Morning Update: The Tale Of The Omarosa Tapes
Omarosa releases a recording of Donald Trump, FBI agent Peter Strzok has been fired, prayers for Aretha Franklin. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, August 14.
Omarosa has released a recording of a phone call she had with Trump after she was fired
That Omarosa Manigault Newman was fired from being senior White House aide is not itself unusual for this White House. Indeed, that’s par for the course. Her response, though, appears entirely different.
First, she released a secret recording of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her.
Then yesterday, she released a recording of the president apparently reacting to her firing, telling her “nobody even told me about it,” and that he learned of the development from watching the news.
“Omarosa, what's going on? I just saw on the news that you're thinking about leaving. What happened?” President Donald Trump says in the recording first published by NBC News.
Omarosa explains to Trump that Kelly “said that you guys wanted me to leave.”
In response to the recording’s release, Trump called Manigault Newman “Wacky Omarosa” on Twitter and said she “begged” him for a job with “tears in her eyes.”
The big picture:
On NBC News, Manigault Newman reiterated the fact that she has other recordings but said she's not sure when or if she'll be releasing them, saying that she's expecting Trump and his team to retaliate.
Meanwhile, in light of this whole episode, Trump allies are worried that others might have secret recordings, too.
The FBI’s Peter Strzok, who sent anti-Trump texts and faced Trump’s rage, has been fired
First things first, my brain wants to put an extra vowel in “Strzok,” but alas, names are names. Let’s get to the news.
What’s the background here? Strzok was an FBI agent. He played a key role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation and was a top investigator on Robert Mueller’s team in the early stages of the Russia probe.
And what’s this about text messages? Back in December, Republicans who were accusing Mueller’s investigation of political bias pointed to 375 texts between Strzok and another FBI agent, Lisa Page, with whom he had a relationship.
What was in those text messages? Well, the texts referred to the president as “an utter idiot,” “a loathsome human,” and… you get the idea. Here’s more detail about the texts, if you need a refresher.
What happened after the texts became public? A lot. Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia investigation. Strzok defended his texts in a heated congressional hearing.
And what’s new now? Strzok was fired from the FBI. His lawyer said the decision was made by FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich — and “overruled the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility,” which had issued a 60-day suspension and a demotion as punishment.
And what happens now? Well, for one thing, Trump has suggested that now that Strzok’s been fired, the Clinton investigation should be “properly redone.”
A man has been arrested after a car crashed outside the UK’s Parliament. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that a number of people were injured as the car collided with barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. The London Ambulance Service said it treated two people at the scene for injuries “that are not believed to be serious”. Police confirmed that a man has been arrested and said they were “keeping an open mind” regarding the nature of the incident, but confirmed the investigation was being led by the Met's counterterrorism unit.
Celebrities are sending love to Aretha Franklin after reports that she’s seriously ill. There has been a massive outpouring of support for the Queen of Soul after the Associated Press reported news of her failing health. Everyone from Lin-Manuel Miranda to Missy Elliott to Mariah Carey has been tweeting prayers for Aretha. If I may drop the formalities of news for a moment, I, too, attach my thoughts and wishes of recovery to the chorus of prayers.
A Baltimore police officer has resigned after a video showing him punching a man went viral. In the footage, which was tweeted by activist DeRay Mckesson, the officer can be seen repeatedly punching a man in the face, tackling him across steps, pushing him onto the sidewalk, and pinning him in place. Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle accepted the officer’s resignation, called the behavior “extremely disturbing,” and said that a criminal investigation was ongoing.
Jack Whitehall is reportedly playing Disney’s first openly gay character, and some people are pissed. The comedian joined the cast of Jungle Cruise, where he’ll reportedly play the gay brother of Emily Blunt's character, alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Some people weren't thrilled that Whitehall, a straight man, will be playing the first openly gay character in a Disney film. Also, the film is based on the Disney amusement park ride of the same name, presumably because Pirates of the Caribbean was a banger — so why not try that again?
Ruby Rose has quit Twitter after backlash to her casting as Batwoman. Last week, it was announced that the actor would play Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, in the CW’s Arrowverse. It marked the first time an openly gay superhero would lead their own television series. Then the critics came: Some said Rose is not a good enough actor for the role. Others accused the CW of “goywashing” the character's Jewish identity. The hashtags #RecastBatwoman and #KeepKateJewish began to circulate. Rose announced she would be quitting Twitter, and specifically referenced criticism of her sexuality.
Stop saving your Instagram stories. The app already does that for you. I know, I know, I’m shook too. There’s an archive where you can see everything you’ve ever uploaded — and it’s right in the app.
The EU dropped plans to release a statement backing Canada in its diplomatic fight with Saudi Arabia
Quick background here: A massive diplomatic brawl broke out between Canada and Saudi Arabia after the former urged the latter to “immediately release” recently arrested women’s rights activists.
The Arab kingdom saw Canada’s call as interference in its affairs, and turned up its reaction dial to 11. Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador and announced it will pull Saudi students from Canada and stop Saudi investment in the country.
Which brings us to now: While a number of Saudi neighbors backed the kingdom, support for Canada’s position has notably been absent. The US is not jumping in to defend Canada.
The European Union had planned a public statement supporting Canada’s position on human rights, but those plans were dropped. The EU opted instead for meeting with Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister and delivering a formal diplomatic note.
A senior EU official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the absence of a public statement as “sad” and said it was proof the EU should replace its decision-making process, which requires unanimity.
People are ugly-crying over this dad who wore a dress to a Mother’s Day event for his sons
This is a story about Chatchai “Sam” Panuthai, a single father from Kanchanaburi, Thailand. He has two sons, who are aged 3 and 5.
Mother's Day is celebrated on Aug. 12 in Thailand, and schools hold a ceremony where each child kneels at their mother's feet to thank her for all that she has done for them.
Chatchai didn’t want his sons to feel left out because their mother couldn’t make it to the event, so he wore a dress and attended instead.
The internet is fully in love, because look at all this sweetness: