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2:40 PM ET, July 26, 2017

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 Top Items: 
Ross Douthat / New York Times:
A Trump Tower of Absolute Folly  —  Donald Trump's campaign against his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in which he is seemingly attempting to insult and humiliate and tweet-shame Sessions into resignation, is an insanely stupid exercise.  It is a multitiered tower of political idiocy …
RELATED:
Fox News Insider:
Tucker Carlson Blasts Donald Trump for Attacking Jeff Sessions Attorney General  —  Tucker Carlson criticized President Trump for repeated attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  —  Carlson said Trump is continuing a “protracted rhetorical assault” on Sessions, who he said is the one cabinet member …
Devlin Barrett / Washington Post:
The standoff between Trump and Sessions escalates … The public standoff between the White House and the nation's senior law enforcement official took another strange turn Tuesday as President Trump escalated his verbal attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was urged by fellow conservatives to stand his ground.
Josh Dawsey / Politico:
Trump and Sessions locked in silent battle
Warren / THE WARREN (HENRY) REPORT:
Tucker Calrissian Tonight15 minutes ago
Paul Beckett / Wall Street Journal:
Transcript: Donald Trump's Interview With The Wall Street Journal
Christopher Ingraham / Washington Post:
The military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops' medical care  —  On Twitter this morning, President Trump announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military, citing “medical costs” as the primary driver of the decision.
RELATED:
Josh Dawsey / Politico:10 minutes ago
Inside Trump's snap decision to ban transgender troops  —  After a week sparring with his attorney general and steaming over the Russia investigation consuming his agenda, President Donald Trump was closing in on an important win.  —  House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked …
The Hill:
Trump to ban transgender people from all military service  —  President Trump on Wednesday said he would ban transgender people from any military service.  —  Trump made the announcement, which would represent a major shift in military policy, on Twitter.  He said he had made the decision …
Jason Noble / Des Moines Register:
Ernst breaks with Trump on transgender military ban  —  U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst on Wednesday broke with President Donald Trump's call to bar transgender Americans from serving in the military, telling the Des Moines Register that anyone qualified should be allowed to serve.
New York Times:
Trump Says Transgender People Will Not Be Allowed in the Military  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Wednesday that the United States will no longer “accept or allow” transgender people in the United States military, saying American forces “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory” …
Abby Phillip / Washington Post:
Trump announces ban on transgender people in U.S. military
Jeremy Diamond / CNN:
Trump to reinstate US military ban on transgender people
Meghan Keneally / ABC News:
Donald Trump's past statements about LGBT rights
Discussion: Politico, Washington Post and Shareblue
Media Matters for America:   Before Trump banned transgender people from serving in military, here's who praised him as pro-LGBTQ
Berkeley Lovelace Jr / CNBC:
GOP senators must do whatever it takes to get to 50 votes on Obamacare repeal, says HHS secretary  — Do whatever “gets us to 50 votes so that we can move forward on a health-care reform legislation,” Tom Price says.  — A plan to repeal and replace Obamacare by Senate Republicans failed …
RELATED:
Plain Dealer:   Sen. Rob Portman, you just let Ohio down: editorial
Eli Yokley / Morning Consult:
Many Republicans Doubt Clinton Won Popular Vote  —  A plurality of Republicans say President Donald Trump received more of the popular vote in 2016 than his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  —  According to a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll …
RELATED:
Steven Shepard / Politico:
Poll: Voters say Mueller ouster would be inappropriate
Charles C. W. Cooke / National Review:
Mr. President, Please Be Quiet  —  Once again, Donald Trump has tweeted himself into the center of the day's news.  He does this almost every morning — even, perhaps especially, when he has nothing new to say.  Upon seeing today's efforts, I sighed and muttered “there goes Wednesday.”
MedStar Washington Hospital Center:
Condition Report: Rep. Steve Scalise  —  Congressman Steve Scalise has made excellent progress in his recovery from a life-threatening gunshot wound six weeks ago.  Yesterday, he was discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is now beginning a period of intensive inpatient rehabilitation.
RELATED:
Emily Shapiro / ABC News:
Rep. Steve Scalise discharged from hospital 6 weeks after shooting
Discussion: Politico
Amie Parnes / The Hill:
Clinton book to double down on Russia, Comey message  —  's upcoming book will double down on Russia's interference and James Comey's involvement in her stunning election defeat, according to sources familiar with the memoir.  —  Privately, Clinton has told friends and longtime associates that she …
Oliver Darcy / CNNMoney:
Matt Drudge is firing warning shots at Trump, and that should worry the president  —  Conway: White House staff is tough, but humble  —  Matt Drudge has been in the White House an awful lot these days — “all the time,” as one senior administration official puts it.
Discussion: IJR
Timothy Gardner / Reuters:
U.S. energy secretary duped into fake interview with Russian comedians  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry optimistically discussed expanding American coal exports to Ukraine and other energy matters during a lengthy phone call this month with a Russian prankster who Perry thought was Ukraine's prime minister.
Michael Kruse / Politico:
To America, It Looks Like Chaos.  For Trump, It's Just Tuesday.  —  It started Monday morning with Donald Trump calling his own attorney general “beleaguered.”  It continued with an Air Force One flight to West Virginia and a rambling, partisan speech to thousands of hollering Boy Scouts.
 
 
 New Item Finder: 
10 minutes ago
McKay Coppins / The Atlantic:
Jeff Flake's Gamble   Find
10 minutes ago
Josh Dawsey / Politico:
Inside Trump's snap decision to ban transgender troops   Find
15 minutes ago
Warren / THE WARREN (HENRY) REPORT:
Tucker Calrissian Tonight   Find
 
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 More Items: 
McKay Coppins / The Atlantic:
Jeff Flake's Gamble10 minutes ago
Lauren Thomas / CNBC:
Coca-Cola's earnings, sales top Wall Street expectations with more healthy drinks on tap25 minutes ago
Discussion: WNEP-TV
Fox News:
Russia probe: Democrats block key witness against shadowy firm Fusion GPS
Discussion: Daily Wire and The Gateway Pundit
The Hill:
Welcome to The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful!
Discussion: The Daily Caller and AOL
Stephen Rodrick / Rolling Stone:
Justin Trudeau: The North Star
A.J. Katz / TVNewser:
Former Fox Newser Andy Levy to Join S.E. Cupp's New HLN Show
Stephen Collinson / CNN:
McCain's sermon on how politics should be
John Bowden / The Hill:
Wasserman Schultz staffer arrested trying to leave the country
 Earlier Items: 
Ryan Broderick / BuzzFeed:
Everything That's Happened Since A Bunch Of YouTubers Got A Ship To Stop Refugees Getting To Europe
Michael Lewis / Vanity Fair:
Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House
The Texas Tribune:
Law enforcement comes out against Texas “bathroom bill”
Discussion: Off the Kuff