Morning Update: “A Millennial Hybrid Of Mister Rogers And Jake Paul”

A judge says Manafort lied, FEMA's director resigned, NASA's longest-lived Mars rover is dead. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Feb. 14.

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A judge found that Paul Manafort lied to investigators after signing a plea deal with Mueller’s office

A quick refresher here: Manafort is a former Trump campaign chair. He agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference.

So what just happened? US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson found that Manafort had lied about his communications with longtime associate Konstantin Kilimnik, voiding his plea deal. For context here, Kilimnik is a Russian-Ukrainian who Mueller's office says has ties to Russian intelligence.

The judge also said Manafort lied about a separate, as-yet-non-public investigation underway at the Department of Justice, and about a payment related to a debt to a law firm.

What does this mean for Manafort? In the fall, Manafort pleaded guilty to two counts, conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to obstruct justice. A violation of the plea agreement would hurt any argument Manafort makes for lenient sentencing.

Covington Catholic students won’t be punished after investigators found no evidence “of racist or offensive statements”

Remember the viral videos of the MAGA-hat wearing boys from a Kentucky Catholic school confronting a Native American elder? A third-party hired by the Diocese and the school has exonerated the students of wrongdoing.

The Diocese of Covington, which initially condemned the students’ behavior and said they could face expulsion, now says the students “can move forward with their lives.”

The company that carried out the investigation declined to speak to BuzzFeed News.


Mexican authorities are stopping unaccompanied kids from seeking asylum in the US at every turn. In some cases, authorities are placing the kids in protective services where their only options are to request refuge in Mexico or be deported. An activist told us, “this is a political move, and children are the victims.”

Jussie Smollett says he’s “pissed off” by people who doubt he was attacked. The Empire actor reported an attack to Chicago police that’s being investigated as a possible hate crime. Smollett says he’s angry some people doubt the attack happened.

FEMA director Brock Long has resigned after two years and multiple controversies. Long was criticized for his management of the agency's response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and his use of government cars for personal business.

NASA’s longest-lived Mars rover is dead. The Opportunity rover landed on Mars in 2004, and was meant to survive for three months. But legends don’t give up, so Opportunity spent the next 14 years roaming the red planet. It was killed by a massive dust storm.

ICE wanted to deport 21 Savage on an “aggravated felony” charge — but they just dropped it. The government is still pursuing his deportation, but now only on the grounds that he had come from the UK at the age of 7 and overstayed a visa.

A Breaking Bad movie starring Aaron Paul is on the way. When we last saw Paul’s character Jesse Pinkman in the series finale, he was sobbing with joy after escaping white supremacists (as one does). Now, a forthcoming movie will air on Netflix, because we can’t let old things go.

Kids YouTube star Blippi “regrets” the viral video in which he poops all over his friend

Have you seen Blippi? He’s a YouTube megastar for toddlers — kids are obsessed with him, and he gets around 400 million views per month, making him among the top live action entertainers for kids on the platform.

But long before inventing Blippi and pivoting to children’s entertainment, Stevin John made a colossally viral version of the Harlem Shake meme where he literally projectile pooped on a nude friend.

Still, the story isn’t about John’s children’s videos — which are so fun — or the Harlem Shake video. Instead, it’s about people who intrinsically understand creating viral fame, and how they make it happen.

I highly recommend Katie Notopoulos’ excellent piece on Blippi, whom she calls “a uniquely millennial hybrid of Mister Rogers and Jake Paul.” You can skip over the gross part if you’d like.

The teaser trailer for Frozen II will give you chills

You never quite know the tone that Disney will aim to strike with sequels of popular movies, but let me tell you, it looks like the Frozen sequel will mostly serve out distress.

The teaser trailer for the follow-up to the 2013 hit is here, and nearly every shot features a character looking terrified or deeply concerned. The movie will be released in November.

I’m mostly upset they didn’t name it Frozen: Back 2 Arendelle, or Frozen II: Back in the Habit.

Here’s Elsa trying to cross a large body of water by icing it, which is a massive and distressing undertaking.

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