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August 15, 2018

"America is still reeling from the troubling reminders that Omarosa is still out there," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. He compared Omarosa Manigualt Newman's brand-new book, Unhinged, to "day-old sushi," then turned to her most salacious claim, that she has heard President Trump say the N-word on Celebrity Apprentice outtakes. "If this shocking allegation is true, it would undeniably make some of his fans very happy," Colbert said. "Others would go, 'Eh, I don't like that he's a racist, but you know, taxes.'"

Trump is fighting back on Twitter, denying such a tape exists and calling Omarosa a "dog." "That is so weird that Trump uses 'dog' as an insult," Colbert said. "He should love dogs — you don't have to pay to watch them pee." Still, "that's it, the president categorically denies saying the N-word," he added, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders ... was more equivocal.

"Omarosa continued her Trumpapalooza world tour this afternoon," Colbert said, and he wasn't super sympathetic about her whistle-blowing: "Be careful, Omarosa, you wouldn't want to damage your relationship with the president — he might not hire you four more times." But she did actually drop a bombshell, claiming Trump had advance notice about the leaked Hillary Clinton campaign emails. "That is a massive revelation!" he said. "The emails that Russia hacked, that WikiLeaks leaked, Donald Trump somehow knew before they were actually released. Somewhere in Washington, Robert Mueller is yelling, 'Uh, spoiler alert! Come on!' But Omarosa didn't just accuse the president of being a traitor to his country — she also accused him of being a bad friend," tarring allies with mean nicknames behind their backs. Colbert cut deep: "Yes, he had derogatory names for everybody. Some of them are really cruel. I hear he called this one guy 'Donald Trump Jr.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

6:45 a.m. ET

CNN's Don Lemon said Monday night that his vacation last week was interrupted both by the news of Christine Blasey Ford's attempted rape allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a conversation he had with a family member "extremely close to me" who opened up about being sexually assaulted by a boyfriend. Lemon showed the clip from eight years ago where he spontaneously acknowledged that he had been sexually abused. "In my life, it hasn't mattered if the person was 17 or 70 — the pain and the damage are real, and it never goes away," he said.

"Here's my message then, and now, and today: People aren't always who they present themselves to be in public," Lemon said. "A molester doesn't have an 'M' on their forehead. ... People are tricky characters. Innocent until proven guilty must remain the law of the land, but at the same time, some guilty people do cloak themselves in innocence. Remember, after all, Bill Cosby was 'America's Dad' not so long ago."

Lemon said he doesn't know whether Ford or his accusers are telling the truth, but as we weigh their stories and why they felt compelled to share them publicly he said, consider carefully: "Are we interested in truth, are we interested in healing, or is there, as there always seems to be these days, a political game being played with people's lives?" And it's not a few lives: Every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and one in six women has been raped or the victim of attempted rape. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:53 a.m. ET

On Monday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's freshman roommate at Yale, James Roche, elaborated on a statement he gave to The New Yorker about Kavanaugh's alcohol consumption and social network during the period their classmate Deborah Ramirez says Kavanaugh stuck his penis in her face at a party. "Brett and I did not socialize beyond the first few days of freshman year," he said. "We talked at night as freshman roommates do and I would see him as he returned from nights out with his friends." Roche added:

It is from this experience that I concluded that although Brett was normally reserved, he was a notably heavy drinker, even by the standards of the time, and that he became aggressive and belligerent when he was very drunk. I did not observe the specific incident in question, but I do remember Brett frequently drinking excessively and becoming incoherently drunk. ... Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up. Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described. [James Roche]

Fox News' Martha McCallum asked Kavanaugh about Roche's characterization on Monday, and Kavanaugh repeated that he has "always treated women with dignity and respect" and emphasized that Roche "does not corroborate the incident at all." When McCallum asked, Kavanaugh said he's "not going to speculate about [Roche's] motives" and there was never a time when he drank so much he couldn't remember the night before.

Roche said in his statement that he doesn't "consider myself to be a political person and I have no political agenda," and he "shared this information ... because Debbie has a right to be heard and I believe her. I have been asked for more details and additional stories, but this is all that I am comfortable sharing." Peter Weber

4:54 a.m. ET

"A lot of presidents might look at a week in which their Supreme Court nominee's being accused by multiple women of sexual assault and think, 'It can't get any worse than this,'" Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, but that's where President Trump really "shines — it can always get worse." In this case, Trump is meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday amid speculation he'll fire him over a New York Times report about Rosenstein suggesting wearing a wire to record Trump. "It would be very fishy if Trump fires Rosenstein, because he's the guy overseeing the special counsel and the Russia investigation," Kimmel said, "but Thursday's also the day of the [Brett] Kavanaugh testimony, and some people believe Trump might fire Rosenstein just to change the news coverage that day."

Stephen Colbert saw an immediate flaw in Rosenstein's alleged plot. "The wire is really smart, because — think about this — if Trump were caught on tape saying something horrible, he could win the 2016 election," he deadpanned on The Late Show. "The whole damn thing came to a head this morning when one news report claimed that Rod Rosenstein had verbally resigned to John Kelly — to which Kelly replied, 'Damnit, I was going to resign to you!' But, they were wrong." Cable news networks went crazy chasing the rumors anyway, Colbert said, laughing over "the first ever cable news car chase of a parked car."

On Late Night, Seth Meyers noted the absurdity of "a constitutional crisis because nobody could tell if Rod Rosenstein was joking of not," then ran through the crazily shifting reports on Rosenstein's job status, including the CNN anchors "talking in circles about how confused they were." He ended with some dodgy theories Republicans are trotting out to explain away the Kavanaugh sexual misconduct allegations, including Jeanine Pirro's hypnosis theory and Ben Carson's ideas about a vast Fabian conspiracy. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:19 a.m. ET

On Sunday night, lawyer Michael Avenatti announced he is representing a third woman with sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and on Monday, he told reporters that "within 48 hours we will release additional details relating to the allegations relating to Brett Kavanaugh," including the woman's name. That will put the big reveal very close to Thursday's high-stakes Senate Judiciary Committee testimony from Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. Avenatti's client "may sit for a televised interview at that time," he said. "She is 100 percent credible, and when the American people hear from her, they will determine, as I have, that she is to be believed."

Kavanaugh denies all the allegations and says he has never sexually assaulted anyone. Avenatti described the woman as a former State Department and U.S. Mint employee and said her information relates to how Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge "behaved at countless house parties" in high school. The woman will "literally risk her life" by coming forward, he claimed, and she will be willing to take a polygraph test if Kavanaugh does, too.

Democrats aren't necessarily thrilled with Avenatti's late entry into the Kavanaugh imbroglio. "Mr. Avenatti has a tendency to sensationalize and make his various crusades more about himself than about getting at the truth," a senior Senate Democratic aide told The Daily Beast. "This moment calls for the exact opposite." Avanatti dismissed the criticism as "certain Democrats being weak-kneed and not up for the fight." Peter Weber

2:04 a.m. ET
STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Thanks to sustained and successful conservation efforts, Nepal is on track to hit its goal of doubling the country's tiger population by 2022.

A recent tiger survey found that there are an estimated 235 tigers living in the wild in Nepal, up from 121 in 2009. In 2010, representatives from the 13 countries where tigers roam wild met in St. Petersburg for a summit, and they agreed to try to double the world's tiger population within 12 years. It's believed that worldwide, there are only 3,900 tigers in the wild.

The main threats tigers face are poaching and a loss of habitat, and Nepal is showing other countries what can be done when there's an increase in anti-poaching efforts and policing at national parks. Bishwa Nath Oli, secretary of Nepal's ministry of forests and environment, said that "protecting tigers is a top priority of the government," and the country's World Wildlife Federation representative, Dr. Ghana Gurung, declared that "every tiger counts, for Nepal and for the world." Catherine Garcia

1:40 a.m. ET

Stephen Colbert ran through the new allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and they are mildly NSFW. His new accuser, Deborah Ramirez, "acknowledges that she has gaps in her memory, because she had also been drinking that night, but she remembers that somebody yelled down the hall, 'Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie's face,'" he said on Monday's Late Show. "And a little further down the hall, a 50-year-old Chuck Grassley yelled, 'Get that man on the Supreme Court!'"

Colbert noted that the allegations originated not from Ramirez but from emails among Ramirez's classmates in July, before Kavanaugh's first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, came forward. "Obviously this is a disturbing allegation that has to be investigated," he said. "You don't want to confirm a perv to a job where you get to wear a robe every day." Kavanaugh, to rebut Ford's allegations, "is attempting a bold new defense strategy," Colbert said: Handing over his calendars from 1982. "Who hangs on to their high school calendars?" he asked "The only things I have left over from high school are deep emotional scars."

The Late Show also had some jokes about Kavanaugh's yearbook, the focus of some real questions on Monday

On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah also mocked Kavanaugh's 1982 calendars gambit. "Come on, man, a calendar just says what you plan on doing, not what you actually did," he said. "It's also pretty ballsy that Kavanaugh, as a judge, would bring up an old calendar as his defense, because I wonder if that would hold up in his court?" Look, Noah said, "I get why Republicans are doing this. Getting five conservative justices onto the Supreme Court is something they've been dreaming of for 40 years, so they'll do anything to get it done, even if it means normalizing sexual assault." He had a focus group to prove it. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:32 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Jim Urquhart, File

On Monday, a federal judge reversed a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lift protections for 700 grizzly bears living in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Wyoming and Idaho had already issued 23 hunting permits for this fall, setting up the first grizzly hunt to take place in the United States outside of Alaska in 27 years, but U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen's decision cancels the hunt. Christensen said this was "not about the ethics of hunting" but rather that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "failed to make a reasoned decision" when it concluded grizzly bears are no longer a threatened species that needs federal protections.

Grizzly bears were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, when there were only about 136 of the animals still in Yellowstone. Catherine Garcia

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