Happening Today: Elizabeth Warren, Big Tobacco, Harvey Weinstein

What to Know

  • Trump revived one of his favorite taunts against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, referring to the Massachusetts senator as "Pocahontas"
  • Tobacco ads with statements hit the major television networks and newspapers, but not the American Cancer Society or other health groups
  • Harvey Weinstein engaged in sex trafficking, according to a new lawsuit filed against the disgraced movie producer

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Trump Calls Warren “Pocahontas” at Event Honoring Native American Veterans

President Trump revived one of his favorite taunts against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, referring to the Massachusetts senator as "Pocahontas" at an event honoring three Navajo Code Talkers. In the past, Native American leaders have called Trump’s attacks on Warren offensive and distasteful. Some Democrats have called the remark racist. The president has spent months feuding with Warren, an outspoken Wall Street critic who leveled blistering attacks on Trump during the campaign. He seized in particular on questions about her heritage, which surfaced during her 2012 Senate race challenging incumbent Sen. Scott Brown. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed criticism about Trump’s comments by saying she didn’t believe the president had used a racial slur.

Volcano Gushing Ash Over Bali Closes Airport for a 2nd Day

A volcano gushing towering columns of ash closed the airport on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali for a second day, disrupting travel for tens of thousands, as authorities renewed their warnings for villagers to evacuate. Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of white and dark gray ash about 9,800 feet above its cone since the weekend and lava is welling in the crater, sometimes reflected as an orange-red glow in the ash plumes. Its explosions can be heard about 7 1/2 miles away. The local airport authority said that closure for another 24 hours was required for safety reasons. Volcanic ash poses a deadly threat to aircraft, and ash from Agung is moving south-southwest toward the airport. Ash has reached a height of about 30,000 feet as it drifts across the island. Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency raised the volcano's alert to the highest level and expanded an exclusion zone to 6 miles from the crater in places from the previous. It said a larger eruption is possible, though a top government volcanologist has also said the volcano could continue for weeks at its current level of activity and not erupt explosively.

Mick Mulvaney and Leandra English Battle for Control Over U.S. Consumer Watchdog

The battle between two supposed directors of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is making for compelling optics but only seems to be delaying a tidal shift at the powerful consumer watchdog. Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's budget director and now his choice as acting director of CFPB, made a conspicuous effort to show he was firmly in control of the bureau. Meeting with reporters, he promised a new approach at the agency, which he called an example of "bureaucracy gone wrong." Earlier, he arrived at work with doughnuts for the staff. Leandra English, who was elevated to deputy director of the bureau late last week by Cordray upon his resignation, sent staff an email offering Thanksgiving wishes — hours after asking a judge to block Mulvaney from taking over. Mulvaney sent his own email telling staffers to "disregard" any directions from English. Even if English wins in court, the clock is ticking on the bureau's current direction. Mulvaney, and likely any Trump appointee, is certain to roll back the bureau's aggressive stance and be more accommodating to banks and other financial companies. In his first move in the interim role, Mulvaney ordered a 30-day freeze on any potential new regulations or hiring. He was also unrepentant in his criticism of the bureau, which dates back to his time in Congress.

Big Tobacco Finally Tells the Truth in Court-Ordered Ad Campaign

Smoking kills 1,200 people a day. The tobacco companies worked to make them as addictive as possible. There is no such thing as a safer cigarette. Ads with these statements hit the major television networks and newspapers this weekend, but they are not being placed by the American Cancer Society or other health groups. They’re being placed by major tobacco companies, under the orders of the federal courts. The Justice Department started its racketeering lawsuit against the tobacco companies in 1999, seeking to force them to make up for decades of deception. Federal district judge Gladys Kessler ruled in 2006 that they’d have to pay for and place the ads, but the companies kept tying things up with appeals.

Actress Sues Harvey Weinstein, Accusing Him of Sex Trafficking

Harvey Weinstein engaged in sex trafficking by traveling to Europe and luring an aspiring actress from London to a hotel room where he sexually assaulted her, according to a new lawsuit filed against the disgraced movie producer. The suit filed by Kadian Noble in federal court alleges that Weinstein went to London in 2014 and "groomed Kadian by telling her that he had a role in mind for her and that 'it will be good for you.'" Later that year, he approached her again at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes, France, and asked her to come to his hotel room to watch her demo reel, it says. Weinstein "knew that the promise of a role or the use of his influence on her behalf would entice Kadian into his hotel room, and knew that once there he was in a position to force the sexual activity he desired," the suit says. Kadian, 31, claims at one point, Weinstein put her on the phone with a Weinstein company producer who told her she "needed to be 'a good girl and do whatever he wished,' and if she did, then 'they would work' with her further," it says. After that, it alleges he molested her and forced her into the bathroom to watch him masturbate. A spokeswoman for Weinstein said he "denies allegations of non-consensual sex" and "has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."

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