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Former Obama speechwriter David Litt confronted Newsmax host Rob Finnerty during an interview — meant to be about Elon Musk's "SNL" appearance — over the network's promotion of baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, prompting Finnerty to end the segment early.

Why it matters: Facing the threat of a defamation lawsuit, Newsmax apologized to a Dominion Voting Systems employee earlier this month for airing false allegations that he manipulated votes in order to rig the election for President Biden.

  • Newsmax was one of several conservative media networks, personalities and Trump allies targeted in lawsuits by Dominion and Smartmatic, another voting-machine company that became the victim of false claims about a vast election-rigging conspiracy.
  • Trump allies Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and Mike Lindell are among those currently facing multibillion-dollar defamation lawsuits for their baseless election claims.

The exchange:

FINNERTY: "What'd you think of Elon Musk's performance? This is the first time since 2015 we've had a non-athlete, non-entertainer on the show. The last person to do that, and do well with great ratings: our former President Donald Trump."
LITT: "Well Rob, that's a great question. What happened on SNL this weekend was that people made stuff up, then said it on television like it's true. And that actually happens pretty frequently on American TV. For example, in 2020, Dominion Voting Systems sued Newsmax over its false claims about election fraud. Newsmax was lying to its own viewers and Newsmax had to settle that lawsuit. Actually, I just need to check in — are you still telling that lie or are you telling new lies?"
FINNERTY: "Wait, I'm sorry David, do you want to talk about something completely non-related and try to catch me on a Monday morning totally off-topic, or do you want to talk about Elon Musk?
LITT: "Well I can see why you don't want to talk about Dominion Voting Systems because if you do, Newsmax could get sued and lose billions of dollars because these are lies."

Go deeper

Updated May 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Key takeaways from Elon Musk's "Saturday Night Live" appearance

SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Berlin, Germany, last December. Photo: Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images

Elon Musk marked his "Saturday Night Live" hosting debut by making a series of self-deprecating jokes and addressing controversy he's attracted over the years over his behavior and Twitter posts.

What he's saying: "To anyone I've offended, I just want to say, I reinvented electric cars and I'm sending people to Mars in a rocket ship," the SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO said. "Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?"

Heat dome sends temperatures soaring from Oregon to Louisiana

Forecast maximum temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, July 29, 2021. (WeatherBell)

The Pacific Northwest is once again in the midst of a heat wave after already seeing its worst such event on record this summer. Temperatures are soaring into the low 100s in some areas, while dangerous heat is also affecting the South Central states and Gulf Coast.

Why it matters: The occurrence of yet another heat wave during a drought in the West is ratcheting up wildfire risks. The heat itself is a major public health risk, since extreme heat is typically the biggest annual weather-related cause of mortality in the U.S.

Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction moratorium as deadline looms

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden called on Congress on Thursday to extend the CDC's national eviction moratorium due to the threat of the Delta variant, after the Supreme Court ruled that the administration couldn't extend it past July 31 without specific legislation.

Why it matters: Millions of tenants across the country face the threat of eviction in the coming days. The moratorium was first implemented in September 2020 and extended several times to prevent a wave of evictions caused by pandemic-related economic decline.