Adam Silver NBA Working To Bring Griner Home ... In Touch W/ Hostage Negotiators, White House

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is assisting the WNBA in its efforts to get Brittney Griner home -- revealing on Tuesday he's working with the White House and even hostage negotiators to get her out of custody in Russia.

Silver said before the NBA Draft Lottery in Chicago that he's "working side-by-side" with WNBA commish Cathy Engelbert, who's made bringing Griner back to the U.S. a top priority.

"The league -- and by that, both the WNBA and its brother league, the NBA -- we have a huge responsibility to Brittney Griner as one of our players," Silver said.

"Cathy Engelbert, the commissioner of the WNBA, is on this issue every single day. I'm working side-by-side with her."

Silver says both leagues have gone above and beyond for the Phoenix Mercury star ... getting "in touch with the White House, the State Department, hostage negotiators -- at every level of government and also through the private sector as well."

"Our No. 1 priority is her health and safety and making sure that she gets out of Russia," Silver added.

Griner has been in custody in Russia since February after she was allegedly found with hash oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport.

The 31-year-old was denied house arrest by a judge last week and will be forced to stay in jail for at least another 30 days.

The U.S government said earlier this month that the WNBA champ is being "wrongfully detained" and it "will continue to undertake efforts to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner."

Jen Psaki Last Day as Press Secretary ... I'll Try to Hold it Together!!!

PEACE OUT!!!

Jen Psaki bid farewell to the White House Press Office Friday, giving her last briefing ... and it was both emotional and apolitical.

Psaki psyched herself up to remain stoic with the press corps, but the emotions bubbled up to the surface as she looked back on her tenure as Press Secretary.

She talked about her mission statement -- to help restore integrity and grace to the office She acknowledged there were times she fell short ... saying the Irish sometimes came out in her and her boss as well. But, she added, "On my best days and as I look back, I hope I followed the example of integrity and grace that they have set for all of us, every day."

She also talked about the messy business of dealing with the media ... dealings that can get super contentious. As Psaki puts it, the arguing, the debating is actually part of democracy.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Psaki said from the jump she'd only do the job for about a year, so she actually stayed on longer than she anticipated.

Psaki is rumored to be joining MSNBC as an analyst.

Paris Hilton on Child Abuse Bill We Need Dems & GOP for Real Change ... Day 2 of D.C. Lobbying Trip

NEVER GIVING UP
TMZ.com

Paris Hilton is on Day 2 at our nation's capital as she continues to lobby for institutional child abuse reforms -- an undertaking for which she says both sides of the aisle are needed.

We got the hotel heiress Wednesday on Capitol Hill, where PH was hand-in-hand with her hubby, Carter Reum ... and where she told us exactly why she thinks this issue was worth taking a trip over -- as she puts it, countless youth are dying "in the name of treatment."

Paris touched down in D.C. Tuesday and paid a visit to the White House, meeting with officials to discuss a bill working its way through Congress -- Federal Accountability for Congregate Care Act -- that she's fully behind ... and which will afford kids federal protection.

As you may know, Paris has been championing this cause for a while -- this after publicly claiming she herself was abused at Utah boarding school Provo Canyon in her teens.

Now, she's doing her advocacy work on a national level ... and while she's clearly got high hopes, the rancor of our red and blue politics is NOT lost on her at all.

We asked if she thought Republicans would back this Dem-drafted bill -- and she's optimistic, highlighting the importance of bipartisanship. No word on how she might try and nudge the GOP in the right direction -- but hey, it's Paris ... and she's already done some work in speaking with Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.

PARIS' EMOTIONAL PROTEST
TMZ.com

BTW, Paris was part of an intriguing protest -- which featured a makeshift mock chamber of sorts, where Paris was getting emotional as she apparently reenacted her Provo days.

Malia & Sasha Obama Sisterhood Celebration!!! Happiest LAX Pickup, Ever.

SISTER SCOOP
TMZ.com

Barack and Michelle Obama's daughters are 2 peas in a pod now that they're both in Hollywood -- and we got a first-hand look at how close they are during an airport pickup.

We got both Malia and Sasha Obama at LAX, where little sis was picking up big sis. You can tell they were happy to see each other based on the reunion dance they busted out Wednesday afternoon as they came face-to-face.

It's a pretty sweet/surreal moment we captured -- Sasha even loaded up Malia's luggage in the hatchback she was driving.

We don't know how long it's been since they last saw each other -- they're very excited -- but, best we can tell, Malia's been gone just over a week. She flew out of LAX, in the same 'fit on May 2.

Of course, we tried firing off a few questions to the former First Kids -- including whether they like Cali life more than D.C., but, apparently, that's still classified info.

As you might have heard, Malia is a screenwriter for Donald Glover's new Amazon series -- and her boss himself was singing her praises to us not too long ago -- so she definitely seems to be putting down roots in La La Land.

Ditto for Sasha, who's reportedly attending USC now, and is frequently spotted around town.

BTW, Angelenos know fighting LAX traffic to pick up someone is a sign of true love -- so, don't ever question this sisterhood.

Their White House days are behind 'em, and they're thriving out west now!

President Biden Good Humor & Jokes at WHCD ... Trevor Noah Follows, Kills

JOE'S GOT JOKES
Fox News
UPDATE

7:50 PM PT -- Trevor Noah followed Joe Biden, and his monologue went scorched earth on just about everyone ... from CNN to FOX News, Joe Biden and Jen Psaki and everyone in between.

UPDATE
going after everyone!
Fox News
UPDATE

In his usual fashion, TN masterfully roasted just about everyone in the news biz -- without being too mean or going too over the line. The guy is certainly a professional in his craft, and it showed tonight. Here's just a taste of Trevor's awesome jokes and delivery ... well done!

President Biden busted out his comedy chops during the White House Correspondents' Dinner -- and his jokes were kinda hit or miss ... but he took his shots regardless.

JB was on hand Saturday at the Washing Hilton in D.C. -- the first time the dinner's been held since 2019, and the first a POTUS was at since longer -- and after a lengthy introduction full of awards and guest speakers ... Joe took to the podium to deliver remarks.

Right off the bat, Joe made some wise cracks about the press ... but also about himself, starting out by saying he appreciated all 42% of the people who clapped for him -- a wink to his recent approval rating.

He then said this about Donald Trump ... "We had a horrible plague, followed by two years of COVID," which got a big laugh from the room. From there, Joe's reception was up and down -- he made some viewership jokes about MSNBC, and then went after FOX News.

He noted that even though FOX News might sound anti-vaxx at times ... he assured everyone, your fave FOX journalists are vaccinated to be here tonight. Another line that was interesting ... Joe acknowledging the "Let's go Brandon" gag, sort of embracing it.

He ended with a more serious note ... saying America is "not a reality show," and that too got a major reaction. All in all, not too shabby from Joe -- a mixed bag, but mostly positive.

Originally Published -- 7:33 PM PT

Pete & Kim Hit WHCD for Press/Prez Roast ... We're Back, D.C.!!!

Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian are back in D.C. -- only this time, they're in the company of some of the most powerful people in the world ... including President Biden.

The couple were among many celebs on hand Saturday for the White House Correspondents' Dinner at the Washington Hilton ... where upwards of 2,500 guests total are expected to plop down, chow down and listen to jokes, courtesy of the MC for the night -- Trevor Noah.

As you can see ... PD and KK were shoulder-to-shoulder as they made their way in, all smiles. They were also dressed to the nines, like everyone else attending for the night.

This will be Pete's first time at the dinner, but Kim's been a couple different times -- once in 2010 and again in 2012, during the Obama years. She was one of the many people who got roasted ... and we expect this year to be no different. Ditto for Pete, in all likelihood.

They're no strangers to the nation's capital lately -- they were just here for Jon Stewart.

Anyway, what most everyone is really stoked about -- besides the fact this is the first dinner to happen in person since 2019, pre-pandemic -- is that the Prez himself will show up. Indeed, after years of Trump snubbing the event ... Joe's gonna make remarks in the flesh.

Should be interesting to see how he's discussed, and how he hits back at the press.

Viola Davis Critics of My Michelle Duck Face ... Can Go Straight to Hell!!!

Viola Davis has heard all the criticism leveled at her over her portrayal of Michelle Obama -- as it pertains to her lip choices, that is -- and her response is ... screw the haters.

The Oscar-winning actress came out swinging against her critics in a new interview with the BBC, which asked her about the jokes and ridicule she was enduring a couple weeks ago amid the premiere of her new Showtime series, 'The First Lady.'

VD says these amateur commentators serve absolutely no purpose other than to be cruel, noting she found the score of comments to be "incredibly hurtful."

Viola acknowledges that critique is an occupational hazard of the job, and even seems to cop to the fact that her MO acting might not even be her best work ... but she insists she had to take big swings, and stands by what she did on camera.

Still, it's clear folks got to Viola and their mocking left her sour -- because she says this ... "Critics absolutely serve no purpose. And, I'm not saying that to be nasty either."

She adds, "They always feel like they're telling you something that you don't know. Somehow that you're living a life that you're surrounded by people who lie to you and 'I'm going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth'. So, it gives them an opportunity to be cruel."

Viola also says it was damn near impossible to do Michelle justice, as some might've felt she was either doing too much or not enough to get it right. In this case, it's the former.

One other thing ... Viola says she has no idea what the real former First Lady thinks of how she did, noting she isn't in any personal contact with Mrs. Obama. Viola had previously said she did a lot of research and wanted to do MO proud ... so she clearly did her best.

As we reported, folks made a big deal about her pursed lips ... arguing it was overexaggerated/distracting. 'The First Lady' hasn't fared well with professional critics either.

Doesn't sound like Viola gives a rip, though ... she's pretty defiant here.

President Biden Drug Offenders Get Major Break ... Long New Clemency List

President Biden is letting a lot of drug offenders out of prison who've earned lengthy sentences -- with his theme apparently being ... the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

JB just released a new clemency list, and it includes dozens of names who've been locked up for years now for crimes ranging from possession of drugs to conspiracy or intent to distribute narcotics -- including cocaine and meth -- and he's giving them a huge break.

A majority of these folks are due to be set free immediately ... or by 2023. He's commuting tons of sentences -- some of which were as long as 20-30 years, and in some cases life -- leaving most to be served out in home confinement, via supervised release or both.

All in all, there are 75 inmates he's cutting loose from the federal prison system ... and like we said, their crimes all seem to be in the drug realm ... from minor to relatively major offenses.

In addition to these commutations, Biden is also pardoning three people -- including a couple more drug offenders who've since been released from prison and gone on to become upstanding citizens.

The third pardon is a bit more noteworthy ... Biden is honoring Abraham Bolden Sr., a former U.S. Secret Service agent who was imprisoned after he was charged and convicted with attempting to sell a copy from a SS file in the '60s.

Bolden -- who was the first Black man to serve on a presidential detail back then -- got a raw deal, according to the DOJ. Key witnesses who were part of his initial trial apparently copped to lying at prosecutors' request ... and Bolden was also denied a new trial.

He served several years in federal custody, and although he's out already ... Biden's scrubbing his record clean. Bolden has always maintained his innocence, insisting he was targeted because he was trying to expose racist practices within the government.

Sasha Obama Dating Clifton Powell Jr. ... Former College Basketball Player

Sasha Obama's boyfriend is none other than Clifton Powell Jr. ... a former college basketball player and the son of Clifton Sr., the actor.

20-year-old Sasha got together with 24-year-old Clifton Powell Jr. after she made the switch from the University of Michigan to USC -- according to The Daily Mail, who broke the story.

The former hoops star was awarded a four-year basketball scholarship at the University of California at Santa Barbara ... he's now jumped into the world of commercials ... working with big brands like Peloton and Nike.

His dad's acting chops might've served Clifton Jr. well  -- Clifton Sr.'s been in movies like "Ray" and "Next Friday," with a long list of upcoming projects.

As we reported, Sasha's older sister and recent Harvard grad Malia also made the move to the west coast after getting hired as a screenwriter for Donald Glover's latest project with Amazon.

Malia's been dating her British boyfriend Rory Farquharson since 2017 ... the two met at Harvard.

Their mom, First Lady Michelle Obama, might've slipped about Sasha's dating rumors ... talking about her daughters on the 'Ellen Show,' saying they both used to love the Jonas Brothers -- now they're bringing men home!

'Masked Singer' Ken Jeong Walks Off Set in Disgust As Giuliani Revealed

RUDY'S BIG REVEAL
FOX

The most dramatic moment from this season of "The Masked Singer" has finally played out ... as Rudy Giuliani was revealed as a contestant, causing one judge to walk off set.

The whole thing went down on the FOX singing contest Wednesday night as the disgraced politician and former right-hand-man of Trump was revealed as The Jack in the Box. Giuliani got the boot after this week's performance of "Bad to The Bone."

While he's performing the song, you see a clearly pissed-off judge, Ken Jeong, say "I'm done" before walking off the set.

It was back in February when it was reported both Ken and judge Robin Thicke walked off in disgust after Giuliani's reveal ... but that didn't appear to be the case Wednesday, with only Ken leaving.

As for why he did the show ... Giuliani said he'd just gotten a granddaughter and, "I want her to know that you should try everything, even things that are completely unlike you and unlikely.”

Second Gentleman Doug Mum On Whether Kamala Will Become 1st Female Prez ... And Who Cooks These Days???

HUSH HUSBAND
TMZ.com

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff seemed at home Tuesday in Bev Hills ... and that's because he was on his home turf, shopping for presents and answering certain questions but avoiding others.

DE bought an art book at Taschen Books and we got him as he was leaving, flanked by Secret Service agents in casual attire (they still stick out like a sore thumb!).

Doug was quick on the draw, shutting down our photog's inquiry about the book and who it was for. Then we pivoted ... the Veep has a self-confessed affinity for cooking, so we asked if she still tries her hand in the kitchen -- here we did better and got an answer, but he was evasive on her go-to meals.

And then, the big Q -- now that his wife has settled in to the #2 spot, is she setting her sights on the brass ring? This requires interpretation -- body language and what not -- so you be the judge.

Fat Joe Healthcare Execs Are Robbing Us!!! 'Nobody's Enforcing Law'

EMPOWERING THE PEOPLE
powertothepatients.org

Fat Joe's taking a break from ripping mics to tear into America's healthcare system and the politicians allowing hospitals to essentially steal from patients ... and TMZ Hip Hop's learned he's taking this fight all the way to Washington, DC.

Joey Crack recorded this incredibly powerful message last month in the Bronx, calling out healthcare "crooks" for hiding hospital prices -- something that's actually illegal, but as Joe points out ... no one's policing the system.

Joe teamed up with Power to the Patients to demand change, and you can tell he's feeling this cause as much as any verse he's ever recorded. As he says on the spot, "When we can't see or compare prices, hospitals charge us whatever they want. They robbing us!!!"

#PowerToThePatients
Power to the Patients

The Bronx icon has some A-list companies in the fight for patients' rights. You might recall ... Susan Sarandon and Cynthia Erivo filmed their own PSAs last year for Power to the Patients, which aired during the Oscars.

THE SYSTEM MUST CHANGE
TMZ.com

Susan also joined us on "TMZ Live" to tackle the hot button issue.

We're told Fat Joe's so serious about this campaign, he'll be attending the White House Correspondents' dinner later this month to rep the org, and, hopefully, get some DC powerbrokers onboard with the effort.

He adds, "Right now millions across the country are being dragged into debt because they're blindsided by the cost of medical bills" ... and his goal is to remind communities of their rights, while demanding elected officials do something to "end this injustice."

WH Press Sec. Jen Psaki *IF* I Were to Leave ... Some Advice for My Replacement

PRESS SECRETARY SECRETS
Pod Save America/Crooked Media

Jen Psaki may or may not be leaving her post at the podium, but if she does ... she's got a few nuggets of knowledge to pass on to whomever might replace her, and they're not bad.

The White House Press Secretary sat down with 'Pod Save America' this week and was asked, hypothetically speaking ... what advice would she offer to someone who might be coming to fill her shoes? Again, assuming she exits -- and rumor has it, she will soon.

Psaki actually opened quite a bit on this front ... as she's clearly learned a lot of the job over the past year-plus that she's carried the torch for President Biden and his administration.

For starters, she says whoever gets the gig next has to realize ... the American people aren't stupid, and you don't have to speak to them like they're grade-schoolers. Psaki says folks are paying attention and quite knowledgeable -- so a Press Sec.'s words should reflect that.

She also says the best PS has a wide breadth of knowledge about what they're discussing with the press, and aren't just reading off talking points. So in other words, know you're s***!

Finally, she says a Press Secretary has to be patient with reporters, who undoubtedly ask the same questions a million different ways. It's also important to be consistent with messaging ... otherwise, as she says, you'll be taken out of context and made out to be Satan.

The last thing Psaki suggests is that ... if you don't know, don't pretend to know -- especially since you're literally speaking for the President and co. She says the best way to be good at the job is to have the lowdown on what POTUS may think on any given issue.

To her credit, Psaki's held her own fairly well thus far ... despite a pretty up and down first year in office. If she does bounce, here's hoping her replacement heeds her words here!

Prez Biden's Dog Major White House Downplayed Viciousness ... Dog Attacked 8 Times, Once Severely

President Biden's dog, Major, was involved in a "minor" biting incident -- so claimed the White House -- but some angry Secret Service agents are calling BS.

You'll recall, Press Secretary Jen Psaki told the media in March 2021, there was a single incident where Major "was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual."

Well, a Freedom of Information request produced documents that tell a much different, more serious story about Major. The victim of the attack was outraged at Psaki's comments, saying, "NO, I didn't surprise the dog doing my job by being at [redacted] as the Press Secretary just said. Now I'm pissed."

It gets worse. An agent who saw photos of the bite said the "injury cannot be described in any other terms than 'severe.'"

Here's a Secret Service agent's account of the incident that occurred in the resident's quarters of the White House ..."Without warning or provocation, Major barked loudly at [the agent] ... and charged." The agent was bitten in the leg.

Turns out the same agent was bitten a second time. Not only that ... according to the documents, Major bit someone 8 days in a row.

The Secret Service agent who was bitten twice actually wanted the Bidens to pay for his torn coat. No word on whether the Bidens forked over the cash.

The agent in question was actually reprimanded by a superior for writing too graphic an account of the incidents. The superior wrote, "Please submit with the language that has been approved by [the legal office]. Unless you dispute anything in the verbiage that was presented to you, there shouldn't be a need to embellish with additional details that aren't required for approval."

3/16/21
OUT OF THE DOG HOUSE
ABC

There's another email in which the superior calls the victim's verbiage "inappropriate."

The White House has not commented on the newly-released docs.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Pictured In First Official Portrait

Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson is officially a U.S. Supreme Court Justice ... and now she's got the portrait to prove she's made history.

As we reported, Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to serve on the highest court Thursday ... making her the first-ever Black woman to hold the position. Photographer Lelanie Foster had the honor of capturing Justice Brown Jackson's first portrait ... showing the judge in a black dress, blazer staring off and up and standing in front of a backdrop.

As we've told you, President Biden nominated Judge Brown Jackson back in February, but she first had to undergo tough grilling from Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and others, during her confirmation hearings.

She was finally confirmed on Thursday ... with the tally coming down to 53-47 in her favor.

GROUNDBREAKING TIMES
White House

On Friday she celebrated the moment, saying ... "As I take on this new role, I strongly believe that this is a moment in which all Americans take great pride."

She will be sworn in at the end of this term, sometime in June ... and will officially take the bench on the first Monday of October.

Dr. JILL BIDEN SECURITY DETAIL OFFERED Gifts ... From Alleged Fake Federal Agents!!!

Members of Jill Biden's security detail are under investigation after they were offered lavish gifts from 2 men allegedly posing as federal agents ... and prosecutors say those gifts included firearms and rent-free apartments.

The 2 men, Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali, were arrested Wednesday in D.C. and charged with impersonating federal law enforcement agents -- prosecutors claim they posed as Department of Homeland Security agents, and then tried to hook up the First Lady's Secret Service agents.

Taherzadeh allegedly offered a $2,000 assault rifle to one of Dr. Biden's agents -- and now 4 of her agents are on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Prosecutors claim the federal posers also lavished Secret Service agents and a real DHS employee with iPhones, a drone, a flat screen TV, a generator, an assault rifle storage case, surveillance systems and law enforcement equipment.

Prosecutors says one Secret Service agent, who was assigned to the protect the White House, lived rent-free in a 3-bedroom luxury apartment provided by Taherzadeh ... where the rent typically runs more than $48,000 a year.

The FBI says Taherzadeh and Ali pretended to be agents from a fake DHS task force investigating violence at the Jan. 6 riots ... and the feds say the men used insignias and firearms used by federal agents to keep up the act.

Prosecutors believe the men were posing as agents "to ingratiate themselves with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community."

The alleged impostor act began to unravel last month, when a U.S. Postal Inspector looked into a possible assault on a letter carrier at the apartment complex where Taherzadeh lived, with the men allegedly identifying themselves as members of the non-existent task force.

FBI agents raided the building Wednesday, leading to the suspects' arrests.

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