The FCC says it will not take action against Stephen Colbert for his controversial comments about President Donald Trump.
"Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints," the FCC said in a statement provided to Variety. "The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules."
In the opening monologue for his May 1 episode of the The Late Show, Colbert said "The only thing [Trump's] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's c—k holster." The word was bleeped out and Colbert's mouth was blurred.
(WASHINGTON) — The Senate intelligence committee says it will subpoena two of former national security adviser Michael Flynn's businesses.
The committee has already subpoenaed Flynn for documents regarding his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Flynn has refused to hand over that information.
The committee also sent a letter to Flynn's attorney Tuesday questioning the legal basis of Flynn's decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right over a request for documents rather than testimony.
Committee Chairman Richard Burr says senators will wait for Flynn's response to Tuesday's requests before they decide the next course of action, including the possibility of a contempt of Congress citation.
The committee is investigating Russia's campaign meddling and possible ties to President Donald Trump's associates.
(WASHINGTON) — Education advocates say President Donald Trump's budget contradicts his campaign pledge to make college more affordable with its proposed elimination of subsidized student loans and cuts in other programs that help students pay tuition.
The 2018 budget, unveiled Tuesday, slashes funding for the Education Department by 13.5 percent.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement that it "reflects a series of tough choices we have had to make when assessing the best use of taxpayer money. It ensures funding for programs with proven results for students while taking a hard look at programs that sound nice but simply haven't yielded the desired outcomes."
But critics said it contradicts President Donald Trump's campaign promises to make college more affordable at a time when student debt is ballooning.
"Donald Trump ran as a populist, but he is a governing as an elitist and this budget is a clear indication of that," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
When he accepted the Republican presidential nomination last year, Trump had said, "We're going to work with all of our students who are drowning in debt to take the pressure off these people just starting out in their adult lives. Tremendous problem."
His first budget seeks to save over $1 billion by eliminating subsidized student loans. For undergraduate students who qualify, the government pays the interest while they remain in college. Students can borrow up to $23,000 during their four years in college. The current interest rate is 3.76 percent.
An additional $859 million would be saved by ending student debt forgiveness for those who enter public service. The program was launched in 2007 with the idea to motivate university graduates to take government and teaching jobs in remote rural areas. Under the program, the remainder of a student's debt is forgiven after he or she makes 120 qualifying payments, or typically after 10 years.
Natalia Abrams, executive director of Student Debt Crisis, an advocacy group, said that over 550,000 borrowers are currently enrolled in the debt forgiveness program. The Education Department said those already in the program will not be affected by the change.
"We need to make it easier for people to go to and pay for college, this budget does the exact opposite," Abrams said.
The budget also proposes to nearly halve the federal work-study program to $500 million. The program provides funding to colleges and universities to create jobs for students, which help them pay tuition.
It maintains funding for Pell grants and makes them available year-round.
Former Education Secretary John King called Trump's budget "an assault on the American dream" and said it will make it harder for students to attend and finish college. "They are harming the long-term future not just of students but also of the country," he told The Associated Press.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president the National Education Association, describes the document "a wrecking ball of a budget" and that they would work to defeat it.
For elementary and secondary education, the budget seeks to expand charter and voucher-type programs for private schools around the country. It calls for an additional $1 billion in funds to encourage school districts to advance choice options, $250 million in scholarships to low-income families to attend private schools and $167 million to start or expand charter schools. However, the budget stops short of launching a sweeping $20 billion school choice project that Trump talked about on the campaign trail.
The American Federation of Children, a school choice advocacy group, which DeVos used to head, praised the increase in school choice funding.
"We're pleased to see the administration put funding muscle behind their pledge to facilitate an expansion of school choice options across the country," the group said in a statement
In May 2016, a Russian military intelligence officer talked too much. Boasting to a colleague, he said that his organization, known as the GRU, was getting ready to cause chaos in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. The officer was “bragging about the systematic attempt... to cause chaos into our electoral cycle,” a senior U.S. intelligence official told TIME for the magazine's current cover story on the Russian operation.
What the officer didn’t know was that U.S. spies were listening. Looking back as part of their effort to uncover the details of the 2016 Russia operation, U.S. investigators now realize the GRU officer’s boast was the first indication they had from their sources that Russia wasn’t just hacking U.S. email accounts to collect intelligence, but was actually planning to interfere in the vote, several senior intelligence officials told TIME.
A year later, that single scrap of intelligence has grown into a multi-pronged investigation to uncover the full extent of Russia’s election-meddling, an attack on the core exercise of democracy in America. The probes have uncovered the possibility that members of Donald Trump's presidential campaign cooperated with Moscow’s agents, according to the ousted head of the FBI, James Comey, and other senior Justice Department and intelligence officials. Intelligence collected last year, former CIA Chief John Brennan testified on May 23, "raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals." The acting FBI director, Andrew G. McCabe, confirmed in testimony earlier this month that the bureau was pursuing a “highly significant” investigation into possible collusion.
The FBI investigators don't know—or haven't said—whether the Trump campaign helped the Russians. Determining whether the President's campaign colluded is up to independent, professional investigators, overseen by prosecutors and judges, who are following the facts to uncover the truth.
Which is why Trump’s multiple attempts to blunt the work of the investigators is so remarkable.
At a White House meeting on Feb. 14, according to the New York Times, Trump asked Comey to ease off part of the Russia probe. Comey refused. When Comey testified March 20 that the FBI was looking into potential cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia, the President and White House aides asked the heads of the NSA and DNI to pressure Comey to back off, according to the Washington Post. When none of that worked, Trump fired Comey on May 9.
Trump said May 18 that the "entire" FBI investigation is a “witch hunt.” He reportedly told the Russian foreign minister and others in a White House meeting May 10 that Comey, who has held multiple senior jobs in the Justice Department over more than 30 years, was “a nut job.” But Trump is increasingly alone in his assessment that the investigation is in any way improper. “These investigations are in place to get us to the right conclusion,” Trump's Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats testified on May 23.
And they are making progress. Initially, in May 2016, the report on the GRU officer didn’t jump out. “We could not put a value on it,” says the senior U.S. intelligence official, “because we didn’t really understand the context until much later.” But over the following two months, new reports came in from other channels showing it wasn’t just the GRU; other elements of the Russian government were intending to interfere in the election, too. By the end of July, there was sufficient evidence to indicate a serious Russian operation was underway.
It was at that point that the FBI, which investigates whether or not crimes or foreign espionage have taken place in the United States, opened its probe of the Russian operation. The bureau brings broad powers to such investigations. They can subpoena documents, require testimony by suspects or witnesses under oath, and eavesdrop on suspects to collect evidence. All of that work must comply with the stringent rules of the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide.
The FBI is reportedly looking at the activities of several individuals associated with the Trump campaign, including former campaign chair Paul Manafort and two advisers, Roger Stone and Carter Page. Each has denied doing anything wrong. Investigators are also looking into contacts between the Russians and Trump's ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The FBI now views a current senior White House official as a significant person of interest in the case, according to the Washington Post.
The DIOG imposes strict oversight constraints on the bureau's agents, especially when investigating politically sensitive matters. To issue subpoenas they need the permission of a prosecutor or grand jury. To pursue particularly sensitive targets, like political figures, they must get approval from top Justice Department officials. If they want to eavesdrop on suspects, they generally must convince a judge they have probable cause to believe a crime was committed.
Public testimony since the election indicates that FBI investigators, following the evidence and working under the supervision and scrutiny of U.S. prosecutors and independent judges, crossed that threshold months ago. Regardless of who is in charge at the top of the FBI or the Justice Department, the probe is going to continue until investigators determine the full extent of the Russian operation, and whether any Americans helped them.
People are battling it out to Photoshop a viral photo of Justin Trudeau jogging into hilarious internet masterpieces.
Canada’s Prime Minister and part-time made-for-meme internet sensation supplied the internet with its latest viral Trudeau moment on Monday. The leader was just jogging along the Seafront of Stanley Park in Vancouver, when a group of teens captured the high-profile runner in their prom photo. Eventually, Trudeau even got in on the promgoers’ celebration for a batch of photos that went viral.
Cortez Kennedy, one of the best defensive linemen of his generation and a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee despite rarely finding himself in the spotlight as a player, has died. He was 48.
Police in Orlando, Florida, say the former Seattle Seahawks star was found dead Tuesday morning. Orlando Police Department public information officer Wanda Miglio said the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown but that there is nothing suspicious about his death. An investigation is being conducted.
"Cortez Kennedy has been a pillar of the Seahawks franchise since joining the team as a rookie in 1990," the Seahawks said in a statement. "Tez was the heart and soul of the Seahawks through the 1990s and endeared himself to 12s all across the Pacific Northwest as a player who played with a selfless and relentless approach to the game. ... We are proud to have been represented by such a special person."
A star who spent his entire 11-year NFL career in relative obscurity playing in Seattle, Kennedy became the second Seahawks player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He was an unmovable wall as a dominant defensive tackle, and a quiet, gentle soul away from the field never interested in finding himself in the spotlight.
"Cortez will be remembered not only for all his great achievements on the football field but how he handled himself off the field," Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker said. "He epitomized the many great values this game teaches which serves as inspiration to millions of fans."
Kennedy was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1990 draft out of Miami and Seattle smartly never let him leave. He brought notoriety to an otherwise dreadful period in Seahawks history as an eight-time Pro Bowler and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 1992.
"Really sad to lose a guy like Cortez Kennedy," Broncos' general manager John Elway tweeted Tuesday. Elway was chased around by Kennedy twice a year for much of the 1990s as competitors in the AFC West. "A great personality, a great player and I enjoyed competing against him."
Even though he last played for the Seahawks in 2000, he remained a significant part of the organization. He was a mainstay around the team during training camp and would occasionally roll through the locker room during the regular season grabbing a few minutes with anyone — players, coaches, media — up for a chat.
Kennedy was scheduled to be in Seattle on Thursday as part of an event for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.
"My heart hurts," current Seahawks offensive lineman Justin Britt tweeted. "We lost a truly great player but even better person."
Kennedy experienced only minimal team success in his career with the Seahawks. His 1992 season, when Kennedy was the league's defensive player of the year, was made even more remarkable by the fact that his 14 sacks, 27 tackles for loss and 92 tackles came for a team that went 2-14 and was among the worst ever offensively in a 16-game season.
What made Kennedy so difficult to stop was his low center of gravity, unexpected quickness and remarkable strength packaged in a 6-foot-1, 300-pound frame. If he was asked to hold the line on a running play, he would regularly eat up two or three potential blockers.
But he could also rush the passer up the middle, a rarity for an interior defensive lineman. While 1992 was his best individual season, Kennedy recorded at least six sacks in six of his 11 seasons.
"(One) of the most talented players I ever recruited or coached," tweeted Jimmy Johnson , one of Kennedy's coaches at Miami. "... A sad day."
(COLLEGE PARK, Md.) — A black Bowie State University student who police say was fatally stabbed by a white stranger was honored Tuesday at the commencement ceremony where he would have walked across the stage.
The gown of Richard Collins III was draped over a chair in the front row, and his family accepted his business administration degree.
The historically black school's commencement was held in a sports arena at the nearby College Park campus of the University of Maryland, where Collins was killed early Saturday.
Moments after the stabbing, witnesses directed officers to a white Maryland student sitting nearby with a knife in his pocket, police said.
Bowie State President Mickey Burnim asked graduates to remember Collins.
"Let us pause now in a moment of silence and contemplation of what each of us might do to promote greater peace, harmony and love that seems to be so lacking in our country and our world today," he said.
Indeo Ragsdale, a friend of Collins from Bowie State's ROTC program, said the day was full of sadness from losing him, but also the happiness of having known him, and the many lives he touched.
"He'll be truly missed," said Ragsdale, a junior from Lindenwold, New Jersey.
Bowie State students were trying to avoid negative thoughts, even though Collins was stabbed a short distance from the commencement, he said.
"It's sad that it happened up the street from here, but it's out of our control. We're not focused on the negativity today. We're focused on the positivity. Collins was a joyful person," he said.
Robert Caret, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, noted these contrasting emotions while addressing the graduating class.
"Commencements, almost without exception, are events that are bound with excitement and good feeling and hope, but it's clear that we gather today heartbroken by the murder of one of our very own, someone who by any rational measure should be with us today," Caret said.
Outside, University of Maryland physics professor Charles Clark wore his academic regalia and carried a sign honoring Collins as he welcomed the other school's graduates and faculty.
"I thought I'd come and greet people on my own behalf and give them a good impression of the University of Maryland at College Park," he said.
Bowie State science professor Uvetta Dozier thanked Clark. She called Collins' death heartbreaking.
"He could have been someone whose life could have been a lamp unto those who are lost," Dozier said.
Authorities have appealed for patience from both college communities as they investigate the background of Sean Urbanski, now jailed on murder charges. Police are considering it a possible hate crime, because Urbanski became a member of a racist Facebook group several months ago.
"I know people are hurting," Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Monday. "I know that people are drawing conclusions. I know that social media moves in its own way.
"But I'm asking as the chief of police in Prince George's County ... that we take pause and allow all these investigators to do their work. They will know to a certainty what lies behind this, but we're not there yet."
Defense attorney William C. Brennan argued that since the 22-year-old Urbanski had no criminal record, he should be allowed to live at home with a GPS monitor and receive alcohol abuse treatment while his case goes forward. The judge declined, for now.
Collins, 23, who was visiting friends at the College Park campus, had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
Lt. Col. Joel Thomas, who runs the Bowie State ROTC unit, said at a vigil Monday night that Collins could have been an outstanding military leader.
"Richard cared deeply about his friends, cared deeply about others and he was exactly what we are looking for when we're selecting officers for the United States Army," Thomas said.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan posted Monday on Facebook that the person responsible must be fully prosecuted. "Violence and hatred have no place in our communities and will never be tolerated," he said.
(JERUSALEM) — President Donald Trump made a personal appeal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, calling on both sides to put aside the "pain and disagreements of the past," as he closed a four-day swing through the Middle East Tuesday.
But Trump departed for Europe having offered no real indication of a path forward on one of the world's most intractable disputes. He pointedly sidestepped any mention of the thorny issues that have stymied all previous attempts at a peace deal, including the status of Jerusalem, Israeli settlement construction and the Palestinians' demand for a sovereign nation.
Trump's vagueness on one of the region's central issues did little to dampen the enthusiasm surrounding his visit, particularly from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister, who had a frosty relationship with Trump's predecessor, heaped praise on the president throughout the two-day visit, declaring: "We understand each other."
During his quick stop in the region, Trump met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Speaking at the Israel Museum, he declared both sides ready to move forward, though there were no tangible signs of the dormant peace process being revived.
"Palestinians are ready to reach for peace," Trump said. Turning to the prime minister, who joined him for the speech, Trump said, "Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace."
A longtime businessman, Trump has cast Middle East peace as the "ultimate deal" and has tasked son-in-law Jared Kushner and former real estate lawyer Jason Greenblatt with charting a course forward. Still, White House officials had downplayed the prospects for a breakthrough on this trip, saying it was important to manage their ambitions as they wade into terrain that has tripped up more experienced diplomats.
Trump's caution showed. He did not weigh in on Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem or even whether the U.S. would continue to insist on a two-state solution giving the Palestinians sovereign territory.
From Israel, Trump headed to Italy for an audience with Pope Francis. He'll close his ambitious first foreign trip at a pair of summits in Brussels and Sicily, where his reception from European leaders may be less effusive than his welcome in Israel and Saudi Arabia, his opening stop on the trip.
Trump and Netanyahu in particular lavished praise on each other during their multiple meetings. The prime minister, who repeatedly butted heads with President Barack Obama, leapt to his feet when the president declared Tuesday that his administration "will always stand with Israel."
Yet some Israeli officials are less certain of Trump. In statements leading up to the trip, he's taken a tougher-than-expected line on settlements, saying he doesn't believe they help the peace process, though he's stopped short of calling for a full construction freeze. He's also backed away from his campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same security risks as other presidents who have made that promise.
At the same time, Abbas and the Palestinians have been pleasantly surprised by their dealings with Trump. On Tuesday morning, Trump met with Abbas in Bethlehem, traveling across the barrier surrounding much of the biblical city.
Abbas said he was keen to "keep the door open to dialogue with our Israeli neighbors." He reiterated the Palestinians' demands, including establishing a capital in East Jerusalem, territory Israel claims as well, insisting that "our problem is not with the Jewish religion, it's with the occupation and settlements, and with Israel not recognizing the state of Palestine."
After his meeting with Abbas, Trump returned to Jerusalem for a solemn tribute to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. On a visit to the Yad Vashem memorial, the president and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath on a stone slab under which ashes from some of those killed in concentration camps are buried. They were joined by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, as well as daughter Ivanka Trump and Kushner.
The White House said Trump was being updated on the attacks in Manchester, England, by his national security team. More than 20 people were killed by an apparent suicide bomber. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Monday blast, which also left 59 people wounded, though a top American intelligence official said the claim could not be verified.
"So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life," Trump said, echoing the theme he presented during his meetings with Arab leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The White House said it was Trump's idea to use the term "evil losers."
Trump declared that he would not call the attackers "monsters," a term he believes they would prefer, instead choosing "losers," a longtime favorite Trump insult and one he has directed at comedian Rosie O'Donnell, Cher and others.
Trump's visit to Jerusalem has been laden with religious symbolism. He toured the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which by Christian tradition is where Jesus was crucified and the location of his tomb. Wearing a black skullcap, he became the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, the most holy site at which Jews can pray.
The visit raised questions about whether the U.S. would indicate the site is Israeli territory. The U.S. has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over parts of the Old City seized in the 1967 war.
The White House struggled to answer the question. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared the site part of Israel, while U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday dodged the question. Trump himself never commented.
No science fiction franchise has been more influential than Star Wars. (Sorry, Star Trek fans!) Over the last 40 years, the space opera saga created by George Lucas has delivered 1,062 minutes of lightsaber duels, intergalactic dogfights and dynastic drama. Even non-fans are likely to immediately recognize iconic imagery like Darth Vader’s helmet, the Millennium Falcon, or Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. Which begs the question: of the hundreds, maybe thousands, to choose from which Star Wars moments are the best?
The series, now owned by Disney, turns 40 on May 25. So TIME's entertainment team and sundry Star Wars super fans on staff ranked the top 40 scenes. We included only moments from the original trilogy, the prequels, The Force Awakens and Rogue One. (The 1978 Holiday Special not so much.) This list was debated at length. What did we miss?
Iris Azulai's 17-year-old daughter, Carmel, recently attended a large concert in Tel Aviv of the Argentine singer Lali. Given Israel's history, the fear of terrorism is always lurking, particularly at mass events, but regardless, she would not have prevented her daughter from going.
"There is always that fear ... but I allow her to go because I say we cannot allow terrorism to take over our lives," the mother said Tuesday following the Ariana Grande tragedy in Manchester, England. "It can happen anywhere and I just ask my daughter to be aware and take note of her surroundings."
Before a suicide bomber struck in the north of England on Monday, young Grande fans at the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena posted photos on social media with messages of excitement at seeing their 23-year-old, high-ponytailed idol live. But now, some parents are thinking carefully about their children's summer plans to attend concerts.
"The worst part is that if something happens there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. All these things pass through my mind when she is there," Azulai said.
Among the dead in Manchester was 8-year-old Saffie Roussos. She was the youngest of the 22 dead identified so far.
"The thought that anyone could go out to a concert and not come home is heartbreaking," said Chris Upton, the head teacher at Saffie's school, Tarleton Community Primary School in the village of Tarleton, Lancashire.
For many families and kids, concert going — especially the freewheeling summer scenes that play out around the world — are a rite of passage, a step toward independence. Count American singer and songwriter Victoria Monet, 24, in that demographic.
She was among two opening acts for Grande on the European leg of Grande's Dangerous Woman Tour. Monet told her 43,100 followers on Twitter after the deadly explosion in Manchester that "ones who came to have the night of their lives ended up losing them."
Monet added: "They weren't safe. I will never understand this hate! I don't know how to handle this and I can't smile and I feel useless I'm sorry."
Julie Dearing in Houston, Texas, has a boy and girl, a 13-year-old son not at all interested in concerts and an 11-year-old music lover who was, until she learned of the Manchester attack. Earlier this year, Dearing's daughter watched Fifth Harmony and other acts perform at the NRG Stadium which has a capacity of nearly 80,000.
"That was her first concert," Dearing said. "I wasn't worried then, but I am now. I don't know that I would let her go to a concert now and I don't anticipate her asking again, at least not for a long time. She expressed to me she no longer has a desire to attend a large concert after hearing this news. It was very frightening, understandably so."
Will the fear carry over to the mall, getting around by herself or with friends and other independent outings?
"I think it's so associated with concerts more than anything else," Dearing said. "I think she'll be fine but I'd rather err on the side of caution."
As anxiety-inducing as concert going by kids can be, whether parents attend or not, Los Angeles licensed psychologist Crystal I. Lee sees no upside in letting fear take over.
"Car accidents are more likely to harm your child than a terrorist attack, yet you still allow your child to travel by car," she said. "Of course, continue to exercise your general good judgment when deciding if your child should go, but don't let the possibility of terrorism be the deciding factor."
Easier said than done for some parents, especially those in Paris and other cities that have been targeted by terrorists in recent years.
Paris resident Shelley Boyd Cadiou's three sons — the youngest of whom is 18 — were going to attend a Guns N' Roses concert in Paris on July 7 at the Stade de France, one of the targets in the November 2015 Paris violence that left 130 people died. They're no longer attending because of jitters over the Manchester attack.
"I don't think I would ever veto a concert if my children really wanted to go but I will always be relieved if they decide for whatever reason not to be in crowds," Boyd Cadiou said.
The November attacks also included the Bataclan concert hall, where most of the carnage occurred.
"I try to not let my anxiety touch other people but the Bataclan event was very traumatic for me," Boyd Cadiou said.
Jerrid Anderson, who recently moved to Paris from Minnesota, planned to take his 19-year-old daughter, Hannah, to the Guns N' Roses show but decided immediately against it Tuesday morning because of Manchester. His wife, Danielle Anderson, said that she was against his decision to cancel but let it stand.
"I don't think we should live our life in fear. I don't really care if my husband and children go to a rock concert, but what I don't want is to box in our lives out of fear of terrorism," she said.