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Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.

In an apology read by his former co-host on the Today show Thursday morning, disgraced news anchor Matt Lauer said he is “embarrassed and ashamed” after he was fired for sexual misconduct in the workplace.

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry,” Lauer said in the statement, which was also provided to CNN.

He went on say while “some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized,” there is “enough truth” in the claims to make him “feel embarrassed and ashamed.”

“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling,” Lauer also said.

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The 20-year veteran of NBC was fired Tuesday night after the network received a detailed complaint from a staffer alleging that Lauer sexually assaulted her at the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi.

Lauer’s apology also comes after Variety published a piece that reported he had a button under his desk to lock the door from the inside, exposed himself to a female employee, and once gave a colleague a sex toy as a gift, along with an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her.

On Wednesday night, The New York Times published the account of a woman who said that Lauer summoned her to his office in 2001, locked the door, and assaulted her. She said she “passed out with her pants pulled halfway down” at some point during the assault, and that Lauer had summoned a nurse for her and never spoke about the incident again.

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WHAT ELSE?

  • With two major mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas that left 84 dead safely in the rearview, a House panel handed the National Rifle Association a major victory on Wednesday by voting to expand Americans’ powers to carry concealed weapons across state lines.
  • A fifth woman came forward to CNN to accuse Minnesota Al Franken of groping her during a photo-op in 2003.

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