the entire GOP Senate conference, will Trump be removed from office. Even convincing enough of those Republican senators to vote for hearing new evidence in the trial—just four are needed—is viewed as a tall order for Democrats. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Biggie Smalls Was in the House Before the Senate
via CSPAN/YouTubeThe memory of murdered rapper Biggie Smalls was manifestly in the house—the House of Representatives—three years before it was more subtly invoked in the Senate.

Back on March 9, 2017, three representatives took separate opportunities on the House floor to make the 20th anniversary of Biggie's still unsolved slaying. 

The first two, Rep. Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands and Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York, both quoted the best-known refrain from "Juicy," the autobiographical hit song in which Biggie describes his rise from small time crack dealer to hip-hop megastar, from street life to sweet life.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Fox News Host: Trump Actually Being Impeached Because He's ‘Phenomenally Interesting'
Fox News host Greg Gutfeld on Wednesday argued that the real reason Democrats are impeaching President Donald Trump is that they are "boring people" and the president is "phenomenally interesting."

During the 5 PM hour, Fox News decided to air their highly rated conservative panel show The Five instead of sticking with live coverage of the Senate impeachment trial like CNN and MSNBC did.

Immediately, Gutfeld blasted the proceedings by saying impeachment had become "so trivial," flinging out an analogy about tattoos to make his case.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Trump's Lawyers are Lying About the Meaning of Impeachment
Oliver Douliery/GettyAs Donald Trump brags about rigging his own impeachment trial, since "Honestly, we have all the material. They don't have the material," his lawyers are lying about what impeachment is and who's doing the rigging. 

The first argument of their brief to the Senate, signed by Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, is that the impeachment lacked due process and was "rigged." Specifically, they say on page one, "the process that brought the articles here violated every precedent and every principle of fairness followed impeachment inquiries for more than 150 years."

Overall, in a 110 page brief, they make this claim on 43 pages (1, 4-8, 21-23, 37-42, 46-47, 53-54, 55-80). They say the "rigged" process justifies the White House's refusal to comply with subpoenas for documents, key officials' refusal to testify on the grounds of executive privilege, and the withholding of evidence that Trump bragged about today. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Supreme Court Poised to Overturn 38 State Constitutional Amendments on Church-State Separation
Robert Alexander/GettyReligious conservatives asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to overturn 38 state constitutional amendments and require taxpayers to fund religious schools.

You read that right. The case, Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue isn't about whether a state may fund religious schools through a school choice, voucher, or similar program. It's about whether it must.

And the conservatives might just win.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Trump Seems to Think an American Invented the Wheel
Move over, ancient Mesopotamians and Greeks. It appears that the real inventor of the wheel was none other than the Red, White and Blue.

During his Wednesday morning interview with CNBC's Joe Kernen at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Donald Trump went off on one of his trademark stream-of-consciousness rants when asked to weigh in on a number of tech and business heavyweights.

After claiming that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg personally told him he was "number one in the world on Facebook, which is "very nice," the president was then asked to comment on eccentric Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Jen, Don't Do It! Why Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt Should Never Get Back Together
Emma McIntyre/Getty Jennifer Aniston pulled off what might potentially be the best-handled run-in with an ex of all time on Sunday, when she bumped into Brad Pitt at the SAG Awards. It wasn't just any night, though—Jen had just won Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role on The Morning Show and wore a slinky white vintage Dior gown with the ease I can only muster for a night spent eating refrigerated cookie dough straight from the tube. 

Photos taken backstage at the event show that on Jen's big night, Brad was quick to remind her that he still exists, too—as hot men in Wayfarer sunglasses are known to do. (Brad also won for his work in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a film I have not seen but only men have told me is good.) 

One enterprising photographer, who I humbly believe deserves at least a spot on the Pulitzer shortlist, caught a moment that immediately went viral. In a series of images, the two are seen exchanging pleasantries, but Jen ultimately moves away from Brad. As her back is to him, the actor and his stupidly pristine bone structure stare in her direction. She may be turned, but his hand still clutches onto her wrist. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Harvey Weinstein Is a Serial ‘Rapist' With a ‘Desire to Conquest,' Prosecutors Argue
REUTERSHarvey Weinstein was a serial sexual predator who repeatedly used his "power and prestige" to prey on vulnerable young women looking to him for professional help, prosecutors said Wednesday morning during opening arguments at the movie mogul's landmark rape trial in Manhattan.

"This man, seated right here, was not just a titan in Hollywood, he was a rapist," Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast declared in New York Supreme Court as she described in graphic detail how Weinstein abused women over several decades, using his immense influence in the entertainment industry "to ensure their silence."

Weinstein, 67, faces five charges, including predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape, after allegedly performing an unwanted sex act on his former production assistant in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013. The Oscar-winner, who was also hit with sex-crime charges in Los Angeles this month, could face life in prison if convicted. He's repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual assault.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Meghan McCain Advises Hillary to Hit Bernie ‘Harder': ‘I Can't Stand Him'
A day after Hillary Clinton said "nobody likes" her 2016 Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders and suggested she may not endorse him should he be the party's 2020 pick, The View's Meghan McCain advised the ex-secretary of state to hit the senator even "harder," exclaiming that she can't "stand" him.

During Wednesday's broadcast of the long-running ABC talk show, the entire panel sided with the former first lady in her reignited feud with the Vermont senator. After liberal co-host Joy Behar noted that the criticism Clinton has received from many Democrats is an example of "how she can't win," host Whoopi Goldberg added that she was likely just mad over Sanders treating her poorly in the past.

"Maybe she's being honest and maybe she's being transparent and aren't we as a country tired of this opaqueness that we're seeing?" Sunny Hostin declared. "Aren't we tired of a lack of transparency? And Elizabeth Warren, when she went up after the debate and said, ‘Did you just call me a liar on television,' and I think that Hillary Clinton's coming out and saying, ‘You know, this happened to me too.'"

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Monty Python Founders Mourn Terry Jones: "A Wonderful Talent, Heart and Mind"
Matt Carr/GettyIt didn't take long after Terry Jones's death at the age of 77 was confirmed early Wednesday morning before the tributes began to pour in. (The comedy legend had been battling a rare form of dementia since 2015.) The founding Monty Python member was, after all, one of the most beloved and influential voices of his generation. As Jones's fellow Monty Python founder Michael Palin put it in a statement to the United Kingdom's PA News, "He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full. He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian—writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have."

Jones and Palin, along with fellow Monty Python founders Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, and Eric Idle, became some of the most influential forces in comedy after they started the surreal comedy group, which launched Monty Python's Flying Circus in 1969 on the BBC. Over the decades the Monty Python cult only grew bigger and more expansive, as the group became a worldwide phenomenon, with its name on books, films, stage shows, and more. It's no surprise, then, that upon Jones's death, fond memories

The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

George Conway Unloads on Senate Republicans: ‘They Know He's Guilty'
When conservative lawyer George Conway appeared on MSNBC during the initial impeachment hearings back in November, he criticized House Republicans' "incoherent" performance questioning witnesses. As President Trump's impeachment trial gets underway in the Senate, he was back at it Wednesday morning on CNN, denouncing Senate Republicans, Trump's lawyers and the president himself. 

Conway, who is married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, began by saying the thinks the House managers "simply out-classed" Trump's lawyers. While the Democrats were "prepared," "thoughtful," "factual," "logical" and "dignified," he said that Trump's legal team, "on the other hand, were dissembling, and distorting and even lying." 

Later, he denounced "the depths to which Trump's lawyers will go to make these deceptive arguments," adding, "I mean they're treating the American public, they're treating the Senate, like they're morons. It's just outrageous."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Coronavirus Patient Had Close Contact With 16 in Washington State
Jason Redman/GettySEATTLE—Washington State officials said they have determined the man with the first known case of Wuhan coronavirus in the United States had close contact with at least 16 people since returning from China.

But authorities said there was no reason to panic—even as Seattle residents rushed to buy face masks at drug stores and fretted about whether the bug that has killed 17 people overseas would spread across the United States.

"I would expect that at some point we're going to have more cases in the U.S.," state Health Secretary John Wiesman said, stressing that public health officials are well-equipped and trained to handle and contain outbreaks.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Face Masks Fly off Shelves in Seattle After 1st Coronavirus Case
Jason Redman/GettySEATTLE—Drug stores here were running out of anti-viral masks by closing time Tuesday after health officials confirmed the first known case of Wuhan coronavirus in the United States, a man who remained hospitalized about 30 miles north in Everett.

At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, county, state, and federal public health officials emphasized that the risk of the pneumonia-like virus to the general public remains low. But they were working to identify and notify anyone who had been in contact with the man, who likely contracted the virus while traveling alone in China.

The patient, in his 30s, returned from his trip Jan. 15 and had no symptoms upon landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Officials said he had been following news of the outbreak, though, and when he subsequently developed a suspicious cough and fever, he went to a Snohomish County clinic on Jan. 19 and told doctors about his travel history. Samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came back positive for the virus on Monday, prompting the patient's hospitalization in an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. Officials confirmed the case the following morning, followed by the afternoon press conference.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Saudi Crown Prince Appeared to Taunt Jeff Bezos Over Secret Affair Before Enquirer Exposé
REUTERS/Charles PlatiauCrown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent Jeff Bezos a photograph of woman loosely resembling the one he was having an affair with months before the National Enquirer published a report exposing the liaison, according to a United Nations investigation.

Two United Nations special rapporteurs released a statement Wednesday detailing forensic evidence linking MBS to the Bezos hack, which suggests the future king of Saudi Arabia may have been threatening the owner of The Washington Post and founder and CEO of Amazon.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night denied allegations of a politically motivated hack when it emerged that the UN was expected to formally request a response to the extraordinary claim that malware was sent from MBS' personal WhatsApp account to Bezos.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Saudi Prince Taunted Jeff Bezos Over Secret Affair Before Enquirer Exposé
REUTERS/Charles PlatiauCrown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent Jeff Bezos a photograph of woman resembling the one he was having an affair with months before the National Enquirer published a report exposing the liaison, according to a United Nations investigation.

Two United Nations special rapporteurs released a statement Wednesday detailing forensic evidence linking MBS to the Bezos hack, which suggests the future king of Saudi Arabia may have been threatening the owner of The Washington Post and founder and CEO of Amazon.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday night denied allegations of a politically motivated hack when it emerged that the UN was expected to formally request a response to the extraordinary claim that malware was sent from MBS' personal WhatsApp account to Bezos.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Tulsi Gabbard Files $50M Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton for ‘Russian Asset' Claim
Tulsi Gabbard is suing Hillary Clinton for more than $50 million in damages following Clinton's suggestion on a podcast that she was Russia's favored candidate to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

The defamation lawsuit, which was made public Wednesday morning, claims the 2016 Democratic nominee permanently damaged the Hawaii congresswoman's reputation by describing her as a "Russian asset."

Clinton made the controversial remarks on the podcast Campaign HQ With David Plouffe back in October, when she said: "I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on someone who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Guilty Thieves Explain Why They Gave Back Klimt's ‘Portrait of a Lady'
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Gustav KlimtROME—When journalist Ermanno Mariani received a phone call last week from a man purporting to be one of the thieves who stole Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of a Lady" from the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery in the Italian city of Piacenza in 1997, he was understandably skeptical. The journalist had covered the case of the missing painting for years, chasing various leads that took him from the black market of stolen masterpieces to the underworld of devil worship and sorcerers. Twice he had interviewed men he believed to be involved in the burglary, but both times he failed to prove a connection.

Mariani had all but given up on the case when the painting, worth more than $65 million, resurfaced in early December after a gardener peeled back some musty ivy from the museum wall and found it wrapped in a garbage bag and hidden in a secret alcove. The obvious question was whether it had been there the whole 23 years or had recently been stuffed into the secret compartment. The answer would soon come, but first conservationists had to confirm its authenticity. 

Mariani published a book last year about the painting's unusual past. "Portrait of a Lady" was actually a double portrait of sorts; in 1996 an art student accidentally discovered that it was actually an overpainting of Klimt's long-lost "Portrait of a Young Lady." The original painting, which is reported to have depicted a lover of the Venetian painter who died suddenly, had disappeared in 1917, the year before the new work was completed. Klimt is thought to have painted over her quickly to erase the painful memory. 



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Meghan Markle's Father Begs Daughter for a Payoff: ‘Look After Daddy'
Ben Birchall - WPA Pool / Getty ImagesIf you love The Daily Beast's royal coverage, then we hope you'll enjoy The Royalist, a members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get The Royalist in your inbox every Sunday.

Thomas Markle, Meghan Markle's father, would like you to know that he just wants to be reconciled with his daughter.

Failing that, however, he'll take a payoff, warning his daughter, "It's time to look after Daddy."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

An Anonymous Oscar Voter Reveals All: ‘1917' and ‘Joker' Will Win Big, Diversity Problems Overblown
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos GettyThe acting winners for this year's Oscars, airing Feb. 9 on ABC, are going to be as predictable as the fact that the host won't make any offensive jokes. (There is no host.) But Best Picture is still up for grabs, and so is the fact that voters might still be carrying ill will toward Netflix for disrupting the way theaters used to be the most convenient way to catch a new film.

For a take on this and some other issues—like whether J.Lo got snubbed for Hustlers, why Jojo Rabbit makes people uncomfortable, and who's to blame for the lack of diversity in some of the major categories—I tracked down a very savvy Oscar voter, whom I'll keep anonymous so they can really spout off.

Oscars had no host

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

McConnell's Brushback Is a Preview of the Impeachment Battle to Come
Cliff Owen/APTechnically, arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump haven't even started. Democrats and Republicans spent Tuesday, the first full day of Senate proceedings, doing battle over the rules that will govern the trial that is set to unfold in the coming days.

The day's significance, however, extends beyond the realm of parliamentary minutiae and dry process detail. 

The way that senators crafted and passed the rules—and the way those rules were received by the House Democrats prosecuting the case against Trump and the lawyers defending him—revealed some fundamental truths about this historic trial that could hold up until the final vote to acquit or remove the president.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

EX-CIA Lawyer: The Soleimani Hit Was a Homicide Under U.S. Criminal Law
Anadolu Agency/GettyIn bragging that he ordered a successful hit on Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, President Trump has admitted to killing a senior government official of a sovereign state, Iran, while he was traveling in another sovereign state, Iraq. On its face, his conduct and intent satisfy the elements of premeditated murder under Section 1116 of Title 18 of the United States Criminal Code, "Murder or manslaughter of foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons."

We can and must debate, and many are, whether the killing was an "assassination" or a violation of "international norms," but neither of those charges has been codified by Congress into the criminal code and thus they have no teeth. The assassination ban is found in an executive order and a president is not bound by it. As for international norms, including the adherence to long-standing principles of the ethics of just war, well, ignoring norms is Trump's calling card, and his supporters love him for it. 

The provisions of the United States Criminal Code, however, bind all persons, including presidents. They cannot be waived, and they have very sharp teeth. By ordering the drone attack killing General Soleimani, it appears that Trump committed a homicide under federal law. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

South Dakota Doctors Could Face Criminal Charges Over Prescribing Puberty Blockers for Trans Teens
Photo Illustration by The Daiy Beast / Photos GettyGetting prescribed testosterone before the age of 18 was a "very lucky" experience for Andrew C. in terms of his mental health, but that does not mean it was a simple process.

Andrew is a 17-year-old trans high schooler who lives outside of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and told The Daily Beast the many steps he had to take to be prescribed testosterone for hormone replacement therapy. First, he needed to complete eight sessions with a psychiatrist to be evaluated for a reference letter recommending HRT. Next, he had to wait around a month to get an appointment with the only endocrinologist in Sioux Falls that would prescribe testosterone to minors.

Once Andrew met with the endocrinologist he had to undergo blood-work, discuss the changes that would come from undergoing HRT and learn how to properly self-administer testosterone injections. During every step of the process, Andrew's parents needed to provide consent. From start to finish it took around six months to get a prescription for testosterone to begin medically transitioning. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

YouTube's Biggest Stars Are Begging Fans Not to Stalk Them at Home
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastKris Herzog predicts a YouTuber will be murdered in the next year or two.

Herzog, the owner of Bodyguard Group of Beverly Hills, which has protected stars like Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, and Tom Cruise, thinks that because YouTubers and social media stars bare all to the world and run around unprotected, there could be disastrous consequences.

"The one that always stuck out to me was when a crying (former YouTuber and NBC late-night host) Lilly Singh called me at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning," Herzog says. "She goes, ‘There's this guy and he is stalking me and threatening me that he's going to rape and murder me and he was just at my house, which we just rented this house, like, yesterday and he already found me.'" (Singh did not respond to requests for comment by press time.)

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

America's First Family of Bourbon: The Beams
Courtesy Beam SuntoryJames Beauregard Beam was distilling bourbon well before Prohibition, and when Prohibition ended, he was eager to do it again. At the news of Repeal, Jim Beam (as he was commonly known) turned to his son Jeremiah, his brother Park Beam and Park's two sons, Carl and Earl, and said, "boys, time for us to get back to work."

But the Beams were broke. Prohibition had not been kind to them. A family knack for success in the distilling business proved to be less than translatable to other endeavors, including a rock quarry and an orange grove. So, Jim had to scramble and find investors in Illinois to fund a new distillery. Once he got the money together, with his son and two nephews, they built a distillery in 120 days, doing a lot of the work themselves. Even though Jim was 70-years-old, he was on site every day. The new distillery opened on March 25, 1935. 

Before Prohibition, the Beam family brand had been Old Tub Bourbon Whiskey. To Jim's dismay, he learned that the rights to the name had been sold during Prohibition. Despite this setback, he was undeterred and that's when the whiskey officially became Jim Beam Bourbon. Real man; real whiskey; true story. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

This Resort Locally Sources Everything From Food to a Murder
Malcolm Jones/The Daily BeastOnce we discovered the bloodstains on the kitchen floor, things picked up considerably. 

It had already been a pleasant evening, with a catered dinner in a refurbished 19th-century mansion in the hills of northwest Georgia. The house we occupied—built by a wealthy English cotton broker Godfrey Barnsley for his Savannah bride in the 1840s—had long ago fallen into ruin and then been partially restored. Even now it lacks a roof, but it serves well as a romantic setting for receptions and wedding parties. 

The old estate is now part of Barnsley Resort, a sprawling getaway encompassing more than 3,000 acres in Adairsville, Georgia, about 60 miles outside of Atlanta, that includes golfing, horseback riding, trap shooting, hunting, boating, swimming, and fine dining. I'm sure I may have inadvertently left something off that list, but suffice to say, if you can't find some way to pass the time in this deluxe retreat, you're not trying. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

It's Time for the Democrats to Stop Playing Along and Call a Sham a Sham
Olivier Douliery/AFP via GettySince the end result is almost assuredly a foregone conclusion, the real question may be whether this looks like an  impeachment trial—or just a rushed show trial that was always rigged from the beginning.

Republicans, anxious to please their president and move on, seem hell-bent on proving the latter.

On Tuesday, every single Republican senator voted to block documents such as emails and memos that are related to impeachment but that the White House has refused to turn over.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Menendez and Graham Partner Up to Craft a New Iran Deal
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettySen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have teamed up to work on drafting potential contours for negotiations with Tehran over the country's nuclear programming and a roadmap for a new deal, according to Graham and two other congressional aides familiar with the matter.

"I've been working with Senator Menendez on this for some time," Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview last week. "We need a new way forward. And I've been trying to think of alternatives."

Graham told The Daily Beast in an interview in August that he was working with senior Trump administration officials on an alternative to the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. Part of that effort included fielding ideas from outside actors, including foreign officials. Since then, Graham has met with Menendez—although only a few times—on how to kickstart a bipartisan congressional effort to reform the administration's Iran policy.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Here's What Michael Avenatti Faces in the Jail I Once Shared With Jeffrey Epstein
Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesWhen I heard that Michael Avenatti had been placed in the Special Housing Unit, or SHU, at Metropolitan Correctional Center, or MCC, I almost became nostalgic for my old alma mater. I spent most of 2019 at MCC, bunking with Paul Manafort and spending hours one on one with Jeffrey Epstein while he was on suicide watch. But I missed meeting Michael. Basta!

Regardless, there are few people who understand exactly what Avenatti is experiencing, hardly a year after he was clashing with Trump concerning Stormy Daniels (among other issues) and talking about running for president himself. 

Thanks to my 10-month stay for tax fraud at the facility where Avenatti's lawyer says that he's huddled under three blankets in El Chapo's old cell while he awaits his trial at MCC for allegedly trying to extort $20 million from Nike, a charge he's vehemently denied, I have a pretty good idea about what Mr. Avenatti is going through. He was flown to the Manhattan prison last Friday from California, where he awaits trial on other charges, that he also vehemently denies. This all sounds par for the course. And I'm sure my ex-bunky, Paul Manafort, who blazed an eerily similar path at MCC, would concur. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Here's What Michael Avenatti Faces in the Jail I Shared With Jeffrey Epstein
Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesWhen I heard that Michael Avenatti had been placed in the Special Housing Unit, or SHU, at Metropolitan Correctional Center, or MCC, I almost became nostalgic for my old alma mater. I spent most of 2019 at MCC, bunking with Paul Manafort and spending hours one on one with Jeffrey Epstein while he was on suicide watch. But I missed meeting Michael. Basta!

Regardless, there are few people who understand exactly what Avenatti is experiencing, hardly a year after he was clashing with Trump concerning Stormy Daniels (among other issues) and talking about running for president himself. 

Thanks to my 10-month stay for tax fraud at the facility where Avenatti's lawyer says that he's huddled under three blankets in El Chapo's old cell while he awaits his trial at MCC for allegedly trying to extort $20 million from Nike, a charge he's vehemently denied, I have a pretty good idea about what Mr. Avenatti is going through. He was flown to the Manhattan prison last Friday from California, where he awaits trial on other charges, that he also vehemently denies. This all sounds par for the course. And I'm sure my ex-bunky, Paul Manafort, who blazed an eerily similar path at MCC, would concur. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

A ‘Schitt's Creek' Love Story: Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy on Playing TV's Best Siblings
Daniel Levy is known for his brunches. You could maybe guess that, if you've watched the TV creator-writer-director-actor on his show, Schitt's Creek, or read any of the profiles of him talking about the making of it. He's a man of fashion. Of conversation. Of taste. 

Annie Murphy divined all this just a few weeks after landing the biggest break of her life, playing Alexis Rose, sister to Levy's David, on the hit series, which launched its final season on Pop TV last week. Wanting to make sure Murphy felt at ease on an intimidating set that saw her acting against legends Eugene Levy—Dan's father and co-creator of the show—and Catherine O'Hara, Levy invited her to one of his brunches. 

He didn't ask her to bring anything, but she didn't want to be rude. "I made the bold decision to stop by KFC and get a bucket of chicken," she says. "Not that that's what I connect with brunch. I just thought everyone likes KFC secretly deep down." She shrugs her shoulders, not needing to defend her irrefutable statement. "So I showed up and Dan had this beautiful table set. There's blueberry ricotta pancakes and candied bacon, and I plunked down this greasy bucket."

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Bernie Bros Are Loud, Proud, and Toxic to Sanders' Campaign
SOPA Images/GettySen. Bernie Sanders has called their behavior "disgusting." Would-be supporters of the Vermont independent have cited them as the reason they can't endorse him. His campaign has even privately apologized to rivals for online pile-ons that crossed the line into open harassment.

And still, the Bernie Bro army marches on.

The internet has been perhaps the Sanders campaign's most useful tool for organizing the candidate's most fervent fans, whose ride-or-die loyalty to Sanders has long outlasted his first campaign for president.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 22, 2020

Trevor Noah Drags Hillary Clinton for Slamming Bernie Sanders: ‘This Is Not the Time to Reopen Old Wounds'
Comedy Central"Hillary Clinton is back in the news—and this time, she's coming for Bernie [Sanders]," said The Daily Show's Trevor Noah Tuesday night.

Yes, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote her upcoming 4-hour Hulu docuseries, which is bowing this week at the Sundance Film Festival, the former Secretary of State hit out at the Vermont senator's "Bernie Bro" supporters, wouldn't commit to backing him or campaigning on his behalf against Trump if he were the Dem nominee (she later said she would), and said of Sanders in the doc:

"He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it."  

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Saudi Arabia Denies It Was Behind ‘Massive' Hack of Bezos' Phone
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos GettySaudi Arabia is denying reports that Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent him a video file loaded with spyware over WhatsApp.

In a Tuesday night tweet, Saudi Arabia's U.S. Embassy said reports "that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out."

An investigation is already under way. According to multiple news outlets, the United Nations is looking into the matter and demanding answers from Saudi Arabia.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Chris Wallace Takes Kellyanne Conway to Task Over Claim Ukraine Aid Release Was ‘Coincidence'
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace took White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to task on Tuesday for earnestly arguing that it was merely a "coincidence" that President Donald Trump released aid to Ukraine after Congress learned of a whistleblower complaint.

During a break in Fox News' Tuesday evening Senate impeachment trial coverage, Wallace noted that the president held up congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine, releasing it only once it was about to be publicly known that he had pressured the country to investigate his political opponents.

"The timing is clear," the Fox anchor noted, prompting Conway to assert that Wallace was "looking at causation but it could be coincidence."

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz's Impeachment Hypocrisy
Comedy CentralOn the first day of the Senate impeachment trial, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah took a look at the "insane" legal team that President Trump put together to defend him. Not only does it include Ken Starr, who ran the investigation that led to Bill Clinton's impeachment but also Alan Dershowitz who famously defended O.J. Simpson. (Both men also defended the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.)

"These lawyers are perfect for Trump," Noah said, "because they have experience with super-guilty people and super-horny presidents."

And while Trump's defense is planning to argue that he should not be removed from office because the articles of impeachment do not constitute "criminal" acts, Dershowitz specifically argued the opposite during the Clinton trial. "It certainly doesn't have to be a crime," he said in 1999, "if you have someone who completely corrupts the office of president."

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Charles Fuller's ‘A Soldier's Play' Is a Brilliant, Searing Indictment of Racism on Broadway
Courtesy Joan MarcusA Soldier's Play

The Second World War rumbles on, overseas and unseen in Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1982. Within the play, another war on bodies and minds—still as corrosive today as it was then—plays out, as the poison of racism and oppression turns both inward and outward on a group of black soldiers.

This Roundabout Theatre Production (opening tonight to March 15 at the American Airlines Theatre), almost 40 long years since the play's creation, is also its Broadway debut: an indictment of prejudice in and of itself.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Tekashi69's Girlfriend: He Had No Choice but to Snitch
Bob Levey/GettyTekashi69's girlfriend is complaining that the rapper will have a target on his back for the rest his life for testifying against fellow gang members—and says he really didn't have any choice but to snitch.

"If you snitch, for the rest of your life people are gonna try to kill you for being a rat but if you don't snitch, you're doing 47 years in prison where they're gonna kill you anyway because they were already talking about it," Rachel Wattley, an aspiring rapper known as Jade, posted on Instagram on Tuesday.

Accompanying the post was a photo of herself with Tekashi in a white jailhouse jumpsuit, staring into the camera.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Team Biden's Been Prepping for Impeachment Smears for Months
Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesAs former Vice President Joe Biden prepares for his and his family's reputation to be dragged across the floor of the Senate, the chamber where he spent the bulk of his career, his campaign has made only minor tweaks to the plan to defend him. 

While the stage is bigger given the smears from the White House will be part of only the third impeachment trial in U.S. history, most of the campaign's disinformation infrastructure and messaging is already in place, with a few exceptions.

On Tuesday, Biden's campaign is rolling out a new digital video, first obtained by The Daily Beast, seeking to synthesize factual information into a conversational clip, titled, "What Really Happened in Ukraine." For months, Team Trump and Hill Republicans have sought to cast Biden's son, Hunter Biden, as an unscrupulous individual engaging in nefarious activity in Ukraine. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Russian-American Lobbyist of Trump Tower Meeting Fame Forms His Own ‘Anti-Defamation League'
Alex Wong/GettyA Russian-American dual citizen who found himself at the center of allegations of Kremlin meddling in the 2016 presidential election has established a new nonprofit to combat the political vilification of his erstwhile countrymen.

Rinat Akmetshin is a Washington-based lobbyist and former Soviet military officer whose 2016 meeting with Trump campaign hands including the president's son and son-in-law was major subject of interest for investigators into Russian election meddling. Last week, he officially incorporated the nonprofit Russian-American Anti-Defamation League, according to District of Columbia corporate records.

The nonprofit's specific plans weren't immediately clear. Neither Akhmetshin nor his attorney responded to requests for comment. But the group's formation comes as Akhmetshin tries to sustain legal action against a prominent Kremlin critic who dubbed him a Russian spy, allegations that caught fire after Akhmetshin's June 2016 meeting with top Trump campaign aides came to light the following year.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

The Best Countertop Compost Bins to Turn Your Kitchen Into an Eco-Friendly Space
Composting is an easy way to integrate sustainability into your everyday routine. You're already going to throw away those food scraps. Why not but them to good use? If you're trying to figure out how to compost at home, a compost bin that you can fit on your kitchen counter is the best first step. Most cities towns have places to drop off your compost, so you're not doing all the heavy lifting either. These are the best compost bin options that actually will actually look good on your kitchen counter.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Robert Downey Jr.: ‘90 Percent of My Black Friends' Loved the Blackface in ‘Tropic Thunder'
RGR Collection / Alamy Stock PhotoRobert Downey Jr.'s post-Marvel career is already off to an interesting start. First, the erstwhile Iron Man chose to lend his trademark snark to the bananas, ill-fated Dolittle, which starred the actor alongside a menagerie of cheerful talking animals. And then, while promoting said children's movie, Downey Jr. appeared on every grade schooler's favorite program, The Joe Rogan Experience. There, the actor and podcaster discussed an old role of Downey's: Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder, a character that sparked controversy by having a "pigmentation alteration" procedure as he prepared to play a black character. Downey seemed aware that he was tackling a dicey subject—but his solution appeared to be to talk a lot without saying much of anything.

"I think Sean Penn had passed on it or something like that—possibly wisely," Downey, as first reported by Indiewire, said of when Ben Stiller first approached him for the role in the 2008 film. "And I thought, ‘Yeah… I'll do that after Iron Man.' And then I started thinking, ‘This is a terrible idea; wait a minute.'" But then came an epiphany: "Then I thought, ‘Well hold on dude, get real here, where is your heart? And my heart is, a), I get to be black for a summer in my mind, so there's something in it for me. The other

The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Homeless Oakland Moms Cut Deal to Buy House They Squatted In
Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty ImagesA group of homeless mothers evicted and arrested after squatting in an empty Oakland residence have reached an agreement to buy the home in a radical conclusion to a struggle that shone a renewed spotlight on the Bay Area's dire housing shortage. 

The women, known collectively as Moms 4 Housing, occupied a house in West Oakland from November until Alameda County Sheriff's deputies removed them in a pre-dawn raid on January 14. Cops also arrested two of the women, along with two men on the scene. Around the same time as that eviction raid, hundreds of supporters gathered at the house to express solidarity with the mothers' rallying cry of "housing is a human right."

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Moms 4 Housing announced that the women—who were released from jail last week—reached an agreement to purchase the property from its owner with the help of a local nonprofit, Oakland Community Land Trust. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

First U.S. Case of Deadly Wuhan Coronavirus Reported in Washington State, CDC Says
Kevin C. Cox/GettyThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed the first U.S. case of coronavirus, a respiratory infection first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan that has killed at least six and made hundreds sick.

According to Nancy Messonnier, the CDC's national immunization and respiratory disease director, the patient is a man in his 30s who is being treated in Snohomish County, Washington, north of Seattle.

The man reportedly traveled to the U.S. from Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. Officials believe the outbreak began in a seafood and poultry market in the city, but the agency said the man has no connection to the market.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

McConnell Redraws His Impeachment ‘Roadmap' on Day One
Joshua Roberts/ReutersThe impeachment trial of President Trump began in earnest on Tuesday—and the historic proceedings kicked off not with opening arguments in the case but with a bitter fight over the rules that will govern the process. 

After weeks of private negotiations and public squabbling with Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced his proposed rules for the trial on Monday night that, among other things, offered each side up to 24 hours of argument spread over the course of just two days each, stipulated that a vote was needed to enter the House's body of evidence into the record, and mandated that additional witnesses and evidence could be voted upon only after the opposing sides finished outlining their cases. 

"This is the fair roadmap for our trial," McConnell said in his opening remarks on Tuesday, explaining they were modeled after those adopted by the Senate during the President Bill Clinton impeachment trial. "Fair is fair, the process was good enough for President Clinton and basic fairness dictates that it ought to be good enough for this president as well." 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Senate Impeachment Trial Begins With Fight Over Rules
Joshua Roberts/ReutersThe impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began in earnest on Tuesday—and the historic proceedings kicked off not with opening arguments in the case but with a bitter fight over the rules that will govern the process. 

After weeks of private negotiations and public squabbling with Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unveiled his proposed rules for the trial on Monday night, teeing up a vote in the full Senate to approve them late Tuesday night. 

"This is the fair roadmap for our trial," McConnell said in his opening remarks, explaining they were modeled after those adopted by the Senate during the President Bill Clinton impeachment trial. "Fair is fair, the process was good enough for President Clinton and basic fairness dictates that it ought to be good enough for this president as well."

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

China's Deadly Coronavirus Cover-Up Is Getting Worse
GettyHONG KONG—A new virus is sweeping through eastern and central China. It gives people a fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. So far, according to official statistics, six have died and nearly 300 have been confirmed to be infected, but estimates of infections run much higher, in the thousands. Medical professionals who were tending to patients have themselves fallen ill. 

There are confirmed cases in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea; other nations and territories have designed response plans or even quarantines. 

So, nations and territories across East and Southeast Asia are on alert, but things in China, the government wants you to believe, are just fine.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

China's Deadly Coronavirus Cover-Up Is Getting Worse as First Case Hits U.S.
GettyHONG KONG—A new virus is sweeping through eastern and central China. It gives people a fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath, and fluid in the lungs. So far, according to official statistics, six have died and nearly 300 have been confirmed to be infected, but estimates of infections run much higher, in the thousands. Medical professionals who were tending to patients have themselves fallen ill. 

There are confirmed cases in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea—and now the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on Tuesday that it had identified a first case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the state of Washington. The United States and other nations and territories have been preparing response plans, even quarantines, for weeks. This in response to "growing indications that limited person-to-person spread is happening," said a statement from the CDC. "It's unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people. ... This is a rapidly evolving situation."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Meghan McCain Rages Against New York Times: It's a ‘Garbage Publication'
Days after railing against the New York Times for publishing an opinion piece that was critical of her, The View's Meghan McCain on Tuesday claimed that the newspaper was nothing more than a "garbage publication" after it decided to endorse both Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

Over the weekend, the Times drew eye-rolls and criticism for issuing the controversial dual endorsement, prompting the paper's editors to take to cable news to defend the decision. 

During Tuesday's broadcast of the ABC talk show, meanwhile, McCain piggybacked on the mockery the paper's received for the endorsements.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Glenn Greenwald Speaks: Bolsonaro Is Trying to Silence Me
REUTERSFamed journalist Glenn Greenwald on Tuesday reacted to the news that the Brazilian government has charged him with "cybercrimes" by railing against President Jair Bolsonaro's regime and its attempts to silence the press.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday morning that Brazilian prosecutors alleged that Greenwald was part of a "criminal organization" that hacked into the cellphones of public officials and prosecutors. In multiple stories for The Intercept, which he co-founded, Greenwald published some of those leaked embarrassing messages and, per a criminal complaint, damaged the reputation of an anti-corruption task force.

"The Bolsonaro government and the movement that supports it has made repeatedly clear that it does not believe in basic press freedoms—from Bolsonaro's threats against Folha to his attacks on journalists that have incited violence to Sergio Moro's threats from the start to classify us as ‘allies of the hackers' for revealing his corruption," Greenwald said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Monarch Butterfly Activist Missing in Mexican Cartel Country
ENRIQUE CASTRO/AFP via Getty ImagesA week after one of Mexico's foremost experts on monarch butterflies mysteriously vanished, a local human-rights organization is urging authorities to investigate, suggesting the case may be linked to illegal logging.

Homero Gomez, a 50-year-old agricultural engineer who manages the El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacan, was last seen Jan. 13 while attending a meeting in a neighboring town, the attorney general of the State of Michoacá said. Authorities say the next morning, messages promoting El Rosario were sent from his cellphone to all of his contacts.

His family reported him missing that afternoon after his phone went silent, authorities said. The Human Rights State Commission of Michoacan has also asked the attorney general's office to determine if Gomez's disappearance is linked to his activism against logging. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Public Relations Maven Compares Bad Press Over Her Jeffrey Epstein Ties to the Holocaust
Charley Gallay/GettyPublic relations powerhouse Peggy Siegal, whose ties to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein have made her a pariah, compared negative press coverage to the Holocaust and being sent to a concentration camp.

The former A-lister is one of many high-profile Manhattanites accused of welcoming multimillionaire Epstein with open arms after he was convicted of sex crimes in 2008. Siegal has admitted inviting Epstein to several of her high-society events, exchanging favors with him and hosting a dinner at his home, though she says he was never a client.

After Epstein's arrest on sex-trafficking charges this summer, The New York Times ran an article calling Siegal one of the "social guarantors" who allowed him to seep back into public life. In a Vanity Fair profile published Monday, she compared the negative publicity to "what it'd be like to go to your own funeral. Or to be a casualty of war. I mean, if I had been in Nazi Germany, it could not have been worse."

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Northeastern College Student Deported to Iran Despite Judge's Order
Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesThe attorneys for a 24-year-old Iranian national and Northeastern University student who inspired protests at Boston Logan International Airport over the weekend said their client was deported late Monday in spite of a federal court order.

Shahab Dehghani was detained Sunday night at about 5 p.m. when he arrived to study economics at the private school on a valid F1 student visa. He was held for secondary questioning by federal agents, and more than 100 people reportedly came out to demonstrate on his behalf outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) area of the airport for at least three hours on Monday. Protesters chanted "let Shahab in," "do the right thing," "stop deporting students," and "let him in!"

Dehghani was ordered removed from the U.S. without his having access to a lawyer, WBUR reported, but his attorneys, Susan Church and Kerry Doyle, filed an emergency federal petition on his behalf Monday night. The filing claimed CBP agents violated Dehghani's rights when they detained him at the airport in the first pla

The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Geraldo Rivera: Donald Trump Is a ‘Civil-Rights Leader'
Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday insisted that President Donald Trump is a "civil-rights leader," pointing to low African-American unemployment to make his case.

The morning after Martin Luther King Day, the former Celebrity Apprentice star reacted to Trump's arrival at the economic summit in Davos, telling the hosts of Fox & Friends that he feels "awful" for the president because he's dealing with impeachment during his trip.

"This is an economic summit, the American economy is the envy of the world," he declared. "I call him, to great controversy, a civil-rights leader, especially yesterday on Martin Luther King Day."

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Hillary: Bernie Is Just a Career Politician and ‘Nobody Likes Him'
REUTERSHillary Clinton has taken herself off the sidelines in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination with a brutal condemnation of Sen. Bernie Sanders, his campaign team, and his supporters.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter to promote the upcoming Hulu documentary, Hillary, Clinton made it absolutely clear she wants Sanders nowhere near the 2020 nomination. She accused him and his team of relentlessly attacking Democratic women, and threw her support behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren who has faced abuse for claiming Sanders told her that a woman couldn't win the election during a private meeting.

The Hollywood Reporter interviewer read back a quote to Clinton from the Hulu documentary which is a full-throttled attack on Sanders. Clinton is quoted as saying: "[Sanders] was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it."

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Hillary: Bernie Sanders Is Just a Career Politician and ‘Nobody Likes Him'
REUTERSHillary Clinton has taken herself off the sidelines of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination with a brutal condemnation of Sen. Bernie Sanders, his campaign team, and his supporters.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote the upcoming Hulu documentary, Hillary, Clinton laid into her 2016 Democratic primary rival who she has previously accused of contributing to her eventual election defeat to Donald Trump. Clinton said Sanders and his team have relentlessly attacked Democratic women, and she threw her support behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has faced abuse for claiming Sanders told her during a private meeting that a woman couldn't win the election.

Clinton's stinging attack came the day after Sanders was forced to apologize to former Vice President Joe Biden because his campaign had promoted an overzealous op-ed by one of his surrogates accusing Biden of having a "big corruption problem."



The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Photographers Capture Prince Harry Arriving in Canada—He'd Better Get Used to It
Chris JacksonIf you love The Daily Beast's royal coverage, then we hope you'll enjoy The Royalist, a members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get The Royalist in your inbox every Sunday.

Prince Harry landed in Canada in the early hours of Tuesday morning to begin his new life as a private citizen.

Photographs of the Prince changing planes at Vancouver airport, casually clad in a puffer jacket and beanie hat, appeared on the Daily Mail website, while pictures of Meghan walking her two dogs and carrying baby Archie in a chest harness appeared on the front page of the Sun Tuesday.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

The JFK Mistress Gunned Down in Cold Blood
GettyPeople who knew her could never forget her. And people who have read about her since her murder have been haunted by her story, which lies at the heart of America's ultimate undying narrative of romance and conspiracy. 

The death of Mary Pinchot Meyer is linked forever to that of President John F. Kennedy, for whom she was one lover among many, but not like the others. And when she was killed on the towpath of what was then a derelict canal at the edge of the nation's capital in October 1964—a shot in the head and a shot next to the heart—11 months after Kennedy was murdered, her story quickly folded into his as a tragic subplot. 

Was her killing a random coincidence, or one more fatal element in a vast conspiracy that stretched from the Grassy Knoll in Dallas to the overgrown edge of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in D.C.? She supposedly had smoked dope with the President, perhaps even dropped acid with him (she was friends with LSD guru Timothy Leary), and she may have learned of JFK's alleged plans to thwart the military-industrial complex. She may even have encouraged them. After Kennedy's death, was she killed to tie up loose ends?

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

McConnell Impeach Plan: Run Like Hell, Pray for No Surprises
The vision that Senate Republican leaders have for the impeachment trial of President Trump, which is set to begin on Tuesday, is simple: a sprint that briskly checks the required procedural boxes before arriving, business-like, at the end result—an acquittal of the president. 

The vision that Trump himself has for the impeachment trial of President Trump, however, may be different. He has approached the trial that will decide the fate of his presidency as a scorched-earth battle to vindicate himself and a zero-sum loyalty test for congressional Republicans. 

His trial team, announced last week, reflects that combative mindset. Between Kenneth Starr—the architect of President Clinton's impeachment 20 years ago—and Alan Dershowitz, the celebrity attorney and former Clinton backer turned Trump defender, what is effectively a Fox News panel will be guiding Trump's defense in a trial before 100 U.S. senators and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

How Comedian Fortune Feimster Became the Gay Representation She Needed in the World
Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily BeastSubscribe to The Last Laugh on Apple Podcasts

"This is the first time I've ever put out something that's just me," Fortune Feimster says proudly on this week's episode of The Last Laugh podcast. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Meet the General Who Ran Soleimani's Spies, Guns and Assassins
Photo Illustration by The Daily BeastThey're the Quds Force officers who tracked and killed Iraqis working with the U.S.-led coalition, hunted those deemed hostile to Iranian influence through a council of assassins, and smuggled the spies, money, weapons, and secrets into Iraq that sowed chaos across the country during the American occupation. 

Qassem Soleimani first gained the attention of Western media through his role in instigating a campaign of covert violence against the U.S. in Iraq which cost the lives of over 600 American troops. But underneath the now famous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps icon, other officers managed the war that first made Soleimani notorious. 

For a period during the mid-2000s, one of those officers was Brigadier General Ahmed Foruzandeh, who rose to command the Ramazan Corps, part of the Guard's elite Quds Force, after cutting his teeth in the unit running guerrilla warfare operations during the Iran-Iraq war.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Unusual, Rustic Island Paradise
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty/AlamyWhen news broke that Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and baby Archie had escaped the public eye to find shelter on Vancouver Island, I, like most people who have spent a lot of time there, raised an eyebrow. Exotic it is, but it is hardly the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of a royal getaway. I've been to the island dozens of times to visit in-laws, and I can attest that, even in the summer, the weather is gray and the water is always cold. And the unusually snowy 2020 so far has no doubt baptized the couple to what Canadian winters can be like. Even though Prince Harry said baby Archie thought it was "bloody brilliant," it's likely he enjoyed it through double glazed windows beside a roaring fire. 

The very British city of Victoria, near where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex found refuge in a $15 million mansion owned by the country club where I rather coincidentally had my wedding reception nearly two decades ago, is a mishmash of colonial chic with double decker buses, British flags along the streets, and proper tea rooms. The Empress Hotel is the jewel of the city and as luxurious as it gets, but the city is cozy, not cosmopolitan, and certainly nothing close to the same level of sophistication as London. 

And the place is hard to get to. It is reachable from the mainland by private jet for royalty, but most people have little option but  a two-plus hour ferry, a white knuckle float plane or commuter cigar-plane service from the larger Canadian cities. 

Read more at The Da

The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

How Gay Parent Richie Jackson Confronted a Family Trump Problem—and Raised His Gay Son With Pride
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyThere Donald Trump sat with Melania, right in the front at Richie Jackson's wedding to his husband, Jordan Roth, in 2012. And the presence of now-President Trump is just as imposing within Gay Like Me (Harper, $24.99), a book Richie has written for his gay son Jackson.

Richie is 54 and Jackson 19, father and son both gay from very different gay generations. Richie, a TV producer most famous for helming Nurse Jackie, wanted to write something meaningful to Jackson as he prepared to leave home to attend New York University. This was intended to prepare him for the world his son was about to enter as a gay man growing up in the Trump era: its pleasures, pitfalls, and its tumultuous politics.

"I had one shot," Richie told The Daily Beast. "Jackson was moving out. I had to tell him everything. This is the book I didn't have that I wished I had."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

How Trump's Impeachment Changes Dems' Final Sprint in Iowa
At 1 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, every senator participating in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will be commanded by the Senate sergeant-at-arms "to keep silent upon pain of imprisonment."

But for the four senators who also happen to be running to replace Trump as president, silence will feel a little like imprisonment.

With the Iowa caucuses less than two weeks away, the sudden removal of four Democratic presidential hopefuls from the field—including three of the five highest-polling candidates—presents an unprecedented challenge for campaigns desperate to prove their staying power in the early states.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Republican Senators May Save Trump, but Trump has Already F*cked Them
For all his cognitive deficits, blistering ignorance, and unsubtle grifting, Donald Trump excels in one area: spectacle. No Democrat on the political scene can rival him in the creation of monstrous shitshows, cringetastophies, and dear-God-is-it-time-for-Dad-to-go-to-managed-care moments of pure Gantryesque spectacle. 

All of the cultural divides, political tribalism, and ideologically segregated media silos that made Trumpism possible are now converging in a fast-approaching singular moment of political danger for this nation, when a handful of senators will be required to make the most fateful decision of their lives. 

They will almost certainly fail that test, and the nation—the rigged rules that Mitch McConnell introduced on Monday eliminated any remaining doubt about that. Yet Democrats, as they so often do, believe this trial against Trump will be waged and won on facts, reason, honor, and the power of institutions to hold the line against corruption, criminality, and chaos. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Stephen Colbert Spends MLK Day Mocking Melania Trump: She Wants to Be ‘Free at Last'
Scott Kowalchyk/CBSBefore grilling billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer over effectively buying his way onto the debate stage, The Late Show's Stephen Colbert addressed the most important news of the day in his monologue.

"Let's start off the evening on a positive note: Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A beautiful day to celebrate, a beautiful message to remember," he announced.

Then, the late-night comic pivoted to first lady Melania Trump's MLK Day tweet honoring the late civil rights hero.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 21, 2020

Stephen Colbert Grills Billionaire Dem Tom Steyer: ‘Money Is a Problem in Our Politics'
Scott Kowalchyk/CBSOn Monday night, Stephen Colbert spent his MLK Day sitting across from Tom Steyer on The Late Show.

To kick things off, the comedian asked the billionaire Democratic candidate for president about the much-ballyhooed moment during the last Dem debate, when he took it upon himself to interrupt Elizabeth Warren's confronting of Bernie Sanders.

"Number one, everyone's talking about the debate moment last week between Sanders and Warren. And you're part of this too," offered Colbert. "Did you not…I know you're no part of that argument but obviously you've never been a waiter, because you've got to read the room! How are you gonna negotiate Middle East peace if you can't tell that two people were fighting?"

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Mitch McConnell's Impeachment Rules are a Sham, and Donald Trump Attorney Ken Starr Knows It
During the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Ken Starr, one of the major new additions to Donald Trump's legal team, argued that a president under investigation for criminal conduct must not be permitted to use governmental authority to embargo witnesses or hide the evidence against him. Starr's arguments before Congress as a prosecutor decades ago apply directly to the upcoming Senate trial of Donald Trump, and the assiduous efforts of Mitch McConnell and his fellow GOP Senators to engineer a sham trial.

Start with McConnell, who for weeks has insisted that the Senate will "exactly" follow the procedures employed during the trial of Bill Clinton. Under those rules, the Senate formally admitted into evidence the entirety of the extremely comprehensive record assembled by Starr's team, and then decided whether to call additional witnesses after the parties presented their opening arguments and answered questions from the legislators. 

Given that Trump has schemed to withhold potentially key witnesses and evidence, leaving the record far from complete, following the "Clinton Rules" in the Trump case makes little sense. Furthermore, on the eve of the trial Monday, McConnell laid out his proposed rules, which do not follow a key provision of the Clinton procedures. Instead of automatically admitting the House's materials into evidence,

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

How Trump Twisted Iran Intel to Manufacture the ‘Four Embassies' Threat
When President Donald Trump publicly claimed earlier this month that he had seen intel showing Iran's now-deceased top military leader Qassem Soleimani was plotting attacks on "four [American] embassies," senior officials in Trump's national-security apparatus shook their heads. They weren't sure exactly why the president leaned on that particular talking point, and scrambled in the following days to formulate answers to a barrage of questions from the media on exactly what the president had meant. Other officials wondered aloud whether the president had misrepresented the intelligence. 

"There were definitely questions [at the time, internally] about whether he had just made it up on the spot," recalled one White House official.

It turns out Trump—technically—didn't get his eyebrow-raising claim out of nowhere, The Daily Beast has learned. According to three sources familiar with the matter, the president had simply seized on a small part of what he'd heard in private briefings, exaggerated that aspect of the intelligence, then began sharing the inflated intel to the American public during his post-Soleimani victory lap. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

What the New York Times Got Wrong About Bernie Sanders
Mark Kauzlarich/ReutersThe New York Times editorial board's decision on Sunday to hand out dual endorsements—to Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar—was notable not just for its indecisive nature but also for the reasons offered in declining to support others in the Democratic field.

The Times was kind in its non-endorsement of Joe Biden, stating merely that his recipe for political restoration was not enough to address our current malodies. The paper's take on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was much harsher but also—inexplicably—ill-informed.  

Sanders, the editorial board wrote, was an "over-promising, divisive figure" akin to the man he was seeking to replace: Donald Trump. "He boasts that compromise is anathema to him," the explanation went. "Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested and divisive."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Kellyanne Conway Claims Martin Luther King Would Be Against Trump Impeachment
Win McNameeKellyanne Conway on Monday responded to a question on how the president is observing Martin Luther King Day by claiming the civil-rights leader would oppose the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

During a press gathering at the White House, NBC News correspondent Geoff Bennett asked the senior Trump aide how the president was observing Martin Luther King Day, prompting Conway to first note that Trump was preparing for his trip to Davos before saying the president "agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for."

From there, it only got more bizarre.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Armed Militias, Activists, and Alex Jones Converge on Richmond for Pro-Gun Rally
Zach GibsonRICHMOND, Va.—Thousands of gun activists, many of them heavily armed and in full military gear, rallied around Virginia's heavily secured state capitol complex on Monday to protest new gun-control proposals—amid a four-day state of emergency declared by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

Thousands of people entered the security perimeter around the state capitol, where Northam had banned guns in an executive order, fearing violence. But thousands of others rallied on nearby streets that didn't fall under the emergency order, many of them carrying assault rifles and wearing tactical gear. Members of the Three Percenter and Oath Keepers militias marched in the streets with their weapons, while other rally-goers cheered one man carrying a large sniper rifle with an orange "Guns Save Lives" sticker affixed to its magazine.

The rally drew a number of fringe right-wing figures, including members of the all-male Proud Boys, and Joey Gibson, a right-wing personality in the Pacific Northwest who faces a riot charge in Portland.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Brad Pitt Mocks Marriage to Angelina Jolie At SAG Awards and Dances With His Other Ex, Jennifer Aniston
InstagramBrad Pitt brought the house down at the SAG awards with a droll jibe at his ex-wife Angelina Jolie before hitting the dance floor with his other ex, Jennifer Aniston. The two were spotted locking eyes and linking hands in scenes that have Hollywood convinced there is still plenty of residual chemistry between the two.

The prospect of a reunion between the couple remains catnip not just to their fans but even the most casual consumer of Hollywood gossip; they were once America's sweethearts, married for five years, before Pitt had an affair with Jolie on the set of their comedy Mr and Mrs Smith. Jolie and Pitt then poised for an iconic set of "Happy Family" pictures in W magazine. Pitt was subsequently married to Jolie for six years before a poisonous break-up, in which Jolie accused him of being a drug addict; Pitt subsequently admitted himself to rehab programmes.

In his acceptance award for his part in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, in which he plays a pot-smoking stuntman who shoots his shrewish wife with a crossbow (a plot point not without its critics), and has a scene which involves him fixing a TV aerial while shirtless, Pitt said: "It was a difficult part, a guy who takes his shirt off, gets high and doesn't get on with his wife. It was a big stretch, big."

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

My Workout Diary: Marcus Samuelsson
Courtesy Marcus Samuelsson GroupOn the new season of Marcus Samuelsson's PBS show No Passport Required, which begins airing tonight, he travels across the United States visiting chefs, cooking and, of course, eating. But I'm used to seeing him in a much more local setting: Central Park. I've crossed paths with the James Beard Award-winning chef a few times, running the loop in the park. He lives nearby in Harlem, which is also home to his signature restaurant the Red Rooster. These days, Samuelsson seems to be everywhere with restaurants in JFK airport, Madison Square Garden and in Newark as well as his annual food festival Harlem EatUp!. And that's not to mention, his recurring role as a judge on the hit Food Network show Chopped. His empire extends around the globe, with a number of establishments and his latest venture, Red Rooster Overtown, opens next month in Miami.

I asked him to keep a workout diary for me as he prepared for the debut of the second season of No Passport Required. Read on for his diary.

I ran outside in my local park. I noticed the weather has gone back and forth, temperature-wise, and it felt like spring. Looking around, people had shorts and short sleeves on. It's very surreal to see this in January, in the middle of winter. I'm still dressed for January. The park was packed between chess players, people doing outdoor gym workouts, and there's live music playing from speakers. I usually don't have time for post workout snacks, because I'm out the door between 8 AM and 9 AM. If I eat before, I'll have rye bread and avocado or fresh fruit.



The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Inside the Religious Death Cult That Massacred Seven in Panama
Arnulfo Franco/APCALI, Colombia—At first glance, the story looks almost too twisted to be true, like some Heart of Darkness spin-off for the post-post-colonial age.

Joseph Conrad himself couldn't have dreamed up an episode more gruesome and vile than the one Panamanian police stumbled onto last Tuesday, deep within a semi-autonomous indigenous comarca (district) of the Ngäbe-Buglé people. Authorities had been alerted by a handful of villagers who turned up at a hospital outside the comarca showing signs of violent beatings, their mouths and tongues roasted with burning sticks, telling tales as best they could of strange rituals going on in the jungle.

So the cops were prepared to find something bad out there in the selva, District Prosecutor Rafael Baloyes told local journalists. They just didn't know how bad it would be.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

A Very Trumpy Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Features A Pro-Gun Rally in Richmond
As we celebrate another Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday, I find myself asking some hard questions about where we are in America relative to Dr. King's dream for America.

Last Friday, in a stunning Washington Post poll of African-Americans, the data showed that eight in 10 black citizens feel pessimistic about America. Worse, they believe Donald J. Trump to be a racist. Stop for a moment and think about how sad it is that a significant population of American citizens believe their president to be racist. If this is true, we are clearly not making the progress that I think we all hoped for after Barack Obama's presidency. And the question is why?

As we reflect on the legacy of Dr. King, we should, not just as African-Americans, but as all Americans, re-read his words from the "I have a Dream Speech" in August 1963:

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

‘The Assistant': The #MeToo Film That Has Hollywood Worried
Courtesy of Forensic FilmsI wouldn't call writer-director Kitty Green's The Assistant, hitting theaters Jan. 31, a strictly #MeToo era film. Of course, the plot obviously has much to do with the Harvey Weinstein reckoning (with a trial that is currently underway), as well as the larger conversation around gendered abuses of power in public and professional spheres. But more specifically, this is a film about the U.S. film industry's failure to support workers' rights—especially those of workers who are part of historically marginalized communities. Of course, the right to not be abused—sexually, emotionally, or otherwise—at work should always be at the center of these conversations. But for years and years, the film industry, from the production assistants (in offices and on set) to leading talent, has refused to take the conditions of its most junior employees seriously; the rub is that many of the employees who have managed to climb the ranks are in some way complicit in aiding the abuse.

The Assistant follows, with close-ups and a patient yet eerily still camera, recent Northwestern graduate and aspiring film producer Jane (Julia Garner), who has been working as an assistant to a high-powered film producer for five weeks. As the most junior assistant of three—the other two assistants are men—she must be the first to arrive, in the cold darkness of a New York winter, and the last to leave. She also works weekends. Jane lives in an apartment in a small old building in Astoria, and we first see her, well before

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

The One Percenters Always Helped Rule America. They Weren't Always So Self-Serving.
Although "taxation without representation" was the buzz phrase of the American colonies' rebellion, the first Continental Congress in 1774 was highly unrepresentative, made up almost exclusively of the very wealthy — men who were between 10 and 20 times as rich as the average American, and whose wealth was inherited. 

The exceptions were two leading firebrands, Samuel Adams of Massachusetts and Patrick Henry of Virginia. Knowing of Adams' impoverished state, the Boston Sons of Liberty commissioned for him a special suit with gold knee buckles, so that he would not appear to his fellow delegates as too poor and therefore have his ideas dismissed. As for Henry, the other delegates compared his outfit to that of a threadbare rural minister and refused to put him on the important committees. 

As I explain in my new book, The Founding Fortunes: How the Wealthy Paid For and Profited From America's Revolution, that first Congress's rich delegates, and their successors to Continental Congresses throughout the Revolutionary War, frequently acted as though they represented not only their wealthy constituents but also the vast majority of their neighbors who were much poorer. These Congresses did feature some self-dealing by delegates in contracts to supply the armed forces; that was tolerated because these merchant-delegates were the only purveyors with the resources and the credit to advance for the cause. The same delegates did look out for the poor by agreeing to pri

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

The Good Christians Behind Willie Nash's Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Mississippi
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyBrian K. Burns was sworn in as a Mississippi Circuit Court judge in early January, one of the last appointments made by outgoing hardline Republican Governor Phil Bryant. 

Before becoming a judge, Burns had prosecuted just 11 cases in the entirety of his legal career, leading fellow attorneys from his district to register "grave concerns about Burns's lack of trial experience," according to his hometown newspaper. In one of those cases, he'd succeeded in sending an African-American man to jail for 12 years merely for possessing a cellphone in a local jail—a sentence so extreme that Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Leslie King wrote that it "seems to demonstrate a failure of our criminal justice system on multiple levels." 

The defendant, Willie Nash, is a 39-year-old father of three currently serving his decade-plus sentence in one of Mississippi's worst prisons. By any reasonable reading of the trial court record, Nash's real crime seems to have been a lack of detailed knowledge about Mississippi's lengthy list of codes and statutes. While in the custody of the Newton County jail after a misdemeanor arrest in August 2017, Nash asked a guard to charge his cellphone. The officer's testimony later affirmed that Nash handed over his smartphone "voluntarily," as if he "wasn't trying to hide anything," and even "said thank you"—unlikely behavior for someone knowingly committing a felony—before also providing his phone's passcode. Officers later discovered, according to court records, that Nash's last outgoing text had been to his wife,

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Twisted Christians Sentenced a Man to 12 Years in Prison Over a Cell Phone Charge in Mississippi
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyBrian K. Burns was sworn in as a Mississippi Circuit Court judge in early January, one of the last appointments made by outgoing hardline Republican Governor Phil Bryant. 

Before becoming a judge, Burns had prosecuted just 11 cases in the entirety of his legal career, leading fellow attorneys from his district to register "grave concerns about Burns's lack of trial experience," according to his hometown newspaper. In one of those cases, he'd succeeded in sending an African-American man to jail for 12 years merely for possessing a cellphone in a local jail—a sentence so extreme that Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Leslie King wrote that it "seems to demonstrate a failure of our criminal justice system on multiple levels." 

The defendant, Willie Nash, is a 39-year-old father of three currently serving his decade-plus sentence in one of Mississippi's worst prisons. By any reasonable reading of the trial court record, Nash's real crime seems to have been a lack of detailed knowledge about Mississippi's lengthy list of codes and statutes. While in the custody of the Newton County jail after a misdemeanor arrest in August 2017, Nash asked a guard to charge his cellphone. The officer's testimony later affirmed that Nash handed over his smartphone "voluntarily," as if he "wasn't trying to hide anything," and even "said thank you"—unlikely behavior for someone knowingly committing a felony—before also providing his phone's passcode. Officers later discovered, according to court records, that Nash's last outgoing text had been to his wife,

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Did This Notorious Internet Troll Dupe Baseball Players Into Believing a New Astros Conspiracy?
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIt's been a lousy week for the Houston Astros.

They were busted for cheating; their general manager and manager were suspended for the season by Major League Baseball, and then summarily fired. The team was stripped of two years' worth of high draft picks and had to pay out a $5 million fine. Two other managers who participated in the scheme to steal signals while with the 2017 Astros were also dismissed by their teams, and as reporters keep digging into MLB's dirty secrets, it's entirely possible that more teams and players will be implicated.

On Thursday afternoon, a Twitter account claiming to be that of the niece of Carlos Beltrán, who lost his job as the manager of the New York Mets because he'd played a central role in the Astros' skulduggery, dropped a bombshell. If true, what had been reported to date was just the beginning of the Astros' rule-breaking ways. Namely, during the playoffs, two Astros wore a secret buzzer cleverly concealed beneath their uniform. The buzzer would tip the hitters off to the next pitch. The account holder also claimed it possessed photos to back up the allegations. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Did This Notorious Internet Troll Dupe MLB Fans and Players Into Believing a New Astros Conspiracy?
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIt's been a lousy week for the Houston Astros.

They were busted for cheating; their general manager and manager were suspended for the season by Major League Baseball, and then summarily fired. The team was stripped of two years' worth of high draft picks and had to pay out a $5 million fine. Two other managers who participated in the scheme to steal signals while with the 2017 Astros were also dismissed by their teams, and as reporters keep digging into MLB's dirty secrets, it's entirely possible that more teams and players will be implicated.

On Thursday afternoon, a Twitter account claiming to be that of the niece of Carlos Beltrán, who lost his job as the manager of the New York Mets because he'd played a central role in the Astros' skulduggery, dropped a bombshell. If true, what had been reported to date was just the beginning of the Astros' rule-breaking ways. Namely, during the playoffs, two Astros wore a secret buzzer cleverly concealed beneath their uniform. The buzzer would tip the hitters off to the next pitch. The account holder also claimed it possessed photos to back up the allegations. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Are the Mystery Drone Swarms Lingering Near Nuclear Missile Silos?
aerogondo/GettyFor weeks, mysterious unidentified flying objects over the Eastern Plains region of Colorado have vexed residents, law enforcement, the military, and state and federal officials. 

Those who see them say they appear in the night sky, often several at a time, their locations marked by the light they emit. Audibly buzzing, they hover and maneuver in precise formations. 

The mystery of their origin has gripped Colorado, where news of a sighting makes near-daily headlines and no one has yet copped to operating the aircraft. The state's governor, Jared Polis, deployed the state plane to hunt them down after a pilot believed one of the objects came too close to a Flight for Life helicopter. And a constellation of government agencies has formed a task force to get to the bottom of the mystery. 

Read more at The Daily Beast.



The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Celebrate Fellini's 100th Birthday by Walking in his Footsteps
ReutersROME-If Federico Fellini were alive today, he would almost certainly be celebrating his 100th birthday with the release of another epic film. The prolific director, who introduced the world to the dolce vita, died in 1993, but his legacy lives on in modern cinema, from the way Paolo Sorrentino uses the quirkiness of Italy as a full-on character in his films to Martin Scorsese, who has long been an outspoken fan of the master.

Fellini won five Oscars and a lifetime achievement award, but he also pulled back the curtain to a side of Italy that only those who live here full-time will ever see.

If you really want to celebrate this genius of film, start in his birth town of Rimini on Italy's Adriatic Coast. It is a cross between Atlantic City and Las Vegas on a smaller scale, with the biggest draw being its kitschy night clubs and summer festivals. Take the time to explore the old town where Fellini was born in 1920 and lived until he moved to Rome at the age of 19. Start at the Cinema Fulgor, where Fellini watched his first-ever movie, Maciste all'Inferno, with his father and knew immediately that he wanted to be involved in the film industry. Thousands of people flock here on his birthday each year to watch the 1926 film that inspired him as well as two films that draw reference to this inspiration, Roma and Amacord. 

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The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Gwyneth Paltrow's Netflix Series Is a Disgrace—and a Terrible Bore
Adam Rose/NetflixGwyneth Paltrow's Netflix show The Goop Lab, which premieres Jan. 24, interprets the word laboratory loosely. Setting aside standard requirements like structured experiments and the scientific method, most laboratories, both real and fictional, tend to operate under the assumption that they may well create or discover something new—whether it's penicillin, a girlfriend, or a robot to do chores. The Goop Lab, on the other hand, repackages exactly what you've known, maybe liked, possibly once even paid money for, but probably hated about its namesake site—only now in the form of six half-hour episodes. In truth, The Goop Lab is less like a lab and more like "The goop Lab," a 1,300-square-foot, immaculately decorated bungalow tucked into the Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica, where the company hawks products like "Moon Juice's Beauty Dust" and $80 linen hand towels. That is to say: an exorbitantly-priced store.

Or more precisely, an infomercial. Six of them! Watching The Goop Lab is like channel-surfing at 3 a.m. and finding back-to-back docutainment, only instead of Bowflexes and George Foreman Grills they're peddling Paltrow and her empire of stone diffusers and activated charcoal toothbrushes. (The simile works because they're both trying to sell you stuff, but also because the show is boring). The episodes tak

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Gwyneth Paltrow's Netflix Series Is a Goddamn Disgrace—and a Terrible Bore
Adam Rose/NetflixGwyneth Paltrow's Netflix show The Goop Lab, which premieres Jan. 24, interprets the word laboratory loosely. Setting aside standard requirements like structured experiments and the scientific method, most laboratories, both real and fictional, tend to operate under the assumption that they may well create or discover something new—whether it's penicillin, a girlfriend, or a robot to do chores. The Goop Lab, on the other hand, repackages exactly what you've known, maybe liked, possibly once even paid money for, but probably hated about its namesake site—only now in the form of six half-hour episodes. In truth, The Goop Lab is less like a lab and more like "The goop Lab," a 1,300-square-foot, immaculately decorated bungalow tucked into the Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica, where the company hawks products like "Moon Juice's Beauty Dust" and $80 linen hand towels. That is to say: an exorbitantly-priced store.

Or more precisely, an infomercial. Six of them! Watching The Goop Lab is like channel-surfing at 3 a.m. and finding back-to-back docutainment, only instead of Bowflexes and George Foreman Grills they're peddling Paltrow and her empire of stone diffusers and activated charcoal toothbrushes. (The simile works because they're both trying to sell you stuff, but also because the show is boring). The episodes tak

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Gwyneth Paltrow's Netflix Series Is a Nightmare—and a Terrible Bore
Adam Rose/NetflixGwyneth Paltrow's Netflix show The Goop Lab, which premieres Jan. 24, interprets the word laboratory loosely. Setting aside standard requirements like structured experiments and the scientific method, most laboratories, both real and fictional, tend to operate under the assumption that they may well create or discover something new—whether it's penicillin, a girlfriend, or a robot to do chores. The Goop Lab, on the other hand, repackages exactly what you've known, maybe liked, possibly once even paid money for, but probably hated about its namesake site—only now in the form of six half-hour episodes. In truth, The Goop Lab is less like a lab and more like "The goop Lab," a 1,300-square-foot, immaculately decorated bungalow tucked into the Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica, where the company hawks products like "Moon Juice's Beauty Dust" and $80 linen hand towels. That is to say: an exorbitantly-priced store.

Or more precisely, an infomercial. Six of them! Watching The Goop Lab is like channel-surfing at 3 a.m. and finding back-to-back docutainment, only instead of Bowflexes and George Foreman Grills they're peddling Paltrow and her empire of stone diffusers and activated charcoal toothbrushes. (The simile works because they're both trying to sell you stuff, but also because the show is boring). The episodes tak

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Gwyneth Paltrow's Netflix Series Is Troll Bait--and a Terrible Bore
Adam Rose/NetflixGwyneth Paltrow's Netflix show The Goop Lab, which premieres Jan. 24, interprets the word laboratory loosely. Setting aside standard requirements like structured experiments and the scientific method, most laboratories, both real and fictional, tend to operate under the assumption that they may well create or discover something new—whether it's penicillin, a girlfriend, or a robot to do chores. The Goop Lab, on the other hand, repackages exactly what you've known, maybe liked, possibly once even paid money for, but probably hated about its namesake site—only now in the form of six half-hour episodes. In truth, The Goop Lab is less like a lab and more like "The goop Lab," a 1,300-square-foot, immaculately decorated bungalow tucked into the Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica, where the company hawks products like "Moon Juice's Beauty Dust" and $80 linen hand towels. That is to say: an exorbitantly-priced store.

Or more precisely, an infomercial. Six of them! Watching The Goop Lab is like channel-surfing at 3 a.m. and finding back-to-back docutainment, only instead of Bowflexes and George Foreman Grills they're peddling Paltrow and her empire of stone diffusers and activated charcoal toothbrushes. (The simile works because they're both trying to sell you stuff, but also because the show is boring). The episodes tak

The Daily Beast
Jan 20, 2020

Ken Starr Remains a Partisan Hack and a Poisonous Creep
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyI had to chuckle over the weekend as pundits tried to square the circle of Ken Starr, who led the impeachment crusade against Bill Clinton in 1998, defending Donald Trump on impeachment charges in 2020. Why, it seems so inconsistent on its face!

But for Starr, it's 1,000 percent consistent. It's who he is. 

He's a political hack. A total partisan hatchet man. One of the most poisonous political figures of our time. No—worse. One of the most poisonous public figures. Not just in politics, but in any realm. I'd sooner have O.J. over for dinner.

Read more at The Daily Beast.



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