T.I. Carries Nipsey Hussle's Torch ... To Most Powerful Dome in U.S. of A.

EXCLUSIVE
NIPSEY'S LEGACY LIVES ON
TMZ.com

"Mr. Harris Goes to Washington" ain't a classic film but the purpose of T.I.'s trip to D.C. was classy ... to carry on the work of the late Nipsey Hussle.

We got T.I. on Capitol Hill where he attended a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus as it tries to jumpstart incentive investment in low-income communities. It's a meeting Nipsey was scheduled to attend before he was gunned down in the neighborhood in which he himself heavily invested in ... Crenshaw.

Check out the vid ... T.I. tells us Nipsey invited him to this meeting and explained why he was there on his behalf. Our camera guy tells T.I. he might have to work with President Trump, whom he's beefed with in the past. T.I. says it's not about Democrats or Republicans ... it's about people.

Pete Buttigieg Defends Colin Kaepernick ... And NFL Kneelers

EXCLUSIVE
"RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH"
TMZSports.com

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is going to bat for Colin Kaepernick ... telling TMZ Sports he supports the QB's right to take a knee during the national anthem -- and he's ripping Trump for going after the protesters.

"The way I feel about it is the flag that was on my shoulder when I served represented, among other things, our right to free speech," Mayor Pete -- a Navy veteran -- told us in New York.

9/22/17
YOU'RE FIRED!
FOX News

"You don't have to like it, but one of the reasons we serve was to defend that right, the right of peaceful protest and the idea that we can protest what is wrong with our country."

That's when Pete took a swipe at POTUS -- who has publicly called for the NFL to fire any "son of a bitch" who doesn't stand for the anthem.

"If the president had served," Pete says ... "Maybe he'd feel a little more strongly about some of those freedoms. And, I get that there's a lot of strong opinions about this, but that's part of why we served."

Colin began his demonstration in 2016 to shine a light on social injustice and police brutality. Several players joined his movement, which began a very polarizing political topic.

In 2017, Mayor Pete tweeted about the situation ... "I was trained to stand & salute. But freedom -- including to protest injustice -- is the whole point of the anthem, the flag, and the country."

Richard Sherman On Nick Bosa Tweets Won't Matter If You Can Play

Breaking News

"One thing about football is that nobody really cares what you say if you can play."

That's how Richard Sherman views the situation regarding his new 49ers teammate, Nick Bosa -- who's been at the center of controversy over tweets about Donald Trump and Colin Kaepernick.

Remember, back when he was a college student at Ohio State, Bosa referred to Kap as a "clown" -- which is interesting considering Sherman has been a strong supporter of Colin ever since the QB first began taking a knee during the national anthem.

The #2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft also acknowledged scrubbing his social media pages of pro-Trump comments out of fear liberal fans in San Francisco wouldn't embrace him when he was drafted.

Sherman was asked about the situation by the Sacramento Bee -- and essentially said Bosa's views and previous comments won't matter if the guy produces on the field on Sundays.

“It’s not like something where guys are like, ‘Hey man, what about what you said?’ No. No. If he can play, he can play. If he can’t play, he won’t be here," Sherman said.

"But at the end of the day, that’s all that matters in football. Is he getting sacks on Sunday? Is he helping our team? Is he being a good teammate? Those are things that matter."

"Now, if he’s a bad teammate, that’s something we’ll address."

The star cornerback also weighed in on possible racial issues in the locker room stemming from Bosa's tweets and comments.

"At the end of the day, I think a guy that has played with African Americans his whole life, not saying he can’t be racist, but they know how to maneuver around African Americans," Sherman said.

"When you’re at Ohio State, it’s not like Ohio State’s an all-white school. So I don’t think that’s going to ever be an issue. I think, at the end of the day, your beliefs are your beliefs ... but when you’re in the building and you’re a football player and you’re a teammate, you handle yourself accordingly. And I think he understands that."

Donald Trump Honors Tiger Woods Presidential Medal of Freedom!!!

Breaking News
HONORING TIGER

Donald Trump has just presented Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- and joked about how the two always remember the good things ... and never the bad.

Tiger was emotional as he accepted the award in front of his family and girlfriend -- and choked back tears as he spoke about his late father.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the United States -- and is given to people who make an especially great contribution to American society.

Trump had announced Woods would be receiving the award after Tiger won the 2019 Masters in Augusta.

Trump couldn't have been more complimentary to Woods -- hailing the 43-year-old as an extraordinary athlete and "also a great guy."

Trump says Woods inspired millions of Americans with his thrilling victories on the golf course -- including that amazing win at the 2019 Masters ... which Trump described as an "incredible comeback" after all of the physical ailments he's dealt with over the years.

POTUS also said Woods is the embodiment of the American spirit -- "always striving for greatness."

Woods thanked his kids, his mother and his girlfriend -- and shouted out the people who stuck with him through "the good and the bad, the highs and the lows."

Unclear if he was specifically referencing golf -- or his other issues over the years.

Woods says receiving the award was a great honor.

Michael Cohen Why the Long Face?!? 3-Year Prison Sentence Begins

Michael Cohen's got the Monday blues on steroids ... he just checked himself into prison to begin his 3-year sentence -- but on the positive(ish) side he can hang with The Situation from "Jersey Shore."

President Trump's former personal attorney was spotted Monday arriving at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, NY ... where he'll be incarcerated after pleading guilty to tax fraud and campaign finance violations.

As we reported ... Cohen was slapped with 8 federal charges in August 2018. The campaign finance violation was for his $130k hush payment to Stormy Daniels in the 11th hour of the 2016 election.

Before heading off to the minimum-security prison -- considered a haven for white-collar criminals and 70 miles away from his NYC crib -- Cohen told reporters outside his pad "there still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day when I can share the truth."

Cohen also appeared to take a shot at Trump ... saying by the time he's released he hopes "the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm."

Fun fact (sorry, Michael) ... Cohen's fellow inmates will include Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino -- who's halfway through an 8-month sentence -- and Fyre Fest (dis)organizer Billy McFarland.

Sen. Lindsey Graham 'Trump is a F***ing Idiot' ... FBI Staffer's Words, Not Mine

Exclusive Details
F-BOMB IN CONGRESS

Lindsey Graham just provided some major viral content at William Barr's Senate Judiciary hearing on the Mueller report, by saying out loud -- and uncensored -- "Trump is a f***ing idiot."

The Senator wasn't expressing his own opinion about President Trump, but rather reading text messages between former FBI employees, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, at Wednesday's hearing.

In the full exchange, Graham pulled from Strzok's texts to Page, saying ... "I am riled up. Trump is a f***ing idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer. I can’t pull away. What the f*** happened to our country??!?!"

Graham followed up his comment -- which aired live on TV -- by saying, "Sorry to the kids out there." The FCC might want an apology too.

The Judiciary Committee is questioning Attorney General Barr about the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's report ... after a Mueller letter stated Barr's summary of his report "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his investigation.

As for Strzok and Page ... their relationship and feelings about Trump have been a hot topic, and used by the president's supporters to argue the FBI was biased against him.

Graham's making sure we don't forget.

2:15 PM PT -- We got the Senator out after his profanity-laced moment earlier Wednesday, and he doubled down on the quote, and why it was important for everyone to hear.

NOT MY WORDS
TMZ.com

Originally Published -- 8:45 AM PT

CNN's Don Lemon Trump Snubbed Kyler Murray ... Race Was a Factor

EXCLUSIVE
"BOSA IS A SUPPORTER OF TRUMP"
TMZSports.com

CNN's Don Lemon says he wasn't shocked to see President Trump congratulate Nick Bosa on being the #2 pick in the draft -- while ignoring Kyler Murray -- in part because Bosa is white and Murray is black.

Lemon was leaving the CNN building after his show Monday night when we asked about Trump's congratulatory tweet to Bosa ... who had been very vocal about his support for #45.

"Bosa is a supporter of Trump," Lemon said ... "[Bosa] doesn't like Kaepernick. It's everything this President is about."

Lemon added, "I think we should be congratulating the #1 person [Kyler Murray] as the #1 person made history."

Of course, Murray became the first person to be selected in the first round of the NFL and the MLB draft ... an amazing accomplishment.

"Don't forget the #1 person [Murray] is also black," Lemon added.

As for Bosa, he had previously called Kaepernick a "clown" on social media -- but later deleted the tweet.

When pressed about Kaepernick at his first press conference with the San Francisco 49ers, Bosa backtracked ... saying the name-calling was a bad decision.

Bosa also said he "respects what [Kaepernick] has done" and apologized for the initial tweet.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has never backed down on his position regarding Kaepernick -- firmly saying any NFL player who doesn't stand for the national anthem should be fired.

Kellyanne Conway Trump Is Just Following Kim Foxx In Calling Jussie '3rd Rate Actor'

EXCLUSIVE
JUSTICE SHOULD BE SERVED
TMZ.com

Kellyanne Conway is defending President Trump's decision to rip Jussie Smollett's acting chops ... saying the Prez is just following the lead of State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

We got Kellyanne out in Washington D.C. on Sunday, and our photog asked about the President taking aim at Jussie and ripping him as a "3rd rate actor" during a Wisconsin rally.

Kellyanne says Trump is just echoing what Foxx said about Jussie when Foxx referred to Smollett as a "washed up celeb" in unearthed text messages.

GOING AFTER JUSSIE

Conway, counselor to President Trump, goes even further ... saying there are lots of people in Chicago -- powerful ones too -- who are on Trump's side when it comes to Jussie and the alleged attack.

Check out our clip ... Kellyanne says Trump supporters should still be outraged over the whole case, and she hopes justice eventually comes for Jussie.

President Trump Seizing The Moment After Mueller Let's Raise $1 Million For My Campaign!!!

President Trump is looking to cash in on the Mueller Report ... because he's asking his supporters to buck up for his re-election campaign and send a HUGE message to his haters.

Trump's campaign sent an email Thursday to subscribers, hours after the Prez declared victory and total vindication over the Mueller Report, asking them to help raise a million bucks in 24 hours.

Trump's campaign is taking tons of swipes at the Democrats and "Fake News" media ... asking how many times must he be exonerated before the attacks stop.

We're guessing Trump's campaign staffers didn't read the Mueller Report, because Mueller said he could not exonerate the Prez.

POTUS declared "Game Over" moments after Attorney General William Barr held a news conference saying Mueller found nothing on Trump ... but his campaign says this is just the beginning of the "attacks and lies" as the 2020 election nears.

One message is absolutely clear ... Trump's campaign wants your money!!!

George Lopez to Sen. Cruz 'Pull Your Head Out Of Your Ass!!!' Using El Chapo Money for Wall is Nuts

EXCLUSIVE
TIP OF THE ICEBERG
TMZ.com

George Lopez is ripping Sen. Ted Cruz to shreds over his idea to use money seized from El Chapo to fund President Trump's border wall.

We got the comedian Thursday at LAX, and asked him about Cruz's suggestion that the billions seized from El Chapo's drug cartel should be used to secure the southern border. Needless to say, George has very strong feelings about the wall, Ted and ... the senator's head and ass!!!

El Chapo was found guilty on 10 federal drug charges Tuesday, and the Mexican drug kingpin is now facing life in prison. Prosecutors are seeking $14 BILLION in drug profits and assets from El Chapo's Sinaloa Cartel.

Watch ... George rips Cruz a new one, and offers his own ideas for how to use those funds.

Barron Trump 12-Year-Old Soars to New Heights ... Boarding Air Force One

Barron Trump looks like he's on his way to the NBA ... cause the 12-year-old has reached, if not, exceeded his dad's height.

This pic was snapped as Barron, his mom and dad trudged through the snowy tarmac Friday while they were boarding Air Force One.

You get another perspective from the wider shot at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland ... how Barron has sprouted. He actually looks taller than the President from this angle.

The family is headed to sunny Palm Beach, Florida for the weekend.

It's interesting by comparison ... his half-brother, Donald Jr., is 6'1" and his other half-brother, Eric, is 6'5". Barron's half-sister, Ivanka, is 5'11".

BTW ... Melania is 5'11" and the Prez is 6'3".

Sen. Chuck Schumer Bring Nancy Pelosi A Tasty Reward ... For Standing Up To Trump

EXCLUSIVE
DINNER'S ON ME
TMZ.com

Sen. Chuck Schumer has beef with Nancy Pelosi ... the good kind.

We got the Senate Minority Leader at Reagan Airport Friday, hours after President Trump announced a temporary end to the government shutdown, and asked if Nancy deserves a steak for standing up to the Prez.

Schumer didn't hesitate ... and ya gotta hear what cut of meat Chuck says Nancy should be chowing down on tonight!

Word on the street is Nancy is the most effective, if not the only person in Washington, who can go toe-to-toe with Trump ... and ya gotta believe it, after she refused to cave into the Prez's demands for wall funding.

Forget cake ... let Nancy eat steak!

President Trump We're Ending The Gov't Shutdown ... For 3 Weeks

Breaking News
SHUTTING DOWN THE SHUTDOWN

President Trump and the Democrats have reached a deal to end the government shutdown and reopen the government ... for 3 weeks.

The Prez announced the deal Friday during a press conference in front of the White House ... ending the shutdown that had dragged on for an unprecedented 35 days.

The deal does not include funding for Trump's beloved border wall ... and the temporary end to the shutdown comes as thousands of federal workers missed another paycheck during the longest government shutdown in history.

The timing of the deal comes after increased urgency to fund the government following Friday's decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily halt flights into and out of LaGuardia Airport in NYC because of staffing shortages as a result of the shutdown.

Trump says he's signing a bill to fund the government for 3 weeks until Feb. 15 ... and POTUS says federal workers will receive back pay for their work during the shutdown.

Trans Ex-Navy Seal Bashes Ban on Trans In Military ... We're Deadly Soldiers Too!!!

EXCLUSIVE
LETHAL WEAPON
TMZ.com

President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military doesn't make any sense to retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck ... because she says trans soldiers are just as effective killing machines as their counterparts.

Kristin, a transgender woman and former SEAL Team Six member, tells TMZ ... the reasoning behind the ban -- trans service members aren't as lethal -- doesn't hold water, because she knows lots of openly trans people in the military who are great at their jobs.

Trump's ban barring most trans people from serving in the military was revived Tuesday, after a 5 to 4 vote by the SCOTUS ... and Kristin is pissed!

Watch ... Kristin explains why trans service members are just as effective, and she says it's an awful idea to turn away people who are willing to serve our country.

Anthony Scaramucci Trump Can't Drain The D.C. Swamp

UNDRAINABLE SWAMP
CBS

Anthony Scaramucci keeps spilling White House tea in the 'Big Brother' house, and he says there's no way President Trump is going to be able to deliver on one of his biggest campaign promises ... draining the swamp.

Anthony, who worked in Trump's White House for 10 days before being fired, says the Prez won't be able to drain the swamp in D.C. ... and ya gotta hear his reason why.

The Mooch started talking politics with comedian Tom Green on Tuesday's episode of "Celebrity Big Brother" ... and they touched on a range of topics, from Scaramucci's potential return to the Trump administration to the government shutdown.

Watch ... the Mooch doesn't have a lot of good things to say about his brief stint in Washington.

Indigenous People's March Smirking MAGA Hat Student Responds To Accusations of Harassment

1/20/19 -- The student who came face-to-face with Nathan Phillips has released a statement to the media about what he claims actually happened Friday. Nick Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School, says he and his classmates were waiting for their busses to arrive at the Lincoln Memorial when a handful of African-American protesters began shouting "hateful things" at the group of boys. Sandmann says that he and his classmates were given permission by their adult chaperones to sing their school spirit chants in response. At some point during this chanting, Sandmann says a separate group of protesters from the Indigenous People's March approached his group, and claims that Nathan Phillips then "waded" into the crowd with his drum. Other videos that have surfaced online appear to show Phillips doing exactly that.

Sandmann says Phillips singled him out for some reason and walked right up to him ... and the clip that has since gone viral is what happened shortly after. Sandmann says he did not provoke Phillips, nor did he block him from going anywhere. He says he only smiled because he sensed Phillips and his group were trying to incite a larger confrontation, and he wanted to communicate that he wouldn't engage. Sandmann says he respects Phillips for his service as a Marine vet, but does not approve of his methods -- namely, getting in people's personal spaces. Sandmann also says he will be cooperating with his school's investigation into the matter. His full statement can be read below.

5:56 PM PT -- A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington says the confrontation between a horde of Catholic high school boys and the Native American war vet is under investigation, adding that students could be expelled. In a statement, the spox says ... "We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person."

A mob of MAGA hat-wearing teenagers swarmed around a Native American man to harass and drown out his peaceful demonstration -- and the scene was tense.

The face-off went down Friday at the D.C. National Mall -- near Arlington National Cemetery -- where Omaha elder Nathan Phillips was drumming and singing toward the tail end of the Indigenous People's March. Phillips was a marine during the Vietnam War, though he was never deployed.

According to local reports, a large group of men -- including many young boys who were wearing MAGA gear -- descended upon Phillips and began mocking him ... with one student getting right up in his face as he peacefully tried reciting his song.

What's depicted here is alarming ... many of the boys are mimicking Phillips' singing in a demeaning manner as they surround him and a few lingering marchers. As you can see, one of the boys stands face-to-face with Phillips with a smug grin on his face as he continues to drum.

Phillips addressed the altercation afterward in an emotional explanation of why he was singing, and how he internalized what had just happened to him. He explains how youth used to interact with elders, and how times have changed for the worse.

Fortunately, there are no reports of violence breaking out ... but it appears these kids were on the verge of something nefarious. Some of the boys have been reported as Covington Catholic High School students in Park Hills, KY. It's unclear why they were in D.C., but it's possible they were there in support of the March for Life, which took place the same day.

Covington's website temporarily crashed Saturday as tons of people demanded answers from Principal Bob Rowe and other faculty. A communications rep for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington released a statement on the matter saying, "We are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place. We are looking into it."

Ironically, CCHS' mission statement reads ... "At Covington Catholic, our primary purpose is to embrace the gospel message of Jesus Christ in order to educate young men spiritually, academically, physically, and socially. With this focus, we are Building Minds and Living Faith."

We've reached out to Covington Catholic High School for comment ... it appears their phone line is busy, as calls are not going through.

Originally Published -- 1/19 at 11:06 AM PST