Morning Update: Taylor Swift Was The Real Skynet All Along

Michael Cohen sentenced to prison, Theresa May survives a confidence vote, France is on high alert. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Dec. 13.

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Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison

President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer was given a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to tax fraud, campaign finance crimes, and lying to Congress.

Prosecutors said some of those crimes were committed on Trump's behalf and others were directed by Trump himself.

Cohen told the judge that he covered up “dirty deeds” for the president in acts of “blind loyalty.”

This is an important bit: Prosecutors also announced that they’ve reached an agreement not to prosecute AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer. Cohen had previously told the court he helped arrange a payment from the publisher to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for her story alleging an affair with Trump.

As part of its agreement, “AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign” and “its principal purpose … was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

Conservative MPs have voted to keep Theresa May on as leader

Two hundred Conservative members of the British Parliament voted that they still have confidence in the prime minister, while 117 voted that they have no confidence in her.

The result means Tory MPs won’t be able to contest May’s leadership for another year.

The victory was short-lived — moments after the vote, MPs were already looking ahead to the looming showdown over her proposed Brexit deal. Even sympathetic colleagues who voted in support of her leadership said they now saw no way she could get it through.


Nancy Pelosi has agreed to step down by 2022 to secure the votes she needs to be Speaker of the House. Pelosi made the deal with Democratic lawmakers who were withholding their votes because they were pushing for generational change.

Amazon’s first meeting with the New York City Council didn’t go so well. Protesters filled the council chambers on Wednesday, interrupting Amazon's remarks with chants like “G-T-F-O, Amazon has got to go.”

Christine Blasey Ford honored Rachael Denhollander, the first gymnast who sued Larry Nassar. Denhollander received the Sports Illustrated Inspiration of the Year award. In a video statement Ford introduced her, saying, “I am in awe of you… In stepping forward, you took a huge risk and you galvanized future generations to come forward.”

A mother said her daughter killed herself because she was bullied for being friends with a white boy. Alabama mom Jasmine Adams is blaming her 9-year-old daughter’s school for failing to protect the fourth-grader from bullies who she said caused the young girl to kill herself.

A mom of a stillborn baby is calling on tech companies to be more discerning with their ads. Gillian Brockell was 32 weeks pregnant when her baby boy died. Her experience was made worse by online ads tailored to pregnant women. She tried to mark them irrelevant, but the algorithms just assumed she’d delivered a healthy child.

A kiosk at a Taylor Swift concert reportedly used facial recognition technology to look for stalkers. The technology was said to have been deployed for at least one concert at a kiosk that played rehearsal footage on the outside — the faces of the fans who stopped to watch were surreptitiously scanned.

The Strasbourg terrorist attack unsettled a France already on edge

It has been a month of turmoil in France, and it just got worse.

After weeks of intense, violent protests over gas prices and the cost of living, the country’s police forces are stretched thin.

That was before Tuesday night’s attack in Strasbourg, which left at least three dead and more than a dozen wounded and triggered a hunt that shut the country’s borders with Germany and Switzerland.

The search for Chérif Chekatt is still on, more than 24 hours after he allegedly opened fire on a Christmas market.

He was on the country’s terrorist watchlist, though an officer told us that’s meaningless — the list has more than doubled in four years, and there aren’t anywhere near enough resources to actually monitor someone on it.

Read Mitch Prothero’s excellent report on a country on high alert.

New toys called “Yellies!” move faster when kids scream at them, and parents are super grateful

Hasbro recently introduced a new toy spider that moves slower or faster depending on the noise level — and the point is to yell at it to make it go faster.

Now, look, I’ve never worked in the toy industry, but Hasbro, come on, read the room.

Parents are saying this toy is exactly the last thing their kids needed. Latest reports suggest devious aunts and uncles everywhere are plotting to buy Yellies for your kids.

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