No Washington, D.C., sports franchise has made it to a championship round since the Capitals played in the Stanley Cup finals in 1998, and that record was left unsullied Thursday night when the Washington Nationals lost to the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. The Cubs' 9-8 win sends them to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers, starting Saturday night, in the National League Championship Series. The Cubs, defending World Series champs, took the lead after a disastrous fifth inning for the Nats.
"In breaking down this particular evening — when the Nationals once held a three-run lead — consider the simplicity of this," writes a despondent Barry Svrluga in The Washington Post: "The Nationals entered the fifth inning with a 4-3 advantage and handed the ball to Max Scherzer, who might well win his third Cy Young Award this year as his league's best pitcher. When Scherzer left the mound at the end of that frame, the Nats trailed 7-4." Scherzer struck out the first two batters, "only to see the frame devolve into a barrage of two-strike hits and sheer ineptitude from the Nationals," USA Today explains. "It turned into a sloppy battle of attrition from there, with equal displays of dismal relief pitching and situational execution on both sides."
In the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees are facing off against the Houston Astros. Peter Weber
Kirsten Gillibrand warns Trump that the tables have turned on sexual assault: 'People are looking for justice'
After being blasted by President Trump on Tuesday in what many interpreted as a sexist smear, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) firmly reiterated to Today that "women aren't going to be silenced right now."
"Since the Women's March, women have stood up, have fought hard, have spoken out about their beliefs, and not stopped," Gillibrand said Wednesday.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 13, 2017
On Monday, Gillibrand told CNN that Trump should resign due to a number of accusations of sexual misconduct. She renewed that demand on Today, telling host Samantha Guthrie: "I've heard the testimony of many women, numerous accusers, I believe them, and he should resign for that."
"People are looking for justice," she added, describing the #MeToo movement as "a moment in time unlike any other." Watch more of her comments below. Jeva Lange
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 13, 2017
"Rarely has a sitting president rallied behind such a scandal-plagued candidate the way Donald Trump did with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore," says Julie Pace at The Associated Press. "And rarely has that bet failed so spectacularly." One senior administration official told Politico that Tuesday's victory for Democrat Doug Jones "is a big black eye for the president," and Politico added that "it was a self-inflicted wound."
Trump's first reaction to Moore's loss, "a demure Twitter post congratulating Doug Jones" that Trump sent "while in the White House residence, alone for much of the evening, with the first lady out of town," wasn't expected to be his last word, Maggie Haberman reports at The New York Times. "White House aides on Tuesday night were bracing for fallout, in person and on Twitter," as Trump absorbed the loss. Advisers conceded that Trump "rarely assumes responsibility for a misstep, and they anticipated him looking for someone to blame," the Times adds, but the question was who. On Wednesday morning, Trump blamed "the deck":
The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
Trump aides and advisers "spun the loss as belonging squarely to Mr. Moore," arguing that "Trump could not drag someone that weak over the finish line against a crush of outside spending," Haberman reports, but White House aides really hoped Stephen Bannon would get the blame. Trump was "enraged when his daughter Ivanka Trump got ahead of him by declaring there was a 'special place in hell' for people who harm children," meaning Moore, she adds, but "one White House adviser said that Mr. Trump was unlikely to blame his daughter." You can read more at The New York Times. Peter Weber
Republican Roy Moore lost a Senate race in Alabama on Tuesday, despite full-throated support from President Trump, but Trump backed the other guy in the Republican primary, Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt said Tuesday night. "This is something that Stephen Bannon and his acolytes are going to have to think about now," he said. "Donald Trump was right about the Alabama primary; Steve Bannon, the president's chief political adviser during the campaign, was wrong."
Heading into 2018, Stirewalt said, Republicans and the Bannonites are going to figure out "how much of this primary battle stuff do they want to do? How much of this civil war stuff do they want to do? And what other seats could it cost them?" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is "thinking very much about the 2018 midterm elections," he added. "Having Roy Moore serving the United States Senate might have cost multiple seats for Republicans. You can't know, it's all hypotheticals as you play it out — but having Roy Moore as a sitting U.S. senator ... was going to be trouble for the rest of his party." In politics, Stirewelt said, "winning is always better than losing, but this may be one where the silver lining is quite considerable."
Conservative Republicans in Alabama had a tough choice between helping their party in Washington and making themselves a national laughingstock, Stirewalt said. "Kookism is not something Alabamians are particularly interested in associating themselves with," and Roy Moore was a bridge too far. "I think that's where you get those tens of thousands of write-in votes," he added, "where they're saying, 'I'm not going to vote for the Democrat,' but — I think it's important — they're saying, 'I want you to know I was here ... and if you wouldn't have failed me, I would have been there for you." Peter Weber
Tuesday was the first night of Hanukkah, Stephen Colbert noted on The Late Show, but it was also "a huge day in Alabama, Election Day, and now it is official: Roy Moore either is or is not our newest U.S. senator." (He's not.) Colbert said the show taped long before the polls closed, but "one thing we do know is how Roy Moore got to the polls: he arrived on horseback." Apparently riding to the polls on a horse is a Moore family tradition. "Roy Moore loves traditions from the 1800s, like child brides and the Dred Scott decision," the Supreme Court's infamous pro-slavery ruling, he joked. When his audience murmured, Colbert shrugged. "Hey, maybe he lost, we don't know."
Colbert also took a look at Moore's closing arguments from Monday night — well, specifically the tale a friend and supporter told about their visit to an underage brothel in Vietnam, and the assurances Moore's wife, Kayla, gave to show they aren't anti-Semitic. "Wow," Colbert said, trying to top her "our lawyer is a Jew" and "we fellowship with them" defenses. "We're not homophobic because my hairdresser is a gay," he said. "I mean, Jewish girls know Roy will show up at your bat mitzvah."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said she believed the women accusing President Trump of sexual misconduct and called on Trump to resign. "Of course, Trump couldn't let that go," Colbert said, reading his tweet about Gillibrand "begging" him for campaign contributions, which she "would do anything for." The audience gasped.
"That reminds me: Melania, how's that anti-cyberbullying going?" Colbert asked. He ended on a friendlier note, the bipartisan dog-costume holiday party at the Capitol. "Isn't that adorable? It's the one place on Capitol Hill you can engage in heavy petting and not have to resign," he said. He ended on a Moore joke. Watch below. Peter Weber
The Republican Party is in for some more turmoil after Democrat Doug Jones beat the Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in deeply Republican Alabama on Tuesday night. CNN gave the GOP a little taste of what's to come in the panel discussion after Jones declared victory, and moderator Don Lemon essentially stood back and watched the free-for-all over who will be hurt the most by Moore's loss.
Ed Martin, the Moore backer, picked the Senate majority leader and Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, both of whom immediately pointed the finger at President Trump's former campaign chairman and chief strategist, Stephen Bannon. "Mitch McConnell is going to pay a price, and so is Cory Gardner," he said. "The grassroots is not tolerating the party." "Traditional Republican" Ana Navarro said Trump and other pro-Moore Republicans chose to abandon morals, decency, and convictions rather than abandon Moore, chided Martin for constantly interrupting her, and sang "Happy days are here again."
The Martin-Navarro fight had panelists doubled over in laugher, then Bloomberg's Joshua Green threw Martin "a lifeline," saying the "Bannon wing of the Republican Party is very upset" by Moore's abandonment and is promising a more vicious GOP civil war. Conservative columnist Matt Lewis asked how it was McConnell's fault that "Steve Bannon and Donald Trump endorsed a candidate who is a very bad candidate."
CNN's Jake Tapper went with Trump. The loss of a Senate seat will make passing GOP policies even harder, he said, but "I have to say, this is a huge defeat for President Trump. This is deep-red Alabama, President Trump made the calculation that he was going to double down, he was going to stick with this candidate, the candidate who followed the Trump playbook — when there are allegations against you, just deny them all and attack the people accusing you — and it failed." Peter Weber
USA Today's editorial board savages Trump as 'uniquely awful' and 'not fit for office' after Gillibrand tweet
On Tuesday morning, President Trump sent out a tweet saying Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who had joined four male colleagues on Monday in calling on Trump to resign, had "begged" him for campaign contributions "and would do anything for them." On Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted Trump's tweet wasn't "sexist" or dirty, and on Tuesday night, USA Today's editorial board disagreed in unusually strong terms.
"With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office," the editorial board wrote. "Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low." Trump's language was a "deliberate" attempt to pour "the gasoline of sexist language" on America's #MeToo fire "gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame," USA Today's editorialists wrote, adding: "A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush."
No president is perfect, and "Obama and Bush both failed in many ways," the editorial says. "But the basic decency of each man was never in doubt. Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful." They counted the ways Trump's "utter lack of morality, ethics, and simple humanity has been underscored during his 11 months in office." The USA Today editorial board did not call on Trump to quit, but said "it is a shock that only six Democratic senators are calling for our unstable president to resign." (Sen. Mazie Hirono [D-Hawaii] also called on Trump to step down on Tuesday.) You can read more of the editorial board's thoughts on Trump at USA Today. Peter Weber
The CW has turned the Archie comic book franchise into a hit teen drama, Riverdale. On Tuesday, The Tonight Show looked at what would happen if you gave the same treatment to another storied 1900s comic strip, Peanuts. Charlie Brown (Jimmy Fallon), now in high school (and with hair), is still (almost) kicking the football, but now Linus has been murdered, and the gang's town has a seedy underbelly. The Riverdale cast makes a cameo. Watch below. Peter Weber