Earlier this year, Axios reported a shocking scoop from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book: former President Donald Trump would allegedly, on occassion, clog a toilet with wads of paper he was seemingly attempting to flush and destroy, according to White House residence staff.
At the time, Trump denied the reports. But now … well, now there are photos.
In both pictures, which Haberman apparently recently obtained then shared with Axios ahead of the release of her book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, balls of paper featuring Trump’s signature scrawl and preferred Sharpie ink can be seen sitting at the bottom of the toilets.
Per a White House source, the photo on the left is of a White House toilet, while the photo on the right is from an overseas trip. “That Mr. Trump was discarding documents this way was not widely known within the West Wing, but some aides were aware of the habit, which he engaged in repeatedly,” Haberman told Axios. “It was an extension of Trump’s term-long habit of ripping up documents that were supposed to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.”
Though it’s difficult to read the text that’s written, one can at least in the right photo make out the name of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a Trump ally and member of House Republican leadership, Axios notes.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich dismissed the story: “You have to be pretty desperate to sell books if pictures of paper in a toilet bowl is part of your promotional plan,” he told Axios.
Bestselling historian David McCullough died Sunday at the age of 89 at his home in Hingham, Massachusetts, his daughter confirmed. She did not specify a cause of death.
McCullough was born in Pittsburgh in 1933, graduated from Yale in 1955, and released his first book — a history of an 1889 flood that killed over 2,000 people in Johnstown, Pennsylvania — in 1968.
His 2001 biography of John Adams topped The New York Times‘ best-seller list the week of its release and inspired an HBO miniseries starring Paul Giamatti. His 1992 biography of Harry Truman topped the list for 43 weeks and was the basis for an HBO film starring Gary Sinise.
McCullough’s other works included histories of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Panama Canal, and the 1941 Arcadia Conference between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. His final book, The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, sparked controversy when it was released in 2019, with New York Times reviewer Joyce E. Chaplin accusing McCullough of failing to grapple sufficiently with the settlers’ violence against Native Americans.
In addition to his histories, McCullough provided narration for the Ken Burns documentary The Civil War and the 2003 film Seabiscuit and hosted the television series American Experienceand Smithsonian World.
McCullough is survived by a brother, five children, 19 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Rosalee, died in June, also at the age of 89.
Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John — known for her role as Sandy Olsson in the film adaptation of Grease and hit songs like “Physical” and “I Honestly Love You,” has died, husband John Easterling confirmed Monday afternoon. She was 73.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” Easterling wrote in a post shared on Facebook. “We ask that everyone please respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”
Newton-John “has been a symbol of triumphs and hope for over 30 years sharing her journey with breast cancer,” the post continued. In lieu of flowers, her family requests “donations be made in her memory to the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund,” which is “dedicated to researching plant medicine and cancer.”
The Grease actress revealed she was fighting Stage 4 breast cancer back in October 2021, per Page Six. She was initially diagnosed with the disease in 1992, then again in May 2017, after 25 years in remission. Her storied careercounts her among the favorites of the late 1970s to ’80s, thanks in part to chart-topping duet “You’re the One That I Want,” followed later by “Physical” as well as her work in musical Xanadu.
Among others, Newton-John is survived by her husband, her daughter Chloe Lattanzi, her sister Sarah Newton-John, and her brother Toby Newton-John.
The Biden administration announced Monday that it would send another $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine. This new package, the 18th since Russia’s invasion began and the largest so far, brings the total U.S. investment in Ukraine’s defense to $9.8 billion.
According to CNBC, the package “consists of additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems or HIMARS, 75,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition, 20 120 mm mortar systems and 20,000 rounds of 120 mm mortar ammunition as well as munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems or NASAMS.” Voice of America notes that this latest tranche of aid also includes 1,000 new Javelin anti-tank launchers, Claymore anti-personnel mines, and armored medical vehicles.
The administration’s announcement comes a day after CBS News walked back a claim that the majority of military aid sent to Ukraine never reaches the front lines.
“Like 30 percent of it reaches its final destination,” nonprofit founder Jonas Ohman said in April during an interview for the CBS Reports documentary Arming Ukraine. Ohman’s Lithuania-based group, Blue-Yellow, has been ferrying non-lethal military aid to Ukrainian combat units since the war began. According to CBS News, Ohman said recently that delivery efficiency has improved significantly since April.
We removed a tweet promoting our recent doc, “Arming Ukraine,” which quoted the founder of the nonprofit Blue-Yellow, Jonas Ohman’s assessment in late April that only around 30% of aid was reaching the front lines in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/EgA96BrD9O
Welcome back to The Election Recap, your weekly, one-stop shop for the last seven days of midterms news. Let’s get into it:
So many primaries, so little time
Last week was a big one — voters in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, and Washington decided multiple highly consequential races, including the gubernatorial primary contest that pit former President Donald Trump’s proxy against that of his vice president, Mike Pence. To that end, the Trump-backed Kari Lake narrowly won the Republican nomination for Arizona governor over Pence’s pick, Karrin Taylor Robson, and will face off against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in November. Lake has served as a dutiful mouthpiece for Trump’s false claims of election fraud. The former president saw even more success in Michigan, having endorsed conservative commentator and eventual winner Tudor Dixon in the GOP primary for governor, while Rep. Peter Meijer — one of the 10 House Republicans who voted for Trump’s second impeachment — lost his bid for re-election against former Trump official John Gibbs. In Kansas, voters roundly rejected an amendment to the state’s constitution that would have allowed the state legislature to regulate (and likely ban, down the line) abortion, in one of the first big tests of the post-Roe political landscape. Over in Missouri, disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens (R) was unsuccessful in his bid for U.S. Senate, losing squarely to Attorney General Eric Schmitt. And finally, in Washington, pro-Trump impeachment Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse advanced to the general election in the state’s 4th District, while his pro-impeachment counterpart Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is still waiting on news of her fate in the 3rd. Interested in an even deeper dive? David Faris penned an incredibly helpful (and longer) Aug. 2 primaries recap for The Week.
The dos and don’ts of 2024
Both GOP Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have some advice for their party ahead of November. For her part, Mace — who describes herself as “staunchly pro-life” — suggests her party meet “somewhere in the middle” on abortion restrictions, lest extreme takes deter GOP gains in the fall. “I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record,” she told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “I do think that it will be an issue in November if we’re not moderating ourselves,” specifically by including exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. “This is a place where we can be in the center. We can protect life, and we can protect where people are on both sides of the aisle,” she continued. Haley, meanwhile, wants to cement focus on upcoming midterms races rather than the 2024 presidential contest, in which Trump has all but officially announced his candidacy. “We should not take our eyes off of 2022. If we don’t win in 2022, there won’t be a 2024,” Haley toldFox News Sunday. “So we need to stay humble, disciplined, and win that.”
They did it, Joe — after securing the support of one Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Senate Democrats at long last passed their languishing climate and health legislation by a 51-50 vote, with Vice President Kamala Harris coming in to break the tie. The Inflation Reduction Act arose from a deal between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the latter of whom initially killed President Biden’s signature Build Back Better agenda last year. The new spending package includes $369 billion for climate and energy initiatives and $64 billion for health care, while raising roughly $739 billion in revenue. “It’s been a long, tough, and winding road but at last, at last, we have arrived,” Schumer said Sunday. Having cleared the Senate hurdle, Democrats and Biden are now on the cusp of a “crucial achievement” ahead of the midterms, writes CBS News. “I ran for president promising to make government work for working families again, and that is what this bill does,” Biden said in a statement: “Period.” The House is expected to approve the legislation on Friday. Meanwhile, Republicans are knocking the left for “raising taxes on families during a recession,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, per Fox News.
‘He knows it’
Wyoming lawmaker Rep. Liz Cheney (R) is pulling out all the stops in her bid for re-election, even going so far as to rope in her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. In a campaign video released last week, George W. Bush’s running mate calls Trump a “coward” and a “threat to our republic.” ”A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters,” the ex-VP continued. “He lost his election, and he lost big. I know it, he knows it, and deep down I think most Republicans know it.” Liz Cheney has been dealing with intense inter-party fallout following her criticism of Trump, as well as her work as a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Consequently, she’s now a target of the former president, who has endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman in a bid to oust her. For Cheney, the crusade is worth it: “If the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay,” she told The New York Times. Hageman is widely expected to win.
It’s primary o’clock again tomorrow, this time in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin. As always, expect a deeper dive into the results of those races next week, but in the meantime, here’s a quick primer, courtesy of The Associated Press: In Vermont, voters will have the chance to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and perhaps send a woman to represent the state in Congress for the first time ever. In Wisconsin, keep an eye on another Trump-Pence proxy battle, again in the state’s gubernatorial primary contest, as well as the Democrat that emerges from the primary to take on GOP incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson in November. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s progressive “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar is up against a Democratic primary challenge, while Connecticut Republicans work to unseat incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D).
Hawaii voters also head to the polls this week, on Saturday, Aug. 13.