Michael Martin

Trump military parade will cost $92 million — 666% more than initial estimate

President Trump's desired military parade, previously blasted as wasteful and unnecessary, will cost $92 million — 666 percent more than the original estimate. Now penciled in for Nov. 10, the parade has been on Trump's must-do list since his state visit to France in 2017, where he...

Thursday, August 16, 2018, 7:08 PM

Are there sex-trafficking charges against Harvey Weinstein?

This week, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that former film executive Harvey Weinstein can be sued under a federal sex-trafficking law by an actress who claims he coerced her to have sex in exchange for a movie role that never materialized. The New York Times called it a "novel decision...

Thursday, August 16, 2018, 5:14 PM

Why was John Brennan's security clearance revoked, and what does it mean?

Yesterday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced that President Trump was revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan. Because Brennan has been a frequent critic of Trump, it was criticized as retaliatory and a violation of free speech. Who is John Brennan?...

Thursday, August 16, 2018, 4:39 PM

What are deepfakes?

Computer scientists are warning against the development that threatens to turn fake news into something indistinguishable from the real thing: Deepfakes. But, exactly what are deepfakes? What are deepfakes? Deepfakes — a compound of "deep machine learning" and, well, "fake...

Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 5:21 PM

Who is Peter Strzok and why was he fired by the FBI?

This week, FBI agent Peter Strzok was fired by the deputy director of the FBI for sending anti-Trump texts during the presidential campaign. It was a harsher penalty than the demotion and 60-day suspension that the bureau's employee discipline office had recommended. "It is a decision...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 5:50 PM

Is the EPA legalizing asbestos?

This month, the Trump administration proposed relaxing restrictions on asbestos, the cancer-causing building material banned in other countries — a move that was opposed by members of the Environmental Protection Agency, which is overseeing the change. It will release a new rule outlining 15...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 2:55 PM

Did Omarosa commit a crime by secretly recording White House meetings?

Former White House official (and "Apprentice" star) Omarosa Manigault Newman has claimed she secretly recorded President Trump and chief of staff John Kelly during White House meetings. Shocking political observers, she said that recorded her firing by Kelly in the White House Situation...

Monday, August 13, 2018, 4:38 PM

Is Space Force real? What you need to know about Trump's latest idea

On June 18, President Trump proposed a "separate but equal" new branch of the United States military: the Space Force, dedicated to fighting galactic wars. But unlike another one of the president's highly publicized, seemingly improvisational ideas — the see-through, solar-...

Friday, August 10, 2018, 6:06 PM

There are more secret tapes of Trump, recorded by Omarosa

When fired FBI director James Comey said, "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," was he praying for a supergroup? Two intimates of Donald Trump now claim to have secretly recorded conversations with him. In addition to lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, former "The Apprentice" star and...

Friday, August 10, 2018, 4:51 PM

Who is Devin Nunes, and why is he in the news right now?

Devin Nunes, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is back at the forefront of news about the Russia investigation. He had previously been accused of obstructing his own committee's investigation into the Russia matter in order to protect the president. This week, he made...

Friday, August 10, 2018, 3:02 PM

Is perjury a felony?

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani has said repeatedly that an interview between Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller would be a "perjury trap." Others have noted that an easy way to avoid perjury is to tell the truth. It’s only a “perjury trap” if you...

Thursday, August 9, 2018, 10:26 PM

PSA: Melania Trump's parents are U.S. citizens now

First lady Melania Trump's parents were granted U.S citizenship today, likely through an immigration process President Trump says he wants to end. Viktor and Amalija Knavs, who are from Slovenia, have been living in Washington, D.C., with green cards, which allowed them to live and work...

Thursday, August 9, 2018, 4:34 PM

How many people died in Hurricane Maria?

How many people died in Hurricane Maria? It's a question we've been asking, and getting vague answers to, ever since the storm ended. The government of Puerto Rico has now revealed that many more people died in Hurricane Maria and its aftermath than was originally reported. The death toll...

Thursday, August 9, 2018, 3:53 PM

Will Paul Ryan run for president in 2020?

When Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced he wouldn't run for re-election this fall, it surprised some (who saw him as a next-generation party leader) but didn't exactly shock others (amid predictions of a Democratic takeover of Congress in the midterms, the unfolding of the...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 9:18 PM

Rick Gates: What you need to know about the man testifying against PaulManafort

During the first week of the Paul Manafort trial, there were two stars: A $15,000 ostrich jacket (produced by prosecutors who claim Manafort deceived the government about his income) and witness Rick Gates, who cut an immunity deal in exchange for testimony against Manafort. Gates made a number of...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 6:30 PM

Does LeBron James have kids?

NBA superstar LeBron James has been in the headlines for co-founding the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, which will provide free tuition, a computer and a bike to each of its underprivileged students. James, 33, has made children the priority of his philanthropy, pledging...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018, 5:08 PM

Discord app: What is it, and why is it being subpoenaed?

A chat app used by white supremacists before the domestic terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been subpoenaed in a court case, which could unmask some of the participants. What is the Discord app? Discord is a secure chat app that was originally favored by videogamers. It was co-opted...

Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 5:50 PM

Is LeBron James a billionaire?

NBA superstar LeBron James has racked up a number of honorifics in his career: Three NBA championship rings, two Olympic gold medals, the first high school undergraduate to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. He has half a dozen major endorsement deals, earned rave reviews for his comic turn in...

Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 1:23 AM

Where is LeBron James from?

Basketball superstar and philanthropist LeBron James is back in the news after President Trump insulted him on Twitter last weekend. After seeing a CNN interview with James, the president tweeted this about a man who has spent millions to establish a school for underprivileged children: “...

Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 12:12 AM

People think the Q in QAnon is a very not-dead JFK Jr

In a QAnon-related development that sounds as rational as anything else about QAnon, some believers in the conspiracy theory are convinced that the person behind it all is John F. Kennedy Jr., who is not actually dead and is a real Trump fan. To review: QAnon is an elaborate fantasy that began...

Monday, August 6, 2018, 6:28 PM