President Obama on Wednesday briefly interrupted his vacation to condemn ISIS's execution of journalist James Foley. Then he went right back to playing golf.
Naturally, many critics blasted Obama's decision to continue vacationing amid crises. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was not one of them, as he countered that Obama was actually sending a strong message to terrorists about his dearth of empathy.
"I think there are probably one or two terrorists — because this is how they make their money," he said, referring to reports that ISIS demanded a multi-million dollar ransom in exchange for Foley's release.
"They're negotiating with Spock with a pitching wedge," he went on. "And I'm sure there may even be one or two terrorists over in Syria looking at him and going, 'Wow, that's one cold bastard.'"
To be fair, it's unclear whether Scarborough was being facetious; he wound down his monologue by admitting, "I don't know what I'm doing." Jon Terbush
Did Jennifer Lawrence accidentally pop an Ambien before filming a scene for The Hunger Games? Did John Oliver make Queen Elizabeth a feta omelette as a teenage chef? And did Jimmy Fallon really write a song called "Am I Doing It Wrong?" and offer it to Sir Paul McCartney free of charge? Those are the confessions the trio divulged on Monday during a game of "True Confessions" on The Tonight Show, but not everyone was telling the truth. Not surprisingly, Oliver is a master interrogator, while Fallon and Lawrence take a more casual approach to their questioning (when they aren't straight up accusing Oliver of being a dirty liar). Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
On Monday in Los Angeles, Bernie Sanders sat down with The Associated Press and talked about the ongoing tensions in the Democratic primary fight and the future of the Democratic Party. "It goes without saying that I condemn all forms of violence, but I hope the media does its job and not exaggerate what happened in Nevada and elsewhere," he said, alluding to raucous fights between Sanders supporters and Democratic officials.
Sanders repeated his assertion that the leadership of the Democratic Party has a choice to make about welcoming in his supporters or just going "to fancy fundraisers, at, you know, $50,000 a plate" and shutting the door on dedicated Sanders fans. "I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs — it's going to be messy," Sanders said. "Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle. But that is where the Democratic Party should go."
The interviewer asked, "You think the convention could be messy?" And Sanders replied: "So what? Democracy is messy. Every day of my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, things to just proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about." Sanders then asked what would happen if he won "a major victory in California? Will people say, 'Oh, we're really enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton despite the fact that Bernie Sanders has now won whatever it may be, 25 states, half the states?'" If he won big in California, the Democratic insiders who make up the superdelegates "may rethink that," Sanders said. "That is why you want the process to play out."
California and the five other final states are voting on June 7. So far, Clinton has won 24 states to Sanders' 20. She is leading Sanders by 271 pledged delegates — if you include superdelegates, Clinton needs just 90 more to clinch the nomination — and, according to The Washington Post's calculations, Clinton has won about 2.9 million votes (including caucus states). Watch Sanders talk about the Democratic Party's big decision below. Peter Weber
Facebook's general counsel announced Monday that while Facebook was "unable to substantiate" allegations of "politically motivated suppression of particular subjects or sources" in its Trending Topics feature, the company is changing some of its policies to "minimize risks where human judgment is involved."
Facebook leaders met with prominent conservatives and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, last week after unidentified former Facebook workers in charge of curating Trending Topics alleged in Gizmodo that they and their coworkers suppressed conservative articles. General counsel Colin Stretch wrote on Monday that an investigation by the company has "revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature. Our data analysis indicated that conservative and liberal topics are approved as trending topics at virtually identical rates."
Because the investigation could not "fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies," Stretch said, Facebook will now stop relying on certain websites and news outlets to "identify, validate, or assess the importance of particular topics," and will expand the Help Center content on Trending Topics. "We will continue to work to improve the feature, as well as to seek feedback from people who use our service to make sure we keep Facebook a platform for all ideas," he added. Catherine Garcia
The Obama administration has deals in place to send about 22 or 23 Guantanamo Bay detainees to half a dozen countries, U.S. officials told The Guardian.
The officials, who asked for anonymity, said the transfers are expected to take place by the end of July. All of the detainees have been officially approved for transfer, although the countries where they are going are not ready to be identified and some approvals still need to be certified by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Right now, Guantanamo is holding 80 men, the lowest number since the prison opened in 2002.
In January, the State Department's envoy for closing Guantanamo said the U.S. would empty Guantanamo of transfer-eligible detainees "by this summer," The Guardian reports. If the men are transferred, less than 60 detainees will remain at Guantanamo, with most involved in military tribunals or deemed too dangerous to free. Catherine Garcia
Hillary Clinton has declined an invitation to a Fox News debate with Bernie Sanders before the California primary June 7.
In a statement released Monday evening, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said, "We believe that Hillary Clinton's time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands."
Sanders had been pushing for the debate, and in a statement said he hopes "Secretary Clinton reconsiders her unfortunate decision to back away from her commitment to debate. I would also suggest that Secretary Clinton may want to be not quite so presumptuous about thinking that she is a certain winner. In the last several weeks, the people of Indiana, West Virginia, and Oregon have suggested otherwise." Bill Sammon, vice president and Washington managing editor for Fox News, echoed Sanders, and said the network is "disappointed that Secretary Clinton has declined our debate invitation. Especially given that the race is still contested and she had previously agreed to a final debate before the California primary." Catherine Garcia
Several changes are taking place within the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), following outrage over long security lines earlier this month at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
In an internal memo obtained by NBC News, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said Kelly Hoggan, the agency's assistant administrator for security operations, has been replaced by Darby LaJoye, the deputy assistant TSA administrator and one-time top security official at Los Angeles International Airport and New York City's JFK Airport. Hoggan has been reassigned to other duties, the memo said. Previously, he was the focus of congressional inquiries into bonuses he received.
The TSA has also created the National Incident Command Center at TSA headquarters, which will track daily screening operations and will be able to shift officers to different airports depending on passenger volume. After the O'Hare debacle, which left hundreds of people stuck in security lines as their planes departed, Neffenger and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that 300 additional TSA officers will be assigned to Chicago airports by mid-August, and more than 100 officers in Chicago currently working part-time will become full time. Catherine Garcia
Hillary Clinton is going after Donald Trump's business record, telling union members Monday in Detroit that he "could bankrupt America like he's bankrupted his companies."
Speaking at an SEIU convention, Clinton warned that "Trump Economics is a recipe for lower wages, fewer jobs, more debt. He could bankrupt America like he's bankrupted his companies. I mean, ask yourself, how could anybody lose money running a casino, really?" Trump's companies have filed for bankruptcy four times; the presumptive Republican nominee has said he never filed for personal bankruptcy, and as a businessman, used bankruptcy laws to his advantage.
Clinton has brought up Trump's business acumen and wealth a few times in recent days, including during an appearance Sunday on Meet the Press; Clinton said Trump should release his tax returns, suggesting they could show he's not as rich as he claims. Catherine Garcia