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9:25 AM ET, May 18, 2017


 Top Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
The Special Counsel Mistake  —  Rosenstein bends to political pressure, and here we go again.
Discussion: Infowars and The Last Tradition
Pamela Brown / CNN:
Comey prepped responses ahead of Trump discussions  —  (CNN)Ahead of discussions with President Donald Trump, Former FBI Director James Comey prepped with his team on ways to respond to anticipated questions so that he would not come across as confrontational during the ongoing Russia probe, according to an official close to Comey.
Discussion: Althouse
Inside an embattled Trump's most consequential evening of turmoil yet  —  Washington (CNN)No one inside the West Wing had to ask how the President's mood was on Wednesday afternoon as aides awaited his return from delivering the commencement address to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.
New York Times:
How Trump learned of the special counsel  —  The president learned of Mr. Rosenstein's decision around 5:35 p.m. on Wednesday when the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, walked into the Oval Office to tell him.  —  Mr. Trump, who was looking through papers, reacted calmly but defiantly at first …
Discussion: Politico
Philip Shenon / Politico:
Trump's Worst Nightmare Comes True  —  The most daunting assignment in Robert Mueller's career in law-enforcement and public service might seem to have arrived on Wednesday night, with his appointment as the special prosecutor in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 president campaign …
Jchong / Lawfare:
Initial Reactions on the Appointment of Robert Mueller As Special Counsel  —  FBI Director Robert Mueller leads a briefing for President Obama on the Boston Marathon bombings, April 2013 / Official White House Photo by Pete Souza  —  There's a lot of reason to be cheered this evening …
Discussion: New York Times, CNN and Vox
Ashley Parker / Washington Post:
The worst job in Washington right now: Working for Trump
Cecilia Vega / ABC News:
Trump reaction to special counsel measured, says White House
Discussion: Associated Press and Politico
Washington Post:
Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election
Rebecca R. Ruiz / New York Times:
Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation
Nicole Gaudiano / USA Today:
GOP blocks House vote on independent Russia-Trump investigation
Tara Palmeri / Politico:
Trump turns to ex-campaign aides as scandals pile up
Discussion: Mediaite and Associated Press
Matea Gold / Washington Post:
New special counsel Robert Mueller has history of standing up to the White House
Discussion: Lawfare and AOL
Katie Bo Williams / The Hill:
Justice names special counsel for Russia investigation
Discussion: ABC News, Axios and RedState
New York Times:
Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House  —  WASHINGTON — Michael T. Flynn told President Trump's transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign …
Vera Bergengruen / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed - after being paid as its agent  —  WASHINGTON  —  One of the Trump administration's first decisions about the fight against the Islamic State was made by Michael Flynn weeks before he was fired - and it conformed to the wishes of Turkey …
Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: sources  —  Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race …
Adam Entous / Washington Post:
House majority leader to colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump  —  KIEV, Ukraine — A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation …
Mark Joseph Stern / Slate:
Neil Gorsuch will be the enduring symbol of a disastrous presidency.  —  Several hours after the New York Times reported on Tuesday that President Donald Trump had attempted to quash the FBI's investigation into Michael Flynn, conservative pundit Erick Erickson tweeted that …
Theodoric Meyer / Politico:
Conservatives begin to whisper: President Pence  —  Not since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, in which Donald Trump bragged about groping women by the genitals, have some conservatives thought so seriously, if a bit wistfully, about two words: President Pence.
Bill Allison / Bloomberg:
Pence Takes Steps to Build War Chest as White House Stumbles
Discussion: The Last Tradition
Erin McClam / CNNMoney:
Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a powerhouse, dies at 77  —  Roger Ailes dead at 77  —  Roger Ailes, who transformed cable news and then American politics by building Fox News into a ratings powerhouse, died Thursday.  He was 77.  —  The death was announced by his family and reported on Fox News Channel.
Discussion: WPRI-TV
Washington Post:
Roger Ailes, Fox News founder and former chairman, dies at 77, family says
Alex Pfeiffer / The Daily Caller:
Pat Buchanan: It Isn't Watergate Yet, But How Long Can This Sustain?  —  Pat Buchanan says the nonstop uproar following Trump's firing of former FBI director James Comey is not comparable to Watergate, but he does wonder if the Trump presidency can function with this level of drama.
Discussion: Vox Popoli
Marc Fisher / Washington Post:   How dangerous are the cracks emerging in Trump's wall of support?
Shane Harris / Wall Street Journal:
Israeli Source Seen as Key to Countering Islamic State Threat  —  The classified information that President Donald Trump shared with Russian officials last week came from an Israeli source described by multiple U.S. officials as the most valuable source of information on external plotting by Islamic State.
Matthew Yglesias / Vox:
Trump isn't a toddler — he's a product of America's culture of impunity for the rich  —  “When you're a star, they let you do it.”  —  Ross Douthat's column arguing for the superiority of “25th Amendment remedies” to impeachment for Donald Trump's various misdeeds is impressive in its ability …
Washington Post:
Race between Democrats running for Virginia governor is neck-and-neck  —  RICHMOND — Virginia Democrats Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam are battling in a very close contest for the party's gubernatorial primary, with divisions reemerging from last year's Democratic presidential race …
Discussion: Political Wire
Bret Stephens / New York Times:
‘The Flight 93 Election’ Crashes Again  —  In case you've had the pleasure of forgetting, “The Flight 93 Election” was the title of a portentous essay, published last September under a Roman pseudonym in The Claremont Review of Books, that declared the stakes for the United States in 2016 thus: “Charge the cockpit or you die.”
Ben Beaumont-Thomas / The Guardian:
Chris Cornell, Soundgarden frontman, dies aged 52  —  Representative for singer, who helped take the grunge sound of the 1990s into the mainstream, said his death was sudden and unexpected  —  Chris Cornell, lead singer of American hard rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died aged 52.
Brandon Carter / The Hill:
Kellyanne Conway cancels Fox appearance after special prosecutor announcement  —  Kellyanne Conway cancelled an appearance on Fox News' “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday night after it was announced that a special prosecutor would be appointed to head up the investigation into President Trump's ties to Russia.
Discussion: RedState, The Week and TheBlaze
Adriana Cohen / Boston Herald:
The media has lost its marbles  —  Just five months in, 2017 is going down in history as the year that gave us the worst media bias America has ever witnessed.  —  It's worse than slanted, it's flat-out rigged against our president and he knows it.  Yesterday at the Coast Guard Academy …
Michelle Kosinski:
This is How Your Government Responds to Unfavorable News Coverage  —  Monday night, as the story of the President giving classified information to the Russians was in full evolution, I get a call from this guy:  —  RC Hammond, the State Department's communications advisor, who had his facts wrong about what was reported and by whom.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
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 More Items: 
Michelle Cortez / Bloomberg:
Obamacare Helped Americans Detect Cancer Earlier
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Koch network to launch major campaign for tax reform
Discussion: Politico
Michael S. Rosenwald / Washington Post:
James Comey's memo has shaken a presidency. Here's why memos have always mattered.
Caroline Davies / The Guardian:
Student who stabbed boyfriend may avoid jail as it would ‘damage her career’
About / GotNews:
BREAKING: FBI Director James Comey Testified Under Oath May 3rd That The Trump Administration …
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit and RedState
 Earlier Items: 
Democratic leaders seek to stifle impeachment talk
Discussion: RedState
Amy Harder / Axios:
Scoop: Trump's plan to slash renewables 70%
Robinson Meyer / The Atlantic:
American Trees Are Moving West, and No One Knows Why
Discussion: FiveThirtyEight
Matt O'Brien / Washington Post:
Why liberal democracy only dies when conservatives help
Trump Said to Rule Out Moving Israel Embassy to Jerusalem