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4:40 PM ET, September 20, 2017


 Top Items: 
Jeff Stein / Vox:
GOP senators are rushing to pass Graham-Cassidy.  We asked 9 to explain what it does.  —  Republican senators are struggling to articulate why they are rushing to pass their last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare over the next 10 days before running into their September 30 deadline.
Avalere Health:
Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Bill Would Reduce Federal Funding to States by $215 Billion  —  New analysis from Avalere finds that the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would lead to a reduction in federal funding to states …
Sarah Kliff / Vox:
I've covered the GOP repeal plans since day one.  Graham-Cassidy is the most radical.  —  Other Republican plans create a poorly funded version of Obamacare.  This one blows up the law entirely.  —  I have spent the bulk of 2017 writing about the different Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Discussion: ACA Signups and Refinery29
Jonathan Cohn / HuffPost:
Bill Cassidy Responds To Jimmy Kimmel By Doubling Down On The Dishonesty  —  A new study details huge spending cuts and likely coverage losses.  —  Hours after a brutal takedown at the hands of late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) went on television Wednesday to respond.
Jason Noble / Des Moines Register:
Chuck Grassley: Fulfilling campaign promise just as important as ‘substance’ of health bill
Seung Min Kim / Politico:
Senate girds for final Obamacare repeal vote
Discussion: Axios, The Week, Daily Kos and Vox
Josh Barro / Business Insider:
The new healthcare bill includes an ‘Alaska Purchase’ to woo a key senator
Discussion: Daily Kos
Caitlin Owens / Axios:
Repeal first, ask questions later
Katie Jennings / Politico:
Christie says he opposes Graham-Cassidy bill
Discussion: Vox, Political Wire, The Week and HuffPost
Sarah Frostenson / Politico:
Graham-Cassidy health care bill: What you need to know
Discussion: ABC News, Raw Story and JustOneMinute
John Harwood / CNBC:   Many GOP senators would shortchange their states by backing the latest Obamacare repeal bill
Michael S. Schmidt / New York Times:
Mueller Seeks White House Documents Related to Trump's Actions as President  —  Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, is interested in Mr. Trump's firing of his F.B.I. director and national security adviser and other events.  —  September 20, 2017  —  Republican Leaders Defy Bipartisan Opposition to Health Law Repeal
Wall Street Journal:
All Mr. Comey's Wiretaps  —  Congress needs to learn how the FBI meddled in the 2016 campaign.  —  When Donald Trump claimed in March that he'd had his “wires tapped” prior to the election, the press and Obama officials dismissed the accusation as a fantasy.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Daily Wire
Washington Post:   Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House
The Daily Beast:
Russians Appear to Use Facebook to Push Pro-Trump ‘Flash Mobs’ in Florida … Suspected Russia propagandists on Facebook tried to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during last year's election, The Daily Beast has learned.  —  The demonstrations—at least …
Craig Silverman / BuzzFeed:
Trump Is Using Targeted Facebook Ads To Reassure Supporters He Will Build The Border Wall
Discussion: Shakesville
Nancy LeTourneau / Washington Monthly:
Russian-Controlled Facebook Accounts Organized Trump Events
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico with 155-mph winds  —  San Juan, Puerto Rico (CNN)Hurricane Maria made landfall Wednesday morning in southeast Puerto Rico as a strong Category 4 storm, the National Hurricane Center said.  —  Maria slammed the island with winds of 155 mph …
Rachana Pradhan / Politico:
Price's private-jet travel breaks precedent  —  In a sharp departure from his predecessors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel.
Bobby Moynihan / CBS News:
Man captures dramatic rescue at Mexico school on video  —  At least 25 people were killed when the 7.1 Magnitude earthquake brought part of a school in the Mexican capital tumbling down onto students and teachers on Tuesday.  At least 21 of them were children.
Discussion: NPR, Raw Story and CBS San Francisco
Joshua Partlow / Washington Post:
Death toll in Mexico earthquake rises as citizens frantically look for the missing
Discussion: TalkLeft and CityLab
J.R. Taylor / National Enquirer:
Apology Regarding Judge Judy And Nicole Sheindlin  —  A statement from The National ENQUIRER  —  The National ENQUIRER and sister publication The National Examiner recently published articles which stated that Judge Judy Sheindlin suffered from “brain disease,” was “fighting” …
Discussion: Daily Wire and IJR
Hillel Italie / Associated Press:
AP Exclusive: Clinton book has sold more than 300,000 copies  — 009d6c31a497  —  Link copied!  —  NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton's “What Happened” had a big debut.  —  Clinton's book about her stunning loss in 2016 to Donald Trump sold …
Trump judicial nominee said transgender children are part of 'Satan's plan', defended ‘conversion therapy’  —  STORY HIGHLIGHTS  —  (CNN)In a pair of 2015 speeches, President Donald Trump's nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas described transgender children as evidence of “Satan's plan …
Borys Kit / Hollywood Reporter:
Linda Hamilton Set to Return to ‘Terminator’ Franchise (Exclusive)  —  With James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger involved, it's a reunion more than 25 years in the making.  —  She'll be back.  —  After waving hasta la vista, baby, more than 25 years ago, Linda Hamilton is returning …
Steven Shepard / Politico:
Trump rebounds after polling slide  —  President Donald Trump's summer swoon appears to be over.  —  After months of declining poll numbers, the president's approval ratings have stabilized — and even ticked up slightly — over the past month.  —  Following a low of 39 percent …
Benjamin Haas / Politico:
The Electoral College Is a National Security Threat  —  In Federalist No. 68, his pseudonymous essay on “The Mode of Electing the President,” Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College could shield the United States “from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”
Seth Tupper / Rapid City Journal:
Firm drops Rep. DiSanto over Facebook post  —  State Rep. Lynne DiSanto, R-Box Elder, was criticized by the state Democratic Party and others Tuesday and lost her position at a real estate firm after she made a post to Facebook that joked about striking protesters with a vehicle.
Adam Ciralsky / Vanity Fair:
Is Trump Mulling Peter Thiel for a Top Intelligence Advisory Post?  —  Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has been quietly advising the Trump administration for months.  Now—as sources say he could be in line for a top intelligence oversight role—Steve Bannon, White House officials, friends …
Kim Hjelmgaard / USA Today:
There is meddling in Germany's election — not by Russia, but by U.S. right wing  —  Less than a week before Sunday's vote that is likely to hand German Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term, evidence of anticipated Russian meddling has yet to materialize, but U.S. right-wing groups have interfered, according to German researchers.
Discussion: Raw Story
Obama slams Senate GOP health care proposal  —  STORY HIGHLIGHTS  —  New York (CNN)Former President Barack Obama said Wednesday there are no practical benefits to a bill Republicans are considering to replace the Affordable Care Act.  —  Speaking in New York, Obama said the bill …
Discussion: Axios, The Root, and IJR
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 More Items: 
Washington Post:
At EPA, guarding the chief pulls agents from pursuing environmental crimes
Discussion: Daily Kos and Common Dreams
Peter Sullivan / The Hill:
Blue Cross warns GOP repeal bill ‘undermines’ pre-existing condition rules
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Man runs around Wyoming carrying American flag and wearing tutu to inspire others
Discussion: WHNT-TV and IJR
Julia Manchester / The Hill:
Melania Trump condemns bullying in United Nations speech
Discussion: ABC News,, Shareblue and IJR
Associated Press:
The Latest: Defense says Menendez took trips at own expense
Discussion: Politico
James Bruggers / Courier-Journal:
Duke Energy slammed in citizen lawsuit for keeping catastrophic coal-ash risks secret
 Earlier Items: 
Immigrant taken by ICE from Austin courthouse was killed in Mexico
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Alex Roarty / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
ACLU moves from defense to offense, starting in Kris Kobach's home state
Pete Kasperowicz / Washington Examiner:
John Kerry doesn't rule out 2020 White House run
Zack Beauchamp / Vox:
“He took the job and made it smaller”: how Rex Tillerson failed the State Department
Discussion: Raw Story