It's only been four days since it was revealed that Herman Cain settled sexual harassment claims when he ran the National Restaurant Association, but the pace at which he's reversed and changed his story only seems to be accelerating.
It's only been four days since it was revealed that Herman Cain settled sexual harassment claims when he ran the National Restaurant Association, but the pace at which he's reversed and changed his story only seems to be accelerating. It took days for Herman Cain to change his mind about whether he remembered a settlement over the sexual harassment claims against him, a day to change his mind about who was behind it, and mere hours to change his mind -- twice! -- over whether his former campaign consultant stabbed him in the back by leaking the story. But just because people talk about the "accelerated" news cycle all the time doesn't mean they forget things more quickly. Unfortunately for Cain, there is video of him making all these contradictory statements -- not to mention the paper records of what actually happened at the National Restaurant Association way back in the 1990s that will probably come out eventually. But to help you keep up, here are the key points so far.
Sunday, October 30
Politico gave Cain's campaign 10 days to respond to the story, and then reporter Jonathan Martin confronted him. "I'm not going to comment," Cain said. When Martin pressed him, Cain replied, "Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?"
Monday, October 31
Cain tells the National Press Club, "I was falsely accused of sexual harassment ... It was concluded after a thorough investigation that it had no basis. As far as a settlement, I am unaware of any settlement. I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything. But the fact of the matter is I'm not aware of any settlement that came out of that accusation."
Tuesday, November 1
Cain campaign manager Mark Block told reporters at National Journal’s Election 2012 Preview, "Mr. Cain has never sexually harassed anybody. Period. End of story." But he then hinted he knew Cain had made unwanted comments recently: "As the hours go by, it's interesting that we even hear from a radio talk show host of Iowa that a receptionist thought that Mr. Cain’s comments were inappropriate."
Then Cain was interviewed by Fox News' Greta van Susteren and suddenly remembered a settlement. How much was it for? "Thousands, but I don't remember a number. But then [the general counsel] said, The good news is because there was no basis for this, we ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement ... Maybe three months' salary or something like that, just vaguely trying to recall it."
Later Tuesday, Cain addressed a whole Fox panel. Charles Krauthammer asked him why he couldn't remember a settlement earlier that day, but suddenly remembered on van Susteren's show. Cain said he was just confused by the word "settlement." Cain explained, "Well, it wasn't intended to be Clintonian. It was simply using the word 'agreement,' which in business organizations that I have run, whenever there has been an employee leaving, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, we would generally call it an agreement. So that was the perspective from which I got around to that after trying to recall what was happening 12 years ago.
Cain added that racist liberals were behind the charges. "I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it. ... Relative to the left, I believe that race is a bigger driving factor."
Wednesday, November 2
But Cain changed his mind about who was behind the story after a third woman told the Associated Press she'd been harassed. Cain decided Rick Perry's campaign was to blame, telling Forbes:
"I told my wife about this in 1999 and I’ve got nothing to hide ... When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our [Senate] campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him."
Anderson works for Perry now. When asked about the charges, Anderson denied having ever heard the story, and was like, What are you guys talking about? I like Herman Cain.
Thursday, November 3
Block told Fox the campaign changed its mind; Anderson wasn't the source after all. "All the evidence that we had of what transpired in the last two weeks added up that Mr. Anderson was the source. We were absolutely thrilled he came on your show and said that it wasn't because Mr. Cain had always had the utmost respect for him." So much respect that he didn't bother to call Anderson and ask, Hey did you rat me out? Block continued, "We accept what Mr. Anderson had said and we want to move on with the campaign."
Later that same day...
Cain went on Sean Hannity's radio show, apparently having not gotten the memo about the truce with Anderson. First, he blamed Forbes for the accusations against Perry. "A reporter did this research and came up with these facts, we didn't ... That was the reporter that wrote the report for Forbes," Cain said, according to The Hill. And yet! Cain still blames Perry, saying he didn't "see any other way this could have come out" and "there aren't enough breadcrumbs that leads us to any other place." And yet!! Cain's not even entirely sure he told Anderson about the sexual harassment claims. "I am almost certain that I did. … This is why we want to get off this merry-go-round," Cain said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
“I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use U.S. enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests,” Browder writes.
The financier Bill Browder has emerged as an unlikely central player in the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Sergei Magnitsky, an attorney Browder hired to investigate official corruption, died in Russian custody in 2009. Congress subsequently imposed sanctions on the officials it held responsible for his death, passing the Magnitsky Act in 2012. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government retaliated, among other ways, by suspending American adoptions of Russian children.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who secured a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, was engaged in a campaign for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, and raised the subject of adoptions in that meeting. That’s put the spotlight back on Browder’s long campaign for Kremlin accountability, and against corruption—a campaign whose success has irritated Putin and those around him.
Why is President Trump badmouthing his attorney general, why doesn’t he just fire him, and what does he hope to accomplish by pushing him out?
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has spent much of his career making enemies. The Alabaman’s strident views have won him plenty of detractors, from civil-rights activists to fellow members of the Senate. But in Donald Trump, Sessions believed he had finally found a champion and fellow traveler. Instead, it seems Sessions has found his most formidable enemy yet.
Trump is now on his second consecutive day of publicly humiliating the attorney general on Twitter, following an interview with The New York Times last week in which he said he wished he’d never appointed Sessions. The attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from investigation into Russian interference in the election infuriated Trump, who has repeatedly tried to end the investigation, including by firing FBI Director James Comey. Instead, Comey’s firing resulted in the appointment of a special counsel to take the case. Here’s Trump’s latest broadside against Sessions:
The president addressed the quadrennial gathering like a campaign rally—talking to a group devoted to service as if it valued self-interest.
Donald Trump continued his ongoing tour of cherished American institutions on Monday night, delivering yet another jarringly partisan speech to an apolitical audience—this one, comprising tens of thousands still too young to vote.
During the campaign, his performance at the Al Smith dinner—where presidential candidates roast their rivals and themselves every four years—devolved into overt attacks on his opponent. Shortly after his election, he stunned CIA employees by delivering a campaign-style stump speech before the agency’s Memorial Wall. On Saturday, he surprised the crowd of uniformed personnel at the commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford by imploring them to lobby Congress in support of his agenda.
The Arizona senator delivered an impassioned critique of partisanship, haste, and win-at-all-costs legislation, just moments after casting a vote to debate a bill that exemplifies all three.
It was a day of contradictions for John McCain: Returning from his own sickbed, he flew into Washington to vote to open debate on a bill that could strip others of their coverage. Met with a standing ovation on the Senate floor, he was also denounced fiercely for his vote in favor of debate, which allowed the bill to move forward after Vice President Pence broke a 50-50 tie.
And then there was the speech he delivered immediately after the vote. It was a surreal moment: a stemwinder denouncing fight-for-every-inch gamesmanship, hasty procedures, closed-door wrangling, and legislation that puts partisan gain over helping citizens, delivered moments after McCain cast the deciding vote to forward a bill that embodied every one of those tendencies.
There is plenty of reason to be confident that if ISIS could reliably and easily make a dirty bomb, they would do so.
In the last three years, I have not spent much time wondering whether ISIS has access to radioactive material. I know they have had access, because I had a hand in getting it to them.
In 2005, while working for an air cargo company in Mosul, I delivered a large wooden box, marked for consignment to the University of Mosul. To fly it in, we needed a special plane, an Antonov-12, whose cargo hold was cavernous compared to our usual 727s and DC-8s. The box contained, according to its air waybill, radiological imaging equipment for the university’s teaching hospital. The next day, workers from the hospital met me at my office, and I gently forklifted the crate into their truck. The load seemed off-balance, and I winced when I heard a corner of the box splinter as we strapped it down. But they drove away, and unless that million-dollar piece of medical equipment fell off the back of the truck and ended up strewn across the road, it probably made it safely to the hospital, where it was captured by ISIS nine years later.
Surprise eggs and slime are at the center of an online realm that’s changing the way the experts think about human development.
Toddlers crave power. Too bad for them, they have none. Hence the tantrums and absurd demands. (No, I want this banana, not that one, which looks identical in every way but which you just started peeling and is therefore worthless to me now.)
They just want to be in charge! This desire for autonomy clarifies so much about the behavior of a very small human. It also begins to explain the popularity of YouTube among toddlers and preschoolers, several developmental psychologists told me.
If you don’t have a 3-year-old in your life, you may not be aware of YouTube Kids, an app that’s essentially a stripped-down version of the original video blogging site, with videos filtered by the target audience’s age. And because the mobile app is designed for use on a phone or tablet, kids can tap their way across a digital ecosystem populated by countless videos—all conceived with them in mind.
The internet’s favorite fact-checkers are caught in a messy dispute.
On Monday, the editorial staff of Snopes.com wrote a short plea for help. The post said that the site needed money to fund its operations because another company that Snopes had contracted with “continues to essentially hold the Snopes.com web site hostage.”
“Our legal team is fighting hard for us, but, having been cut off from all revenue, we are facing the prospect of having no financial means to continue operating the site and paying our staff (not to mention covering our legal fees) in the meanwhile,” the note continued.
It was a shocking message from a website that’s been around for more than 20 years—and that’s become a vital part of internet infrastructure in the #fakenews era. The site’s readers have responded. Already, more than $92,000 has been donated to a GoFundMe with a goal of $500,000.
Ask yourself, is all that wasted time really rewarding? And other tips from Charles Duhigg, who wrote the book on productivity.
Why is it that the more work I have to do, the more the internet beckons me into its endless maw of distraction? Oh Lord, I will say, appealing both to myself and to whatever blog-god might be listening, I have an hour to finish this article.
But first, isn’t this Tasty video fascinating? I’ve never thought about making buffalo-fried cheese nuggets before, but now that I’ve watched a pair of disembodied hands prepare them so expertly, I should definitely head over to Amazon and Prime me some buffalo sauce.
This is how I found myself, exhausted after leaving work at 8 p.m. one day recently, flopping onto my bed, still in my pencil skirt, and clicking open a horrific, traffic-mongering slideshow linked from the bottom of an article I was reading. It was about Stars Without Makeup or What Child Stars Look Like Now or some other rancid meat for my hungry lizard brain.
Ninni Holmqvist’s 2009 book “The Unit,” newly reissued, imagines a world in which people who haven’t procreated are forced to make a different—ultimate—contribution to society.
“It was more comfortable than I could have imagined,” is how The Unit begins, with Dorrit, a single, impoverished 50-year-old woman picked up from her home in a metallic red SUV and transported to a luxury facility constructed by the government for people just like her. Her new, two-room apartment is bright and spacious, “tastefully decorated,” inside a complex that includes a theater, art studios, a cinema, a library, and gourmet restaurants. For the first time, Dorrit is surrounded by likeminded people and included rather than ostracized. At the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material, she’s one among a community of people who couldn’t—or didn’t want to—have children.
The cost is that, for the remaining four or five years of her life, Dorrit will be subjected to medical testing and will donate her organs one by one until her final, fatal donation. The Unit’s author, the Swedish writer Ninni Holmqvist, has imagined a society fixated on capital, but in human form. Those who have children or who work in fields like teaching and healthcare are seen as enabling growth; the childless and creative types like Dorrit, a writer, are deemed “dispensable,” removed, and forced to make their own biological contributions. The unit itself is a fantasy of government welfare for aging citizens (it offers delicious meals, culture, and companionship), but with a particularly sharp twist.
Partly, it’s simple rage. Mueller threatens Trump. And when Trump sees someone as a threat, he tries to discredit and destroy them—conventional norms of propriety, decency and legality be damned.
But there’s another, more calculated, reason. Trump and his advisors may genuinely believe that firing Mueller is a smart move. And if you put morality aside, and see the question in nakedly political terms, they may be right.
The chances that Mueller will uncover something damning seem very high. Trump has already admitted to firing former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation. Donald Trump Jr. has already admitted to welcoming the opportunity to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from people he believed were representatives of the Russian government. Even if Mueller doesn’t accuse anyone of a crime, he’s likely to paint a brutal picture. And that’s just on the question of election collusion and obstruction of justice. If Mueller uses Russia to segue into Trump’s business dealings, who knows what he might find. An all-star team of legal and financial sleuths, with unlimited time and money, and the ability to subpoena documents and people, have been let loose on the affairs of a man whose own autobiographer called him a “sociopath.” No wonder Trump is scared.