×
October 11, 2018

What started as a forced seating arrangement has blossomed into a friendship for two ex-White Housers.

Once they left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., former first lady Michelle Obama and former President George W. Bush became "official seatmates" at "every major thing where all the formers gather," Obama explained during a Thursday appearance on Today. At first, this was just protocol, but once Obama discovered their shared since of humor, she said Bush became her "partner in crime."

The duo has since been spotted hugging at public events and, most recently, sharing cough drops at John McCain's funeral. The "simple gesture" of Bush passing a cough drop to Obama in the pews was a perfect example of why "I love him to death," Obama explained on Today — despite the noticeably "old" cough drops coming from a "little White House box," she joked.

Obama said the moment sent a much-needed message of bipartisanship. "Party doesn't separate us," she said. "Color, gender, those kinds of things don't separate us." Watch her break down the whole moment below. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:41a.m.

While in Montana on Thursday, President Trump applauded the state's Republican congressman, Greg Gianforte, for assaulting a journalist last year, saying that "any guy that can do a body slam ... he's my guy."

In May 2017, Gianforte was running in a special election for Montana's at-large congressional district, and Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs asked him a question about the Republican health care plan. Gianforte then body-slammed Jacobs, who was treated for an elbow injury. Gianforte pleaded guilty to a charge of assault, and served 40 hours of community service, paid a fine, and had to take anger management classes.

Trump told a rally crowd that Gianforte is "smart," a "great guy," and a "tough cookie." He said when he learned about Gianforte assaulting Jacobs, he thought he would lose the election, "and then I said, 'Wait a minute, I know Montana pretty well, I think it might help him' And it did."

Trump's approval of physical violence against a journalist comes as he's being accused of providing cover for Saudi Arabia in the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Guardian US editor John Mulholland derided Trump's comments, saying, "To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it." He called on "decent people" to "denounce these comments" and said he hopes "the president will see fit to apologize for them." Catherine Garcia

12:29a.m.

At a rally in Montana on Thursday night, President Trump trotted out a confusing new theory about a group of Honduran migrants trying to head to the U.S., currently stalled in Guatemala: The Democrats sent them. Why would Democrats try to lure some 3,000 Honduran citizens up to the U.S. right before an election that Trump is increasingly trying to make a referendum on illegal immigration? They "figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat," Trump said, rallying for the Republican Senate candidate challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

Noncitizens can't vote in U.S. elections, of course, but Trump let that slide. "A lot of money's been passing through people to come up and try to get to the border by Election Day because they think that's a negative for us," Trump said. "They wanted that caravan and there are those that say that caravan didn't just happen. It didn't just happen."

The president appears to be referring to a video posted on Twitter first by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) then by Trump of a man passing out what appears to be money to a group of women, the theory — as explained by Newt Gingrich — being that somebody is paying Hondurans to migrate to America for some unexplained reason. Gaetz later explained: "This video was provided to me by a Honduran government official. Thus, I believed it to be from Honduras."

Trump is so concerned about 3,000 Hondurans trying to make their way to the U.S. border that he threatened on Thursday to "call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!" Peter Weber

12:10a.m.

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros 4-1 on Thursday, capturing the American League pennant.

They are now heading to the World Series, where they will play the winner of the National League Championship Series — either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Milwaukee Brewers. Red Sox pitcher David Price had a playoff career-high of nine strikeouts and six shutout innings. The Red Sox were able to eliminate the Astros, last year's World Series champions, in five games. The World Series starts Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

October 18, 2018

Voter suppression is an issue across the United States, but the most egregious example is in Georgia, and Trevor Noah on Thursday's Daily Show made a suggestion that might just turn things around.

The governor's race in the state is extremely close, between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Kemp happens to be the secretary of state, overseeing elections and voter registration, and Georgia has a law where voter registrations must match exactly to DMV and Social Security information. If not, the registration is put on hold. "It's funny how this happens with voting, but it never stops the IRS," Noah said. "The IRS is never like, 'Oh we have 'Trevok Noah,' I guess you don't have to pay taxes this year.' No, they'd be like, 'Hey, Trevor Noah, you misspelled your name dumbass, and you owe us $20,000.'"

Georgia's population is approximately 32 percent black, and a list of voter registrations on hold is nearly 70 percent black. "Well, well, well, my old friend racism, I've been expecting you," Noah said. You don't have to say who you're targeting to target someone, he added, "you just have to know which rules are likely to hit them the most." If he wanted to block white people from voting, he said, all he'd have to do is say "no pumpkin spice lattes in the voting booth."

In order to ensure that they can vote, Noah suggests that every black person in the United States register as a Republican. "Just say you're gonna vote red," he said, but do whatever you want once you've got a ballot. "I guarantee you, if the GOP thinks that black people are voting for them, they will make sure that your vote counts. They're going to be waving Trayvons into the voting booth like a third base coach." Watch the video — which uses Kanye West's love of the MAGA hat to prove Noah's point — below. Catherine Garcia

October 18, 2018

The Trump administration tried once again on Thursday to get the Supreme Court to toss a lawsuit on climate change, filed by 21 activists between the ages of 11 and 22.

The plaintiffs allege that federal officials are not doing enough to curb carbon pollution, thus violating their rights to due process under the Constitution. The activists are calling for major reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

They first filed the lawsuit in 2015 against former President Barack Obama and government agencies, and Obama's administration also tried to get the suit thrown out. In July, the Supreme Court said it was too premature for the Trump administration to attempt to stop the lawsuit, and on Monday, federal Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon, ruled that the case can go forward to trial on Oct. 29 unless the Supreme Court or 9th Circuit Court of Appeals intervene. Catherine Garcia

October 18, 2018

Rihanna was asked to headline Super Bowl LII's halftime show, but said no in support of Colin Kaepernick, a person with knowledge of the offer told Us Weekly on Thursday.

"The NFL and CBS really wanted Rihanna to be next year's performer in Atlanta," the person said. "They offered it to her, but she said no because of the kneeling controversy. She doesn't agree with the NFL's stance." Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, started a national conversation when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest against police brutality. He has not played since the 2016 season, and has filed a grievance, accusing the NFL and owners of colluding to keep him from playing.

Once Rihanna turned down the NFL's offer, Maroon 5 was asked to perform, an invitation the band accepted. Catherine Garcia

October 18, 2018

While in Turkey on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened to an audio recording of the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, a senior Turkish official told ABC News on Thursday.

The official said the recording was played during a meeting, and Pompeo was also given a transcript. The Saudi-born Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was living in Virginia, and went to the consulate on Oct. 2 to get paperwork he needed for his upcoming wedding; this was the last time he was seen. Turkish officials have said, and U.S. intelligence increasingly believes, that Saudi Arabia is behind Khashoggi's disappearance and presumed murder. The State Department denied that Pompeo had a transcript of the recording or listened to it.

ABC News also is reporting that Turkish officials believe Khashoggi died of strangulation, after an eight-minute struggle. It's unclear if Pompeo passed the transcript on to Trump, but on Thursday, the president said it "certainly looks like" Khashoggi is dead, and if Saudi Arabia is behind it, the country will face "very severe" consequences. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads