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CNN's Anderson Cooper calls out Donald Trump Jr., debunks hurricane meme

Atlanta-based CNN is often dismissed as "fake news" by President Donald Trump and his supporters.

Seeking to prove their point, some right-wing meme creators found a photo of Anderson Cooper in waist-deep floodwater, claiming he was exaggerating and staging shots during Hurricane Florence. 

>> On Florence's aftermath: The latest updates from the Carolinas

But the photo was from 2008 during Hurricane Ike in Texas, and Cooper was demonstrating the dangers of shifting depths of floodwaters. 

Cooper decided to address the issue in a nine-minute segment on his show Monday in part because the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., used the meme as fodder to malign CNN on Twitter.

While many people on Twitter used the images and tied them to Florence, Trump Jr. merely implied that this was fakery and designed to make his dad “look bad.” 

Cooper took umbrage to that, shading Trump Jr. by showing photos of him being an “outdoorsman” killing exotic wildlife but presuming he wasn’t in North Carolina helping in rescue efforts. 

>> Read more trending news 

Cooper then showed the 10-year-old video of himself in waist-deep water in a flooded area of Bridge City, Texas. He was demonstrating the various depths of water in a very small area. At one point, he even made fun of himself for doing this, but added that he didn’t want to be on the dry part of the road interfering with rescue operations. Cooper said he also wanted to show that water can go deep very quickly even just a few feet off a road, and many people die in hurricanes via drowning.

Cooper noted that his camera crew has to shoot on dry spots to keep the equipment from getting wet. And the tech person in the photo? He died last year, Cooper said. 

Expressions by 'plaid shirt guy' at Trump rally in Montana go viral

The animated expressions of a Montana high school senior during President Donald Trump’s rally Thursday have gone viral and have earned the teen a new nickname on social media: #plaidshirtguy.

>> Read more trending news 

Tyler Linfesty, 17, attends Billings West High School. His eyebrow-raising, puzzled facial expressions during Trump’s rally at Metra Park was immediately picked up by social media, the Billings Gazette reported.

Linfesty and fellow seniors Erik Hovland and Christian Dunlap were seated behind the president’s right shoulder and eventually were asked to vacate their seats by people they believed were Trump campaign staffers, the newspaper reported.

"I didn't really have a plan," Linfesty told the Gazette. "I was just going to clap for things I agreed with and not clap for things I didn't agree with.

Linfesty said he did not think he would become an internet sensation.

“I don’t think any of us had any idea we were going to be that big on TV, because whenever I see a Trump rally, you see Trump, you see hundreds of people behind him — that’s my experience at least," Linfesty said. "In this case, there were like seven people (on screen). I did not know that I was going to be that big.”

Hovland, who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat at the rally, has been dubbed “MAGA hat girl on social media.”

As the speech progressed, reporters noted that Linfesty pinned a rose emblem representing the Democratic Socialists of America to his right breast. 

The trio were escorted from their seats, the Gazette reported.

Linfesty said that as a joke, he gave a copy of “The Communist Manifesto” wrapped in a dust jacket of Trump’s “Art of the Deal” to Secret Service agents and asked to have the president sign it, the newspaper reported.

His request was denied.

"I didn't do it because I'm a communist," Linfesty told the Gazette. "I did it because I thought it was funny as a joke."

“I don’t think we meant to make a joke of the rally or make fun of people there,” Dunlap told the newspaper. “It wasn’t like we were making fun of Trump supporters.”

"They told us while we were sitting there, 'You guys have to keep clapping, you have to smile, you have to look enthusiastic,'" Linfesty said. "I had to be honest in my views."

What does 'lodestar' mean? Term trends amid New York Times op-ed speculation

Say what?

A not-so-commonly used word has taken the internet by storm as sleuths speculate over who may have written an anonymous New York Times op-ed about administration officials' efforts to "resist" President Donald Trump.

>> Jamie Dupree: President Trump defends record, rebukes author of anonymous op-ed

Soon after the bombshell piece authored by a "senior official" was published Wednesday, "lodestar" appeared among Twitter's trending topics and sparked searches on Google and Merriam-Webster's website.

The term appears in a passage of the op-ed that described the late Sen. John McCain:

"We may no longer have Senator McCain," the op-ed reads. "But we will always have his example – a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them."

>> PHOTOS: Sen. John McCain lies in state in Arizona Capitol

But what does it mean? According to Merriam-Webster, a lodestar is "a star that leads or guides," such as the North Star, or "one that serves as an inspiration, model or guide." (Ironically, it was the site's "word of the day" on Aug. 28, about a week before the op-ed dropped.)

Twitter users zeroed in on the word, theorizing that Vice President Mike Pence could be the op-ed's author because he has used "lodestar" in several speeches.

>> What is the 25th Amendment and how does it work?

For the record, Pence's office on Thursday denied that he had anything to do with Times piece, saying he and his staff are "above such amateur acts."

>> Read more trending news 

Others pointed out that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said "lodestar" while describing McCain at the senator's funeral Saturday, so anyone who attended or watched the service could have latched onto the term.

So will "lodestar" shine any light on who authored the controversial piece? Only time will tell.

Florida GOP candidate DeSantis under fire for 'monkey this up' remark

Hours after Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis cruised to an easy win in the race to become his party's nominee for Florida governor, he found himself facing criticism for one of his remarks.

>> Jamie Dupree: Trump takes aim at Democratic nominee for governor in Florida

DeSantis, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, will face Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a progressive Democrat, in the November election. According to CNN, Gillum, who was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is Florida’s first African-American gubernatorial nominee. 

>> Andrew Gillum makes history in Florida primary upset, will face Ron DeSantis in governor's race

DeSantis spoke about his opponent in a Fox News interview Wednesday.

"He is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views, and he's a charismatic candidate," DeSantis said. "You know, I watched those Democrat debates. None of that was my cup of tea, but, I mean, he performed better than the other people there. So we've got to work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction. Let's build off the success that we've had on Gov. [Rick] Scott. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda."

>> See the clip here

Some slammed DeSantis' word choice, saying his "monkey this up" comment had racial undertones.

Gillum accused DeSantis of "taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump."

"But I think he's got another thing coming to him if he thinks that in today's day and age ... Florida voters are going to respond to that level of derision and division," Gillum told Fox News. "They're sick of it."

>> Read more trending news 

A spokesman for DeSantis issued a clarification to Fox News on Wednesday afternoon:

"Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses," the statement said. "To characterize it as anything else is absurd."

Read more here.

Andrew Gillum makes history in Florida primary upset, will face Ron DeSantis in governor's race

In a major upset, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was declared the winner of the Democratic nomination for Florida governor.

>> On 2018 Florida primary election results

Gillum, who is considered progressive, goes on to face Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, in the November election.

>> On Race for Florida governor set: DeSantis vs. Gillum

If Gillum wins, he would become the first African-American governor in the state’s history. According to CNN, he is Florida’s first black gubernatorial nominee.

>> Midterm 2018: Here are the Senate races that you should be watching

Political analysts had former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham as the frontrunner over Gillum and a crowded field of Democratic candidates in Tuesday's primary. During the campaign, Gillum spent only $6.5 million, compared with Graham, who spent $16 million, and other candidates Jeff Greene, who spent $38 million, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who spent about $29 million.

During his victory speech Tuesday night, Gillum said he wants to go across the state and help unite people. 

>> Midterm 2018: House races you should be watching

“This is not my moment; this is our moment.” Gillum said.

In the speech, he mentioned possible plans for education, wage increases for workers, environmental protections, expanding Medicaid and criminal justice reform. 

>> Watch the speech here

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who endorsed Gillum during the campaign, released a statement congratulating him on his win.

"No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own," Sanders tweeted. "Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That’s what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum is helping to lead it."

>> See the tweet here

On the other side of the political aisle, DeSantis gave a victory speech Tuesday night thanking Trump for his endorsement and praising federal policy areas.

“We have 4.1 percent GDP growth, we’ve got 20-year low unemployment, we have Gorsuch on the U.S. Supreme Court, and we’re going to add Brett Kavanaugh next," he said. "The Iran deal is dead, our embassy in Israel is now in Jerusalem where it belongs, we have our hostages back from North Korea, our taxes have been cut, and the red tape has been reduced. I’d say that’s pretty good work for a year and a half, so let’s keep it going."

>> Midterm 2018: What should you do if you are denied the right to vote? Here are some tips

DeSantis added that he wants to build on the work done by current Gov. Rick Scott. He said he wants to attract a wider variety of high-paying jobs, keep taxes low and maintain "reasonable" regulations.

>> Read more trending news 

He also spoke about wanting more vocational and technical training in high schools, better water quality, a prohibition on sanctuary cities in Florida and an end to judicial activism.

“I believe there’s no limit to what we can accomplish here, as long as you have the courage to lead," he said. "And I pledge to you, as governor, I will work my butt off to accomplish great things for this state."

>> Watch his speech here

Trump took to Twitter to congratulate DeSantis on his primary win.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here or here.

Meghan McCain pens emotional tribute to late father John McCain

Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, posted an emotional tribute to her father Saturday night following his death from brain cancer.

>> John McCain, US Senator, war hero, ‘maverick,’ has died at 81

"I love you forever - my beloved father @SenJohnMcCain," the co-host of "The View" tweeted along with a statement praising the former prisoner of war, longtime senator, political "maverick" and Republican presidential candidate, who died Saturday at age 81 in his Arizona home.

>> See the full post here

>> What is glioblastoma?

"All that I am is thanks to him," she wrote. "Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love."

She called her father "a great fire who burned bright."

>> McCain dies on anniversary of friend Ted Kennedy’s death

"We know that his flame lives on, in each of us," she wrote. "The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad – but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us."

>> What happens to John McCain's Senate seat?

She ended with words of comfort for those in mourning.

"John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth," she wrote. "Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All Things: 'The dream is ended: this is the morning.'"

>> Read more trending news 

Read her full statement here:

"My father, United States Senator John Sidney McCain III, departed this life today.

"I was with my father at his end, as he was with me at my beginning. In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me, and supported me in all things. He loved me, and I loved him. He taught me how to live. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman – and he showed me what it is to be a man.

"All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love.

"My father's passing comes with sorrow and grief for me, for my mother, for my brothers, and for my sisters. He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth for so very long. We know that his flame lives on, in each of us. The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad – but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us.

"Your prayers, for his soul and for our family, are sincerely appreciated.

"My father is gone, and I miss him as only an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorrow, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth. Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All Things:

"'The dream is ended: this is the morning.'"

Trump talks Cohen, Manafort in Fox News interview

President Donald Trump discussed former personal attorney Michael Cohen's guilty plea on charges of tax evasion and a campaign finance violation, ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort's fraud conviction, the slaying of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts and illegal immigration in a prerecorded interview airing Thursday morning on Fox News.

>> Watch the first half here

Here are the latest updates:

Update 7:53 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: When asked if he considers the press to be the enemy of the people, Trump said: “No, not at all, but the fake news is, and the fake news is comprised of ... it’s a lot; it’s a big chunk.”

He added that “fake news” outlets made up about 80 percent of the media and complained that some outlets, such as the New York Times and CNN, criticize him no matter what he does. He pointed out critical coverage of his meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin as examples.

>> See the clip here

When Trump was asked what grade he’d give himself so far, he responded: “I would honestly give myself an A-plus.”

Update 7:30 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Trump weighed in on whether he believes Democrats will try to impeach him.

“You know, I guess it says something like high crimes and all,” he said. “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job.”

He added: “I’ll tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor. ... You would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe.”

>> Watch the video here

Update 7:17 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: When asked if he’d consider pardoning Manafort, Trump never clearly answered the question but appeared to have sympathy for his former campaign chairman.

“I have great respect for what he’s done in terms of what he’s going through,” he responded. “You know, he worked for Ronald Reagan for years. He worked for Bob Dole. He worked – I guess his firm worked for McCain. He worked for many, many people many, many years, and I would say what he did, some of the charges they threw against him, every consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does.”

Trump added: “If you look at Hillary Clinton’s person, you take a look at the people that work for Hillary Clinton, and look at the crimes that Clinton did with the emails and she deletes 33,000 emails after she gets a subpoena from Congress, and this Justice Department does nothing about it and all of the other crimes that they’ve done.”

He continued: “I will stay uninvolved, and maybe that’s the best thing to do.”

>> Watch his response here

Update 6:40 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Trump slammed Jeff Sessions in the interview, saying the attorney general “never took control of the Justice Department.”

“What kind of a man is this?” Trump said, referring to Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. “By the way, the only reason I gave him the job, I felt loyalty. He was an original supporter.”

>> Watch the videos here

Update 6:17 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Trump described Cohen as a lawyer who worked on “small deals” for him and was “not somebody that was with me that much.”

“I don’t know if he’s a fixer,” Trump said in the interview. “I don’t know where that term came from.”

>> Watch the clip here

He referred to Cohen’s recent guilty plea as “flipping.”

“It's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal. ... They go from 10 years to they're a national hero,” Trump said. “They have a statue erected in their honor. It's not a fair thing."

Trump added: “One of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial.”

>> See the clip here

Trump claimed that so-called “hush money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal did not come from campaign funds and “weren’t even crimes.”

>> Watch the video here

Original report: President Donald Trump discussed former personal attorney Michael Cohen's guilty plea on charges of tax evasion and a campaign finance violation, ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort's fraud conviction, the slaying of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts and illegal immigration in a prerecorded interview with Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt.

>> Cohen pleads guilty to 8 charges, says Trump told him to pay off Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal

The interview, recorded Wednesday, is set to air from 6 to 9 a.m. EDT Thursday on "Fox and Friends," the network said.

In one clip released Wednesday, the president responded to Cohen's claim that Trump knew about so-called "hush money" payments made just prior to the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.

>> Read more trending news 

“Later on I knew. Later on. What (Cohen) did — and they weren’t taken out of the campaign finance, that’s the big thing," Trump said in the clip. "That’s a much bigger thing. Did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.”

>> Watch the clip here

Trump also mentioned pardoning Manafort, Earhardt told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.

>> See the clip here

Please return for more updates from the interview as it airs this morning.

Former Nazi labor camp guard arrested, deported by ICE, officials say

A former guard for a labor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II has been arrested and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, officials said early Tuesday.

Jakiw Palij, 95, of Queens, New York, was believed to be "the last known Nazi collaborator living in the U.S." before he was deported to Germany, ABC News reported.

According to an overnight White House news release, Palij worked as an armed guard at the Trawniki labor camp, where 6,000 Jewish prisoners were killed in November 1943.

Palij, who came to the U.S. in 1949 and gained citizenship eight years later, lied to immigration officials during the naturalization process, hiding his Nazi service by saying he had been a factory and farm worker during the war, the news release said.

>> Read more trending news 

Decades later, U.S. authorities discovered Palij's past and revoked his citizenship in 2003, the release said

"Despite a court ordering his deportation in 2004, past administrations were unsuccessful in removing Palij," the press release said. "To protect the promise of freedom for Holocaust survivors and their families, President Trump prioritized the removal of Palij. Through extensive negotiations, President Trump and his team secured Palij’s deportation to Germany and advanced the United States’ collaborative efforts with a key European ally."

Read more here or here.

Trump taunts Brennan after revoking former CIA director's security clearance: 'He won’t sue!'

President Donald Trump on Monday dared John Brennan to sue him after the former CIA director told reporters he was considering legal action against the president over the decision to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.

>> Read more trending news

“I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit,” Trump wrote Monday morning in a tweet. “It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt. He won’t sue!”

The president said in a subsequent tweet that Brennan was being defended by people in the intelligence community and beyond because security clearances are “worth great prestige and big dollars” and “everybody wants to keep their Security Clearance.”

“It certainly isn’t because of the good job he did!” the president wrote. “He is a political ‘hack.’”

More than 200 former U.S. intelligence officials have signed letters condemning the decision to strip Brennan of his security clearance, Axios reported.

Brennan said Sunday in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he had been contacted by “a number of lawyers.”

>> Former CIA Director John Brennan: ‘I will not relent’

“They have already given me their thoughts about the basis for a complaint, an injunction to try to prevent him from doing this in the future,” Brennan said. “If my clearances and my reputation -- as I’m being pulled through the mud now -- if that’s the price we’re going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me it’s a small price to pay. 

“I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future, and if it means going to court, I will, I will do that.”

Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance last week. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited Brennan's "erratic conduct and behavior" as the reasoning behind the revocation and accused him of "lying" and "wild outbursts." 

>> Trump revokes former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance

Brennan has been critical of Trump, calling his performance at a joint press conference last month with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland "nothing short of treasonous." Last week, he accused the president of revoking his clearance as “part of a broader effort … to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.”

“I will not relent,” he wrote.

>> Trump wants to revoke security clearances for ex-Obama intelligence officials, White House says

Huckabee Sanders said last week that officials continue to look at revoking the clearances of other former officials, including former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. 

Trump compares Mueller probe to 1950s McCarthyism

President Donald Trump lashed out angrily Sunday morning on Twitter, labeling a report in The New York Times that a White House counsel cooperated with Robert Mueller’s investigation as a “fake story” and comparing the probe to the McCarthyism of the 1950s.

>> Read more trending news 

The Times reported that White House lawyer Donald McGahn had participated in at least three interviews with the special counsel that stretched to approximately 30 hours.

The president tweeted, “We are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!”

“This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People,” Trump wrote in another tweet. “So bad for America!”

McGahn and his lawyer, William A. Burck, said they believed the president was setting them up to take the blame for any possible illegal acts of obstruction, the Times reported.

McCarthy, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, spent nearly five years attempting to root out Communist sympathizers in the U.S. government. He was censured by the Senate after he attacked the Army during hearings in 1954.

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