March 13, 2018

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was pushed out of the White House on Tuesday, with President Trump tapping CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed him. Trump's firing of Tillerson was reportedly rather unceremonious, as the president apparently never called Tillerson himself and the State Department said that Tillerson was "unaware of the reason" for his own dismissal.

Tillerson had been publicly at odds with Trump for months — and was also reportedly never close with Nikki Haley, the U.S.'s ambassador to the U.N. To that end, Haley's tweet congratulating Pompeo on his pending promotion is telling:

It's not yet clear whether tweeting shade at former colleagues is also a "great decision." Kimberly Alters

March 8, 2018

In her first television appearance since announcing she is running for Congress in California's 44th district, Clueless star and conservative commentator Stacey Dash didn't reveal too much about her platform, beyond President Trump being good and hate being bad.

Speaking to MSNBC's Ari Melber Thursday evening, Dash, a Republican, said she would be a "catalyst for change," but wouldn't say how — when asked, for example, her thoughts on ObamaCare, she said it should be fully repealed and "there will be another solution," but she wouldn't say what it is. Pressed about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' harsh stance on so-called sanctuary cities in California, Dash said, "We have to respect law enforcement, we have to respect laws." "Go on," Melber urged, but Dash was done. "That's it," she said.

When it comes to gun control, "I support the Bill of Rights," she said, and Trump was "absolutely right" to say there was "blame on both sides" at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last year. "There were two extreme sides," she said. "Here's what it boiled down to: our right, they had a right to assemble, both sides had a right, but they were both extremes."

Hate is "not the answer for anything," she added, but don't think about asking her to condemn anyone. "I'm not here to judge," Dash said. "The only one who can judge is God. Do I know every person in the Neo-Nazi party, if they have a good heart or not? No, I don't. Do I know every member of a gang, if they have a good heart or not? No, I don't." Watch the interview in its awkward entirety below. Catherine Garcia

November 23, 2017
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In 2015, after a sexually explicit, mainly online relationship with a woman ended, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) threatened to report the woman to the Capitol Police, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post. Barton had reportedly sent the woman sexually explicit photos, videos, and messages over the course of their relationship, which began on Facebook in 2011.

The woman, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, recorded the 2015 conversation in which Barton confronted her about communications she had with other women connected to Barton. "I am ready if I have to, I don't want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation," he said, according to the recording.

On Wednesday, Barton apologized to his constituents after naked photos of him circulated on social media. In a statement, Barton, who is the longest-serving member of Congress from Texas, said he had sexual relationships "with other mature adult women" while separated from his second wife, before their divorce in 2015. "I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days," he said. But Barton, who has reportedly hired a crisis communications firm, also said that he had suffered a potential crime over the released lewd photos. In Texas, it is a misdemeanor to intentionally publicize images or videos of someone's genitals or sexual activity without consent. Barton said the Capitol Police may be launching an investigation. Lauren Hansen

August 9, 2017

On Wednesday, former Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey (N.H.) sent a letter to several lawmakers urging President Trump's prompt removal from office. In light of Trump's recent threat to meet continued North Korean nuclear threats with "fury and fire," which Humphrey likened to "pouring gasoline on fire," Humphrey argued that the "system of checks and balances" is not enough.

"The president alone has the authority to launch nuclear weapons, the only restraint being the advice of senior advisers who might be present at the time of crisis, and Donald Trump has shown repeated contempt for informed and wise counsel," wrote Humphrey, a former member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "He is sick of mind, impetuous, arrogant, belligerent, and dangerous."

Humphrey, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, called for Trump to be "relieved of the powers of the presidency" as soon as possible. He advised that a commission be established to determine whether Trump is "mentally fit" to serve. If Trump and his "seriously sick psyche" remain in office, Humphrey warned, the president's "reckless conduct could consume the lives of millions."

Read Humphrey's letter, which he sent to New Hampshire lawmakers Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan, Carol Shea-Porter, and Annie Kuster, below. Becca Stanek

June 19, 2017

Just days after the congressional baseball practice shooting, Brad Carver, the Republican Party chairman in Georgia's 11th congressional district, predicted that the attack would boost Republicans' chances of winning the upcoming special election in the Peach State.

"I'll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us," Carver told The Washington Post on Saturday after a get-out-the vote rally for Republican candidate Karen Handel, who is running against Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia's 6th congressional district. The two are vying for the seat vacated by Tom Price, who left to become the Trump administration's health secretary.

The shooting last Wednesday left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), two Capitol Police officers, a congressional staffer, and a lobbyist injured; Scalise remains in critical condition.

Carver explained that he thinks the shooting will help Handel win because "moderates and independents" are "tired of left-wing extremism." "I get that there's extremists on both sides, but we are not seeing them," Carver said. "We're seeing absolute resistance to everything this president does. Moderates and independents out there want to give him a chance. Democrats have never given this president a chance."

Carver said he thinks "it'll be close," but that Republicans will "win it." "And I really do think the congressional baseball shooting is going to decide the election," he reiterated.

Voters head to the polls Tuesday. Becca Stanek

March 31, 2017

After long avoiding watching White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's daily press briefings, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was appalled when he finally tuned in Friday:

Kristol didn't say if there were any Spicer statements in particular he was referring to. On Friday, Spicer clarified President Trump's upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping would not be a "sit around a play patty-cake kind of conversation," mispronounced Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) name, and misstated the amount of money the U.S. is giving up annually on countervailing duties. He also accused Hillary Clinton of making inappropriate "personal" phone calls to Russian President Vladimir Putin, though it's Trump's campaign that is under investigation by the FBI for its alleged ties to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

And that's just Friday's briefing. Earlier this week, Spicer scolded a veteran White House reporter for shaking her head, called a Politico reporter an "idiot with no real sources," and claimed reporters were so eager to find Trump-Russia ties that "if the president puts Russian salad dressing on a salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection." Becca Stanek

January 26, 2017

A recent study on gender stereotypes found that American girls believe being "really, really smart" is a trait associated with boys and men, The Guardian reports.

Researchers at New York University conducted tests with 200 boys and 200 girls between the ages of 5 and 7. In one study, the children were read a story about an extremely smart person, then asked to guess the person's gender. In another study, the children were shown pictures of adults of different sexes and asked to pick who they thought was intelligent. A third study asked children to match traits, including "being smart," to photos of men and women.

Taken together, the results reveal that girls of 5 years old are just as likely as boys to associate brilliance with their own gender. However, for those aged 6 and 7, girls were less likely than boys to make the association: among 6-year-olds, boys chose people of their own gender as "really, really smart" 65 percent of the time while girls only selected their gender as brilliant 48 percent of the time.

The study then explored which gender was expected by children to do better academically at school. The team found that while girls aged 5 to 7 were more likely than boys to associate their own gender with good grades, they did not link such achievements to brilliance. [The Guardian]

"Because these ideas are present at such an early age, they have so much time to affect the educational trajectories of boys and girls," said Andrei Cimpian, the co-author of the New York University study. Jeva Lange

October 25, 2016

There was a big, green, gaping lawn visible at Tim Kaine's rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, where Hillary Clinton's vice presidential candidate didn't exactly draw massive crowds:

In a raspy, campaign trail-worn voice, Kaine still managed to work up enthusiasm for the few who turned out. "You really are a checkmate state," he said. "That's more than a battleground state … If we win for Hillary here, it's over. She's going to be president." Still, as CNN noted, Kaine was very much suffering from a case of the Mondays:

Admittedly, vice presidents don't have the same draw as the tops of their tickets. But for comparison, Mike Pence also hosted a rally on Monday:

This much is good news for Kaine, at least: Clinton leads in the Sunshine State by as many as 5 points. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads