Weekly Wrap: "Pay Them Off." It's Friday: Sam is young, scrappy, and hungry in our latest weekly wrap with NPR reporter Vanessa Romo (@vanromo) and Ira Madison (@ira), host of the podcast 'Keep It.' The three of them talk Cohen, crops, confessions and Comey. Get tickets to our Los Angeles live show with actor John Cho and director Aneesh Chaganty at nprpresents.org.
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Weekly Wrap: "Pay Them Off."

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Weekly Wrap: "Pay Them Off."

Weekly Wrap: "Pay Them Off."

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AUNT BETTY: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week on the show, NPR reporter Vanessa Romo and writer and host of the podcast Keep It, Ira Madison. All right. Let's start the show.


LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: (As Alexander Hamilton, singing) I am not throwing away my shot. I am not throwing away my shot.


Hearing Aunt Betty say Keep It...


SANDERS: ...The thing I didn't know that I needed but I actually needed.

IRA MADISON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Hey, y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders - IT'S BEEN A MINUTE - here, as Aunt Betty said, with two great guests - Ira Madison, culture writer and host of the Crooked Media podcast Keep It. Also, can you say this yet? You are doing some things on a TV show.

MADISON: Yeah, I...

SANDERS: Tell us.

MADISON: I write for a Netflix show called "Daybreak."


MADISON: It's a teen sci-fi drama.

SANDERS: So you've got 12 jobs.

MADISON: I have...


MADISON: I have too many jobs.

SANDERS: Also here with Vanessa Romo, friend of the show, breaking news reporter at NPR covering all of the things. What did you cover this week?

ROMO: I don't know - a slew of things. It's so many things, I can't keep track.

SANDERS: We're going to talk about all of those things today.

ROMO: Let's do it.

SANDERS: So I'm playing a song for you guys which I'm sure you both know.


MIRANDA: (As Alexander Hamilton, singing) I am not throwing away my shot. Hey, yo, I'm just like my country. I'm young, scrappy and hungry, and I'm not throwing away my shot. I am not throwing away...

ROMO: Yeah.

MADISON: Yeah, it's from "My Fair Lady."


SANDERS: This song is from the "Hamilton" soundtrack.

MADISON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: It's called "My Shot." And I feel like, over the last three years, I've heard this song 17,000 times.

ROMO: Probably.

MADISON: Same. Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah. And no shade on "Hamilton." It's a catchy song. I like Lin-Manuel. But I'm playing this song this week because the work of art that is "Hamilton" is receiving the Kennedy Center Honors. And it's the first time a piece of art and not an individual is getting the honor. And so it's one more jewel in the crown of "Hamilton." And I'm kind of just, like, when does this stop?

ROMO: And Lin-Manuel - like...


ROMO: Lin-Manuel - how much more do you need?

MADISON: "Hamilton."


MADISON: It's going to run for president.

SANDERS: I'm sure that a few...

MADISON: (Laughter)

SANDERS: ...Of us going to see the cast of "Hamilton" show up in Iowa...

MADISON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: ...Bust out of a barn...


SANDERS: ...Scream Alexander Hamilton.


SANDERS: And they announce their candidacy.

MADISON: No, I just - I'm happy for Lin...


MADISON: ...Because he's doing so much now, and he's just, like, a genuinely nice person. And it's nice seeing nice people...


MADISON: ...Win.


LESLIE ODOM JR.: (As Aaron Burr, rapping) You've got to be carefully taught. If you talk, you're going to get shot.

MIRANDA: (As Alexander Hamilton, rapping) Burr, check what we got. Mr. Lafayette, hard rock like Lancelot.

SANDERS: All right. Vanessa and Ira are here with me to look back on the week of news, culture and everything else. We have so much to get to this week. The Trump administration says it will send funds to help farmers handle the fallout from its own trade policies. In the same week, the president says that he's reached an agreement with the EU to actually lower some tariffs - lot of questions there.

Meanwhile, Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is laying it all out there. There are audio recordings of him and the president appearing to discuss purchasing the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair that she had with Donald Trump. Vanessa, you're going to have to help me with this in a bit. It's a lot.

ROMO: Absolutely.


ROMO: I'd be happy to do it.


Also, Friday listeners - want to send you back in our feed to our latest Tuesday episode. It was a great chat with Uzo Aduba. You probably know her as Suzanne, aka Crazy Eyes, on Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black." The new season of that show drops this weekend. It's out now. And this conversation is required listening before you watch.

All right. Let's get into it. I want each of my guests to describe their week of news in only three words. Vanessa, you can do this. Go.

ROMO: Floodgates opened.

SANDERS: See, I'm going to have to call the referee on this one. Floodgates is one word, yo.

ROMO: What?

SANDERS: It's a compound word.

MADISON: I support women, so...


MADISON: ...I think it's two words.

SANDERS: OK. We'll allow it.

ROMO: I should have...

SANDERS: We'll allow it.

ROMO: ...Gone to the AP style guide.

SANDERS: Go ahead.

ROMO: OK. The floodgates...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROMO: ...Opened.

MADISON: (Laughter).


ROMO: So CNN got ahold of this secret recording between Michael Cohen and, at very least, Donald Trump. There seems to be other people in the room at the time that this recording was secretly taped by Michael Cohen.

SANDERS: What's on the tape?

ROMO: So it's Trump and Cohen talking about making a payment to - OK, it's going to get very...

SANDERS: To buy the rights to a story of a former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Donald Trump.

ROMO: Not exactly to buy her rights - but it's to pay off in - but this is what Cohen is saying - to pay off the company that was paying her off.

SANDERS: And this contradicts what Trump had been saying for months. I didn't know about this. I wasn't involved in this. It wasn't me.

ROMO: Right. And Karen McDougal, for those of you out there who don't know, is the former Playboy model who said she had a months-long affair with Donald Trump.

MADISON: Like, I need a flowchart. I'm, like...

ROMO: Yes.

MADISON: ...Where does Stormy Daniels fit into the timeline?

ROMO: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

ROMO: But anyway, part of the reason that I'm saying that the floodgates are opened is because this is proof now that there are no holds barred. It is a free-for-all at this point. So now...

SANDERS: We're already hearing that Cohen says he can talk about this infamous Trump Tower meeting.

ROMO: Exactly. So now we have Rudy Giuliani, who's now Trump's lawyer - he said, Michael Cohen is a liar. He's been a liar this week. He's been a liar last week. He's been a liar for years.

SANDERS: As someone who's covered this story for a bit - you've covered Michael Cohen for a few months now...

ROMO: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...In your reporting. Does any of this stuff with the tapes surprise you?


ROMO: I don't know how to answer that. I mean...


ROMO: I guess it's surprising that Michael Cohen was secretly recording a man whom he has characterized as a very, very good friend of his...


ROMO: ...You know, sort of like a father figure to him.


MADISON: If someone is doing shady stuff for you...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROMO: Yeah.

MADISON: ...They are probably doing shady stuff to you.

SANDERS: My three words for this are this too much.

ROMO: (Laughter).

SANDERS: I can't do it. Like, it's too much. We'll come back to you soon for even more on this stuff.


SANDERS: You guys, I have three words.

ROMO: All right.

SANDERS: They are pay them off - not because of that story you just told me, Vanessa, but because there's another situation this week in which the Trump administration made some payments. I'm talking about this $12 billion that the White House earmarked this week for farmers. And the whole reason for this money is to help farmers deal with the fallout from the trade war that Trump started. As we all know by now, he has instituted tariffs on steel, aluminum, ag products, all kinds of things with countries like China, members of the EU, Canada, Mexico, et cetera. It's hurting some farmers in America. So to help them, the administration announces it's going to give $12 billion in assistance to farmers.

And it's interesting because the program that they're using for this - it's actually a Depression-era program called the Commodity Credit Corporation. It just feels really strange to tap into a program tied to the Depression to help farmers.

ROMO: At a time where the economy is booming, right?

SANDERS: Doing so well.

ROMO: It's doing so well. There's all this GDP growth. So it's it's bizarre to have these two...

SANDERS: It's a weird contradiction.

ROMO: Yeah.

SANDERS: But doing it this way allows Trump to get the money without asking Congress for it first because there are members of his own party even in Congress saying don't do this, right? So, anyways, it's happening, and it's happening in the same week that Trump met with the president of the European Commission, the EU. His name is Jean-Claude Juncker. Trump said the two agreed to, quote, "work towards zero tariffs." But they left that meeting, him and the EU leader, with nothing on paper. There was no actual agreement. There was no actual treaty. But it made me wonder this week - you know, we see a president who has been someone who makes payments, and it's been a bit more difficult for him to make actual deals.

ROMO: Absolutely. And he can be - you know, people who meet him - I know lots of reporters who've done lots of interviews with him. He can be incredibly charming and disarming...


ROMO: ...You know? And so, in the moment, in the room, perhaps he is able to persuade someone to come over to his side or say that they may at some point agree to it. And then he's not averse to then turn around and say, this is a done deal...


ROMO: ...Right?

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. And he's - he is not - like, part of his strategy from the start was to be someone who was not afraid to contradict himself later on down the road. That's part of the strategy. Anyway, we could talk about this all day.

MADISON: Is that a strategy?

SANDERS: I mean...

MADISON: I don't see him mapping it out at night.

SANDERS: It's like the strategy of a tornado. A tornado has no strategy.

MADISON: I know. I've seen "Twister."


ROMO: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Ira, do you have three words?


SANDERS: What are they?

MADISON: Exhausted, angry, thirsty.

ROMO: There was drama in all of those.

SANDERS: The dramatic pauses...

ROMO: Yes.

SANDERS: I liked that. What do you mean by those three words?

MADISON: So R. Kelly is in the news again. And...

ROMO: Yes, he is.

SANDERS: He - so he released a 19-minute song this week.

MADISON: Yes, which is exhausting.

SANDERS: And he was addressing what in the song?

MADISON: He was addressing the rumors of him having sex with underage women, the rumors about him having a cult and holding women hostage...

SANDERS: A sex cult.

MADISON: Yes, a sex cult. He addressed the fact that he's illiterate twice.

SANDERS: Still illiterate?

ROMO: I didn't know people were saying that about him.

MADISON: He mentions it twice. It's just, like, the thirst of trying to be relevant again.

SANDERS: Well, and this is something for years people have known.

MADISON: Of course. Yeah.

SANDERS: And to see him release this kind of song in the midst of this #MeToo moment - it just seems so tone-deaf. And, I mean, you've written about R. Kelly before. Why does he get to stick around?

MADISON: I mean, he gets to stick around mostly because his victims have been black women, you know? And largely, in America, we don't care about black women as victims - or not as victims.

SANDERS: Well, there's also an element of race that plays into the way that we view black men being treated by the justice system. You know...

MADISON: Of course.

SANDERS: ...You heard the same things with Cosby. You know, the justice system is out to get black men period. We have to defend our black men. It seems as if that's at play here, too, right?

MADISON: Of course. Yes, there are plenty of black men who are abused by that system. But he's not one of them.


MADISON: Or it's a thing where, like, oh, maybe he did it, but, like, how many white people get away with it? Like...

SANDERS: But is that the kind of...


SANDERS: ...Thing you want to do with this kind of topic? Do you want to do what-about-ism on sexual assault?


ROMO: Right. Right.

SANDERS: That's my thing.

MADISON: And so he released this 19-minute...

SANDERS: Did you listen to it?



MADISON: Nineteen minutes...

ROMO: I'm shocked.

MADISON: There - I don't even want to listen to 19 minutes from Drake.

ROMO: (Laughter).

MADISON: A 19-minute song - like, the - who has the time?

SANDERS: I have some larger questions about the way the music industry is treating some of these problematic artists. You know, there was word for a while that Spotify was going to start removing artists like R. Kelly from their curated playlists. But they announced this thing, and that happens, but R. Kelly was still always on the platform.

MADISON: They removed him from...

SANDERS: He didn't go.

MADISON: ...Playlists.

SANDERS: He was off a playlist...


SANDERS: ...But he's still on Spotify.

MADISON: Suggested playlists to people - and then they tried to do it to, like, triple X...


MADISON: ...Tentation (ph).

SANDERS: XXXTentacion.

ROMO: Tentacion.


ROMO: XXXTentacion.

MADISON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Tentacion - OK.

MADISON: And then people were upset about that, and other artists were, too. And so...

SANDERS: Kendrick Lamar almost quit Spotify over XXXTentacion being removed.

MADISON: Yeah. Imagine - woo.

SANDERS: But what is it - OK, so, like, my question is, we have seen Hollywood start to, in some ways, clean house post-#MeToo. Men that are problematic - they're gone. We've seen less of that kind of point-blank you've got to go in the music industry. What is the difference, Ira?

MADISON: Well, one large difference, too, is that it's still a very male-dominated industry, and it's still an industry where - that's largely - artists of color are driving a lot of music culture, but they're not the people who are in control, you know? And so it's the people in control who are deciding what goes, you know? And it's a case where - like, a Dr. Luke thing, you know, where he was accused by Ke$ha. It's - men in control can decide, we're still going to employ this person. And I don't know, you know, why it hasn't truly affected the music industry the same way it has affected Hollywood. But it's also because, you know, people still buy the music.


ROMO: Right. And, I mean, a lot of artists these days become super-famous - like XXXTentacion, right? - like, on the Internet - just self-made people. And they grow their own following, and people don't necessarily care about their politics, their message, their past.

MADISON: Yeah, which is much different from Hollywood, where you could fire Kevin Spacey because him being involved in the production makes you liable if you have people working under him who are abused or bring up complaints, you know? It's like the legal aspects of that and just the optics of that look much worse than, like, here's just this musician off making his music. Here's this fanbase that he's built himself. The fans still want him. So...


MADISON: ...What are we going to do about it?

ROMO: Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah. If I ever make a 19-minute song, rebuke me, public (ph).

MADISON: I won't even listen to a 19-minute podcast.


SANDERS: Then you're out of luck with this one.

MADISON: Fifteen minutes, 15 minutes - keep it as 15 minutes.


SANDERS: With that, we're going to break. Coming up, we talk to a volunteer who has been translating for families seeking asylum at our southern border. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. We'll be right back.


SANDERS: All right, one more plug on this. If you are in Los Angeles, listeners, or anywhere in southern California, Nevada, Arizona, close, come to our live show on Monday, July 30. I'll be talking to actor John Cho and director Aneesh Chaganty about their new movie "Searching." I've already seen it. It's good. It is this tech thriller filled with lots of twists and turns. We'll be at the LINE hotel in Koreatown. Come through. Get your tickets at nprpresents.org. Get them before they're gone.

We are back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders here with two great guests - Vanessa Romo, breaking news reporter for NPR. Thank you for being here.

ROMO: Happy to be here.

SANDERS: Ira Madison, culture writer at large, host of the podcast Keep It, writer for Netflix, haver of all the jobs. How'd you find time to be here this morning?

MADISON: You know, I'm not really here.

SANDERS: (Laughter) He's a hologram.

MADISON: I have a body double.


SANDERS: So before we get to our next segment, I have one quick question for you all. Have you heard about this reboot of "Cats?"

ROMO: I have heard, but I forget who's starring in it.


SANDERS: They're trying to make a movie of the Broadway musical "Cats." Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden and Ian McKellen are all going to be in the movie. Are you all going to watch it?


SANDERS: What if you have to write about it?

MADISON: I'm not going to watch "Cats" with anybody in it.


MADISON: Beyonce could be in "Cats."

SANDERS: (Laughter).

MADISON: I'd watch it...

ROMO: But think...

MADISON: ...If she was in "Cats."

SANDERS: You would watch it...

ROMO: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...If she was in "Cats."

ROMO: And she would be fabulous, and the whole thing would be so good. Yes.

MADISON: She would be fabulous, but "Cats" would still be...

ROMO: Her hair would be...

MADISON: ...Bad. "Cats" is a bad musical.

SANDERS: I just - what I don't understand is, like, why keep rebooting stuff? Why are we stuck in this rut where everything has to be rebooted and redone and remade? Make some - make "Dogs."

ROMO: I will say that I always as a kid - I grew up in the '80s, so I always really wanted a "Cats" sweatshirt, and if this opens up a small window...

MADISON: (Laughter).

ROMO: ...For me to get a "Cats" sweatshirt...

MADISON: Oh, those were so cute.

ROMO: I'm kind of in. Right?

MADISON: Those were cute. Yeah.

SANDERS: Do we have any "Cats" music cued up?


UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters, singing) When you notice a cat in profound meditation, the reason, I tell you, is always the same.

SANDERS: Can you sing it, Vanessa?


SANDERS: Sing it.

ROMO: I'm the worst - no. Uh-uh.

SANDERS: They're even - they're just talk-singing.

ROMO: Uh-uh.

SANDERS: I mean, this does feel like, I think...

MADISON: (Singing) When you're a cat, you're a cat all the way from your first cigarette...

ROMO: (Laughter).

MADISON: (Singing) ...To your last dying day.


MADISON: That's "West Side Story."


SANDERS: Now it's time for a segment that we call Long Distance...


SANDERS: ...Where we call up someone somewhere in the world and talk with them about the news. Today we're talking about migrants at the country's southern border. For weeks, the Trump administration has been working to reunify families that were separated at the border under the administration's zero-tolerance policy. A federal judge ordered those reunions and put a deadline on those reunions. That deadline has passed. The Trump administration said Thursday that it was on track to meet that deadline and reunite all eligible migrant families. But the key word here is eligible. Hundreds of children are still in government custody and not with their families for a few reasons - their parents are already out of the country, their parents are considered ineligible for reunification, or the administration says their parents have waived their rights to their children.

We wanted to check in on what's happening to families that have been reunited. A lot of them are going through a very complicated process of applying for asylum. So we called up someone who was helping those families in that process. He's a listener named Pedro Guerrero. His day job is as a legislative aide in the Missouri House of Representatives. But last week, he spent six days volunteering as an interpreter at a migrant detention facility in Dilley, Texas. He was working with an organization called the Dilley Pro Bono Project. They offer legal services to migrant families.


PEDRO GUERRERO: Well, I was a few miles northeast of the border at the South Texas Family Detention Center. And that's where they sort of - that's where they await their asylum proceedings. So what we would do as volunteers was they would come to us, and we would prepare them for their asylum interviews. And that was pretty brutal because we would spend just grueling hours with these women as they talked about their brutal rapes and the domestic violence that they experienced and the gang violence that they became subject to and that their children were subject to.

SANDERS: So a typical day for you, what time would you show up? What time would you leave? Was it just back-to-back conversations about asylum all day for you?

GUERRERO: For the most part, yes. I mean, the center itself is like - it's like a Martian dystopia. Everything...

SANDERS: Explain.

GUERRERO: ...All the gravel is white, floodlights. It's very much a jail - like, a jail vibe. So our typical day could look - it would start early. We would get there anywhere between 7:30 and 8:00 in the mornings, and we would show up at the center. And then, one by one, we would take a woman into one of the offices and start the preparation process.

SANDERS: Wow. So run down the list for me the countries these families and these mothers were coming from.

GUERRERO: So our clients were exclusively from Guatemala and Honduras. There was one case that we had that was from Nicaragua.

SANDERS: All right. And of those families and mothers from those countries, what was a typical story?

GUERRERO: I can tell you about one client that we got particularly close to. She had separated from her husband. And even after she had separated from her husband, her husband turned to drinking, would go and seek her and her daughters out on a regular basis. He would find her in the street, berate her and then beat her publicly. And people would constantly be around because it would happen in a pretty populated city. But they would always disperse when this happened because her husband had a tie to one of the most dangerous gangs in the community who would then extort her and threaten that if she didn't pay it money in a certain period of time, that her daughters were going to pay the consequence.

That was, hands down, one of the biggest reoccurrences that we would see, is that these parents would be threatened with the lives of their kids because they knew that the best punishment for a parent was to threaten to kill their child. And that way, they would inflict severe suffering upon the parent.

SANDERS: Did you get emotional yourself during this process?

GUERRERO: Oh, my gosh. It was so hard not to. A little bit of my background - my family brought me to the United States when I was just under 2 years old. And we claimed asylum because there was some pretty gnarly political instability down in my home country of Peru in the early '90s. And so this insurgent group, they took me from my mom.


GUERRERO: They gave me back a few - I don't know how long I was taken from my mom, but they gave me back. And then they contacted my dad and said that that was just a warning. And so...

SANDERS: My goodness.

GUERRERO: ...We picked up and left.

SANDERS: This is - so then you are someone who came to this country seeking asylum with your family. You were separated from your parents as a child, not by the government but by other forces. And now you were just down at the border helping families seeking asylum. Some of those families had kids separated from them as well. So there's a personal connection, I'm guessing you must have, to these people down there at the border.

GUERRERO: Oh, absolutely. And it's just like - I mean, my experience down there last week was just such a crazy full-circle moment. I had never really understood the trauma that my parentS experienced because I was so little. And it was crazy just, like, seeing these mothers and children who were able to process what happened to them.

SANDERS: Got you. Now, you worked with some mothers who were still with their children. Their kids had not been taken from them. But there were some mothers you worked with who had had their children taken from them. I think you told one of our producers that one family you worked with, the child had been separated from the parents for 55 days.

GUERRERO: Yes. So whenever we would need a break from listening to these terrible stories and, you know, accounts of what these women went through, our way of de-stressing was to sit down with the kids and color with them, sort of just to recharge the batteries and, you know...


GUERRERO: ... Get ready and do it all over again.


GUERRERO: And I was sitting down and coloring with this kindergarten-aged boy who was around 5 years old. And he was so full of life, just had - was so rambunctious and was just incessantly making fun of me. It was hysterical.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GUERRERO: He was like, oh, mister, you're so old. I'm going to draw you really ugly on this...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GUERRERO: ...Piece of paper, and it's going to be so funny. And we were just exchanging laughs all morning. And then we broke for lunch.

And when we came back from lunch, this little boy and his mom were coming back into the center, and it looked almost as if he had just woken up from a nap. You know, he was hazy, was super clingy to his mom. So I went up to him, and I said - hey, buddy. What's going on? Did you just wake up from a nap? And...


GUERRERO: ...His mom said, oh, no. He just saw a man in a green shirt. And he always gets this way when he sees men in green shirts. And so I asked, oh, so what happened with the men with green shirts? And the mom goes on to say, well, it was the men with the green shirts that separated me from my son at the border for 55 days. And I don't know what they did to him. He won't tell me. But ever since I got my son back, he has not been the same kid. And even throughout the week, whenever employees of the center were walking through with blue shirts or green shirts, in some cases, you would see these kids hide under tables or hide under desks.

SANDERS: What's it been like for you since you've been back home? How long have you been back home? And also, tell folks where home is for you right now.

GUERRERO: So yeah, I flew into St. Louis, which is where I grew up. But now I live in Jefferson City. I've - I got back just this past Saturday.


GUERRERO: And it's been pretty tough.


GUERRERO: You know, I - at the end of the day, I'm one of the lucky ones that the system just happened to work in favor for because I've had access to resources. And you know, even today, I just had my naturalization interview, which I passed.

SANDERS: Congratulations. We should pause right there to say congratulations. So you had a green card...

GUERRERO: Thank you.

SANDERS: ...For a while, and now you're one step closer to citizenship.

GUERRERO: Exactly. Exactly. I'm one step closer to being a gringo.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GUERRERO: But I can't - you can't help but walk around with a heavy heart, you know, looking into the eyes of, like, a little 2-year-old running around and thinking, like, that could have been me.

SANDERS: Yeah. So it sounds like you've had a heavy two weeks. Tell me what you're going to do this weekend for fun.

GUERRERO: I am going to enjoy Kansas City because this is where I am for the weekend.


GUERRERO: And I am going to go to this awesome disco club called Funky Town and really...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GUERRERO: ...And just dance...

SANDERS: I've heard that song before (laughter).

GUERRERO: ...Really hard. Oh, my gosh. I was born in the wrong era, to be completely...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GUERRERO: ...Honest. And...

SANDERS: So you're a disco fan.

GUERRERO: I'm a disco fan, and it's very poignant timing because the new "Mamma Mia" movie came out - so disco all weekend.

SANDERS: I love it. You know, Cher is going to make an album of ABBA covers.

GUERRERO: She just released the tracklist.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

GUERRERO: She dropped - that thing was probably, like, hotter than, like, Jay-Z and Beyonce dropping their new album.

SANDERS: I love it. I hope you dance your weekend away and have a really good time.

Pedro, thank you for your call, and I'm sure we'll talk again soon.

GUERRERO: Thank you so much, Sam. You take care.

SANDERS: All right, man. Bye.



SANDERS: Thanks again to Pedro Guerrero from Jefferson City, Mo. He just spent a week volunteering as an interpreter working with a group that helps migrant families apply for asylum in the U.S.

One thing not mentioned in that call is that the administration has recently tightened the rules on who's eligible for asylum. So it's no longer enough to be a victim of domestic violence or gang violence. Now to seek asylum, you have to prove that you have a credible fear of persecution in your home country, and the fear must be based on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or a political opinion. That basically means it's going to be very unlikely that a lot of these families will be granted asylum. This is a story in which the White House says, we finished it; it's done. But it's clearly not done, Vanessa. It's not done.

ROMO: It's clearly not done. And as of Thursday evening, there are about 400 and some change parents who were already deported...


ROMO: ...Without their kids. And the government argues that, in those cases, parents are bringing their kids because they're trying to get their kids a better life. So they would rather go home and be deported and then designate someone here in the U.S. to then look after their kids apply for asylum. On the other hand, on Thursday, I was on a conference call with some government officials and a bunch of reporters. And one of the reporters asked, what proof do you have that the parents have waived their rights?

SANDERS: Is there proof?

ROMO: So there seems to be a lot of cases - the ACLU, which is arguing this case, is saying we are talking to a lot of people who say they either didn't sign anything before they were deported - so they're already in their home countries - or they were pressured into signing the waiver. So in some cases, these Central American asylum-seekers or refugees don't speak Spanish or English because they speak a local native dialect. Some people are illiterate, and they sign anyway, so they don't necessarily know. This is what the ACLU is arguing. And you know, it's something that people are working on finding out.

SANDERS: This is not over. It's not over.

ROMO: It's definitely not over. And for these kids who are here alone or, you know, in a shelter or with foster parents who they don't know, it's definitely not over.

SANDERS: Listeners, I want to talk to you for this segment. If you have a connection to the news and the headlines, let us know. We might call you up. Email me at samsanders@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org. All right, time for break. When we come back my favorite game, Who Said That?


SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR, the show where we catch up on the week that was. I'm Sam Sanders here with two guests, Vanessa Romo, breaking news reporter for NPR, and Ira Madison, culture writer and host of the podcast Keep It. It is time for my favorite game, Who Said That?


KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

SANDERS: It never gets old. The game is quite simple. I share a quote from the week. You guys have to guess who said that or at least the story it refers to or a key word. Just get close. I'm not a stickler. It's not "Jeopardy!". The winner gets absolutely nothing.

ROMO: (Laughter).

SANDERS: You guys ready?

MADISON: I'm ready to win something.

SANDERS: Oh. Are you ready, Vanessa?

ROMO: Ira wants a trophy. Yes, I'm ready.


ROMO: I think.

SANDERS: This ain't "Pose." There's no trophies here.

MADISON: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Here's the first quote, "Democrats, please, please, don't lose your mind and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that." Who said that?

ROMO: Someone with the DNC?


SANDERS: No, this is someone who was really caught up in 2016, put out a book - it was all over the place.

MADISON: Bernie Sanders?


SANDERS: No, he was involved with the email situation. Y'all didn't see this tweet?

MADISON: Oh, James Comey.


ROMO: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Yes. So James Comey had a lot of folks scratching their head, if not yelling at their computer screens this week, because he tweeted out to Democrats political advice. And everyone kind of said, who asked you?

MADISON: James Comey is - you know what? I'm not surprised because...

SANDERS: Why not?

MADISON: ...Everyone has come out of the Trump mess and tried to do, you know, a flipping of the script. You know, like, Sean Spicer thinks he's Jonathan Franzen now.


MADISON: You know, you got...

ROMO: Omarosa.

MADISON: Omarosa is about to...

ROMO: She's coming out with a book.

MADISON: She is dropping a hot new single...


MADISON: ...A hot new audiobook. Get that on your Kindle...


MADISON: ...On Audible, wherever.

SANDERS: Sean Spicer as Jonathan Franzen is going to be stuck in my head all weekend.

MADISON: And now Comey is like - you'd think somebody that tall would have enough attention.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

MADISON: Sit down.

SANDERS: Ira, you're up 1, zip. Ready for the next quote?


SANDERS: In this one, just tell me who they're talking about, the name of the person they're talking about. That's all I need. OK? Here it is. "Can you imagine you just moved to D.C. for school from, like, rural Pennsylvania, and you find out a couple of months later you're sitting next to a Russian spy?" Who said that? Who was the spy?

ROMO: Maria Bettina (ph).



ROMO: Yes.

MADISON: I didn't see that Jennifer Lawrence movie, "The Red Sparrow" (ph).

ROMO: It is. It totally...

SANDERS: Butina - Maria Butina.

ROMO: Oh, Butina.

SANDERS: So there was a big story in The Washington Post this week basically detailing what Maria Butina's time was like when she was a student at American University. And all these other fellow and former students were like, yeah, she was all up in our mix, and we didn't know she was a spy.

ROMO: What I want to do is talk to the students she was paying to write her papers.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

ROMO: And I want to know how much they were getting.

SANDERS: Right? So apparently, while she was at American University in D.C., her cellphone case had a picture of Vladimir Putin shirtless on a horse on it. She would buy her friends rounds of vodka at the Russia House - it's this Dupont Circle restaurant and bar that was very popular with Russians. She would make her male friends down horseradish-infused shots with her. She even bragged to her classmates that she had worked for the Russian government. This is the worst spy ever. You guys just tied 1-1.


ROMO: Ah - oh, my God.

SANDERS: This is the tiebreaker. You ready? This is a really good one. Quote, "I can monetize those eyeballs. It's a cultural firestorm when it's about a woman's vagina." Who said that?

MADISON: Gwyneth Paltrow.



SANDERS: Ira, you won.


MADISON: Escort mother to her throne. Live. Work. Pose.


SANDERS: So did you guys read this big New York Times profile for this week?

MADISON: Yes, I love Taffy...

SANDERS: It was epic.

MADISON: ...The reporter.

SANDERS: Great writer, great writing.

ROMO: Yes, she's amazing.

MADISON: So good.

SANDERS: She got into the inner workings of...


SANDERS: ...Goop, which is Gwyneth Paltrow's booming business of beauty and self-help and self-care. But a lot...

ROMO: And woo-woo ideas.

SANDERS: Yeah, a lot of folks say it's pseudoscience and fake and bad and not good for women. And so this story really dealt with that kind of tension.

ROMO: The only thing I read - I just, of course, just read excerpts on Twitter - and the only thing that I read that I did find really fascinating is the bit where, I guess, it was supposed to be, you know, the magazine or the blog, I guess, was going to be published by Conde Nast. And they said, OK, sure. Yes, we'll totally do this with you, but it has to be fact-checked.

SANDERS: You have to have a fact checker.

ROMO: You have to have a fact checker.

SANDERS: And she said no.

MADISON: (Laughter) She should have done it. And each magazine would just have, like, allegedly before each sentence.


MADISON: Allegedly, this cream makes your face shine.

SANDERS: Allegedly, this jade egg can go certain places.

ROMO: Allegedly, this 700-calorie-a-day diet is really good for you.

SANDERS: Yeah. So she did say in the story that she is going to have a fact checker for Goop by September. So we shall see. But that quote that I read, where she said it's a...

MADISON: I'm going to apply.


SANDERS: I will say, though, that quote where she says it's a cultural firestorm and it's about the vagina - she basically was saying, every time people come at me saying that I'm doing pseudoscience and critique me, it just builds her brand. It builds her up. So she likes the controversy. Us talking about her right now is giving Gwyneth power.

MADISON: As long as the people are talking...

SANDERS: All press is good press.

ROMO: Right.


SANDERS: That concludes our game. Ira, you won. Mother, collect your trophy.

MADISON: Thank you.

SANDERS: How does it feel?

MADISON: You know what? Another win for the house of dynasty.


SANDERS: I love it. That concludes Who Said That. All right. Now it's time to end the show. As we do every week, we ask our listeners to share with us the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag. Let's take a listen.

MAGGIE: Hi, Sam. This is Maggie (ph) from Houston, Texas. And the best thing that happened to me this week was after 11 months since Harvey, we completed remodeling our first floor, and I actually got to wash dishes in a dishwasher. And after 11 months of washing them in a bathroom sink, it was so beautiful, I almost wanted to cry. So thanks. Keep up the great show.

BILL: Hey, Sam. This is Bill (ph) in Raleigh, N.C. The best part of my week was traveling back to Lansing, Mich., to celebrate my 30th high-school reunion. It was great catching up with old friends.

REGINA: The best thing that happened to me this week is I got to save a turtle by helping it cross the road.

AMY: I just finished my dream vacation of driving the coast from Seattle to San Diego.

DAN: I defended my doctoral dissertation successfully.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: We closed on a house last week. And this week, we're getting to move in and paint it and make it ours.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: My youngest child - my daughter - was very nervous about going to sleep-away camp for the first time, but once she got there, she got so excited. And she literally skipped away from me without even a look back. She was so excited to go.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: The best thing that happened to me this week is that I got a job as a science educator at a middle school. And that means, as a single parent, I can finally afford to go off Medicaid and provide my children health insurance from my job. And all of that feels really good.

ALEX: My name is Alex Wynn (ph) from Brentwood, Tenn. And the best thing that happened to me this week was my father - well, in a minivan - revved at motorcyclists who were also revving their motorcycles.

SEAN: Hi, Sam. This is Sean (ph) from Bridgeport, Conn. And the best part of my week has been walking my dog, watching the sunset and getting ready for the last day of summer school tomorrow. Love the show.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Have a great week.

ROMO: It was a lot of, like, summer, you know - a lot of summer stuff...

SANDERS: I'm all about it.

MADISON: ...And, like, the start of new lives. I loved it.

SANDERS: I love it. I love it. I love it. Many thanks to all the voices you heard there - Maggie, Bill, Regina (ph) - that's my mother's name. It's a great name - Amy (ph), Dan (ph), Jessie (ph), Jennifer (ph), Alex and Sean. We listen to all of these that come in. We love them all. They get me every time. Keep sharing them. Thank you for sharing them. Whenever you want to send me your best thing of any week, email me the sound of your voice at samsanders@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org. Many thanks to two of the best things of my week - my guests today, Ira Madison and Vanessa Romo. Thank you both so much for being here.

MADISON: Thank you.

ROMO: Thank you.

MADISON: I am definitely going to send you my voice when I get that Goop fact checker job.

SANDERS: (Laughter) All right. Thanks also to "Hamilton" because you have to thank "Hamilton" because they're always there. All right. This week, the show was produced by Brent Baughman and Anjuli Sastry, with help from Kumari Devarajan. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson. Our editor is Jordana Hochman. And our big boss is NPR's VP of programming, Anya Grundmann. Listeners, refresh your feed Tuesday morning from my chat with D.L. Hughley. He has a new book of advice from white people to black people. Spoiler - it's a satire. We talk about that book and race and policing, his life and comedy, the #MeToo movement - a lot. Check it out - it's going to be in your feed on Tuesday. Until then, thanks for listening. I'm Sam Sanders. Talk soon.


ANTHONY RAMOS: (As John Laurens, singing) Tell your brother that he's got to rise up. Tell your sister that she's got to rise up.

ENSEMBLE: (Singing) When are these colonies gonna rise up? Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. When are these colonies gonna rise up?

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