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5:15 PM ET, February 15, 2017


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence  —  WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year …
David Corn / Mother Jones:
Why Trump Can't Come Clean on Russia  —  There is an old chestnut that gets tossed out whenever a scandal hits: It's not the crime, it's the cover-up.  The saying traces back to Watergate.  Sen. Howard Baker, the top Republican on the Senate Watergate committee, once noted …
Mike Allen / Axios:
White House staff in “survival mode ... scared to death”  —  Here's a twist that has top GOP sources buzzing:  — On Jan. 26, Sally Yates, then the acting attorney general, tells the White House that national security adviser Mike Flynn — who has just been grilled by FBI agents — had …
Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign  —  Trump campaign aides communicated with Russians  — The communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved  —  (CNN)High-level advisers close …
NBC News:
Piecing Together the Russian Story Amid Flynn Fallout
New York Times:
Flynn Was Brought Down by Illegal Leaks to News Media, Trump Says
James Hohmann / Washington Post:
The Daily 202: It's bigger than Flynn. New Russia revelations widen Trump's credibility gap.
David Frum / The Atlantic:
What Happens Next Is Up to Republicans
Discussion: Washington Post and Raw Story
Madeline Conway / Politico:
Brian Fallon responds to Trump: He's trying to distract from ‘very serious allegations’ about Russia
Discussion: ABC News and Associated Press
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:   Flynn Doesn't Matter. This Is About Trump
Andrew Puzder / National Review:
No to Puzder  —  Andrew Puzder was from the start an odd choice to head Donald Trump's Labor Department.  The chief of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of fast-food chains such as Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, Puzder has long been one of corporate America's most high-profile advocates of Gang of Eight-style …
Manu Raju / CNN:
First on CNN: Top Senate Republicans urge White House to withdraw Puzder nomination  —  4 GOP senators waver on Trump's labor pick  —  (CNN)Top Senate Republicans have urged the White House to withdraw the Andrew Puzder nomination for labor secretary, a senior GOP source said …
Timothy Noah / Politico:
Exclusive: Puzder's ex-wife told Oprah he threatened ‘you will pay for this’  —  The ex-wife of President Donald Trump's labor secretary nominee told “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that he “vowed revenge” when she made public spousal abuse allegations, according to a 1990 tape reviewed by POLITICO on Tuesday night.
CBS News:
Andrew Puzder expected to withdraw from labor secretary nomination, source says  —  Andrew Puzder, President Trump's pick for labor secretary, is expected to withdraw his name from the nomination, a source close to the restaurant executive tells CBS News' Major Garrett.
Ed O'Keefe / Washington Post:
Andrew Puzder withdraws nomination for labor secretary
Thomas E. Ricks / Foreign Policy:
Robert Harward plans a housecleaning of Trump's National Security Council staff  —  President Donald Trump offered the job of national security advisor to retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward on Monday night, and was a bit surprised when Harward responded by saying he needed a couple of days to think it over.
Dylan Byers / CNN:
Sean Spicer isn't finished  —  Washington (CNN)Sean Spicer has barely moved into his office.  —  Three weeks after the inauguration, the only things adorning the White House press secretary's shelves are a framed picture of himself at the podium, a book on Naval Special Warfare …
Brad Reed / Raw Story:
Kellyanne Conway to do fewer TV appearances after leaks allege she's been backstabbing Sean Spicer
Discussion: Mediaite and
Wall Street Journal:
Mike Flynn Is First Casualty of Turmoil in Trump Administration
Discussion: Washington Post
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Steve Bannon privately unloaded on Breitbart reporter  —  Shortly after Breitbart's Matt Boyle published an extensive attack on White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Boyle's former boss Steve Bannon exploded.  —  Far from Bannon orchestrating the leaks — as some have speculated — Trump's chief strategist was furious.
Tarini Parti / BuzzFeed:
Corey Lewandowski's Potential Clients Say He's Bragging About Access To Trump's Twitter Account  —  Trump's former campaign manager, who now has a lobbying and consulting shop, has mentioned having access to Trump's Twitter account as a selling point in pitch meetings with at least …
Discussion: Raw Story and Mediaite
Rick Maese / Washington Post:
Trump will not fill out an NCAA tournament bracket  —  It appears that President Trump is passing on March Madness.  He will not continue his predecessor's annual tradition of filling out an NCAA tournament bracket on ESPN.  —  The network reached out to Trump's staff and invited the president …
Discussion:, USA Today, Mediaite and AOL
U.S. detains Mexican immigrant in Seattle covered by Obama program  —  U.S. immigration authorities have detained a 23-year-old Mexican man who was brought to the United States illegally as a child and given a work permit during the Obama administration, according to a lawsuit challenging the detention in Seattle federal court.
Us Weekly:
Melania Trump Is ‘Miserable’ as First Lady, ‘Unhappy With How Her Life Ended Up’  —  While her husband, Donald Trump, wields his power as president, first lady Melania Trump is struggling with the realities of her new role and the scrutiny that comes with it, insiders reveal in the new issue of Us Weekly.
Discussion: Raw Story, New York Magazine and AOL
Akil Yunus / The Star Online:
Clearer image of Jong-nam's alleged killer caught on CCTV  —  PETALING JAYA: CCTV cameras at KLIA2 have captured a clearer image of a woman believed to be one of the assassins who killed Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.  —  The image zooms in on the alleged …
Watch | Woman arrested over death of Kim Jong-nam
Discussion: Sputnik International
John Podhoretz / Commentary Magazine:
Beware Triggering the Coup Theory  —  I can't believe I'm writing this after the administration has been in office for 26 days, but here goes.  The idea that Donald Trump is now inexorably on a path to impeachment has taken almost gleeful hold in the wake of the Michael Flynn resignation among liberal elites …
Paul Farhi / Washington Post:
‘This is . . .  Nixonian’: Reporter was taped by White House in heated exchange  —  A top aide to President Trump said she has a recording of a dispute with a White House reporter, and has shared parts of it with journalists.  —  Omarosa Manigault, a communications official …
Washington Post:
Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting?  Yes.  We did the research.  —  The Justice Department just got a new boss: Jeff Sessions.  He is raising alarms in the civil rights community.  The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is concerned about his “record of hostility” …
Discussion: Right Wing Watch
J.D. Durkin / Mediaite:
Mika Brzezinski Firmly Says Conway Will No Longer Be Booked on Morning Joe: 'She's Not Credible Anymore'  —  Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe revealed a tidbit that many may not know about the way Kellyanne Conway gets herself booked onto so many shows on behalf of the administration …
Dan Lamothe / Washington Post:
Defense Secretary Mattis issues new ultimatum to NATO allies on defense spending  —  BRUSSELS — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued an ultimatum Wednesday to allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), warning that if they do not boost their defense spending to goals set by the alliance …
Mark Potok / Southern Poverty Law Center:
The Year in Hate and Extremism  —  The radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century.  How did it happen?  —  After half a century of being increasingly relegated to the margins of society, the radical right entered the political mainstream …
Milo Wendt / Little Green Footballs:
Trump's Key Aide Stephen Miller Follows David Duke On Twitter  —  Stephen Miller joined Trump's campaign in January 2016, but did not gain worldwide attention until last week, as it became clear that this super-conservative 31 year old misanthrope, now a “senior advisor” to Trump, is drafting executive orders like the Muslim Ban.
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money and The Root
Trump Administration's New Health Rule Would Reduce Tax Credits, Raise Costs, For Millions of Moderate-Income Families  —  Key Provision Also Weakens, Rather Than Strengthens, Marketplace Stability  —  The Trump Administration's new proposed rule on health care would raise premiums …
Aidan Quigley / Politico:
Trump, asked about anti-Semitism, brags about election victory  —  President Donald Trump, during a joint news conference Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, bragged about his Electoral College victory in the 2016 election when asked a question about an increase …
Aetna CEO: Obamacare in ‘Death Spiral’  —  Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini escalated his criticism of the Affordable Care Act, saying Obamacare's markets are nearing failure as premiums climb and healthier individuals drop out.  —  “It is in a death spiral,” …
Discussion: Business Insider and Axios
Mark P. Painter /
Republican Painter: It's time to impeach Trump  —  Mark P. Painter, a lifelong Cincinnatian, served as a judge for 30 years.  —  As Charles P. Pierce said in Esquire last week, “I swear, it's like we elected the Clampetts, if the Clampetts were grifters.”  —  A president of the United States …
Discussion: Raw Story
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 More Items: 
Kristin Salaky / Talking Points Memo:
Cartoonist Said He Drew DeVos In Iconic Civil Rights Painting To Open A Dialogue
Discussion: The Root
Associated Press:
Congress blocks rule barring mentally impaired from guns
Discussion: Daily Kos
The Daily Californian:
Conservative speech will not be stifled by violence
Discussion: Hit & Run
Christopher Muther /
Trump's travel ban is causing a large drop in US tourism
Jessie Hellmann / The Hill:
Republicans make first move targeting Planned Parenthood funding
Discussion: Daily Wire and The Federalist
Sara Murray / CNN:
The hottest invite in town: Donald Trump's supper club
 Earlier Items: 
Tim Collins / Daily Mail:
Scientists discover massive reservoir of greenhouse gases
Discussion: Infowars and Business Insider
Lukas Mikelionis / Heat Street:
Teen With Cancer Fires Back at Accusations of ‘Cultural Appropriation’ For Wearing a Turban
Discussion: Daily Wire
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Hollywood Reporter:
How ‘La La Land’ Misleads on Race, Romance and Jazz
Discussion: Daily Wire and IndieWire
Ted / Walid Shoebat:
Both Stephen Bannon And Ann Coulter Are Absolutely Evil, They Are Filled With The Spirit …
Deena Shanker / Bloomberg:
Americans Just Broke the Psychologists' Stress Record
Discussion: The Week
J.D. Durkin / Mediaite:
‘Go Eff Yourself’: Ernie Els Fires Back at Critics Upset That He Golfed With Trump
Lorraine Mirabella / Baltimore Sun:
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank responds to Trump tempest with letter to Baltimore
Jennifer Haberkorn / Politico:
Doubts grow that GOP can repeal Obamacare