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November 5, 2018

Pete Davidson addressed his high-profile breakup with singer Ariana Grande on Saturday Night Live, saying things just didn't work out between them and the details are nobody's business, but he took a long and iffy road to get there. "So the midterm elections are obviously a huge deal, and after I had to move back in with my mom, I started paying attention to them," Davidson joked on "Weekend Update." "And I realized there are some really gross people running for office this year. So here are my first impressions."

Dan Crenshaw, a Navy SEAL who lost an eye in Afghanistan, was Davidson's third impression. "You may be surprised to hear he's a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie," Davidson said. "I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever." He went on to give his impression of "a Democrat, so I look fair," then poked fun at himself: "I'm not insane, I know I shouldn't be making fun of how anyone looks — I look like I make vape juice in a bathtub. I look like a Dr. Seuss character went to prison."

Crenshaw was not amused by the bit.

The National Republican Congressional Committee took umbrage, too, getting a little personal: "Getting dumped by your pop star girlfriend is no excuse for lashing out at a decorated war hero who lost his eye serving our country."

Crenshaw is running against Democrat Todd Litton in a Houston-area congressional district being vacated by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas). Peter Weber

5:41 p.m.

There's more to President Trump's free speech order than meets the ear.

In a Thursday press conference, Trump railed against colleges and universities for becoming "increasingly hostile to free speech." So he said he's unveiling an executive order to punish those "anti-First Amendment institutions" by withholding their federal research funds — while simultaneously tackling the ballooning student loan industry.

Millions of Americans hold a collective $1.5 trillion in student debt, per the most recent Federal Reserve statistics. Trump's order tackles that problem in some fairly expected ways: Crafting a federal website that shows students their loan "risks" and "repayment options," and making sure colleges educate students on those same things. Yet CBS News' Kathryn Watson also highlighted a more unexpected part of Trump's Thursday conference:

The details of that proposed proposal aren't included in the actual text of the order, so it's unclear just how the Department of Education will make it happen. Trump also didn't elaborate much further, instead just going on to share how much he loves loans. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:14 p.m.

The Florida man accused of sending bombs to CNN and opponents of President Trump pleaded guilty on Thursday.

Cesar Sayoc appeared before a federal judge in New York and was expected to plead guilty to mailing the 16 packages in October. In an earlier trial, Sayoc pleaded not guilty, but his original pretrial conference scheduled for today was changed to a plea hearing, hinting at a deal, per The Washington Post.

Sayoc was originally indicted on 30 charges, including making threats against former presidents, and the illegal mailing of explosives. It's unclear which of those charges he pleaded guilty to on Thursday.

The first of 16 devices was sent to Democratic megadonor George Soros last year, and more bombs were directed at Hillary Clinton, Robert De Niro, and others who had criticized Trump. They also went to the CNN newsroom in New York City. None of the devices detonated. Sayoc was found in Florida a few days after the panic, and was living in a van covered in pro-Trump stickers. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:17 p.m.

Fox News isn't letting Jeanine Pirro back on the air just yet.

Pirro's show, Justice with Judge Jeanine, is once again not on the network's schedule for this Saturday, reports Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Fox had pulled the show last week after Pirro questioned whether Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is loyal to the United States because she wears a hijab, asking, "Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Shariah law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

This immediately prompted some advertisers to pull out of the show and drew a rare rebuke from Fox News, which said it "strongly" condemns her statements and that they "do not reflect those of the network." Pirro in response said her "intention was to ask a question and start a debate," per The Associated Press. She is currently suspended, The New York Times reports, although Fox has yet to confirm this or comment on the future of her show. A rerun of Fox's documentary series Scandalous is currently set to air in Pirro's usual Saturday time slot on March 23.

This will come as bad news to President Trump, who tweeted last week in support of Pirro, saying Fox should "fight hard" for her and "stop working soooo hard on being politically correct." Brendan Morrow

3:51 p.m.

Ex-San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick was rumored to be landing $60-80 million from his settlement with the NFL. That may have been wishful thinking.

Last month, the NFL announced it reached a settlement with Kaepernick and Eric Reid, who sued the league after they were apparently blacklisted from playing due to their protests during the national anthem. The confidential settlement seemed like a big win for the players, but with the The Wall Street Journal reporting that they'll only receive less than $10 million, that may not be quite true.

Both the NFL and the players declined to discuss what was in the February settlement, but Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman said NFL team officials guessed the league paid Kaepernick around $60-80 million. This new number, which comes via people briefed on the deal, "is far less than the tens of millions of dollars" Kaepernick probably would've gotten if he'd won the lawsuit. It's unclear if the reported $10 million will be split between the two players, or how much of it would go to cover legal fees.

Kaepernick first opted to sit during the national anthem to protest racial injustice at 2016 game, sparking dozens of other players, including Reid, to take a similar stance. Kaepernick didn't get signed to a team the next year and sued the NFL, while Reid similarly sued but was signed to the Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season.

The NFL declined to comment, while an attorney for Kaepernick and Reid said they would keep the deal confidential. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:49 p.m.

Emilia Clarke has just revealed in a powerful essay that she has survived two life-threatening brain aneurysms since her work on Game of Thrones began.

The Daenerys Targaryen actress in an essay for The New Yorker on Thursday writes that in February 2011, two months before the first season's premiere, she suffered a type of stroke that kills one-third of patients, being rushed to the hospital after experiencing a "shooting, stabbing, constricting pain." Following a three-hour surgery, Clarke says she suffered from aphasia and couldn't even remember her name.

"In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug," she writes. "I asked the medical staff to let me die."

Clarke says she was told she had a smaller aneurysm in her brain that "could 'pop' at any time," so when she went back to filming Game of Thrones, "every minute of every day I thought I was going to die." She eventually received a second surgery for this other aneurysm, but it didn't go according to plan. "I had a massive bleed and the doctors made it plain that my chances of surviving were precarious if they didn't operate again," she says. The recovery from this more intrusive surgery was even more painful, she describes, saying she was "convinced that I wasn't going to live."

Her fear didn't go away after she was out of the hospital, and Clarke goes into detail about the pressure of trying to maintain her public persona while at the same time fearing she wouldn't be able to "cheat death" again. Once, she says she received a "horrific headache" at Comic-Con and thought, "This is it. My time is up."

Now, though, Clarke says she has "healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes" and has started a charity called SameYou to fund treatment for those who suffer from brain injuries and strokes. Read Clarke's emotional account at The New Yorker. Brendan Morrow

2:07 p.m.

President Trump just unleashed an incredibly consequential foreign policy decision in a single tweet — but what else is new.

Just a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump decided that America would recognize Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Syria and Israel have fought over the 460-square mile plateau for more than half a century, yet Trump settled its fate, at least in American eyes, in one surprising Thursday tweet.

Golan was Syrian land until Israel seized it in 1967, sparking a constant fight between the neighbors. Most recently, Israel has accused the Iran-backed group Hezbollah of setting up a terrorist cell in the region, per the Times of Israel. Netanyahu was expected to push Trump to support Israel's control over the region when they met next week, and three GOP lawmakers pleaded with Trump to do the same last week.

The move is largely seen as a strategic boost to Netanyahu's struggling re-election campaign, The New York Times notes. Beyond meeting with Trump, Netanyahu is also scheduled to speak to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, which has recently been subject to increasing opposition from far-left Democrats. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:54 p.m.

Facebook is in hot water once again.

The social media giant on Thursday acknowledged having stored hundreds of millions of user passwords in plain text when they should have been encrypted. This followed a report from journalist Brian Krebs on Facebook not encrypting passwords, which said this has been happening "in some cases going back to 2012."

Krebs quoted a Facebook source as saying "between 200 million and 600 million" users have been affected by this. In a blog post, Facebook didn't provide an exact number but said it would notify "hundreds of millions" of affected Facebook Lite users, as well as "tens of millions" of other Facebook users and "tens of thousands" of Instagram users.

These unencrypted passwords were searchable in a database that could be accessed by 20,000 Facebook employees, Krebs reports. Facebook says it discovered this during a security review in January but found "no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords."

This is only the latest bit of bad press for the scandal-plagued Facebook, which The New York Times reported last week is under criminal investigation over deals made with other companies over its user's data. Facebook told the Times it is "cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously." After the company's Thursday revelations, the Times' Mike Isaac quoted a Facebook employee as saying, "working at Facebook is like living the Sideshow Bob stepping on rakes GIF." Brendan Morrow

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