News Round-Up: December 20, 2019

Jim Newman (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Jim Newman’s words of wisdom for the holidays – “Don’t blend in.” Follow the hunky singer on Instagram here.

• Metro: A teenager who attacked a lesbian couple on a night bus because they refused to kiss was sentenced to an eight-month youth referral order (parole), 12 hours’ reparation and ordered to pay £220 in fines and prosecution costs.

NBC News: A Texas grand jury on Friday indicted a former Fort Worth police officer for murder after fatally shooting a young woman who had been babysitting her nephew at home. According to police and body camera footage, the officer didn’t identify himself before shooting and killing the victim through a window.

KIT212: Kenneth rounds up the what’s what in gay publications across the country.

FiveThirtyEight: The four candidates leading the polls nationally and in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — have qualified for the seventh Democratic debate in January, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar who has hit at least 5 percent in just enough polls and her campaign says she has the donors.

• Instinct: A woofy bear in the front row of last night’s Democratic debate stole the show for many Twitter gays.

Washington Post: After meeting privately in July 2017 with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin at the G20 summit, Trump grew more insistent that Ukraine worked to defeat him, according to multiple former officials familiar with his assertions. The president’s intense resistance to the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia systematically interfered in the 2016 campaign led many of his advisers to think that Putin himself helped spur the idea of Ukraine’s culpability.

The Gaily Grind: A 14-year-old girl is in the hospital after an Iowa woman struck her with her SUV in a hit-and-run incident resulting in attempted murder charges after the woman behind the wheel said she did it because the teenager is “a Mexican.”

Lip-Sync This: Billy Porter has had quite the year after slaying on the red carpets throughout the awards season, picking up an Emmy, and now snagging a 2nd Golden Globe nomination for his work on the ground-breaking FX series, POSE.

But he ain’t done yet! Check out this celebrity lip-sync of his #1 Billboard Dance Club hit, “Love Yourself.”

The celebrity lip-sync features Porter’s POSE co-stars MJ Rodriguez, Ryan Jamal Swain, Dyllon Burnside, Jeremy McClain, and Jason A. Rodriguez; Kinky Boots cast and creatives Cyndi Lauper, Jerry Mitchell, Stark Sands, Annaleigh Ashford, Lena Hall, and the Ogunquit Playhouse cast of the smash hit musical; the Broadway cast of Ain’t Too Proud; along with Kelly Ripa, Debra Messing, Lin Manuel Miranda, Patina Miller, Nathan Lee Graham, Miss J, Peppermint, and designer Christian Siriano.

Trump Smirks As He ‘Warns’ Putin To Not Meddle In US Elections

Enjoying the attention of press and camera crews at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Donald Trump was asked if he was going to warn Russian President Putin against meddling in U.S. elections.

“Yes, of course I will,” replied Trump.

Turning to Putin with a smirk, Trump said, “Don’t meddle in the election, President.” He also gestured to the Russian delegation repeating, “Don’t meddle in the election.”

They all thought it to be quite hilarious.

All U.S. intelligence agencies have agreed that Russian forces worked to influence the 2016 presidential election which delivered a surprise win to Trump.

Trump also joked with the Russian leader about what he calls ‘fake news,’ telling Putin, “Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.”

“We also have,” replied Putin. “It’s the same.”

Trump Reverses Course (Again) On Putin Proposal

Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Putin (R)

During the Donald Trump/Vladimir Putin press conference on Monday, Trump praised Putin’s ‘offer’ to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to travel to Russia to ‘observe’ interrogations of the 12 indicted Russian military officers as ‘incredible.’

In exchange, however, Putin wants to question Americans including our former Ambassador to Russia who was critical of the Russian president.

Danger Will Robinson, danger.

Via Politico:

Trump called the idea an “incredible offer” during the news conference. And on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the president would “meet with his team” on Putin’s proposal, setting off a Russia-related backlash against the Trump administration for the third straight day.

By Thursday, as the Senate prepared to formally rebuke Trump, the White House reversed course.

“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

The Senate voted 98-0 for a resolution denouncing the idea that we would hand over our foreign diplomats, past or present, to Russian agents for interrogation.

By the way, a new poll by SurveyMonkey shows 79% of Republicans approve of how Trump handled the Monday press conference.

Compare that with 91% of Democrats who disapproved and 62% of Independents who disapproved.

Overall, the numbers fell pretty much in line with Trump’s usually polling – 58% disapproved and 40% approved.

With Fox News Turning On Him, Trump Attempts To Walk Back Statements At Putin Summit

Calling his Helsinki summit with Putin the “most successful visit” about “the most pressing issues facing humanity,” Trump claimed that the U.S. relationship with Russia is now “substantially better” after the summit.
Donald Trump

In a very awkwardly delivered statement, Donald Trump (reading from prepared remarks) attempted to walk back some of his disastrous comments made in Helsinki yesterday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Calling his Helsinki summit with Putin the “most successful visit” about “the most pressing issues facing humanity,” Trump falsely claimed that the U.S. relationship with Russia is now “substantially better” after the summit.

The Trumpster also asserted that he has faith in the U.S. intelligence establishment’s conclusion that Russia interfered, and then swerved back into the underbrush saying it could also be somebody else.

“I have a full faith in our intelligence agencies. Always have. I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling took place (though) it could be other people also.”

And just for good measure, or out of habit, he threw in another “There was no collusion at all.”

Trump tried to explain that at the summit he ‘misspoke’ and said “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia” rather than “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.”

Here’s the word salad explanation: “The sentence should have been ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’ sort of a double negative. So you can put that in and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself. I have on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections.”

Watch below.

And for the Game of Thrones fans:

Jimmy Kimmel: We Now Know Beyond A “Treasonable Doubt” Putin Has Blackmail Evidence On Trump

Jimmy Kimmel

In his opening monologue last night, Jimmy Kimmel could not hold back when it came to the news of the day, Donald Trump’s disastrous meeting and press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Well, I guess that settles it. There you go. If you’re wondering whether or not Vladimir Putin has an incriminating video of Donald Trump, we now know beyond a treasonable doubt he does.

“This wasn’t a good day for Donald Trump. We haven’t seen an American so owned by a Russian since Rocky IV.

“Putin’s just having fun with this now. He actually offered to have his intelligence agents investigate the hacking of our election. That’s like Papa John offering to investigate who’s been saying all the racist stuff at the company.”

As Trump exited the presser, he brought up Hillary Clinton’s emails yet again. Says Kimmel, “Always close with your biggest hits – that’s the way to go.”

Watch the segment below.

Trump Celebrates His Summit Meeting With His Boss

Donald Trump seems to be in a parallel universe celebrating his 'summit meeting' with Russian President Putin as the rest of the world was horrified at Trump throwing his own intelligence agencies under the bus in favor of the Russian president

Over on Earth Two, Donald Trump celebrated his (widely-panned) performance at his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Meanwhile, former CIA director John Brennan had a different take on Trump’s performance in Helsinki:

Sen. John McCain On Trump: “The Most Disgraceful Performance By An American President In Memory”

Sen. John McCain of Arizona (R)

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has issued a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump’s statements made at a joint press conference today with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During the presser, Trump publicly disregarded the reports of U.S. intelligence agencies and accepted the denials of Vladimir Putin on Russian election meddling.

McCain’s statement:

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.

“Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable.

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”

Donald Trump Throws His Own Intelligence Agencies Under The Bus For Putin

Donald Trump is being heavily criticized for siding with Russia over U.S. intelligence agencies

Absolutely stunning display of anti-American behavior by a U.S. president.

Standing on the same stage as Russian President Putin, Donald Trump says he takes the word of Putin over his own intelligence agencies regarding the election interference in 2016.

Last week, the Special Counsel’s investigation indicted 12 Russian agents who were found to have hacked and interfered in the presidential race in 2016, but today Trump told the world that if Putin denies ordering the disruption into our democracy, then he believes the Russian president.


When a respected journalist like Anderson Cooper leads with, “You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly than I’ve ever seen,” you know something astonishing has happened.

Even Fox News anchors were critical of the Donald’s performance today.

Trump Blames U.S. “Stupidity” For Poor Relationship With Russia

Donald Trump (L) and President Putin of Russia (R)

Heading into his one-on-one summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump via Twitter blamed the Untied States’ “stupidity” for the poor relationship with Russia.

The Foreign Ministry of Russia actually chimed in saying, “We agree.”

Senate Intelligence Committee: Russia Carried Out Putin’s Plans To Interfere In 2016 Election

Donald Trump (L) Vladimir Putin (R)

After a 14-month investigation, the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no evidence to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia, on orders from Putin, carried out an unprecedented election interference effort to help the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign in 2016.

Even Fox News is reporting the news:

Senate Intelligence Committee leaders on Wednesday backed the 2017 intelligence community report that formally accused Russia of trying to interfere in the U.S. presidential election to boost then-candidate Donald Trump.

Their statements followed a final closed-door interview on the matter with top Obama administration officials. The committee, led by Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., spoke Wednesday with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and former National Security Agenda Director Michael Rogers (who retired earlier this year).

“Committee staff have spent 14 months reviewing the sources, tradecraft, and analytic work, and we see no reason to dispute the conclusions,” Burr said in a statement. “There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections. I look forward to completing the Committee’s inquiry and issuing our findings and recommendations to the American people.”