Morning Update: What, Exactly, Is Going On In Virginia?

Ocasio-Cortez's role in the Democratic nomination, ending HIV in the US, Ariana vs. the Grammys. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Feb. 7.

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What, exactly, is going on in Virginia?

The state’s three top elected officials — the governor, the attorney general, and the lieutenant governor — are each embroiled in a scandal.

Attorney General Mark Herring apologized for wearing blackface as a college student. Herring, who is second in line for governor, expressed regret for his teenage “ignorance and glib attitudes.”

Herring’s admission comes days after the discovery of a photo showing a person in blackface on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page. Northam initially said he was in the photo, then said he was mistaken. Nonetheless, he admitted to having worn blackface on a separate occasion.

Meanwhile, the state’s Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is accused of sexually assaulting a woman 15 years ago. Vanessa Tyson, who’s a college professor, has spoken out in a new public statement.

Noteworthy: Rev. Al Sharpton says “there’s a constitutional crisis in Virginia.”

Three stories about the crowded Democratic field

The first: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s celebrity-status following and ability to drive entire news cycles are setting her up to play a crucial role in the 2020 election: As candidates try to figure out how to stand out, Ocasio-Cortez has answers.

The second: Top Democrats in the early 2020 primary states haven’t heard anything from Joe Biden. The former VP’s plans remain a mystery to state and county party chairs.

The third: Elizabeth Warren has apologized for saying she is Native American.


Police went to arrest a serial killer in Toronto and found a ninth victim still alive, tied to his bed. Bruce McArthur, 67, pleaded guilty last week to murdering eight men he met in the city’s gay community. A note: This post contains some disturbing details.

A man allegedly offered to help a teenage girl escape her abusive father only if she first recorded the rape. Bryan Rogers is in police custody for allegedly instructing the 14-year-old — who had reached out to him for help — to send him a video of her assault.

A school police officer attacked a black high school student. Video recorded in Pennsylvania's Hazleton Area High School cafeteria shows the white officer punching the girl and pulling her hair. The superintendent of the district says the school’s officers responded correctly to “a large altercation” between students.

After scrutiny, Instacart will end its controversial tipping policy. The company used customer tips to subsidize the $10-per-delivery minimum payment it guarantees its workers. Instacart is changing this practice after it attracted the ire of both its delivery workers and customers.

Here’s the explanation of the drama between the Grammys and Ariana Grande. The singer was noticeably left out of the Album of the Year category even though her record Sweetener was a smash. Now she reportedly won’t even be in attendance, following a dispute about which song the producers will let her sing.

Trump says he wants to wipe out HIV. Experts say that would require treating trans people and immigrants a lot better.

In his State of the Union address this week, President Donald Trump said he wants to end the US HIV epidemic by 2030. About 1.2 million people nationwide have HIV, and every year another 40,000 are infected.

Federal health officials say the plan is to focus on the 48 US counties with the highest infection rates and seven Southern states with substantial rates in rural areas.

Trump’s goal is an ambitious one, to be sure, but HIV experts told us the plan is very doable. However, they say in order for it to work, the president will have to stop stigmatizing immigrants and trans people.

One expert put it like this: “Ending the HIV epidemic matches the scientific reality — we can do this. But it doesn’t match the political reality of our era.”

This dad came up with a way to keep his son entertained, and he might be onto something

Ralph Content likes to spend time with his son Liam.

Recently, he had a tweet go viral after he shared what parenting looks like in his home. People are so pleased with his strategy.

That’s because Content’s photo showed him playing Call of Duty while his son watches Moana in this genius bit of set-up. Just look at how happy Liam is:

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